Saturday, August 31, 2013

just some fun in Utah

This was my day today.  I rode my bike the longest yet, 24 miles on the Murdoch Canal Trail. Gorgeous!  I would move back to Utah just for the trails.  Then my baby brother went through the temple for the first time and I was able to be a part of that.  Later that evening we celebrated another brother's birthday with a party at his house and my family's first time playing RockBand.  Turns out my 6 year old is awesome on vocals.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

turkey veggie taco boats

Turkey Veggie Taco Boats
Brown on medium high: 2 lbs turkey for 5-6 min in large skillet. Add 2 cans stewed Mexican style tomatoes (with juice) and mash to crush tomatoes. Add 1 cup pureed carrots (to make: steam 3 inch chunks then put in food processor with a little water if necessary). The rest I eyeballed: 1 tsp each of garlic salt, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Add 2 tsp minced onion. Add some cornstarch if desired to thicken. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes to thicken.
Dish into taco bowls and top with favorite taco toppings! My kids raved about it.
Inspiration: Deceptively Delicious cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld

a tip for you parents

Want a tip for getting more exercise in with kids ? Involve them! Most quickly recognize how good moving makes them feel and they will push YOU! Going to the park? Run laps around them while they play! Bike ride? Run alongside them OR ride with them... Even if you can't work up speed and a sweat that way, you can adjust your gear to have more resistance and get a great muscle workout in your legs. Just get creative and you can enjoy family time and fitness together!

marriage story

This is a very well-written post: The True Story of a 7-year Marriage.

I stand all amazed

I can't even put into words how much I feel this. Even when I am not perfect in my relationship with Him, it seems that lately He finds small ways to let me know He loves me and cares for me, knows me and wants to bless me. More often than not it is through other people when I am feeling a little down on myself for whatever reason. You don't even know it, but you are the answer to the prayer that I didn't say but should have.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

fighter pledge

Sign here: http://www.fightthenewdrug.org/#fighter-pledge/

daughters and body image

If you haven't yet read this article about talking to your daughters about their body, it is a great one: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-koppelkam/body-image_b_3678534.html

great quote

"Those who face that which is actually before them, unburdened by the past, undistracted by the future, these are they who live, who make the best use of their lives; these are those who have found the secret of contentment." - Alban Goodier

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

a different kind of challenge group

Maybe now that the kids are in school, you are ready to rededicate some time to yourself? Do you want to give yourself an A+ for the rest of the year? Do you want to finish out the year knowing you've made a difference and felt a change? I can tell you, from personal experience, that you would be AMAZED at the difference that can happen- inside and out- in such a short amount of time. The time will pass anyway. In fact, you know this time of year flies by. Will you commit to making yourself a priority? Will you let me and other wonderful people help you do that? NOW is the time.

There are some important deadlines coming up. (dates listed are when groups START- you must commit a week prior to be properly prepared)


cheeseball

This video with Tony Horton is so funny to me.  He is such a cheeseball and proudly owns it.  http://www.beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/just4thehealth?bctid=2125497506001

Monday, August 26, 2013

letting go

This was shared on FB by the Healing Through Christ Foundation.  Love it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

yikes

Ok. Here's the deal. Tonight I caught myself literally scavenging in my kitchen for bad food. I have wanted bad food all day and it's only gotten worse as the day has gone on. I haven't really made bad choices through the day but haven't made the best ones either. When I did eat I felt full really quickly and then I didn't want to eat. 
Anyway, I was to the point of being mad that there wasn't crap in my house to eat. I wanted my 'fix' and I was just about to go to the store to get it. Then it occurred to me WHY. I have a skin infection that has come on very very suddenly and very painfully. Try as I may, I have been unable to distract myself from it. I can't touch it but it itches. It hurts and I have a headache from it. I was desperate for a stomachache to take my mind off the other pain. That's why I wanted junk so badly, and lots of it. There's an addict for ya. There's total transparency and honesty for ya. 
I had some Greek yogurt and some grape nuts instead and have climbed in bed with my ice water beside me, crochet in my lap, and something on the tv to distract me until I fall asleep instead.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I need YOUR help

First.... I've been slacking.  I lost my mojo.  I blame end of summer.  I'm just over it.  I'm ready for the kids to go to school and stop picking on each other.  I'm ready for routine.  I'm ready for fall temperatures.  I'm ready for holiday fun.  I'm sure my tune will change in a month when I'm overloaded with homework help and juggling roles.  ;)  I also realized I let my mojo go.  I slacked on my personal development and self-care.  Then I let myself slack some more.  No fear...I'm bringing it back though.  I have been spending the last week or so organizing like crazy and cleaning out junk and just getting things in order around my house.  Things I've wanted to get done for a while I have gotten done or am in the process of.  I feel like those are important for my success as well.

