Showing posts with label God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God. Show all posts

Monday, May 16, 2016

Stretched

This morning, I'm going to let you in on a little secret, I'm an INTROVERT, in all caps. Growing up, I mostly fought it, despised it, cursed it, but once I became an adult, out of school, not forced to embrace people all the time, I learned to be okay with who I really was, embrace it even. As an adult, I decided when and with whom, I wanted to socialize. It's been lovely all these years, completely lovely, until now that is.


God has decided that I need to learn to embrace people more, so into the fire I've been thrown, noooooo. I've argued my case with Him, to no avail I should say, so in the fire I stay. The cause, I'm the mama of two teenage girls. All you mama's out there are going to recognize this dilemma I've unwittingly fallen into, it's called teens like socializing, and it's so uncomfortable for me, which gets us right back to why God has thrown me into the fire. I don't understand the why part, but He obviously didn't agree with me that I was just fine in my own little tiny corner of the universe???  I thought it was all kinds of awesome, He thinks differently, shoot.


So, here lately I've found myself, socializing at multiple proms, having too many sleepovers to count, hosting cookouts with no less than fifteen teens, have I lost my ever-lovin' mind?, chauffeuring around teens, mine and others, to various local events, many late nights with kids and their parents at local eateries celebrating this and that, really Lord, are you kidding me???? My daughters, mercy how I love y'all, but you're killing me!

All you regular, sociable folks out there won't get this at all, but for the rest of you, this is hard! So hard, in fact that I shut down completely from the toll it takes on me mentally, which may explain why I disappear from this blog at times. Sound crazy?  It feels crazy inside my head, and the struggle is real my friends, but for whatever reason, God wants me uncomfortable right now and if I could see the big picture like He can, I'm sure I'd totally get it, but right now, little ole me is treading water struggling to keep from drowning.


So back to the title, stretched, where are you right now? Is God giving you a makeover too, stretching and pulling you in all directions? It hurts doesn't it? Believe me honey, I know how it hurts. I have to remind myself daily how it's all for something good, and it will be revealed in His time, not mine, but doggone it's hard. If you're struggling with change today, I'm right there with you sista, you are not alone.
xo,
Amy {CEO Introverts Unite}


Thursday, January 28, 2016

God, Angels, And A Mountain




Share time, k? Two secrets about me that you may not know, I'm deathly afraid of heights, and I get big time lost on many of the adventures I find myself on. One or the other isn't really all that bad per se, but combine the two and watch out honey, you're in for a wild ride. 

The other day, both girls had friends over for the night and it was an unusually warm winter's day, seemed like the perfect day for a little hike. There was a nearby mountain that my girls had been wanting to explore and it sounded like a perfect fit for the day.
 




The mountain is pretty high and sports some beautiful views of multi counties at it's peak. The girls' particular attraction was in the fact that the mountain top is all rock and a favorite place for hikers both young and old alike to paint the rocks in some way leaving their mark. I've seen pictures that others have posted on Instagram and Facebook and it's breathtaking, not only the views but all the beautiful colors and writings on the rocks.




Sounds perfect. Off we go. Me, four teen girls and Matthew, I know, I know, poor little guy, he's used to being surrounded by lots of girls!

Once we found the gravel road entrance, I began looking for a parking lot of some kind. Didn't see anything, no apparent signage or anything like that so I continued down the gravel road. I began thinking that, whew, this is the longest lead in road to a hike that I've ever been on before, but I remained confident that I'd see somewhere to park soon. 



The road began to narrow making it hard to imagine that another car could pass in the opposite direction, not that I'd seen another car, we were apparently the only folks hiking the mountain on this winter's day. I noticed that we were definitely heading up, and up,  and up.  Okay, this is a little weird I'm thinking, the road was really bumpy with large potholes from all the recent rain we've had, our suv struggled a few times. The road had without a doubt become a one car at a time road, making it impossible for me to change my mind at this point, I found myself with only two options, back  down {yes, I do mean put the car in reverse and literally back  the car downthe way we'd come or keep going. Yeah, I chose the keep going, backing down a mountain road is not an item on my bucket list y'all. 


So, it's winter ya know, all the leaves are off the trees so I'm beginning to get a pretty good view off the sides of the mountain, and let me tell you, I'm not liking what I'm seeing, everything's really tiny y'all, houses, cattle, farmland, teeny, weeny.


