24 Mondays

That’s how many I’ve had to rock you before nap. That’s how many I’ve had to hold you in the heirloom rocking chair in your bedroom, the place we’ve both come to know and love with such intimacy and sacred appreciation.

It’s how many Mondays I’ve had to notice that you like to grab hold of the sides of the rocking chair, one arm at a time, nice long stretches, while your head stays rested on my chest. How you love to hold onto my shoulder with only one arm, like a baby sloth, and you sleep with your mouth open and have a tiny growl of a snore.

It’s how many Mondays I’ve had to feel an inching wonder that you may never stop breastfeeding, and while I appreciate the bond and beauty and all that breastfeeding does for our soul and the souls of mamas and babies all over the world…believe me, I’m so grateful. But I’m ready for it to end.

But then…I can’t help but think that in 24 Mondays from now, you probably won’t want to nurse anymore. You may not even want me to rock you, and who knows if you will even want to be held at all. How many words will you say then? You’ll have a new thing that you do, and a new preference about you. Will you still call it “bbubbbbll” and like to be patted on the butt to be soothed? Will you want to play with your sister, or find solitary adventure without her?

All these things that I think won’t ever stop, they will. That’s just the thing.

And I will miss them.

I’ve come to realize that you’re likely the last one, Everly Jean. The last baby to be birthed and rocked and swaddled and breastfed. The last one. They saved the best for last with you. You’re good, you. Mama loves you, more than you may ever truly know.

I’ve watched you change other people, too. Strangers sometimes. Often times. They connect eyes with you and you give them that toothy smile and your eyes light up like Mama Dot. They see you like I see you.

Life is teaching me that finding gratitude for what shows up in my path, that’s true beauty. That my purpose right now is to be a mother, and to be there for you and your sister when you need me. To teach you to appreciate what you’ve got in life, to be kind to every single person you meet, and to love with all that you’re made of.

Raising and growing you into the lady version of yourself so that you, too can be a mama and a light for your own girls some day.

Knowing that a day will come when you won’t need me at all anymore and I will be lucky if you call me before bedtime each night when you’re all grown up.

All the growth and digging deep in self-discovery over the last year of my life seems to run parallel to your existence. You are wondrous to me, and I may never be able to find the right words to tell you exactly what you are to me. My hope is, that you’ll just see and know like the world sees you.

Perfect wonder, you are, Everly Jean.


I look forward to 24 more Mondays with you, that lead to Fridays and weekends where Sunday seems to drag out forever. Those are our favorite days.

I’ll try to stop rushing you to grow up now. Sleep well, our princess. Mama loves you.

 


 

In Case You’ve Wondered What It’s Like

Guilt. There’s been a lot of that.

Because I underestimated what it would be like to be at home. There have been fewer showers, less projects and more chores. There have been days when I feel like I’m on top of the world, and days when I cry for hours and wonder when I will get a break and feel sane again.

I sometimes eat dinner in the bathroom while watching my kids play in the bath tub, and my house isn’t nearly as clean as I thought it would be.

I completely took for granted the 40-hour break I got from being a mom each week. Not that my  mom-worries and responsibilities stopped when I went to work, but shifting my responsibility to something else for eight hours a day was a break. And I didn’t ever think so at the time.

I underestimated the value of a lot of the relationships I had with my co-workers, and I’ve realized that I wasn’t a very good boss or friend at work. I couldn’t have been. I was trying to do it all by myself, and had lost faith in God and I too often let my stress get to me. I always seemed annoyed and no one ever seemed to need me at a time that was convenient for me. I was so buried in tasks and the desire to perform. I cared deeply about always doing the right thing and being good for everyone, but I wasn’t good for myself. I am thankful for this awareness now and look forward to continuing to nurture the relationships I had through work that I know were real.

I miss interacting with adults all day and I miss taking a lunch break. I miss holding team meetings and watching my maintenance guys roll their eyes because I asked them to hang a sign.

