Category Archives: struggles

Why I choose little

iphone5Those of you who follow me on instagram or facebook would have heard by now the drama surrounding the sad breaking of my iphone5’s camera. I was using my iphone on Sunday and the camera on the back of the phone would not focus. This is the camera most of us use 95% of the time. The camera on the FRONT of the phone, looking at you worked okay but its not nearly as good as the one on the back. Also when you take pictures with the front camera you cant see what you are taking a photo of. In the photo to the right I am showing how the front camera would work. It have to FACE your subject. In this case it was facing a mirror. Hopefully this makes sense :)

So in short, I was very sad. I use my camera a lot and hated it was not working.

So Travis came home and told me I should just use his phone instead. We could go to the carrier and have them swap our phones (costing nothing). So I would then use his Galaxy5 with working camera and he would use the iPhone5. The iPhone5 was his old phone prior to us switching over to tmobile last year. He actually told me he preferred that phone and missed it. He liked its size a lot better than the galaxy and the operating system was easier to use. In short, he regretted ever switching to the Galaxy… but he was kind of trapped into that phone until the contract was up. I wont get into the complicated ordeal of how tmobile works but Travis could not switch his galaxy out just yet… without taking a loss.

So I had them switch my phone number to the galaxy phone and began using that. Seemed fine… until I started using the Galaxy. I did not like it! I have been using mac products since 2007 (yes im kind of mac loyal. Despite using PCs my entire life since like age 5… macs for me just work better, sorry PC fans.)… Once you get use to a mac, its hard to break free from the apple world :) … and honestly I just prefer their operating system and phones better. I also wasn’t a fan with how heavy the galaxy was and how big it was in my hands.

Over all, the phone was a pain to use and I couldn’t stand it. In fact so much so I would have rathered not have a phone than use the Galaxy. Yup that bad. So Travis told me I should just go get a new iphone and we will add it to our bill. No biggie… esp. since we still would be saving $75.00 a month. Our bill with Verizon Wireless prior to switching to tmobile was $175.00 A MONTH!! for two phones. When we switched to tmobile we got our two phones and service for $50.00! We pay $75.00 a month though because Travis had to get a new phone when we joined. (He should have just gotten another iphone then but well, thats a different story hehe). So our bill is $75.00 a month for our two phones and honestly that is a great price. So to add on an iphone6 or new iphone5c to our plan would up our bill to $100.00 a month. Still affordable for our budget….

… but as we went into the dealer to get this new phone so I could be free of the galaxy :) – I couldnt but help but wish my old iphone 5 would just work… I was perfectly happy with it and had no desire to upgrade. Even though the iphone 6 would offer a better phone speed and bells/whistles… to me, the cost of paying $25-30 more a month for 2 years just made me cringe. (Some call it cheap. I call it a wanting to be resourceful? haha… Im not cheap though. I am and I’m not. I spend when the time is needed. Like when I purchased my camera for my photography business. That camera cost more than my first car!! It was top of the line. Worth it though and needed for my business professionally… so there is a time and place to be cheap/er… frugal.)

As we waited for the tmobile guy to get us set up with the iphone 6… Travis pulled out the old iphone 5 from his pocket.

It then fell and hit the ground.

It was in an otterbox though and therefore didnt break… but I joked that it be funny if that drop made the camera start working again. So I took the phone in hand and opened up the camera.

It worked.

It focused just fine.

… and nothing seemed wrong with the phone at all.

I was at a loss for a moment as to what to do… and I know without a doubt the tmobile guy working with us thinks I am nuts… but when I saw this phone was working fine, I didn’t want to upgrade. Even though Travis said I could… I just didn’t want to.

That money to me was worth saving.

There was no need to upgrade.

As we stood… I just spaced.

We went back and forth… and Travis told me to just upgrade, that the camera would prob give out soon enough any way…

… but I just couldn’t.

I just didn’t have a peace about it.

It sounds so stupid and silly to get stuck on something as small as $25.00 a month…

Maybe it is just something I feel strongly about more so than others. I think God lays on our hearts burdens and convictions in areas harder than others experience… That doesnt make anyone extra spiritual or better (trust me, I lack in other areas that put me to shame). It just makes us each different. We each process things differently… no one thinks alike and this may be so dumb for many and not even worth the fuss…

… but as I sat there on the border of getting this new phone.. binding me into these payments. I just couldn’t do it.

