Write

I heard it clearly, clear as day soft as a whisper. Write. Oh. How I longed to I mused to myself. To write again. But the time? I’m hardcore of getting my 8 hours of sleep as much as I can, and my days are filled. Still I couldn’t escape from the one word: write.

So here I am writing again. Journaling? Not as often as I liked. But I miss it to be honest. I’d write in the mornings hopes and dreams God has placed in me. Words He’s spoken, encouragements I remember, and musings from that morning’s thoughts. In the evenings much the same vain, except I’d write my sorrows, facts of the days, my worries, my concerns and discoveries of that day. My 1 rule for both times of journaling was in the mornings I couldn’t write the negatives- I do allow myself to allude to it on occasions- but I was to proclaim goodness and reflect on blessings. In the evenings I had every freedom to rant…then I had to end it speaking positive and let the negative go.

These days I confess I find it hard to see beauty and blessings depending on the day. But I know they are there. And I look for them…intentionally. It.is.hard. Yet- I’ve never not once NOT not find them. God is faithful to help me see them no matter how small.

When I lost my dog my heart hurt so much. I understood that death by grief was a real thing and felt as I could easily die from grief myself. Yet- I never wavered from often whispering gasping for breathe:

“Still…You…are…good. Still…I…will…praise…You”.

It was countless grief compounded into unexpected loss of hope against hope that made me hit ocean’s bottom of great sorrow. I begged God “Please. Just take me. Take me home.” I remembered clutching my hands desperate to feel His presence- waiting for His word. I didn’t ask for Him to come- I already knew He was there. He filled the room. “No.” He replied gently, but resolute. “It isn’t time for you to come home. ” I sobbed wanting the pain to erase. “Then take the pain I can hardly bear it.” “This pain is making you realize you are alive, how much love you have. Cry my daughter. Sit with grief awhile.”

…Sit with grief? Who in their right mind would sit with her? Yet, as I write I recall fondly a book: Hinds Feet in High Places. Where joy and sorrow walked hand in hand with the main character of the book. I don’t think I quite sat with Grief, I more threw myself into her arms allowing myself to grieve deaths and losses I should have long long ago done. By and by I learnt wisdom, because I refused to allow myself to move until I was healed enough. Joy was never far away in fact I clung almost fiercely to joy as I knew how as I did with grief. I sought laughter and plunged myself into seeing the beauty God created yet allowing myself to feel the intangible inexpressible feelings of deep loss. I didn’t fight to live because I had His word to remain at my post. I fought the feelings of sinking, fighting with hope to move beyond survival. “If I was going to live,” I thought to myself “Then I want to thrive in anyway I know how.”

Today, I wouldn’t say I’m thriving, but I’m not exactly just surviving. But I am blooming. I still sit with grief, but I am running more and more with joy. Waves of hardships keep coming seeming bigger than the last- but I still cling to words I uttered months ago.

“Still You are good. Still I will praise You.” No one can convince me otherwise. He is good. He is faithful. I’m convinced of it.

A Little Secret Full of Love

In two days it will be Valentine’s day. Sometimes we need to grasp the normal and shake it upside its head. Sometimes we need to *fiercely* protect the normal. It’s not normal for a single woman to love Valentine. But I do. I get excited about it like a kid who sees cotton candy at a country fair. I also recognize the beauty of couples to make this time special. Sweet, and totally unneeded for a special holiday- but never the less I enjoy it. In my humble opinion not being in a relationship…going on a date should be the normal….not the abnormal. Now…before I start to hear all the “we don’t have time…” Darlings…you make time for what’s important to you. Money is important enough to practically be a slave to…therefore the same can be applied to relationships—–although if you are a slave to your job you might need to revaluate that. I am also certainly NOT advocating a daily date or even a weekly one…because life. But I am mostly certainly saying…taking time to make sure the ones you love feels appreciated, wanted, and seen is important keeps any friendship and relationship alive. I’ve been told time and time again a good marriage starts the basis of a healthy friendship. After seeing that for myself I’m inclined to believe that. But I know little of actual couple relationships ….but I do know a lot about friendships.

