A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess

Many, many of you have asked for updates on the situation with our daughter.  I have been hesitant to talk any more about it for several reasons.

1. There really is not much to tell since there have not been any significant changes.
2. Like I said in my original post, I only want to share my own story and not speak for anyone else.  (I have received a few emails of criticism for that, which puzzles me because I was only trying to respect the others in this situation.  But I certainly do NOT think this is all about me….in fact I think very little of it is about me at all, but a mother’s heart can break over her child no matter how old the child is and if you don’t understand that then you are blessed not to have felt this pain).
3. I don’t want it to be the focus of my blog.

BUT….I am not hesitant to share how incredible God is and that His hand has been so obvious through all of our sorrow and tears.  Despite the overwhelming agony of loss, the unspeakable joy that has cropped up all around me has to be shared!

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In the beginning of this trial I asked Him to make me an empty vessel through which He could pour out His beauty and grace.  And He has used this situation to grant that prayer.  But let me warn you, before you pray that…..be ready for your world to be shaken up big time!  You can’t be empty if you are hanging onto idols in your life with a vice grip.  Trust me, I am the queen of that.  My knuckles are still sore from trying.

So, while I still hurt deeply, I am also experiencing a depth of faith that I didn’t understand before.   I know a greater joy through many blessings including a deeper, richer relationship with our other adult children who have stood by and supported the hard decisions that we have had to make.  I have learned to lean on God when things around me look bleak.  There is story after story I could tell you about how He has shown Himself to all of us in amazing ways.  Here are a few examples:

One afternoon I was crying in my bathroom and one of the boys heard me.  He knocked on the door and asked if he could pray with me.  He put his arms around me and cried with me and we prayed.  Suddenly, we both instantly felt a surge of strength and the burden lift.  Really…it was an actual physical lifting and a surprise to us both. We pulled back and looked at each other in amazement.  Afterwards my son offered me some incredible Biblical advice that was wise beyond his years. It gave me huge comfort!  God is using my pain to help turn my son into a man and draw closer to Him…..wow!

During my time at the Summit several older women approached me and asked how I was doing.  They knew about our situation and wanted to encourage me.  These wise women poured the love of God into me and I could so clearly see that He gave me these friends a year before this happened because He knew how much I would need them now.  To have godly women who have been in my shoes tell me that I am on the right path and not to lose hope…..priceless!

One more story….on Friday night at the Oklahoma Summit the team members (me included) were standing in the front of the ballroom ready to pray for the women there.  I had prayed with a couple of ladies and was standing there waiting when a women came up to me….I was ready to lift her up, but she said that she came to pray for me!  She offered the sweetest prayer and words of encouragement to me!  I wept on her shoulder.  It felt like God sent an angel.

I could go on and on….almost every day since this all began He has used someone (many of YOU!) to lift me up and show Himself.  And every single time I am reminded of His love and I want to shout it from the rooftops!  GOD IS GOOD!!!!

Then I want to pour it all right back out to you.

When you are struggling with anything….ANYTHING….He is there to comfort you.  His Word is a balm that I crave more and more as I walk this path.  Don’t underestimate the power of the revealed Will of God.  Some things are so hard to see….but there is SO much that is right there in front of you.

Deuteronomy 29:29 says His ways are not just for us, but for our children! It is His will that we tell the truth (Ex 20:16), that His mercy does not depend on anything I do (Romans 9:14-24), He does not tempt us (James 1:13), that there is only one way to be saved (Mark 16:16), and much more!

I share those with you so that you know that when you can’t figure out what His will is for you, you always know what He reveals to us in His Word.  It’s a great place to start!  Then He will unfold the rest as you need it.

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The bottom line is…..I don’t trust myself.  I make mistakes, I mess things up, I can look back on any part of this ordeal and see things I could have done differently and probably should have.  Yes, often I hear from God through the Holy Spirit and I do my best to make sure it’s not my own thoughts then step out in faith.  It’s all I can really do if I want peace, put my trust in God….I know that He will work it all for my good and for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  I try my best and then leave the rest in His hands.

