Primrose Hill: ‘Made better by our story’

Psalm18-16You don’t have to be a former meth addict to appreciate the words of David in Psalm 18.

David was running from a human enemy, and the Psalm is one of thanks for God’s rescue. At Primrose Hill Teen Challenge, you’ll hear stories of rescue from drug addiction, alcohol addiction, fears and failures.

So many stories of second (and third) chances …

Jenn, who survived a methamphetamine addiction, divorce, jail, loss of family relationships and more, quotes Psalm 18:16 and says that’s exactly what God did for her.

He took hold of her:

“God’s grace and mercy started working miracles in my life. He restored my family and transformed me into a beautiful and loving woman, mother and child of God.”

Jenn is just one example of the power of transformation that begins at Primrose Hill.

PrimroseHillGraphicAt the recovery center (located in north-central Missouri), the women learn life skills, social skills, parenting skills and work skills. GED classes are available for those who didn’t finish high school, and the women are discipled in their faith.

Benefits to the children include in-home care, learning and a loving environment, according to the organization’s website.

One way the residents help the organization pay for their care is by making soaps, lotions and lip balms.

The tagline on every label: “Made better by our story.”

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The folks at Primrose Hill sent me a gift set, a brochure and a newsletter telling stories of women formerly in bondage and now free from addictions because of the love of Christ and the care of those at the recovery center.

Primrose sent me a box of goodies recently in the hope that I would like them, talk about them and spread the word to my peeps (that’s you). Each woman involved in the production hand-signs each bottle, jar, bar and tube. (Lindsey, thank you for the lotion and the sugar scrub. Stacie, thanks for the hand and body soap. Krista, the Sweet Dreams bar of soap smelled … sweet and dreamy! And the Honey Bunch lip balm? Well, I guess the label was too small for a signature, but, to the young woman who produced it: hugs and kisses from me to you!)

I can’t squirt out a dollop of liquid soap or lotion, or run a bar of the Sweet Dreams soap along my arms as I sit in the bath, without thinking about the women who made them … without praying with every breath for each resident, each child, for each beautiful soul at Primrose who cares for the women and their kids, without thanking God for such an organization.

Places like Primrose change lives.

I am grateful for the soaps, lotion, lip balm and body scrub, but I’m even more grateful that Primrose invited me to be a part of its story.

So, whether you need a Primrose Hill product (no synthetic ingredients, and includes a fragrance-free option) or simply would like to make a donation and/or say a prayer for the ministry and those involved, please visit the website and look around. You’ll be encouraged and enlightened.

It takes about $2,000 per mom and $100 per child each month to operate the Primrose Hill recovery center. I hope you can help, and I know the families will be eternally grateful.

Click here to visit Primrose Hill’s website.

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3 tips for sticking with exercise when you want to quit

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Bonus tip: Exercise is usually more fun with a buddy, even when it’s your much-faster husband! (Photo courtesy of Hatch and Maas)

This morning I ran before church. I used to run early every Sunday morning, but it’s been a while, and today I had to do some convincing. It was 37 degrees, and I was cold!

I’ve been running (consistently, more or less) for about 5 1/2 years, and I’ve come up with plenty of excuses not to lace up and JUST DO IT.

Here are three tips that will help you get your franny out the door and not stop until the job’s done, even when you really don’t want to. (I use running as an example, but you can substitute your chosen activity – and I’m not talking beer-drinking marathons or Oreo-eating contests.)

