Sunday, April 16, 2017

Don't Get Stuck in a Holidaze

It's so easy to get stuck in a holidaze. What do I mean? Like when you are constantly discontent or feeling like a failure with what's in front of you. The comparison trap is at our fingertips all day long. We can get into a daze as we scroll through others' lives instead of appreciating our own. It's so gross. I'm writing this to and for myself and wanted to encourage myself along with anyone else it may help. This stuff happens with or without the social media highlight reel and Pinterest boards, it's just magnified.

Things you may find yourself thinking:
  • "my family is so screwed up" // "look how perfect they are" 
  • "we don't have new clothes" // "how do they afford to dress like that" 
  • "my kids never listen" // "are they always smiling and well behaved?!" 
  • "we are eating frozen pizza" // "must be nice to go to that expensive restaurant" 
  • "we never go anywhere" // "where are they now?! another amazing trip"  
The list could go on and on, I've found myself saying some of these and many more. It's embarrassing to admit, really. It is so immature, unhealthy and ultimately will leave us completely dissatisfied and unhappy. Everyone's "behind-the-scences" have a mess attached at some point. Let's get out of the pity party, comparison trap and count our blessings. Here's some practical steps when you find you find yourself getting stuck:

1. Get Grateful
Count your blessings. Look around and literally count them. Point out the smallest victories. Gratitude turns what we have into enough. There is always always something to be thankful for.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thessalonians 5:16-18

2. Honestly Happy 
As gross and icky as jealousy, envy and bitterness can be when they come in... and hard to admit we ever deal with this. Shut them out. I believe you can train your soul to truly "do the opposite". As soon as those negative thoughts come in, stop and celebrate. You can be honestly happy for your friends or "friends" on social media. Celebrate for them. Cheer them on.
"Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them." Philippians 4:4-5

3. Be Real  
We all value those who are fearlessly authentic, be brave and share your behind-the-scenes at times. Remind yourself that everyone has a story behind the pictures and the highlights. Create a "me too" moment with a friend. Share the messy moments, hurt feelings, unmet expectations in a conversation and find the freedom in friendship of shared experiences. Embrace your beautiful mess.
"It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." Myquillin Smith
Bloody nose & messy clothes. Our beautiful mess.
Easter Sunday 2017

My "real rant" you can read or totally ignore: 
My behind-the-scenes moments include, but are are not limited to: no family in town, frozen pizza for lunch, tacos for dinner (that undoubtedly the boys will complain about), laundry, cleaning, raining outside so flying kites and easter egg hunt canceled, a boy with pink eye, a boy saying "I'm the meanest mom ever", a lack of money to do anything "fun", hand-me-down old clothes for "Easter outfits", no "Easter shoes". That's such a terrible train to be on! See how awful that can get us feeling?! I'm with you. Instead I choose to say, my family is together. We get to go slow, play cards, cuddle inside and watch movies. We have food to eat. We have a great church to attend. We colored Easter eggs. We woke up first thing and read the Easter story together. Our boys were generous and every time they saw a child with less candy than them, they immediately went to give them some of theirs, including their best. Most of all, the real reason is that Jesus is alive! We can be truly alive because of Him! I'm so grateful for the life we live in Him and all my craziness that is #thezickzoo.

(I've actually written about this before, years ago. Found myself needing to remind my own soul of it.) 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Miracles Happen: Fear Nothing

The fifth of November will always hold a new meaning to our family. As many of you reading this have already heard of the terrible accident that happened to our little boy, I'm writing as my way of processing and to make sure God gets every bit of glory for this incredible miracle. This is not just humans labeling their good parking spot a miracle, but an unbelievable, unexplainable, divine act of God. 

It actually started at 2:29am-- in the middle of the night, God woke me up. It wasn't a bad dream or a nightmare. I was awakened from a dead sleep with this knowing that something horrific was about to happen that day and to trust and pray. I debated whether or not to wake Cole up or not, decided not to. So I did that-- I prayed, I trusted... and fell back asleep in peace. I didn't know what, when or who... it was just a knowing that something to my horror was on the horizon. 