There is a piece of scripture in Hebrews 13 that says….

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have.”

I think so often we are clouded by our wants vs. our needs… and while there are times and places to lavish ourselves in some wants… I think there comes such wisdom and blessing when we choose to deny those wants in situations like this.

I have an iphone5. Its not the newest phone.

It doesn’t have all the cool features of a 5s or 6… but it works now and I am content to keep it.

Would it be nice to have an iphone6. Sure! It be nice to have one and the $100 waterproof case and insurance to keep it safe… but I don’t need it.

Learning to be content is so important… and I am finding this to be true in so many areas, not just with “things” such as an iphone.

Be content with your home.

With the old furniture. The not so shiny floors. The cabinets you’d love to redo. Or the counter tops that aren’t granite. One day I may be blessed to have all of that and more… and that would be special and amazing… that one day is never guaranteed though and to live in a constant state of discontentment and envy… is no way to ever live.

… learning to live within our means and being ok with it…

I think if more people did this, there would be such freedom in our homes.

Social Media Heaviness

Social Media HeavinessDo you ever have those days when you read something else, yet again that just makes you a bit heavy?

From a news article.

To a blog post.

To a persons post on instagram or facebook.

Something else that is laid in front of your face to read, that does nothing but cause worry, anxiety and at times anger. It seems like more and more each time I log onto social media I am confronted with crap. With depravity and news articles about our freedoms being taken away… (Although we need to stay informed about those terrorizing our country and targeting those who follow Christ. That is something we should not refrain from knowing…. and if anything learn to be vocal and proclaim your faith, despite fear!) Our minds are flooded with comment after comment of hate from complete strangers *ever scroll through a photo of one of the Duggar girls… the comments would make you sick – yet why am I reading them!?*, people mouthing off things they’d never say to a persons face. As I sit there and judge them for their bickering and hatred, I cant help but see this in myself… quick to comment, quick to leave feed back. Yet knowing deep down I probably would never even utter a word to the person face to face. Nor would they.

Interactions being made so flippantly just because.

Its something to do.

Something in front of us.

… and becoming more and more the norm.

Its okay to do right? why not. No harm.

We’re staying connected with our loved ones.

Its a good thing?…

Yet when was the last time you logged on just to see how big baby Ben is getting or how Uncle Joes family vacation was.

The more and more each day passes, the more and more harm I find from it.

Why can we not live in the now.

Live today, with those we love. Without a screen or a status. Constant pulling of our attention.

Another “Hang on a sec buddy….” As you read one more meaningless article or watch yet another viral video.

I want more.

I love interacting with new people. Meeting so many awesome people through my blog *and even instagram* (yes Ive met people off both and its so cool!). I love Sharing my world. My kids. Pouring out things I have learned and hopefully helping someone in return. Bringing in income for my family. (Yes I make money with my blog. Last month I made around $400, month before that over $1,000.) No reason to hide that… I’m not ashamed by the income I work hard to bring in. My husband often tells me I am fulfilling the Proverbs 31 verse each time I find a way to be resourceful in order to help my family, yet again. Even if its only $10.00 here, or $50.00 there. My ability to use things at my fingertips to help my family has been invaluable and so helpful. Our family depends on that income. So a huge huge HUGE hug and thank you to all of those who read our blog.

Know that you reading it is a blessing not only to me but to four little boys and a hard working man paroling the streets with a bullet proof vest. Who despite risking his life makes less hourly than I do as a photographer. He shoots a gun. I shoot a camera. Yet he gets so undervalued it makes me want to march right up to whoever decides their pay and show them some mommy/wife wrath. That in and of itself is a can of worm I will not open. Maybe one day but not today.

footprintsWe have much and plenty and for that I am thankful.

… but the heaviness I feel lately cannot be hidden or escaped some times.

I’m exhausted at the thought of all the pinterest praise post.

Showing perfection.

Houses with everything set right and kids dressed cute. *Does my kid even have underwear on right now??*

Mothers calling other moms heartless idiots, weak or selfish for being unable to nurse, birth a baby without pain meds or choosing not or to give their kid a shot. Its a competition, right? One moms choice means shes right and the other utterly foolish and wrong. Many make it seem so… and moms read comment after comment, filling their hearts with hate from total strangers, daily. How is this good for anyone?

Flawless meals with all real ingredients and post after post of boxed food sharing every single thing wrong that is in it.