  1. Don’t accept excuses from yourself. Running is 10 percent effort and 90 percent self-talk. (OK, I made that up – running is hard, and probably more than 10 percent of the equation – but you know what I mean.) I am the queen of excuses. Today I didn’t let my excuses win. (Note to self: Don’t be five minutes late to church next time you’re slaying the excuses.)
  2. Find a mantra. I have all sorts of little phrases I use when I need to keep up the effort. Nowadays they call them hashtags 🙂 but the concept has been around for ages. Some of mine, when I need convincing:
  • #IAmTough and #MindOverMatter (these two truly help me keep going).
  • #RememberYourWhy.
  • #BestYearEver.
  • #HeartToRun (since my heart surgery).
  • #WRA2016 (Bruce and I help coach the annual Women Run Arkansas clinic).
  • #ThxCoachBruce (he’s helping me get faster for a goal race in June).
  1. Believe in yourself. This may be the most important of all. Each year, when we recruit participants for the 10-week WRA run/walk clinic, the leaders meet ladies who need convincing that they are worth the effort – that taking care of themselves by getting fit is just as important as taking care of their families. If we are out of shape, unhealthy and/or self-loathing, how can we take the best care of someone else? Believe me when I say: YOU ARE WORTH IT.

I’m in danger of getting on a soapbox here, so I’ll leave you with this extra tip, which I plan to write about in greater depth toward the end of clinic, when it will be easier to quit:

REMEMBER YOUR WHY.

Remembering your “why” makes all things easier. (And if you don’t know your why, it’s time to get busy figuring it out.)

What is your “why”? Leave a comment to share it with the rest of us.

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Get yourself – or a loved one – a Road ID

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You can put whatever info you need to on the band – up to 7 lines. I have my name, year of birth (so EMTs will know my approximate age), phone numbers of hubby, mom and brother, “No Known Allergies” at the bottom of one and “Mitral Valve Prolapse” on the older bands (before my surgery). Bruce has “Run for Fun” on the last line of his, and on my mom’s I put “Diabetic.”

In the years since I started wearing a Road ID, I’ve become somewhat of an evangelist for the ID bands.

When I received my first band, I wore it only when I ran outdoors – especially if I was running alone. I got Bruce one, too.

Then I got us each a second band. Gotta have a backup for when the original one is sweaty and in need of a wash, right? By then I was wearing a Road ID whenever I ran – and whenever we traveled – and I urged Bruce to do the same.

Then, in 2013, I had heart surgery. Took my Road ID with me to the hospital, and I kept it on at all times. (You never know when they might wheel the wrong unconscious patient down that long hallway to the OR – I didn’t want them to remove a kidney when they were supposed to be fixing my leaky valve.)

By that point, Road ID was a no-brainer. I now wear my bracelet any time I leave the house. Period.

A couple of years ago, when I was buying a dress for my cousin’s wedding, I decided it was time to order a “dressy Road ID” (something besides a fabric and Velcro version that I could wipe clean easily and wear to church and nicer events and not feel so … sporty). I ordered myself a white one and Bruce a black one – both silicone bands.

So, a few days ago, when I discovered that Road ID has an affiliate program (I’ll explain that in a minute), I leaped for joy!

I believe in Road ID.

I nag people to order their own Road IDs.

I bought my mom a Road ID. She’s diabetic, and I make her wear it during travel and hospital stays.

ROAD ID COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE.

I’m not going to nag you, but I want you to understand the importance of having identification and emergency contact info easily accessible in the event of an accident that incapacitates you. I’ll let the testimonials on the website speak for themselves.

So now I’m an “affiliate” of Road ID. This means that if you click the Road ID ad on my page (at this writing, I have it as a banner on top of the page, but I might move it to the right sidebar in the future), or this link, and you make a purchase, I’ll get a small commission.

I would never endorse – or become an affiliate for – any company or product that I didn’t believe in wholeheartedly.

Ask my friends how long I’ve been singing the praises of Road ID, and nagging them to get one (or two, or three – they’re not pricey).

A long time. And I only got approved as an affiliate yesterday.

So … click the link, pick out a custom band for yourself or a loved one, or buy a gift certificate and explain to the recipient the importance of this gift … and gain a little piece of mind.

You can buy a band for your wrist, your ankle, your shoe … there are lots of options, my friend. Lots of colors and designs, in case plain black or white bores you. There’s even an interactive version, in case you want to sign up for an annual membership and be able to update your info electronically any time it changes.

