Category Archives: struggles

It’s just a move.

IMG_0017copyMy parents who lived in Charlotte, NC… moved yesterday.

From my childhood home.

A house I spent from  age 3 or 4, to age 19 (when I got married).

A house where I sat as a child but also an adult, married, pregnant and with my children, throughout the years. Its the house my parents became grandparents in… and a home that holds so many childhood memories, all very vivid still today.

My parents are both retired now… and while I may not have understood their move completely… one thing I am realizing, is…

It’s just a move…

A hard one. For more than one person in this case… but a move.

As I thought yesterday of someone new moving into my old bed room… of new children exploring the back yard and creek… of different things up on the wall… and new smells and people entering those walls, parts of those thoughts, made me sad.

I think it should make anyone sad.

That is a lot to let go of…

As I sat yesterday, I looked around at my home. A beautiful 5 bedroom house that the Lord most obviously blessed us with… A home I wanted… and yet at times find myself discontent because of the unknown with Travis’ job. At times finding it hard to be, in the now… wondering when God might uproot us again.

IMG_9364copyIn our 1st 10 years of marriage we moved 8 times.

8….

Twice before Caleb was born.

Twice in Ohio (so Twice before Taite was born)

Twice back in NC before Owen was born.

and Twice since being in GA.

We have had a new baby in every city we moved too. We joke if we move again God may give us more HAH!

My parents today will be moving into a rental, while they figure out what the next step is. They will reside in a new city… a little closer to us (but still a bit of a drive)… around new people… new stores… and new things to see. It will be new for them.

Different…. and unfamiliar.

I know from personal experience… you will have days where you miss the old days and the old house… I still have moments where I miss our small parsonage back in NC… as much as I hated the small kitchen it had for many years we lived in it… the memories it held when my first two children grew up in that home for 4 years…  will forever and always be special to me, regardless of how we left.

Life here on earth is temporary.

“We are here for only a moment,

visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us.

Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.

- 1 Chronicles 29:!5

 

Some people stay planted for 25-40 years in one spot. Others like us, move every 2-4 years. It is just how it is.

One thing I am trying really hard to do though, is relish in the now… and remember that the walls around us, don’t matter in the end. Enjoy the memories… the pictures… and the move… one thing I always tell my boys when we move is… “To Consider it an Adventure!” :) – and always try to make it fun….

Discontent just being….

The post I am about to write is full blown emotions kicking in. I understand and realize we should not live life based on how we “feel” or get to caught up in our emotional side. It can cause poorly judged decisions… I get that. This post though is me just being real in the moment of my brokenness for all to see. Because, well. I want to be.

It has been almost 3 years since we have served full time in ministry. 3 years since I have heard my husband Preach… for 4 years he was not only my husband but my Pastor. Yea. Weird but honestly I didn’t mind :) – I suppose that is a good thing. My husband has such a talent for speaking… and teaching. I loved listening to him.

We have applied for over a dozen Senior Pastor positions over the last year. If not more. My husband feels called to Pastor again… location is a toss up.. We don’t really have one specific area we feel led to yet… I just know I don’t want to live up north (no offense Canadian readers… but I think id go into a pit of depression if I had to live in those temps). We’ve applied for positions as high as Maryland and as low as Florida. All up and down the east coast. I suppose we could spread our wings a bit more… but we just haven’t yet. The idea of moving across country is hard for me. Although the thought of moving to Panama in Central America, where my moms entire family lives, has crossed our minds… I hate to limit God’s calling… and localize it so to speak… but at the same time the one time I did do this and moved to Ohio, I felt like our world came crashing down… it was far from good… and while I miss students from Ohio, living 12-13 hours from any family, for me was so hard.

It has been a solid year since we started applying for church positions…

Nothing.

Its discouraging.

You sit and wonder, what on earth is God waiting for. We have a desire to serve, yet we feel stuck.

Travis’ job is so demanding (yes I get many jobs are) that I feel all we do is, work… sleep… and survive.

