Beyond Borders

courage. faith. action.


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No Perfect Mamas Allowed! Trading in the picture perfect and getting real.

I prayed it for years. Too many now that I have lost count and I wondered if God was ever going to answer, or if He was even listening. I felt invisible. I felt alone. I felt isolated. My prayer simply was this… to end the perpetual state of chaos that was my life, my family, my home.

The chaos was kind of inevitable.

Two special needs kids with multiple diagnoses, my chronic migraines and autoimmune disorders, it’s a race from the moment eyes are startled open. Most days the finish line is nowhere in sight. (You can read more of my story here)The more days that passed, the more the chaos took reign.

And let me tell you, I tried on every how to, every system, every parenting technique, but nothing worked. Well, maybe it did, for about a week. This only fueled my frustration. Why couldn’t I make this work? Why could I not be a better mother? Wife? Why could I not manage this house? My answer was simple. I . Was. A. Failure.

Then November 2014 happened. I received an email, or maybe it was a Facebook post, I really can’t quite remember how it happened (I blame the flu) but I saw a request by Sally Clarkson to assist in her new book launch. This year had been so busy I had not an inkling of what her new book was about, or how I would find time to help, I just knew I wanted to do this.

Being on the launch team, I got the privilege of reading the first few chapters, and did I ever ugly cry? You can read about that over here. And then there was the webcast, insert more tears here. But it wasn’t until the book was in my hands and flipped through the pages and knew this was the answer.

That prayer that had become so repetitious was answered. Sally’s life poured out onto the pages of her book, It was all the answers. But this one thing hit me the hardest, I have been running around trying to fit my life into someone else’s puzzle. And that will never work, because their puzzle pieces are not mine. Mine are unique to my family, my health, my gifts. My puzzle.

Yeah. There it is. God hears. God sees. And God loves.

And I am not a perfect mama. Not even close. And in these days when Pinterest and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, all the social media outlets. They fill our lives with comparison. It is so easy to get lost in the everyday mess of our lives and begin to feel less than, because these women posting all the beautiful things you just know they have it right. Perfection. They have learned the art and you will never live up. I will never live up.

But here is the thing, in the middle of my mess and my chaos, in the middle of tantrums and toys, I need to own it. Not run from it. Own. It. Own this life.

Because I don’t want a home that is perfectly decorated, if it means these little ones God chose for me to tend to do not feel perfectly loved. And I promise on any given day, there will be scattered toys, dishes in the sink, laundry, well, everywhere, but there will also be love. And this is real life. And it’s a beautiful life.

noperfectmamas

Thank you Sally Clarkson, for pouring out your heart, for heeding God’s call, for loving all of us imperfect mamas as your own.

Now ladies, I say we blow the lid off of this idea of perfection and show the world and the mamas out there that feel less than today, that we are all the same. Show them what perfection really looks like, the only perfection that matters. Will you share your story today? Click the little froggy below and link your blog post, if you are not a blogger tell us in the comments.

In the words of my three year old “Let’s do this thing!”

To view stories of real mamas click the blue froggy link above!


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When God chooses you: an adoption story.

We did not set out with adoption in our hearts, instead, God sought us. I know that each of us is chosen to parent the children that we birth into life, but to actually see the process of the choosing through adoption? It is, in a word, humbling.

whengodchoosesyou

It was through the prayer of our daughter and our joining in prayer with family that brought a tiny little human to our doorstep. This little one never knew the love of a mother. Not in the womb, not at birth, not when she left the hospital. At just three days old she was given to an alternate caregiver because her body tested positive for cocaine. She was passed from home to home, person to person, each one caring for her in the only ways they knew how.

At eight weeks old, she crossed the threshold into our home, and once she did, we knew there was no going back. She was ours. That day began a year of fighting for the life of a child that was chosen for us. It meant battling the enemy with every ounce of our being. It meant looking straight into the face of Satan, knowing that God had gone before, and putting all fear behind us.

Because a battle for a soul was about to be waged…

Please click to read the rest of When God chooses you: an adoption story over at Made To Mother, Stories by Moms About Motherhood. I was privileged to meet Wynter last year where she shared her heart with me about her website, The Made to Mother Project (M2M). Today, I am more than honored to be sharing at M2M.  I hope you join me over there.


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Sally, tears and her new book. (revised)

This is a revised post from December, but I just had to, because tomorrow Sally Clarkson’s new book, Own Your Life, launches. And tomorrow evening she and some friends are going a webcast to introduce the book.

In December, I had the humbled privilege of getting a sneak peek into the book. I cried. Like ugly cried. Because… it’s Sally. And her words always fall like rain and wash over my soul. Comforting the hurting places, encouraging the scared places and because I secretly wish she lived next door. Right here everyday pouring into my life. But since she is not, I read her blog and her books, and her Facebook posts and pretend she is right here with me. And she always knows exactly what I am feeling. She is cool like that, because she and Jesus are super close, and He whispers to me through her. And this book, in so many ways, is going to be her best yet. I am so thankful she thought to write a book just for me.

