Tuesday, September 16, 2014

the simple way.

This week our History lesson is on Daniel Boone
(did you know he named his gun Tick-Licker? Very interesting).

As we read about Daniel Boone and his discovery of Kentucky,
I am drawn to the simplicity of his time.
Sure there was no road from Virginia to Kentucky.
And there were Indians lurking behind every corner.
Sure one or two people didn't make it to Kentucky because of "the fever" 
or some other strange disease.
But there is something beautiful in his journey.
The love of nature.
The hard work yet simple way of living.
Hunt for your food.
Make your clothes.
Work to simply live.
Not live to work.


I have also recently read the Little House books to the girls.
Again, hard workers yet such a simple life.
Listening to Pa play the fiddle around the fire every night.
Finding joy in reading a book as a family.
Dolls made out of corn stalks for goodness sake!

We canceled our cable this week.
Right before an Eagles game that would only be aired on ESPN.
GASP!!  
(not sure Andy thought that one through)
The original plan was for him to go to a friends house to watch it.
But then we did the unthinkable...
we dug out our old radio and LISTENED to the game!
Andy in his recliner with a beer and me at his side,
 just listening to a football game.
This was my version of listening to Pa play the fiddle by the fire.


I am craving simplicity.
I am craving a life that includes hard work minus the rush.
The rush is stealing my joy.
My peace.
And in turn stealing the joy and the peace of my family.


This constant rat race is sucking the life out of me.
So. I'm done.
I know this will not be the norm and I know many people won't understand this decision.
I am saying goodbye to all activities outside of my home for this busy season we are in.
We live in a society that says we can do it all!
We can be amazing mothers while building our careers, pursuing our personal dreams
and we are too look amazing doing it!
These women may exist. And more power to you if you are one of them!
I however, am NOT.
And guess what?
That's OK.

I am an amazing mother. 
I really am.
But I have allowed distractions and unrealistic expectations of myself to
turn me into a stressed out, exhausted, grouchy, mother.


As I step away from things and begin to refocus,
I am seeing for the first time that I'm good at this mothering thing.
And I actually really enjoy it!
When I take the TIME to enjoy it.

Don't get me wrong
it is HARD WORK!
But hard work is not what I'm separating myself from.

I want to have time to notice the beautiful cornfields against the blue sky.
I want to sit around the dinner table with my family without rushing off to the next event.
I want to dry the dishes with my girls and talk to them.
I want to sit at my husbands side and listen to the football game on the radio.
I want the simple life.


Saying goodbye to the rat race is actually painful at times as I say goodbye 
to some of my dreams and goals, and probably even some friends who won't understand.
But the peace and joy that lies ahead for myself and my family is worth the short-lived pain.


This life is short and precious and beautiful.
I want to experience the beauty.
I want to live a life of love, joy and peace the way God intended me too.



"The battle for our hearts are fought on the pages of our calendars" - Bob Goff





Friday, August 8, 2014

hope for the anxious.

It's been so long since I've written a blog post that I couldn't find my own blog!
Then once I found it I realized the baby in my photo is now 3
and we've added a baby!!

I'm not looking to start blogging again
I just wanted to share something and it was too long for a Facebook post.

Most of you will not care too much about this and that's fine.
But I wanted to share for the many people who have text me, 
messaged me and asked me about my journey with anxiety
as many of you are (unfortunately) on a similar journey.

I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember.
I didn't identify that it was anxiety until my 20's
but looking back it's always been there.

I somehow got labeled as "laid back" when I was young.
I guess I appear that way most of the time.
Inside however I am far from laid back!

Inside I have a feeling of a constant adrenaline rush.
It never stops.
It's exhausting.
There have been days that I feared my body would literally shut down from the exhaustion.

A few years ago I began a mild anxiety medication.
It worked wonders!
I experienced relief for the first time.

However, over the last 9 months my anxiety went from a constant 5 to a constant 10!
It was literally debilitating.
I would curl up in bed and listen to worship music for hours.
I quit the worship team because I could hardly get up on the stage to sing anymore.
(I quickly came to my senses though knowing I couldn't live without leading worship 
and begged Gary to let me back on the team!)