That's not the reason for this post though.

I was approached by a member of my bishopric recently and he asked me for information on the addiction recovery program.  I realize how very blessed I am that when we were dealing with DH's addiction we were in a ward with a bishop who knew about the program and who 'got it'.  Newer bishops especially just frequently aren't trained in it.  Even when I met with my bishop currently to air out some 'step 4' stuff, he needed me to explain to him what step 4 was.  Any of you in the ARP world know what that means.  So how can we remedy this?  There needs to be more education.  You and I can start in our little circles and create a ripple effect.  Help me in mine.  Send me your 'Dear Bishop' letters.  I know the bishopric members are so busy and overwhelmed.  They don't have time to read the "He Restoreth My Soul" and countless other books that will really help them understand addiction.  They don't have time to regularly attend ARP meetings to get a feel for what they are like and how they change people's lives.  So how can we make a concise explanation for them in a way to make it possible for others to become more aware of the tools and resources available to them?  

The best way that I know to explain the 12 step program provided by the church, especially the Healing Through Christ manual that we used as part of our PASG group, is that it is a step by step practical application of Gospel principles.  It is making the Atonement personal and creating a relationship with Christ that you didn't even realize you were missing out on.  It is making the Atonement a healing balm, not just a relief from sin.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

In defense of my former self

Dear Self;

You lived a life that many didn't see.  One that even you didn't fully come to terms with and allow yourself to see until you were almost 30.  It's time to let it all out and see that it is okay.  Everyone has baggage.  Everyone has skeletons in the closet.  Some have more than others.  That's okay.  It doesn't mean you were bad or deserved any less.  It doesn't meant that you had to learn lessons the hard way or that you were a tool being used by God to learn a lesson you could share with others.  You suffered the consequences of other's agency for many years and didn't realize that's all it was.  You took it out on God, not fully trusting Him, because you thought He was using you.  You were happy to submit to Him.  At least He loved you.  You wanted to do good and be good and so you willingly became His martyr, His victim, His tool to help others because you knew that you would share and be empathetic...because that's who you are.  This was the only reality you knew.  This was how you understood things and thus how you lived your life for decades.  You know what? It's okay.

You were molested.  More than once.  By different people.  They told you that 'you asked for it' and 'deserved it.'

You were forced to watch explicit pornography as a kindergartner by your friend's dad.  The same friend who you used to have sleepovers with and where you developed a nervousness for sleeping with the door closed and waiting for someone to come in.  The same one you would hide in the berry bush with.


You grieved the sudden loss of your grandma that you adored when you were in 6th grade.
You didn't understand how to process the pain.  You didn't want to be sad because you didn't want to make your mom sad and have her hurt more.
Two years later you grieved the sudden loss of a boy you had a crush on that lived near you and rode the bus with you.  You were confused why you hurt so much again.  You were tired of feeling like an inconvenience to those who were supposed to love you unconditionally and tired of feeling like something to be used by everyone else.  You took more pills than you were supposed to of a drug that you reacted badly to in a half-hearted attempt to end your life so you could be with your grandma in a happy place again.  Your friend, bless her heart, told on you and dragged you to the school psychologist...who told on you to your mom....who thankfully wasn't mad or even overly sad.
Two years later you grieved the loss of another schoolmate in an accident you saw from your house.

Two years later, you buried your mom a month after graduating high school.
You wondered what lesson it was that you were missing that you kept losing all these people in your life.

You were nearly raped.  You still aren't sure how you got out of that, only that you remember the boy's friend watching and laughing and the boy saying "this is what you came here for anyway isn't it?" and you thought it was punishment for lying to your parents about where you were going.  You thought maybe this was just how boys showed they like you and maybe you should just learn to like it.  Except that other boy standing there laughing was a big red flag and you somehow came to your senses and got out.

You spent many years having dreams that haunted you and made you feel dirty and guilty.  They were out of your control but they controlled how you felt. It wasn't until your late teens that you recognized it was a replaying of those scenes you saw as a kindergartner.  It wasn't until your late 20s that you understood it wasn't your fault.

