Heart Month 101

Happy February folks!! We survived the year of January! For real, it seemed like such a long month. I guess I shouldn’t complain though. Time is flying by me and I need to soak up and linger in these times, am I right?!

So, for those of you who are new here, Heart Month is my favorite! Yes, February is the month hearts for the obvious reason of Valentine’s Day, but there is more to it for us!

February is CHD (Congenital Heart Defect) awareness month, the month Noah passed away in 2013, and also V-Day. 🙂 So we celebrate all the heart things! We found that since Ava was so young when Noah died, we wanted to find ways to remember Bubby, but that were age appropriate. We have had some fun times over the years!IMG_3788

There are some things that I do every year and there are lots of things that we try one year and may not do the next! One of the things that I enjoy doing every February is involving others in our celebrating!

The first heart month after Noah died we asked people to share hearts with us on Facebook. People sent us tons of hearts from all over! Some were from items in their home, office or yard. Some people found neat photographs of hearts found in nature and sent those to us. Some created artwork, but they all sent their love. We felt so seen, loved and celebrated that first year. It was like an enormous hug from all of our people, near and far who had walked with us through the journey.

We have suggested people eat cupcakes for his birthday in years past, but every heart month, we always do something different or special. Many years we collect items and take them down to Cook Children’s Heart Center in his memory. We have collected coke tabs and given those to Ronald McDonald House in Ft Worth. Whatever we do, we do it to celebrate, honor and remember our warrior son, Noah James.

There have been years where I was a lot more quiet and reflective as well. This year I just want to be open to what God has in store throughout the month. I want to encourage you where you are, to #findtheheart and share it. Dig deep, find what drives you and your heart and do that thing. That is what I am doing. I have a love of writing and sharing and I am committing to drive myself harder in this passion. Do you have a heart for fostering and adoption? Maybe a heart for missions? Perhaps you have a love for kids? What is it that makes you tick? This heart month, I urge you to ask God for direction and vision, passion and drive for something that only He can do through you!

and then… DO IT! (AND SHARE IT!) I want to know how you plan to share your heart with the world around you!

Feel free to share your heart pics with the hashtag #findingtheheart ! Follow that hashtag on Instagram as well! Let’s fill our homes, work places and churches with love this February. Maybe there is a special collection going on at your school or church that you could donate towards. Maybe make a batch of cookies and take them to the fire house, the Ronald McDonald House, the local hospital, or police station. Send out a postcard to your neighbors just saying hello and that you’re there for them!love-heart-hand-romantic.jpg

Maybe sharing your heart is a hard thing and you’re not near ready to do such a thing at this time in your life. You know what I urge YOU to do?

Take care of yourself. Take care of your heart. Maybe you are walking through some deep grief, fresh and raw. Maybe a divorce, a job loss or a diagnosis is creating a darkness around you. Would you do me a favor and tell someone? Do not walk it alone. Reach out. Take care of your soul, your heart and your mind.

Maybe you have been distant and cold towards your family, your spouse, your kids. Heart month is a time to recognize the loves in your life and remember again how special they are and to show them. Put a little note in your kid’s lunch box, stick a post it note with a sweet message on it for your spouse. Write your boss a thank you letter, even if that is the hardest thing you do all month. Extend some grace to the checker at the store or the grocery bagger. Ask people how they are doing and then listen for their response.

Heart month is a month of finding and sharing our hearts.40

You don’t have to have a romantic interest to celebrate the heart. Share what is on your heart and pursue it! Try new things, share your favorite things, encourage others. Most of all, spend some time with your own heart. Does it need attention? Maybe it needs work, a cleaning, some mending. Let God do the work only he can!

Stay tuned this month for more!

Thanks for sharing and email me if I can support you in any of this!!

Happy Heart Month,

Shaina

 

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Round 3 Week 3

So we started another Whole 30 round on January 1st. This is the first round in which I have not “struggled” so much. I say that. I have not struggled with the food side of things as much.

I know that not having the opportunity to emotionally eat has forced me to deal with issues that come up in an actual way. I can’t just go grab a Dr Pepper and feel better for a bit. I have to tackle the issue at hand and that has been rough.