Okay, at this point I'm starting to wonder if this road is even supposed to have a car on it, what if somehow I messed up and I'm driving on the actual trail, the walking trail, freaking out y'all, literally freaking out, and,  still driving up. 


As I look out over the mountain's edge, my fear of heights maxes out and panic sets in. Gotta stay calm, gotta keep my cool, five kids in the car, it'll be okay.
 




We continued on and I see the colorful rocks just ahead, what?! ,  the colorful rocks?, people hike to those, more freaking out........ the girls start squealing, here we are, here we are, they're so excited and oblivious to my panic-stricken-about-to-have-a-panic-attack-at-any-minute self. Let's get out, they say. No, not just yet, I say. I know that I've got to keep going as much as I don't want to because I have to find a way to turn around on top of this mountain. We keep going, still up, just a little further to the summit, where praise God, it's large enough for me to turn around.



I turn around and instead of feeling better, my panic increases by leaps and bounds because now I'm terrified about going down. It had been a bit of a struggle going up, so I began thinking that there's no possible way I can get down without slipping and plummeting off the side of the mountain, I was paralyzed by fear, completely paralyzed. I'm thinking of my kids and the two precious girls that have been entrusted to my care, and what have I gotten us all into?

I drive slowly down back to the colored rocks and pull over slightly to let the overjoyed girls out, they have arrived at their destination and they're thrilled, me, I'm a basket case. I've managed to keep my sunglasses on hoping that they can't see my eyes and my struggle to keep the tears at bay.




The girls run off and begin painting their names on the rocks, they're having a blast. Me, not so much. I pull out my cell phone and pray big time that it will have a signal, I need to call my hero, the bravest one I know, I need to call my husband. To my surprise, the phone works and my hero answers on the other end. He tells me all the things I need to know, all the practical advice that heroes are so good with, but my fear, it's hard for him to help me much with that because it's my  fear, and it's fully irrational. I thank him and tell him how much I love him {Lord knows I'm thinking I may never see him again} and I walk over to the side of the mountain sheltered by a huge boulder, now I call on my other hero, God above. I begin praying big time y'all, praying for God to send my guardian angels, because there's no way I can do this on my own, no way. I fight back the tears.


I walk back over to the car and try to find peace and a calm spirit. I talk to little Matthew just like it was any other day. He says, mama, are you afraid, I know you don't like being up so very high? No, I assure him, it's all good I say. I'm not sure he believes me, but he goes on along exploring the rocks anyway. 


What happened next is the whole point of this really, really, long story. It's amazing and miraculous and hard to even believe, unless of course you're a believer and you already know that God's going to show up. He showed up right on top of that mountain and saved me from my own irrational fears, He saved me from my own self. 




I heard a noise and looked up the road where we had turned around at the top of the mountain, and down was driving a truck, the most beautiful blue truck I'd ever laid eyes on, I swear it had the wings of angels. Where could it have come from? I had just been up there at the top of the mountain and turned our car around seeing nothing and no one. I swear I leaped for joy and went running over to the truck which slowed upon seeing me. The driver rolled down her window and I began to unload my burdens upon her, she must have thought I was nuts, but no matter, it was a truck, a truck that was going to drive down the mountain, and if they could drive down with no problem so could I. I was as light as a feather and positively giddy. Thank you God for hearing my pleas {as ridiculous as they may have been!}.


When the girls were all done painting, we loaded up and started down the mountain. I was a little shaken but my fears had mostly subsided and I felt pretty silly for being so worried. 


I'll have you know that I praised God all the way down that mountain, all the way down. As we were pulling out of the gravel road back onto the main street to leave, I saw this tiny little turn around that is the 'parking' lot for the hike, you've got to be kidding me? For whatever reason, on this particular Friday morning, God and I needed to meet up on a mountain top.


xo, Amy




Linking At:  Thoughts From Alice

Monday, August 10, 2015

How To Lose Weight Without Dieting


There must be millions of articles on the Internet about dieting. How to do it, what crazy combinations of foods to eat {or not eat} to lose weight. Book stores are filled to the brim with even more self help books that lay out every detail of what you should and should not do in order to shed those unwanted pounds. What if I told you that all of that, all of that dieting mumbo jumbo is totally not necessary. What if I told you that diet is the ugliest four letter word there is.

My story is not an important one. I'm no health expert, I don't have a fancy list of letters after my name, I'm not a nutritionist, but I do have one thing under my belt, years of trial and error, years of doing it all wrong has opened my eyes to doing it all right. I'm going to share that with y'all today, nothing special really, but my experience, my many fails and lastly, my success.