Thanks so much to all of you for being so willing to let God use you to bless our family!  I pray that it is coming back to you 100-fold.  And I pray that when you face trials that feel like you can’t survive that you find comfort and peace in the Word of God and His mercy and grace.

Now, back to our regular, lighter posts……

 

Getting Back on Track

Getting Back on Track

OK, it’s confession time.

Over the past month my diet plan has slowly slipped and for the past couple of weeks I have felt myself spiral out of control.  I went a year and a half doing great then I had a life crisis and felt myself falling down a rabbit hole so deep that I couldn’t find my way out.  And at the bottom was a bowl of chips and guacamole that said, “Eat Me.”

And I did.

Getting my life back on track

It started early in the month with eating sugar.  I let myself to have a few “treats” over the holidays and I instantly craved more.  And I have felt so low emotionally that I let myself eat more and more.  I noticed my mood getting worse.  I was fussy and grumpy and that led to not wanting to exercise.  So I took a shorter walk in the mornings and then a few days off here and there.

But what’s weird is then I stopped caring about other things.  My money, my sleep patterns, my time with the kids….all started to get less structured until here I am…..feeling defeated.

And that is where God steps in.  He inspires me.  He motivates me.  He reminds me that even though I fail, I can get right back up and back to where I want to be.

Get your life back on track!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body.”

So I woke up this morning and took my normal, fast-paced, long walk.  I ate my no-carb breakfast and I prepped my food for the rest of the day.  I’ve set aside a time to gather my receipts from the last month and get my money in order, then clean my closet and bathroom to help me feel back to normal.  The messiness of it all weighs me down.

One thing I am not going to do is wait for three more days just because it’s almost the new year.  Why should I wait?  I need to love myself enough to do it right now.

If you’re ready to get going to a new start to wellness and self-control…..join me.  I’d love to walk side-by-side with you as we do this together.  (and let me know if you want to be added to my Facebook group for women who support each other!)

Getting not just diet and exercise back on track....but everything!  Come find support for the healthy life you want!   #gethealthy #youareworthit

1. I’m going back on my strict diet.  I really liked it once I got used to it.  I just have to get through a few hard days then I will be back on track.
2. I am going to push myself with my exercise again.  Run a little harder and do some other core strengthening workouts a few days a week.
3. I will keep my area clean.  Once I get my bathroom straight I will stop using it as a dumping ground.
4. I will keep track of my spending and stick to my budget.
5. I will drink my goal amount of water each day.
6. I will focus on spending quality time with my kids every day (not just meals and chores and school).
7. I will get back to spending at least half an hour (usually at the beginning of my morning walk) in focused prayer.
8. No more “cheats” for the next month.  No sugar.  None.
9. Sleep.  I really need to get some sleep.  So I will focus on using the essential oils that help me and I will make sleep a priority.  Even if that means sacrificing other fun things I want to do.
10. Set specific goals.  Not just “I’ll do better” but “lose 8 pounds this month” and make a plan to get there.

This Alice is going to find her way out of Wonderland and back to reality.

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Last Minute Gifts

Last Minute Gifts

Well, here we are.  The shopping days are counting down and if we haven’t already ordered our gifts online it is too late.  We are left with whatever they have at Target or various gift cards.

While I love those things, I wanted to toss out a few other ideas to get you through the last minute gift purchases.

1. Pedicure – for only $25 you can give a friend the gift of beautiful feet and a papering after the holidays.
2. Kindle books – Kindle books are ready to download anytime…..and they are a great price.
3. Subscriptions – a magazine or maybe even fruit of the month club….how fun is it to get a gift all year long!
4. Lunch – take a basket of food for lunch one day that will help someone get through the hustle of the holidays.  Cold cuts (do people call them that anymore?), bread, fruit and Christmas cookies all bundled into a basket and delivered one day before Christmas would be lovely.
5. Essential oils – OK, it is too late to order now and get Young Living Oils before Christmas.  But it’s giving someone the gift of health and wellness for the whole year, so why not order something now and give a card with the promise of what’s coming their way?! (here’s a list of ideas for you)

And I made it easy for you by creating THIS PRINTABLE that you can give….I live to make your life easier.