It takes work. It takes being intentional. Sometimes it takes a good fight….an ugly good fight to go from being good friends to friends sticking closer than a brother. Friends that allow you to speak your mind and bark their opinions right back and you make up not necessarily a comprise but an agreement that encourages BOTH parties…keep those. They’re well worth their weight in gold…perhaps more so. I’ve also learned for me that it takes about 5-6 years to really develop a good friendship and that’s with intentionality on both sides. I’m not sure why that is.

Back to the original reason of this post. Valentine Day. I love it. For me it is a chance to love on people. To dress up to do something special. Do I do that on other days yes… I do. Being a single woman on Valentine’s day is not a disadvantage, rather I consider it to be advantaged. I have a chance to gather people, to love them, and to laugh with them throughout the events through if I wanted to. I have a chance to spoil myself, my family members. It’s a happy occasions. It is a day of loving and of play for me.

A day of love. A day of intentionally doing something nice for someone. A day of often trying to sneak around to do something for someone without them knowing it. A day of laughter. That’s what Valentine’s day is for me.

The greatest Calling

There’s many many thoughts rolling in my head of late. The kinds I’ve needed to think through and ponder on. The ones that have given me aha’s whether I’ve discovered I’ve needed to change my way of things or confirmation of being on the right track. This season has me taking step back and considering can I truly do this meaning is it mine to do in this season, later, or at all? Or are the thoughts I’m considering penning here…would they encourage others? This one particular piece I hope does…it has been one mulling in my brain almost 12 years.

I’ve heard it a thousand times in my life…the highest calling as a woman is to be a mother. It has been ingrained with me. That is *my* highest calling. Being a mother is amazing. I applaud the women who are. It is a sacred calling. A high calling. One that can only be fulfilled…by a woman. I consider motherhood to be one of the highest ones there is in terms of callings. There is a great, great respect for mothers bringing in life into this world and rearing them up.

However, it is NOT the greatest calling. BEFORE you hit me Mamas with the cast iron. Please allow me to ask questions as a single woman who is both husbandless, and childless.

If I were to remain childless for the rest of my life, then would I have failed as a woman to obtain the highest calling?

Think on it for a moment. What happens to the mother who can’t bring children to the world? Is she then forced to adopt or foster in order to receive this highest calling?

I will confess I am a bit jade perhaps. Well meaning women have said this to me, I’ve never had to guts except once and that didn’t go well at all- surprisingly it in a conversation to another single woman pinning for a husband and children. Please don’t mistake me, I am all for marriage and I am all for children. However, I am talking of the highest calling this is the context.

Callings are in response in obedience to what God has called you to do…or to be. Motherhood isn’t a job….it is a calling. You can’t put a price on it. It is incredibly stupid to try, because the worth of what mothers do can’t be calculated. There is a deep need for mothers ( and spiritual mothers) and the want is high for good mothers as well. I deeply respect, admire, and give great honor to them. But while mother’s never stop being a mother that is forever their name… their seasons of rearing children will come to an end. Although, they will be, I pray in their lives, having very healthy relationships, their children need them in different ways as they fly on their own. What then? It’s finished. What happens next?

Their greatest calling comes next just like it was before they were mothers. The callings that God has placed on them. To be His all throughout times. To do what He has called them to do…being a mother or otherwise. That’s the greatest calling…having that personal relationship with Him and walking in the calling(s) He has placed on you and I.

Personal confession, I have zero desire for my own children. Nada. It took me a very long time to get over the guilt ( try 10 years). Yet, I love children…deeply love the children whom I’m privileged to have in my life. They are treasures and the ones that I get to love on, fiercely protective of, I pray for and am humbled that their parents trust me. God simply hadn’t given me that desire. To force it, to lie about it, isn’t glorifying Him. Yet! I also know that if He gifted them to me…I’d do my absolute best and I’d love them terribly much. Or if He every put a child on my heart to foster or adopt…then my heart for the child will swell with much love and pride. In that moment, in that season that is a higher calling is being a mother. But I can’t forget the highest calling is to be His.

