Fall | Whimsy

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Stop and smell the…apples?

Friends, I don’t know about y’all, but I simply love Fall. The smells, the apples, the cider, the cozy, rainy days. It is the absolute best. I love days when the couch beckons you with loving arms and you must do it justice as you see how many old movies you can watch and how many warm yummy drinks you can consume (Of course I usually drink coffee but switching it up with hot cider or hot cocoa is never a bad idea!). I’ve not lived in a Fall-friendly place for six years, so to say I am soaking up this season is an understatement. The other day I was driving down the road and I found myself whipping my head around, trying to take in all of the colors. My frenzied antics to not miss ANYTHING reminded me of a few seasons earlier…

I was so busy before I moved to Tennessee, working multiple jobs, dealing with shady mechanics and an unreliable car due to the shady mechanic, and of course the accompanying heart palpitations and anxiety from all the aforementioned doings.

I. Was. Exhausted.

Not just “I’m tired” but a feeling that went from my bones all the way to my very soul. I got the point where I realized that I had no down time and by lunchtime I was frazzled. I knew I had to make adjustments some where, anywhere, so I started doing simple, intentional things throughout the day.  Something simple that made all the difference for me was learning to say no and guard my lunchtime with my life. No matter what, I left the office even if it was only for ten minutes. And during those ten minutes I would stay off my phone and ruminate on relaxation. I would tell myself: This is my time to intentionally relax and not worry I am not allowed to “accomplish” anything, or catch up on anything. I am here to be present and just BE. And it helped. Immensely. So if you are running and gunning and feel like you can’t catch a break, take five minutes to purposely not look at your phone, not worry about anything and just exist. If you have family and you feel guilty for separating yourself from them, don’t. Taking a few minutes for yourself  will add value to your relationships, not take away value. It took me a while to learn that one, I was always trying to be there for everyone and do everything but I ran myself ragged. Saying no and giving myself a chance to recharge let me be 100% there when I WAS there. At work, at home, with friends.

{My time was lunch, yours might be different, but no electronics, no worry. Let me know what you pick, and how it helps!}

I am in a very different, surreal season right now,  but it’s still just as easy for me to forget to live in the moment and enjoy things like bright red leaves against the contrast of Evergreens. It’s okay sometimes to pull over on the side of the road so you can snap a picture. Go ahead, I dare you to do it. Embrace this season and everything that it has to offer. I’m trying to embrace some whimsy in my life and enjoy some spontaneity. Sometimes, you just have to make sure you stop and smell the…apples?

‘Tis the season! 

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Poof Poof!

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What’s cooking in my kitchen today!

Over the last few years, and due to a supernaturally long, boring story I stepped away from using antiperspirant deodorant. I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say my research that resulted in learning about the affects on the body that aluminum can have, say Alzheimers, and links to  breast cancer, set me down a path to a more natural approach.  I made the switch several years ago to making my own deodorant and I’ve literally only made it three times. And its a small pot. It lasts for ever because I don’t have to keep applying it because I don’t smell since I don’t have aluminum and other crap gunking up my lymphatic system anymore. I suffered through the initial de-clogging my pit glands process and I’ve never looked back. Two weeks of smelling was worth not struggling with BO any more.  I’ve had several people asking me for my recipe, so I thought I would share. This may seem off-topic, but many of you know my crunchy tendencies and I wanted to share more variety here.

I hope you are ready, it’s super-duper hard. I hope it doesn’t deter you from trying it yourself:

Ingredients:

  • Baking Soda
  • Arrowroot Powder (baking section of grocery store)
  • Coconut Oil
  • Essential Oils (I would avoid any hot oils or peppermint)

Directions:

  • Mix equal parts baking soda and arrowroot powder, I do about 1/4c. each.
  • Add EO’s of your choice 10-15 drops, I prefer Lavender and a citrus of some sort. The strength of the oils that you use is up to you! I like to make it fairly strong, because, LAVENDER! Be sure and use a high-quality oil, I use Young Living and doTERRA (I am not reps for either but if you need a referral I’m happy to share mine).  The oils at places like Sprouts can have a very low oil content, they are only required to have a certain % of oil to qualify as “pure.” Just a friendly warning to be sure and read labels. Remember, your skin is your biggest organ!
  • Melt coconut oil, I start with a few tablespoons, and mix in to powder/EO mixture. I use a fork to mix with, it lets me mix it well and turn it in to a paste. I will melt and add more oil as necessary until its the consistency I like. I will usually start out with it a little runny, it will probably dry out a little. 
  • Put your paste in to a glass jar that has an easy, seal-able lid. I have this jar and it has served me well. I tried a few different kinds and this has been the best. It has a wide enough mouth that it’s easy to get to all of the jar and small enough that it is easy to travel with.