I am struggling to be content.

I see tons of blogs that speak on being content. Who spout off scripture after scripture on being content… yet I find very few who just lay it out there the cruddy part of the process… and how being content, doesn’t just flourish in everyone automatically during certain seasons.

I wont lie and say I am being content. I am and I’m not. I am so thankful for what God has given us… He has been good. He has been faithful…. but as I wait. I feel a bitterness in me build. Angry at times with what the church in NC did to us. Did you know they told church members, after asking us to resign, that we had never been asked to quit and that we resigned to hurt the church and to take a higher paying position at a larger church. When I sit and dwell that and on what they did to us, it truly makes me angry… and while at times I feel I deserve to be angry with them, I know letting it fester will do no good…

Thankful God took care of us even in that hopeless situation… by putting us into City of Refuge… to heal us… and love on us in a way we never had been loved on. God knew best. He knew we needed that time. Out of ministry. To focus on us. It was needed and I have to remind myself of that often… so I don’t go into the bitter pit and ponder thoughts of wrath on people -ha….- yea… terrible I know. I don’t do that often btw, just in the discontent times. When obviously my spirit is not where it should be (I can admit that).

I know this is why God teaches us to not be discontent… So many scriptures on it (No I’m not posting them. Try google)

I just feel all I do is wait.

I have this constant feeling of dauntlessness…. wondering when God will move us. Wondering if it will be this year or next. Wondering if we should move and find a place to plan our lives more permanent (I so want that…. so sick of moving) … wondering if this is where we should be for good… but at the same time knowing and understanding that financially…. with Travis’ job, we cannot make it long term here. You’d think a cop who risk his life daily, would get paid well. Yea … wishful thinking. Its a job. Im thankful for it. So many people have so much less… but you can’t help but be discouraged, pay check after pay check, barely making ends meet… even while living frugally. The thought of money and always wondering if we will stay a float, weighs heavy on me… and I know, I know. God provides. I know that. Knowing truth does bring hope. Its the….

Waiting.

Wonder.

Trying to take those verses captive that teach us not to worry… that God has this.

He has had it.

Our lives are perfect evidence of that.

I just feel weary tonight. With this waiting.

So if you think about it. Pray for our family. Pray God will open some doors… somewhere. That we’d have answers… and in the waiting, contentment for me. Its hard for me.

Don’t feel sorry for us, don’t take this post as a pity post. Its not. Its me. Being open, real and genuine, hopefully for yall to relate, share and understand.

Blessing’s for the Home School Mom

Home School.

Something we have done for 4+ years now… Feel’s weird to even write that. 4 years. How can I have a future 4th grader already?!

Home Schooling…

Something I really, had no intention of ever doing before I had kids. In fact, the thought of it made me think of overly nerdy kids and moms with no life. Yea. I was one of those who thought all home school kids turned out strange and hated it in the end. That any mom who home schooled was weird for doing it and needed a life. I was the mom who never felt smart enough and honestly probably wouldn’t be smart enough, without the help of amazing curriculum available today. Y’all read my blog. You know my grammar and spelling can be pretty bad :) – mainly out of sheer laziness and a constant rush without proofing. It is what it is, doesn’t bother me.

ED9A2574Home Schooling.

Not easy.

Full of struggle.

Full of doubt.

It may be just me. I doubt it. I as a home school mom, question myself.

Question if my kids get it.

Question if its worth it.

Question if I am doing a good job, if my children are up to par with their academics…

Question if I am doing more harm than good… and often wanting to just throw in the towel and let go.

To the public school moms.

I envy you :) – truly.

I have thought to do public school for years now… especially since we live in an area where the schools are great in compassion to some. I have many sweet friends who public school and have very sweet and well mannered, smart children.