After your mom died, you had night terrors where you dreamed you or some other family member killed her.  Your brother accused you of causing her brain aneurysm because the day before you had pulled her over in a low-lying lawnchair as part of a family joke and she hit her head.  You wondered if he was right.  You wondered if other people thought the same.  Even after 2 neurologists told you it was a ticking time bomb and your actions wouldn't have set it off any sooner.  You wondered if she 'left' because you told her in the hospital that day (not that you even know if she could hear you) that you understood she missed her mom and you would take care of things on this end so she could go and that you'd understand and it would be okay. Would she have stayed if you had been more willing to fight?

Your dad didn't talk to you for years because he was upset that you said he didn't love you in an upset middle-schooler fight.  He thought you owed him an apology for your disrespect.  You thought he was just confirming your accusations and should try to make you feel loved.  You were a middle-schooler after all.

The boys in 5th grade made fun of you during the pledge of allegiance, saying you were grabbing yourself because you were already developing.

The boys in 8th grade cat-called you if you ever wore a skirt or low-cut shirt.  It made you feel important.

The boys in high school apparently said you were an amazing kisser and talked about you.  So you found out later from a friend who had kissed you, and then told you that was why.

You caught your 2 best friends in high school trying on your (size 9) pants and dancing around laughing at your 'clown pants'.

You overheard your parents fighting about you being in summer school PE, which you thought was just so you would be able to take art class during the school year instead, and there being ice cream in the house.  You heard your dad liken you to a whale and say that the ice cream shouldn't be around.
In your anger and hurt, you called a friend and decided to try pot to see what all the fuss was about and to really piss him off like he had hurt you.  It was a one-day, one-experience kind of thing but the effect was that he again no longer spoke to you except during choir practice- because he was the choir director and you were the pianist....even though that was the only time he went to church, or at least anything more than the occasional Sacrament meeting.

In high school, you got a concussion so bad that you couldn't remember how to do simple math and couldn't read a page in a book without falling asleep.

You saw your best friend get attacked by a dog right next to you when you were 4 years old.  You felt bad that it was her and not you because you didn't want her to hurt like that.


People told you that you shouldn't be sad.  People told you that you were being a victim and should stop.  People told you that it was all your fault.  You didn't even know you were sad. You didn't even recognize the pattern of victimization.  You thought it was your fault.

It wasn't true.

Self, you were victimized.  You were used by others and not by God.  You had hard things in your life.  More than many can understand in such a short time.  It doesn't mean you were deserving of those things.  It doesn't make you special.  It means you were strong.  You survived.  You, and God, have turned these things for your good.

These things do not define you, and yet they are you.  Being a new and better person doesn't mean that you were a bad person before.  It doesn't invalidate or lessen the worth of your self at any given stage in your life.  You are simply at a different point in your life now.  You are here because of what you've been through but you might have been here even without them.  You might not be here without them.  You could be in a different place, a much worse place, because of all this.  You needn't feel bad.  You are strong.  You are a survivor.  You have hurt and you have tried to take care of yourself and you have tried to protect yourself...all the best you could and the best you knew how with what you had at the time.  You really did try your best with what you had and what you understood and where you were in your life.

I know, because I am you.
And it's okay.

Don't worry about what other's judgments have been or what they may be.  Don't worry about those who've been unkind.  Don't wish these things on them either.  Don't think you willingly took these things upon yourself so that you would learn or so that you would get others to feel sorry for you in an attempt to feel loved.  No, that's not the way.  You've let it go and given it over.  You are a new person but loving yourself now doesn't mean not loving yourself then.  There is someone who gets that, and in the end He is all that matters.

Love,
Me.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

a little history lesson

I've been contacted recently by a few people who have wanted some more background on my relationship with my husband and the struggles we have gone through.  There is some of it on this blog in further years back, but I realize not everyone reads older posts and even still there are a lot of holes there because I wasn't writing regularly at the time.

Although this happened a few years ago and although some of you may know some who are involved, I am sharing it out of a greater concern for those who I know need to hear this.  Those who know my husband and his family, I trust to respect the privacy of those involved and to withhold judgement.  This is the story of 'the situation' (as referenced in earlier posts) as I have told it to some recently.  This was a major turning point and I feel that all of us involved have improved and found blessings since:

The Situation
AKA When I got my impression that divorce was okay


First, you have to know the background....The nature of living in Las Vegas and being in the air conditioning industry means sometimes early mornings and late hours, especially during the summertime. So sometimes he'd tell me he was going to be home late or sometimes he'd go in early to unload a truck or get some things done before things got crazy once they opened.

