Thursday, August 14, 2014

Worthiness & A Testimony

It’s in the belly laughs of my child as the Genie bursts from his bottle full of pizazz and satire that I'm able to pinpoint my reason for choosing joy every day. Laughter shared through the generations thanks to a movie is such a sweet realization in the seemingly small, mundane moments. 

I couldn’t help but choose Aladdin for movie night with Jackson this week. In the wake of Robin Williams’ passing, we’ve shifted quickly from sadness of this great loss to the stigmas surrounding depression. 

It seems, apparently, that people are taking strong stances on the topic and I guess this is our chance to be open about depression. This is our time to spring from the platform which says it supports depression and mental illness and dive into physical action of walking with those living with the disease. 

It’s our time not to judge, but to say, “come, share, speak to me and I will walk with you.”

My psychiatrist once told me this is simply the way I’m wired, this is my chemical imbalance and how I want to manage it is up to me. The dark cloud of depression ruled me in a severe manner for the better part of my early adult life. And in looking back, there were likely many sunny days, but all I can recall is the darkness. For where my mind and heart were concerned, there was no light.  

What took me too long to realize is that depression is not a mind over matter disease, depression is a heart over mind disease. Let me say that again, this is a heart over mind disease. It's okay that we are chemically imbalanced; there is no shame in sickness. Jesus spent much of his life embracing the sick, healing those who reached out their hands and lifting those who were shamed in self-doubt. 

Why then should we continue to walk in this darkness? 

Each depression diagnosis is different. Each carries its own burdens. Each carries its own demons and darkness. And, in turn, each diagnosis needs its own journey of treatment. You cannot begin treating your disease until you recognize it, though. 

My husband has been my rock through severe depression. He has stood aside concerned but constant. He's let me cry and have my moments. He's also held me up. He's listened when I made no sense. He's been silent when I just needed a presence of support. 

It will not be easy, but saying the words "I'm depressed, something is off," will be freeing and, more so, it'll be that leap towards healing. The longer we hold onto the darkness enveloping our days, the further we get from the light. 

Take yourself out of that little box of self-doubt, self-pity and grave darkness and know that God is your hiding place. He will be your shield; dress yourself in His armor. 

This is where joy lies.

This is where the healing lies. 

This is where life begins. 

It's not all praise hands and puffy hearts every day. This is unfortunately true. In fact, some days, it's bringing yourself broken and weary to your Redeemer in need of a place to rest. "There’s no stigma in saying you’re sick because there’s a wounded Healer who uses nails to buy freedom and crosses to resurrect hope and medicine to make miracles."Ann Voskamp

This is the Good News. 

Friends, wherever you find yourself today, know you are worthy. Know the Lord is fighting for you in those dark places. We need to speak out and speak up. We need to join together to walk with those suffering and acknowledge the depths of depression. 



If you are struggling with depression, I encourage you to tell someone -your significant other, a friend,  pastor. I'm praying for you in this season and those to come. There is hope.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

The Mid-Year Pick-Me-Up

Without fail, June and July roll around and cause me to take a good look back at the first half of the year. We move into the new year with such a high from the Holidays that usually by the time you're six months into the year that buzz has worn off, that sparkly list of resolutions is a bit hazy and you're spirit is tired.

You've finished out the school year, you've celebrated through a good portion of Summer and the impending new school year is evident thanks to every aisle at Target. Hello weary spirit, there's no better time for a pick-me-up than now!

As a little happiness test, I jumped back to my Word of the Year Post to bring me back the core of my mission for 2014. What I found in that post, aside from several typos, was a list of goals I've met, exceeded and continue to humbly work towards.

For reference, here's my 2014 Big Picture Outlook from January:

I want a happier house. More laughter, less worry. I want to be intentional with parenting, marriage, work, friendships & family and stepping out of comfort zones. I want credit card debt free in 2014, and working down student loans. Top of my list, I want us to be intentional about seeking Christ as a family.
I went searching for this post because my spirit was thirsty. Oh my, how quickly I realized how much my cup runneth over! We have worked and prayed and seen His grace this year and this list surely reminds me to be humble.