Young Living Christmas Card

If you want to join Young Living you can click HERE and get yourself signed up.  You get better prices and you will LOVE having them for when the winter bugs hit.  Plus when you sign up order the Premium Starter Kit I will send you a great reference book to help you get started!

Have a great week!

Day 2: Make a Plan

Day 2: Make a Plan

Well, I wasn’t planning on posting about the diet challenge more than once, but then I prayed.  And you know what happens when you pray….God gives you a new plan.  As I prayed for you, I felt like I was supposed to keep sharing this so y’all won’t lose ground.

YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!

I got a lot of messages from you sharing that you want to join me in my ten day effort to get back on track, but many of you are saying things like, “This is just what I need.  I am going to be better about my eating!”

Friends, you must have a solid plan.  Without it, it’s is easy to get off track and before you know it you’ve lost the battle.

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I, for example, first thing each morning go into the kitchen and make a list of everything I plan to eat that day.  I see the day as a whole, so it helps to think of my daily intake as one, spread out meal.  I do want there to be some flexibility so I am not planning the entire 10 days at once.  But having a firm plan in place each morning keeps me from blowing it on my mood or a whim.  And for me morning is when I am the most motivated, so that’s the best time.

I have a strict diet that I am following, but you should do whatever works for you.  The point here is to avoid making last minute decisions.

In addition to a daily plan, make a plan for the times when you know when you will be out.  Take your lunch when you won’t be home or explore options for healthy meals while you’re out.  I love the salads at ChickFilA and can eat one of those without dressing if I get in a pinch.

If you’re going to a Christmas party, see if you can find out what is being served or take a few veggies with you to hold you over.  If you want to let yourself have a treat, plan for that also by deciding to only eat half a serving of one thing and not have a free-for-all.

In other words….Make a PLAN.

Got it?

I’d love to hear what you are planning to help you get through the challenge!

 

 

 

Are You Ready?

Are You Ready?

Here we are.  The week of Thanksgiving and I haven’t given a single thought to what we will be eating on Thursday.  Not to mention shopping for food.  Oi, the crowds!

Every year we get together with another family that has become like our true family over time.  They are there for us in hard times and share in our blessings.  They will roll in on Thursday morning around 11:00 and we will begin the flow of food that doesn’t stop until around 7:00 in the evening.

Since we already had the whole turkey and dressing meal with our church family yesterday, I am going to skip that this year and we will do something different.  Maybe burgers, maybe Mexican food.  It depends on what strikes my mood while I am at Costco this afternoon.

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I do love the freedom of going with my mood.  It can be dangerous though.  It could take me down a path like Alice down the rabbit hole.  I see a pretty bottle of who-knows-what and my mind says “Drink me”.  Then off I go and by the end of my shopping trip today we may be having tea and giant mushrooms for Thanksgiving.

I am also going to preview the new Hunger Games movie while I am out.  My kids are dying to see it.  Last week I saw “Big Hero 6″ and it was pretty cute.  I don’t think it will become a family favorite, but I found nothing objectionable in it.

I have a lot of work to do on my book over the next couple of weeks, so my main focus is going to be that.  But since my travel for the year is over, I plan to also take lots of walks with the kids and clean out a few spaces that have been much neglected.  I noticed this past weekend that our pantry has things in it that no one has used for at least three years.  I found a can of soup that I bought in 2009.  It needs to go.

It’s always a struggle finding ways to organize packages that are odd shapes and bags of snack and chips.  I will be spending some time on my friend Becky’s blog, Organizing Made Fun.  She’s got some great pantry organizing ideas!  I may also, if I think I can control myself, make a stop at The Container Store.  It’s risky, especially when I have been “mood” shopping at Costco.  The Container Store is my Kryptonite.