Well, it turns out that's where he was 'using'. My husband is different than most in that his primary porn source is actually literature. That's a whole lot harder to block with a filter. It's also a lot easier to disguise at work. It isn't that the pictures don't do it for him or that he never looks at them...but it is something about the living vicariously through the stories....

So at the warehouse my kids sometimes run around and dad gives them rides on the forklift and that sort of thing. I don't recall how far into the whole recovery thing we were when I was walking around the warehouse while my boys played and came upon a sort of desk area that the warehouse workers (2 guys that he is over) had set up. There was a desk covered in pictures. Not the worst I've seen but the kind you'd find in GQ or Maxim.

To say I was livid would be an understatement. Here he was telling me he was doing so good, going to recovery meetings, trying his best....and there is THIS at work? And I'm supposed to believe him?! How is he EVER supposed to be ok while that is there? Why is he, or his dad or ANY of the other LDS guys he works with okay with letting that be there? How do they expect the business to be successful (economy hasn't been so great here) and have the blessing of Heavenly Father while they allow THAT? How did he expect to build any kind of trust?
And my son, who was turning 8 in a few months, had seen it all. So I was doubly livid.
Pretty sure I kicked him out again at that point. I could go ask him but he'd probably say "I try to block all that out of my mind."
This caused me major trouble. On the one hand I felt like he was doing well and he was choosing to go to meetings, saying how they help, doing steps and making personal changes I could see. On the other it felt like asking an alcoholic to work in a bar.

I felt like every day was this battle with Satan in my head. Like a full blown exhausting war was being waged within me and I hated it.
So he promised me that this desk will be gone. For weeks and months he tells me he has bugged this person or that person about needing to get rid of it. One person or another claims that they will but then they don't do anything. At that point he's still dealing with being major shame-based so he is having a hard time with how to say what but I say 'too bad, you better figure it out.' How was I supposed to believe that he was even saying anything to anyone anyway?
I kept trying to put my foot down, and being a situation involving others I didn't know at what point to draw what line. I had already drawn a boundary that no early or late hours or after hours weekend calls would be allowed and I was immensely grateful for the support received on that and lack of any fighting back about it.  The company was moving their warehouse and he assured me that he was assured by the guys that the desk would not be making the move. So I opted to wait and see. He told me after the move that he was so mad at them because there it was and he was upset that he wasn't respected (which has been his issue at work and part of his background with his addiction) and nobody would take him seriously etc. I didn't know whether to believe and trust that he was genuinely as upset by this as I, or if he was trying to cover his tracks because he knew I'd look for it as soon as I visited him at work.
I continued to let it go for a little while after it but it was a serious thorn in my side and I needed it out. After praying I finally I needed to take matters into my own hands. I might not have any right to do anything at his place of employment, but I do have the right to say something to his boss if his boss is his father and I wasn't okay with letting that stay there. So I wrote a letter to both of his parents. I explained to them what he had told me of his version of the story, and my feelings about it. I told them how he needed to feel that he was supported by his family and that this was a way that could be done. Then I told them my feelings- that I was prepared to give him an ultimatum: me, the job, or the desk - and that I hoped that as his parents they would not want him to be in that position and that I did not want to have to find out the answer.

His dad got rid of the desk and my husband was FURIOUS with me. Seriously, I have seen him mad at other people but I have never seen him mad at me like that- before or since. He felt I went behind his back and was completely out of line. I refused to apologize. He quit talking to me. Of course this only fanned flames of doubt in my mind. If he was really making good choices then why would he react in such a way?That was when I went to the temple out of desperation because I was so confused about how to act, react, interpret...everything. I got a very distinct impression that I had 'done my part' finally- made every sacrifice possible to show my personal humility and willingness to put things in the Lord's hands and stood up for what was right...and that if I did not see changes in DH it would be okay to get a divorce because the Lord said I had made every effort on my end.
I was shocked, scared, and relieved to get that impression. And it sent me into a tailspin where I gained 10 lbs in less than a month but that's a different story.

What's interesting though is that the very next week we went to the counselor together. I told him about the feeling I got at the temple. He finally talked about how my actions with the letter made him feel. We still didn't come to an agreement but it was as though my eyes were suddenly opened and I could see the broken man that he was who was just trying to do his best. It wasn't good enough in my book but it was all he had at that point in time. And that is why we are not divorced. I needed to be willing to completely give it all over (in my tailspin I had to finally reach the point where I accepted and acknowledged that inspiration and felt truly willing to take that next step even with all the fears and uncertainty- and judgement from others- that would come with it) I think now that I needed the Lord's validation of my feelings and path in the prompting I got at the temple. Feeling that validation scared me to death (like I was afraid of my own power or control of the situation) but led me to self-examination that led me to humility that allowed my eyes to be more fully opened
.