Ordering a Road ID is worth the small investment of your time and a few dollars, especially when you consider the pricelessness of a human life.

Just do it. You’ll be glad you did.

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I can’t get no satisfaction – or can I?

SatisfiedQuote2Perfectionists have a hard row to hoe.

Trouble is, most of the time it’s of their own making. (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.)

A recovering perfectionist, in working out a long-ago commitment to make that phrase past tense (recovered perfectionist), might attempt an artsy version of a favorite song lyric – prompted by a friend’s Song of the Month post and inspired by other friends’ practice of expressing beautiful truths in watercolor and other media (Alison and Jeanetta) – and decide to post her own, primitively written piece of “art.”

(She might even leave an incredibly long and convoluted sentence long and convoluted and hope that the reader will plow through enough to understand it.)

In the interest of demonstrating that trusting in Him – creator of the universe, of art and our very souls – is the higher virtue, this recovering perfectionist might decide:

  1. The good Lord will appreciate the effort and look over the crudeness of the lettering, not judging it on “artistic merit” but on intent.
  2. It’s a good exercise toward the “recovering” part of perfectionism.
  3. The artist’s willingness to show vulnerability might just encourage another weary traveler to do the same.
  4. A nonperfectionist might look at this piece and decide that it’s just fine. (What’s all the fuss?)
  5. There’s value in declaring that true SATISFACTION can be found in Him and only Him. (Someone please inform Mick Jagger.)

So I present to you this crudely drawn, deeply felt quotation, which will go on my bathroom mirror, and maybe even find a spot at my workstation at the office.

Btw, don’t bother looking for any lightly drawn pencil marks on the quotation that may have helped the aforementioned still-recovering perfectionist keep the rows straight. (Those were probably erased once the lettering was complete.)

(If they existed at all.)

Perfectionism, a hard row to hoe?

My friends, recovering from perfectionism can leave you face down in the dirt!

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What attempts at overcoming perfectionism have you made recently? Publishing a poem that may not be understood? Taking an art class and letting the “flaws” show in the finished product? Leaving the toilet seat up? Share your vulnerable moment in the Comments section.

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Book review: ‘Choosing to See’ by Mary Beth Chapman

Faithful lyrics - Steven Curtis ChapmanOne of the things that draws me to people is their honesty and transparency about their struggles. When someone is brutally honest about his or her life without glossing over the mess, that’s when I can relate. That’s what draws me in to a story.

ChoosingToSee_coverUsually when I think of the death of little Maria Sue Chapman (5-year-old daughter of Mary Beth Chapman and contemporary Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman), three things come to mind: 1) the morning I heard the news on my car radio, 2) the family’s appearance on Larry King Live a couple of months later and 3) Steven’s sweet song “Cinderella,” which was even more poignant after Maria died.

But those are things I saw and heard from a distance – before I read Choosing to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope by Mary Beth Chapman and Ellen Vaughn – before I heard the rest of the story from a grieving mom. After finishing the book, I had a deeper understanding of the family’s grief and how far Mary Beth, her husband and their children came in the two years between the accident and the book’s publication. Slowly but surely … God was healing them. In the meantime, they remained faithful to giving Him the glory and honor – even in the messy middle of their grief.

The family shares some of that story in the Larry King interview, too. The links to the interview start here, and below is the first segment:

The Chapmans’ faith – strengthened by their history of walking with God, and with a strong support network of friends, family, church members and counselors – is a testimony to others who are grieving, questioning … struggling.

There are no pat answers here, no trite quotes or pithy sayings, only the words of a mom being honest about her journey to healing. That she (and her family) looks to God as the ultimate source of that healing is largely what the book is about.

I wrote about this on my other blog last weekend, in a post called “Of funerals and letting go,” after I put down the book to get ready for a friend’s funeral. It was a day that could have been depressing but instead was encouraging.