A friend who longs for children, it is a cry of her heart, at this season has not been given any. Why? I don’t know. I mourn alongside with her. But am rejoicing that she is walking with grace and integrity, she is stepping out as she is waiting into gifting and callings. She is not being a parked car wailing and complaining of her misfortune. No. As she waits, even as she grieves fighting with hope for her desires, she is being a willing vessel. Her actions have been a sources of comfort, encouragement, and strength. I consider She is in this very moment operating in her highest calling.

From several mothers who have lost their little ones…they have courage beyond anyone I know. To celebrate new life when they just lost own…is the bravest, most selfless, and still remain a very real mark of a mother. I wish I can find words of how much I admire them, their courage, how they have shaped my life because they cried their tears but still….saw. They saw life. They saw others and celebrate the littles despite the wrench in their own hearts. To me that is a mark of truest courage. I hope they know they’re not alone…never ever alone. Their love makes a difference…it has for me.

Mothers are so so so needed, and so desired. While I cannot love, like a mother with her own children…I’ve learned love from them. What a calling. What a gift.

“You’re taking this waaay, too literal Christina.” someone might say.”It’s only semantics of wording”. Perhaps I am and perhaps it is. I will concede to that. I have much to learn and no doubt there will be disagreement on this topic.

Yet, I know I am the happiest when I am walking in my Father’s Will no matter how hard it may be. What defines me in my identity is whom God has called me. My callings may have seasons, but the highest one, greatest one never has seasons it is for all entirety of time. To accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of my life and doing what He has called me to do…or to be. My prayer is that you walk in whatever season you’re in, in the calling He has called you never forgetting He is the highest calling.

Escaping or Fulfilling?

Changing of perspectives is sometimes easy and sometimes it is the most difficult thing to do and accept. Especially when it has to do with self control and disciplined. Like holding my tongue when I’m exhausted and would love nothing more to than to let loose my words. On the other hand when I feel terrified because someone blew up intent on their own way so I remain silence only to moment later find words I wished I could have said. Then there’s the combo- where I’m exhausted and someone with their heart in the right place seemingly scolds us for our decisions. The next day the message was clearer and I had been glad to have been silent though knowing words would have to said to give context of the decisions. The dilemma.

One of the best decisions I ever made last year was to enroll in a mentorship. This decision was not made lightly, nor was it without cost. I knew that if I was could to spend the money I would need to be willing to put in the work. Easy said then done I’m not afraid to admit. I had prayed for a year, watched carefully, went to the scriptures and observed someone very close to me who was in the program. I liked what I saw. The change in the person was subtle , steady, and happy. It took courage to pay the cost, but I don’t regret a penny of it. It has been one of the hardest and yet easiest decision to stay focus and dedicated to doing the work.

One of the things I’ve noted was

I stopped trying to escape, but truly was intent of being full.

Christina

I’m learning while on the outside escaping and playing are two very different things. Escaping doesn’t fill you in the way that we need to be full. We don’t change on escapism- not in a good way. However, I have realized the very beginning was the method of escaping, I needed to escape what was happening. Some of the things I escaped into I had to cut off completely. It was destroying me on the inside and starting to affect relationships. I’m in all earnest that I thank God that He caught my heart and I’ve repented turning aside from what not good. Had I continued down the road it would have not been good. But there have been other escapism that have lead to very good things. Instead of what began as escaping became a way for me to get creative inspirations. It allowed wonder. It shifted my perspective from moody and broody to intentional gladness and focus. It has been heart work.

I have found myself through out the day seeking out His presence. Asking Him what He thinks. Not because I have to, because I want to. I’ve discovered even the things I don’t want to do that He lends me the inspirations, disciplined, and focus to do them. Is it all easy peasy? No. But I find myself more and more committed to His voice then my fears.

For example- I started writing both morning and night. I wrote to escape. To “make” myself think and be “better” person. Please tell me you’re laughing…because this is definitely the time. If not- I give you permission to chuckle. No one not even myself can make me a better person. But…what started out as an escape and a legalistic way made way to dreaming with God, to hearing His heart, to repentance, and to looking forward to waking up in the mornings because I get to dream with Him (when I say dream I ask Him what His desires are for me and I go with His leading). To looking forward to the evenings because scriptures come to life, I pour out both beauty and grief shifting my perspective to His. It is heart work and worth the investment.