You know, I can read… I realize processed foods contain crap, we all do. Even those who consume it daily know this. The difference is some care, some don’t. I for one am the type that does care... but I refuse to live in a bondage to it. I refuse to put my family in debt because I cant imagine eating something that contains a hormone or a gmo. I find peace in knowing I’m trying and doing the best with what I have and I believe God blesses those who do so. We cannot live in ignorance or turn away from truth but we can learn to trust the Father and know He is good. If our bank cant afford everything organic, He knows that! He knows the hairs on my head, the stars in the sky, you better believe he knows the desires in my heart and the amount in my bank. I believe in eating healthy, real food and making sure my kids know the benefits of this and importance… but you better believe ill be a good steward and be reasonable.

I don’t need food babe telling me my kids cereal is going to kill them with some sort of preservative that is linked to cancer.

The constant worry that floods us mothers…

Our minds.

Our hearts.

Its exhausting!!

I’m putting a stop to this today! For me.

For my children. For my home.

I love my blog and will continue to blog, because, I love yall :) – really. I do! Email me, it makes my day. I love being able to share my heart…
… and I will continue to do so.

One thing that I have learned over the years, is being silent. Not genuine. Not expressing struggle. Is to live in a box. I want nothing more than to be real with those around me… with other women (esp mothers)… and break the mold of traditional expectations. I was a Pastors wife and may very well be one again… but that doesn’t mean we have to pretend perfection. No one should have to.

now….

Lets learn to cut the screen off.

Put the PHONE DOWN (turn it off – really! preaching to myself here).

and be here. Now.

With those who love you.

See you.

living in the now, a post about being a mom and putting the phone down

Marriage is so much more than “surviving”  it

Marriage is so much more than “surviving” it

IMG_Family_Portrait_Atlanta_GA-1787Yesterday Travis and I celebrated our 12 year Anniversary. Although today is “technically” it :)

We don’t ever really do much for our anniversary… having kids right off the bat and moving so often, has made our ability to travel or do “really big” things a bit hard. In fact with our 10 year anniversary I had hopes of traveling some place but Reed was a newborn and he was freshly out of the Police Academy, so that just did not happen. It is what it is and either way, I am thankful for each year. Each one brings its joys and challenges but each one brings us closer.

Travis surprised me this year by taking off yesterday. I had no idea. He was suppose to be at work. I got up kind of early yesterday. Took a shower… got dressed… had some quiet time… then when I went downstairs Taite wanted help on the computer starting a game… so I sat down with him in the school room to do this. While I was in there helping him I heard dishes being put away… but I didn’t think much of it. I figured Caleb was being extra sweet and decided to start on chores early.

Well, after I got Taite’s game going, I went into the kitchen only to see Travis in there with Caleb :) and a stack of gifts and big vase of roses. He got me :) – which for him is hard to do haha.

He then had me open a letter he wrote and I thought it be fun to post it here, so I can remember it and look back on it, if by some chance I lose the copy he gave me. Im typically not one to tear up easily over things like this but this one got me. He admits its a bit silly but it was still so so sweet.

He was hesitant for me to post this :) – but told me I could if I wanted… for my own memory sake.
He doesn’t claim to be a poet at all. To me while this may seem kinda simple… it means more than any gift ever could.

Twelve Wonderful Years

A farm boy sent to the big city whoever would have known,

That while there God would bring the woman

Who would be his very own.



She was a student while a youth intern I came to be

Thrown together by God’s perfect plan

But unbeknowst to us for at least 9 months plus 3



She really stood out, so different from all the rest,

Artsy and quiet, with her sweet sixteen smile

I never would have known, that for me, she would be God’s very best.



I left that summer really quite ignorant of this person I would grow to love

But in the months that followed,

I began to see more deeply this beautiful person sent from heaven above.



Through the use of computers, messaging, and email

and technology known only to the modern age

We talked and shared extensively, learning that on many things, we were on the same page.



A whole year went by before I would see her… and then

Coming in with the choir, so elegant and stunning,

I was blown away by her beauty when I saw her for the very first time… again



Now eighteen and finally legal (hahaha…), no more must I wait

To Charlotte once more I came

To ask this sweet young lady on our very first date.



It started in the mountains on a road trip for the whole day

Amidst the beauty of God’s wonderful creation

We talked and giggled like nervous school children until night had come our way.



