Hello, December!

It has been over a month since I have typed a word here. I suppose my mind just took itself a long vacation. Sometimes, I suppose, it is necessary to withdraw and just live life. So many things have happened since October. Geez. Routine came back into play with the last time I wrote and alongside all of our routine we had lots of other things come about as well. October was so great. Lots of fun, Halloween in our new home proved to be fun! We had a good amount of trick or treaters and the girls got to go around the close blocks and got loaded up. 🙂 Nick served on a Kairos Prison Ministry team and lead the worship for the weekend. It went well and the girls and I held the fort down at home.

November started off strong with some best friend time! Her and her kids came into town for a week and we got a whole Saturday to spend together. Our kids played, we got to visit, we met the newest baby and just had a lovely time together. November also had a lovely Thanksgiving break. We had 5 days off. Nick had 4 days off and we had so much down time, relaxing, movies, snacks, family time, food and fun. It was the best! We got Christmas put up and being in the new house has just been so fun! I feel as though this home will serve us well over the years to come. It has been so nice settling in. I realized the other day that each of the girls have empty drawers and shelves in their cabinets in their bathrooms. Room for later when they’re bigger and need space for their stuff. Right now it is awesome to have empty places all over the house. There are closets and cabinets that are empty. That means we are not overflowing with junk. So thankful. If I learned anything in the apartment it was that we do not need a ton of stuff. We just don’t. If everything has a purpose and a place, we are all better off. 🙂

November brought with it a big change for some friends of ours! They adopted 2 girls! Sisters. They are growing and adjusting to new life, but it was a huge blessing to get to be a part of that big day!! What a beautiful picture of the gospel. We love our friends and their girls!

So here is December. I was looking at the calendar today and realized it is already getting full. I looked again though and also realized that all the things on the calendar have to do with friends, family and the church. It is safe to say that the month will be busy, but also FULL of blessing and memory making. I am thankful. I am trying to soak up these moments, these days, even the homework/school routine/projects/events. There’s just no time to waste with these girls. They will be gone before I know it and Ana isn’t even in “school” yet. She does turn 3 next weekend! Crazy!

I don’t know why I am writing a catch up with our life type post, but I just felt the need to. I suppose it is more for me than anyone. I don’t have some profound lesson to teach, word to preach or thing to say. Just hello, I hope and pray you are well. I am blessed beyond measure. I am thankful and grateful for my life and all that  is in it. We have some big goals for 2019, our girls are growing and I can’t slow down life so I am finding ways to savor our days.

Much love to you all.

Shaina

Advertisements

October

We’re in over a week already, but so far, October has been lovely. Really. It has been full of weather change and a long weekend. We’ve baked, gone to a football game, enjoyed our fireplace, ate waffles and just enjoyed ourselves. I’m sitting here, perfectly ready for our routine again. Tomorrow we are all back in school and work, alarms are set, week night plans are back in place and life continues. Clean eating also continues. I felt that I got to enjoy quite a few fun treats the last few days, and now my body is screaming to get back on track. So, I’m coming to my accountability place to keep myself on track. My friend gave me her old apple watch to “compete” on our activity level. We’ll see how it goes! Anything to get me going on the next step of the journey. Eat clean, keep detoxed on the sugar and now get more active. I feel as though if I don’t keep pushing myself I will fall right back into old habits. For the millionth time I could slip and fall back into ways that only kept me upset and frustrated. So, we move forward. We keep pushing through and keep seeking out each next level of success. I got 10lbs off. I can do that again. So, I’m re-motivated to put down the treats and keep at it. Clean, real food, full of good fats, veggies, lean meats and some dairy. I am adding that and keeping it in. As far as gluten, corn, sugar and artificial sugar I am trying to keep those away as much as possible. Legumes as well. img_1619

So, we start back to school, seeing all the holidays coming up is getting exciting for me. I feel as though this year is bringing some new excitement I haven’t had in many years. We are aware of our holiday budget and it will give us freedom to give gifts, but not put ourselves in a bind. Plus! We have lots to look forward to!

October brings with it some amazing things!
-Ava is getting Baptized this Sunday!! So we are having some family/friends over for a small reception at our home after services!
-Kairos #40 is the following weekend. Nick is working it and I will be helping when I can.
-Bible Journaling evening with Family Life Women’s ministry. I will be facilitating the evening with lessons on Bible Journaling and sharing my heart for the Word and women in the Body of Christ.
-our trip to Ft. Worth for a Mended Little Hearts Angel family meet up and a trip to the CVICU to deliver goodies. We are so excited about this! If you want a simple way to join in on this, you can buy fleece blankets for $2.50 at Walmart (these are on Georgia)

img_16291
Blankets for Bravery Bags in memory of Noah. At the Georgia St Walmart in Amarillo

-Halloween happens after that. We have our party at the house where our Life Group joins in and some of the Worship team families.
November brings
-RightNow Conference in Dallas with staff peeps
-Dad’s birthday
-Thanksgiving!
December brings
-Obviously Christmas and all the activities.

