PEACE

Today my purse was stolen. I loaded up the girls in the car before church and ran back inside for something. I heard screams from our girls like I have never heard before. I ran back out and Bella was yelling “a guy just stole your purse” while pointing up the street. Lili was already halfway down the street screaming in the direction he went. She’s my warrior princess. They all are! They are so brave and FIGHTERS.

A man had entered our carport, approached the passenger side where Bella sat, said “hi” and snatched my purse from her, then he drove off in his car.

He stole my Micheal Kors purse that I got on sale with a gift card, Lulu’s sippy cup, my brand new AirPods, credit cards, debit cards, insurance cards, my Colorado ID (😭guess it’s time I commit to the state of Hawaii), my brand new nice lip gloss, sunglasses, I could go on and keep listing items…but my kids are ok, and that’s all that matters.

What he didn’t steal was my peace. I am rooted in something, SOMEONE, that provides endless love and peace.

Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I have no understanding for this Peace, for this Calm I feel. I am shook, my kids are too, to say the least, but I am not going to live in fear. That is no way to live.

I will do it so different next time. I will be more cautious and careful. I will look at people a bit different, my trust in humans is not the same today as it was yesterday. This picture I just took as I sit in a parking lot next to a park of homeless people. I usually take a picture of our gorgeous ocean views, but like this post, I want to show you a different view of this paradise island. It’s filled with concrete, crime, drugs, and human trafficking, just like any other place.

Many people don’t understand why we came here. They joke about “missionaries in paradise” and laugh. It does sound crazy. So let me be VERY clear…

THIS is why we came here. We came here to spread LIGHT and HOPE in the name of Jesus. We came here because we were commissioned by the King to do His work on earth. We live in a lost and broken place. With lost and broken people. The whole world needs hope, where we used to live needs hope, your town needs it, but this is the place God called us to for now to spread it.

We constantly have opportunities to show grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, and peace. This painful event is an even greater opportunity to do just that.

What happened today shows us exactly what we believe in the spiritual world…There is a Thief that wants to come INTO our homes, to use our kids as innocent easy targets, to ruin marriages, create addiction, to distract us, and sway us from the Truth. We can choose to let him win OR take back what is ours. We must pray for our kids, marriages, minds, and seek truth.

God reassured me today that He would replace what was stolen from me and then more. He wants you to know the same. What the enemy has stolen from you He will replace and give you more.

“God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered.” Deuteronomy 30:3

No abusive relationship, sour ending at a job, bad news from the doctor, or financial woes will ever be too much for Him to restore. The battle is not ours, it’s His.

Don’t be discouraged. Its ok to be sad and angry, I am. But hold on to peace. We know Who wins in the end. Peace and love, and keep spreading light friends! I love ya ✌🏼❤️

Identity

We can cast our own identity when we come into agreement with lies. -Sam Cabra

I’ve never wanted a “career” by definition. When asked in high school which career I would be choosing for the “career” essay I answered that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I was then told that is not a career. I couldn’t write about that, I had to choose something else.

Though this may sound primitive to some, it was the one thing I was sure of most my life. In college, upon picking a major I chose elementary education. While passionate about kids, I was not passionate about teaching. I settled and never followed my heart.

After teaching for 2 years I had my first baby and chose to be an at home mom, my heart’s passion!

Two weeks after having her I was asked multiple times when I would return to work. I received many confused comments by people, “You can’t help make any money at home”, “what about when your kids grow up”, “how can you stand to be at home, aren’t you going to go stir crazy?”.

I feel like there are many negative words I have accepted in my life over the years. This being only one area in my life I allowed others to speak into. Things people said about me and my desire to stay at home then felt like I failed. Doing this often looked lazy or unambitious to others.

So while most of my friends are demanding equal pay and respect in the workplace, I have been fighting the same battle for my position at home.

I wish I could go back and talk to that teacher of mine (who is a woman) and explain why I wanted to stay home. To tell her that my heart knew the importance of this calling even if I didn’t fully understand it yet. Her questions and comments caused all kinds of self-doubt. In her well-intentioned talk with me, all I heard was “your heart’s desire is not valid”. It began the “oh maybe this isn’t a real job” echo in my head for years.