I would drive to Charlotte, to Raleigh she would come

So many miles we would put on our cars

Our parents thought we were nuts, but we didn’t care, we were having fun.



Until the day came in the summer of 2002

When for certain I knew

she was the one I had hoped and prayed would someday say “I do.”



A more gorgeous bride there never has been than my beauty all dressed in white

I will never forget that special day

When I received God’s precious gift with oh so much great delight.

IMG_Family_Portrait_Atlanta_GA-1605

Four boys, eight moves, and many chuches later how greatly blessed I am today

Twelve wonderful years and counting

To still be with my darling dear, forever and always to stay.


It hasn’t always been easy, quiet challenging for both of us at times

But blessed, changed, and more tightly bound are we

Christ making the sweetest lemonade from all our lemons and limes.


And so to close this little poem with one verse more I write

A pale comparison I know it is

To return to you, which I daily receive, oh so much love, joy, warmth, and delight!


For my devoted and loving wife on our 12th Anniversary

Travis

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Before I end this post… while ending it on his poem would be perfect I think… I just wanted to end with a few words of encouragement to couples out there who may be in the midst of struggle.

Travis and I have never done things perfectly.

We went into marriage honestly a bit blind. We were young and “obsessed” :) with each other… I think often with young love, you get caught up in it and don’t think to far. You just know how you feel “at that moment” and you believe with all your heart that you will break the mold. You will be that couple who never has real issues. That couple who has perfect kids who you vow to never “talk negatively about” to your friends haha… you vow all these things that you truly cannot understand or predict, until you live it.

Travis and I got little to know marriage counseling.
I was 19, he was 25. We loved each other and that is all that matter at the moment.

Marriage is God ordained and amazing… but it cannot be amazing if you do not communicate… and to often in our marriage we didn’t communicate… and we built up walls towards each other.

I look back on it and these walls were built without us even really knowing it… and just years of years of not knowing how to communicate “well” with each other, really hindered our marriage.

So to all the newlyweds out there… or the soon to be married couples… or maybe even the person reading this who may be married and has been married for years but feels as if their marriage is at the breaking point.

Know that marriage is worth fighting for… but it takes two. If you are having problems in your marriage, never feel ashamed to seek counseling. When Travis and I moved to Georgia we went through a year 1/2 of professional counseling. Not only as individuals but as a couple! It was awkward… and hard… I remember at times thinking it was so pointless and so stupid… but it wasn’t. The Lord was able to use our counselor to really teach us about each other in a way we hadn’t really seen… because we were to busy proving our own points or making our own assumptions.

If you want my honest opinion. Every couple should seek counseling around year 7 of marriage, regardless if they feel they need it or not HAHA… cause it really did make that huge of a difference for us.

Would we have survived without it… probably.

… but marriage is so much more than “surviving” it.

So to my amazing husband of 12 years. I love you. I know without a doubt, I am a blessed woman.
Many women would love to have a man as thoughtful and caring as you are to me.
Just know that and stay humble :) hehe

IMG_Family_Portrait_Atlanta_GA-1818

Not ideal way to ring in the new year

Not ideal way to ring in the new year

**short disclaimer: This is not a post to build pitty…. It is my processing of a day…. and a struggle. Being genuine as selfish as it can seem some times when written… knowing that I have so little to complain about. Revealing brokenness and struggle are a part of how I process and I have found blessing in knowing I’m not alone in it. I hope those reading get me and get this.

When you think of New Years Eve, you think of celebration. Fun with friends. A fun movie. A campfire. Maybe just some good ol’ cooking :) – and time together as a family.

My New Years Eve… well. It was spent hiding.

Yup.

In my room.

The day started like most days… Travis was off this particular day, so it was kind of like “our weekend” but obviously didn’t feel like a weekend since it was a wednesday. It still, is what we have right now and you make the best of it most weeks.

For weeks now I have been battling some real discontentment. I think we all battle this daily… even the best of us. For me it has been something I have had to speak truth to myself constantly, to get through it. Otherwise I end up in a major pit of depression and just can’t function.

One thing I learned while we were in the City of Refuge program – going through pretty intense counseling for over a year… as we processed the job loss at the church… the unemployment, the new job Travis got as a cop and then a not so expectant pregnancy that brought on bed rest and stress being high risk, is that we each have “CUPS” – emotional, mental, physical, spiritual… and sometimes those cups fill up so much that they tip….

and… well, my cup tipped yesterday.