There is something sweet about our home that feels right and it has brought back the desire to keep my home comfortable, clean and decorated as I like. It has brought out the desire to host people and have them over, etc. I am looking forward to the opportunities to do just that.

I am trying to get caught up on some reading. I am behind on my Bible in a year plan, so I need to do some catching up. I am also not reading a book a month like I did last  year and I want to pick up the pace with that. I am also beginning to really write down some long term goals both personally and professionally. Who knows when these goals will come to pass, but I am speaking them out, writing them down and praying over them as well as telling my close people what they are, so they are aware and can help me see them through.

bible book business christian

So, October is bringing with it some amazing refreshment and exciting things. Happy Fall y’all!

What are your favorite things about fall???
I want to know!

Much love,

S

Whole 30/September Reflections Day 23-27

Well, we’ve hit the end of this September road… it has been an amazing ride. I’m thankful for the accountability that logging my journey has given me. I feel like I have been more successful because of the check ins and updates as I’ve gone. Overall, I lost 10lbs and some inches. This wasn’t the only goal and I am thankful for the other victories of the journey. I feel less tethered to bad habit foods. This week is officially the end of the Whole 30. We ended up doing a Whole 25 pretty much. I’ve added in some things that don’t bother me and I’ve tried some foods that obviously I should stay away from for the long haul. Sugar just has to be kept at bay as much as possible. Especially and mostly, refined or processed sugar. Natural sugars are not so bad. Trying to stay away from some inflammatory foods like beans/soy. Not too hard there.

I feel much more in control, but not totally confident yet, so strict weekdays and a little more leeway during the weekend. Our goal this month is to eat out only 1 or 2x max and eat at home the rest. We did that in September and it was great for our budget and our health.

This month has been so beautiful. I have taken care of myself this month than many other Septembers… I let myself be what I needed to be. I took care of my soul, my body and my home. I felt inspired and encouraged on more than one occasion and I invested in multiple things that I had been neglecting. What a blessing.

We have had so many sweet blessings come from our Bravery Bag item drive for Cook Children’s. We are so blessed to have so many donate items!

I have a date set for our trip to Ft. Worth. We will be going down October 27th-28th. We will visit the heart unit at Cook’s as well as join some other families of Heart Warrior Angels for a dinner and time to meet and greet. So if you are still wanting to donate items, please get them to me anytime during October! I would love to come by and pick up items, you can drop them off at Family Life here in town or you can drop them in the mail or by our house. Message me for our address! We are still collecting travel size toiletries, small journals, pens, coloring books, crayons, word find books, crossword books, chap stick, non-perishable snack items, mints, hard candies, baby socks, baby caps, baby mittens, and the $2.50 fleece blankets from Walmart!

img_1629
These are at the Walmart on Georgia St

So thank YOU SO MUCH to those who have given. I cannot explain to you the peace it brings my heart to know people remember and want to honor our boy in this way! We appreciate it more than words can express!

Have an incredible week! Much love

s

 

Whole30/September Reflections Day 21/22

Hello! Thank you to everyone for the kind words, messages, texts, sweet cards and thoughts, especially prayers. I am thankful for our community and will forever be grateful for the online community who walked with us Noah’s entire life. I am always so humbled by the outpouring.

Whole 30 is finishing up this week. I am afraid of going back to some old habits if I am not careful, so I am trying to stay on top of things. We added in rice tonight and it seems to be fine at this point. Definitely continuing to do the whole of the program the rest of this week and then make some small changes next week. The biggest things must stay the same though! Staying away from too much sugar, carbs, gluten, legumes, soy and some dairy. I have gotten SO bored with food that this next week I am going to try to bring some new life back to our meals. The last part of the  month is definitely an exercise in being creative with what you have kind of thing. ha

So, yesterday, as I posted was a nice day for us as we took off work and created some space to reflect and think about our son and the last 6 years. It was so nice. We needed a date night, but got a whole day and it was wonderful. Sometimes I forget that just slowing down for even a day brings so much margin and heart/head space.

Not much to say other than I continue to trek through this, learn, grow and hopefully continue to find new rhythms and habits through it all!