Things seemed dire and I told Andy I needed to do something immediately.
My body couldn't handle the endless anxiety.
I called my family doctor who prescribed me a stronger anxiety medication.
YES! 
No.
This medication turned me into a zombie.
I could hardly keep my eyes open through out the day.
Someone with 4 kids needs to keep their eyes open!

I was so discouraged and losing hope that I'd ever find relief.
I asked Andy to call Phil Haven and have me checked in.
I seriously asked him to do that.
(OK maybe I just wanted a vacay from the kids but whatever..)

With the recommendation from a dear friend we found a counselor and made an appointment.
For the record, I think EVERYONE could benefit from counseling!
Andy came with me and afterwards said,
"I didn't think I was one for counseling but I loved that!"
Talking brings healing.

The first question my counselor asked was "do you exercise regularly?"
Um. No.
His reply.
" YOU MUST."
Exercise is a must for anyone struggling with anxiety (and I would imagine depression).

I went to the YMCA that night with my fitness freak father :)
It felt so good.
Andy and I joined the gym the next week.

I.FEEL.AMAZING.

I have been working out 5/6 days a week for 3 weeks.
My anxiety has gone from a 10 to a 2.
THAT IS INCREDIBLE!

Why had my family doctor (who I love by the way) never suggested this?
Why was he so quick to drug me?
I think it's just what we do in America.

 For years I've searched for relief using:
Drugs
Alcohol
Food
Medication
and anything else that I thought would make me feel better, if even for a few short moments.

I've never experienced anything like the high I get from a good workout!
I have finally found the relief I have been searching for.


If you are struggling with anxiety or depression
I highly, highly encourage you to start a daily workout routine.
I know everyone is different and everyone's journey will look different
but I am confident that exercising will help anyone struggling with mental health.
And I am hopeful it will also get me back into my skinny jeans! HA. 

As you continue your journey and I continue mine,
I hope that the stigma of anxiety and depression can be broken.
That's a huge reason I'm even writing this. 
I KNOW for a fact I am not alone.
And there is hope and healing for all of us struggling!

I am moving forward with the help of My (loving, patient) God, my amazing husband, counselor, family and friends, prayer warriors, and my new passion for exercise!

Don't keep your struggle a secret.
Ask a trusted family member or friend to pray with you.
Seek help from a counselor who can help you work through things.
And never walk in shame because you're struggling.

OK, my baby needs to eat so I gotta run!
Then I"m off to the gym for a Warehouse Workout!!

Praying peace, healing, hope and joy over all of you who are struggling!
much love.








Monday, March 25, 2013

world changer



A stirring for missions has always been on my heart.
I see myself working in an orphanage,
feeding the homeless,
traveling the world; leading thousands in worship.
These things move me.
They excite me.
They have been my desires and prayers.
I want to make a difference.
Leave a mark.

Yet here I sit in Lancaster County.
 
I fold laundry.
I cook.
I clean toilets.
I tie shoes.
I sign permission slips.
I pick up toys.
Change diapers.
Give baths.
Fold laundry.
 
Hardly making a mark on this world.
 
I often get restless.
I feel useless.
Sometimes trapped.
 
When I asked God, recently why I cannot go on a "mission"
he clearly spoke to my heart,
"You are on a mission. 
I created this specific task for you.
I've given you these specific people to love. 
Serve them with all your heart.
Love them. 
Minister to them. 
Equip them.
For I have a specific task in mind for each of them too!"
 
 I'm not running an orphanage in Guatemala - 
but I have 3 children who need tender love and care.
I may not be feeding the homeless -
 but I have 4 mouths right here to feed.
I may not be a well known worship leader - 
but I sing Jesus Loves Me every night to a captive audience.

