My Environment

My husband and I have a long story. We have not always made good choices and we have had extreme highs and extreme lows in our lives and relationship. A lot of things have led us to where we are now and I’m sure I will eventually share all or most of them.

In a previous post I mentioned being in a house that is inexpensive and large enough for our family, but has a mold problem. This is the story of the house we live in, “The Kings House.”

5 years ago we met a woman who would change our lives forever. From the first moment I met her, I knew she was an answer to my prayers of desperation for a friend who deeply loves God and follows Him no matter the cost. Someone who would rather talk about Him on a Friday night than go out partying. I remember crying with my mom as a teenager, wondering why people didn’t talk about God more or worship together without a worship leader. This woman prophesied with accuracy and seemed to truly, deeply honor the deity of God and respect him as God with her actions and accountability.

Nate and I were in a desperate place in our marriage. I felt like we had little chance of making it and needed hope. My new friend showed it to me. She interceded for me in a way that I have never experienced. She showed me the true way to find God and did it with a hand that was completely open. I have since been on a crazy journey of learning to be free. Learning to let go of past hurts and rules of the church and to identify as God wants me to, not as I feel is expected by culture. I have discovered a kind of love that I never knew before. I see God in a way that I never viewed him before. My past has been rocky. I grew up unknowingly judgmental and close minded. I restricted love if I didn’t agree with actions being taken. I hurt people without knowing or intending it and felt isolated and a lone. I have had a lot of pride too. I have been freed in a great way. There is plenty more work to do, but I am sold on the God of Israel. I see him as loving and kind. He is a great father and loves so deeply.

A year and a half ago, we lived in a small 787 square foot house. It did well for us all those years. We bought at exactly the wrong time and spent way too much on our tiny house right before the prices plummeted. Suddenly we were backward on our loan and stuck. We lived there for nine years and had 4 kids in that house. It was getting smaller and my stress level living there was increasing. August 2015 we decided to try to sell. My friend and her husband were leaving their home of 4 years. Her husband was building it basically from the ground up with research and direction from God. He did it alone. It was getting more and more beautiful. They called it “The Kings House” because during their time in the house, God directed many prayer meetings and met many, many people who came. There were tears, laughter, deep conversations, commissioning from the Lord and countless mysteries unraveled. God blessed them so, so much while they lived here. They asked us if we would be interested in paying their mortgage and live here because they were feeling called east. God had a new plan and direction for them and we needed space. This house is about twice as big as our old place, but the exchange is that it is unfinished. The floor is subfloor and the attic is exposed. There are places where there is no sheetrock and it is only partially painted inside. The ceiling in the living room is only half in place and the hood over the stove is only partially finished. The garage and house are not fully connected so there is leaking in some places. The mold issue is in the crawl space and we are working with the owner to see how to take care of the issue.

I’m telling you all of this because I need a reminder of the blessing of this house. It is so easy to be filled with the negative aspects of a situation. The dust is crazy. It is really hard to clean an unfinished house because the subfloor absorbs water and it could increase the mold problem below. The attic exposure can also increase a mold problem. We are going through socks quickly because the floor is tearing them up and there is something to be said for things being unfinished that can cause anxiety. We moved in thinking that we would be able to fix it up some more and make it more livable… namely, give it a floor and finish the sheet rock and painting. However God had different plans. We moved in and there was some miscommunication between us and our housemate. All parties had a part in that learning scenario. A lot of feelings were hurt and it was a huge emotional start to living here. Then shortly after, we took in my friends daughter for 6 months so she could attend the same school as my boy. 3 months later, I found out I was pregnant with our 5th baby. We had thing after thing some up and have been prevented from doing any upgrades. Our plans are different than His plans.

IMG_4790I have felt strange about posting pictures of where we live now because it isn’t ours, it isn’t finished and I have felt angry lately about how much sickness we have endured. I have a whole list of negative reasons why I don’t like this house. However, it was a gift. It’s easy to remember the good parts of living in our small house in town…. it didn’t have a mold problem, it was pretty when we left it, we could walk anywhere, it had an nice back yard and a fun tree to climb. However it was very small. It’s hard to fit 2 boys and 2 girls in the same tiny room. And know having a 5th baby, it would have felt impossible. The neighborhood was getting worse. We had a stabbing up the street and kids smoking behind our fence. I felt intimidated by the people who we passed on the streets and the way people looked at the kids and longed for more privacy. My kitchen wasn’t functional and it was cut off from the rest of the house. It was small and difficult to make food the way I do.