 

Happy Birthday Is Hard For Me…

He would be 6 today. 6 years old. Saying Happy Birthday to a son who is not here year after year is harder to do than facing the day he died, year after year. I imagine, as does his big sister and his dad, what he would be doing…would he be too sick to play or would he be one of those heart kids who has all the energy and could play sports, even? Would he climb everything? Would he drive his sister(s) crazy? Would he have severe needs or would he be vibrant and healthy? Sometimes we just imagine. Imagining the what ifs doesn’t ever really make the why go away, ya know? Whether you’ve lost a child or not, we all ask God why, at some point.

 

 

 

Why him or her? Why now? Why not? Why me?

I asked many why questions from May of 2012 to February 2013. I still ask why questions occasionally. I have found that asking why tends to frustrate and make me hurt more than I want. So, I quit asking. Part of me went to this place of trust and leaning into the Father. Part of me went to “just don’t think about it/him at all” “move on” “get past it” “what’s done is done”. I’m not sure that was the healthiest approach. It “worked” though. I moved on with life, pretty quickly. I would have moments/days of pretty intense emotion and grief, but for the most part I just kept on with life.

 

I suppose my why currently, is, why did I think I had to push myself so hard after his death? Why did I think I had to be super Christian woman and get right back into life, ministry, and all the things? Why did I think becoming so busy I couldn’t think would actually be the answer?

No one told me otherwise. Either, they were too scared to or they knew I probably wasn’t going to listen, or they were just too nervous to talk to me about my loss because it’s so taboo. No one in my church told me to take some time and heal. No one in my direct network of people encouraged me to see a counselor. No one mentioned that it would take some time to walk through my anger, confusion, or hurt. It is quite possible, that I was in such a fog that I didn’t hear or didn’t listen to those who were. I had one lady send me a book that did help me walk through my “offense” at the Lord. What a gift. It was deeply rooted in scripture and extremely helpful in sorting out so many of my feelings and emotions. No one told me I would not feel welcome or at home in our house at the time. We ended up selling that home in 2014. It was a big step in my healing.

I am not calling out any one person or church or ministry that “failed” me. There were so many loving people who came alongside me and prayed for me. Many sent cards and sweet thoughts our way.  I think though, that I put on such a “faith” face and hid behind the worship team, my family and what I was thankful for that I just neglected my soul and honestly, my brain in so many ways. I still suffer from some things that I know have come directly from not taking care of myself in the immediate throws of grief.

In my season of why, I really needed someone to help me get into a counselor, take some time to rest, and to be reminded to not feel guilty or like I was not a good enough Christian because I was taking time away. I wish I had been wiser, myself, in how I addressed my early months of grief. I feel as though each year, I do come through another layer that I buried myself under.

I don’t say this to get pity or for people to feel sorry for me in ANY way. I am also truly in a place of rest and healing when it comes to my son and his death. I don’t ask the why so much anymore, but not as a means to push away pain, but as a result of deep trust and faith in the Lord. It wasn’t that I was false/fake/lying as I updated/blogged my feelings and my thoughts on grief after his death. I wasn’t saying “churchy” things and not really working through what I was writing, but I was (and still am) SO HARD ON MYSELF.

My soft place to land has always been my Nicholas. He still is my place to fall when the heaviness of losing our boy gets me undone. I’m thankful for that.  I also know that some people don’t have a place to land and so it tanks them. The heaviness of grief causes terrible habits, dark seasons and utter despair, even.

This last week has been rough. I mentioned in a different post regarding my Whole30 stuff this last week, that the whole week has been a struggle and that I didn’t succumb to my old habits of drive through sodas and easy dinners out. I pushed through and took care of myself, food wise. But,

I started pushing it down again.

See, Monday brought with it some stuff with my big girl. She is old enough now that I won’t share things on here so she has a place to grow and privately walk through school, friends, learning, growing etc without the world knowing. She can give me permission at some point, but for now, she just had a hard day. Second grade is a whole new experience educationally speaking, she is in a new school and there are a lot of life changes that have been new to us all. Monday I felt like a failure as a mom. We were beyond rushed to get to ballet, she had to wear her old leotard, her hair was a mess (usually, but really a mess this time), we had to change her into her stuff in the car, I was frustrated, she was rushed. I went back out to my car and just let it all out. That day was just hard. I realized that I was struggling so hard with her growing up. The growing pains of life are things that she needs to experience to grow, in many ways, especially her faith. So I pray and pray, encourage and support and do what I can do help guide her. I can’t keep her from growing.