 It can seem small.
It can be hard.
It can make you bang your head on the kitchen counter.
(I can't be the only one who does that)
 
{My sweet, dear children can turn me into an absolute lunatic!
A nice game of Candy land can quickly turn into crying kids 
and a screaming mom, who throws the game in the box and says "forget it!"
And making brownies with ones children .. well that can drive a mother to drink!}

 Story time:
I was cooking with my kids.
They were making me curse under my breath.
I felt my blood pressure rising.
I stopped, 
turned away from the kids,
closed my eyes,
 and silently said
"OK Jesus, now. 
This is when I need you. 
Right. Now. 
Please help."
 
I trust he knew exactly what I needed.
Patience.
Grace.
Love.
Gentleness.
 
No one was injured during the rest of the task
and we even enjoyed it.
That is God at work, people.
 
He is using this mission field to work in my heart.
To teach me as I teach them.
To stretch me.
To show me what it really means to serve.
To love.

I'm learning to love this mission.
I'm allowing him to work in me instead of protesting.
I'm embracing this enormous task!
I have the ability 
(with the Lords help and guidance)
to raise 
WORLD CHANGERS.
Humble, servants who lead by love.
And where will they learn to love?
Right here.
 
 My sphere of influence may not be large,
 but my influence on the people inside these 4 walls is enormous.
 
I can make the biggest mark,
leave the greatest legacy,
by simply loving the ones in my home, first.
 
 

 




 

 



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I changed my mind about trick or treat.

I'm not a fan of Halloween for many reasons.
Some reasons are faith based
(but they are our personal beliefs so I'm not even going to go there.
 Everyone has there own beliefs and that is absolutely fine!).
I hate the excessive candy.
I hate all the money spent on extravagant costumes.
You get the point,
I'm not a fan.

So we generally don't participate in the festivities.
We have explained to our kids all the reasons and they have never fussed.
Well .. until tonight.
"It's not fair! Everyone trick-or-treats! We're the only ones not going!"

I started the whole
"well life's not fair.."
speech.

As I was spiel-ing
I started to think ..
really what's the big deal?
Should I just take them?

Hmmm.
 
I caved.
We dumped out the dress up box 
and picked out our finest princess and ballerina attire!
 
The excitement was overwhelming!
I am totally mother of the year in their eyes after the abrupt change of heart.

So we set off.
Our first neighbor didn't have candy.
Um, lameee.
(Kidding Fishers, totally kidding!!!)

As we walked up the road I noticed a neighbor I have never introduced myself too.
I hate that. 
We live right across the street and have never said hello.
So, I said "Hi! I'm Sarah! I live in the yellow house across the street"
She was quick to share her name and quicker to invite us back to her house for candy.
(we were out by the mailbox)
 
We walked back and made small talk.
She gave the girls their treats and then asked if we could come in.
We went in and she gave us a tour of her cute modest home.
I noticed all of her art work and when I asked about it
she shared she had painted them all!
How did I not know this woman was an artist?
How did I not know she had a dog named Buster?
How did I live across the street for over a year and never say hello?
 
The girls were anxious for more treats so we made our way to the door and said goodbye.
 
As we continued on our candy hunt I had to think --
Yes, I have a lot of valid reasons to hate this "holiday"
but you know ..  it's just like anything else in life,
 It's what you make it.
We didn't spend any money on costumes,
we only went to a few houses so the candy was in moderation
and most importantly we made a connection with the nice woman across the street.

Life is what we make it.
We can sit inside hiding with our lights off
Or 
we can get out and let our light shine.

 
I have some candy to eat now.










Monday, October 15, 2012

Come.

It's Monday afternoon.
The last week and weekend have been rough.
I've been suffering from debilitating anxiety.
Debilitating as in:
I don't want to leave my husband's side ..
ever.
(poor guy)
I don't want to hang out with friends or chat on the phone.
I skipped church. 
I dread the grocery store.
On and on.