Public School is not the enemy, home school die hards. :)

The system may be jacked up in many areas… our society may be polluted with A LOT… and much of which comes from parents, media and technology flooding our children’s minds and hearts. It really is no reason to hate or bash Public School though. After all, I turned out ok ;-) – as did my husband. It came with struggle at times, but life is full of struggles, home school or public schooled.

I envy the recitals and fun school plays. I envy the cute back packs and lunch boxes. Although I am sure if I was the Public School Mom, I wouldn’t envy any of it ;-) – but I do in moments.

So why home school?

ED9A2607I can’t seem to sum it up in any other way, besides… it feels like a calling for me.

Something I can’t seem to shake. A conviction.

A burden.

A desire.

I love my boys. Not to say, someone who doesn’t home school, doesn’t love theirs.

I love seeing them learn… and while at times I want to chuck their books across the room and escape to my room with a very strong glass of wine. I think those moments are normal, few (sometimes many) and all part of the experience.

Through those experiences, my children see their mom broken. They see sacrifice. They see apologies.

As the new year is about to start in a month or two (depending on where you live or what schedule you abide by)… I begin to do research for next year’s curriculum. All the while, I have this tug to just stop.

To give up.

ED9A2592-2The constant weight of doubt in me and my ability to school these boys, is so heavy some days.
I want my boys to do well. I want their education to be above the norm and I want them to love learning. I think so often when you are the teacher… and you are learning right along with each passing year. You tend to over think things some days…

Last night we went to our new neighbors home. Two doors down from us. They just moved in and while out with the boys bike riding… the husband struck up a conversation with Taite *our 7 yr old* – and it led to our entire family bumming off their cookout haha (they insisted). My boys went into their home and began to strike up conversations with the guest they had over. Many minutes later, some of the guest came out to meet us… One of the ladies came over to me and began asking me if the 2 boys inside where mine. I told her yes… and she went on telling me how impressed she was with my boys. She said they where so cute and intellectual in their speech. She said she was so impressed with their manners and how they told her “yes mam’.” Something we btw drill in them daily ;-) – its been a constant reminder we give them when speaking to adults. Lately they have started being much more constant with using “yes mam’ and yes sir.” I also btw use to he ANTI “yes mam’ and yes sir” lingo :) – I thought it was snobbish as a child and didn’t understand why anyone used it. I thought it was old fashion. Boy how your views change once you actually become an adult and have children. It is just so much more respectful to hear a child respond to you with a “yes mam’” than “yea.” To each their own though. Some I know don’t see it as a must… and it isn’t, its just something we feel is nice.

ED9A2546It wasn’t a “huge” conversation last night… but it was huge for me in the sense it truly lifted my spirits.

Hearing someone verbally tell you their approval of your children… and how she thought highly of my boys and praised me for it, was something I needed.

I was so blessed by our children that night and hugged them extra tight that night thanking them. Was proud of them.

Home Schooling.

It is hard.

I don’t blame anyone at all who chooses Public School, Charter, Private… whatever it may be.

I think when it comes to our children’s education, what matters is a parents desire to love those children. To train them… to teach them, outside and inside of school when they can… and to forever encourage and lift them up.

My boys have their moments of disappointment. They have their moments of bickering. Selfishness… pure annoyance :) – but they are good boys who I am so proud of.

Im thankful to be able to say, Ive been there EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. Teaching. Learning. Growing with them daily.

ED9A2558

Modesty – or Bra & Panties?

Today I think ill open up a can of worms for everyone. A topic that may drive some heat to my blog…. or may inspire… Hoping for the inspiration and encouragement more so than the persecution.

Let me first start off by saying that I think NO LESS of anyone who chooses differently than me. In fact posting about this is difficult for me because I have many friends and family that I love and adore, who choose differently in this dept. It can be a place of awkwardness between us if I even speak on this… but alas I can’t keep quiet any longer. I feel as if pretending this isn’t an issue, that I am covering it over, as if it does not matter… when honestly, it does. Being silent never changed anything. We each have to pray and discern what is right and best for our own family. My conviction I do not expect to be ANYONE elses. I just want people to read this with an open mind and consideration…

So lets back up a bit.