I think it was a number of things.

Holiday Stresses over the last few weeks.

Prepping a home for two family visits, from both sides… while I ADORED seeing all of them and was so thankful for our time together, I wont lie, prepping a home with 4 little boys in it, is not always the easiest of task. Its worth it in the end but I think combined with everything else, it was just a little extra hard on me this time.

Things with Travis’ job are a bit stressful right now… for me at least (he doesn’t seem affected by it). All the stuff involving Cops right now really consume me. Its one reason I hate social media right now… each time I log on I see post after post about cops being shot at work… such and such cop dying, or random articles about how horrible cops are… I have found myself biting my tongue constantly about this subject… the flesh in me wants to lash out at many but I know it do nothing but consume me and stir up anger… so I press on… but I will say, I wish Travis could quit tomorrow. I do not like having a cop as a husband…. I love my husband but I hate his job.

I took on a lot of photo work from Oct-Dec…. I love my job and enjoy doing it… but it is SO HARD to balance business with motherhood. There are days I sit on the computer working – while my kids are downstairs playing and spending time with their daddy…. Or I come home from a session and my mind is completely consumed with all I have to do with the processing of that job… that it makes it hard to think about “family” when my mind is some where else. You almost don’t want to be at home because you have so much you need to get done and can’t, because there are constant interruptions.

struggles in motherhoodI miss the days of just being “mom.

I miss not having to work…. and being able to focus mainly on my home… being a wife and a mother.

I know many of you who read this work outside the home (or inside the home).

Some love working outside the home… I think Id like it more, if I didn’t have to bring the work home with me…. once I do a job outside the home, the job follows me home and has to be completed at home, inbetween motherhood… and its just very difficult for me.

I miss being able to go to worship with my family on Sunday mornings…. While we have found a great night time church…. there still is something about going Sunday morning that I greatly miss. I miss having a husband home on weekends…. I miss being involved in ministry… feeling as if we never get to serve because my husbands job schedule changes every 3 weeks… making it almost impossible to committee to anything.

I feel like the last 2 years of my life have been a total blob of change and I am just very weary.

I long so much for something else right now…

… and I am trying SO HARD to be patient….

Trying to be content….

I have so much to be thankful for.

Healthy children.

No real debt.

No health problems.

A beautiful home.

Two cars.

and yet, here I am. Sad about things.

So I spent my morning alone in my room. I spent my afternoon alone in my room…. and I spent the evening alone in my room. I told my husband I need to be alone and needed the kids to just leave me be… and even though I know there was nothing wrong with a mother needing a break, I still hated I needed that… and felt guilty for having to shut out people I love because I was battling these things.

I even yelled my frustrations out to my husband and my kids heard me (even tho I was not in the room with them…. little ears listen well…) and for that I am so sad… my oldest told my husband after the fact as he made his bed “I just want to make mommy happy” – I later found this out after the day had passed and it made my heart break. I hated that my brokenness was affecting my boys. Children can be so forgiving, despite how nasty we can be… such a reminder of what we really don’t deserve. I will apologize to them and if there is something I have learned is how important it is to be open with our children, even when that openness means showing them how imperfect a person mommy can be.

I know that my BLOW UP was because of TWO things…

One because my husband and I haven’t been communicating the best this month. Both our doing I believe…. but one thing I know is that if you do not communicate with your husband, chaos is soon to follow. Marriage without communication will almost always equal ruin. I know for me, I have just been so preoccupied with jobs…. house keepings and things weighing on me inside, that by the time Travis is home, I don’t want to talk. Id rather just be alone. Can you relate?

I’m thankful despite my blow up, Travis was compassionate.

… and I know without a doubt the real culprit is my walk.

This post really has no real point beside the obvious. Being transparent and sharing with the world my moments of struggle and failure. While I wish I was that person “right now” who would be able to speak lots of great wise words… I am not that person today. Sometimes it is just healing to be and share the struggle.

During my “alone time” yesterday though I did read a few things that really struck me.

One was a post by Ruth – a busy mom of 6 boys. Her blog is called Gracelaced... I follow her on instagram as well and enjoy her photos. Shes very inspiring and her post yesterday could not have come at a more perfect time. It was convicting and encouraging at the same time… yet I found myself also wanting to push it to the side and distract myself with a netflix show or nap.

This is a quote she had on her post that struck home.

“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .

