Reflections: Motherhood for Me

Something salpingitis. That’s what I remember my doctor saying to me. She was young like me, so the tears in her eyes as she told me made sense to me. But I still didn’t understand. Having children on my own would be very difficult because my fallopian tubes were blocked? I’m sorry, what do you mean exactly? I remember getting in the car and sobbing. We knew we wanted to have a family, and we had already discussed adoption if it truly wasn’t in our plan to have our own children. But I was devastated to think of the possibility.

God proved that doctor wrong and we became pregnant with Sadler in 2011. When we found out we were pregnant, I will never forget the way that I felt. I felt happier and more excited than ever before! I quickly became washed with the gift of motherhood and made my body a temple to prepare for the precious child God would bless us with.

We wanted a boy. I really wanted a boy. I even knew what I wanted to name him. I remember being in the tiny ultrasound room, my parents and Reid’s parents circled the room as we all patiently waited for the technician to tell us. When she said it was a girl…I wept. I think to this day everyone in the room except for my husband thought I was weeping tears of joy. In reality, the tears were fear and disappointment. I felt guilty for being sad that it wasn’t a boy. But deep down, I feared I wouldn’t know how to be a mother to a girl. My mother and I didn’t have the closest of relationships throughout my life, and while I love my mother dearly and am thankful for the journey we rode because it has undoubtedly led me to who and what I am today — I was scared.

Sadler Mae was born on July 12, 2012 via cesarean because she was breach. Her umbilical cord prolapsed while I was being prepped for delivery and what was a normal procedure turned into an emergency situation in the blink of an eye. My husband was still in the hall being scrubbed in when they made the incision to get her out. The anesthesia hadn’t fully kicked in. I wanted my husband’s hand to hold. I wanted his eyes to look into. Within a few seconds, he stood before me, and I don’t think either of us was breathing. We just locked eyes and cried as the doctors and nurses worked to get Sadler out of my body. She was lodged under my ribcage and it took lots of force and unexpected positioning to get her out. And then, the sweetest most anticipated sound my ears ever did wait to hear. She cried. And I breathed. And my life was changed forever.

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In January of 2015 I turned 33 and for a birthday gift, someone very special to me took me to see a spiritual advisor. I had been to one once before as a teenager, and honestly didn’t know what to expect as we walked in. One of the things that came up during our conversation was whether or not I would be blessed with another child. Reid and I knew we wanted another child, and I really still wanted to have a son. I had dreamt of my baby Dax. I had seen his face before and held him in my arms. So when I told this to the spiritual advisor that day, I felt the look in her eye but wouldn’t fully understand until a few months later. She gently smiled and told me that “soon enough” I would be pregnant again and reminded me to be patient with God’s plan.

I found out I was pregnant with another baby girl in June of 2015 and Everly Jean was born on December 27. She and I rocked out an amazing vaginal delivery, which was something I wanted more than I even realized until it actually happened. It was intense and long and difficult and painful. But there is no doubt in my mind that the second this child exited my body and joined our family earth side, a spiritual gate opened within my soul and my life became bright with colors I’d never seen before.

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I’ve thought often about my conversation with the spiritual advisor that day, and after connecting the dots in some of my own intuition I now believe that we did get our baby Dax. He was living inside me at some point in my life. However, God had Everly held for us and she was waiting. It wasn’t in the plan for baby Dax to be mine on Earth. But it was most certainly his divine plan to give me Everly.

I am weeping as I type this, because I am filled with so much emotion through this realization. We often think we have it all figured out, but we are small in the grand scheme of everything. God has a bigger plan for us all, and doctor’s don’t know everything. Life is a gift and a miracle.

 

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I will celebrate being a mother every day that I’m alive. I enjoyed a beautiful Mother’s Day weekend with my two daughters and husband picking strawberries and just loving on each other. It’s the little things that reset my perspective of my purpose. I’m grateful for these moments.

