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.

Changes

Today I finalized all the details for my 4 year old daughter, Zariyah Toa to start her pre-kindergarten program and tomorrow I am meeting with her teacher. She starts full time pre-k on Monday.

I did not expect all these emotions to come along with it. This girl is incredibly beautiful, equally smart and overwhelmingly full of love. She has been my mini-me for her entire life and her birth set the tone for my healing. She was so tiny beautiful as she is and she fits it well.

It’s taking me back to the day she was born. I had prodomal labor with her and broke my tail bone! I was 5cm dilated when my midwife stripped my membranes and when she came out it was quick.csc_9077 pushed for 5-10 minutes and was so happy when she was finally in my arms. Her beauty was shocking to my heart and it still is every day when I see her and hear her perfect voice. True to her name, she is my warrior princess. She is every bit as fierce as she is sweet. She is a perfectionist and very creative and imaginative. She wants to be understood and tries hard to communicate well.

By watching her grow into her beautiful 4 year old self, I have seen what power beauty and pure love have on people. She loves and includes and is so sweet. she gets excited about things and laughs and fights for what she believes in. This one has taught me so much about life. I am going to miss having her with me 24/7, but I am also extremely excited for her to venture into this part of life. fullsizerender-2She craves knowledge and tries hard to keep up with her big brothers. I think she will LOVE school and all the opportunities it provides for her.

I believe that every family is different and every parent has to make choices based on what is right for them as Individuals. For me, I was homeschooled and really didn’t like it. I wanted to be in public school so desperately, but that was based on my deep, deep rooted desire to be normal.  In hind sight, I believe that I was saved a little bit by being homeschooled. I may have completely lost myself in public school. I will never know, but I know my experience lead me here.  I know that I don’t have to feel guilt for letting my kids go to public school.

I grew up believing that it isn’t good for christian kids to go to public school. There are too many “sinful” things there and children are forced at way too young an age to fight against the wrong things. And what about school shootings and trusting government programs to teach your kids when you are well equipped to do it yourself?

Here is my reasoning. Guilt. Shame. Blame. Opportunity. Social life. Choices. Questions. Intentions. Challenges. Friendship. Love.

I am a very independent person with 5 children. Yes, I am capable of teaching my kids what they need to know to get by in life, but I know myself. I need to be able to rely on others to teach my kids because I also know my kids. They need more than I am currently able to give. I need an outlet. Right now, that outlet is Young Living and the community and leadership running the business provides me with. I also need to have a clean house and my kids need outlets too. I can’t take them to the park everyday because the park is an overwhelming place for me. I have a hard time keeping mental track of 5 kids. I need to know they are safe without forcing them to be my little flock right next to me. I want them to grow up independent without being yelled at. I have learned that stress effects me in a very negative way. When my mind is overwhelmed, I turn into a person who is more focused on controlling the situation than the feelings of those involved.

I love that the kids are given daily opportunities to befriend and accept people from all walks of life. I would not be able to provide them with this opportunity with out school. I cannot protect them from what is in the world and I don’t want to (unless it’s a dangerous creeper). I want my kids to understand what choices people in their peer group are making and I want to help them figure out what they believe is right. There are so many educational opportunities from the social side of school that when a parent stays involved in conversations with their children about topics and friendships, it’s amazing what conversations come from it.

My kids are given opportunities to love people in all walks of life. They are learning respect for elders and they are learning that they have value in society, not just in their family. They have interaction with people with learning disabilities and physical disabilities. These are things I cannot provide well for my kids.  I am incredibly thankful for this experience for them and for the social and educational opportunities that their schools provide.

Why have you chosen to put your kids in school or homeschool instead? What makes you feel alive as an adult? Have you figured out your triggers and given yourself healthy boundaries with your kids?

Remember that you were created for a reason and the things that you think and the desires in your heart are likely ones that were placed there by your creator and are likely ones He wants for you. Will you do something terrifying and acknowledge that part of you?

Rest for the weary

2.5 years ago, I was in a desperate place. I had just birthed my fourth baby. My first intentionally unassisted.  She had digestion issues from the start and cried a lot.  We also had a puppy and lived in a 787 sqft house in the middle of he city. We had a small yard and I needed an outlet. I was asking for advise for my baby’s tummy and my sister told me about Young Living Efranklin-st-photossential Oils. I freaked out a little bit because my parents had been involved with a multi level company for years and lost a lot of friendships because of it. I felt skeptical of that style of company, but did prefer buying soaps online so I let her tell me.

I honestly don’t remember what she said that convinced me to buy or if it was my own research…. the latter is actually more likely knowing me.  In doing the research, I discovered something that brought me to tears.  A product of nature. Pure. Unadulterated. God made these oils available to us when He created the earth. I didn’t know they existed. I felt like I would imagine the first person who discovered fire felt. There are no words, just deep intense gratitude.