There are days when my mind surges with ideas for my new business and all I want is eight hours to sit at a desk and my laptop and colorful pens and planners and a good playlist. I’d even take four hours. I just miss the grind of getting stuff done. Having a perpetual to-do list that carries over from one day to the next makes you feel like you’re digging holes on the beach. The wave comes, and fills up your hole and you have to dig again. And then more waves.

So, I savor nap time and all that I’m able to accomplish (like this blog post), but I feel guilty for telling Sadler she can watch TV while I work.

I’ve moved on to living life in my favorite robe and yoga pants, spending most of my day in the kitchen and building a rock star essential  oil business. I’ve gotten to spend more time with my Granny over the last three months than I’ve spent with her in the last 10 years. I’ve cancelled cable, sold my dream car, paid off debt, started this blog, read at least a dozen books and made lasting new friendships.

I’m grateful for all the naps I’ve been able to rock Everly before, and all the times I’ve been able to say Hi to the mailman.

I know that being needed all of the time may seem heavy and hard, because it is. But I’m thankful for the time I’ve learned to make for myself and appreciate each minute more than ever before. I’m learning to let the guilt of it all go, because I feel in my bones that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. And doing it with dirty hair and yoga pants makes it just that much more fun.

I know how the lotus flower grows…

 

 

 

Reflections: A Season Ends

I had a really close friend in college tell me out of the blue that we couldn’t be friends anymore. She just stopped hanging out with me. I remember feeling super-confused and I asked another friend if he knew what happened to make her stop wanting to hang out. He said, “You were just too much for her to handle”…

My journey as an at-home mama began at the end of winter. Spring came in, a fresh breeze of light and momentum. Now it’s nearing an end, and summer starts next week. A new season, a new set of goals and a new wave of life and adventure.

I’m learning to accept that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. They may float in and it feels as if they’ve been in the room all along. Like a feather. (I saw a feather on the beach just last weekend. It reminded me of the down pillows on Mama Dot’s bed and it made me smile/cry a tiny tear.)

Some people leave suddenly like my college friend, and we can’t help but wonder what we did to suddenly shift things so unexpectedly.

But then sometimes, we are blessed with people who land on our path at just at the right time. We instantly feel warm and we know we will love them forever.

I see life differently now.

Do you remember those books we used to color in as a kid? The ones where the pages were black and white drawings with tiny boxes within the drawing, like a big puzzle… and there was a number in the box and you filled in the boxes according to the little legend at the bottom of the page? Well, now when I look at those pages, all of my tiny boxes are filled in with color. All of the drawings are colored in in beautiful colors. It’s the same book, but I see all the colors. I now get the joy of adding glitter to the pages.

I’ve learned that being misunderstood is one of the most painful experiences as a human. Or, at least for me as a human. I can be seen by many as a punch in the face, packed into a pill form, immediately followed by a smile and a hug. But what I’m learning is that we all see differently, through different lenses. And I’m just not seen by everyone. And I can’t change that. I have a big heart and a strong passion to help others find the light within them. I’ve been called to help others see what I now see.

I’ve felt my friendships shift over the recent weeks, as the season has shifted into summer. I feel the energy moving around my circles and feel the different bonds forming as weekends and fireside nights turn to beach memories and family time at the park. I feel some drifting away as some are drawing closer. I welcome and appreciate the joy I feel in my life every day and am thankful for the people who have allowed me into their space. If you’ve been in mine, I can assure you it was a pure joy for me. I savor every bit of time I have to give love to others and am humbled by what this season has done for me as a person, a mother, a wife, a friend, a business leader.

The light within me sees and honors the light within you.

I look forward to summer. More time in the sun, more time in the sand, more time in the hammock, more burgers on the grill, more deep talks on the back patio. I look forward to pool days and spending time with some of my sweet mama friends around the baby pool.

I am thankful for what spring cultivated in my life. It’s incredibly beautiful to watch growth through nurturing and a little love and attention. Grace gets us far, I’m learning. God is so big and great and good.

 

It Always was WAHM

 

This has been my view lately. It’s what I see when I look out the back window of my house. In front of this window sits a tall kitchen table with lots of chairs. It’s where I sit (and stand) a lot of the day. It’s where I work.

