Sunday, November 4, 2012

Refunk Your Junk: Vintage Frame- "I can do hard things.."

I've been itching to create something with the "I Can Do Hard Things" motto for a long time now. I have always been drawn to those words because ah, such truth in them!

Well, for some reason a creative rush hit me on Monday evening, yes.. Monday night, what was up with that?. D was playing Super Mario with Aspen, and Savannah & Addi came down to the craft room with me where they ended up painting.

I found this beauty of a vintage frame at a thrift store a few months back, $7 little find. (I know, right?) I have been undecided what I wanted to do with it, but just knew that beautiful little sucker would go in my craft room.

Then it happened: the angels began to sing & it was clear what I was to do. Okay, scratch the Angels singing part, but maybe... maybe they did sing. Pfft, you don't know. With fabric that stinkin' cute, how could they not? See? My point exactly. Just roll with it, people..just roll with it.

I know, I know... Girl, what is UP with that horrible picture quality?. Dude, totally not my fault. I can't find my battery charger for my camera anywhere. I have looked at 3 stores for a replacement, no go! So, for the last several weeks I've been relying on my phone. Yeah, I know, it's rough around here. Once I get the camera going, I assure you I will take better shots. But geesh, can't ya cut a Sister some slack? Goodness Gracious!

Ok, super easy project!

- Stalk your fave. thrift store for an awesome frame. (that's the fun part!)
- Remove the ugly picture inside that daaaah-ling frame.
- Slap some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (Paris Gray) on the frame.
- Wrap frame insert with fabric, hot glue down.
- Bust out some fatty letter stickers
- Call it a day. But first, take one more look and smile because ah... the truth of those words are powerful!! Why? BECAUSE WE CAN DO HARD THINGS!! WE CAN! Never, ever forget that!

Peace Out, Homies!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Little Halloween Fun...

A little Halloween fun was had over this way, just as it was over your way, too. The typical Halloween preparations took place. Trying to decide on this costume, or that costume. With 4 totally different styles and personalities, you can imagine how this process goes.

I tried to reason with Addi, my youngest. "Hey, Addi.. LOOK at this cotton candy costume, is it NOT the cutest thing you've ever seen in your LIFE?"

She smiled, I thought I had her reeled in, but... days passed and she kept hinting around, in her subtle "I don't want to disappoint you, but I really don't want to be a stinkin' piece of cotton candy" round about way. So, what can ya do? I get an A+ for effort, but... wasn't so successful in the end. I thought I had her sold, & lets face it, the kid will be ten next month... the days of a homemade Cotton Candy outfit will soon be gone. Could she not just cut a sister a break this year? So, instead of cotton candy (sigh....), she decided upon this:

I know, right? If you knew my Addi, you would understand. She also wore a mustache, just wasn't sporting it in the picture above. Last year, she was a cute little fairy (darling!), the year before that she was a cupcake.. yes, a cupcake, are you seeing why I was all gun-ho about cotton candy? So this year, when the kid pointed to the Super Mario costume and proclaimed, "Yep, that's the one!" I seriously chuckled & thought she was kidding. I mean, seriously? Super Mario?" She was very adamant that Mario was da man, so... I smiled, & said, "Well, then Mario it is!" She loved it, she looked super cute, and after she got home & tried on the whole get-up she claimed it was the best costume, EVER! Hey, works for me!

Savannah has been reading "Wizard of Oz" for reading mastery at school, a revised version, but she has really been enjoying it. So, she was all about being Dorothy for Halloween. Pfft, easy enough! Courtney found a DIY Dorothy Costume on youtube that I was *most* excited about making. I mean, the homemade cotton candy costume fell thru, at least I could get crafty with one of my girls, right? I was all about it! I was ready to plasture mod podge and red glitter all over a pair of tennis shoes, this is a "no sew" project & honestly looked like a breeze! I was ALL in! I was imagining a cute little basket with a nappy-haired stuffed animal dog we have to use as Toto. Girl, I was ALL about it!! Then... "yeah, I don't think I want to be Dorothy anymore.. but I'm not sure what I want to be!". Typical! So, we found a cute Hello Kitty costume online, and we figured if we could modify it a bit (the store-bought costume had a pink tutu (she wasn't a fan), and... that said tutu was maybe like an INCH long. Okay, totally exaggerating there, but.. as a Mom of little girls, I'm sure you can feel me, yeah.. Sister don't play like that. So, I purchased a longer RED tutu off of ebay, and.. by golly, we were in business. :) This was her final get-up:

Then, you have Aspen. This kid has a very laid back, sober kind of personality. Just rolls with the flow of life.... doesn't show a lot of emotion, or reaction to anything. She's just chill. :) 3 years ago she went as "herself". Yes, very original, I know... but hey, it worked for her. :) The next year, she wanted to repeat that costume, but we talked her into just going as a soccer player-- plopped on her soccer jersey & called it a day. She was thrilled. :) Last year was really the first year the kid found something that actually excited her: a fairy like chick. She was cute, very put together.. even wore make-up & curled her hair all fancy-smancy (I know, right?)... this year was interesting. She had it in her mind that she was going to be Sundrop Girl.

You know, drop it like it's hot, drop it like it's hot!", yeah.. that one. We had a church Halloween party, dubbed as "God's Creation Party", and vs. going as "Sundrop Girl", she went as.. are you ready for this? Herself.

Oh, she rocked it out, don't think she didn't. And, as a Mama to all me when I say you just learn to roll with it.

Halloween night she was her typical "laid back, not a lot excites me" attitude and didn't really know if she wanted to 1) Go as Sundrop girl 2) Go as a Nerd or 3) Just not go & stay at home helping her big Sister, Courtney, pass out candy. We were about 30min. before leaving to go trick or treating and this girl still didn't know which of the above she was going to embrace. As an outsider looking in, one would assume that our house would have been very chaotic & this little girl would have been freaking out because "OMG, we LEAVE in 30min. & I don't even know what I'm being!". But nope, you have it all wrong. She was laying on her bed all comfy.. in sweatpants, mind you, laptop in hand, and just laid back like life just stopped and eeh, not a big deal. Yes, this is my daughter. So, we have learned to just embrace her hippy-style "go with the flow" personality, slow pace way of life, and all was good. Once she found out her friend Holly was going to rock out the trick or treating gig with us, she perked up... put the "Nerd" get-up on, and off we went. Yeah, that's how we roll. :) **sorry the picture is blurry, used the phone.**

Courtney decided to dress up like a cat. A very pretty back cat. :) This girl turns 17 in just 2 weeks. Ah, impossible!