The morning took off at 6:30am with a buzz as usual. All three boys awake and running around. Baths, breakfast, packing lunches, brushing teeth, and I was preparing Cade and myself for a photoshoot for a local maternity & children line of clothing (@tolittlearrows). With the buzz and busyness of the day, my middle of the night escapade had drifted to the back of my mind. 


 Fast forward to 5:30pm. Cole was leaving to go to the Rosemont Football team dinner & pep talk we host the night before their games, he had Caleb in the car with him. He had loaded the car with four bins of baby boy clothes to drop off to a friend (we now assume it was during this loading and the door being open that Cade snuck outside without any of us knowing.) Once loaded he preceded to back out of the driveway. 

Thankfully I was right inside the door, not far... and heard the crying, the screaming. I looked around didn't see Cade inside and ran outside. As soon as I ran out the door, Cole saw me and stopped the car. I then saw what I hope to remain as the worst sight of my life. I saw my little boy laying face down under the back right tire. The car was stopped on top of his little body. His cries became fainter, I started to yell, "Pull forward, pull forward, pull forward!" The next five minutes are the biggest blur. I scooped my little boy off of the driveway, he caved into my body, saying "mama, mama, mama." We jumped into the car and started to drive to the hospital. (Thankfully my parents are in town visiting and we could leave immediately knowing Caleb and Connor were taken care of.) 

Through my cries and tears I said, "I knew this was coming. God told me something horrific was coming... but it's going to be okay." My deepest thoughts were actually that he didn't even need the hospital but the thoughts that surfaced were obviously the emergency and the enormity of what happened. All of the what if's were blurring through my head. I didn't see blood or any immediate signs of injury. We kept praying and saying the name of Jesus. Without thinking, Cole's first reaction was to call his mom to pray. I took the phone after telling her to pray and we called 911. We were told to stop in the parking lot and await for the ambulance. (That wait felt like forever.) 

The emergency crew arrived and we quickly got him into the ambulance and started our journey. The worst part of it all was seeing him so uncomfortable and crying, "mama, mama, mama." I had to be brave for him, I could not cry. We sang, we counted and I probably gave him one billion kisses yesterday. From that moment in the ambulance on I experienced something unexplainable.... supernatural peace. It literally felt like peace from heaven. It was traffic hour, we were driving the shoulder on highway 50 until police escorted ahead and cleared the two fast lanes and we flew to the hospital. Upon arrival I really believe all of the doctors were in shock... "the car was on top of him?!" 
He still had on his white shirt from the morning photoshoot and it is something we will keep forever. They had to cut it off of him in the ambulance and immediately when they turned it over they saw the tire tread marks on the back of it. Yet his skin was untouched!! There was not a mark, no abrasion, not even redness. A miracle before my eyes. Our obvious concerns were then internal bleeding, bones, his pelvis, etc. After CT scan, XRays, blood and urine tests-- everything was 100% healthy! He has a little brush burn on his left foot and THAT IS IT. Unbelievable, miraculous, thank you Jesus! 

 The entire time in the hospital I was reading this passage over Cade Joshua. Cade means "battle warrior" and was a God-given name... (there's more to that story you can read in my past writing-- Story of Cade Joshua).  I knew that this "battle warrior" has so much life and purpose ahead of him. Please read the entire psalm, I know this writing is long-- but if you've made it this far, read these words because they are the most important of the post. I will forever have them stamped on my heart (and plan to place them on the walls of our home.) We have every right as children of this good good God to claim these promises over our lives.

Psalm 91
You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
    spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
    I trust in you and I’m safe!”

That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
    shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
    under them you’re perfectly safe;
    his arms fend off all harm.

Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
    not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
    not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
    drop like flies right and left,
    no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
    watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
    the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
    harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
    to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
    their job is to keep you from falling.

You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
    and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
    I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,

    give you a long drink of salvation!”

At one point in the hospital, while watching my little man sleep. My mind started to entertain all of the "what if's" the unimaginable horror, loss, pain, etc that could have come from this... and again, I had this resounding knowing inside of me that said, "there is no room for fear in your family."  Just as this Psalm says: 


This is what we will have forever stamped upon our lives and this experience. We will fear nothing. 
Many times our thoughts trail to, "well if God was good, why would He allow this to happen at all?" None of us are exempt from troubles and pain in this life, but we will cling to the promise above,

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;

He was by our side during this bad time. His peace was felt. Our trust was in Him and we know without a doubt his angels were on the job. 

