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 when we feel under the weather  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.

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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.

 

 

Like a Mack Truck

It was Friday the 13th in January of this year. I had just returned from a four-day business trip that was full of energy and life and motivation. It was actually a leadership conference, and considering I had just joined the company a few months prior in November, I was eager to get to know my co-workers and fellow industry folk from around the country. So the trip was something to look forward to, yet I dreaded getting on the plane. I felt guilty for being excited about having alone time/being away from my kids and husband. I felt sad for leaving them. I was looking forward to making new connections with people within my company that shared in my daily struggles (often) and successes (not as often unfortunately). While I was there, I asked strategic questions to find out more about the work/life balance others had and what they loved about coming to work each day. I noticed a pattern: the people in my company were amazing. They are hard-working and dedicated and tenacious and driven and inspiring. And I met a lot of incredible people, some of whom made flattering comments about my potential and what I could bring to the property and organization, just based off having watched me work for a few short weeks..it was very nice to hear to say the least and I left feeling appreciated.

However, I woke up that Friday morning filled with one of the worst feelings I’ve felt in my 35 years. I physically ached, my stomach hurt, I was puking. I dreaded going to work. I managed to get myself and the girls ready and get out of the house. As I backed my car out of the driveway my eyes welled up with tears. When I got to Sadler’s daycare I remember feeling angry. I barely spoke to anyone, signed her in at the front desk and got back in my car. As I drove to Everly’s daycare I started to feel increasingly worse and dreaded even walking into a familiar place such as her school in a few short minutes. I got out of my car, saw a fellow mommy/dear friend and my heart swelled in anticipation of a simple hug. I cried on her shoulder and my crying suddenly turned to sobbing. I could tell she was afraid of what was happening and not quite sure of what to say. My explanations were frantic; broken sentences and heavy breathing seemed to last forever. I took Everly into her classroom and looked at one of the teachers, “I hate my job”, the tears streamed down my face. My body physically ached as I hugged the daycare workers and my sweet friend, kissed Everly goodbye and drove home. I crawled into bed and cried harder than ever before. With the force of a Mack truck barreling down a midnight highway, I became overwhelmed with an urge I had felt before. An urge that only six months prior had swept me off my feet; an urge that led Reid and I to a place of unfamiliarity, but we seemed to find peace with things. We accepted that I wasn’t happy in my career and we agreed that I could and should hang my property management hat on the hook for the time being. I was being called to stay at home with my children, and felt in my heart that a work-from-home situation was more conducive to the life I wanted to live. However, an opportunity with another company presented itself and things began to appear as if perhaps there was a lifeline to the happiness within my career as a manager. I was excited about my new boss, loved the people-centric culture that my new company had to offer and even saw a future for myself within their executive leadership team. But on this Friday the 13th none of that seemed to matter. I found myself feeling that very same feeling that had knocked me over six months before.  I picked up my phone and without fear of judgment I vulnerably texted my boss to tell her I wouldn’t be in the office, that I was having a rough time; I openly shared with her my current state of darkness and despair. I had nothing to lose and knew everything was actually only to be gained from that point forward.

The next few days were not much better physically, while mentally I felt a great sense relief.  I managed to push through the weekend and as luck would have it, my birthday was the following Monday. An outpouring of love from friends and family on my “halfway to 70” birthday made the healing process that much sweeter and definitely much easier. I knew what I had to do, and the very next day I resigned from my position. My boss was devastated and tried to talk me out of it. Higher ups within the company called to try and talk me out of it. But they wholeheartedly respected my decision and I left no bridges burned in my departure.

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I don’t have a solid plan, and I can honestly say the whole gamut of emotion has played  part in my world lately. There’s been fear but hope, sadness but joy, uncertainty but clarity… But I have faith in God, and I firmly know that where I was wasn’t where I needed to be. Money can be made in plenty of ways and property managers are a dime a dozen. While I may have been successful in my career and am grateful for all that it provided for both me personally and for my family monetarily, life is far too precious and certainly not long enough to do anything that steals your joy.

Thanks to two very important ladies in my life, I know these two things to be true:

Ability and desire are not the same thing.

You can’t give from an empty vessel.

Life started for us this week, I just know it.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “

Jeremiah 29:11