I decided to get a little festive and embraced some orange & black. I know, how ever did I contain myself? :)

It was cold, we did (a lot) of walking & candy gettin'... you guys know the rest of the drill from here. The girls had a blast & Mama was quite thankful that they didn't bring home any good candy this year, because these hands don't need to be rattling around in those bags. I asked 2 questions after we got home: 1) Did any of you guys get any rolos? (no). and 2) Did any of you guys get any candy corn? (no).. You see, these are my 2 ridiculous addictions as of late, and I'm happy to say.. it's been over a week and this chick has been "rolo & candy corn free". Hallelujah!

On that note, I'll leave you with some fun little photos the girls and I took while having a little fun in the Halloween store. I will share that I was crying so hard from laughter that after we checked out & got in the car, I took one look at myself in the mirror & my make-up was smeared (all) underneath my eyes. Oh, the shame! Nice of the 4 chicks that were with me to help a poor Mama out & let her know she's a hot mess, don't ya think? :) Oh, come on, like it even mattered! We had a great time, and with laughs like that, I say bring ON the smeared mascara! :)

Yes, even a Mama has to rock it out in the middle of the store, what can I say?

Peace Out, Homies!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Break my heart for what breaks yours...

Be careful for what you ask for, because it will be done in a BIG, BIG way.

Life has been a little messy inside this heart & head of mine. God has been stirring up quite a bit in my heart, and if you see me and this face of mine is all puffy, know that it's one of two things: 1) Too much stinking salt that day or....2) Deep, deep prayer. Both, very likely.

I wish I could say I don't know what's going on in this heart of mine, but I do. I've felt the pulling for quite some time now, but the timing, kind of like now, has never been right. But then I ask myself, "is the timing ever going to be right?"

Yesterday, I simply cried out to God to confirm what he's been doing in my heart, and if He is leading us to step out & do what my heart has been telling me. Prayer was intense... even in that quite moment, after spilling my heart, the tears & snot all over the place (can you feel me?)... begging for guidance / confirmation. I just sat there, in silence, covered in the presence of God. Then, the silence was confirmed by me praying for specific things that I would need in this situation & my spirit just started crying... gut wrenching crying... that didn't make any other sense other than God working. I know that cry, I know that feeling.

I know this is all vague, and you're probably shaking your head as if to say, "Crazy girl say what? She done gone & lost her marbles!"... but, please just bear with me for now. I am praying for confirmation & His perfect timing more than anything. Silly me asked Him to confirm if this is of Him by confirming it in Darryl's heart. That man has been so crazy-insane-busy lately with closing hotels, chasing hotels, and just dealing with hotels.. that I even wonder if he's had a chance to really tune in with God lately. But, God is God... and, I trust Him. So... we shall see people, we shall see.

Ironically, during prayer, I had my Pandora playing and the song "I am Waiting" by John Fuller came on. Ironically enough, it was the (very first) song that played on the radio about 3hrs. later when I got in the car to go pick up the little chicks from school. I mean, crazy or what?????? Is God good or is He good?

I know the obstacles ahead should we step out. There's been some messiness in our past that quite frankly, if we were even to get past step 1 in the process, it would be a sheer miracle from God. But, I am a firm believer that if God is in it... He will pull us thru it. If it's His will, He will pave the way. I am deeply rooted in my faith and trust my God with everything that I have, more than I could trust anyone that I can physically see. Sure, might seem a little wonky & crazy to some, but to me? Ah, His love it perfect.

So now, I wait. I'm waiting on God's perfect timing, to know without question if this is from Him, or just that crazy-deep-rooted love that I have in my heart.

I know my posts have been deep lately, and all centered around my faith. I know some of you aren't Christians, and I just want you to know that I'm just writing from my heart... what I feel I'm supposed to be sharing. About the growth in my life. About my heart. and just sharing what comes out. I know I've promised a fluffy family post, and darnit, I will cover myself with glue + cotton balls if I have to in order to share those fun "fluffy" little posts, but Sister, they are coming!

Today is Halloween, and it's suppose to be like 40 degrees tonight when we go trick or treating. I told the girls if we don't hit too many houses, to relax... there's plenty of candy at the store to be had. bawhahaha.... :)

Okay, I'm off to Sams to actually buy said Halloween candy. I bought one of those mac-daddied out bags from there about 3wks. ago. Pfft, gone! It took my girls no time to raid that bag and there is very little left. I mean, really? Hello fun trip to the Denist! So, back to square one and to pick up some more. I mean, who in the world can go thru that much chocolate in such a short amount of time? Wait, don't answer that.

Peace out Homies.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Good Intentions.

Oh, how that statement above so describes this messy life of mine. You see, I was born with a really big heart, but with a slacker mind. I love doing things for other people, it just makes my heart all warm & mushy. But, well.... here's a little secret... sometimes things are easy for me to follow thru on, and other times? Yeah, I pretty much stink at it. Big heart + slow follow-thru = not a good mix.

I have to say this has been one of my biggest challenges since as far as I can remember. For some odd reason, the struggle is ususally something to do with the mail. It's weird, this "thing" of mine. You see, I use to be an advid pen paller growing up. Yes, in 3rd grade when my teacher signed us up to have our very own pen pal, Sister over here took to it like super glue. From there stemmed a passion of connecting with other people half way across the world, which then allowed me to form some of the greatest realionships of my life. Beleive it or not, though I don't "pen pal" anymore, I still stay in contact with a lot of these awesome people & my life is forever changed because of it. Because of the hobby of Pen Palling, it ignited a passion of writing within me. At the age of 12, I started my own sticker newsletter. Yes, it's true. Ah, those were the days. Me + my electric typewriter = [love]. I can still hear my Dad yelling at me to stop typing, lets face it.. those suckers were loud. :) And, I remember another conversation that was quite the norm in my house, "If you spent half the amount of time on your homework as you do typing on that typewritter, you'd be a lot better off!". Yeah, that was the artsy side of me that fueled by being creative. Pen Palling wasn't just about "letter writing", oh no! We would exchange things in the mail called "friendship books" and "Slams". Little books you added your own little flair to.. I'm talking glitter, stickers, markers, paint... you get the idea. Then it's passed from one Pen Pal to the other. Oh, those were the days. This little hobby of mine was the reason I ventured out in my 30's and started my own Magazine, PaperART. But, all that rambling aside, as much [love] as I have for the postal service & lets face it, a long-long history with it, one would think I of all people could manage to 1) Box up a package 2) Add the Address and 3) Get-it-off-in-the-mail. It's a crazy thing, this Postal Service hang-up I have. I have been (horrible) with the timing of getting stuff out in the mail. I could even go as far as having something READY to be mailed out, and yet... it will just sit there. What the heck is that about?