I’ve fought hard this last year to stay at home with my kids because it is my passion. I said yes to my health which unlocked so many years I believed I was going to be fat forever and that’s just the way it was going to be. I finally came into agreement that I was made for more, worthy of more, capable of more. Health coaching is a gift that allows me to stay at home and speak into others who want more freedom to do what they were created to do.

Stop limiting yourself and picking up the lies people say about you, YOU were created for more. Also, be careful what you say about yourself! Speak life into yourself and into others around you!

Little Garden

Earlier this week I was sweeping off the patio, or I should say lanai? Ok, I was sweeping off the lanai and I glanced up at my daughter’s beloved fairy garden. What was once a beautiful little place any tiny Tinkerbell would love to take residence, is now cluttered with knocked over furniture and half dead flowers. I looked to the little 9-year slumlord and questioned what happened to the once magical little garden home. I asked her if she has been watering her flowers, and this was her response “No, I keep forgetting. I think its too small. If I had a bigger garden I would see it and remember to water it, so I think I should get a bigger one.” Insert all the wide-eyed and laughing emojis in the world, I mean, it took everything in mean to not outright laugh in her face with a big HAHAHA! Don’t judge me…I didn’t actually do it, I just thought about it.  As all you parents know, these small things are a great measuring stick to how our kids will respond to bigger responsibility.

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I could not help but get absolutely rocked in my own heart as I reflected on this conversation with my daughter. How many times have I said, “God if only I had a bigger platform to influence people. If only I had more money I would get out of debt. If only I had more time I could g,et more done. If only I was skinnier then I would then eat  healthy.” If only, if only, if only. Basically, I was saying, “If only I had a bigger garden THEN I would take good care of it”.

Scripture says this in Luke 16:10, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”

How many times have I squandered the opportunity to be faithful with the small things? Like buying the necklace I wanted instead of putting the money away in savings. Or mismanaging my time by scrolling through social media instead of writing or investing in my relationships.

I can say that when I do apply the responsibility to the small things I can see how much more is given to me. How could we ever possibly ask for more or think we deserve more when we are so careless and negligent with what has already been given to us? We are often times too prideful and blind to realize that we are negligent with what we have. So let’s step up the care and intentionality for what we do have.

Take great care of what you have, not solely so that you can GET more, but more so that you can GIVE more, DO more, make a BIGGER IMPACT and CHANGE lives. Stop sitting and complaining, take care of your garden daily, be faithful in the small things, there are so many larger gardens waiting for you!

Storm Training​

A month ago I was preparing to leave Oahu while its residents were abuzz preparing for a hurricane. As a Colorado native, this is a new kind of storm for me. I am used to severe thunderstorms and blizzards. This new type of storm may be different for me, but the feeling in the air was the same. Hawaiian and Colorado residents alike prepare for storms by stocking up on toilet paper, bottled water, and milk. Plus Ramen and Spam were flying off the shelves! Ok, ok, that’s just here in Hawaii. Nonetheless, there was a tangible panic and anxiety you can feel in the air.

The night before I left I lay in bed listening to the plastic vertical blinds rattle with the wind, five packed suitcases stacked in the hallway, and I’m ready to fly alone with my four kids in the morning ahead of the impending storm. As if that wasn’t dramatic enough, our purpose for flying was actually to be with family. We were rushing to go be with my dad who had just been diagnosed days before with stage four pancreatic cancer. He was in the hospital after a few procedures. There was an urgency to be by his side, for all of us to be with him.

I was reminded of a quote I had just read the week before from Girl Wash Your Face, “…you will revert to the highest level of mental training.” I began thinking about this situation and what training I could fall back on spiritually and emotionally. This last year has been a year of training for me. As I left the only home I had ever known in Colorado I was a mess. My heart pulled me to go, but my brain thought it insane as I sent my belongings in a crate over the Pacific. I found many days face down in a pillow feeling alone, scared, overwhelmed, and incapable of getting through a day without snot crying to my husband. These moments I’m Hawaii were training as I searched for strength and purpose in what felt like another country.  I dug deep as I looked to change all the things I struggled with for years. Which were being overweight, dependant on a city I loved, but more importantly I lacked depth spiritually and I longed to be free from all of this.