It was February 1st of this year, and it was the very first day that I was at home in my “new life”. On this day, I recall thinking to myself…”I’m never going to think or say the words: I have to go to work again today/tomorrow…“. I even recall telling my husband about this thought I had. I told him that I was going to make it my goal to never utter those words again. I recall him smirking and saying, “OK babe.”  In my heart, these words meant so much more to me than they may seem to you reading them now, or to my husband when he heard them initially. I had felt a shift within myself and knew that I was going to find a way to contribute to our family without ever working outside of the home again.

It was merely a few days later, I was standing in the laundry room listening to my thoughts race back and forth in my head between ideas I’d pondered on ways to work from home. My heart was heavy. I’d been praying about it. Reid and I had been fighting about it. Quitting my job – my CAREER in property management that had provided so many blessings for us over the last decade – was a BIG DEAL. And while my heart may have felt that there was a plan, putting that plan into motion seemed like a more daunting task than I had realized.

But as I stood there, and continued to pull each piece of clothing out of the dryer one-by-one, it was as if the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, Candice, turn your head to the left”.

On the countertop to my left sat my wooden box of essential oils. Our families medicine cabinet. My reliable emotional health regimen. My daily go-to for at least 5 different reasons for myself or someone in this house.

I remember throwing my head back and literally laughing out loud when this happened. “Really, Lord?!” I cried! Something that had been right at my fingertips every. single. day. for the last two years was now the vehicle to bring income to my family.

What does the word “work” really mean to us anyway? The way I see it, we work to make money. Right?!

So, what if I could make money a non-traditional way? A way in which I never had to “go to work” again, or at least it would never feel that way. And then I read a story about a man:

There once was a man who hauled buckets of water for a living. His job was to haul water every day from the nearest water source, back to his village. Because everyone needed water, he always sold out. If he wanted to make more money, he simply hauled more buckets of water.

After many years of hauling these buckets of water, the man grew tired. Then he had an idea and inspiration! He decided to use his spare time to build a pipeline, so that eventually he could be free of hauling buckets of water, yet still provide water to the people of his village. So, he worked very hard over the next few years to build his pipeline.

The day the man turned on his water spigot, everything changed. He had successfully created an unlimited supply of water for the villagers and himself, resulting in an abundant financial pipeline.

I never knew anything about network marketing. Like most people, I had my own narrow thoughts about what it really was and how it really worked. Prior to this year, I didn’t really care to know about it. I had used the products for the last couple of years and found  myself sharing with friends and loved ones naturally. However, I never had an interest in the business side of the company. I then read one book and that was all it took for me to see the vision.

It also hasn’t taken me very long to see that the business venture I’ve launched into is really a personal development company disguised as an essential oil company.

Over the last ninety days, I have grown exponentially as a person.

I have found support in some incredible people who are walking this same  journey with me.

I have had the beautiful pleasure of helping other people get started on this very same journey. While their pace may be different or their approach unique to my own, the journey is theirs – and I get to be a part in helping them reach their goals.

I have found a way to utilize all of the business skills I acquired and sharpened over the past decade in order to propel my business forward.

Reading this book opened my eyes to living on purpose and gave me a powerful inspiring approach to managing all of the goals in my life and has made them more attainable and the reward seem more gratifying.

I’ve also learned that at an early age, we give ourselves limiting beliefs on what we should do and feel and think and say. By doing this, we have fears that we may never breakthrough. Reading this book has been an eye-opening way to change this mindset altogether for me personally, and has taught me to face my fears head on and then to watch them dissipate.

I have taken a deep dive in, head first and will never look back.

If you find yourself feeling as if you are just going through the motions in your life, you probably are.

If you stare at the ceiling at night thinking that there has got to be a better way to live life, there definitely is.

We were all put on this Earth to do something more than just pay bills.

Life is meant to be LIVED. We should not have to haul buckets for hours upon days upon weeks upon years.

