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."


Instead he is calling me to the most uncomfortable thing I can imagine.
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!

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


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.


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

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.
(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.
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.
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 have been working out 5/6 days a week for 3 weeks.
My anxiety has gone from a 10 to a 2.

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:
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.