Prior to having children. Prior to the oh so beautiful marks and changes motherhood can bring.
[Btw plug to this Mom who wrote on wearing those marks of motherhood proudly in her bathingsuit. I loved this post A LOT. Must see after you read mine ;-) ] I never ever wore a Bikini. In fact in my adolescence I was so insecure about myself, that I often covered up with T-shirts in the pool. I also battled severe eczema on my legs… so I was embarrassed by them and did not want my legs to be seen. Now as an adult. After marriage… a few babies. My being in a bathing suit doesn’t really bother me. Of course I have those moments I feel insecure about my flaws… not wanting to be seen because I feel bloated or need to loose 10 pounds. It is my brokenness… and I can at least own it and be honest about it. Having to wear a bathing suit though, is nothing but a thing :) – It is something I have to just get over and do. I have boys who love the pool… and I am not going to sit on the side lines watching. So 10 pounds or not, Im going to wear a bathing suit, free from a t-shirt and farmers tan. My wearing a bathing suit though, does not mean I have to conform to society’s ideals and prance around in bra and panties. ::dom… dom… dom:: Yes I said it.

One thing I have always desired when it came to my bathing suits… was to be modest. Especially after I got married. However I had moments in our marriage I wanted to show more, so that my husband would not be tempted to look elsewhere… I realized the sheer ridiculousness in that thinking and after maturing and growing in my marriage, faith as well as myself, I realize that no matter how SKIMPY I dress, a spouse will never be faithful, unless they are transformed by Christ and take their own brokenness captive. Men are men. Men are visual… and ladies, if you think your husband is not tempted by another woman some time or another, may it be from a magazine, website or even passing by someone in a grocery store, etc… you are fooling yourself. Even Jesus was tempted in his life… it is not a sin to be tempted but to act on that temptation is the sin.

So lets swing on back.

My wanting to be modest :)

I as you know, do not have a daughter. God has chosen to bless us with 4 dudes and for that I am forever thankful. Do I want a daughter, to go ahead and answer that, sure! I would love that ;-) – if the Lord chose to give us one, I surely wouldn’t say no.

With my boys growing up each passing year… entering the double digits this year (Can you believe Caleb will be 10?!)… the area of “girls” has come up a few times already. We can see in our boys a desire to show off…. please… be noticed by the opposite sex. Our boys can admit when they think a girl is pretty…

Our boys this year have begun asking questions such as “Why do girls wear Bikinis Mom?”“Do you have a Bikini?” – “Girls wear those because they have boobs.”

When we are at the pool, I notice my boys looking at girls… and while it may be purely innocent at their ages. Ages 4, 7 and 9… I know they will be drawn to that now and forever… and it frustrates me so much when young girls show up, prancing around in such small bathing suits, it truly makes me question their parents logic in allowing them to wear it in the first place.

I saw just the other day, two young teen girls, maybe age 15? Walking down our neighborhood streets in string bikinis smaller than my under garments. Nothing else on. Do people not realize men, men they don’t even know, drive down those roads and can see their daughters?? As we passed those girls that day, I felt my heart literally sink… as I thought of all the thoughts and things that could happen to those young girls. The many lustful looks they would get and how girls every day in our world are abducted and raped or even killed.

I saw a video the other day on youtube about modesty… about the “history of the bikini”… science behind a man’s thoughts and brain when he sees a woman in a bikini vs. a modestly dressed woman… and it was so very well done I wanted to include it in this post:


*View Rey Swimwear Here. The bathing suit company this young lady started.*

God wants us to cloth ourselves with discretion… (Prvbs 11:22) – We need to not only think of ourselves and how we make others view us… but think of your girlfriends husband. Think of the single guy at the pool who is someones son… Think of your children and the example you wish to set for them.