While many of you are preparing for Thanksgiving travel or a houseful of family, I am glad to be settling back and relaxing for a few days.  I hope you have a wonderful time and if you need prayer let me know.  Praying for you is what gets me through my own trials.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

When You’re Feeling Like a Failure

When You’re Feeling Like a Failure

This week on YouTube I am sharing some encouragement for you who are dealing with really hard times.

In the past couple of weeks many of you have opened up to me in letters and messages about feeling like a failure as a mom.  Oh my sweet friends!

Let me assure you that your child’s success in life does not depend on your level of perfection.

It would be impossible for you to not leave large gaps in your child raising.  That’s where God steps in and fills those gaps in ways you never could.  Yes, you mess up and sure, you could have done better.  I KNOW I COULD HAVE!!!  But I also know that my children have a heavenly father who is perfect in all ways and He will fix what I did wrong.

And your kids aren’t perfect either.  They will make some doozy mistakes in their lives and there is nothing you can do to stop it.  Trying to keep them from ever suffering will only keep them from knowing the truth of a God who is there for them in their deepest time of need.

Isaiah 41:10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Read the whole chapter of Isaiah 41 for some deep encouragement!  When you are feeling like you are alone, turn to the Bible for comfort.  When you are consumed with the pain of heartbreak….He is there.  When He feels so far away and you don’t sense His presence like you used to, He is still there behind the cloud and taking care of your every need.

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I am walking through my own trials now too and I know the depth of the grief many of you are experiencing.  Some days I think my heart will literally break in half from the pain I am feeling.  Then I read a passage in God’s Word that comforts me and gives me a break from the hurting.

And remember, He lost His son too.  He knows your pain.  He cares.  He is ready to rock you to sleep and give you unexplainable peace.

Be sure to check my YouTube channel for more encouragement.

 

Joy Comes in the Morning!

Joy Comes in the Morning!

“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

I spent the past weekend in the beautiful city of Greenville, South Carolina for the Allume conference.  I think of it as a women’s retreat for bloggers.  It’s definitely not like any other blog conference I have been to.  It’s heavy on worship and seeing yourself through Christ’s eyes and light on SEO and social media tips.

And it was exactly what I needed.

It’s been a month since our daughter left and the grief and shock are just beginning to lift.  The hundreds of emails and comments you all have sent have lifted my heart like you can’t even imagine.  I read them all and share them with my family and we pray for those of you who are going through a similar situation.

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At the conference I got to spend time with dear friends that know me so well.  They have prayed over me and cared for me as I walked through this difficult time.  What a gift it was to be with them in person and just leave it all behind for a few days.  We prayed, we worshiped, we laughed ourselves silly.  I even danced.  Hip hop.  Yes, I am a Diva-in-Training.

I came home with a fresh outlook and today, for the first time in a month, I don’t feel like I am dragging myself through the house pretending to be thinking about something else instead of the grief of our situation..  I truly am finding good in the sadness and I am excited to share the joy with my family and give them something to do besides be steeped in sorrow.

One thing I have realized is that I can’t let someone else’s decisions affect my joy.  It would have sounded impossible to me a month ago, but I have learned that I don’t have to let even something this devastating, a break in one of my most valued relationships, tear me away from living a life filled with glory and joy.

I know.  Easier said than done.  Whew!  It’s definitely a process.

I really, really, really want to give you the gift of knowing that you are not alone.  In your trials and desperate situations, you are treasured.  There is a God who cares about your deepest pain.  There is One who you can always turn to.

And you know what?  I care too.  And so does my family and I am guessing a whole lot of other people.

As I prepare for the week ahead, filled with activity and appointments, I know that I have a source of peace and comfort.  Look around you, it’s there!

For instance, just a few minutes ago one of my boys asked me the funniest question and we both laughed so hard.  That is the good stuff.  My three daughters at home and I have become so much closer through this, isn’t that sweet?  My marriage is becoming a testimony of strength through hard times.  There is so much good in the bad.

 

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Let us pray for you if you need it.  Leave a comment here and many others will pray too.  I just know it.

Be blessed!!!!