**If I find that it dries out a little, I’ll put a few drops of coconut oil on the top and it will soak in, softening the deodorant. You can also use the warmth of your hand to soften it before applying. 

 

And that’s it! Let me know if you try it, or if you have other tips and tricks! I am all about learning new things and learning new DIY tips that are better options for my body! If I can help my community find healthier, less-expensive options then my job here is done!

 

Piece by Piece

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Back in December, the Lord started a work in me. It is not something earth-shattering or something you would necessarily expect. I had a mentor pray over me a releasing to “have fun.” He prayed it again a few months later. I just laughed because I knew what he meant. In part anyway. I don’t think I was ever a child, not really. Life happened far too young and I’ve spent the majority of my life wound tight, constantly worrying and bowing to the idol of #control. To “have fun” to me, meant letting go and giving up control which was not something that I was prepared to do. Not even for a little fun.

In His gracious mercies, the Lord will not let us stay in spaces that do not bring us life.

Instead, He has been slowly pushing me towards this idea of “childlikeness.” Not in an immature way that involves shirking responsibilities, but more of a “stop striving and trust that I’ve got this” kind of way. He showed me recently that He wants to re-magnetize my heart towards fun, so that I would be able to release control. He wants me to step out in faith and try something new, trusting that He will clean up any messes I make.

Over the last year, the Lord has repeatedly pushed the promise of Joel 2:25 towards me:

I will repay you the years that the locust has eaten…” Joel 2:25

He has always pointed out how He WILL fulfill this promise in my life, to encourage me to keep pushing forward. Today, He gave me that promise again. Only this time, it was different. This time He was showing me how He IS fulfilling that promise in my life. This season of rest that I have entered into is Him giving me back the years the locusts devoured. My childhood, all the missed experiences, the pain, fear, and shame that I lived with daily is being redeemed. It reminds me of the lyrics to Kelly Clarkson’s song Piece by Piece, With “him” being Jesus and “you” being the sorrow of living in a fallen world:

But piece by piece, He collected me up
Off the ground, where you abandoned things 
Piece by piece He filled the holes that you burned in me
Six years old and you know
He never walks away
He never asks for money
He takes care of me
He loves me
Piece by piece, He restores my faith
That a Father can be kind and the Father could, stay

I cried as I sat in church, realizing that I am living in the fulfillment of a promise. It is not something I have ever experienced so specifically or tangibly. He is redeeming and restoring as He relentlessly pursues me.  He is Kind. He will not abandon me. He will care for me and love me.

Piece by piece He is restoring, and It. Is. B E A U T I F U L.

Sweet Sorrow

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“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Winnie the Pooh gets me, no doubt about it. These last few months have been really difficult as I’ve transitioned to a new stage of life in a new city. To leave my “Something,” which is my community, was/is really hard. I just wanted to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all of the love, laughs, and kindness you’ve shown me. I never imagined that I would have so many people in my life that I love so dearly, in no particular order: My Home Group, my Rauhauser/Sturrock family, my siblings, the Cordovas, all the people I met through various jobs that have become such dear friends (Kelly, Bekah, Kirstie, Janet and tons more!), roommates, my WONDERFUL school friends, those sweet friendships forged through STEPS, and all of my sister’s friends who were happy to adopt another Klueber, as well as lots of others I picked up along the way! Love you all!

I had so much help with this move, from those of you who kept me company whilst I sorted through my crap, to those who gave me an escape when it was too much. All of the texts and calls I received just when I was losing my mind were such a blessing! Thanks to my dad for being a total rockstar and driving all that way to help me. And for spray painting my little cart that I just love so much!!!! Thank you to everyone who contributed to my new mattress, so far I’m loving it! I was so blown away by everyone’s generosity and I cannot thank you enough! Not only was it a blessing in and of itself, but it kept me from having to rent a U-Haul, so win-win!!! The move itself went smoothly and I have *almost* everything unpacked and settled! Ready to start school tomorrow and get this show on the road!

