8 Affirmations of Self-Care.

I adore the holiday season. There is so much to love about it, from the cooling temperatures—particularly thankful for those, seeing as how summers in Phoenix are over 100 degrees!—to the cheery Christmas music, to the quiet recognition of and reverence for the birth of Jesus. I've always had this feeling of expectation that something magical would/could happen. (I'm working on carrying that feeling into the rest of the year, but haven't quite mastered that, yet!)

As I've gotten older, however, life has inevitably become more complicated. The miracle of the season is still intact, but there are definitely other, less positive aspects that have gotten in the way of my enjoyment.

Family is such a gift, but for so many us, this time of year can be wrought with negativity, resentment, and bitterness. Having dealt with all three of these emotions (and more!) over the years, I've finally come to a place where I feel empowered to make choices on my own behalf. I have found that if I do not properly care for myself, I'm more likely to lose sight of the splendor all around me.



If you're finding yourself feeling overwhelmed, angry, or sad, right now, perhaps the affirmations below will remind you to put yourself on that growing to-do list, preferably at the top.


  1. "No" is a complete sentence that does not require explanation.
  2. I will not feel guilty or ashamed for acting on my own behalf.
  3. I deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
  4. I am not obligated to interact with those who have caused me harm. 
  5. I have the right to enact boundaries wherever and whenever necessary.
  6. I am free to change my mind at any time, for any reason.
  7. I have the right to feel safe.
  8. My needs matter. 
I felt silly when the idea for this post first came to me, but the act of writing it down made it real. Logically, I knew all of this stuff, but emotionally, somewhere along the line, I'd forgotten I was free to exercise control over my own life! Instead, I was repeatedly bending and contorting to please people who rarely—if ever—reciprocated. To make matters worse, on the rare occasion I did assert, I was accused of being "selfish" and "difficult". As a result, I turned my attentions not toward the perpetrators, but my innocent husband and children, who became the primary targets of my frustration.

{IMAGE SOURCE}
Due to the accelerated journey I've been on in the last month, though, this horrible cycle has officially—thankfully—come to an end. The process of opening my eyes has not been easy, but priceless nonetheless. These declarations are just another signal that I am changing for the better and my prayer is that they are able to do the same for you.

May you never forget that you matter.

Happy holidays!  

A Lot Can Happen In A Year.

THIS.
{Image source}

It's the final Five-Minute Friday of 2014, gang! If you're interested in getting in on this fun and frenzied adventure before the New Year, head over here to get more info!

Prompt: Adore

It's become sort of a running joke to begin a writing assignment or speech with "Webster's defines ______ as...". I, myself, started more than few papers this way when I was in junior high and high school (and possibly even my first year of college *facepalm*). These days, I don't consult the dictionary too terribly often, mostly because the definitions are generally fail to fully encompass the meaty connotation of certain words. Language is fluid, so it's understandably difficult to stay on top of every single definition. I get that, really I do. As the years have gone by and I've become more aware of the distinctions between flat definitions and the loaded meanings of words, I've become less and less dependent upon this reference book.

However, this morning, I decided to crack it open, perhaps just for old time's sake. And I'm so glad I did. The definitions of adore were right on the money. 
  1. Regard with utmost love, esteem, or respect.
  2. Worship as divine.
I mean, how perfectly stated can you get?! If you've stopped by my blog over the course of the last few weeks or so, you've noticed that I've been working through something heavy. Elsewhere, I've referred to it as "the fight of my life", which sounds dramatic but in this situation, it's quite true. Everything has changed for my husband and I. Up is down and down is up. And it's as disorienting as you can imagine. 

Yet, through it all, I am experiencing a level of peace that makes zero sense on paper. This refinement period, though, has served to showcase just how powerful and worthy of adoration God truly is, a fact I thought I already knew. Because the many distractions and barriers are being removed, I am finally able to see—and appreciate—the wonder and majesty around me. 

I can truly say I adore Jesus.
I adore my husband.
I adore my babies.
I adore my life. 

And I can't wait to see, do, and experience more. 

Don't know if Bing really said this, but the sentiment is dead on!
{Image source}



10 Things About Me

{Image source}

Hi there, folks! I just wanted lighten up the mood a bit after my last post. It was poignant and needed to be expressed, but it was a bit heavy, I think. Anyway, I thought I'd come back with a few frivolous tidbits about myself to help y'all get to know me better. If you get to the end and want still more, there's a video of 20 more pieces to my puzzle. Hope you're having a great holiday season, so far!

1. I love flowers, but my favorite one is the lily. I even had a bouquet of calla lilies on my wedding day!

2. I adore the smell of books! I'm an avid reader and I do enjoy the convenience of digital books, but nothing compares to the scent and feel of the real deal in my hands.