Something that astounded me is that Mary Beth dealt with depression in the early years of her life, yet she still managed to cling tightly to God’s hand as she mourned, as she struggled and as she told her family’s story.

This story strengthened my faith and reminded me of the great truths of God’s love, mercy and healing.

If you or someone you know has suffered a deeply felt loss, my prayer is that this book would strengthen and encourage you, too. Check it out.

In the aftermath of losing Maria, Steven began writing songs for a new album, which he called Beauty Will Rise. The song “Faithful,” quoted above, is from that album. Give it a listen. It, too, is honest and vulnerable – filled with hope.

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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 12/21/15

Another apology about the long absence in this space. My head has been in a million places, and I’ll talk about that soon. Meanwhile, here are a few things I want to share with you.

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wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

COMMUNITY • FAITH • SPIRITUAL

I’m not sure how to introduce this, because I have a ton of opinions on how we treat people who are not like us. So I guess I’ll just keep it simple: Those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ should see each person as a creation of God – each and every one of us created in His image. That includes Muslims (even terrorists). If you have time to click just one of these links today, please let it be this one.

Check it out: My Muslim Problem

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FAITH • SPIRITUAL

My friend Lois regularly inspires and encourages me with her insights on life and faith. In this post, she brings out a part of the Christmas story that doesn’t get a lot of air time: the role Mary’s cousin Elizabeth played in the drama. (Also, my pastor pointed out something this morning that had never occurred to me: John the Baptist was the first person to celebrate Advent! [The whole leaping-in-the-womb thing.]) Lois points out that our waiting may not be about us at all – perhaps it’s for someone else’s benefit.

Check it out: What the Christmas Story Reveals About Waiting

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FAITH • SPIRITUAL

Like Lois (and me), my friend Alison wrestles with things. And in the midst of it, these two beautiful ladies usually write words that challenge my tiny faith and encourage me to think higher thoughts. Alison and her family have been living in Aberdeen, Scotland, for a couple of years while her husband works on a PhD in theology. Today, she talks about trusting God with her family’s future.

Check it out: Before You and With You

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That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

Merry Christmas!
Suzy O
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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 11/02/15

wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

HOLIDAY • ORGANIZING

Fellow Arkansas Women Bloggers member Mary knows what it’s like to be stressed out (don’t we all?), and one way she deals with that is by being organized and helping others do the same.

As we all know, the calendar has rolled over to November and our schedules are about to kick into hyperdrive (as if they weren’t already overloaded). That’s why I was happy to discover Mary’s cute, festive and oh-so-helpful (and did I mention cute?) holiday planning guide, including a checklist for meal planning, travel prep, gift buying and more.

Holiday-Guide-Image-2015Check it out: Holiday Guide: Calendar & Checklists

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HUMOR

DoOverCoverSometimes laughter is the best medicine (especially when “someone” has already eaten your square of emergency chocolate). I’ve been following Do Over author and speaker Jon Acuff for a few months, since participating in a Michael Hyattpromoted webinar in the spring. I can totally relate to Jon: He has an unnatural 🙂 obsession with trying to make people laugh (and he doesn’t fall flat on his face nearly as much as I do!); he’s a writer; and he wants to make a difference in the world.

Maybe you won’t get this one if you’ve never thought of writing a book, never worried what others think, never tried to change the world with your brilliance and generosity 🙂 … but I think he nailed it.

Check it out: Writers are crazy. Here’s proof I am.

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HEALTH • DIET

Elizabeth'sSpaghettiAndTableI didn’t battle a weight problem until I was about 30. By my birthday that year, my hips had grown wider than I was accustomed to, and it only got worse from there. Part of my reason for blogging about my struggles is to help others (while helping myself work through it and to stay accountable).