Our 18-month-old son walked out of the hospital laughing and healthy with a scratch on his foot after being ran over and parked on top of by our vehicle. Not a drop of blood was shed, not a bruise was to be seen, or a bone to be broken. 

After we tucked him in (in our room, there was no way I was leaving his side!) I laid in bed giving praise to God as I listened to my little boy breathing healthy and sleeping peacefully just six hours after this terrible incident.
"I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party."
We are throwing a praise party tomorrow evening in honor of this miracle and to give God the praise. All are welcome to join us. 
It will take place at Capital Christian Center after the 6pm service (around 7:30pm) in the Chapel.
9470 Micron Ave. Sacramento, CA 95827
Saturday, November 7

To all the mamas- I know what happens when we hear or see a tragedy of this kind shared. Normally fear, paranoia, images of this happening to our child, and all of the "what if'" run rampant. Will you please join me in saying "NO" to fear. As my brother heard as he prayed last night, "this is My miracle, it will not become a foothold of fear for the enemy." Let's rejoice in the goodness of God and proclaim the promises of protection over our littles. I will shout a little louder, jump a little higher and stomp my feet a little harder, because today and everyday the enemy is under them... where he belongs. 

Many thanks and in awe of the family & friends that surround us in an instant. My parents. Trav who arrived in minutes to drive Cole to the hospital. Mel who took her kids to play with our boys and bring instant joy to our home. Uncle John & Aunt Alicia who prayed and were by our side. (all of our family who were praying from afar.) Pastor Doug and Gretchen who pulled their "pastor" card and got right into the room to be by our side and pray for our little man. Kellie and Phina, who were at the hospital and got to witness Cade's first steps! and to the hundreds who have prayed, called, texted and well-wished. We feel every bit of the love and power of the body of Christ.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wake Up Early & Rest

In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus. 
In the morning, I will rise to meet with Jesus. 

I don't know about you, but I love to sleep. We recently upgraded to a king bed, so it's that much harder to get out of it! (By upgraded I mean sold our queen for the same price we purchased a Restoration Hardware beauty from Craigslist! If you don't check out Craigslist & OfferUp when you're looking or dreaming about something-- do it! Every night Cole exclaims how in love with our new bed he is!) Anyways, back to getting out of bed... WHY is it so hard?! Our middle guy, Connor James, sneaks in with us every night as well, so I just love his little cuddles and don't want it to stop. BUT... If I don't get my morning ME time-- I'm just not at my best. Does this mean I wake early every morning? No, not nearly. But the days I do, I NEVER regret it. Being the first one to wake in my house and pray for my family and our day, is one of my greatest joys... so naturally, I want to share the thought with you. Am I a morning person? No, never really have been. I've always considered myself a night owl. So don't write me off as that. You can do this too, just give it a try.

Yesterday around a table with some beautiful women we talked about creating margin in our lives, room to breathe and why that is so difficult. We are going through the book Breathe by Priscilla Shirer (definitely recommend.)   We've been discussing how we are so comfortable with exhaustion and running in circles, we don't know how to enjoy a break. The guilt that comes in when a day in our calendar isn't full. We've equated significance with busyness. That just reeks of the lies to me. The truth is that He created rest for us. We are not too important or too busy to rest. Maybe we won't find a full twenty-four hour period to rest (especially as a mommy of littles, it's not like we can tell them to stop dirtying their diapers because it's our "sabbath") but finding a chunk of time to pause, to stop, to rest.

So back to waking up early, I know it's not everyone's jam and I'm not trying to push it on you. But what I'm reminded of daily is: 
"The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41 ESV) 
Our flesh can be selfish and sloppy. I don't want that to run my day. I want to feed my spirit and flourish. I've chosen little simple things to discipline myself, just like there are consequences to choices for my boys-- I'm giving myself some. I changed two things yesterday, simple & easy. I moved my phone from charging right next to my bed (I even purchased the extra long cord so I didn't have to reach and could have it closer and convenient.) Now it charges across the room by the door. For one-- it will not keep me up late at night, scrolling. Secondly, when the alarm goes off I can't simply hit snooze. I have to get up and it's right on my way out the door and downstairs to my ME time. Secondly, I told myself if I can't get up early, I can't have coffee. Maybe that kind of "discipline" sounds silly, but if you share in the love of coffee-- maybe you understand! Paul talked about self-discipline.
"Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified."               (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT)
Just a little encouragement to try something new to fit in some time for you to "rest" and feed your soul. There are so many voices swirling around in our heads in the day, I'd like to start mine with the voice of truth. 

