Tuesday, November 18, 2014

goodbye world.

So maybe my title is a bit dramatic.
Maybe it should say goodbye facebook world.
I like to be dramatic though.
And I'm only saying goodbye for a short time
(at least I think).

God is calling me out of my comfort zone.

My comfort zone has always been on the stage.
With a microphone.
It feels like my home.
Where I belong.

On Sunday as we gathered with our church family to worship,
my heart ached to be on that stage leading.
But God said, 
"not right now, Sarah."

*sob*

Instead he is calling me to the most uncomfortable thing I can imagine.
SILENCE.
Just looking at that word sends a mild panic attack through my body.
Silence is so boring.
It's lonely.
Did I say boring?

I like fun!
I like parties!
And dancing!
And silliness!
I like small talk and chit chat!
I like updating my status and interacting with you all!

But alas.
God is asking me to retreat into solitude.
I think this will truly be one of my greatest tests!
It may be one of Andy's too since he'll have to hear all of the things I usually share with you!
#PrayForAndy

I'll leave my page up for a week so you can all digest this shocking news.
Or because I'm just not quite ready and I'm stalling...

I plan to be logged off until after Christmas.
So. Here are a few things I would have probably shared if I was on facebook:

*We are hosting thanksgiving in one hour and I'm still in my pajamas!
(oh wait. that was my status last thanksgiving.)

*10 years ago today our beautiful daughter was born. Where has the time gone?
Happy Birthday Sophie!
   ~insert adorable photo~

*Great night at the gym flipping some tires and doing some pushups!
 ~insert badass photo of myself~

*Photo of our Christmas tree

oh that reminds me...

*For the sake of our new simple life we will not be doing Christmas cards this year so:
Merry Christmas from The Bylers!

I think that covers the major events.

Although I'm hesitant and afraid
I know the Lord only wants the absolute best for me.
There is a reason behind of all of this and I know it is good.
Because my God is good.
I'm excited to see whatever it is he wants to show me.

So long my friends!

Well...in a week.... 








Tuesday, November 11, 2014

learning.

Andy and I have made a very conscious effort to simplify life by clearing our calendar.
It has been wonderful in every way.
Sure saying "no" can be uncomfortable at times 
but when we are home having an unhurried evening, enjoying our children
we are so thankful we chose to feel uncomfortable for that half a minute.

Clearing the calendar has meant there is a lot of time for thinking.
A lot of time.
I am learning a lot about myself.

I'm learning that I constantly search for noise.
TV, Pandora, texting, facebook, etc. etc. etc. etc.
I feel uncomfortable when it is silent. 
Yet once I get past the first minute or two it's actually quite enjoyable.

I'm learning I love to art journal.
I'm a terrible artist but I enjoy journaling with colors and doodles.
I do this every evening during our family candle time.

I'm learning my kids get on my nerves when I'm too "busy" for them.
"Why do you need your butt wiped this freaking second!?
I'm pinteresting a wonderful idea for the wine party I'm never going to have!"
**I stomp to the bathroom and acting as annoyed as possible I wipe the cute little butt.

I'm learning that I feel the need to share every thought that pops into my crazy little head.
(chuckling as I blog all these thoughts)

I keep thinking about high school.
I had NO cell phone.
No internet.
 Snapchat.
Voxer.

HOW DID I SURVIVE??
Really. 

No one ever knew all my thoughts.
They all thought I was normal.
And quiet.
I was even labeled shy.
HA!

So why now do I feel this constant urge to over share?
I really have no idea.

But I'm learning I need to keep some things sacred. 

Today as I was folding laundry Oliver pulled himself up on the basket and looked so cute.
I quickly stood to get my phone 
(which takes pictures and then can immediately be uploaded to the world).
Then I stopped.
I sat down.
I looked at his sweet slobbery smile as he chewed on a clean sock.
Oh the joy that overtook my soul.
A beautiful moment with my 9 month old son that passed too quickly
 (as he found a dead bug to chew on).
I would have missed that joy filled moment had I grabbed my phone.

I'm learning I want more of these moments.

This is going to be hard.
It will be uncomfortable.
Breaking habits always is.

But oh the joy I foresee as I cherish these sacred and fleeting moments.

I'm challenging myself to keep certain moments just for me.
Just for my family.

I'll continue to share on Facebook but I will be more careful about what and when I share.

I don't want to miss the magic of a moment so you can all see it.
I want to see it. 
And feel it.
And cherish it.










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.