Well, here it is, the beginning. The beginning of what… you may wonder. Me too. I’m not really sure what the future holds so I’m just taking one day at a time, one thought at a time, one step at a time. Step 1, Write.
Awesome. Write what? To figure out what to write about, I need to back up and talk about why I want to do this blog.
- Attempting to walk in God’s plan and step outside of the box I painted myself in
From the age of 15, I felt called to the counseling profession in some capacity. After being a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, I enrolled in college for the first time to fulfill the goal of becoming a counselor. By this time, I was in my early 30’s and knew without a doubt, God was calling to work with marriage and family. He had placed a passion in my heart to see marriages healed and restored, but more importantly, as time wore on, I discovered I was drawn just as much to helping those transition from teen and young adults into marriage and begin their family. If people only had the right tools, and awareness, they could be more successful as time goes on. I began to see the value (and need) for super intentional skill building and deep conversations about life, motivations, and expectations.
I began to look back on my own life and wonder if my experiences could possibly help someone else out in this big world. I have felt compelled at various times in my life to write my story down and there were a few hap-hazard attempts along the way, but nothing consistent. As I became increasingly unsettled doing what I thought was my dream job of private practice therapy, I began to realize that God was calling me to step outside of my box and not rely on what I know, but to rely on Him for what I don’t know. This is one of my most favorite quotes:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
This blog, this website, and this level of transparency and vulnerability is one of many (really difficult and challenging) first steps.
- Help others (and my kids as they transition into adulthood)
Who doesn’t want to help their kids be the best adults they can be? Right? Of course, this starts from a very young age, teaching them how to do dishes, laundry, and various chores. It includes taking on more and more responsibility and sometimes making poor decisions under the cover and protection of your love and grace, and natural consequences, of course. It includes living out marriage and relationships in front of them, in the hopes that they take the good and leave the bad, to make a new and better path in their future. And of course, since we are the parents, they don’t really want to openly take our advice, wisdom, speaking from experience “Don’t do this! Learn from my mistakes!” sort of conversations. So I’m putting it on-line for them to access anytime they are ready for it, in the hopes they will seek it out when they are ready. A-ha! I’m just being real.
Of course, on a bigger scale, I want to help others. I want to help all people who can somehow identify with me or see something in this blog they can use. I’m going to work on adding a lot of really concrete skills, but also from a personal experience of what worked and didn’t work for me and my family, or my own “a-ha” moments I’ve learned along the way. That’s my hope here. That somehow, what little I know, have experienced, and am learning can be taken under consideration by others and found to be encouraging, validating, and/or beneficial in some way. That would be super-exciting and meaningful to me.
- Gain freedom from debt
Oh goodness! This is a big one. Who doesn’t want that? Like many, my husband and I have made our fair share of financial mistakes. Unfortunately, we have had more years living paycheck to paycheck with debt weighing us down than we have had prosperous years. We have gone through Larry Burkett’s Money Matters way back in the day, and we have also gone through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. We got the certificate to prove it. As Dave would say, our shovel has been way too small over the years and life keeps happening. Uncle Sam and Sally Mae have us where they want us so it’s time to kick them to the curb. We have been working on trying to change the size of our shovel using different avenues but not necessarily the one God told us to take. Remember my disobedience? Just being real.
There is something to be said for needing to look to God for your provision because it certainly all comes from Him. But writing this certainly gives us the opportunity for accountability and hopefully, freedom as we grow this blog business (yes, I said business) and follow God’s direction. With a lot of prayer and direction, I hope to provide some much needed resources, both for purchase and some for free. Some of our current financial goals include kicking Sally and Uncle Sam to the curb, getting our savings up and replacing our 15 year old cars (with something less than 10 years… Haha!), and being able to consistently do a family vacation every year.
- Be at home more
I didn’t realize I wanted this so bad until the end of 2016. I just miss being at home with my family and making our house into a home. I have felt so pulled in various directions for the last 8 years that I really desire a simpler life. My health has been a huge struggle and I know I need to be in a place where I can put the focus on preparing healthy meals for us all during the week, so I can regain a healthier me. Stress is not a helpful motivator and has a very negative impact. I want to walk in the Peace that the Bible promises, slow down, and re-prioritize my life.
- Enjoy life more with my family and friends
So this goes hand in hand with my #4. Since I’ve been so unsettled in recent years, and unsure about where God was calling me, I haven’t been intentionally taking advantage of my relationships with other people. I’ve had times of enjoyment, but I’ve also had a lot of stress, frustration, and exhaustion too. At some point in this blog, I’m going to talk a little about my health and what I’ve been doing to get healthier along the way. I’ll introduce you to what has been making a difference in me health-wise and what I’m working on.
Enjoyment is so important in life. With all the ups and downs that life brings, fun is vital. We went to Disney World last year for the first time in about 10 years. It was an amazing trip and I realized we had been missing out on family vacations for way too many years, primarily due to expense and time. When both of us work, it’s hard to come up with time off that matches up, and then to come up with the money to do it consistently. Remember our little shovel? It hasn’t been a priority like we had wanted it to be. We both went into marriage with the belief that family vacations were a “must-do” and looking back, I realize we did the best we could with what we had. We made little trips into big experiences. We had lots of family nights over the years, watching movies, playing board games, great conversations, and laughing.
So that’s it. These are the answers to my why question. I’m sure they will evolve over time, but for today… that’s my answer and I’m sticking to it. 🙂