Anyways...I'm learning over here, people.. I'm learning. Here's the thing: We might all have our flaws and silly hang-ups but... we also have the ability to learn from them & (gasp!).... change our ways. I've learned that you can't go backwards in life, but you can move forward. If you don't like the way a certain area of your life feels, change it. I mean, easy enough, right? Right.

You see, I was recently faced with that ugly feeling of promising something to a few people, and yet taking forever to follow through with that "good intention". And naturally, it had to do with [the mail].

I have a friend whose little girl was having a birthday & she was asking for an American Girl Doll, and since we have several around here that my girls no longer play with, My heart swelled up knowing I could meet this need & drizzle this little girl with happiness. The Mom too, as I knew she wouldn’t have to pay for this said item, and let’s face it, that makes anyone happy. Well, I had 2 months.. 2 full, stinking months, to gather a cute little doll & some clothes, plop them in a box, seal the box, and then... (the hard part): mail the box. Simple steps in an ordinary person’s brain, dont' ya think?

2 Months past (yes, this is the horrible truth). I coudln't find this darn dolls shoe, I even went as far as making a video OF the doll for my friend (I'm weird like that, welcome to my life.). But... time just got the best of me. Then, it happened. I logged onto facebook to get her address because "the day had come" where that package was going to get sent off if it killed me. I logged onto facebook to get her address and the very, very first post on my status page was, "Happy Birthday, Baily!"...My-Heart-Sank!.. I can't even describe what I felt at that moment. Disappointed, let down, upset, just plain 'ole rotten! I beat myself up (all) stinkin' day. The husband kept telling me to let it go, but I couldn't shake it. I mean, why should I have? I promised something, and didn't follow thru in the timeline in which I promised. It was (my fault) and regardless whether or not if my heart was in the right place or not, not following thru on the timeline that I promised was wrong. And come on, 2 stinking months... 2 months... could I (not) pull it off in two months? Yeah, clearly not. So.. that heavy weight of disappointment weighed heavy on my shoulders, mind, and heart. I thought about it all day. I packaged up that little doll, added extra outfits for the disappointment I caused, and was never, ever so happy to see it on its way.. and ah, I felt PEACE knowing that darnit, I did it! I got the thing together; from start to finish and (deep breath) in the mail.

I sent my friend a heart-filled apology, telling her what a scrub I was, and how this let-down (from both sides) has been a lesson in character building for me. She, of course, was totally fine with it all.. and insisted that it was no big deal, to let it go, that she, too was a slacker. Kindred spirits, ah.. love that! But, still... the disappointment in myself, in my follow-thru still was messing with me heart, and my head.

You see, there was yet another "In-Limbo-Promise" that was out there, yet unfulfilled. Another package, (are you feeling me here??)... this time, for another sweet little girl, out-grown clothes from my girls for her. A promise of, "It's coming in the mail soon!".. which took for[eva] to actually get in the mail. I spent an entire weekend several weekends ago, purging, cleaning, laundry like it was going out of style.... all because I was adamant about getting this package off. After the above incident happened, I was even more eager to hurry along and get this package out as well. I had all the clothes in a box, ready to go for WEEKS... just didn't have it taped up & addressed. That was it! The thing sat there, for the longest time.. just waiting for those 2 last steps. Just 2 steps. Why on earth are those 2 last steps always the hardest feat for me? So the same day I handed off the above package to the husband, I spent the same day finishing up the other. It went out that afternoon.

It's amazing how, even after 40 years of dealing with the same flaws & patterns, you finally just take a long, hard look at yourself... find the things in your life that work, and that don't work, and start to make a valid effort to change. Though ones heart can always be in the right place, it's the follow thru that makes the whole beautiful picture come together. Agree? Yeah, me too.

And oh, PS: Both packages sprinkled big, happy smiles on two pretty little girls. They are happy, so I'm happy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Ah, it feels good to know that I allowed my Heavenly Father to guide me and because of that, things are falling back in place for me. Peace. Contentment. Productivity. Forgiveness. Thankful for His voice, thankful for that small, still whisper.

The day after I wrote my last post, my Pandora selection turned to my Christian Rock station, then to my Kari Jobe station, where it has stayed. I’ve been playing it all day long, reminded of that amazing love He offers, and my heart stays in an attitude of worship…which then always brings me to a place of peace. so thankful.

It had been over a month and a half that we hadn’t attended our normal Weds. Night service at church. But this past week, I announced to the family we were going, and for once… out of all 5 of them, not one complained. Service was (amazing)…. Worship was intense.. so so intense, and it felt so good to hear the word mid-week. And, ironically.. the word was exactly what was needed to be heard, amazing how God plans that.

I’ve been spending less and less time on the computer or my phone, and more on the things that need my focus the most… God, my home, my family, and the “Chrystal fluff” stuff that makes me happy. I’ve learned this before, that when these things get the best of my attention, I feel that fulfillment & that I am where I am suppose to be. These aren’t just silly words to take up space, this is so true for me.

Today, I could could have chosen to run around all day, doing the things that I usually do. But, my day started off in prayer… I got the girls to school, came home & prayed some more, busted out some laundry, plopped in a yummy-smelly apple & bacon pork loin for dinner tonight, have the potato’s going, enjoyed a shower :) (hey, that’s always a good thing), and have cleaned around the house. I am such a good place right now…. The little things sure do add up to the big things, and to know that I realize what those little but big things are & what they do to this heart of mine? Priceless.