-Charles H. Spurgeon

I know I have been neglecting my closet (aka quiet time)…. There are times I don’t want to pray… I think this battle of discontentment I’m facing makes me feel as if my prayers are unheard some days… wondering why God continues to make me wait… and so forth. I then feel guilt for ever being so selfish. I’m thankful that even in our pit’s, God can love us.

I then downloaded some devotional APP on my tablet and read a short devotional that was titled “Yet I will Rejoice” (feel free to read it here).

The verse at the top of the devotional was from Habakkuk. (I always found that book of the bible to have such a funny name)

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17–18, NIV)

The devotional ended with this….

“Commit yourself in this new year 2015 to walk “above” your circumstances with joy in your heart enabled by the strength of your sovereign Lord and the promise of His ultimate victory. Put on joy and strength from the Lord and rise above whatever difficult circumstances have invaded your life. Then watch what God will do.”

and I just sat there praying I could.

My problems are little compared to so many.

I’m not that mom who just lost her kids in a car accident.

Or the husband who’s wife was killed and children by a plane crashing into their home.

I’m not that teenager who felt so hopeless he’d jump in front of a truck…

I don’t have a child sick in a hospital dying from cancer….

Or that family who has no idea how they will buy groceries next week.

I have all the reason to find joy.

… and yet I have been dwelling in my discontent spirit for weeks… and I know that my dwelling was wrong.

Thing’s aren’t how I’d want them right now….

… but I am truly praying for joy… and for strength in the difficult circumstance. While not difficult in so many ways, in many, very difficult for me personally… as I process in this time of waiting and uncertainty.

I know God is above it…. and even though I may not see the reason for it, I have to trust He has me…. and my family.

… and that in His perfect time it will work out.

I know this.

… and I write it to speak truth into myself.

So to the New Years Eve, where I should have been celebrating… enjoy fellowship…. and being a fun mom…. and sweet wife. May the New Year bring joy through the trial… and that 2015 would bring something new… that I would be able to walk above my circumstance… and find strength in the sovereignty of Christ.

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Happy New Year Everyone.

Dwelled Friendship

Dwelled Friendship

ED9A7250Many months ago. I would say around 8 months ago…. Travis was put onto a new shift at his work. Prior to the switch in hours, he would work from around 1pm-midnight every 5 days and then off two days. The huge difference in his schedule vs. other normal jobs, was not only the hours but also the off days. His job switched off days every 3 weeks…. and then rotated days. He rarely had weekends off…. and having him away at night for me, was very difficult.

You all who have read my blog know that :)

He thankfully got put onto day watch… which means he is at work from like 6am-4pm most days….This was huge for me and helped me A LOT… I felt a lot less secluded from the “norm” of routine as a home schooling mom… I felt the hours he was given helped me to function better and relate more with those around me… since he was gone when all the other peoples husbands were gone. I can’t even begin to tell you how ALONE I felt when he worked nights…

No one EVER wanted to do anything with me or my boys in the evenings… any time ladies planned “nights out” I couldn’t go, because I had no husband there to watch my kids… and Travis very rarely had weekends off or fridays off… so any time there was a church get together for couples in the evenings, I would have to go alone. It was not fun… I found myself very depressed over it.

Travis’ new schedule as amazing as it was for me over all, the one con was that he had to work Sunday Mornings now… He only gets Sunday Mornings off like every 6 mo… so for example this year he had part of sept/oct off on sundays, but wont have Sundays off again until almost summer!

The church we attend here… that you all know has been unreal amazing for our family. Who took us in when we had no place to go…. sadly does not have evening worship any more… I use to be a bit anti-Sunday night service when I was a Pastors wife. I never really appreciated that service until we were out of the ministry and placed into different situation. I now have a new perspective and am a huge supporter of churches that offer Evening worship still :) – while it may seem outdated to many, and pointless… it can and very much helps those families out who don’t have the normal schedule or routine as most. Also those with really young kids… I am sure can relate to not wanting to get up super early on a sunday… and would rather go in the evening. Amen? :)

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So when Travis started his Day Watch schedule… we began the search for a church in the area that offered evening worship. We tried A LOT. I think we tried at least 5 churches… Some were just not our style… others were really cool, up to date but seemed to lack in the area of depth in the sermons…. It was a struggle to find a church we felt a connection with and I know that a big part of that was because First Baptist is and forever will be a home to us… so having to look elsewhere to worship, when we love our church so much and Pastor Johnny, for both Travis and I was hard.