With all the crazy talk about diet and health, including mega-money spent on marketing and advertising cheap, fake, unhealthful foods, Dietitian Cassie’s blog was a breath of fresh air. I’ve written about her before because I love her sensible, open-minded approach to healthy living. In this post, she gives her thoughts on “cheat days,” which I used to take advantage of until I realized that if I were eating real food in a balanced way, I wouldn’t feel deprived.

Check it out: What About Cheat Days? (5 Considerations)

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That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

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A farewell and a fresh start

It’s been a crazy week, and it promises to be a busy weekend. A few highlights:

NEW JOB

Thursday was my last day at First Community Bank, where I had worked since moving back to Batesville in 2010. It was a tough decision because it’s a great place to work, but I’m going back to another awesome company, Edward Jones, so all is well. I was working at one of the North Little Rock branches of Jones when Bruce and I decided to move to Batesville, so I already know that it’s a fabulous place to work. Only the location and the boss-man have changed. Plus, I’ll be working with another office administrator instead of being the only one (this is very helpful when I need a bathroom break – someone to cover the phones for a minute, right?).

CLEAN EATING

Monday will be a new beginning (again), so I’m using it as an opportunity to restart my aborted Whole30 challenge. I started it in August and had been on the plan two weeks when I had a weekend conference out of town, and, people let me tell you, conference food is typically not Whole30-friendly. I tried, but by Saturday night I had caved (when we ate at a German restaurant).

It may be a little crazy to try to start a clean-eating plan the same day I start a new job, but I have a couple of things in my favor:

  • I’ve done Whole30 before.
  • I’ve worked for this company before.

I’m choosing to look at Monday morning as a fresh start on all counts.

Also, if I wait any longer, what will fall in the middle of the schedule? Thanksgiving and my birthday.

If I start Monday (Oct. 26), the 30-day plan will end two days before Thanksgiving, so I’ll be able to reintroduce a food type the day before the big holiday. I think I’m going to start with grains and save dairy for last.

This isn’t about losing weight (although I certainly do need to lose the weight I’ve regained recently). This is about clearing up some minor health issues that are dragging me down. I’ll tell you about those over the next month.

One thing I won’t do: journal this daily on the blog, as I had planned to do last time. Ugh – what was I thinking?

I’ll give you weekly recaps.

THE MAGIC OF TIDYING

Also to come: recaps on my decluttering project around the house. I wrote about my bedroom closet declutter in July, and I’ve been struggling to find the time and energy to finish the bedroom. I gave away a ton of books, so my big bookcase isn’t about to collapse anymore, but I still have to sort through the dresser contents and make some donations to the new resale shop in town. (I’ll tell you about Hidden Treasures soon.) And then there’s the kitchen. Don’t make me talk about that today; our kitchen is poorly laid out – nothing I can do about that right now – and I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to organize it. It stresses me out. Our two office workspaces will be last (unless I still need to procrastinate about the kitchen).

I also owe you a couple of book reviews, but I was waiting to present those until I finished the whole-house declutter. But, in case you’re interested in reading these life-changing books in advance, they are:

PROJECT STIR

One final thing: I realized after Monday’s post that I had already talked a lot in the previous post about Project STIR. But I hope you’ll forgive me for one more mention, because Sarah’s fundraising deadline is a week away and I hope you’ll consider making a small donation. This is such an awesome project, and your donation will help Sarah tell families’ stories through their recipes. Heck, she’ll even let you write about your own beloved family recipe if you want to. Watch the 3-minute video (so sweet – a young woman learning a recipe from her Mamaw), then scroll down to the Kickstarter section, click and donate. Sarah will be so appreciative of your help!

RECOVERING PERFECTIONIST …

I wrote all of this in a hurry because I have to head over to Mom’s to watch a football game, so forgive any typos.

Go, Hogs! And …

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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 10/19/15

wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful, inspirational or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

SPIRITUAL

When someone follows me on Twitter, I don’t follow back automatically. There are just too many people out there cluttering up my feed in an effort to get attention, and I sometimes scratch my head and say, “Why in the world would that person want to follow me?”