Today the girls started back to school, yes… all 4 of them. And tonight, 3 of them start their first dance class and they were so pumped they could hardly contain themselves this morning. But, I’ll save that for my next post. :) Lots of family updates coming your way… just feeling thankful right now to know I heard His voice, and I’m walking in the right direction. I know some of this doesn’t make sense to some of you, but that’s okay. I just want to share my personal growth, journey, God’s leading on my blog because aside from all the “fluff” stuff that makes life so beautiful in-between… the learning, the growing, the leading….. that's the most important stuff.

The trees in my backyard have started turning yellow, oh.. that beautiful shade of yellow. Fall is my favorite time of year and I’m SO SO excited it’s so close! :)

Stay tuned. A Fluffy post is coming soon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

That still, small voice...

...I am so thankful for that Still, Small Voice that whispers so softly to my heart when I need to hear it the most. To re-direct my steps so I continue to walk behind His steps.

You see, it's almost comical when I shared a few months ago how once I share something on my blog; the enemy takes those words and does everything in his power to ensure that the opposite happens. Though I hate giving him credit, I have to say... his tactics are good. He knows exactly how to get at you, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. This time, it worked.

A lot has happened over the last few months that have kind of shifted things for me in my heart. I have physically felt that shift, and I am working to fix this because I need so desperately to get back to where I was. To be grounded in the word, to change my attitude towards people who have done me wrong, to embrace TRUTH and not allow negative energy from other people’s actions try to drag me down to a place where I worked so hard to climb out of. To that beautiful place filled with peace in my heart.

My lesson in the hard stuff in my life was that I learned I can't control what other people choose to do, even if it hurts me or tears down trust, all I can control is how I respond to it. I'll be honest, I've had to practice this first hand more times in the last several months than I care to mention, and I have straight up stunk at it! I know as people that we are (all) broken, we (all) make bad choices from time to time... but it stinks when the same pattern repeats itself.. again, and again. There's nothing you personally can do about it, it's another person's lesson... yet, it affects you.. but there is nothing you can do to prevent it from happening again. You then allow the fear to start paving the way of stealing your joy and your peace. No one wants to get hurt, no one wants to not trust.... but sometimes good people make bad choices & sometimes.... those people are slow learners & you seriously would do anything to plop them upside the head & say, "HELLO... FIGURE IT OUT THIS TIME!!!".

My heart is working through some of that muck right now. Everything it okay, I promise.... I'm just working through some disappointments, some set-backs, and start to climb up-hill again. I hate all that internal work that has to be re-done when I had absolutely nothing to do with it. I am working through some forgiveness issues right now which is hard simply because I'm so disappointed & frustrated. Ah, welcome to life....

I have noticed a decline in the amount of time we have been attending church. The once 3 times a week has slowly started to decrease. The enemy knew where to attack, and though I have worked through a lot of the problems, it has made the joy of going a lot less. I longed for church before.... as a family we were attending 3x a week. When you saturate yourself in the word, in His beautiful presence, He works in you.. He moves you... He fills you like no one or anything else could ever come close to. He has always been my life-source. The enemy caused some division with a few people in our church family which, I'll be honest, made it hard to get excited about going to church. It seemed like everything started happening at once, the pulling us away.. the enemy is good like that. I felt that we were under attack, and oh how I was right! It's been a few months and we've worked through this with the people it happened with. Relationships are being re-paired, still not the same.. but progress.. and progress is a beautiful thing. I hate conflict, I always have. But I felt like my family, my children, were being attacked and show me one Momma who won't stand up for her children. My point exactly.

. A few Sundays ago, one of the friends something happened with came up to me after service, hugged me & asked if we're okay. "Of course we're okay" I replied, hugging her back. My words said it, my body language said it, my heart however... still had some healing and working through to do.

Another situation occured  I've been working through is similar, but different.  Our family felt attacked by another person in our church who is a non-beleiver, but attends our church to keep a better eye on his daughter. Our daughters are good friends, and a situation happened that was blown out of porportion. This dad started making my daughter feel really threatened & started sitting directly behind us at church.  It made worshipping, the cleansing of my heart, and really focusing on the word really, really difficult for weeks. So, with that safeness invaded, and tention being high because both of these situations, our family started going to church less.  The enemy was on a mission, and it was working. I started feeling a lot of ugliness & resentment in my heart toward people I never dreamed of. I started feeling very judgmental which is so not like my spirit,, and I didn't like it. Church is peace for me, and I was feeling anything but peace while I was there. I'm still working through this, and it hasn't been easy, but I will get there. This past Sunday during church, I saw another person involved in this situation with the non-beleiving dad. She and I have always had a great relationship, but since this situation happened,  its been very tense between us & we haven't really spoken since.... God has a way of putting people in front of you when He knows its time. I left service to use the bathroom, I was a hot mess after worship & the make-up, I was certain, was running down my face.Why do I bother wearing make-up at church when I know it's going to be a runny mess before I leave?  As I was leaving the restroom... there she was, walking into the nursery, just the 2 of us in the foyer... a perfect opportunity to mend the broken relationship. I said hello, she commented on how pretty she thought I looked, I said "Come here" and started walking towards her to give her a hug. We hugged, smiled, and then we walked away..... progress.

I feel like when God is in the center of our lives & not just a 2hr. "fill-up" on Sunday mornings, but really-really in the center of our lives, things are just so much easier. I was in prayer every single day, multiple times a day, in the word daily, listening to Christian music almost any time I had the radio on, devouring encouraging devotionals online..... and really digging deep in my heart. Our Summer started off with both of the divisions I spoke of above. Then, less and less we started going to church. Sunday mornings begin to be the only day we were attending (It was summer, that's okay.. right? *sarcasm*), and then... we found ourselves missing several services due to vacations, and once, we simply missed "Just because". I started feeling the shift.... my radio shifted to country music and just a dose of Christian music here & there. I found myself getting more carefree & compromising on a few things that I normally wouldn't have.... a daughter in shorter shorts than I would normally condone, eye-shadow for another daughter who though I felt she was too young, allowed it to happen. More openness to Top 40 music (yet still changing the channel when needed...), wasted time on the computer that I know firsthand what that does to my peace & contentment.... Just little things like that... but, the shift.

