Social Hangover Survival Kit

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am an introvert.  I love me some alone time.  So, it's only natural that after a week that includes Thanksgiving with family and friends, my daughter being home from school and with me 24/7, and all other types of major social interactions, I would be suffering from what I like to call a "Social Hangover" .  I am currently writing this blog from my "Bubble of Bliss" and it inspired me to help you to survive your own Social Hangovers, if ever needed.  

I had to have surgery about a month ago (nothing serious) and part of the recovery process requires me to spend 5 days a week sitting inside of a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber for 2 hours at a time.  It has a whole lot of really cool health benefits and it also happens to be an introvert's dream!!!  I also feel like a badass because they have to ask if I brought any of my hand grenades or other flammable weapons every time I come in.  I always reassure them that they are safely locked away in my locker in the dressing room.  (One can never be too careful.)  I even get my very own Gatekeeper of Sanity.  He stands guard over me and protects me from those who might dare approach my chamber with weapons or small talk. I have knighted him, Sir John the Valiant.

sir-john-the-valiant

He also provides me with entertainment during my time in there.  Today, he showed me a documentary called, "Finders Keepers".  If you have never seen it, I highly recommend it.  I'll sum it up for you.  A guy got his leg amputated, chose to store it in his BBQ pit...in his storage unit.  He then forgot to pay his monthly fees for said storage unit and the man who bought all of his items in an auction became the proud new owner of a human leg...and refused to give it back!  Because, you know, he might need a spare one day?!?  A law suit ensued (see what I did there?) and a documentary was born.  It was epic.  Good times were had by all.  I promise I am telling you all of this for a reason.

I now present you with everything you will need in order to survive your next Social Hangover...

Social Hangover Survival Kit: 

  1. A Hyperbaric Chamber, a very large hamster ball, or a secret portal to Narnia...whatever is most accessible to you.  No need to stress over this choice too much.
  2. A bucket FULL of stress balls for you to throw at people, as you see fit, throughout the day.  Whoever invented the stress ball should be given an award.  Nailing people with those really is quite cathartic.
  3. Junk Food.  "Why yes, I HAVE had snack cakes, bacon, and Diet Coke for every meal today.  You have a comment about that?  Here, let me show you my new basket of stress balls."
  4. Ridiculous entertainment that makes you feel better about your life and the people in it.  I mean, at least I'm not being sued by someone for cuddling with his amputated leg every night and then refusing to give it back.  I seriously plan to run all of my responses to every frustration in my life through that filter from this point on.  I think it's really going to help.
  5. This sweater... introvert-sweater Need I say more?

Ok.  I think I have fully prepared you.  Now, go out and share your new found wisdom with others.  Just one piece of advice...send them an email.  You will probably never get past their Gatekeeper of Sanity without that approach.

 

Share This:

Self-Care Friday: Routine

If there is anything that I have learned over the past year, it is that it is SO SO important to make sure you are checking in on your own personal health on a regular basis.  It is all too easy to forget to stay on top of that when our world feels like we are in a whirlwind. 

I seem to be a bit of a walking contradiction when it comes to this first "Self-Care" suggestion.  Routine.  I can be the most organized OCD person on the planet with some things and let other things completely fall to the wayside.  The key to making it work FOR you is to find what actually does work for you.  That sounds so simplistic but we tend to take the status quo as a one size fits all way of doing anything and everything.  It works for them so why isn't it working for me?  Because you aren't them!  You are truly unique…through and through.  God doesn't make exact copies of anything.  With all of that said, I have come to find some ways of creating routine for myself that are completely customizable. 