But if the person looks semi-legit, I usually check out his or her website, if there is one (bonus if it’s a personal blog with something human to say), then I decide whether to follow back.

When Stefne Miller followed me a couple of days ago, I knew almost immediately that I would keep going back to her website. In this link, she writes about the “F” word: forgiveness. I really like her writing style, and I hope her post will speak to you as it did me.

Check it out: The “F” Word

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ProjectSTIRlogoFAMILY • FOOD/RECIPES

On my other blog, Suzy & Spice, I wrote recently about Project STIR, my friend Sarah’s documentary film project in which she highlights family recipes around the globe.

This has been tremendous fun, and I’ve “met” lots of people all over the world who are as sentimental as I am about preserving family recipes. Many of us are “Project STIR Ambassadors,” which just means we love this project and want to help Sarah spread the word so we promote the project online. (Sarah spotlighted me on her blog here, and I wrote about my Nanny’s Pickles here; my cousins and I had a grand time with our family memories.)

Sarah launched her Kickstarter (fundraising) project with a video of “Mamaw’s Chicken Dumplins,” where she films a dear family friend, “Mamaw” (who in some ways took over for Sarah’s deceased grandparents), showing granddaughter Rachel how she makes chicken and dumplings. The video is just over 3 minutes – well worth your time.

Sarah has less than two weeks to raise the rest of her funds on Kickstarter, so please consider making a donation – nothing is too small to help her reach the goal, which will help her film the families and their recipes. This project is so wonderful, I know you’ll want to be a part of it.

Also, another blogger friend, new mom Paige, who recently started a podcast, features Sarah and Project STIR on this episode of Hear Motherhood (who is not a mom yet, but the project is about family, so it counts!). Sarah tells how she came to know Mamaw, how Project STIR came about, and where it’s going. Take a listen.

Sarah also created a Project STIR page on Facebook. And if you’re interested in being an ambassador (share a food memory on your own website), click here for details.

Another great thing about this project is that Sarah has partnered with The Pack Shack! Keep reading …

Check it out: Project STIR

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thepackshack-logoGIVING BACK

I wrote about my first experience with The Pack Shack on the Arkansas Women Bloggers website in September, when I was Blogger of the Month.

I say “my first experience,” because I’m not finished yet. I came home from Arkansas Women Bloggers University determined to spread the word. I had heard about The Pack Shack, a new-ish organization based in northwest Arkansas that helps feed the needy, but until you experience a Feed the Funnel party firsthand, you really have no idea.

After everyone else had left the party that August weekend at AWBU, I talked to Pack Shack co-founder Bret Raymond, and I was struck by his humble spirit and his desire not to shine a light on himself or even the organization but to bring glory to God.

I took the Feed the Funnel idea to my running club and my small group at church, and I also plan to present it to my new employer (I start next week). Stay tuned; I’m sure to be talking about it again in the coming months.

Click below to see what a great time we Arkansas Women Bloggers had serving such a worthy cause. It includes a fun video that I shot on Periscope.

Check it out: Giving Back with The Pack Shack

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That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

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A look behind the curtain

HealTheWoundQuotePOGTransparentIt’s been two months since I posted on To Well With You, and I figured it was about time I let you know what I’ve been up to.

I’ve been posting – just not on this particular blog.

Every week in September, I guest posted at the Arkansas Women Bloggers site (I was Blogger of the Month, and here’s one of my posts, called “The Power of Community.”) I’ve posted a few times at my “big sister blog,” Suzy & Spice (the one I’ve been publishing since 2007). That included an ambassador post for Project STIR, something my friend Sarah launched last month to highlight family recipes around the globe. My family recipe was Nanny’s pickles, and my cousins and I had a grand time with our memories and some old photos. Sarah also is spotlighting each of her ambassadors on her own blog. (Check out my spotlight here.)