Several weeks ago I was visited, yet again, by that annoying "people are going to disappointment you" reality, which slightly opened up an old wound that has been trying to close for years. This in return, stirred up a lot of emotions & fears that I worked so so hard to get through. It happens... Which then caused a wide range of emotions to come over me, but I refused to take 20 steps backwards, so... I did the best I could & only took 5 steps back. (smile!) I processed my feelings & the disappointment for about a week... not really speaking to this person, because if I did, the anger & disappointment would have fumed out of me. So, I sat on it... I kept busy.. I did the things that make me feel good about myself.. Hair, Nails, Tanning, Shopping.. you know, all the topical, meaningless stuff that you try to fill yourself with to help ease the feelings of disappointment your heart is trying not to deal with? Yeah, that stuff.... Oh, and I also decided to get my cartilage pierced with the 16 year old daughter, something I've wanted to do for years & just never did. And, oh.. yeah, one other small little thing, I finally went out and got that tattoo I've always wanted that was on my bucket list! It's a small little cross on my neck and I love it!!! I felt spontaneous and just went for it! That spunky Chrystal who wasn't really thinking sort of invaded my body for a week and a half, and yeah, the "I need everything planned out & I need to consult with the husband before I do anything" side of me kinda flew the coop for awhile. It happens. Though I was having fun, and spontaneous, enjoying time with my girls & not really focusing on the person who caused the disappointment, I still had that unsettlness in my heart. Shocker, I know. I was trying to "fill up" on other things and not go to my source who brings me peace, clarity, calmness, and helps me sort out the craziness in this brain of mine.

... when it's quite, and it's just me and my thoughts... I can hear Him. I hear what He is speaking to my heart, I know that my ways.. though innocent & not harming anyone, is not His ways. No, I'm not saying I'm feeling convicted because I went out & got a piercing or a tattoo.. or I got my hair & nails did :)... I'm saying my attitude. The ugliness in my heart. My inner being trying to focus on meaningless things so my heart is consumed. My peace can only come from Him. Restoration no matter how big or small can only happen with Him in the center of our lives. People are going to mess up, people are going to hurt you... but as I was reminded last night... "You can't control what other people might do, but you can control how you react to it!". My Heavenly Father whispered to me that I need to Seek His Face more to find the truth.. His truth. Only He can offer forgiveness in my heart... it's nothing that I can't get over-it's just people that have disappointed me, I've disappointed people in my life too... we all have. So, the forgiveness part isn't what I'm struggling with right now, it's just disappointment more than anything else... and just the hard stuff that I now have to work through to get through it, if that makes sense. He keeps whispering to my heart and I hear it several times a day and I am so so thankful for The Holy Spirit and His amazing way of keeping us focused on the One who matters, and the only One who knows the right steps for each of us to take, and that He cares enough about ME to guide me, to whisper to my heart... I'm thankful...

I am focusing on the things that are most important to me, and trying to let the rest of the stuff go. I'm trying to filter through emotions and disappointments... and, start walking that upward hill, thankfully I was only knocked down a few feet and not all the way down. If I keep all this walking up-hill stuff going, Sister is going to be looking goooood and be all in shape! :) (Sorry, couldn't resist). My challenge to you is if something is causing you hurt, or disappointment, or is taking up wasted brain space by over-thinking things whether you can control the issues or not,.... dig deep in your heart, turn it over to God-- cast all your troubles to Him--and every day thereafter, do the same thing until you feel that peace. It's never easy to work through ugly things, but it's so beautiful once you do.

Here's to that first step.....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Little Inspiration....

a few things that inspire me that I wanted to share :)

The Anniversary.....

The husband and I had one of the best times that we've had in a really, long time. We laughed so much, had some awesome music playing out on the deck, great conversation, and honestly neither one of us could have asked for a better night. Who needs a fancy restaurant with big crowds for a fun celebration? Pfft, not us!

We busted out the white table cloth, our favorite wine, and enjoyed steak, roasted garlic potatoe's, a wonderful salad, and D's famous butter noodles that I love oh so much.

Our anniversary couldn't have been any better. Well, aside from the bread sprinkled with olive oil & lots of wonderful seasoning that I was preparing below, of which I was so-so-so looking forward to... decided to burn to death in the oven & smell up my entire house, but hey..who needs perfection? you know I'm not that girl, so... in my eyes, it was a perfect-perfect evening. :) (just keepin' it real for ya, just keepin' it real!) :)

Truly enjoyable, and I mean that!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

From My Heart...

Darryl and I have been together for 14 years, and today... we celebrate our anniversay. We have a special dinner planned on our deck, and just a quite night at home, with one another. Though we do this often, that's also code for... Courtney is at church camp, so our babysitter isn't available. :) We always enjoy just hanging out at home, we love our deck and how peaceful it is out there. And, once the girl gets back from camp... we will go wine & dine elsewhere. :)

When I first started blogging again, I sat down and poured my heart out in a post titled, "Growth". But, I have waited until the right time to share it, since it's so raw and so personal, but considering today is mine and Darryl's anniversary, I thought today is the perfect day to share it. Love is worth celebrating because we all know how relationships are work. Sure, some seasons are wind in your hair days... carefree, not a lot of worries. While other seasons could be like a tidal wave, crashing down. It's all about holding on, even through the hard and rocky times..... because it's through the storm that you find the beautiful rainbow and it makes your love stronger in the end. I should know...

So, here you go. My heart on a screen... real, raw, truth.


I recently read some past journal entries that I wrote and I could see the transformation that was taking place in both mine and my husband’s lives through each and every entry. You see, there was a time when, like in a lot of relationships, that he and I hit a roadblock in the "us" department. You know, life happens, it's a journey. Growth needs to take place. You're riding along beautifully, and then.. look out: wrong direction due to wrong choices. Hey, it happens. Growth takes place, God gets a hold of you, and re-directs your path. I just wish I knew then, what I know now.. it would have saved us years of heartache, both of us trying to figure it all out, and me..simply learning to let it all go. But, again: it's a journey. It takes hard situations to mold us into who we're suppose to be. I learned a lot over the years. Not always in the way that I wanted to learn them, but who ever said that life was going to be easy? You have your beautiful days with rainbows, you have your dark cloudy days, and.. you have those perfect weather-days that make life so beautiful in-between.