It's 1993, big hair is still in in the deep south and I'm now a momma to one very handsome little boy. Besides getting the baby I'd always dreamed of, I got something else I'd never even thought of, fat. I know a few of my high-school friends read my blog from time to time, and they'll call me on a lie if I dare fib, so in all honesty, I'd been skinny my whole life. One hundred and eight pounds sopping wet was my norm pre-baby weight, this also came with a perky little A cup. After my first baby, things changed, boy did they change. And I know that they should have changed, I'm okay with having a more womanly shape, but I bypassed womanly and went straight to fat. Remember, it's the early 90's, cue the Slim Fast Shakes, yeah baby. They were horrid, but slightly effective, temporarily.



My tug of war with weight gain and loss had begun in earnest, and it would color the rest of my adult life. The constant loss-gain cycle and the focus on deprivation and what that does to you mentally would take center stage up until present day. On the subject of high-school friends again, our ten year high-school reunion was scheduled and there was no way I was going with this new shape of mine, no way, so I did the most reasonable thing I could think of and I lied. I said I was going to the beach, sorry folks, cat's outta the bag now, but y'all probably guessed that any way, isn't that why many women don't attend their high-school reunions????

More time passed, and I became more desperate to lose, so enter fasting. Quick weight loss, yes please, sign me up. I lost weight, yes I did, I also stressed my body so much that I caught a horrible case of bronchitis and thought for sure that I was gonna die.  But, I lost weight, sigh.......

Through all that turmoil and deprivation, I was never once happy with what I saw in the mirror, I always thought I looked fat.


In the last days of 1999, I became pregnant again with baby number two, I stayed pretty healthy during this pregnancy and didn't put on too terribly much weight, then in 2001, pregnant with baby number three. I didn't fare so well this time around and nearly hit two hundred pounds before she was born, whoa what?, yep, I'd never seen a number that big on a scale in my life. Two baby girls, a sweet little boy, and a momma fiercely trying to lose weight, again. 


Pills, tried those, more shakes, only fruit, whatever the magazine cover at the check out line said to try, I did it all, South Beach, you name it, I tried it. You too? Crazy right, how desperate we can be to lose weight that we'll believe anything out there. It must work, that lady on the cover of the magazine looks awesome in her after photo and she's obviously happy, look at that huge smile, I'll do it, whatever she did, I'll do it.

Baby number four, sealed my fate, I was destined to fat-ness and all the self-loathing and misery that comes along with that. I went back and lived on Slim Fast Bars again, constant hunger and a very unhealthy focus on food and schedules and when do I get my next meal. 



So, fast forward to 2015, what am I doing differently, what's the alternative? It's so simple really, there's no deprivation, no self-loathing involved, no shakes {thank you God}, just a simple little formula.  God given foods + movement.  That's it. No calorie counting, no fat counting, only a simple awareness of what goes into your mouth and movement every day. Do you hear the angels singing hallelujah? I don't feel deprived,  I don't worry about when do I get my next meal, there are no cravings, no low blood sugar jitters, translated, freedom.  Also, no more migraines, my Crohn's Disease is in remission and dare I mention, peace. Did you hear that, peace. 



So here I am, with my little not-so-important story. I've often heard it said that the Bible is our instruction manual. That's so true and God does mention food lots in the bible, heavens, it sustains us. We as Christians spend plenty of time trying to grasp the concept of living in the world, not of the world. This pertains to food as well. Most of the food at the markets has been designed to entice us visually and altered chemically as well, shoot, we don't even recognize when we are full any more, how crazy is that? Think about it, that's not what God had in mind for food. Absolutely not, that goes against everything that our God is. Food was designed for nourishment and pleasure, on it's own, as it is produced from this earth of ours. God desires us to be satisfied and full in body, mind and spirit, anyone that's ever dieted knows that we feel the exact opposite when we are trying to lose weight. We are overtaken by our desire to eat, or not eat and the thought of food literally possesses us. That sounds a lot like bondage to me, and honey, that's not God. 



As of this posting, I've lost twenty one pounds in nine weeks. Me + Exercise + God's Food. That's it, that's freedom. I'm learning to only eat when I'm hungry, that does sound silly, but for lots of us, our hunger sensors died out looooooong ago. It is a process, but it's so worth the hard work. I eat lots of veggies, fruits, nuts, eggs, grass fed meats and we are back on all organic foods again. Sound simple? Our God made it pretty easy, we just make it hard.