Every Moment that I spend with Him is an investment into my best of the best life.

This has changed me. What also has helped is putting my phone in a different room at night. Yes, its extreme. But that’s where I am at the moment. Maybe someday I’ll have disciplined to have my phone in my room again. I don’t know. But I do know I’m sleeping better and deeper. My quality of time with Him has increased.

You see sometimes escaping is good…but the questions to ask is why and to what? My best choices began in escaping I had to get away and that’s what I knew. But if the escaping isn’t good, mark my words if you belong to Jesus- the Holy Spirit will prick your conscience. It is up to me, to you to surrender.

What about the things that weren’t good for me? I can almost hear the questions. Well, I was reading books with fantasies- the magical realm kind. Not good things. It started slow a way for me to escape, I was so caught up I didn’t even notice what I would have noticed in a instance. It started getting more graphic, more more “magical”. Until I heard His voice interrupt one of my reading- “Do you think this please Me? Does this give any glory to Me?” I stopped there and didn’t pick it up. A little time later I entertain the thought of reading again- and was interrupted with “Would you allow an eight year old to read this? Does this hurt your relationship with Me?” Ya’ll this was a three week time period. I confess I did pick up once more a little later and so disappointed at the content. I saw it for what it was. Witchcraft. In my trying to escape I had chosen filth water, something that would try to tear me away from a good healthy relationship with my Father. I did get inspired create beauty out of the experience, it propelled me to do something about it. It also made me grateful that I wasn’t left to my own devices- I was corrected. In the correction I felt loved and secured, but humbled. Can someone else read those stories and not be effect like I was…maybe. But that’s not of my concern. That would be between that person and God…but I do know when someone is being effect good or bad by how they are bearing their fruit. What goes in and allow to stay has consequences.

I also want to point out something…God would have more than likely eventually had someone correct me. I’d rather be corrected by Him than someone else. I’m not perfect and I have had people rightly correct me. I thank for them it even if in the moment I was angry about it. It means they cared enough and loved me enough to encouragement to keep my focus Christ Centered. They’re not perfect- but neither am I. But as a result I’ve made very conscious decisions of what I’m listening, watching, or reading because I know I’m wanting to escape. And there’s really no escaping, but there is such a thing as getting my tank filled up. I’m trying to be more aware of my thoughts- all of them- and what is being allowed to stay. No. I’m trying to be goody two shoes, I’m not as good was I want to be, and neither is a “heavy” thing for me to do. It is an action I’m choosing to tend to because I want my life to bear good fruits.

In being focus on being full, means I’m not scrapping for scraps. I’m getting the best of the meats, the fruits, cheese, wine, veggies, and yes desserts. Not because I’m all that…but because I’m tending to what is mean and sometimes that means being allowed to be pruned and pruning even when it hurts.

P.S. Forgive my lack of grammar and spelling. I chose not to re-read over my post. Perhaps I’m a chicken….but I was afraid I’d edit out what needed to stay.

Space to Breathe

When I opted to start writing again, I told myself it is about the written words. No photographs, rarely about my family (though I can’t help myself- I LOVE my family), and certainly nothing fancy. In this season of writing (however that lasts whether a few months or years.) I only wanted the focus to be on reading without the stress of anything else.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed…but the only thing you can see •currently at this time of writing • is a simply a page of blog posts. There’s not really an about section of who I am. It’s simply a place to come and read. As for a photo of myself there’s not likely to be. Mostly because it allows me the freedom, I wanted to write for encouragement, to challenge, and be a space for you to •breathe•. The comments to me are like letters, I am eager to form friendships.

Perhaps you’ve noticed I’m not afraid to go against the grain in some areas. It seems to be my life story actually. Everyone has shouted until their throat is dry…post photos, do an image feature, don’t forget about your about page, and the list goes on. If I was writing this for a business these things ARE key. I know this to be true. But I’m not writing this for a business, I’m writing to gain back confidence in writing again and to simply enjoy the process for the sake of writing in of itself. I’m writing for you, for me. For the pure enjoyment and occasional challenging encouragements. Although, at this rate it seems more than occasional as I have much deep thoughts of late. If you stumble on this blog, you are heartily welcome.