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?…

 

 

 

Set an Intention to Live on Purpose

This bracelet came in the mail today. I went to a workshop recently and had the opportunity to make it. I was asked to come up with my word. It took only a few minutes to think about it, but the word WAIT quickly came into my head. I thought it odd at first. What was I waiting for?…

I’ve spent my life searching for ways to practice patience. I’ve failed often. I used to put rubber bands on my wrist at work, and each time I found myself feeling impatient, I would pop my wrist with the rubber band.

I’ve found myself reminding my daughter and husband almost daily of practicing their patience, in hopes that it would resonate with me in my own practicing.

I’ve jotted daily reminders to myself about not having a tone, or just remembering to smile and to be patient with others.

While all of these efforts were certainly helpful and some continue to be even today, I’ve come to learn that often if we make a tiny shift in our perspective, our situation can turn out differently than the direction it’s headed. What if the patience I have been seeking seemed unattainable to me because I was looking at my desired outcome the wrong way? What if all I needed to do was find a way to shift my perspective so that I could become a more patient person?

So I wait…

I wait to hurry.

I wait to judge.

I wait to raise my voice.

I wait to react.

I wait to compare.

I wait to argue.

I wait to criticize.

I wait to assume.

I wait to give up.

I wait to label.

I wait to run.

I wait for grace.

I WAIT.

And in these moments of waiting, I’ve found God taking over as my focal point. 

I’ve discovered that things will manifest themselves so much differently if I simply wait it out before having a knee-jerk reaction, an unnecessary tone, a preconceived notion, a painful worry, a repetitive fear, or a consuming doubt. God knows today and he knows tomorrow. He is guiding my path with grace and an open heart and I am so thankful for the salvation I find in His glory.

I am becoming a more patient person by waiting.

Waiting allows me to live on purpose.

Living on purpose allows me to serve God’s plan for my life.

So I will wear this bracelet as often as I can and when I look down at it, I will remember to WAIT. I am grateful for the simplicity of what this bracelet offers.

When in doubt in your own life, I encourage you to turn inward. Find your word. Set your own intention. Living on purpose changes the game.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

The House That’s Building Us

There is a place in our house where the energy feels different to me. I noticed it when we first moved in 4 years ago. Our house was built in the 1950s and we are only the third family to ever live here. Shortly after we bought the house and moved in, the seller we had just purchased from wrote me a letter. It was handwritten, and very descriptive. It told the story of our house, about when it was built and the land it was chosen to be built on. It told the story of the man who built it and the family that he raised here. It told the story of how she herself had been invited to this house when the first family lived here, and when she walked through the front door she fell in love with the way she felt, and she dreamed of living here someday. She went on to tell the story of how the family’s breeze carried them in a different direction and the house went for sale, and she made it her mission to make it her own. She told me about small quirks to be on the lookout for, like how to twist the opening to the air filter cover just right in order to get it to stay closed. It was a very thoughtful letter, and it left me feeling lucky to be the newest memory-maker in this beautifully crafted house that I am so happy to call my home.

The letter mentioned the family names of the builder and former owner of our house, and as luck would have it, about a year after we moved in, the strangest thing occurred. I was managing an apartment community in Greensboro at the time, and one afternoon a file landed on my desk. It was a new lease to be signed for a new person moving into the community. While flipping through the file, I noticed a name. It was the name of the person who grew up in my house. What are the odds that someone who grew up in the same house we had recently moved into, would be moving into the community I managed?! My immediate thought was to reach out, and to let this person know who I was. I sent him a very short email, introducing myself as Community Manager to Lincoln Green and adding a P.S. line to say that my family had recently purchased the house he grew up in, and sorry to seem like a stalker but I just had to let him know of the connection! He replied to my email almost immediately and we both looked forward to his move in day so we could meet face-to-face.

Our first meeting was full of conversation about his time in the house. Turns out, he spent his childhood and teenage years here. While moving in, we found a tiny Olan Mills picture of a family of three that was clearly taken in the 1970s. I told him about finding this picture and without even seeing it, he confirmed that the kid in the picture was him. I asked him about the stained glass stepping stones in the back yard and he told me where he buried the pets of his past. I asked him what memories he had of the cool nooks and crannies I had already discovered in the top of the closets and what he remembered about the attic.