The Kings house, the house we live in now has a wonderful kitchen. Open concept, hub of the house. The stove has 6 units and its gas! There is plenty of storage for all the gadgets I use in the kitchen, the fridge is huge and it has a nice dishwasher. It has a laundry room and two bathrooms! The master bedroom is quite large and the boys room is larger than the kids room from our last house. We have a magnificent fireplace and a front porch. We have a garage too! There is a creek that runs the length of the property down the hill. We live in an amazing place, but all I have been able to see is the lack of sunlight, the steep hill that is difficult for kids to go down or up alone, the stuff that isn’t ours that is cluttering the garage and side yard.

The thing is, we are paralleling with this house in the spirit. Our hearts are more free than they have ever been but they are unfinished. There is still clutter than we haven’t released to our Father that we have kept in our hearts. There is still fear and unforgiveness. There is still a lack of sunlight pouring in because we have not allowed a full amount of God’s light into our lives. We have been living in negativity and sorrow.

A corner is being turned. I am ready to see and accept the parallel and chose joy and positivity. I choose to let worship come out of my mouth and to find joy in my Father instead of the things I believe I should have. I want to keep releasing things to God so I can have more freedom in my heart and my mind. I want to stop being afraid. I want to trust God completely to take care of the things I have feared. He wants to be a part of my food intake, my cleaning routine, my parenting, my rest. He is everything and I am nothing without Him.

Crunchy

I have never been img_3447one to embrace a stereo type. Growing up, I made fun of people who lumped themselves into a group like jock, prep and so on.  I took pride in the fact that I could wear what I wanted and act like I wanted and fit in wherever I saw fit. Well… The past four years, I have been on a journey of self discovery. Before that, I was jumbled.
I lived in a house that looked like a bachelor pad and didn’t have much beauty around because my style had no rhythm.

I felt chaotic and my home and style reflected as much. Four years ago, I used our tax return to change our space into something beautiful.  Our small 787sqft house turned into a cozy home starting at that point in time.

By the time we sold our tiny house a year ago, it was beautiful. Both my husband and me were proud of what we turned it into.

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Also at that time I went shopping for clothing that reflected who I was instead of whatever I could find that was warm. My uniform for a long time was blue jeans and a zip up black fleece. Mostly because I was always cold and second because I had no style and no confidence to choose one.  My personal style has been difficult. In the past four years I have birthed three babies. I have been a stay at home mom so I don’t have “work clothes” that need to stay nice. My clothes have all been play clothes that get dirty quickly and I have gone up and down in size so many times that my wardrobe changes constantly. Now, within the past few months I have landed on a style I like and will stick with I believe. I have finally discovered who I am and can therefore place boundaries around my style. Healthy ones that make life easier, not controlling ones that limit what I love. This style will be built in the next few years as my body changes and I have time to shop.

I have also decided to embrace the term “crunchy.” I eat organic where ever possible, feed my kids food according to their blood type, try to make everything from scratch (which doesn’t always happen). I limit sugar and promote healthy eating habits. We drink water, not bottled juice. Never soda and I’m trying to eliminate cane sugar… haven’t achieved that yet. Since being pregnant and having my now five month old baby, I was giving my self excuses about what I was eating. I was relying on my food to make me feel good emotionally. I knew in my brain that the food was going to hinder my emotions, but I wanted that instant good feeling.  When I eat sugar, it tastes good, but I get angry when I eat sugar. Suddenly I feel claustrophobic and cannot handle any sort of chaos. Which is life with five kids. When I eat simple carbohydrates I get inflamed almost immediately. I know my trigger foods for the most part, but I have continued to eat them. Now I feel the effects in my joints. I know how to fix it… I just haven’t done it because I want comfort from my food. It isn’t worth it and I am going to stop and get strict on my diet again.

Since I can remember we have used natural products for cleaning in our home. Until a year ago when we moved. Our landlord left a bunch of products that I had never used before in the house along with instructions on how to clean everything. I started using them at that point because they were there. I used Palmolive dish soap, bleach, windex, other stainless steel and tile & grout cleaners…  It was a big change and I just let it happen. I have recently cleaned out our cupboards and am replacing all of these products with ones that are safe for our skin again. Things I have noticed in this past year of using chemicals have been changes in our skin, my skin has aged a lot this year and we have been dealing with more fungal infections. We have been sick almost non-stop this year and never had that issue in the house we lived in before. The kids emotions have been on a level we never saw before too. Now we don’t use bleach in our home or windex or other main stream cleaners, we use ones that are actually good for our bodies. I want to wash a toilet seat and feel comfortable with my children immediately sitting down on the newly cleaned toilet without being worried about the caustic substance touching their skin.  Our skin is our body’s largest organ. Did you know that your skin is one of the places where our bodies take in oxygen? Not just from our mouth and nose. Our skin absorbs what touches it. Would you put bleach in your mouth? Then you shouldn’t put it on your skin. I realize that most people use gloves when they use bleach, but you can’t glove your nose.  I guess you could use a face mask, but then what? You use it on a surface and then it smells like bleach in your home. You will inevitably breath it in. I can barely walk through the cleaning isle at a grocery store because I can feel the chemicals burning through my nostrils.  So many cleaning supplies including skin and hair care contain hormone disruptors, carcinogens and preservatives that should never touch our bodies.