Something I prided myself in, after Noah died, was that I had an appreciation for my kids that other people didn’t because theirs were alive and one of mine was not. Those parents had never struggled through the death of a child. So, I had an appreciation and a view that was unique. I could walk my girl into kindergarten without being a blubbering mother. I could be excited for all of her new milestones without being sad. Pride. It always comes before a fall.

and I fell Monday. I fell into a sadness about my Ava growing up that I had pushed down for years. I was embarrassed and called my best friend. We live 12 hours away and so sometimes we just send voice messages or video texts… I just messaged her so I could say words and I know they would land on a soft place, but also a place of truth. She messaged back exactly what I needed. Love, support, confirmation that I can feel certain emotions without being ungrateful or unaware of the grief of loss. I was reminded to take care of my soul and give my life space during the times that I need to.

Move along to Tuesday after school and I just had no patience, I was frustrated and sad and mad and every thing in between. I was very disrespectful to my people and ended up going to bed quietly and frustrated. See, my person, he is patient and doesn’t push me or stir up things. He just waits until I break, then he helps me pick up the carnage. I broke on Thursday morning. It finally all came up. I texted him… “I’m sad. I need to be sad. I want to be sad. I am struggling.” He simply replied back, “you can be sad.” The permission and acceptance given to me in that one sentence was peace giving. I didn’t immediately perk up. I had a rough day with lots of tears, but the peace was from the Lord and it was like a blanket. I can be sad and have faith. I was reminded of that not long after Noah was born, by my sister. It’s ok for things to not be ok right now. It is ok to have sadness, to lament, to not be ok. We let those things draw us nearer to the Father though, not push us away.

What is the why that is holding you captive?

If I may, I’m steering away from my own story, my own grief, my own struggles to just simply reach out a hand and ask…

are you ok?

Maybe you lost your mother or father? Maybe your husband died? Perhaps it has been decades since your loss, but you are realizing there are parts of you that have not truly healed or come to a peace and it haunts you. You struggle, you are uneasy and unsettled. There are things in your life that are not working and you can pinpoint it going back to years of  grief, unattended.

Maybe we could quit asking why long enough to just let God comfort us. Maybe if we quit asking him so earnestly why, we would realize that letting the why go unanswered is the first step in letting our faith triumph over our fear.

Perhaps we could start to give ourselves space and grace to let our emotions be what they are, but not own who we are. Let’s get the help we need, be vulnerable enough to share the load with those around us, and really let ourselves heal.

So today I stop. I’m celebrating his life and  being what I need to be; whether that is sad, thankful, grateful, lonely or frustrated. Here is the thing though…

 

If I let Him, God will meet me in my emotions, show me his love and grace and then walk me through them. We can’t stay there. We can linger in all of our feelings or we will get stuck.

 

Today, Nick and I took time to just be. We got the kids to school and to Grandma’s and then had the day to just do what we wanted to. I had planned to take off anyway and then Nick blessed me with taking off work as well. After the girls got to their places, we had a great (compliant) breakfast, went to our teacher conference with Ava’s teacher, then went to give blood. So, we got there and my iron was too low. Honestly, I was sad. I felt like I failed at the one thing I wanted to do on Noah’s birthday. I wanted to share what I could, that he got so much of, but I wasn’t able. Nick could though, so I waited on him and when we got to the car, he could tell I was upset about it. He said, “but I was able to and I was here” I knew what he meant. If I had been alone and couldn’t give, I would have been more sad. It’s true. He said, “we’ve always been a team”. Truth. So it was fine, he ended up making some joke and I laughed and as usual, he brings my heart back to the light. 🙂 We went to Roasters, then to Hobby Lobby and looked around for a long while. (he loves Hobby Lobby by the way, so I didn’t drag him) haha. We went to get Ava, then ran some errands and off to our normal Monday evening activities.

img_1577

Today has been nice, slow and soul caring. I am thankful for many texts, messages and sweet thoughts. Thank you. Our community is strong, loving and so kind.

Happy 6th Birthday, Noah James. You are still so loved.

S

 

Whole30/September Reflections Day 19/20

Happy weekend, friends.