I am so thankful though that we kept looking… and God provided a small new church plant for us to discover. The church is called Sojourn. Their Pastor Trent is similar in age to Travis… and his wife Emily was very sweet. We enjoyed the worship and laid back style… and even better was the fact this church did not meet in the morning only at night. So their evening service was full… and they had a great children’s program set up… and snacks for the kids upon arrival. Was very homey and engaging. Our boys LOVE it. They always ask us now “Are we going to the small church?” :) – haha – which isnt an insult. Those who know what First Baptist looks like here, will get that. Any church compared to it, is small. :)

ED9A7272So we have been going there for a few months now. One sunday while there, the Pastor encouraged the ladies to attend a new bible study they would be starting for the women. His wife would be the one leading.

Initially when I saw the invite to this, my first thought was.

Why Bother.”

I knew our time here in this area was limited. I just felt it… and I just wondered if it was worth it. Why get involved with anything else? Why get to know new people in a close way, when I would have to leave again?

During this same time I really began to struggle in the area of friendship over all.

With all the job hour changes…

The inability to feel or be connected to many of the groups we were previous a part of… I really began to feel that sense of hopelessness in the area of strong friendship…

Satan really fed me a lot of lies during this struggle… at times Id just tell myself over and over, no one really cares about us, otherwise they’d come see us… Why am I always the one to make the plans….

Yet, as I looked at my cell phone I had 8 txt messages from a friend Candra…. or 2 missed calls from my best friends Shannon back in NC.

I dwelled in self pity a lot and I know that my dwelling there and growing in my insecurity and bitterness made me push people away.

I know too that my dread of another move… yet knowing we had to move, also caused me to not try… trying felt to hard. Even though we have not gotten a confirmation on the upcoming move, I felt little by little, that parts of me no longer were here. As if I was mentally preparing myself again, for another change… and a new life. Which can be exciting but if im honest, its hard too. Even though I know God is moving right now in this process….

For me though, with friendship. I often wondered. Would they care if I moved?

Many didn’t when we moved other times.

I would constantly replay over and over in my mind friendships in my past, that I poured so much into, yet after another move, that was it. An email here, a random facebook comment there… and that was about all that became of things. Could have been my doing. Could have been theres. Whatever the case, it wasn’t easy… and I truly mourned friendships that were broken for a long time… and still do at times.

So, when I saw that bible study invite and I didn’t want to go.

In fact I told my friend Shannon about it…. and she encouraged me to go and said “Had you not gone to the home school field trip many years ago, we would have never met.” A field trip group which btw, I never attended again after that one trip. I went to that single field trip and met the most amazing friend and to this day we talk daily. Id consider her a sister we are that close. Id adopt her kids if something ever happened to her. That close.

I would think back on the time I put myself out there as a photographer in NC… and went to a “photographers christmas party” where I knew NO ONE… and ended up meeting so many amazing photographers, some of whom I grew closer with than others… and one in particular that is still very much a part of my life today… that friendship would have never been, had I not stepped out and put forth a little effort….

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God I firmly believe uses friendships in a way to refine us… and while some friendships may be short…

Some may be deeper than others.

Some may be hurtful and cause bitterness at times….

I have learned over these last few months that its worth putting forth effort…. and while I am far from perfect in that effort… and I do find that I can only pour so much if it is not poured back…

ED9A7291I am thankful despite my doubts… hesitation. My negative dwelling.

That I went.

God was able to use that small bible study group to teach me a lot… and while I may not be best friends with these ladies… I am very thankful to have met many of them and gotten to know them. They were each able to touch me in a way and for that I am thankful.

It was a great reminder to me, to always be genuine… to be transparent…. and to be open for God to do a work.

So to the ladies at Sojourn. Thanks for letting me get to know you :)

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To the many others I have become friends with over the years…. and for whatever reason we don’t talk. If you happen to read my blog. Know I love you. I have very few friends to this date that I dont still love dearly, even if we haven’t spoken in years.

Thankful for the ladies of City of Refuge… ladies who taught me how to open up more… That group too was used in a way I needed so much. God used a bunch of broken, curse word flying, jacked up Pastors wives (I included lol), to minister to me in a way that I cannot even fully express.

God is amazing… and Good… and there is just so much to be thankful to Him for… I could write page after page about things I feel so blessed to have, all because of a loving Lord who cares for me.