There are 2 exceptions I must confess…when I am of mind to post travel photos. Well I won’t contain myself. You’ll see photos. I greatly enjoy projects (construction types), and hope to be in a wood shop soon making things. I like them best when its more of a want to do something, then need to fix it or else something bad will happen. The bright side is…I won’t have to call people for the basics stuff right. Maybe by and by even a “portfolio” of sorts. But even then I want it to be a place of respite and breathing room. Words do not always need photographs and photographs do not always need words…but when they do come together what a mighty pair they are. But they each are powerful standing on their own.

I have toyed with converting this to a podcast because I am mindful that sometimes its easier to listen than to read. If I did so, I would probably not do an intro and perhaps maybe even skip the music. Or I included it would certainly not blast your ears like so many podcasts do today, but lead you in to get settled nicely. I’d simply talk to you as if you were right here.

Why am I telling you this? Allow me for a moment to go down a rabbit trail. I promise it’ll make sense in a moment. Right now I face the mountains. Its simple beauty draws me. I know what to expect from those mountains…the unexpected. I don’t know how they’ll show up day in and day out. But I know they’re there. Sometimes they come quietly, sometimes they come with majestic show of power. But many times they beckon you to sit a spell and look…no devices, no books, no journals, no anything. But I do suggest a companionship of coziness to settle in to simply observe what’s before you.

So it is with my blog. I want to keep showing up as I can, however that looks like- bringing beauty and space along with a sense of adventures. Life is an adventures with peaks and lows, no matter the seasons I’ve discovered its up to me on making sure my heart has time to breathe.

Christmas Joy

Christmas every year looks different. But no matter how it looks, one thing remains the same. Celebration of Jesus. No matter where I am, no matter whether I am home, traveling, or doing things that I want or not…there one important that I refuse to forsake. Celebrating Jesus in my heart. Having a celebration of joy is a choice I make.

Sometimes that celebration is quiet in my heart, sometimes it is exuberant and loud. There’s times is a mixer of both. In a world that proclaims loudly of commercialism, there are ways to turn it into celebration. Much of what I do I confess seems to be commercialism on the outside, but its start of celebration.

But, I invite you to sit with me for a moment. Imagine we’re in front of the fire drinking coffee or mulled wine. A serious hushed moment, the celebration noise is off in a distance. Perhaps this year it is hard for you. There’s sorrow and grief and you simply don’t feel like doing it. May I offer you encouragement? Celebrate anyway. Cry, or get angry even before you celebrate, then dry your tears and do something even if it’s different, something that brings you and others joy. That takes the attention off of grief for a while. Please…I *know* grief well. Long ago I’ve recognize it actually in a strange sort of way it becomes a friend. It tells me I still have a beating heart that loves deeply. I know it not an easy choice. It creates in a way something new and one that you may or may not want to push past. Push where you can. If its something small, than my friend you’ve done it. You are NOT going to want to do it if you are like me, it will be a battle. Perhaps you’re like my mom who uses celebration full to the max desperate to have some kind of normal…however you grieve…its okay to do so. But take time to be with people you love. Take time to bless someone. Take the time to do things to feel again. Take time to heal with a bit of celebration.

With all that said my friend, in time there is a sense of freedom that comes with celebrating past grief. Pushing past it allows for healing to begin. It allows others who love you to breathe and feel free to be merry.

For those who are in full fledge of celebration- may no one ever steal your joy. Yes, there are grieving people. But you shouldn’t be force have the blues. Yes, we want to be mindful, but what if in respectfulness in celebrating you actually are able to help pull them out of grief? Have FULL freedom to go all out. Decorate, cook, paint, hang those lights and let *no* mankind stop you. It’s very good to celebrate in all the laughter and joy. Have your joy and spread it around. Be like a kid on Christmas full of wonder and excitement. Giddiness as an adult is a gift…I pray that you will have all the feels of expectant hope.