Oh wait, I forgot, she wrote it for all of us. She says, “I want every woman to be renewed and refreshed in a personal life vision with the conviction that you can say with Paul : ‘I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus’”

Sally, I thank you for pressing on. For always pressing on.

For more information about her book check out Sally’s blog. To preorder “Own Your Life” go here…

Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love

Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love

Buy from Amazon

For more information on the webcast go here, and there is a link to register there as well.

Revised from the archives


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Sally, tears and her new book.

So today, along with a slew of other women, I get the honor of announcing Sally Clarkson’s new book, Own Your Life.  It’s releasing in January 2015. I had the humbled privilege of getting a sneak peek into the book. I cried. Like ugly cried. Because… it’s Sally. And her words always fall like rain and wash over my soul. Comforting the hurting places, encouraging the scared places and because I secretly wish she lived next door. Right here everyday pouring into my life. But since she is not, I read her blog and her books, and her Facebook posts and pretend she is right here with me. And she always knows exactly what I am feeling. She is cool like that, because she and Jesus are super close, and He whispers to me through her. And this book, in so many ways, is going to be her best yet. I am so thankful she thought to write a book just for me.

Oh wait, I forgot, she wrote it for all of us. She says, “I want every woman to be renewed and refreshed in a personal life vision with the conviction that you can say with Paul : ‘I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus'”

Sally, I thank you for pressing on. For always pressing on.

For more information about her book check out Sally’s blog. To preorder “Own Your Life” go here…

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1414391285?ref%5F=sr%5F1%5F1&s=books&qid=1414120740&sr=1-1&keywords=own%20your%20life%20sally%20clarkson&pldnSite=1


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Unlearning the learned.

31 days a writing challenge

 

 

Every year I have participated in write 31 days, it has been a learning experience. Not a learning of writing, grammar, building platforms, building traffic or even followers. It has been a learning to trust God. To not just believe in God, but to believe Him. Believe His promises are true. That He is always for me and always with me.

When I get trapped in the story of my life, it is through this writing He sets me free. The scales fall away and I see His hands orchestrating my life. Whether the writing be about past or present events, He gives me new eyes to see and it is all glory.

This year has not proven to be any different.

I had known about the upcoming writing event since August and I knew I was not going to participate this year. I did not feel that pull, nor had I heard the whispers like I had in years past. But then the morning of October 1st rolled around. I was attempting to write out my reflections of the event I had attend just a week earlier. I was fumbling through my thoughts. I just could not find the words that truly expressed what God had done that day and I quickly found myself perusing the internet.

One click led to another and I soon found myself on write31days.com. My fingers feverishly typing and clicking the trackpad. I had heard that whisper and felt that pull. and there is sat. I was all signed up with a confirmation email sitting neatly in my inbox.

An hour later I had a button, a topic and no plan. and there I was writing my introductory post for a series I had no idea what I was going to do with it. Until I did.

It only took six posts for God to reveal Himself. It was unexpected and actually took me several days to process it. It is never easy when God reveals your own rebellion. But it was clear. And change was needed. But how?

This week I have watched myself knee deep in the chaos. I watched how I handled each and every situation. It was not pretty and it was heartbreaking. I saw how easily I turned inward, trying to rely on my strength. It was habit. A learned behavior.

A learned behavior. A term used in therapy sessions with our littlest one with autism. Put simply because certain behaviors have worked in the past to get the result she wanted, no matter how ugly that may have looked, she has learned that this is the way to get things she needs or wants in her life. I am not talking about being spoiled. This is the kind of behavior that comes from an inward fear that she doesn’t understand. A fear that causes her to react in such a way to control her environment. This sounds a lot like me trying to control the chaos.

We don’t have to have labels of autism, OCD, PDD-NOS, or others to have learned behavior. Behavior that might seem in the moment right, but really it isn’t. We all have learned behaviors. Little things we have learned to cope with our own environments. Whether they are intentional or not, we created them.

In therapy, there is a process of correcting these behaviors. Not caving when the moment has spiraled downhill and the learned behaviors surface, but giving encouragement and supporting the good behavior. It is work. It is practice. It doesn’t always come out right. But the more you practice, the learned behavior starts to fall away, giving into the  new behavior. Eventually this new behavior becomes the norm.

It’s time to put in place the practice. To let the learned behavior fall and give way to the new behavior. To seek Him. Seek His face. In all things. Always.

And there will be quiet in the chaos.

 

This is day eight in 31 one days of finding quiet in the chaos. To view the whole series click here.


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When Sleep is a Gift.