Moving to Hawaii seemed like the biggest storm I had ever faced at the time. Despite having walked through many other types of storms in my life, like a miscarriage, having three children under two, or being in an abusive relationship when I was young. My highest level of training for years was reaching for food to cope, numbing out to the tv, or embracing the victim role as to hand off the responsibility of my choices.

This year I stepped up and out, put myself in vulnerable and uncomfortable places to increase my training. Training is NOT comfortable. Have I emphasized this enough?

There’s a strong military presence here on Oahu. A friend of mine forward me a report from the Navy about the hurricane. A lot of it I didn’t understand, but it was all about the systems they had in place. If this happens then this step will be taken. If the waters and winds get to this level then we will do this. How do they know how to put these emergency procedures in place and then carry them out? They TRAIN. Rigorously for hours, days, years at a time. Knowing what to do in an emergency situation is second nature to them. This difficult is when I will fall back on my training.

What training do you implement in your storms? Do you run to fear and anxiety? Do you just cope the best way you know how?

Here are some ways I have trained for the storms:

1. Daily life Training. Humbling my heart in all situations to let God use the small storms to change my way of thinking. I can’t tell you how many times I was put in daily situations where I wanted to cry. If you follow me on social media, you know this usually happens at the grocery store. My main training ground, Ugh. Who knew the aisles of Costco were training ground for a bigger purpose? Certainly not me at the time. Well, God can use anything, including that bulk food hell hole. Where you find yourself struggling daily let God use it to mold and shape you. It doesn’t have to be complicated, you just have to be faithful and patient to what you know. Reacting to the stress of life daily in such a way that when a bigger stressful situation arises you can fall back on that higher level of training. So many years I saw the mundane tasks of sweeping the floor and wiping butts invaluable, but your consistency and love in the small things will add up to strength and power for the big things.

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

2. Seeking quiet time and peace. Creating that space has not been easy for me. I had to give up the good (sleep) to get the great (peace). Waking up at 5am was not my favorite habit to form at first. Yet, after a few weeks, I found myself waking up before my alarm and even excited the night before as I thought of the quiet space on my couch, just me and Jesus. Longing for the time of meditation where I still my thoughts and where God met me in the quiet to train my brain and heart. Even if my prayers were simple and short. He filled me. By making my slate clean and clear every morning I was able to take on the chaos and business of the day.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8

3. Self-improvement. Mind, body, and soul. This training was so hard to embrace. It’s so hard to admit when we are weak and unhealthy. Then to put things in place to give up the comforting, yet unhealthy, habits. Again, if you follow me on SM, you know my health journey and weight loss story. As I replaced each bad habit with a good one, not only was my body and excess fat effected, my mind became stronger and my heart freer. I was given tools in my program to change my body, but it ignited so so much more. The healthy trio is so important! I also reached for scripture and books that spoke into the areas of my life I wanted to improve. My mind, mind body, and my soul.

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Galatians 5:16-17

Don’t despise your humble beginnings and difficult days, they might just be the very things training you for your next storm.

Hawaiiversary!

Today is our Hawaiiversary! We left Colorado on 8-07 and arrived on the island on 8-08. The area code here is 808. Eight is my favorite number and it also means new beginnings, coincidence? I think not. God is incredibly intentional. Exactly 11 years ago this week we were on the islands touring with a band Pablo was a part of. I was pregnant with our firstborn Bella at the time. We left and Pablo said, “We have a purpose in Hawaii and I think we will be doing something there again someday”. My response was “NOPE”.

I wanted my life to look a certain way and I tried everything in my power to make it so. I was constantly looking for meaning while trying to carry out all of my own plans.

Yet, God was asking me was, “would you give all of that up for me?” I always said yes, but my heart and actions said no.  For many years I prayed and
told Him I would do whatever it took to get out of our dessert season, but always said no to Hawaii.

I limited His power and ability to do what He wanted no matter where I was. Because how could He fulfill my dreams and my desires in Hawaii? You know that guy, the one who created the Universe and in the most powerful being, yeah Him. I couldn’t fathom how He could.  All I ever wanted or thought I ever wanted was what I planned for us in Colorado, but He had more.

This last year has been full of personal growth beyond measure. My faith is larger than I could ever have imagined. Our God is FAR more capable than I wanted to ever give Him credit for, and the surrender of myself has opened the doors to a heart filled with purpose and vision.