In addition to a lovely mattress, I received so many sweet gifts. They were thoughtful and kind: a gift card to my favorite clothing store so I can buy something nice, amazing ORGANIC and HOMEMADE bath and body products from my friend Mallory, lots of coffee gifts (yaaaaay!), a totally awesome road trip playlist that included songs like Ready to Run, Don’t you Forget About Me, Don’t Look Back, Turn the Page, Brand New Day, Take me Home Country Road, New Hometown etc… Well, you get the gist and it was perfect!  I also received an amazing stack of little note cards that each contain fun ideas to help me explore the city, so thoughtful (first one is taking place next Friday so stay tuned)! I’ve a necklace to remind me to Believe in myself, in my purpose, in my direction, a thousand pictures to remember everyone by, and a million memories.

God gave me Texas for a season of recovery and restoration. I thought He was preparing me to DO something, but it looks like he was preparing me for a season of rest. A season to stop and listen to what He has for me. (I may blog more about that later, as I slowly unwind). I feel a little lost as I have gone from 110mph to about 60mph, pray for me as I try and learn what it means to slow down; that the whiplash won’t be too severe!

Today Pastor Jeff repeated over and over and over that HE MAKES ALL THINGS NEW! So as I enter into this new season, I am going to receive that truth and look forward to all of His goodness that He has prepared for me! Love you all!!!

Cheers to 31

Well another year has come and gone. As I look back on my 31st year of life, I love what I see. I did take more chances. I did more new things, I had F U N! I went on trips, tried new coffee shops, met with Jesus, had adventures and made new friends. There were some really hard times, some incredible personal growth opportunities, and SO. MUCH. LOVE. When I look back at pictures of all the people I’ve spent time with, I am overwhelmed at how many AMAZING people are in my life! The Lord has over-flowed my cup of friendship.

This is perfect timing for me, I love doing a goal-list on my birthday and moving to a new city makes my next list even more interesting! Moving makes me so glad I spent the last year exploring Dallas! Some like doing it at New Years, but as I stated in a previous post, I like to do my big goal-setting on my birthday. As I look back on my list from last year, I am so encouraged! I did not get everything done, but completing the list was never the goal. Trying new things and being intentional with my surroundings was. And I succeeded! I am so excited to make a new list for my 32nd year of life and work my way through it! Here are a few of my favorite things from the past year:

T R A V E L:

 

C O F F E E:

 

F R I E N D S:

 

I can’t wait to make new memories this next year, exploring a new city, making new friends, and plowing my way through school with a new major. Look out 31, I’m coming after you!

Criticism || Magic Carpets

 

Making. Big. Decisions. I am so bad at it. Once I finally make a decision, I feel like I have given birth to it. I must first analyze it at every angle and wrestle it to the ground, Jacob style, practically killing it in the process. I have asked myself many times why it is so hard for me to make decisions. Well big ones anyway. Over the last month, I’ve learned it’s for two distinct reasons that meld into one giant mess.

I was sitting in church a few weeks ago and I felt the Lord ask “Do you trust me?” I felt like Jasmine, with Aladdin standing on a flying carpet, and hesitantly saying “Yes?” Every fiber of my being wants to fling myself on the flying carpet, because let’s be honest, how awesome is that?!?! Need I repeat: F L Y I N G  C A R P E T!  But I am also practical and have to look at the carpet from every angle. Are there seat belts? How likely am I to stay

on? Do you smell, you are a street rat after all and the likelihood of that is fairly high. Do I care if you smell, because you do have a magic carpet. Preferences must be weighed here. Where are we going? How long are we going to be gone? WHY ARE YOU BEING NICE? What’s your ulterior motive? These are not small questions and I need answers before I put my life in your hands and give up control (which is an illusion anyway but I still try my best).

Again, the Lord said “Miriam, do you trust me?” I got this image of the game Battleship in my head and heard Him say, “You see life as a war zone, and are terrified your battleship (read: L I F E) is going to sink. I promise, I won’t let you sink. You may get hit. You may have things go off around you that rock your boat, but if needed I will move your ship. In fact, that is exactly what I am trying to do. Literally. So, do you trust me?”  I was sitting there in the pew, processing the question that was prompted by a myriad of unanswered worries swirling around in my brain. I had made a decision. A big one. And now I was second-guessing myself. What if I made the wrong one? What if moving was a really bad idea? What if my friends end up hating having me live with them? What if I feel like I’m always intruding? What if there are expectations I can’t live up to? What if I fail? What if I crash and burn? What if I fail and everyone knows it and talks about me?!?!