Reading some of my journal entries from years ago made me see the ugliness in my heart during that season of our lives, and though they were very real feelings, I'll be honest, it was hard to read. I was so hurt, angry, bitter, resentful, and my heart towards the man that I once adored with every ounce of my being had turned cold and hard.

I never saw the obstacles in life & in my marriage coming, nor was I expecting them. I was on top of the world, so confident in myself as a woman, and in us as a couple. So why did the biggest curve ball of my life have to be thrown at me, head-on? It wasn't so much the actual issues that caused the hurt-for me, though it devastated me, it was more of how things were handled after the fact--> they weren't. It was like this big curve ball was no big deal though my heart was crumbled into a million pieces. My babies were just that, babies.... I looked at my wonderful, happy family and all of a sudden... things were different. Our relationship was different. My peace was gone. My security was gone. I felt that the love that we had, that perfect love, wasn't what I thought it was all along. It was all my perception based on what had happened. Feelings are real; there is no denying that, but one person's perception is not always the truth, though back then.. I couldn’t see this. This was something that I had to learn along the way. It's funny, because we were best friends and we never even fought up until this point, which was about 5 years in. But, we now had this big fork in the road.. this big rock that was thrown down upon us and everything changed from this point going forward.

He was young, and had a lot of growing up to do. We had never had to face real issues before, so this was new for us. This was the moment that we realized how different our coping and dealing methods were. I was a problem solver.. bring it to the table, let’s talk about it.. allow time for healing.. and move on. He was the total opposite. He was a firm believer of brushing issues under the rug and forgetting that they were even there. Because of this difference in dealing, it brought on more issues than what we were originally dealing with. He was drinking a lot during this time, and because of this, he didn't show a lot of respect which made things even worse. Then, I lost a lot of respect, too. I knew I could forgive, but with his reaction or lack thereof, it didn't allow room for healing. It made me feel unloved, uncared for... then years passed, and my feelings soon became my reality. Frustration and anger began to consume him because he just wanted me to stop hurting and to stop wanting to talk about “the issues”. He was numb. I would try to talk, he would just close up, then that would turn to anger, for the both of us. It was a vicious cycle that we couldn't break. I felt that unless we talked about it, unless he became, understanding... caring... I would never have the security in my heart to allow it it heal. Like all things, un-resolved issues begin to fester... the pain turned into anger, then resentment, then bitterness... I didn't like who I was when I was around my own husband. I could have had a great day, or be having the time of my life with my girls.. Laughing, playing.. then he would walk through the door. All that peace, gone. With just his presence in a room it was like this darkness just crept in- and you could feel it.

It's so amazing to now see how very far we've came.. not only as a couple, but as individuals as well. It makes me not only see God's hand in our lives, but to smile knowing without question that "ALL things are Possible with God!". Without the both of us having Him in the center of our lives, we would have continued down the path we were headed-- totally different directions and just going through the motions of life. Something that has always been dear to my heart is, "Ecclesiastes 3:11"--> "He has made everything beautiful in its time". This holds such truth for me. What I love knowing is that during the difficult times God was there the entire time, knowing without question that If we were to follow His way in truth & in love, that our marriage would not only be restored, but in that.. it would give Him glory! He was (and still is) the glue that holds our family together. And I'm SO SO thankful for that! I never lost hope through the hard times we faced...though there were times when I honestly thought the best thing I could do for both of us was to just walk away. Tt made me dig deeper in my faith, in my own heart, and in the hearts of my children. Though there was a time years ago when our relationship was only holding on by a tiny little thread, we know without question how love never fails. You simply trust God, never lose hope, and hang on... because love & family is something that you should never give up on.

I am honestly amazed at how much my husband has changed over the years. He truly is a different man and because of that, it has allowed me to grow into the woman and the wife that I am suppose to be. I'm far from perfect, oh... but I am ever so evolving, as is he, and this is what I love the most about life. The possibility of change, simply from looking at ourselves from the inside out, recognizing any character flaws or sin in our lives, and taking control of the issues.. this is where growth begins.

During this time, even through all the pain, I tried to do the right things, living my life the best way I could... but knowing that all that ugliness was in my heart--- simply because the pain was undealt with--- how could I ever become the wife that God intended me to be? The wife and woman that I wanted to be? I tried to reason with God so much during prayer, "God, change him and then I can love him the way I'm suppose to". "God, make me feel worthy & loved in his eyes so I can love him back". "God, I can forgive him for all the pain if only you would just make his heart open up & talk to me!" God, show him how to care for me the way he use to and not be so cold & angry". I begged, I pleaded... and for years, I waited...painful waiting.. for growth in my husband's life to happen. Before the big curve ball was released in our lives, he was so different. So tender, so attentive, very loving. We had so much fun together, and we were just so carefree. Then, life happened- that “curve ball” was thrown as hard as it could, shattering my heart in a million pieces. He was also dealing with a lot of his own issues, one being alcoholism that nearly destroyed our family. With addiction, it's not a stand-alone gig, it brings out the worst in people. During this time, I can honestly say I didn't even like my own husband. That wasn't how God designed love and I refused to accept it. I mourned the lost love that was once between us, the pure love that was gone. I didn't want all the "bad" to be a part of our lives, I wanted to be the carefree, naive girl I once was. I was safe then because ignorance is bliss. I had never opened up to anyone so deeply before in my life... so I felt betrayed, hurt, and stupid for giving my whole heart to someone who took it for granted. But, as all sin and things not good... God has a way of exposing them, to bring them into the light to be dealt with. To learn from, to grow. Sometimes when things are brought to the surface, you can learn quickly from them and move on. Other times, ugly things like pride and control takes over and things get much worse before they get better.

We had our good times, almost masking the problems and trying to make the most of it. I tried so hard to yield to what he wanted, to not talk about the pain in my heart or to seek out answers that I so desperately needed. So for a short period, I just numbed myself up to my feelings and the problems the way that he did, even though I knew how unhealthy that was. We had no peace between us otherwise. I tried this method for awhile, the outer shell was good, but internally I was hurting so deeply. Just like anything unresolved, the feelings were still there and eventually resurfaced. Our relationship was a roller coaster ride.. we both wanted off and just get back to "us", but we kept failing. Both of our hearts hurt, but we both dealt with it differently.