I remember as a teen feeling stupid to think I had to dress modestly in order to be a believer. I remember thinking anything having to do with submission and modesty made me a loser and weak.. that those things came from “olden days…” and to conform to those narrow ways of life, didnt apply to the life of a believer today. In todays society…. I wanted to be well liked and “up to par” with society… but Praise God he got a grip of me and did a work… I am thankful for His working in my life… I am thankful for conviction. Thankful for His Word and Truth.

With all this said.

I don’t want people to think I believe women should wear a tent to the beach.
I don’t think women should wear MODEST wear swim suits that goes to their knees. Unless they just want too. By all means, you are welcome to wear those if that is your style. No hate. You can dress stylish and current without compromising your dignity and causing men to stumble.

I truly believe, if you are ok wearing bikinis. You should be okay with allowing your teen daughter to answer the door to your neighbor you’ve yet to speak to or UPS man, with nothing on but her bra and panties.

    A bikini is no different.

They show just as much skin and look exactly the same.

I hope some of this is making sense :) - I don’t want to ever come across as judgmental or harsh. I want my post to resignate my desire for women to realize they are so much more… and their self worth should not be wrapped up in their ability to wear less.

To take this a step farther…

Let us chat for a moment about young children in bikinis. While I am ok with a bikini on say a 6 month old baby… what I really have trouble being ok with, are when parents dress their young girls (ages 3+) in tini tiny bikinis… What is the purpose? Why do it? What is your motivation for having your toddler/child wear such small bathing suits? I think this is something mothers should think about before they dress their kids.

As I looked up bathing suits for girls, I couldn’t help but CRINGE at each passing photo of these young innocent children being shown to the world in such a provocative way…

Lets take a look.

Young girls… children. With BIKINIS….


bikinis

Some may look at them and think nothing of it. They may look and see adorable cute girls sporting cute bikinis and nothing more. However, when I look at it… I see young girls being exposed in a way they do not need to be exposed. Young girls who are dressing that way because their mother does. Their friend at school does. Or their older sister does. Young girls very well will have men glare at them without even knowing it… Not all men btw. Im not trying to bash men and all their thinking. I do not believe all men look at children in wrongful ways.. There are lost of dads out there who allow bikinis on their baby girls… and I know they have pure motives. So I hope. I just know there is such a BROKENESS in this world… why do it… why risk that. It just doesn’t make sense to me why anyone would let a child wear one…

Now lets look at some Young girls…. children. With a modest Bathing suit….

swimwear

When I look at those images. I see adorableness. I see fashion. I see innocent children enjoying their time… without unknowing eyes on them. Age appropriate.… and just so cute! If I had a girl, that is what she’d wear. Maybe one day I will get to purchase one of those bathing suits for a daughter ;-) – for now ill link all my friends to them haha…

So to wrap things up… lets talk about some swim suits I really like.

I actually recently went on the hunt to find a bathing suit myself. I had a really cute one from Target. I had purchased it while pregnant with baby Reed and LOVED IT. It was a swim dress style that had a crochet top… worked perfectly for my growing belly… Come this summer though I put the same suit on and it sadly no longer fit. At least not well… :) – it had been stretched out significantly in the chest… and despite my attempts to make it work, after my top dropped down and a nipple popped out in front of a friend… I knew, I had to get a new suit.

So I began to search… and I thankfully found a really cute one at TJMaxx. It wasn’t dirt cheap ($39.00) *no bathing suit should be, quality…. is something I really desire in any bathingsuit.. I dont want cheap *floppy* fabric and loose stitching* – Originally this suit was over $100.00 new at DKNY… so for me, it was a score. The suit is so cute… it can be worn strapless or with a strap. I prefer it with the strap :) – but if I wanted to lay out, the strap can be removed (which I don’t ever have to do. Thanks to my moms amazing Panamanian Genes she passed onto me, I am forever tan.)… The bathing suit is made very well and IMO is modest swimwear.

Is it still attractive? YES.