^THAT actually was the point at which I realized *I* had a problem. It makes me sad that it wasn't enough for me to change then but I accept now that it was and is a process. There have been bumps along the road for me personally since that time and I needed those experiences to teach me to help shape me to who I am now.
Something interesting that I learned is that we sometimes 'pad' ourselves. Quite frequently those who have eating disorders (on both ends of the spectrum) are unconsciously (or even consciously) trying to make themselves 'disappear'. The anorexic wants to become so small that she isn't noticed so nobody thinks to hurt her. The overweight wants to become undesirable so that nobody hurts or uses her anymore. I would add that the married to a porn addict or struggling with a marriage wants to make herself undesirable to her husband so that she doesn't have to deal with his advances while trying to detach or while trying to figure things out. OR she wants to 'feel stuck' as though no one else would want her because she feels like damaged goods or feels afraid of her own empowerment. Those are all feelings that I have felt.

90 Day Results

I finished ChaLean Extreme and I won the challenge group I had been participating in that just ended (I'm in another one now and doing Les Mills Combat).

My results?  Not a lot of weight lost.  A lot of inches shed.  17+ in fact.  Dropped about 5% body fat as well.

More than that?  The confidence that comes from sticking to something through the end.  The ability to see a new me in the future again.  A belief in self.  No more inflammation.  Improved allergies and reflux.  Glowing skin.  Stronger hair and nails.  I think I might be able to beat someone at arm wrestling.  A great group of wonderful, supportive women who don't judge me because they realize we are all on the same journey in one way or another.  Better habits.  WAY fewer cravings that have made it easier to make good choices and conquer an addiction because my agency is being restored and I have the support I need- emotionally and physically.  A sense of purpose and a feeling of gratitude for a way that this weakness and challenge in my life can be turned for the better.  Joy from helping others make changes as well and motivation from them as they become my supporters too.








Thursday, August 1, 2013

dreaming big

A year ago my husband and I had this dream.  We decided to open up a shop on Etsy as a way to hopefully pay for our hobbies and, if we were lucky, maybe even earn some extra money for Christmas and paying off debt and fun stuff etc.  See, DH had gotten into woodworking as an alternative healthy habit instead of turning to his pornography addiction.  It was a healthy outlet and he found he was actually pretty good at it.  He always thought of me as the creative one in the family (since I've been involved with art since my elementary school days) but now he was finding he was good at this and it provided him immense satisfaction and joy to make things for other people that they found joy and appreciation is.  All our tools have been hand-me-downs though so we hoped that we could at least earn enough money to be able to buy him some better tools and to fund his doing this hobby just for fun.  Same with me and doing art.  It's a difficult thing when you know that there is a healthy and useful outlet and even a talent you've been given that you long to improve and share with others...but you feel guilty because there is an associated cost to it and money is tight and the kids come first.  You know.  Anyway, so we started an Etsy shop and a FB page for it a few months later, for those reasons.
I haven't thought much of where we wanted to take this until recently when goals and aspirations have been on my mind a lot more.  It has always been our hope to at the very least be able to utilize it to come up with extra cash for Christmas and family vacations.  I am happy to say that we were able to do both this last year.  It was a tremendous, and miraculous, blessing.  Additionally, even being able to do this- to have this shop up and running- is a direct results of having lost our home, of my husband's addiction recovery, of many trials that have now been turned for our good.  Our new home has a shop...an extra room off the garage that is perfect for him.  There was a girls' camp fundraiser shortly after we moved in that gave him the idea to try making a few things to donate.  Those were so well-received that it gave him the confidence and encouragement to make that next step.  See how the Lord works?  He is amazing.

So the Heavens have opened lately.  That is how I feel.  I feel overwhelmed and blown away at how blessed we are.  I believe wholeheartedly that my Heavenly Father has been wanting to bless our lives but that because He too is also bound by law, He has been unable to do so to the extent He has desired so long as we were still in addiction.  As we have worked to improve our relationship with Him, to more fully turn our lives over to Him, to do the hard work of facing our weaknesses and trying to make them our strengths....He blesses us!  He blesses us so much!  I feel like I am still so far from perfect- like in the simple stuff of daily scripture study and prayer every single day- and yet He blesses me!  All I can figure is that He knows where my heart is and he wants me to run to Him.  He wants to show me that He really is there, He really does love me in all my imperfectness, and He really does want awesome things for me and is willing to help me have those if I am willing to work.