When we went on our first camping trip in May, I was twenty one pounds heavier, tired, depressed and disappointed in myself. You can read more about my shift in mindset that occurred when we returned home from that trip here. Wednesday, the kids and I will be hitting the road for another camping adventure, I'm stronger, healthier and totally empowered.  God has all the answers, even where food is concerned. 


If you have any questions about my journey, ask away. You can ask in the comments below or feel free to e-mail me by clicking on the 'contact' tab at the top of the page. I'm happy to chat. If this post inspired you, please do me a huge favor and click on one of the  'share' icons under this post. Thanks so much.

Sharing At These Parties:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Through The Valley

There are many times in our lives that we face adversity. There are valleys and mountaintops. While in the valley, we draw closer to God, looking to our heavenly Father for answers, standing childlike with our upward gaze steadfast on the heavens. I've often heard that without the lows we could never appreciate the highs. It's true I know.



I'm currently in a place of adversity in my life. It's always unsettling, but hopeful at the same time. I've been around this bend before and I know from experience that it leads to a glorious place of peace and appreciation, but oh the path. Rocky, bumpy, unable to see around the curves, unstable, then remembering to keep my gaze upon the heavens and the Great Navigator. As I'm writing, my youngest daughter is practicing 'Amazing Grace' on the piano. The notes escape her room and float down the hall into my bedroom to find me teary eyed at the 'coincidence'. God amazes me in the big and the small of each and every day. 

Prayers welcomed.


Monday, January 26, 2015

A New 'Light' In The Closet


God works in the most mysterious ways. Ever notice how you may begin on one quest and through little unintentional rabbit trails, you find God standing boldly, right dab smack in the middle of a trail, right where you never even expected?

This happened to me this morning. I had a notice in my e-mail of a twitter request, so I clicked on it to accept the request, this led me to the twitter page and then I noticed a retweet from sweet Myquillyn {The Nester}. She had retweeted a post from her sister's blog, Emily P. Freeman.

Now I must back up, waaaaay up............ I've been staring at my disaster of a closet for e-v-e-r. I've never been a clean closet kind of a girl. I was always in trouble when I lived in my parent's house because of "The Closet". Yep, sad mess. So, fast forward to present day, and I've been promising my husband that I would give our closet a stellar re-do and share it's success on the blog and tout lots of cool after photos of it's all organized "after" self. I've been putting a little aside for it's impending transformation, a little for cutie new hangers and little bins and boxes. ALL visual don't you see.

Then there's God. Standing dab smack in the middle of my rabbit trail. Remember Emily's post up there? Well wow! My closet is filled with tons of skeletons staring at me. There are many sizes in there. Many short lived sizes, many hope and dream sizes, many I'm almost there sizes, and many, Lord help me, I'll probably never be there again sizes. That's a closet filled with defeat and negativity. There's a monster in my closet, a real live devil  of a monster, and I didn't even realize. 

So why have I been procrastinating this closet redo for months and months? Obvious right? Honey, there's baggage in there, and I don't mean suitcases.

God knows this journey I'm on right now, a journey of learning to live with intention every day. He knows that He'll often have to keep me in check, because my flesh always strives for the 'pretty' . But God, He always strives for the down and dirty, the messy transformations. 

Obviously, there will be a closet transformation soon at my house, and I'll be sharing it with y'all, but now with a new purpose and a new goal. It's time to shed some 'light'  in my closet y'all.



Linking At:



Friday, January 23, 2015

Home {aka your mission field}



Have you ever given much thought to how your home appears to others. Don't get me wrong, I know that our homes should reflect us and we should never design our homes for others, but how does your home feel to others? Is your home chaotic and out of order? I really struggle with balance in this area. It can be really hard to have a home that is just clean enough or just orderly enough. 

Our church has a little sign that you pass when leaving the parking lot that has always intrigued me. It says, "you are now entering your mission field". That's so true isn't it? Everything after leaving the church really is our mission field. I don't have a fancy career or letters after my name, but I do have a home that was given to us by God, and I think it is my calling for that home to be my mission field, not only to my family, but to others as well.

I want our home to reflect that, to be a place where others can come and seek respite if necessary or unload their troubles or just drink coffee and giggle lots. This blog is an extension of our home. I've just come to realize this. I welcome y'all into our home and into my heart through each post I write.

Consider your home your mission field and be amazed at the changes you may make. 

Linking At:


Blogging tips