You know what though, it has been freeing! The other thing is, it’s giving me life. In order to see change, experience change and get out of old ruts, bad habits and the same old crazy cycle…WE HAVE TO OWN IT.

I had to come to a point last weekend, during a really rough patch personally, to either quit the whole 30 and grab comfort food, or push through, and actually deal with the issue.

Romans 12 comes up again.

To be transformed by the renewing of my mind, means that I actually put into practice the truth. Prayer is essential.

We gathered up as a family that evening and prayed. The enemy can mess with me quite a bit, but when I see he is messing with my children, battle on. My big girl was getting pretty emotional and kept saying she was overwhelmed. We stopped. We prayed. We immediately felt peace. My issues weren’t resolved. I still had tough things I was walking through, but the battle belongs to the Lord and that is who we gave it to.

So, what’s my point? When we take time to be healthy, really OWN our issues, our insecurities, our SIN, we deal with it, we lay it down, we’re honest about it and have real conversations for healing and redemption, we can have freedom! We can experience life that is so much more honest and rich.

Do we always get it right? Nope. But, we have to start somewhere.

Let’s own our issues. Let’s not let friendships die because of unspoken struggles. Let’s not let our families suffer under the pressure of our expectations and frustrations any longer. Let’s do the work necessary in us, to bring the healthiest version of ourselves to the table. Whether that is in our marriage, parenting, work, or just for ourselves. Maybe being healthy emotionally and psychically actually leads to a more healthy and real relationship with the Father.

Food for thought!

Have a great week friends and keep finding the heart!

Shaina

Renew 2019

Ever have one of those days where you just don’t think you can please anyone? Even yourself. Maybe it was one of those years and you just kept hitting brick wall after brick wall.

I know some people who could care less if everyone likes them. I know myself and I know that I care. For some reason I just take too seriously how even little things can come across as someone not liking me. I want everyone to be happy and when I disturb that I feel it deeply. When someone doesn’t like me, misunderstands me or is even simply frustrated with me I dwell on it, I struggle in it and I worry about why and how I can fix it.

I wish I wasn’t so sensitive, but I also recognize that sometimes this sensitivity is something God uses in me as well. When I get rejected though, I can tank.

Here’s the deal. We will not always like each other. We can be the best us we can be and still someone will just not like us. When this happens, I am realizing that I must find my identity solely in HIM. I cannot find my worth in the one who does not care for me or know me like Christ does. We also can’t find our worth and our identity in our husbands, children or best friends. These people can be our biggest fans and think we do know wrong and that isn’t actually reality either, because we all know that we do wrong. We’re not always right, we do mess up and sometimes we are extremely un-likeable. The beauty in these people is that they have a love to give us, when we need it most.

So how do we protect our minds from this?

Romans 12 is going to be my chapter this year and the first few verses are why.

Romans 12:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

A Living Sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

I have chosen the word Renew for 2019. So many times I get caught up in the need to please game, the constant worry and wondering if I’ve made someone mad, did something wrong, or if someone disapproves of me. Sometimes I even find myself in competition with MYSELF in all the things I wish I were, can’t seem to be or who I’ve been. I have asked God to Renew my mind in 2019, renew my body, renew my spirit, my soul, my knowledge and my resolve in my walk with Him and in every part of my life. I have been worn thin (hah not thin enough haha) by the constant struggle of people pleasing. I have wasted too much time overthinking.

So I offer myself to him, in my health choices, when I choose to say yes and no to things, how I respond and react. I choose to offer myself as a living sacrifice for him, not lay my life down on the altar as a sacrifice of my peace, my wellness or my best self. I don’t have to go expend myself so much I burn out, all in the name of being a living sacrifice. When he asks for our obedience over burnt offerings, I believe He means our burned out selves as well. When we obey and live in his richness, we don’t burn out. We don’t have to offer ourselves as burnt offerings. Instead we can offer our living and obedient selves, sacrificing our our immediate pleasure for long term obedience. I die to self, but in order to live fully for Him, for my Nick, my girls, the people whom God has given me to minister to, my team who I lead with, etc. THIS is my worship, my mundane everyday.