One afternoon shortly after he moved into the apartment, he came into the office to pay his rent. I was returning from lunch and we crossed paths in front of the clubhouse. I smiled, said hello and as I was about to walk into my office, I turned around and went back outside. “Don!” I called for him as he walked to his car. “I have a super-weird question for you.” He grinned and walked toward me. “Did anyone ever die in this house?” I asked.

He looked at me, gave a slight head nod and replied, “Yes, actually. My grandmother died in that house.” I got chills. Not a scary kind of chills, but I felt validated in a way that I didn’t know I longed for. I went on to ask what room was hers, and where she died. As it turns out, the very same place in our house that has always felt different to me is where she took her last breath. He went on to tell me that she died peacefully, and it then made so much sense to me.

I’ve never felt afraid in this room. In fact, this room was Sadler’s bedroom when we first moved in. Now, it is Everly’s bedroom. And while I knew there was something very different that I would feel when I walked into this particular room, it was never a negative feeling. But, it’s a strong feeling. One that I feel mostly when in one particular corner of the room.

Once Everly was born, things began to change for me. Because Sadler was breech, she was delivered via cesarean in 2012. Everly was delivered vaginally, and I am 100% convinced that her arrival earthside opened me spiritually. The short 15-months since Everly’s birth have been the most momentous, wild-flowing and riveting months of my entire life. I’ve found God carrying out glory and promise in my life at every turn. I’ve made some of the biggest, boldest, most fearless moves ever I could have ever dreamt, and I know the best is only yet to come.


This corner of Everly’s bedroom has become my sanctuary. Without fail, every time I sit in this chair to rock her before nap or bedtime, the tears flow like rain down my cheeks. This is where I pray. This spot is where God moves me. This is where I hear Him, and my heart opens to speak to Him. This spot is where I take my deepest breaths, and where I feel the safest. This spot is one where I hold my child and feel connected with her more so than when I am in other places. This spot is special to me.

Our  neighbor commented to me today that our house has never seen so much happiness. She would know, she has lived here for almost two decades. It made me feel good to know that our family has brought renewed life to this beautiful house. Regardless of what lives may have ended here, the life we are creating here and the joy that is being cultivated here will hopefully create a legacy to be told to future families that live here. Maybe I will write a letter, too.

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.

 

 

 

 

Amen. Namaste.

img_1134-1I grew up in church. It was a Southern Baptist church; the pews were wooden with fabric cushion. The hymnals were blue, and they were sporadically placed along the backs of each pew in attached wooden shelves. There were little pencils in little holes next to bigger little holes that were there to hold your communion cup. There were cards for first-time guests to fill out, and there were envelopes for tithing.

Church was a place we just automatically went. My great-grandparents and/or grandparents generally took me along with them on Wednesday nights. First we would go eat at either K&W or the O’Henry Grill, and then I would go to the Youth service while they went in “big church”. I remember being shy in youth group because I was so little in comparison to the “big” kids.

I remember years before that attending Vacation Bible School and making crafts out of popsicle sticks and coloring pictures with Bible verses written on them. I remember being in a play as a 7-year-old and thinking I was the coolest kid on the planet because I was acting. I remember around this same time, singing a solo on Sunday morning and being terrified when the time came in the music for me to start, and instead of singing I ran straight off the stage and into my cousin Sissy’s lap as tears rolled down my cheeks. I remember lots of softball games on Friday nights watching my dad play. I remember covered dish lunches in the Fellowship Hall and that I always had to find what Mama Dot or Granny brought because I knew it was likely one of my favorites. I remember laying across Mama Dot’s lap during the church sermon and getting some of the best back scratches the world’s ever known. I remember being baptized by Pastor Bud and even remember what I wore that day.

I have lots of memories of church growing up, but none of them really include much about God. As I grew into an adult, I drifted away from the familiar place church offered me and my family. I found myself choosing sleep over sermons on Sunday mornings, often to nurse a hangover or just catch up from being exhausted. People in the church “family” started to ask questions. Gossip set in. My parents (finally) divorced. My life fell apart… and church didn’t make the cut for what was important to me at that time.