I've always suffered from anxiety but found healing 
from it a couple of years ago, through prayer and medication.
(GASP! Sarah takes medication!? Poor soul. Must be one of those crazies.)
{what's with the stigma with depression and anxiety anyway?! If I had diabetes I would control it with medication, correct? Correct. So leave your judgements here.}
 
This last month has been draining for me.
I realized yesterday I have been pouring out to others but not taking the time to refill and refresh myself.
I've been carrying the load of life all by myself.
That's enough to give anyone anxiety!
Last night I heard God calling.
He said "Come." 
I didn't feel like it.
Not only didn't I want to chat on the phone but I didn't want to chat with God.
Leave me alone, Lord, I just want to watch Grey's Anatomy.
He said "OK."
Then I felt bad.
OK, Lord what can I do for you?
"How about what can I do for YOU, Sarah?
I want to help. I want to carry this burden, this load.
I've been waiting for you to ask"
Oh. 
 
 
So I simply said,
Lord, forgive me for trying to conquer the world on my own.
I need you. I need only you. Only by your strength can I live.
Come and fill this heart with your peace.
Give me strength for tomorrow.
Be my source.
Amen.
 
Today has been a good day.
 
Let him help you today.
He's just waiting for you to ask.
 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

the trip that forever changed me.

My house is so quiet.
My big girls are both in school full day 
and baby boy is napping.
I'm puttering (I am so my mother) 
 around the house enjoying the silence.
As I putter I'm processing.
I'm processing the trip that changed me forever.
Writing helps me process.
There are no words that could truly describe this trip
but in an attempt to better understand it myself, I will try.
7 weeks ago I was on vacation with my family at the beach.
As we were enjoying the fun and sun we received word 
that a friend, who was also on vacation in Oregon, had been in a bicycle accident.
She had a severe injury to her brain.
Pray! All we could do was pray.
Initially it put a dapper on our vacation. 
We were in shock and we were so sad. 
I realized though we need to keep living and we need to enjoy living.
We need to make the most of this vacation and make memories
for our children to cherish. So we did. It wasn't always easy but we made the choice.
After returning home and getting into my routine of early mornings in Gods presence
I sensed him saying "Go to Oregon."
What?
Um. That surely wasn't God.
*Ignore*
The next morning in His presence,
"Go to Oregon"
Oh dear. I think this is God.
* still ignoring*
The next morning,
Yes. He said it again.
This is insane.
What will I do there God?
Cry and be awkward like I usually am?
He said "Just go. I'll tell you what to do when you get there."
Um. 
Alrighty then.
I cautiously approached Andy.
He is a gracious, low key, laid back man
but what would he say when I tell him I think I'm supposed to fly across the country,
the first week our kids start school and I have no idea why I'm going?

Well he said, "Okay."
Seriously, most laid back guy ever!
We talked with Bill (the husband of my friend who was in the accident) 
and booked my tickets!
OH MY WORD!
WHAT AM I DOING?
This is the dumbest idea I've ever had!
That wasn't the Lord speaking that was me being ridiculous.
"Andy can I get a refund on those plane tickets?" 
NO.
Sigh.

The day came for me to leave.
I felt pukish. I may have cried. 
I was terrified.
I had no plan or agenda.
I figured well, I'm a singer so I guess I can sing to her! 
OK. I had somewhat of a plan.
I'm breathing again and feeling less pukish.

I arrived in Oregon and Bill took me to the rehab center where Glenda is being cared for.
Reality hit. And it hit hard.
There in bed lays my friend.
Lifeless.
Beautiful but far away from us.
I saw the photos around her bed of her biking, and laughing and eating ice cream.
And then I looked down at her body.
I held in the tears for fear that once I released them they would never stop.
Bill and I spent time talking.
Glenda's parents were there as well. 
As the conversation got hard I felt prompted to sing.
Great is Thy Faithfulness,
kept coming to my mind.
Again, I ignored this prompting.
(Are you sensing a theme here?)
Then Bill handed me a paper; an email he had received.
What was the email?
The lyrics to Great Is Thy Faithfulness.
The tears came. 
I cried and cried. 
I cried for my friend. I cried for her family. And I cried because in the midst
of the hurt God came and showed me he was at work.
Great IS his faithfulness.
I sang.
The Holy Spirit came and breathed his refreshing winds on us.
God was in that room. We all felt him.