Time is not something meant to hold us captive by all that we “have to do”. Time is actually in abundance if you can learn to shift your mindset about what’s actually important to you. Only then will you see that time is a gift, not a limitation.

I look forward to life now more so than ever. I truly welcome each day as a new gift from God and am so thankful to be able to carry out the plans He has in store for me. My heart remains full so that I may pour into others.

I went from working 40-50 hours a week outside of the home to working about 15 hours per week inside the home and am on a path to replace the income I once earned by the Fall of this year. This opportunity has proved itself to be very real and for once in my life, there is no stress associated with my “job”. It feels weird even calling what I do now a “job” because it just doesn’t feel like work. It just doesn’t.

I don’t sell essential oils. I share and educate others.

I don’t have essential oil parties. I teach essential oil classes.

This is not my hobby. This is my business.

I’m busy building a pipeline for my family so that someday, the mental shift will have come full circle — and we can pack up and vacation for three weeks if we feel like it. And we won’t have any debt left to pay. And we won’t feel like prisoners of time to the demands of the institutionalized world we feel so vacuumed into today.

I have a personal goal to lead a team of 1,000 people to take charge of their own health and wellness. I will achieve this goal by teaching anyone I can about the endless benefits these gifts of the Earth offer.

Who do you know that can help me reach this goal?…

 

 

 

Dear Sadler

April 24, 2017 (a very rainy Monday)

Dear Sadler,

You have the most beautiful singing voice.

Lately, you’ve been singing around the house. Singing louder. Singing prouder. I found you in the bedroom just a few days ago with your microphone in hand, your pink sunglasses on and you were singing a Capella. You were making up your own lyrics. And you sounded really good.

You see, I don’t claim to be an excellent singer, but I will claim to have a very musical ear. In fact, lots of people in our family are musicians. Your daddy and I actually grew up in chorus together starting all the way back in middle school. We have roots singing and learning about music and the thought of you sharing in that desire is just awesome.

In fact, it’s what makes it the most beautiful part of the story in my opinion. Just what if the gift you have so clearly been blessed with carries you into a life as a performing artist or musician or Broadway star?? What if two people who fell in love over music created the most perfect little singer who loves music, too?!

Watching the light in your eyes today as we harmonized the Full House theme song – totally impromptu – was incredible. You carried the tune for the entire song, and you harmonized back with me. You made it look and sound effortless.

I know that you get a little bit nervous when you think someone else is listening to you. But I hope you know that you have not one single thing to hide, and your voice is beautiful and meant to be heard.  Keep singing in the car, and start singing in the shower. You just make me so proud every day.

I love you,

Mama

 

 

Reflections: First Two Months

Since this journey began, I’ve noticed things. I’ve felt shifts within my being that have moved me to tears, brought me to my knees and made me laugh until I’ve ached. Some of the things I have noticed about my daughters and my husband and myself are things that never caught my attention before — it wasn’t there to give. I was here, but I wasn’t here. I saw them, but I didn’t see. Being home for the last two months has slowed me down. The stirring has stopped just enough that I am able to notice things that were always there before, just not deserving of my time in my “busy life”. I’ve found a way to stay still and calm (for the most part) and present.

I’ve noticed a tender, undenying compassion in Sadler that led her to cry — actually sob outloud — during a Disney movie. The movie was Brave, and it was the scene where Merida is reunited with her mother. I came into the room to check on her when I heard her sobbing. When I saw her sitting there on her beanbag looking up, my heart immediately swelled. Her eyes connected with mine and she smiled just a little as tears slid over her little cheeks and onto the floor. I held her head on my chest and kissed her forehead and I cried, too. I knew at that moment that she had compassion and it brought joy to my heart. Partly because I realized that my girl had a gift, and partly because I actually watched it happen.

I’ve learned that Sadler likes to take her tiny toys apart, only so she can see how they were made and challenge herself to put them back together. I’ve watched her develop patience with herself and her sister and the dog. She has become more aware of what she has to do to keep her stuff “safe” from their impromptu takings.