Let's unpack this list real quick.

I want a happier house. More laughter, less worry. Raising up a three year old is surely different than age two, but has presented an entirely new level of love in our house. The belly laughs shared this weekend while often shared between moments of discipline are the best source of pure joy.

I want to be intentional with parenting, marriage, work, friendships & family and stepping out of comfort zones.  Parenting - check. We're working on our team work every day. That seems to be key for us. Marriage - check. This Saturday is in fact our six year marriage anniversary and I'd say we're sliding in on a really great note (weird mixture of metaphors, but just track with me). Friendships & family - many realizations on this front and an in progress/learning-a-new-phase-of-adulthood-status. Stepping out of comfort zones - just about the best and most encouraging item on this list! We've spent the good part of the last three months jumping out of our comfort zone and it's been such a beautiful result for our family.

I want credit card debt free in 2014, and working down student loans. As of last week we are credit card debt free. ALL OF THE PRAISE HANDS!!! Vet bills and a bad luck run with our cars caused some financial turmoil in 2012-2013, and we were determined to get it past us this year. We've pinched pennies and lived a very, very tight lifestyle, but it has been so worth it to get to this moment. Though, all the glory for this milestone goes to Him and the blessings we've seen this year.

Top of my list, I want us to be intentional about seeking Christ as a family. Oh yes, the very best most gracious of the goals for last. We had been missing something so key to each aspect of life listed above: a community focused in the Gospel. For the first time in years, we have been regularly attending a church. Not just any church, a church that is Gospel centered and fueling a renewed joy in Church for both myself and Brandon. The advances in each of our hearts to be rooted in Christ individually as well as a family, are a clear indication of His sovereign hand and perfect timing.


In reflecting on my goals set out in January, I was a bit taken aback at how far we'd come already. My exhausted self was having a hard time focusing in on all of the progress made during the last seven months. I set out to be intentional and though it has been daunting at times, the payback for digging sincerely into my life and mission for our family has my heart rejoicing with praise.

Jump back, spend ten minutes reflecting on your resolutions and see how it will mold your heart for the closing months of the year and be grateful for where you've come in these seven months!

Happy day, friends!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

30 is not the new 20. Hear me out.

30 is not the new 20, she said, quickly catching my attention. Hardly, I thought. 30 is most definitely the new 20. This girl was obviously misinformed. Then she said again - 30 is not the new 20

At this point, my near 27-year-old self was just about to jump out of my seat. She couldn't be right? Right?! I mean, I can't pin point the exact date, but I'm fairly certain that 30 has been the new 20 for several years. 

She had my attention. 

Meg Jay, clinical psychologist, is preaching otherwise about our theory on good ole 30-year-olds, and I was having an internal clash of emotions just on the title of her TED talk. But while viewing this 14-minute video, it clicked - she's right! You must watch this, whether you're a 20 something or 30 something. Hear me - and Meg - out on this. 



Meg informs us that claiming your 20's is one of the simplest yet most transformative things you can do for your work, love for your overall happiness. To top it off she rattles off research to back this up. 

The theory of 30 is the new 20 allows us to justify all of our "I'll do that tomorrow," "When we have more money," "I'm just looking for Mr. Right Now," "Babies can wait," even, "Careers can wait." This idea that because 30 is the new 20 we can brush off the richness of responsibility that comes along with this decade, or any decade, of our lives is a troublesome message we feed ourselves. And really, we're only creating static within our own lives by not living on purpose!

Yes, things happen later in life - babies, work, marriage, but why let these days go fleeting by without true purpose? As Meg says this is our developmental sweet spot! Y'all, let's dig into this sweet spot!


Our timeline as modern women has expanded, there's no doubt. The thing of it is, no matter what age you are, if you're not living with intention, mission and love you're trivializing the purpose He's provided in your story.

Tips to Make the Most of Your Years (20-something or not):

Get identity capital: Do something that adds value to who you are, and is an investment to who you want to be. 