As I went off to college, not much changed. I made good grades, held sometimes two jobs at a time while taking a full-load of courses at NC State. I made some great friends – some of whom are my very dearest friends today – but church and God wasn’t something that was talked about much in my circle of friends. If it was, I don’t remember. Which only tells me it wasn’t impactful if it did indeed happen.

Almost a year to the day after I graduated from college in December 2006, I went on the first date with my husband. We had known each other since 1994 but never dated throughout high school. Our first date turned into moving in together, which turned into engagement and marriage and 2 beautiful daughters. But at first, church wasn’t something we did together. It wasn’t something we did apart. It wasn’t anything that we even talked about — at first.

We would go to church with my grandparents for the Easter service once in a while, and I recall attending his niece’s christening about 7 years ago. But we didn’t have a church that we attended regularly and we didn’t spend a great deal of time talking about our plans to change that. We were content in our lives with what we had and what we were doing and who we spent our time with. We didn’t pray. We didn’t talk about God. We just lived our lives.

It wasn’t until this past Fall that I made the connection. I decided to read a book called The Power of Now that was a turning-point in my life. This book talked about being present in each moment that we are living and breathing, and to actually pay attention to each breath that we take; it was a reminder to “stop and smell the roses” sometimes. This book was so much more for me than I can even begin to describe here… I remember not being able to put it down, and I had not read a book from start to finish in almost a decade. I remember wanting to tell everyone about it, and I tried. But I quickly learned that it was not something everyone wanted to hear. Not everyone wants to hear about a riveting self-help book that I read. Have you lost your mind, Candice? was the translation of the look on their faces when I shared it with some friends and loved ones. But that’s just the thing, I felt just the opposite: almost as if I had found my mind. Or at least myself.

I have been visiting an incredible hot yoga studio for about a year now and was able to relate to the points the author made about paying attention to your breath. Each time I would go to yoga after reading this book, I found myself channeling deeper into my awareness of my breath, and it became easier each time. I started noticing my breathing while at home sitting on the couch or cooking dinner. I started to notice when I had found my innermost feelings of peace and stillness. I noticed and embraced the quiet in my mind and in my body. I was thankful for the yoga teachers I have been led by in my practice as of late who have reminded me to just breathe.

I realized that the feeling I felt of warmth and white: that was God. And it was then that I began to connect the dots between my version of universe God and church God.  I realized that they were one in the same. I realized that the inner stillness I had found and recently tapped into was God within me. I started to literally see things differently, with more color, and with more appreciation of the beauty within everything around me. Once a lens that only reflected black and white images, I now see so much color.

Toward the end of last year, we visited a new church and my heart was open to accept everything that it had to offer. I found my inner stillness and peace and tears streamed down my face as my sweet friend poured her heart out through song on the stage. The walls were black, the lights were dark and the spirit of God was in that room. I was so moved. I was inspired to keep digging within to find God within me, and I am happy to say we’ve been back several Sunday mornings since this fist visit and not much has changed. Same tears. Same stillness and peace. Same good music that makes me cry every.single.time.

This week marks the one-year-anniversary of my return to work after maternity leave when Everly was born. Only one year ago I was in such a different place spiritually and emotionally. I couldn’t (wouldn’t) even engage in conversation with you about God. I didn’t want to. I was going through the motions to earn a paycheck and daydreamed about what life would be like in another version of it. I looked happy, but I wasn’t. I knew there was so much more to be gained but couldn’t put my finger on what it was.

Today I am happy to tell you that I fully accept that I am nothing without God. He is at work within me and I rest my case in arguing that I have a better way to do this. I am at full mercy of  letting go of fear and worry and anxiety in order to live fulfilled and am in awe of what God has planned for me. I start each day with personal time devoted to my relationship with God and appreciate the difference it has made in my life.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”      

Proverbs 3:5-6

I hope and pray that I may always be able to stay mindful of something as simple as breathing. I pray that I can teach my girls to slow down and enjoy life each day rather than being busy in the process. May you find the color in your world and see it brightly. Namaste. And, Amen.