No matter where you are in the journey of life, it is good to celebrate. Jesus is worthy of our celebration. He is worthy of our laughing and dancing. For my friends, He loves to join us in merry glad tidings. When we celebrate…we invite Him into our joy. Making what you can in the moments you have no matter how big or how small, celebrating in our heart whether quiet or loud can be worship. Simple or extravagant they’re both needed in many ways- so celebrate how you can this year. Let no one take your joy.

God rest ye Merry Gentlemen, Let nothing you dismay….

Thanksgiving and Gifts

Sometimes one has been given a chance to start over. In a way that surprise myself there’s been a chance to learn what less is more means. Simplifying to the max. Pushing for what matters the most. Learning to have grace through the hard times. To go from grieving to laughing back to grieving again joy intermingling it all.

Where the choice of literally choosing between thanksgiving and grumble dictating my attitude for the day. It’d be easy to point a finger and lay the blame, feeling sorry and taken advantage of. And there’s truth to that claim…but it shouldn’t ever *own* someone. Move past it. Fight to live better day.

To choose to thrive and smile. I believe thriving is a choice. To pick up what is yours and leave the rest to blow in the wind. Tend to your thoughts for they are potential seeds. It’s a hard task, hardest when doing it with love and yet at the same time full of ease.

When I turned thirty I was given drawings and prints of florals. Here’s the thing I wasn’t a floral person. In many ways I am still not. But that year I was given floral after floral gifts. I loved them all. I choose to accept them and they sit in spaces that brings delight to whomever have a chance to see them. They in time became a source of great encouragement. Sometimes my friends knew me better than I do myself and gave me the gift of exploring the world of flowers. I don’t take that for granted. That is why we need friends, good friends that will uplift and encourage. To help spread the wings and strengthen them at the same time. I smile when I think of those gifts because they carry encouragements meant for me.

A gift is only a gift if given and/or received with heart thanks. It can be very simple a smile or a cup of coffee. Time with family, every day there are gifts. Every morning a gift of opening eyes to closing them at night.

There’s no greater gift than Jesus. No greater calling than to be His. While His birthday was likely in the spring, we celebrate in December…specifically the 25th. As the Gift Giver gave His greatest Gift to mankind, lets us rejoice. Let us gift back by celebrating the very One who first loved us.

Heart Talk

Today is the day of Thanksgiving. My heart is full. I keep looking around and seeing so much to be thankful for. You see my heart is full for those struggling, but refuse to be be defeated. To fight when there’s barely hope to hang on. To work towards things because they believe it can happen.

Some of my favorite videos to watch is of those who have physical limitation and overcame. I cry because its *hard*, its *painful*, and yet they do it anyways. A smidge of an increase of movement is considered a major victory. I cry when babies heard for the first time, because I remember the very first time *I heard* my mama whisper “I love you.” I cry when someone involved in an accident and doctors were concern they would’t walk again and the patient proved them wrong. I cry when a father and a mother fought to have a child and they succeed regardless whether through adoption or otherwise. I cry when people shout encouragements and stubborn refuse to let go of someone because they believe in them so much. The person, yelled at in encouragement, at the very end, weak from exhaustion looks up to see they’re past the finish line.

The videos of military coming home to families makes me weep. The ones of animals hugging their owners after absent I can’t help the warm feelings. Children running to the ones they love and whom love back make my heart smile like no other. I love seeing those who deserve honor and respect be given that gift.

You see, this year has been me finding blessings anywhere and everywhere I can. It has been hard for so many. It’s ridiculously easy to not count the blessings, eerily easier to get lost in oneself. I know. In these days time I lean hard on God on what is healthy boundaries of making sure I’m healthy and still help people. I no longer believe that you have to sacrifice both for long periods of times. For clarity context, I’m not talking about unhealthy conveniences we do things out of guilt. Rather about what we do and should do things that are not always convenience because it will better the lives around us. Sacrificing (long term) mental, physical, and spiritual health to stay on someones good side isn’t humbling or helpful…its destructive. It.will.tear.you.apart…and the ones you love and not for the reasons you think.

One of the healthiest ways to keep you healthy is to stay in a grace filled gospel of Jesus Christ church. It has been hugely inconvenience to come to church these days, no lie there. And truth be told due to exhaustion and distance of 1+ hours that could potentially be destructive due to operating a 2 + ton vehicle, there have been a couple of times we did not because it was safer if we did not. However, we’ve never regretted showing up and loving what is ours.