I give him my mind, allow him to transform it by His word, so I do not act like the world around me, so I don’t respond like the world around me. I am terrible at this. Still. I am truly working on this and have been for a year or so now. See, someone close to me made a remark that was in joking and fun. He didn’t mean to hurt me. He compared me in completely joking way to a game called Smart A$$. It is a funny word game. What happened in that moment shifted my whole spiritual journey, though. I realized that even though it was a joke, there is always some truth behind a joke. Was I really that way? Was I known for having a smart mouth, a snarky attitude, a salty take on life? Did I have a reputation of those things? Because if so, then change had to occur. It has been months and months of stepping back, self evaluating, lots of prayer and asking God to come in and change. So many times of catching myself and wondering how I got to that place? Many moments of truly hating who I was because for some reason, it became a way of defending or being accepted or finding relevance in a conversation. It was wrong. It was effecting my life, my children’s lives, my marriage, my work environment for sure. The negativity, such a foothold. The sarcasm, the harsh opinions…I almost audibly hear God say, “you need to lighten up”. I realized I needed him to lighten me.

So after many months of digging and learning and working hard to change how I respond, react, talk, I still don’t have it right all the time. I don’t. Thankful for grace. I rest in that when I realize I am trying in my own power to change. But, I thank God I am not living in ignorance of a terrible habit. I’m being sanctified and growing in my walk with him by being refined in the process of renewal. I want my mind to be renewed, my thinking and processing to be different. Dare you to ask Him where you need renewing.

So we see in verse 3 to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, but rather think of ourselves with sober judgment, in accordance to the faith given us. WOAH. This hits hard.

I am not supposed to not love myself or not be my biggest fan, but there are times in our life when we are so clueless to a behavior or habit that is actually hurting us and others, but we are in denial. What if we, in the faith God has given us, accepted the truth of our fault, put it at the foot of the cross, and LET GOD CHANGE US. We see this movement, and everyone has written in their high school yearbook, “don’t ever change!!”.

That statement isn’t Biblical. So, if I am living by the Word and His Truth, then I know that I will change many times in the course of my life, my walk with Christ and into eternity. Let Him change your mind, change your heart, change your way of doing life. It might be His freedom for you. Maybe we are so very stubborn that we are the ones who are in our own way. Somehow we are so afraid of change that we just ignore the things we are doing that are slowly burning us to a crisp, perhaps even slowly killing us.

God created us, loves us and desires us as we are. He also loves us so much more than to leave us the way he finds us. (thanks Max Lucado for that truth) I’m so thankful.

So, find solace and comfort in the fact that God loves you the way you are, as an image bearer and daughter or son of the King. He is your creator, your Father, your confidant and friend. He has the power to love you matter what and the ability to help you always and forever grow, change and develop into his likeness.

It is hard. It is SO VERY HARD.

Ava fell as scraped her knee the other day. She had been on her scooter around our new neighborhood and got tripped up. She was just going on her normal route on our cul-de-sac. She can get going pretty fast. Haha. She came in crying. I looked at it and immediately smiled. She was so confused. She cried “Momma!! Why are you smiling? It hurts!” What she didn’t see was that the scrape was the exact shape of a heart. I put a band-aid on it and she went back outside to resume her “alone time” she calls it. I realized that sometimes we get going in life, we are cruising along and something trips us up. It forces us to be in some pain, stop, ask for help, get it mended up and then continue living. Isn’t that life? We cruise along, we get tripped, we get hurt, and in that place we have a choice. We can find the heart of it or we can let it get dirty, scab over, maybe even get infected. What if we stopped, let Him clean us, love us, mend us and then send us off to do the life we so love?!

Praying that you find who you are in Him. Praying that you rest in that. Praying that you lay down the need to please, the worry, the wasted time and mental space and begin to live in an honest place. Let Him do hard work in you. Let Him change YOU, not necessarily them. It’s hard. We’re in this together, friend! I am trying to organize my thoughts on how God has been doing this in me and hoping to share those soon. Application is the hardest part.

Maybe this whole post was meant for me. It usually is. ❤

Keep finding the heart,

Shaina

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

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)

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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!

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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!