I got my Premium Starter Kit. I had also ordered the Gentle Baby blend to support my infant’s digestive health and to make a blend to support the skin on her little bum. Initially, I was a little taken aback by the smell of Gentle Baby. It is strong. I like it more now, but there is something about new born baby smell that I like more than the smell of roses (which I love now).

Back then the Premium Starter Kit included a blend called Peace & Calming. That was the oil that hooked me. Goodness. I opened it up and felt like bathing in it immediately.  I bought the oils for my baby and didn’t realize how much I needed them. With that oil diffusing, our children’s loud sounds quieted to a point where there was fun without anxiety.  I could sit down and nurse my baby and let my mind rest. Zen is where I was when I was supported by this aroma. Putting it on the bottoms of my kids feet supported a good night sleep and I finally started realizing that rest is essential. Pease in the midst of chaos is attainable.

I have since discovered that a lot of my feeling of being overwhelmed was because of my expectations on people. People talk about how some people look at life through “rose colored glasses.” I was looking at life through glasses scuffed and scratched with deep hurts, fear and darkness. My expectations of others hurt relationships and made me appear selfish and hard to please. I thought I was the victim. I didn’t understand why everything was going wrong in my life and why people didn’t care. It made me angry and compounded the hurt. God has freed me of those expectations and has allowed me to find my needs in His love. He is all that we need.  His love is enough.

How do you cope with the chaos of life and things that don’t go according to plan? have you looked at your expectations to see if they line up with truth? Do you know who you are and what you want out of life? Trust me, if you don’t know, those close to you don’t either.  If you are disappointed in the gifts given or the time spent or the intimacy, look at your heart to see if you are setting those you love up for failure.  God can clean out those expectations and give you the freedom to love others as a gift instead of an investment.

Version 2Peace & Calming is unique because it has Blue Tansy oil in it. This oil is difficult to source and Young Living never compromises their standards. If the fields have a rough year and the harvest is sub par, they do not sell it.  Because of this scenario, Peace & Calming is often out of stock. That one bottle I got in my kit so long ago, was the only bottle I ever had until last month. It came back in stock for the month of Dec. so I got it and this month it is part of the Essential Rewards promo so that one is on it’s way to my door.

I opened the bottle and it brought me back to that feeling when I first got my kit. I remembered how much this blend meant to me and again felt that soothing calm that amazed me at the start of my essential oil journey.

If you have a chance to buy this oil ever, do it.

Lets talk life for a sec

I am a mother to five wonderful kids.  Seriously. These kids are perfect for me. I am so blessed to be trusted by God to raise five people to be respectful contributing adults.  When I was 11 I thought long and hard and prayed a lot about how many kids I wanted and what gender. I understood that I could not choose gender, but this was my perfect scenario.  I wanted two boys and then two girls.  That was it. Well, SURPRISE! I got my wish! But God wasn’t finished. He gave us a bonus boy at the end and he is the perfect completion to our family.  We are incredibly blessed and though there are day to day challenges with having children, I am so thankful for each one of these unique personalities.

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I am married to Nathan. He and I met at work. I was a mail room lead and he did data entry. we were both hired as temporary help in our separate departments and then both of us were given permanent status the same month which is the month we met.  My grandpa had passed away in early September 2003 and my aunt came out from Colorado for the funeral. I took time off to drive her back home (she had three small kids). I also wanted a change of scenery. I was considering moving to Colorado. I went to a prayer center and sat in the back meditating and asking the Lord for clarity on my move. A very sweet well meaning prayer room attendant came over and asked if she could pray for me. I agreed and told her what I was contemplating. She said “you know what? you should move. If God isn’t telling you no, then move. the worst that could happen is that you move back home later.”  I looked up at her and thanked her for the advise. I knew in my heart at that moment that she was wrong. I needed to go home. God wanted me back in my hometown.  So I went home and that next week, met Nate. We were filing together and he introduced himself.  In that moment, God told me that he and I would be together forever. He told me Nate’s character and that this was the life He had for me.  We were married 2 years later.

Through these years of marriage, we have experienced heartache and separation and bitterness and joy and happiness and anger and hurt and healing. God caught our attention in a real way in 2011 and since then we have been journeying toward freedom in our mind, body and spirit. God created and heals whole bodies. There are so many things that took a lot of years for me to understand and I hope I can share those things with you here.

God is my Father and my King. I have found true, pure love and all that comes with that. I have found boundaries that produce freedom and I have found that I love being me. I love what God has for me. I love that He cares about the things that I love. He designed me and had a plan when He did it. He is not ashamed of me or angry. He doesn’t want me to change who I am, He wants me to find who I am. He cares about my whole being. He is truly the definition of love.

All of this love, health and freedom is available to you if you give Him a chance. He will orchestrate the healing of your mind and spirit and bring you hope.  I want to share my story in hopes of inspiring you to see that you are living out a story too.  How is your story going to continue? It is your choice what directions you take.

Will you go to a path of health and freedom?

Will you chose life with me?