Which brings me to the second reason for my decision-making struggle: CRITICISM. I was listening to a podcast by The Minimalists and it hit me, I am afraid of criticism. In the podcast, Ryan pointed out studies that have shown that people are more scared of being criticized or embarrassed than they are of death (Ironically I typed “debt” instead of “death.” Clearly we know what impending doom looms over me, sucking out my life). I found this study surprising, but I also relate to it 1000%. I have had many embarrassing moments in my life and go to great lengths to avoid them if at all possible. This results in me living a simple, boring life without much adventure or creativity. In an essay titled Seagulls, (which I encourage you to read the whole thing, it’s super-short) Joshua Fields Millburn points out the heart of this topic:

“Criticism is inevitable—unless you do nothing important with your life. But whenever you put yourself out there, whenever you expose your ideas to the world—be it via social media, blogs, or business meetings—you’re effectively wearing a sign that says “criticize me.”

In short, if I do nothing interesting, I probably won’t be criticized. But who wants uninteresting? I don’t. I want more. I want it all. I want to stop being my own worst critic. I want to live fully, love extravagantly, and learn to accept myself with all of my flaws. I am the only one that can be me, so I better get to it. I want to be criticized because I am DOING something. I also want the deep-seated knowledge that unhealthy criticism actually means nothing. I want to pray and then leap into adventures, trusting the Lord to catch me. So yes, I choose to jump on the Magic Carpet of life and zoom to my next adventure. Which just happens to be a little town called Franklin, TN.

 

If You’re a Bird, I’m a Bird

birdflyingFor this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, what you will eat, and not for your body, what you will wear. Is your life not more than food and your body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the sky, that they do not sow or reap or gather produce unto barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are? And who among you, by being anxious, is able to add one hour to his life span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe the lilies of the field, how they grow: they do not toil or spin, but I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed like one of these. But if God dresses the grass of the field in this way, although it is here today and tomorrow is thrown in to the oven, will he not do so much more for you, you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What will we eat? Or What will we drink? Or What will we wear?” For the pagans seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father know that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom of righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow, because tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6: 19-34

 

I would so encourage you to take a moment and read those words out loud to yourself. Let the truth of those words wash over you and soak it in.

A few weeks ago I read this passage out loud to a group I was leading and I was so convicted! I’d literally spent the last week fretting and worrying about provisions. There were several large things in my life that were suddenly in upheaval and uncertain. I went back and forth between being anxious and moping over my circumstances. Neither of these things accomplishes anything, in fact, as Newt Scamanader says “Worrying is suffering twice for the same thing.” I have referenced this before, but it has stuck with me and bears repeating, because I have not yet learned my lesson. It’s a process, just like all the things worthwhile in life.

As I have camped on these verses, the Lord has continued to work on this issue of worry that has so plagued me. He has lovingly brought revelation and shined light in the shadows where my worry has lurked. I realize now that my level of worry is directly linked to the level of control that I am seeking to maintain. A mentor told me that I was trying to do everything in my own power and that though I was managing it (barely) it was really heavy and not something I needed to be carrying. I try and maintain this façade of control that for some reason I keep thinking I have. The truth is, I really can’t control anything. But I keep trying, because apparently I’m no quitter. (*rolls eyes at self)

As I prayed through these revelations, the Lord gave me a beautiful picture of Him telling me to jump on His back and we ran across the FINISH LINE. It was such a great image of me carrying all my crap and Him carrying both of us. To me, that was both encouraging and convicting. Convicting because it is just plain rude of me to ask myself to carry all of that and strain my emotional, physical, and mental well-being. It was encouraging because Jesus was willing to meet me right where I am and carry all of it with no problem.  He was not phased. So grateful for those broad Carpenter’s shoulders!

This is all very new information for me, and will take me time to process through. My action items for this week? To be kinder to myself and not require so much. I am learning to have realistic expectations for others, it is time that I learn to have them for myself too. I am going to ask the Lord for continual grace as I release control; to pray that He will fill me with faith and that He will help me to trust that His Word is true, and He will provide. He is Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider and if He cares for the birds of the field, He cares for us too.

If you’re a bird, I’m a bird and He is going to provide for both of us.