From pain, stems anger. With pain however, allows the oppourinity for growth. God has a way of taking something so broken, and slowly he puts the pieces back together... only to find it's more beautiful than it was before. In reflection however, those were the hardest years of my life. I feel like I missed out on so much joy that this life has to offer simply because I allowed the brokenness and the pain and the "issues" to consume me. This is how I fell into a deep depression. It was dark, and lonely, and the only thing that pulled me out of it was prayer and that constant love & comfort from my Savior. It was a stressful and challenging time in our lives anyways. He was in the beginning stages of running his company; I had just started my own company, while raising my 5 girls. Our schedules were full, and our lives were really out of balance. When he and I are good, everything else in life falls into place. The roller coaster continued for years. Good times, bad times... a lot of stagnic times. We were just going through the motions a lot of the time. I knew my heart wanted and needed so much more than he was giving me, and I longed for it. I knew God was the only one to get ahold of him and change him. It wasn't until a few years later that that transformation started taken place.

You never understand why something has to happen to you until you're through it and then it makes sense. NOW I understand why we had to go through that horrible time in our lives. A lot of things in his life weren't in line and where they were supposed to be. He was off-balance, stressed, depressed himself, and he turned to alcohol to cope. I always knew the potential he had because I knew the man that I fell in love with--- I knew he was still in there. The anger, pride, and alcohol changed him into someone I didn't even know. God was teaching me so much during this time. I relied on him fully. My strength came from Him and Him alone. He taught me about forgiveness, and what that really looked like. About patience, about the own ugliness in my heart. About how we are responsible for our own actions, no matter what wrongs someone else has done. That was a hard lesson for me. He also taught me that not one sin is greater than the other. We are (all) broken and a work in progress. I was so quick to condemn my husband for the pain that he had caused me, our family, and our marriage....yet, here I was no better based on the hardness of my heart and the way I was treating him during this time due to the pain, frustration, anger & just wanting him to "get it". But growth... oh, this is how we learn. It takes circumstances like this to mold you into who you are suppose to be. To reveal all the ugliness & brokenness.. to really examine your heart and take the responsibility in figuring out how to change it.

In the very beginning of our relationship, one of the very first gifts he gave me after a few months of dating was a beautiful picture frame that had the verse from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.. In the beginning, I felt this was how we were... this was our love verse, ….or so I thought, until that curve ball came crashing down. From that point going forward, every time I saw this verse it took on a new meaning-- it showed me what our love wasn't. He changed through this, I changed through this. Then, after a few years of "not dealing" and watching him turn so cold and withdrawn... my heart soon followed. But.. God is good. NOW when I see this verse, my heart rests. It smiles. Because we never gave up. We held onto the love that we had for one another, even during the darkness--- love never fails. My heart rests in the TRUTH of that. When you lose hope, you lose everything. I never lost hope, nor did he. Hearing him speak now of this time in our lives, it makes me so proud to call him my husband. He has grown so much into the man that he is supposed to be. It took a lot of heartache to get here, but I'm so proud of him. He now values me, something that I so needed for him to do. He now respects me again, which brings me security & peace. He opens up to me & shares his heart, which makes me feel more connected to him. Growth evolves into change, and our marriage today really is a story of redemption. Marriage is work, but when two people are finally in cinch, the wheels turn a lot easier. We are a continued work in progress (aren't we all?)... and that's what I look forward to every year in my life.. the growth. There is something to be said when you're standing on top of a mountain looking down... knowing how far you've came. You persevered, both of you together and also, as individuals.. Life is a beautiful thing.. even through the hard. The portion of the verse above holds so much meaning to me now, simply because it describes what our love has been through, and yet.. love never fails.... You just have to be willing to ride out the storm.

I am opening up and sharing all of this simply because my heart is full & I feel on top of the world right now. I have felt like we have had "us" back for awhile now and without God, I honestly don't think that could have happened. For years we have been climbing uphill... slow & steady... growth taking place in both of us along the way, and I think that was God's plan all along. And now, it has been so amazing to finally be where we are supposed to be in one another. THIS is love, and I owe all the credit to God. It's almost like God smiling down, pouring out the most amazing blessing He could ever give us... one another in the purest form. Darryl made the comment a few months ago how it's like we're falling in love all over again, and it's true. The newness is there again. We both are eager to help the other, to compliment the other, to build one another up. To purely focus on the GOOD in one another. To SERVE one another.. I now remember what it feels like to be best friends again... in love... not just going through the motions of life, and playing "roommates" anymore. Will there be peaks and valleys? Absolutely, but knowing where we've been... and where we are today, proves that there isn't anything that we can't overcome as long as God is the center of both of our lives.

I love that when I look at my husband now, I see the GOOD again, whereas after that curve ball that was thrown, I only saw the bad. We've been through so much together... and to know that through all of that, we are closer now than ever, shows what real love really looks like. Real love isn't perfection.. it isn't without fault. It's being in a storm and finding the rainbow up the road. I learned that love is a CHOICE, it's not a feeling. If we all lived our lives based on feelings, I can't help but think about how much we would miss out on. Sometimes it takes going through the really hard to find the really beautiful. I am so proud of my husband and at the man he has become, and I tell him this often. He changed for our family, for our marriage, and for God.... and I will always be so grateful for that change. Something else that I discovered along the way is that Growth doesn't just happen, it too, is a CHOICE. If we sit & allow the same thing to happen, we get nowhere. Growth happens when you allow God to work, and you take time to reflect on your life & change the things that you do not like. We all need a "life purge" every once in awhile... What are you not happy about? What is it that you personally can change about that? You might not be able to change your circumstance, but you can always change yourself and the way that you react to it. Take time to water the seeds in your life, and ahh... growth is bound to happen.