I’ve learned that Everly is more observant than we realized and she mimics her sister’s every move. There isn’t a soul she has encountered that doesn’t earn her whole smile, as she truly does draw in everyone she meets. Her energy is strong and she is going to need much protection as she grows up innocently.

I’ve noticed an ebb and flow in my marriage that brings both peace and calamity, all in sometimes what seems to be the same wave. I’ve learned that silence wins arguments and that being louder doesn’t make you right. Marriage is a team effort and both teammates have to be willing to give 100% all of the time, not 50% each most of the time.

I’ve discovered that cooking dinner early in the afternoon so that it’s ready when Reid gets home from work makes a big difference in our evening. We have time for walks in the neighborhood and playing in the backyard and I’ve learned that we need these moments in our life. It’s the little things that reset us to what’s important in the middle of it all.

I’ve learned that cleaning my house is easier to do in small doses, rather than try to tackle all at once. Monday and Friday are laundry days. I fill in Tuesday thru Thursday with something different each day: floors, bathrooms, dusting, windows, etc..  It has made for an easier approach for sure and I feel less overwhelmed with trying to do it all every day.

I’ve remained determined to show respect to my husband continually, because I’ve accepted that he needs my reminder of this all of the time. I’ve discovered that love and respect reciprocate one another in very natural ways if you just let them.

I’ve taken time each morning to devote my heart and my thoughts to God. I was given a daily devotional book in January for my birthday (by a person in my life I hold very dear to my heart). I started reading it right away and quickly caught up to the day the book was given to me and I haven’t missed a day since. I find relevance in the author’s daily thoughts to my own journey and am receptive to the message the scripture provides. Sometimes this may only be a two-minute window that I have to share with God as I read, but I make sure to make time for those two minutes. I just don’t feel that my day is the same without it. It sets the tone for my heart for the remainder of the day and reminds me where my I should place my focus.

I’ve launched a business! Who knew that something that has literally been right under my nose for two years would be a vessel for financial freedom, a way to share my unwavering passion for natural solutions, and a way to use the skills I developed and sharpened while in my decade-long property management career?! I certainly didn’t, but here is what happened: I was standing in the laundry room in early January, and my heart was heavy. How can I make money from home so that I can help contribute to our family and lifestyle?  I had created profiles on UpWork to dive into freelance consulting opportunities or entry level writing gigs. I had bagged up everything I could find to sell on MICIT or at a yard sale for quick cash. But as I was standing there at this very moment in the laundry room, I remember, it was as if the Lord said, “Look to your left…” and there it was. Etched into the wooden box that contained my arsenal of essential oils, our go-to for sickness and cleaning products and cooking and emotional health and first aid…the words were there. And I literally laughed out loud! doTERRA. It was my answer. And God has already shown that it was a smart realization, yet one I could have never realized sooner than now. This was my time. I’ve found my place and I’ve only just begun. I’ve helped family and friends get essential oils into their homes. I have had the time to spend teaching others how to use essential oils and have shared oils with strangers.  My heart has remained full along the way, which is how I know I’m exactly where I need to be. Excited for what is to come just isn’t a good enough way to describe it. I am euphoric.

As Spring is upon us and the Dogwoods are blooming and we all find ourselves feeling a little more alive, I am thankful for all that the last couple of months have provided me. I never dreamed of a life where I could blog in the afternoon on a Tuesday while my baby girl naps, all the windows open in my house as the afternoon breeze reminds me to be still. I am expanding in abundance and love and success each day as I inspire others around me to do the same. I choose joy.

 

 

 

 

Reflections: Week 1

After a full week of being at home with Everly and not working outside the home, I am left feeling full. As I sit to write on the evening of this abnormally sunny Sunday, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the time that truly belonged to me this week. Time each day this week was well-spent, and seemed to go by at  a slower pace than when I sat behind a desk. I am grateful for this change of pace and can already feel the impact this decision will have on my family as we embrace our new normal.