The road was tough. I spent many nights and days crying and wondering if it was all wrong. It’s frickin expensive here. The bugs are AWFUL. Ew, there is no reason why I should know so many types of ants. Those aren’t even the grossest things I’ve seen here!  GAH!

In July I finally felt something click into place. I finally saw all the work God has done in the past year, in my marriage, in my girl’s lives, in my health, and in my ministry.

Anticipating bigger and crazier things to happen in years to come! And for the first time in my life, I can say I can’t wait!

A special thanks to my counselors Nichole, Dena, and Rebekah, and for all those backing us in faithful prayer, you know who you are.

Also, to our best friends and pastors who believed in us before we ever did, trusted us to step (more like pushed me) into their ministry, and gave us a place to grow (and live for 2 months). I didn’t believe this whole clock 8:08 thing until it started happening to me in the last few months. 🤦🏼‍♀️ If all of the other things didn’t confirm our placement, well now the stupid clock does too! 808 🤙🏼🍧🌴🌺🌈🌊🦎🐜

June Gloom

June holds a lot of exciting birthdays for us, my daughter, nephews, brother, and my grandpa. We took this photo a year ago as we said goodbye to him after his 90th birthday. I knew. Guys, I KNEW it would be the last photo my girls would have with him. I knew it would be the last time I would see him and be able to kiss him. He passed away last fall.

It’s so weird to say goodbye. I will forever remember leaving him as his penthouse elevators closed. The last glimpse of his adoring blue eyes. I will always remember his yellow sweater and sweet tears as he told me he would visit me in Hawaii, when we both knew that wouldn’t be the case.

June holds so much meaning. This time last year we said goodbye to our condo that our girls grew up in. Then goodbye to the beaches of St Pete that we will unlikely see for a long time if ever (best sand in the world, sorry Hawaii). And goodbye to this man who is celebrating in heaven this June with my grandma.

Grief is weird. It’s sneaky and knows no rules. I picked up a Christmas candle I found in my closet yesterday that smelled liked Colorado. I closed the lid and slammed it down quickly as memories and emotions flooded me. This guy came to mind and I needed to honor him today. This is how I chose to do that.

New Normal

The weirdest things give me anxiety in Hawaii. Things I was 100% confident in when I lived in Colorado. For example, teaching Lulu how to swim. Stresses me out. I taught all my girls how to swim. I used to be a lifeguard/swim instructor in my youths (said like Schmidt). We had a neighborhood pool that was calm, clean, and filled with sweet fresh water. I spent many a mornings letting the girls sit on the steps, blowing bubbles, practicing back floats, and putting their faces in the water. From a young age they would swim short distances from my arms to the wall.

Here, I think about how I’m going to teach my almost two year old how to swim in the OCEAN. Like how. With little to no access to a pool here, unless we make friends with our neighbors…which we haven’t yet. Or move into the Hilton, which Pablo isn’t going for that.

Seasons in life are so much like this for me. I know how to be a good friend, but how do I do that in Hawaii with so few friends. We are about to have to a birthday party, but my best isn’t here to hang decorations with me. I also think about how I’m doing life here without my mom. Life is generally the same day to day, but it’s a lot harder to navigate without her help. Definitely not as sweet. I have to do a lot of life in new ways and often alone.

People have to do this everyday. My newly divorced friend just got her own apartment. Now paying the bills alone and being a single mom. My sorority sister said goodbye to her stillborn baby and had to walk away from the hospital as the world around her continued on. My cousin had to learn life without her mom as she passed away just days before girls a few days before Christmas.

It’s hard, trying to live life and do the things we always do but in our “new normal”. It takes time to adjust and really will never be the same as it used to be.

There is no side wall for Lulu to jump off to me. The water is rough and salty. The waves make it nearly impossible to show her how to relax and float and get comfortable in the water.

Similarly, life is all about riding the salty waves, being resourceful, stronger, resilient, and persistent despite how daunting our new normal is. Lulu will have to learn to swim in a different environment than her big sisters did. Just I will have to endure holidays without my family.

The view and water are different now. It’s saltier and rougher, but when we look around the view is so much better. The water is larger, bluer, and the possibilities endless.

I am right where I am supposed to be. I’m the deep waters.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” Isaiah 43:2