  1. Prioritize the things in your life that are genuinely going to baby step you towards your big picture goals of your healthiest and most fulfilling daily lifestyle.  Don't just SAY that you want to start eating healthier, getting more exercise, take more quiet time for yourself, or learn something new.  Make actual simple daily steps that will help you to get there.  If you just focus on the big picture, you are going to completely overwhelm yourself.  A good friend of mine takes some time every month to write down 3 goals that she would like to achieve by the end of that month and then she will figure out small things that she can do daily that will enable her to accomplish each one of them.  Start small.  Not all changes have to be major and immediate.  Small, daily progress is going to be much more attainable and satisfying for you in the long run.
  2. Find a way of keeping you on track every.single.day.  Keep yourself accountable to your dreams and ambitions.  How do you best remember things?  What is most natural for you?  I mean, do you prefer electronic calendars and checklists or do you, like me, prefer to write everything down?  It doesn't matter what method you use…as long as it works for you.  I have attached below my free printable routine tracker that I use.  
  3. Find the time and schedule it.  I am notorious for saying that I don't have time for this or that.  But, the truth is usually that I am choosing to spend my free time on things that have zero lasting value.  Please don't misinterpret what I am saying here, though.  This in NO WAY means that every single moment of every single day needs to be filled with busy work.  Not at all.  In fact, doing that would completely undermine your personal health.  For instance, I have generalized anxiety.  So, I have a bubble bath on my daily agenda for every single night before I go to bed.  My bathroom is completely decorated and accessorized with every single calming and relaxing element you can possibly imagine.  (I have designated it as my "Fortress of Solitude".)  There are candles everywhere..scented and non-scented, bath salts in pretty containers, lavender bath oil, special "Bubble Bath" music, etc.  This helps me to wind down from the day and helps to relax my body and my mind before heading to bed where I then have my quiet time with God and go to sleep.  This small change in my routine has done WONDERS for my mental and spiritual health. 
  4. Chores.  I know.  This doesn't exactly sound like it should be anywhere in the realm of a discussion on relaxing and unwinding.  But, actually scheduling out regular chores to do, for you AND your kids will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed when you walk in the door at night to a home that is a COMPLETE nightmare.  And hear me on this, EVERY family member should be helping with this.  There is no confusion as to who is in charge of getting what done.  It is up to you how you manage the rewards, etc. for completing chores well.  I will say that I use an app on my phone that helps me to keep track of all of that and reminds me of how much I owe my daughter every week based on the things she checked off of her list. 
  5. Quiet time with God is essential.  This is last but far from the least.  I mentioned this one earlier.  I try to do it right after my bath and right before I go to bed.  This is one of the easiest to push aside and eventually get away from completely and yet it is the MOST important.  If the thought of trying to do a quiet time overwhelms you, Google different methods that people use in their devotional time with God.  Again, there is not a one size fits all approach to this.  I spent years thinking that if I didn't audibly speak my prayers to God that they wouldn't be heard or answered.  How silly is that?!?  I am a natural writer.  I think better when I write.  So, I now write out my prayers and it is SO cathartic for me.  Your relationship with God is supposed to be personal and fulfilling.  If you are just going through the motions by trying something that doesn't come naturally to the way God created you then you are not experiencing the relationship that God longs to have with you and you are completely depriving yourself of the single best blessing in your life.

I hope that some of these suggestions help you to find a way of making you feel just a little more in control of your own life so that you can relinquish even just a little bit of unneeded stress from your life.  If you have any tips or suggestions regarding routines, I would love to hear them.  I always hear new things that I have never considered and I love it so much when someone takes the time to share things with me that may impact me in positive ways.  Please feel free to leave them in the comments below. 

Thank you for taking the time to come and spend this time with me.  Every Friday I will be discussing new self-care ideas and inspiration so let me know if there are any areas that you might want me to cover and I would be happy to write about that and see if we can figure some ways to help you and probably everyone else.

Have a great weekend and I look forward to spending time with you again next week!

Weekly Planner
Weekly Planner

How to Become a Royal Mess – Part 2

Ok, let me start off by saying that I am sorry this second post has taken longer than I originally intended. LIFE.  Am I right?

Now, to the second part of my story.  The part where it gets good.  I’m honestly at a loss where to even begin.  I can honestly say that my life has been radically changed in so many ways over this past year that I could more easily count all the stars in the sky.  But, this has become my story, my ministry and I choose to be obedient to what God has called me to.  I am to be a light for others who are questioning where God is in the midst of their suffering and pain.  He is there.  Not only is He beside you the entire way, He has also gone before you and prepared your future in such an intricate way that beautifully intertwines your mistakes, your pain, your gifts and talents, your experiences and so many other details that you may never even realize into something beautiful.

I came out of that hospital an utterly broken person.  I could barely stand on my own two feet.  I had spent a good part of the prior year completely alienating myself from my family and other people who cared for me deeply.  And guess who was waiting for me with open arms on the other side of those hospital doors…all of them.  God has literally spent this entire past year loving me, taking care of me, giving me rest and healing me THROUGH different people in my life and their unique image of God himself.  There are so many facets and layers and characteristics of God’s love that they literally cannot be contained in one human being.

I was the very image of the "Prodigal Son" and God met me where I was at and lifted me off of the ground so that he could heal me, love on me, show me the depths of his forgiveness, and bestow on me a feast of blessings.  If I wrote the details of each and every blessing that He has given to me during this time, it would fill an entire book.  My sincere desire for you, as you read this, is that you will grasp just how LOVING and FORGIVING our Father truly is.  I had lied, betrayed people that I professed to love, only thought of myself and my own happiness, and so many other things that I had never realized I was capable of.  I lost people I loved and considered to be family because I didn't protect our frienships like I should have and God forgave me for ALL of that before I even forgave myself. 