Monday was my first day at home with Everly. The entire day offered a surge of emotion, welcomed by the quiet of the house amidst our presence. Our day began around 7:30 in the same bed. It was a nice bonus to get to sleep in. I made French toast for breakfast -something I could have never dreamed of doing in my “old life”, we always seemed to be running late and eating on the go. It’s amazing what you are capable of when your desire meets your ability. After we dropped Sadler off at preschool,  we went to Costco and were home in time for lunch. Rocking Everly to sleep for nap on a Monday morning was the first glimpse of  the many blessings around the corner for us. I weeped tears of joy as she drifted off in my arms. Once she was asleep, I felt compelled to share a post with social media that sparked so much love and encouragement and words of strength and affirmation from so many people that know and love our family. I was truly overwhelmed and beyond inspired by the kind words and support that people shared in reaction to our story. It has moved me and provided great momentum, somewhat of a turning point in my journey.

When Everly was in daycare, the teachers often commented on how she hated taking naps. Ironically, she took a two-hour nap on our first day home together.

love

Everly is 13-months old and while not yet walking, she crawls all over the place and pulls up on anything that she can grab hold of. She will tirelessly work to come find me wherever I am in the house and greets me with the biggest smile, arms held up uttering some sort of grunt or moan. She makes hilarious faces, and she is quite vocal. Mrs. Pam, our beloved daycare teacher used to say that Everly was her “little but loud” baby – when she would call her this, it often reminded me of Shakespeare’s quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Though she be but little, she is fierce”. Sounds about right.

Having dinner ready by the time Reid got home from work each day was my favorite part of the week. As of late and right up until I left my job, he had been cooking dinner most every night because I was working late hours. Even on nights when I came home on time, he would still offer to cook just because he wanted to. I enjoyed taking that role over this week and can honestly say that I look forward to holding it for a while.

cookingCooking has always been something I enjoy. There is something about finding a good playlist on Apple Music, pouring a glass of wine and dancing in the kitchen while cooking that just heals the soul for me. Prior to having children, I recall coming home from a long day at work and finding my peace and joy in the kitchen. Cooking a colorful dinner for Reid and I was my favorite part of the day. Once Sadler was born, this slowly slipped away as bottle-washing, laundry-washing/folding/sorting, pumping, nursing, diaper- washing (we used cloth diapers for several months when Sadler was little), changing, feeding, etc. seemed to take the lead.

By week end, our house was cleaner than it’s ever been. I have been over-the-moon excited about the time I now have to do things I have been “listing” and day-dreaming about for quite some time. Having the ability to spend more time making our house a home has already made a positive impact on me in so many ways. Hearing my 4-year-old say, “Daddy, I love our house”, completely unsolicited and out of the blue this weekend, was music to my ears. I became filled with joy and humility and closed my eyes as I had a small celebration on the inside because I knew I had made a difference in her day. It’s the little things. Not just for me, but for everyone. Having order and tidiness and cleanliness in the home just makes life better.

I had a party planned at our house on Saturday to share my love of doTERRA essential oils with some of my friends and family. Throughout the week, I picked up things here and there in preparation and checked things off my list to get ready for everyone to arrive Saturday afternoon. Low and behold, without warning and certainly without welcome, the stomach bug found it’s way into our home at 3AM on Saturday – poor Sadler was a sick little girl and the weekend didn’t quite turn out as planned. We spent our time in our PJs and extra naps were taken without prompt. Everyone got plenty of “oil downs” with blends to keep our immune systems boosted and diffusers were going in every room in the house. So far, everyone else in the family has remained in the clear but we are continuing to monitor conditions and administer TLC as needed. Thankfully the weekend offered unusually high temperatures and every window in the house was open, offering a nice cleanse of the air and energy as the sunshine beamed in.

Reid surprised me with some antique glass jars this week, one of his co-workers gave them to him and he thought to bring them to me. I couldn’t resist using this beautiful, extra-large Mason jar to showcase some blue hydrangeas I picked up this week.

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I decided to keep Sadler home from preschool today to offer one more day of rest and recovery. The house is quiet, and my heart full. I am thankful that joy found me when it did.