 

Five Women and a Flat Tire

Five Women and a Flat Tire

Because I can’t let a drama go by untold, I have to share with you the flat tire incident from Tuesday night.

My friend Sara and I took two of my daughters to the city to pick up their friend from the airport.  We shopped and we ate and we went to Costco….you know.  City stuff.

We stayed all day and into the night for a meeting hosted by Young Living.  We dropped the girls at the mall (a first for us!) and Sara and I met another friend and went to the meeting where we stood in the back of a very crowded room. It was loud (people wouldn’t stop talking to each other) and hot.  So we decided to slip out and visit for a while instead.  Sitting and talking is always better than standing and sweating, at least in my book.

After a nice visit we left to pick up the girls, make a couple of quick stops and then head toward home.  We were looking forward the extra hour’s drive to talk a little more.  Really, it’s all about getting our words out for the day.

We were having great fellowship when it happened.  We had a full fledged blow out going 75 MPH.  I wasn’t speeding, that’s the speed limit on the highway here….about 30 miles down the road it changes to 80.  Tell your kids.  It can count as a geography lesson for the day.  “Which state has 80 MPH speed limits?”

It was after 10 at night, so dark doesn’t describe it.  More like pitch black.  Well, except for the Mack trucks and SUVs racing past at 75 miles per hour creating flashes of scary light.  And our cell phones which we were using to find things we dropped in the weeds.

Now I think the last time I had a flat tire I was in college.  I drove a Cutlass Supreme and the spare was where all spares belong, in the trunk under a flap of carpet.  It seems that all of the improvement over the past 30 years had led to a move from the trunk to who-knows-where.  Turns out my spare is up UNDER the van and the way you release it is through a hole between the driver’s seat and front passenger seat.

You know, I have always wondered what that 2″ circle of plastic was for.  Now I know it’s to fit a long socket thingy that looks nothing like the picture in the manual to unscrew a mystery spare tire holder that, unless you are lying flat on the ground under the van, you can’t get it out.

Nice.

I might also mention that we had to unload our entire van full of groceries and various other items onto the side of the road to get to the tire changing tools.   We looked like modern day Clampetts minus the gun and dog.

After half an hour of figuring out the spare tire situation a sheriff pulled up behind us.  He was so nice and he actually ended up changing the tire for us.  Of course, we had already done all of the hard work in locating the spare through the mysterious hole in the floor.

An hour or so later, we loaded the groceries, luggage, shopping bags and 5 tired ladies back into the van and agonizingly drove only 55MPH all the way home.  The sheriff had explained to me that you can’t go faster than that on a spare.  We finally made it home around 11, which in Lisa time means WAY past bed time.

The next morning I asked my oldest son if he would take the van to the tire place and get it all fixed back to the way it was before any of this ever happened., which he did.  I do realize that sounds like I don’t do any work, but keep in mind I spent 20 years raising him.  Not dealing with tire cleanup is is my reward for years of diapering and nose wiping and hurting my back pulling him in a wagon.

Have a great weekend!

Oh…..and be sure to check out this week’s YouTube video!  In it I talk about not letting your emotions control you (a concept I used on Tuesday night for sure!)

 

Open Letter to Extroverts

Open Letter to Extroverts

A letter to extroverts ....

Dear Extrovert,

I hope you don’t mind this food for thought from someone who is very, very different than you.  As an introvert, I do not enjoy being in crowds or walking up to strangers and talking.  But I am worth getting to know, which you will discover if you can just remember a few basic things.

1. I won’t interrupt you, so you will need to stop talking for a minute.  I know you’re interesting and I like hearing about you, but to get to know me you will need to take a breath and be quiet.  Just because I am not jumping in with stories about myself doesn’t mean I have nothing to say.

2. Just because I’m an introvert doesn’t mean I am shy.  Not all introverts are shy.  I like one on one conversations and I will talk and be outgoing.  I don’t mind being approached (although approaching people myself is nearly paralyzing) so feel free to come talk to me!  I don’t consider myself shy at all.