Now, I said that I think in bullet points and this is the perfect place for them.  I now give you an EXTREMELY brief list of how God has loved me and blessed me over the past year:

  • FAMILY – As dysfunctional as families can be, when push came to shove, mine was there for me. They have walked with me and held me up when I couldn’t do it for myself more times than I can count.  Mom, Dad, Lesli…you have all been SUCH great examples to me of God’s infinite love and I can only hope that I have the opportunity to show that kind of love towards you one day.
  • Yes, my marriage DID fall apart. We both made mistakes and hurt one another deeply.  But, I can truly say that THROUGH that, God created a truly unique and deep friendship between us that is unwavering.  Mike is my BEST friend and I could not be more thankful for him as my best friend and as the father of our daughter.  He is honestly one of the best men that I know and I am grateful that we have the relationship that we do.
  • The DAY I was released from the hospital, I received and email from a pastor that my favorite professor from college (shout out to Dr. Craver!) referred to me for a position as Director of Family Ministry. After speaking to Dr. Craver and getting his encouragement to just meet with the pastor, I prayed A LOT and told God that I was just going to lay it all out on the table with him during my interview.  If the church chose to hire me anyway, I knew it had to be from Him.  Well, they did.  They hardly batted an eye and the blessings and lessons that have come from my experience as the Director of Family Ministry with them are innumerable.  I have formed some life-long friendships that were tailor made for exactly what God knew I needed.
  • My daughter, Bella, has been the most innocent victim of the fallout from the last couple of years and yet she has shown me more grace and strength than I could have ever given her credit for. She is the most forgiving, comforting, kind, and hilarious child I have ever known.  I am just plain blessed to be her mother.  Our relationship has grown by leaps and bounds through all of this and she has been a direct source of healing for me more than she will ever know.
  • One final blessing I will share:

God has shown me my purpose THROUGH my pain.  I am no longer the person I was a year ago.  I had to die to myself in order for him to form me into who he created me to be.  Would I ever want to experience that amount of pain EVER again?  No.  But, I can genuinely stand here today, on the other end of the tunnel, and tell you that it was COMPLETELY worth it.  I have peace that I have never known.  I have strength that I never thought I was capable of.  And I have an empathy for others who have found themselves in pits that they were thrown into or that they created themselves.

I am a MESS!  But, I am also the beloved daughter of the King of the Universe…and that make me a ROYAL mess.

To be continued…

Ladies,

I am so sorry that I have not updated the daily devotionals in several days.  I am currently recovering from minor surgery and I should have considered that when I decided to start the Bible Study when I did.  I will resume our study as soon as I can.  Thank you for your understanding.

How to Become a Royal Mess – Part 1

Exactly one year ago today I had a nervous breakdown and spent the next week in a psychiatric hospital.  I know that is a pretty blunt statement to start out with for my very first blog post but it is THE reason I decided to start blogging.  I don't want to hide who I was back then or the results of my poor choices in life because then God's blessings and his purpose for the pain would never be seen to fruition.  I don't know about you but if I am struggling with something that major, I want to talk to someone who can empathize and give me some hope from the other side of the tunnel.  So, this is what I hope this blog will be for you...a shining light to help you find your way out of that dark tunnel you may be in.  I get it.  I have been there.  

Don't worry, I am not going to drag you through all the many details of how everything I knew fell apart but you do need to know where I was at so you know that I was and still am, on occasion, a COMPLETE royal mess!  In the span of a year, I came close to dying in an emergency surgery, I became enmeshed in some EXTREMELY toxic friendships, I became an alcoholic, I was physically assaulted, and my marriage of 16 years fell apart.  Somehow I had made it through all of that but on this particular night, everything came to a head.  I made an extremely difficult decision that needed to be made but, unfortunately, it did not come without collateral damage.  The complete disdain and anger that I felt coming from someone who I loved very much but who I hurt as a result of my decision was the last straw.  I had hit rock bottom and the old me died that night.  

Ok, I want to take a little bit of an intercession here to give you a break from reading.  I am notorious for losing interest in blogs that go on and on.  I typically think in bullet points and, I promise, all future posts will be more short and to the point.  So, take a break and come on back tomorrow when you are no longer pulling your hair out from ALL THE WORDS.  

Day 6 – November 7, 2016

Today's Scripture:

Genesis 16:1 - 20:18  

There are quite a few questions today.  We had a lot to cover and there are so many aspects of these particular Scriptures that need to not go unnoticed.  Many times, we tend to skim over certain details as we are reading and, as a result, we miss out on some important insights and truths.

  1. What did Sarai do to Hagar?
  2. What did the angel tell Hagar to do?
  3. What promise was given to Hagar?
  4. What was prophesied about Ishmael?
  5. What land was promised to Abraham and his descendants?
  6. What was the token of this covenant between God and Abraham’s descendants?
  7. How does circumcision relate to water baptism?  (Colossians 2: 11-14)
  8. Who did God say He would establish his covenant with?
  9. What didn’t the Lord hide from Abraham in chapter 18?
  10. What question did Abraham ask the Lord?
  11. What was the progression of Abraham’s intercession with the Lord?
  12. For how many righteous people would have the Lord spared Sodom?
  13. Why did the angels have to take hold of Lot’s hand?
  14. How does verse 24 compare to Revelation 20:10, 14-15, 21:8?
  15. Why did Jesus say “Remember Lot's wife”? (Luke 17:32)