I think it looks very nice… and my husband for one can vouch for his thoughts on it ;-) – he loves it. However, my boobs arent popping out the sides. My butt isnt being held together by a string… It looks and functions great with out compromising my worth.

Now to close. I will say. Men are men. Men are broken. Women are broken. No matter what you wear, a man could very well still look at you and lust… You could walk around covered to your knees and still fall into an affair or immoral relationship of some sort. No one is ever above that. You have to be intentional. So lets be intentional about our bathing suits. Lets not give into the world… our society… and compromise our bodies and self worth. Take a leap. Make a decision not to wear a bikini….

I promise, you will be so much more lovely.

Update: I have had a lot of people comment on social media about this post… many mentioning this is creating a double standard and right issue between men and women. This isnt the point of this post. Men and Women have just as equal rights. If a women wanted to wear a two piece she could. Heck if she wanted to go topless, she could very well find a topless beach and do so. My brother use to live in Italy… and he spoke about some beaches he went to with topless women everywhere. For me, Im thankful that is not the case here haha… but the point is. You as a woman can wear a two piece. I am not saying you can’t… I am just encouraging believers mostly to think about the reasoning behind the two piece… To consider the men… and while yes men can wear a pair of trunks and no shirt… it may seem unfair… one thing that is very concrete is the fact men and women are created differently. Our brains do not work the same… we do not look at things the same nor feel the same.. Women are more emotional than men and men are more visual. This is not scripture, this is fact. It is how we are created… and thats ok. Theres beauty in our differences… but as a believer, knowing that men are visual… I want to do everything I can to help minimize their temptation. I do not want to cause another spouse to stumble… or a teenager to lust… I want to be above approach… and be modest, because I believe scripture calls us to live modestly. It is my conviction and the Lords leading in my life. To each their own though… This post is not meant to shame or make people think I am judging them for their choices…

Consuming

ED9A0741Do you ever have those moments in life, that consume you.

Things you have said.

Things said to you.

Moments that you may be anxious about.

Gaps in life that seem to come and go.

Question.

Wonder.

Doubt.

Lots of inbetween moments that as hard as you fight not to think about them, they consume you. To the point they affect your ability to live. These things can be small or huge… but what remains constant no matter the circumstance, is how it stays with you.

I was at a session yesterday… well a few actually. The photo of the luna moth was taken during my last session Saturday. Friday I photographed 2pm-8pm, lots of beautiful Boba models and cute babies. It was fun but oh so hot. By the time I got home my entire body ached and I wanted nothing more than to lay on some cold sheets and sleep. The next day I shot from 2-6:30 or so. The same feeling hit me as soon as I got home. Thankful for the work. It was fun and the models did amazing. Love meeting new people too from Boba. Always a pleasure. Inbetween it all though I found myself consumed with worry and anxiety… over so many things… a few in-particular that I can’t share… but one thing I know, is that it is no way to live.

I am finding freedom through each phase of life.

Each passing year.

To learn to stop.

To stop obsessing…
… and to stop being consumed.

Its no way to live.

I find peace in honesty.

Being genuine.

Learning to sit quietly in my quiet time spot and cry… yet know God has me and there is reason for it. Knowing we are refined…. and we grow. Through the suckage (is that a word?) we can be stretched and taught… and I am thankful for that. Coming to grips with my brokeness and my need for forgiveness… and learning we are each so different and finding joy in our differences, even when we don’t want 2.

We leave for almost 2 weeks on an adventure with our boys. We will go through TN… Ohio, VA, NC, SC and then back to GA. It will be a long 2 weeks :) – but I pray the Lord blesses me with the ability to not be consumed. TO live in the now. To love my boys… and realize these trips are few… and worth treasuring.

To remember to stop… and cherish those small moments. Like the luna moth on the tree. I didn’t have to stop and take the time to photograph that… but I did and oddly enough looking at that picture brings me a sense of calmness… in knowing God is here. He is present. Always.

Hope everyone has a smooth memorial day week… remembering those who have served our country….