3. Just because I am not like you doesn’t make me wrong.  We are different, to be sure.  But God made me an introvert because it’s how I am supposed to be!  I like to be in smaller groups, I don’t enjoy being out among people for long periods of time and I would rather eat glass than go to a crowded theme park.  But I am actually content and I don’t need you to try to change me.

4. I am happy being alone.  If you see me all alone in the lunchroom, you don’t need to feel sorry for me!  I like being alone.  I don’t need you to rescue me from that.  If you want to come talk to me that’s great, but if you have other things to do that’s great too!  I am actually happy sitting there by myself.

5. We need each other!  I need for you to help me approach people and stay close when I’m in a crowd (I might even hold your hand!).  You need me to help you know when you’re being too pushy and to help you build a relationships with other introverts.

I have a dear, dear friend (Roxanne, the director of the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit) who is the extrovertest person I have ever known!  When we first met she got right in my face, all bouncy and excited to meet me and she had lots to say.  I actually took a big step back, held out my arm and said, “Whoa.  You need to stand back while we talk and tone it down a little.”  She didn’t know what to think of me!  I now know that it hurt her feelings a little and I am sorry for that (in my defense, she is VERY outgoing), but my protective instinct kicked in.  She now knows that was just me being Lisa and she loves me anyway (for which I am very grateful!).  We have discovered through building a friendship that we can have a deep appreciation for our differences.  We don’t try to change each other; we bring out the best in each other!

I love my extrovert friends, I wish sometimes it was easier for me to walk up and meet people.  But I know that the challenge is good for me and I do try to push myself out of my comfort zone.  Sometimes.

Let’s do this….you let me be myself and I let you be yourself and we can help each other in our weak areas?!

Sincerely,
Your Introvert Friend

This Mamma Doesn’t Do Midnight

This Mamma Doesn’t Do Midnight

On Friday night we went to dinner at a friend’s house and stayed way too late.  This mamma doesn’t do midnight anymore.  My system starts to shut down around 9…..starting with my eyelids.  But we lost track of time.  I should have realized when Levi got sleepy and laid on the couch.  He never goes to sleep before I do.

About an hour before he fell asleep I gave him my phone to play with.  I normally don’t do that, but he was really bored since all of the other kids were significantly older than he is.  After the evening was over and I looked at my phone I was shocked that he had moved all of my apps around.

If you think sleepy mamma is bad you should see sleepy mamma that can’t find her Instagram.  The next morning it took me almost an hour to figure out how to put it all back.  When I asked him why he did that he told me I was too unorganized so he made it better.  OK, he’s 7.  I almost told him he has no business telling me how to organize anything since he hasn’t been able to find his new shoes for 2 weeks.  But I refrained, being so mature and all.

On Saturday I was in Austin to visit my parents then teach an essential oils class with a friend of mine.  It was fun to meet new people and share my love for the oils.  Then I drove home and went almost straight to bed.  My eyelids were still suffering from the night before.

On Sunday after church I was really hoping for a long, hard nap.  God heard my cry because my son Jacob asked if he could take the other kids to see “God’s Not Dead” that was playing at the local Baptist church in the afternoon.  All but 2 of the kids went and those 2 decided to play together and I actually closed my bedroom door and took the best nap ever.  It had all the necessary elements….quiet, cool and nothing to do.  #perfection

Today I am taking my three little boys to a cavern to explore.  I promised them a few weeks ago that we would do it as soon as we could and they have been patiently waiting for Mom to stop her life and go.  Honestly, I don’t have time.  But then, I didn’t have time to go into labor and breastfeed on demand either.  Sometimes you just have to make it happen.

However, they don’t know it yet but we will also be stopping by Costco for a few things.  No trip with Mom is complete without a Costco run.  It’s a boy’s dream day.  But before you feel sorry for them you should know that what I lack in exciting shopping I make up for with frozen yogurt.

Oh….one thing I keep forgetting to tell you about….every Tuesday morning I am a guest on a web show called Mentor Moms with my friend at Hip Homeschool Moms.  It’s at 10CST and I’d love for you to join us!  Here’s their YouTube channel with past shows.

Have a great week!