Love what is yours. Not what you think is yours or what you want to be yours. But what God has placed right there to be yours and you know it. When you love what is yours you find yourself giving praise and thanks no matter how hard or light the season it is.

In every season…give thanks.

A Grateful Heart

At the time of writing I have been displaced from my home for three or is it now four weeks. Those weeks honestly feel like months. There’s been so much goodness. But there’s been some really really hard days.

Anyone who does constructions DIY or professionally knows that once you get started there’s often more problems that have arisen. So it has been with my home. It started with #allwewantedwasanewdeck. We had plans for October, big plans. We were to host our first ever retreat at our home, host our neighbors over for helloween, and start tackling the 10 mile lists of people we wanted over for supper. Hospitality ya’ll is our love language.

We went from gathering once a week with close friends to being moved every 3 days to a week. I’ve started counted up the travel time in the last three weeks I’ve traveled at least 60+ hours—by car. Our pets remain at our home because theres literally no where for them to go. I hate being separated from them. I hated not having people over and it was hard at first to see all the hospitality and classes we were going to do not happen but others were. But every day I made a point to count my blessings.

Everyday I reminded myself where I saw God working His goodness. We’re (the six of us) moving to a hotel (potentially) in the next few weeks…maybe over the course of a couple of months with a few trips back home. Not sure, for everything is up in the air. I’ve learned it doesn’t hurt to prepare for the worst right now, but expect and hope for the best. On that note, you know there’s so much goodness! We’re together, we won’t be traveling as much, our pets will be with us, I’ll have an actual bed consistently (my airbed has been great, but I still prefer real ones), we will be in our hometown and we’ll have a roof over our heads.

Another blessing is that we have been trying to declutter. This definitely helps with the stuff. We’ve moved so much in the past few weeks that we’ve learned to live without. Of course…we do shuttle things back and forth in full discloser. When we do finally move back home I’d imagine that we’re really going to be able to let go of things. We’ve known for years what our priorities are. Maybe how we do them has changed, but what we believe has only been made stronger. Our family motto is :

God first

Family Second

Others third

Cheryl Damron

When we focus on Christ, we find blessings in our circumstances. •Side note- God has been blessing us all the way through. I’m certainly NOT advocating that if we behave a certain way that He will bless us. I’m saying when I have put my focus on Him I have found the gifts He’s already given, is giving, and expecting will be gifts. This is from personal relationship with Him. Naturally my behavior will have consequences both good or bad and fruit will be born from the action (or no action). •End side note. I’ve decided if we’re away from home for Christmas (I doubt it, but I wouldn’t be surprise)…I’m finding a 2 foot tree and sticking it on a table. Our stockings will be hung on a table. And we’re going to be together which is all that matters for Christmas anyways. We’ll sing Christmas Carols and play games. Have an adventure doing a Christmas meal (gluten-free) and be content along with Merry because we’re together.

Before this even started we had decided to make this an experience Christmas. We’re doing just that. In fact…we have our first thing we’ll be doing the week before Christmas. Now…before you get on to me about Thanksgiving I’ve not forgotten. But I’ve been counting my blessing everyday. It’s been an everyday thanksgiving. Since I dislike thanksgiving dinner (don’t go throwing them turkey legs at me okay?) and would rather do Chinese…I’m not at all mad about postponing it. But friends have graciously offered the use of their kitchen in town and their company. Mom loves to cook and they love her food. It’s a win win win. Won’t be on Thanksgiving I’d imagine, but will be soon. We’re visiting family later on and it will be a sweet time.

Giving thanks, being with friends and family, and having good food- well that’s a pretty big part of the special day isn’t.

Living quietly, but full of adventures

My adventures are different these days and yet life fill me. I own my own business and its been hard at work behind scenes shifting things, pivoting, and launching big dreams. Coming to grips of treating my business with a business mindset not a hobbit mindset. Someone pointed that to me very graciously unbeknownst to them and things have begun to shift in such good ways. At the same time I’ve put in a noticed at a job (my exit is a very slow and many months out) and told another I’m limited in what I can do at least in this season.