And I’ve been doing a lot more than blogging, but I won’t bore you with the mundaneness of that.

To be honest, the real reason I haven’t posted here in two months is that I’ve been all up in my head, trying to figure out a few things.

I’m a little clearer on some things now, and I want to share what’s been going on in there (in my head).

FOCAL POINTS

I had been focusing too much on figuring out the best ways to make money with my writing and editing, with wellness coaching, with whatever.

Someday I want to have the freedom to work for myself, but in the meantime I want to be able to pay off mortgages (ours and my mom’s house, which Bruce and I bought from her), medical bills and credit card balances (partly as a result of medical bills). I have a full-time job, and all the extra stuff in my life has to happen before or after 8-5.

I hate having debt. I teach people how to get free from debt and live financially free, and I feel like a huge hypocrite for having monthly payments.

Also, Bruce and I like to be generous as much as we can, and we’d like to be able to help more people and causes with our income.

So my focus has been on 1) figuring out how to make more money, 2) spending time with Mom and Bruce and 3) surviving.

I had a crisis of confidence. I was trying to learn how to “monetize my blog” while remaining true to my stated purpose: helping people recognize and fulfill their God-given purpose in the world.

Somewhere along the way I started listening to the voices (some inside my head, some from other “advisers”) that said I couldn’t tell it like it is. That I couldn’t let you see me sweat. I should be an expert, no chinks in the armor.

While being “authentic.”

For me, authentic means I have to let you see behind the curtain. Just like the great and powerful Oz, I’ve been back there pulling levers, pushing buttons, spinning wheels … trying to make it all work.

But, unlike the Wizard of Oz, I want to draw back the curtain and let you see.

TELL ME THE TRUTH

If you’ve known me for more than 30 seconds, you know I like to cut to the chase. Euphemisms and flowery talk give me a headache. I want you to tell me the truth – straight up, no chaser.

That’s how I’m most comfortable communicating, and it’s how I like for people to speak to me. Tell me the truth … in a loving and respectful way, of course … but just tell me the truth.

Until a few days ago, I had been tied up in knots about how to move forward.

But, as Providence would have it, I’ve been enjoying some really good input lately, in the form of great books and a phenomenal online summit. I listened to some good truth-tellers – people who are successful despite (because of?) their habit of being open, authentic and vulnerable. (I like that a lot better.)

My friends, the entire reason I started this blog, the reason I got a wellness-coaching certification, the reason I’m brave enough to write this, is that I think I have a few relevant things to say to you.

Because I’m a mess. A work in progress.

Because God’s not finished with me yet.

Because this diamond-in-the-rough has figured out a few things that I think might help others. Some of my rough edges are starting to become smoother, stroke by stroke of the Master’s hand.

I’M WEIRD FOR A REASON

I used to ask God why He made me this way. I now believe it’s 1) because I’m unique, and that’s by design, and 2) so that I can help others. So that I can say, See, I overcame this, and I don’t think you’re so weird, but if you need to work on some things I’m here to walk beside you – to talk you down off the ledge, if you’re on one.

God took an excruciatingly shy little girl – one with hang-ups, fears, doubts and small thinking – and spoke His words of truth into her heart, gave her the will to change, and told her that her ability to overcome her hang-ups and fears and be a confident, bold woman could help others by example.

Every day, He still whispers His truths to me (on the days he’s not having to smack me upside the head and SHOUT them).

So, whether I make a dime with my coaching or freelance writing/editing or whether this remains a part-time gig just for evenings and weekends, I’m here to let it all hang out and hope that my policy of speaking truth in love gives you a safe place to be yourself, to work through your stuff, no matter whether your “stuff” is big or small.

I leave you with one of my favorite Point of Grace songs, “Heal the Wound.” Listen to the words.

If any of these words – mine or the songwriters’ – strike a chord with you, please share this post and ask a friend to subscribe. Share online, email someone … just share. It’s free. 🙂

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