31 days a writing challenge

 

It is too early to be awake. The house is dark and the sun is barely breaking the horizon. Yet we are awake. For some this is the norm, but for us it is not. Neither of our children have functional sleep patterns. Between the two of them there is a 4-6 hour window we can actually sleep.

sunrise in the dark

 

Sleep is definitely a gift in this house. Sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions, it is during sleep that our body repairs itself.

There are 5 stages in the sleep cycle. Stage 1 – falling asleep. Stage 2 – disengaging from your surroundings. Stage 3 – falling into deep sleep and beginning restorative functions. Stage 4 – deep sleep, most high level functions of the brain are shut down. Stage 5 – REM sleep. The areas of the brain that handle emotions and memory to become highly active.

During deep sleep your body is restoring itself from the damages that occurred during the day from toxins in our environment, hormones released from stress, toxins in our water and food, illness, etc. Research has shown that the brain needs at least 3 hours to shut down. That’s 3 hours of sleep minimum for your body to begin the process of repair.

Sleep is vital.

Without we cannot be prepared to handle the chaos the happens each day. We become impatient. Anxious. Frustrated. All of this only escalates the chaos. not just for us as parents, but for our children. When they have not slept enough their bodies react in chaos, perhaps even to the extreme. Every little thing becomes an irritant to them. It can be a vicious cycle, this lack of sleep.

But how do you find it when you live with dysfunctional sleep patterns? The answer is not easy for us. It is a matter of trial and error and being flexible. Creating an environment where sleep cycles correct. Taking turns on the awakening. And we are still seeking the solution.

In the mean time, a strong cup of coffee might just be in order.

 

This is day seven in 31 one days of finding quiet in the chaos. To view the whole series click here.

 

 


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Laughter. It is Good Medicine.

31 days a writing challenge

 

We had planned on meeting for weeks, but something always came up and we would cancel. But not this week, we were determined to make this happen. Of course, just as every week prior, everything was going wrong… husbands had to work late, kids were melting down, dinner was overcooking (ok, burning), it was rainy and foggy, and it just seemed appropriate to cancel again. But we didn’t.

Both of us headed out doors, not knowing if the other had left yet, but we were not going to be stopped. We needed this time. We needed to be free of responsibility if only for a few hours and just be grown up little girls. So we met at that coffee shop. We found our seats, gathered our goodies and we talked for hours about the summer and family and drama and kids. Outside the air was misty, and people were milling all about. The line inside was long as it circled around us. We watched the women dressed as if it were the dead of winter (it was 65 degrees after all) and the teen girls in short skirts all of them matching. I am not sure we ever did decide whether they were tennis players or cheerleaders.

We sat at our table with our t-shirts and sneakers. Both of us feeling a little battered and bruised from the day. Behind us sat a gentleman that I swear was taking photos of us. You know how you hold the phone just so? As if you are trying to read something, but really you are snapping a photo of some funny scene?  Yeah that. That’s what he was doing. But really he wasn’t. Moments later another gentleman joined him, coffee in hand, and they sat for nearly as long as we did. Both trying to determine the working of the antiquated phone the gentleman held in his hand. They left shortly before we did. We on the other hand decided to close the place down. It was 10:00. Such rebels the two of us.

We still wanted to hold on to our few moments of freedom, squeeze every last second out of them, so we moved outside into the mist and sat on the curb and chatted some more. Yes we really did.

 

curbchat FullSizeRender-4 IMG_4191

 

 

With all our chatting and spying, I mean people watching, our night was a success. We  stole away from our lives tucked in neatly at home. We guarded our time. We let our souls breathe, if only for a moment. And it was good. But this wasn’t the highlight of the night. At least not for me. This would come in our final moments of our visit.

My friend she is always camera ready. Ready to capture the moments of this life that are so important, yet so easily missed and forgotten. She snaps them to remember. This night her camera was at home and we were left to my phone. We politely asked the lady jailing the chairs and tables as if they might runaway in the night, to snap a pic. She snapped off a few and we thanked her, but for some reason they all seemed dark with too much contrast. We decided to snap a few selfies trying to fix the contrast, and this is where it happened.

I laughed. We laughed.

My phone was turned the wrong way as I snapped the pictures. Because you know I am an expert in taking selfies. Except I’m not. As I turned my phone and scrolled through those pictures of the night sky. I laughed. We laughed. We stood and snapped more and I was still laughing, but my mind?  My mind was resting.

I felt young and carefree. Like the girls in matching skirts, I was young again for a moment. Transported back to our younger days when she and I would take breaks at work, walk to the coffee shop around the corner and get iced mint chocolate chip frappucinos.  Back before life had taken hold of us. Back before autism and migraines and celiac disease. Before marriages. Before new life and death. Just for a second I was living in the moment. Fully present.

 

And there was quiet in the chaos.

 

 ***********

 

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
Proverbs 15:13

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
Psalm 126:2

 

This is day two of 31 one days of finding quiet in the chaos. To read all of the posts in this series click here.