This has been such a great weekend, after a really tough week. I have been getting through this Whole30 really well and the last few days had some leverage, I guess you could say. What I’ve been so thankful for is the fact that it didn’t derail me completely. On Friday we attended a birthday party for our sweet friend’s daughter and we indulged a bit on some broccoli cheese casserole and I might have stolen a bite of cake off of Ava’s late. ha. I could tell that the amount of food on my plate was more than I’ve been used to the last 3 weeks, so I stopped when I was satisfied. This morning, I cheated as far as Whole30 rules and weighed. I have lost 10lbs since September 3rd. That was a huge surprise to me! I had a cup of coffee with some Premiere Protein vanilla shake in it, heated and frothed. It was a wonderful treat. I made a compliant breakfast hash and drank water the rest of the day. We went to see Incredibles 2 with the girls and I stashed some snacks for them and us. A larabar for Nick and some pistachios for me. We bought a water for a million dollars so I was not feeling too bad about my whole30 snacking. We went to Blue Sky after the movie and we got the protein plate with side salad. I had the ranch, which is obviously not compliant, but, it wasn’t too much. I feel a sense of control I have not had for, probably ever. If I am not careful I will slip back into old habits. So this week is our last full week of Whole30 and I plan to finish strong. The small little blips yesterday and today were nothing to get me off plan and beyond next week I will be doing as much of the same thing as I can, with only the addition of a few items. It was almost like practice.

img_1543img_1542img_1540

 

I had a lot more sweet tooth moments this last week. Trying to push through those. I am hoping to figure out some more activity soon, but my main focus is still just lifestyle change and breaking old habits. With such progress, I truly believe I can keep up the work it takes. I do feel better. In Whole30 they talk about non-scale victories. For the record, I have been sleeping better, little to no leg pains, more focused, beginning to feel less stressed/more patient in many ways, I could tell at practice Thursday that my voice had better flexibility and flow. I don’t crave drive through sodas like I did. I have almost quit wanting bubbly drinks at all. As long as I have a plan and am prepared I tend to do really well. It is all in the planning.

I made a fun dish to take to the birthday that was compliant. A chicken/bacon/ranch dip. It was so good! It was almost like it had cheese in it, but it didn’t. I made the compliant ranch dressing, cooked up some chicken breasts and bacon in the oven on one sheet pan, then added in all the ingredients, mixed it up and then baked it. It was so good. We used plantain chips to dip. It was really good. I got the recipe from @Justjessieb on instagram.

I mentioned earlier that I had a rough week. Such a rough week, but I didn’t resort to old habits. Thankful for that. Thankful for our Life Group lesson this week and how it reminded me to own my emotions/feelings, be honest about them and take care of them and myself.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

s

Whole30/September Reflections Day 17/18

Hello.

Anyone reading these? Ha! Honestly, it has been for me that I’m logging this stuff each day. It has helped me a lot. I realized today that I finally have some major control on my eating/emotional eating issues. This round of Whole30 has me reigned in tight and I am thankful. This week could have tanked me EASILY, but I fought back. I fought this week against food boredom(I really need to make a new recipe or find some new things to eat), against emotional eating (I used to always drive through for a dr pepper or some treat or after school snack for the girls when struggling or tired or just needing a pick me up), against eating because I’m bored, and lastly just eating when I don’t need to/not hungry. I’ve found a rhythm and a rhyme to myself and my food needs. I’m still dealing with headaches and some tooth pain (whole other story), but overall I am stinking proud of myself. I have been drinking water, I splurged and got Chic fil a with a friend, but got grilled nuggets and a side salad and unsweet tea. It was nice. I’m branching out slowly and finding I can still live and do life without such a tight leash. I can still do things besides bring my lunch or eat at home all the time and not blow it. I will still mainly eat and home or bring my lunch, but it is nice to know I have more will power than I thought I had.

It’s been quite the adventure. I see how this last week and all the emotions it has brought me could have tanked my progress and pulled me back into old habits. But, instead, I have had to confront and deal with my emotions and not just cover them up with sugar or snacks. It’s hard. It’s a big deal for me and I’m proud that I’ve been so steadfast in this.

I found a Whole30 recipe for a chicken/bacon/ranch dip. I am excited to try it and bring it to a birthday party tomorrow. Planning ahead is the name of the game!

I can do hard things. img_1503

 

I guess I don’t have much to say about reflections in this part of the month other than, this year, I’m sad. I’m just being really honest about it and saying it so that I don’t keep pushing it down inside of me. I’m sad that my son died. So I’m taking steps to take care of me this weekend and I’m letting myself feel every emotion and be sad. There is no need for me to push it down and hide the tears. I encourage you to own your emotions and let God take what is actually happening in you and use it to draw you into himself.

Here for you if I can be. Love your people by being honest and owning the things you are struggling with. It is better to be honest and own the emotions that are in you, than to react and even explode at your spouse or kids or friend, causing them to get upset as well and then finding yourself in a cycle. Resentment and struggle can happen so often when we don’t just own our own issues. Coming clean with our hearts and guarding our hearts, really knowing who we are and what is going on in our heart and minds is so important. Let’s be people that other people can feel safe being honest with.

Lots of grace, people.