Toxic chemicals are not the only form of toxicity that we have to keep away from our lives. Toxic thoughts can cause a lot of damage too. I have struggled with loving myself for a long time. I used to speak things over my life that were not true about my worth, my contribution to society and how I was received by my peers. I have been learning how important words are in every facet of my life.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  –Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

fullsizerender-3How are you feeding your mind? are you telling yourself how wonderful you are? Are you convinced that you are enough and your unique qualities are a benefit to society and actually an element that was put in you for a reason when you were created?

This subject is extremely important to me. It’s like a song I used to know when I was a kid.

      Input, output, what goes in is what comes out.
      Input, output, that is what it’s all about.
      Input, output, your mind is a computer whose
      Input, output, daily you must choose.
      -Colby, the Computer

It’s a body, mind and spirit package. We chose what we put in and on our bodies, In our minds and how we feed our spirit. I am learning so much about who I am in the Lord and what is important. If feeding the desires of my flesh was my goal, I would be eating ice cream and chocolate constantly. I wouldn’t care about what products I use because I wouldn’t choose to face the effect on my body. But I do care. I don’t want to complain about aches and pains as I eat inflammation inducing foods. I don’t want to complain about sickness and hormonal imbalance while using products that cause that kind of response. I am responsible for what I put in or on my body and mind. Whatever I choose causes a specific response.  I can’t blame anyone else for the condition of my body or the state of my emotions. It’s on me.

Today, right now, I choose to liberate myself from these issues. The results may not be immediate, but they will come. I will make bad choices I’m sure and will suffer the consequences, but I will get back up and keep going. The bad choices will be fewer as time goes on. Will you consider doing the same? Health is freedom. I really like freedom. It’s kind of really great.

The Vulnerable Parts

As I venture into the beginning stages of being an entrepreneur and all the things that go along with that, I have been able to observe several ways that I hold myself back from people.  In the past few years I have been shown by the Lord a ton of walls that I have built in the name of self protection. Someone hurt me so I built a wall or fortified a wall that was previously built in an attempt to avoid a similar situation. I have worked hard with God to tear those walls down. Allowing all kinds of emotional pain and vulnerability into my life because those walls were actually hurting me more than helping. They were hurting the people around me too. God is the only one fit to protect our hearts. He does it like any good parent should. He knows His children and He allows pain in order to teach lessons that stick. When I was a kid, I was clumsy and fell a lot. I often had scabs on my knees.  I learned (rather slowly) that if you aren’t careful, you will fall and get hurt. That is a valuable lesson that I may not have learned well had I not experienced it first hand. Based on that pain, I learned what things are worth trying or not. Is it worth the possibility of skinned knee?

I have been contemplating social media and the image put forward by so many as being perfect.   Having all the answers and having the perfect kids. Trust me, my kids are perfect, but it isn’t because I ironed their clothes or put bows in their hair. They are perfect because they are people just like you and me who make mistakes and have hopes and dreams. I adore my children and I know they are fallible like me. Therefore I make boundaries for them so they can grow up in a safe protected environment while also being allowed to adventure and be wild.

Version 2

The big thought came up while I was trying to put together a video for my Facebook group. I replayed the video and I looked rigid and unwelcoming.  I realized it was because I was trying to cover up my biggest insecurity. There are parts of me that I have not made complete peace with. For instance, I have very crooked teeth and I have convinced myself that people will look the other way because of my lack of perfection, but in reality, it is our unique imperfections that help us remain humble and touchable. I want you to see the real me so I resolve to show you me.  I am a very passionate person with things to say and hopefully I have an entertaining quality.

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What about you?  What are things that you hide in an attempt to protect yourself from criticism? If you really think about it, do you think maybe you are just withholding part of your unique personality or look? I challenge you to let yourself go.  If you are too insecure to do it in public, do what I did. Break out your cell phone camera or computer and record yourself. First as you would like to present yourself then do a second video after you allow yourself to be the vulnerable you that you don’t let people see.  Tell me what happens!