I've grown so much personally.. I've been doing a lot of reflection lately, and I have to smile at it all. It's funny, because when I was in my late 20’s, I had really "came into" who I felt I was supposed to be. I was so happy in life, so full... so content, and just happy with who I was as a woman. Then, that "curve ball" got thrown my way and that made me second guess who I was. It's amazing how much our lives are affected by the choices of those around us... if we allow them too.(another lesson learned). Once that "curve ball" was thrown.. it changed me. My heart got hurt for the very first time, and that was new to me. The person who was my rock in life that offered so much love & security, it was taken away in a matter of seconds. I had always trusted & seen the good in everything & everyone...and all of a sudden, I found myself doubting everything and everyone around me. A once "free spirited, happy-go-lucky, very trust-worthy" person.. was now very guarded, very hurt, and very unsure of herself. A LOT Of growth took place... year after year. Healing took place in small steps... all in God's timing.

As woman, we seek acceptance. We want to feel special, wanted, needed, desired, beautiful... we are at our best when we feel this way. During that season of my life I was seeking all of this from the wrong place. Here I had finally felt SO confident in who I was as a woman, so comfortable in my own skin.. just so at “peace. Then, that curve ball... I was then thrown back a hundred feet from where I had just came from. I questioned everything about myself--- my insecurities ran rapid. I felt lost. I felt every single emotion under the sun, then.. those emotions turned to anger.. oh, the anger. That was what consumed me. I spent (so) much time in prayer during this time... I became closer to my precious Jesus than I had ever been before. We weren't going to church during this time in our lives since the girls were just babies, but I found myself giving more of my heart to Jesus than I ever did before. Oh, the conversations I had with him.... and the comfort in knowing that even after hearing all my thoughts, feelings, rants... He still loved & accepted me for who I was.. broken & all... He always (always) brought me back to that place of PEACE and TRUTH. I knew deep down that my husband loved me very much, but he just didn't know how to show it, not with words, or by actions during that time. He was consumed.. the alcohol changed him, the brokenness of "us" changed him. I needed reassurance from him, yet he didn't know how to give it. I was hurt & broken... and because he didn't know how to make those feelings go away, he just turned numb. It was a journey, that I will say. When he saw how we were barely hanging by a thread, and it was slowly breaking... he took control of his life & his family and stopped drinking & started making really positive changes in his life. God began to become first in his life and I could see this. Though we were doing so much better as a couple, we still had a lot of growing & healing to do, so things still weren't where they needed to be. Progress was being made... both in us as a couple, (slowly)... and also as individuals (which now, in hindsight, the latter was the most important growth that needed to happen).

Fast forward, I guess it was about 3 years ago when the light-bulb went off in my head. After all those years, all the heartache, the long journey for my heart to heal…..I finally "got it". My lesson in all of this mess was being brought to light. God spoke to my heart in what He was trying to show me all along: I had been seeking out acceptance through my own husband's eyes... my worth, somehow, had always depended on my own perception of how my husband saw me. My inner most being was so dependent on my husband valuing me, rather than how GOD saw me and how I saw myself. During that time my husband struggled with opening up to me and without hearing how he felt about me, and by him not showing it, I struggled with feeling like I wasn’t enough in his eyes. We are also built very differently in this regard, just like the majority of all woman & men are. I didn't realize this then, so this alone caused a lot of heartache that could have been avoided had I known then, what I know now. I expected him to react to situations the way that I did. I expected my feelings to be his feelings. I am wired to dig deep with feelings & connecting by communicating, so I expected the same from him. But, he's not wired this way... so putting this large amount of pressure on not only him, and also on us as a couple, without knowing it- I placed my own worth & value in the palm of my husband’s hands which was the craziest thing I could have ever done. Why wonder I felt so defeated in my heart, in my mind.. I was fighting a battle within my own heart that could have never been won. Our worth isn't placed on how other people see us, even our own husband’s, it's placed on how GOD see's us and how we see ourselves! But, again: we learn, we grow. :) During church one Sunday, The Holy Spirit was so very present and spoke to my heart during worship... "You are enough, my beautiful child, You are enough." I left that service with peace in my heart..... I knew I was enough all along, but I always beat myself up because I didn't feel like I was enough in my husband's eyes simply because he didn't understand how to show it, esp. after everything we had been through over the years. So, instead of giving more of himself, he had always done the opposite- closed up. But to hear those sweet words from my Savior--- oh, how He listens to my heart, there was peace. TRUTH. My worth is defined by how GOD sees me (beautiful & perfect in His image).... had I just realized then that my acceptance comes from HIM and HIM alone. THIS moment changed things for me. I started seeing things differently... I felt more at peace w/ my heart,.. with myself. As woman, I think sometimes we look for validation, acceptance from either other people, or like I did, from our husbands. Now I understand how he felt during that time because now he opens his heart up to me. But then, I didn't understand it. He told me he had a lot of growing up to do.. he can say that now that he is sitting in a different seat. He opens up to me now in ways that blows me away. This allows me to give more of myself, to love harder. To serve more. To trust more... and for that amazing thing called peace & security to fill my mind and my heart in place of the fear & pain that once consumed me.

Growth, it's a beautiful, beautiful thing. It's funny, because I am more content and at peace with who I am as a woman now, than I have ever been in my life. I thought I had "came into" who I was suppose to be right before entering into my 30's.. but then that growth was lost...., though I felt the same kind of contentment & acceptance of myself as a woman then, as I do now, it's different now. I understand myself better, I have done a lot of self-discovery... a lot of quite time alone, a lot of prayer.. to know what helps maintain balance & happiness in my life. I am not only comfortable in my own skin, I am happy with who I have become. Having been through what we went through, allowed the layers of our lives to be peeled away.. allowing us to evolve, to grow.. so that when it was in God’s time, we would be whole, as individuals.. so then we could become whole, (as ONE), together.

I can now smile because we not only overcame all the obstacles that faced us, but I truly discovered myself along the way. It's rather ironic... the title of my blog is "Finding Joy in the Chaos".. with my by-line being, "A 30 something mother to 5 little girls trying to find a better balance in her life while discovering herself along the way". What a journey it has been. That was over 4 years ago, and I don't think I could have chosen a better by-line now, if I could. :)

Life is full.
Life is good.
Life is never perfect, but it is beautiful.. even in the messiness. Embrace the messy, even if it's hard.. because it's through the hard that we grow. Trust me, I speak from experience, and…. from my heart.