I sleep…and I sleep a lot. My goal is at least 8-9 hours a night…all THROUGH the night no cat naps. Take naps during the day from 10-20 mins. They have been my fuel. Reading and writing has moved to a high priority on my list and my watching tv shows has decreased drastically. The tv shows are replaced by workshops and online classes…keeping it real here. I’ve made the hard decision to put my phone across the room most nights around 9:30 and won’t pick it up until after my excising is done around 7:30am…unless I’m going for a walk. I’m hoping that I can keep this up.

That’s not adventurous Christina…that’s normal life. When you’ve lived for the past 8 years so spontaneous a life that there was no routine except fatigue, going to church on Sundays, the *never ending* projects at home along with it accompany of messes all the dang time and trusting that bills will somehow get paid…and the meager savings for actual *fun* traveling doesn’t get used for emergency…this is an adventure. Sorry for the run on sentence, forgive me this once? Anyways- trust me…getting a Ducans Coffee to me was if you had treated me out to Chris Ruth. The bright side in the mounds of messes I learned how to create beauty. I was stubborn in cultivating beauty in the midst of construction and mess. Grief was slowly ebbing back and life was pushed forward. For months… I was slowly waking up. Then it came fast and hard because I was trying to ignore to what I was waking up to.I realized the statement may confuse you. In other-words I was trying to have it both ways…Grind all day but not fully commit to the things tugging on my heart. Creating with beauty had begun the awakening but its not the complete story. What made it real? My accident from a wreck that could have been avoid had not fatigue won.

Boundaries came fast and hard. I’ve remained unmoved. The result? I’ve laughed more. Seriously. I’ve played more. And I went back to what I’m known for. I went back to jumping off deep cliffs simply because I heard my Father say I could…trusting, unflinching, and absolutely loving it. But first I had to battle, and battle hard. Here’s the thing depression and exhaustion are easily closed in similarities. I wondered if I was depressed, but I still light up at the things that made me happy. I simply could not focus for more than 5 minutes on anything serious. For once I understand and have compassion for those who felt they couldn’t get out of bed. Mine was because my pain was great.

Stripped of bravery masks, I allowed myself to be brutally emotionally honest. Yet…I never once berated myself or anyone else. I fought. By rest. By Play. By laughter. By reading His word. By investing in relationships. By saying no. By saying yes. By owning what is mine…and letting go of my own and everyone else opinion real or otherwise. That last sentence. Re-read that. I had to own what was mine- what God gave me not what I wanted or longed for- but what was mine in the moment and let go of my own opinions and others…real or otherwise. That meant letting go of pasts…of all the no’s and the unknown anger I had within me that had fueled my fight to push back. To stand on ground of unbrokenness….meant I had to leave mirage of the the ground appearing broken and let it go. I say appearing…because my ground can never be shaken. Not when we’re in Christ and have a personal relationship with Him.

But this took time and still is taking time. I’ve learned if God has already said yes than why the heck am I still asking? If I have His approval…then why should my opinion or anyone else’s matter? By the way…I’m NOT saying don’t be accountable, or fail to listen to wise counsel or be a heel. That would be taking what I’m saying out of context. I’m saying there’s nothing to stop you if God has said “yes”. I had to shed things I didn’t know I had. The reasons why I do things…or don’t do things.

This I have a feeling will be a life long lesson. When I write here I don’t have a consistent date I’m writing by. Mostly, because in the season I was that was a luxury I know I could not make. I felt at the time it was better to at least write…then not at all. I’ve long ago learned not to do series…as hard as I try I simply don’t finish them out. So I work with my strength while working on my weakness. I either make it complete on it own…or I write it all together and separate them out. But I show up writing whether once every few months or once a week. I’ve simplified.

Before signing off…I do note I am well aware of showing up consistently on a particular date is wise. But I also know the wisdom of knowing how to commit. So I’ve committed to writing that I hope encourages you, inspires you, and perhaps challenges you in the good ways. To write when I’m in a place where I can respond and not react, because you’re worth reading from someone who’s determined to write from a well soul whether in sorrow or in joy. That’s what I’m committed to…