Take advantage of your weak ties: As Meg says, half of new jobs are not posted. You're not going to find that job online, not even in the 21st century. It's still about getting yourself out there with face-to-face networking. 

The time to start picking your family is now: This pertains to your partner, your choice of friends and loved ones. You should be as intentional with love as you are with work. Amen.

30 is not the new 20.
Claim your adulthood, get some identity capital, use your weak ties, pick your family.  
Don't be defined by what you didn't know or didn't do, you're deciding your life right now.
-Meg Jay



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Monday, June 9, 2014

Life Created Tuesdays Link Party Announcement

Hey party people! Thanks for stopping by to check in on this week's party!

We began Life Created Tuesdays in August 2013 following our BlogHer experience. Each of us felt the need to pool together our blogging community for a little something more each week. The end result was this party to encourage one another in living a life created in the every day moments. We hope that's what you've found here over the last 9 months.

As the summer season is upon us, Sarah and I have decided to hang up our Life Created hats and enjoy a bit of a Summer break. 

In case you didn't know, Sarah is just weeks away from welcoming her second baby! To add to the excitement of many baby snuggles ahead, she'll be closing on a new house in just a week! This lady is going to have her hands full this Summer so be sure to follow Sarah's happenings on InstaGram @itsavol!


And while Sarah will be soaking in newborn yumminess, I'll be revving up the launch of my paper and design shop. It's no coincidence this party is called Life Created, I truly believe in living your life created just as you wish it to be. No one is going to do it for you, so get out their and create it for yourself! I can't wait to share with y'all the beautiful paper products I've been working on!

Join me here as I continue to dig deep for the mission of my new venture, and as usual you can find me on InstaGram @theviewfrom510 :)

We'll be back with Life Created Tuesdays better than ever in the Fall. I'd love for you to drop a comment below to let us know what changes you'd like to see when we we bring back the party next season!

Happy Tuesdays, y'all. Go out there and create something!


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Friday, June 6, 2014

Faulire Will Get You Further Than Fear. - Lara Casey

As mentioned last week, I had the opportunity to join a small group of people in my city at a wedding venue to hear Lara Casey speak on branding. Though, what we heard last Wednesday was much more than a speech on branding, it was a night full of shared wisdom and encouragement.

Sometimes life just falls into place with ideal timing, and Lara arriving in my city that week was just what my heart needed. Just a day before her event, my first set of PowerSheets arrived ready for me to pour out my heart. For those who may not know, PowerSheets are a bundle that "help you strategically plan action steps to make what matters happen." There's no better way to put it, find more details in Lara's Shop.

You see, I began this year with something stirring in my heart and as such my word of the year is "intentional." Through reflection and action steps, I mapped out goals for the year and committed to opening myself to wherever He may lead me.

That bit of soul stirring back in January has lead to a full on spark to make what matters to me happen. I am the person who always says when we have more time, or more money or more help, or that it's not part of the plan.

Y'all, this is my fear talking. My fear of failure, my fear of success, my fear of change. Flat of fear ruling my days, and as we know those days so quickly turn into years. 
failure will get you further than fear #laracasey
What He's leading me to this year is out of my comfort zone. But as Lara said, you didn't come here to stay the same right? This question spills into our every single day. So often we are seek out ways to improve or grow ourselves, but are we following up with executed action steps?

The act of failing at something will ultimately lead you one step closer to your core, to your mission and to making what really matters happen. Whatever fear that's rooted in your heart, I encourage you to face it.

Today, and well almost every day in the last two weeks, I have done something that I feared. From big things like mapping out my legitimate small business plan to calling printers for quotes to smaller fears like reaching out to other entrepreneurs for advice - I'm set on choosing my faith over fear.

Launch work that matters Seth Godin
I am working to launch a company rooted in Southern sweetness and scripture to celebrate and encourage the hearts and homes of others. Putting together business plans and spreadsheets and marketing is a bit daunting, but the bigger mission of sharing this core matters to me and I'm going to make it happen. I am going to choose those failures over fear and I'm going to follow up my goals with action steps.

What about you? Have you let that idea of perfect acceptance go? One step at a time my friends, we can do this!
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