I went to bed that night exhausted but knowing God was at work.
The next morning as I sit by Glenda's bed I felt prompted to walk around the rehab center and 
just love on the patients there. I did not ignore this prompting 
(trust me I wanted to! But I knew I would miss seeing God at work if I did).
I walked around and prayed. I asked God to lead my steps 
and show me who he wanted to encounter that day. 
I met a woman with one leg who had been there for four years. She was very lonely.
Her husband had died several years before. The sadness in her eyes was overwhelming.
We chatted a bit. I saw God move as her eyes brightened.
I began to walk down the hall.
I saw a women coming towards me in a wheelchair. I smiled at her.
That's all I did. But I can assure you she and I encountered God in that moment.
I felt His presence like a forceful wind as I walked towards her.
When I smiled, her entire being changed.
She sat up and returned the smile. She was glowing. 
There was something happening in the supernatural. 
That moment changed me forever.
All I did was smile.
But that's all God needed to touch this woman's heart.
Later I met Rita.
Rita was discouraged and angry as her knee surgery went terribly wrong
and she was in great pain and stuck in this rehab center.
We chatted and I asked her if I could pray with her.
She got very nervous,
I told her it was OK to say no.
"Oh thank you!" she replied.
She said, "I think you believe in a God that heals and I don't".
I don't know why she said that but she was correct.
I told her I would pray for her  in the hallway :)
And I did. 
I returned the next day to see a smiling, Rita!
She had just returned from the doctor.
Her knee was fine and she got the OK to go home!
My, did I chuckle at God.

I could continue but this would be a never ending post.
We saw God moving in Oregon.
We felt him all around us.
He is ever present in time of trouble.

I had gone to Oregon with the hopes of seeing healing in Glenda's body.
I did not see that miracle.
But I saw many.
I don't understand the ways of God.
But I'm choosing to trust in him and trust in his goodness.
He loves Glenda more than any of us here on earth do.
I know he will take care of her.
I know he is with her.
And he is with you.
Watch for Him today.
Watch for him tomorrow.
He's moving.
He's working.
And he's changing hearts.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness O God.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

shut yo mouth!

Well hellooooo! 
How are ya?
I'm good. 
Why haven't I been blogging you ask?
Well quite frankly I have nothing interesting to say.
I update my facebook status daily, I tweet, I blog
and then I think:
Who cares!?
Who cares that I drank a smoothie for lunch?
Who cares that my kids are undeniably the cutest things alive
{hence all the photos of them}?
Who cares about my random thoughts?
Yet, I continue. 
LOL.

SO if you care, please keep reading.
If not, that's OK too.

I felt incredibly impressed to write this.
On Sunday night at my dad's birthday party,
I found myself talking smack on people.
Laughing at someone's awful haircut.
Then earnestly listening to the gossip on so and so's divorce.
Then laughing again about the haircut.
(don't worry it wasn't you!!)

Why the public confession of my sin?
Because since that night I have thought it over a thousand times.
Why did I feel the need to tear someone down?
Someone who wasn't even there.
I surely wouldn't have said that to their face!
{in fact I would probably have smiled and said, "Oh I like your hair!"}
[don't even act like you've never done that.]


Why do we do this?
Why is it entertainment to talk about someone else's pain?
Why do we critique and criticize others?
Because we are perfect, right?


My heart desires to be a lover.
A lover of people.
An encourager.
A woman who speaks life.
NOT DEATH AND DESTRUCTION.
And our words ARE that powerful! 
They can destroy.

Let's be a people who ooze love.
Let's not get caught in the trap of gossip or trash talk.
Let's rise above and be an example to those around us,
 whether it be co-workers, friends, or our children.
Let our words speak truth and life.
May our mouths overflow with goodness and laughter and kindness 
and grace and joy
because our hearts cannot contain it all!!

YES!
Let's do it.

So next time you find yourself tempted to say something unkind, or rude, or just unnecessary,
may I suggest you
SHUT YO MOUTH!