To top off the sweetness of my morning-- Connor was the first one to wake up and make it downstairs. His next moves reminded me of how special it is "just to be near the one you love". He leaves his favorite "special seat" (that is a daily fight in our house of who gets to sit in it) and says, "Mom-- will you come bring your Jesus computer and sit on the bench with me? Cuz I wuv you." Perfect end to my time, joining with the sweet slowness of my three-year-old eating his breakfast. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

See Yourself the Way God Does

The following is a "note" I wrote on my iPhone while flying across country. It dawned on me that I need to know who I am-- what makes me, me-- and not trying to simply live based on other's expectations or off of insecurities. So this was my synopsis of some pieces that make up who I am. It was freeing to write and I encourage you to identify the same. Lining up with this verse-- it's a careful exploration of who I am. Not impressed with self & not comparing others. This is a piece of me at my creative best. 

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." (Galatians 6:4-5 MSG)  


I am in love with the living Truth— Jesus Christ. I love reading His word, speaking it, meditating on it, listening to it, writing it out. It is alive and active. It has the power to bring hope and destroy darkness. It is life.

I am a (chronic) over-sharer. I love to share my life, my discoveries! Whether it's a recipe, a cool place, a good deal, but most of all the hope that saved me and continues to change me daily— of course I want to share it!

I am a recovering people-pleaser who will no longer be bound by the anxiety of what people think about me. I love people- and hope you can love me. But take me or leave me— I have no doubt that once you discover what I have in the word and person of truth you will love it! There's no chance of looking back or turning back to your old ways— because He is life.

I detest the lies that tear us down, keep us bound and steal our joy. I hate the father of lies. It is a daily motivator to demolish his strongholds of darkness, turn the volume down to his blaring lies and turn up the truth in my life and anyone else who will listen.

"The truth is foreign because the lies are so familiar."

I believe when we begin to recognize and then replace the lies with the truth of heaven— everything changes.

"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7)

When we change what we think about ourselves-- we change what we believe and ultimately how be behave. Life is not determined by our circumstances, but what we tell ourselves about them.

My passion is for us to begin to:
"See yourself the way God does."

I believe when that begins— we start on a journey to freedom, wholeness and purpose! We get to partner with heaven and discover the destiny God has for our daily lives.

I believe joy is found in the journey. I believe we were created to be better together. There is power when we come together in real, transparent, selfless community. Where we are not in competition with each other, but for each other. Our fight is not against flesh and blood, but we are an army together against the darkness.

I believe in the power of the spoken word. I want to be a voice and a servant to those who feel they don't have one or it's been lost. Hope has a voice and there is always hope.

We are loved and valued by the One who matters most. Nothing can separate us from that love. Let us walk together in that love and we will not be moved.

(Also found under "I Believe" on turnuptruth.)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Saying YES

I had a beautiful conversation with two friends last night. In packed schedules and lots of little ones (between us we have seven kiddos and two on the way)... it can be rough to have a real conversation. So we made it happen. Put the kids to bed and sat around my table with some sweets and conversation that was sweet to the soul. We kept the candles burning and moved to the couch till we past into the next day (I think like 12:01am to be exact.) It was so refreshing. I shared a God dream/download I think we are going to walk in together, we shared our current struggles and insecurities, our prayer needs, our dreams. It was so good and a reminder we can make that happen WAY more often.

I encourage you, wherever you're at, to make that happen. We're all craving real friendships with depth, understanding, transparency, prayer and LOVE.

Just step out and invite someone to your table.

We have a lot of personal revelations just when we have a space to speak and have others who care listen. I got to go a step further in what I've been processing with God by sharing with them how I've been teetering on disobedience. I feel God tell me something to do, then He puts the writing on the wall by giving the same message to others to give to me, yet I still don't do it. Why?