I feel so empowered when I think of this.  I think how just such a short time ago I was acting upon just a glimpse of a desire.  I wasn't sure that this Beachbody thing would work but I had a small enough desire to give it a change.  I was afraid of admitting to and facing an eating disorder, but I had just a glimmer of a hope that the change I saw in my husband could happen with me.

I haven't lost a ton of weight and yet I am finally able to envision that other me.  The fit and healthy and unstoppable me.  I see her again.  I couldn't find her for a long time.  I don't feel that it's like I'm some suddenly different person.  I see it more as having been in a place of light for so long that my eyes had adjusted and I didn't see just how much brighter it could be.....I didn't realize not all the lights were on, until they were on.  It's tasting that delicious fruit of the tree of life and wanting to share it with others because you didn't realize how much you were missing out on.

I have this way secret desire for my husband to be able to follow his dreams and passions while supporting our family.  Secretly he has always wanted to be a helicopter pilot, and he loves working with his hands.  Wouldn't it be amazing if he could actually be a woodworker and a helicopter pilot?  Wouldn't he be that much more amazing by feeling that much more fulfilled?  I can actually see that happening now.  I don't know if it will...but I do believe it can if he really wants it.

Why the change?

Those blessings.
God makes anything possible.  Gratitude makes more possible.  Humility allows God to work through us and pour out Heaven on our heads.

And because we have changed.
We have struggled for so long.... health and finances in particular.  I see a light at the end of that tunnel at last.  I heard it all.... I was blamed for our health struggles.  I was told I was a hypochondriac.  I was told it was my fault that my kids had allergies or asthma and that if I just was a better mother, or more clean or fed them better then we would all be better.  We were blamed for finances beyond our control.  Were there decisions we could have made better?  Were there bad choices made?  Absolutely.  Was it our fault when the job market crashed and a second job wasn't to be found?  Was it our fault when DH unexpectedly became too sick to hold a second job?  Were we responsible for the housing market crashing just as we were selling our house and moving into another that we had already calculated an appropriate amount of debt according to the income that was supposed to be coming in soon?  Nope.  Could we have done that differently?  Sure....but we wouldn't have had the trial of our faith and learned the lessons we did in those years that followed.  When DH's problem very first came out, many many years ago and before I realized it was an addiction rather than a problem, he had just lost his job and we were living off our savings.  I couldn't understand why we weren't blessed with a job or this or that when we were trying so hard.... and then when I found out about that I blamed him.  How could we expect blessings when he wasn't living worthy of them.  Sadly, it is often the consequence of life as an addict or as one married to an addict.  It is the consequence of being married to someone breaking their marital covenants.  It is a sad fact that we suffer the consequences of another's actions in a way that other's see without seeing the whole picture, without seeing the backstory that we know.  So it is.  It is also a beautiful and miraculous thing when the Lord is able to use those things for our good as He has for us.....over a lot of time and difficulty.
Please be aware of that when you are making observations of another's situation....health, finances, happiness, trials and joy.  You just don't know.  


DH received a message from a customer yesterday.  This is someone whom he had made this beautiful journal for them to write letters to their child in.  A friend from high school (who I admittedly had sort of mixed feelings about because they'd been really close when we were starting to date and I had some jealousy issues there).  That's beside the point though. ;)  She apparently visited a local Vegas attraction where some wooden items were being sold that were somewhat similar to items she knew we sold.  She asked to speak with the gift shop's buyer and then told them about DH's wooden journals and other wooden items as well as his history as a LV native and more.  According to the message received from the customer, the buyer is extremely interested in DH's stuff and wants to talk about carrying it in the gift shop.  Are you serious?!  Dream big people.  Dream big.  Things can happen.  Put it out there.  I have long since admired a friend of mine who is making a living as an artist.  I remember just a few years ago when she made her first sale on Etsy.  Watching her success (she now has artwork being used as signs at Target and has designed makeup packaging and been featured in magazines etc) has encouraged me to dream ... but I've still always sort of seen that as happening to 'other people' and not us.  Our life was destined to be 'this way'.  Nope.  That was a lie Satan was telling us to rob of us our hope and blessings from God.  Why do we put limits on ourselves.  Limits are not there until we put them there.  Children do not know limits until we tell them.  God works the same way with us.  Dream big for your own sake.  Don't judge the smaller dreams or seemingly smaller successes of others.  You don't know what's underneath.
not sure the source on this one, sorry. was shared in my challenge group today