3. On a related note, "The Giving Tree" always makes me cry. It's one of my favorite children's books.

4. I'm terrible—HORRIBLE—at geography, but I've made it a New Year's resolution to master it (or at least drastically improve) in 2015.

5. I'm a pretty good cook, but I'm utterly hopeless when it comes to simple things like smoothies and salad dressings. I never seem to get the ratios right.

6. I did a few pageants when I was younger. I hated every minute of it, except for the big, poufy dresses. My unyielding love for sequins and glitter was born during that time.

7. Kara Walker's art affects me like no other. Her silhouettes, in particular, are subversive and thought-provoking.

8. Spicebomb by Viktor + Rolf is my perfume of choice, especially this time of year.

9. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite writers. I always find something new to love about his words.

10. The Hipster Holidays Radio station on Pandora is giving me everything I need, right now. It's mellow enough to write and edit to, but lively enough to keep my interest if I want to simply sit with a cup of coffee.

And there you have it, gang! Yearning for more? Click on the video below for 20 more facts about yours truly. You may even see a cute little baby in it...


Stop Running and Receive.

It's Five-Minute Friday (on a Saturday) time, folks! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, head here for all the pertinent details. Otherwise, there's still time to link up if you're interested, so please don't hesitate to join the party. 

Prompt: Prepare

(Disclaimer: I lost track of time as I was writing this, so I'm pretty certain is took more than five minutes. It just kept pouring out of me—which doesn't happen as often as I'd like—so I went with it.)

***

When my husband and I prayed for God to intervene in our lives, to shake us out of our existential stupor, nothing could have prepared us for the stunning, heartbreaking, amazing way He responded. I don't even know where to begin, honestly. It's only been a matter of weeks for me (my husband started this journey a few months before I did), but everything has changed. I know it sounds cliché, but our lives have been completely and utterly uprooted. We're still in the middle of it, so I can't be specific—YET—but everything is uncertain, everything is new, and everything is totally out of our hands. We are 100% humbled by and dependent on His power from the time we wake up to the moment our heads hit the pillow.

And it is the best thing that's ever happened to us.

{Image source}

It's also the most painful breakthrough we've ever experienced. I don't know if folks who've arrived on "the other side" ever make clear the true agony of transformation. After reciting so many times over the years, I finally understand what it means to "walk through the valley of the shadow of death." The veil has been lifted and discarded for good. Having open, unshielded eyes has brought on an onslaught of knowledge, which is fantastic! However, it's also given way to a number of excruciating truths, information that has threatened to break me at times. I remember reading about the prophets in the Old Testament and how some would cover themselves in ashes and wail for the people. It always struck me as a bit much, but I now have a small sense of the emotions they were feeling. Sometimes the only way to communicate with God is through tears.

{Image source}


These days, my husband and I have made a point of staying present and seeing reality for what it is, rather than what we'd like it to be. Frankly, it's been terrifying and distressing, but in our pain and weakness, God has revealed Himself to us in ways we never knew possible. As the intensity of our circumstances increases, He pulls us closer, sheltering us, offering grace, comfort, and even joy. The more we unburden ourselves, the deeper our relationship becomes (with God, with each other, with our children, dear friends, etc. It just keeps going!).

Despite being born and raised in the Church, I had no idea of the vastness of His goodness and love until recently. I kept trying to earn redemption because I was well aware of my many faults. I wanted so badly to be worthy. The thing is, He was already for me and always has been. All I've ever needed to do was stop running and receive it.

{Image source}


Why I Left Facebook...Again.



I know, I know, I've been here before and there's nothing new under the sun.

I tried, I really did, you guys! I know most of the stats say that Facebook is essential for building a business, even with the recent limitations to organic reach. And yes, I do see myself becoming more of a presence on social media down the road.

But.

Every time I miserably opened the app and attempted to squeeze some life out of my little fan page, I thought, "Why am I doing this? Sure, it may pay off sometime—maybe—but what about today? Because today, I hate this and it's making me want to quit everything."

So, I walked away from one thing that no longer served me and retained the stuff that brings me fulfillment and joy, like this blog and YouTube and Instagram and all the rest (check my sidebar for even more options!). It's not like I'm going off the grid like some sort of wildling! I'm literally everywhere else, even Tumblr, and I have no idea how that site even works.  

Anyway, this seemingly-minor issue is extremely meaningful because there was a time when I would've toughed it out in some misguided attempt at perseverance. I also would have been paralyzed by what others might've thought about my absence. These days, though, I've realized that what others feel about me is absolutely none of my concern.

That's freedom, gang, and it feels absolutely divine. I plan to get real cozy with it, if you know what I mean.