What keeps us from all He's designed us for? Created us to come alive with?

Fear of failure. People's opinions.  Laziness. Excuses. Insecurities.

So it gave me the final push in my spirit to keep walking in faith and obedience. The obedience is up to me, the results are up to Him. So I will obey. I will continue the faith walk into what He has laid before me. I will continue to be faithful in the small and everyday things, as well as the uncharted and scary things.

"What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice." (1 Samuel 15:22 NLT)

"Then Samuel said,
Do you think all God wants are sacrifices—
    empty rituals just for show?
He wants you to listen to him!
Plain listening is the thing,
    not staging a lavish religious production.
Not doing what God tells you
    is far worse than fooling around in the occult.
Getting self-important around God
    is far worse than making deals with your dead ancestors.
Because you said No to God’s command,
    he says No to your kingship." (1 Samuel 15:22-23 MSG)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bless this Mess

My mess does not have to equal stress.

Today is my longest of the week at home with the three boys until we leave at 5:30pm for Local Youth. I realized in order to have fun and be creative (rather than watch TV) it means creating a mess. 

It means digging through the toy box and digging up all the Legos, it means playing "War" and having fifty-two cards scattered across the floor. It means digging up whatever you can find in he fridge to eat real food rather than a microwave meal. It means giving your little babe avocado for the first time.

I started pondering all of this as I walked through the kitchen and felt a lot of debris sticking to my bare feet. My first thoughts were, "gosh! You never clean the floors. What's wrong with you!? Such a mess." And immediately I grabbed that lie and pulled it down. 

"No, this is a beautiful mess. You have children to play with, a warm house to be barefoot in, real food to eat... This isn't stressful, you're not a screw up. This is the life. The beautiful messy life you are ridiculously gifted to live!" 

Today, I hope you can look at the messiest parts of your life
and find some beauty and blessing in their midst. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Okay, let's be honest. Something awful can take place during the holidays that is a complete joy stealer. Comparison. Yes that word we hear all the time right now... but man did I have to fight it like a bad habit this year. Every time it would show it's ugly face I felt like a total addict to something I couldn't break! Why does this keep coming up? Why can't I beat this? But I think it's something I will have to fight for years to come. I do have to say I've seen major growth in my heart in this area. Much more celebration than competition with others.

But let's talk about what happens on the holidays, because I had a few real-live conversations about this with people who admitted they dealt with it... which of course raised the "YESSS, I'M NOT ALONE!!!" feeling in my heart. The "I'm not crazy, so maybe I should write it on the wall so others can have that little piece of freedom."

So the holidays, can become a "daze" when we scroll through our feeds and then start to think what we're doing isn't enough. Our tree doesn't look like that, our table is definitely not that matchy-matchy, our family is not that put together, they look like they're having so much fun.... or we have too many parties to attend we don't have "us" time, we don't have any family here-- it's just us.

See what he did there, either way you slice it-- it doesn't measure up. The thief of your joy can manipulate your circumstances to always seem like they're not enough, you are not enough. 

That's what my friend and I ended up saying, she told me she was jealous that my pictures looked like we were having so much fun with just us... and I in turn confessed that the entire holiday I was thinking about how we have no family parties to attend, no family dinners, nothing like what my friends had. My immediate response to her what just a total STOP IT moment. Wow-- how our hearts can deceive and mislead us. Not only does he want to steal our joy, but to destroy our very minds and perspectives on the blessings we each have.

What's awesome is on Christmas Eve I came across this statement on my feed,
"Stop letting the worry of what isn't happening in your life, ruin what is happening." Carl Lentz
That nugget of truth really guided me out of moments of pity and into total gratitude and soaking up every blessing. It also reminded me of this I saw on my feed before:

See our "feeds" can actually feed us truth, so be careful who you follow. (Gosh, that sounds like another day...)

So I hope that as we wrap up this holiday season-- Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years-- you are able to seal your memories in your heart and mind as good enough. They are your life, your loved ones, your traditions and they are just enough for you. Probably more than enough-- that's how I feel. So let's take the "daze" of comparison out of our holidays.

"This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24 NLT