Let’s Catch Up and Start Over!

So, it was 2019 when I blogged last… Not really that anyone cares, but for more than 2 decades I’ve been blogging and using this space as a way to process. And then life hit, and slowly little by little I just blogged less and less.

Hello! Let’s catch up!

I think to some degree I had primarily used this space as a place to process deep things. And, I started struggling more and more with how to do that well or give it the time I needed to do the processing effectively. This blog is weirdly primarily for me, but as a way to include you too; so that maybe something I’m going through helps you too… But, it’s for me.

Which means, I’ve changed the reason (for now) for the purpose of this space. I want it to be a place of light and life or maybe just entertaining distraction during rough periods. I want to not just share deep things, but the fun things, trials, errors, hobbies, and experiences.
Essentially: Life shared and documented.

I’ve changed the theme of this to be a place for dabbling. Because my (new) husband and I talk often about dabbling in hobbies, trying new things, sharing experiences etc… So, I hope you’re able to learn along with me the deep heart things, life obscurities, and all the stupid silly aspects of trying new experiences too! I hope you find hope during dark seasons and that it adds to the light of great seasons!

Our first picture together in December 2019

Here’s the quick update of what happened in my life since the end of 2019!

I met this man Stephen on Bumble around Thanksgiving 2019 (he’s the last paragraph of tentative hope mentioned in the previous post haha!) He was cute, loved Jesus, but mostly he was SO FUN and funny. He liked me, and pursued weirdly (not at all what I thought it would look like or I needed). Stephen moved so… soooo… so slowly. And even sometimes forgot he was supposed to be telling me about his moving, and just assumed I knew I was along for the ride!

Sweet sick Vormund

2020 hit, my 7 1/2 year old Great Dane passed away from Lymphoma, and when the pandemic started everything obviously shutdown, including my business with my best friend which made finances super tight. My roomies started working from home, and we spent SO MUCH TIME on the front porch of our DC rowhouse. My then not yet boyfriend, but guy I was exclusively seeing kept progressing our relationship, and despite my fears and some pretty large (to me) theological differences, everything was actually very good.

I fell in love with Stephen hard core, it took him a little while longer to realize he loved me too… But, he also had decided almost 15 years prior that he would only say he loved one girl: the one he married. So, he waited until he knew he wanted to marry me before he told me…. 8 months later.. in 2021! lol

Juni Girl
One of the funniest after-pictures of such a great day!

2021, found my roomies and I in a new house in MD, bought by one of my roomies, a new emergency re-home Great Dane we re-named Juni… And by fall it also found my boyfriend transition to being my fiancé!

By 2022 we were full tilt wedding planning, got married, and then transitioned to learning to live life as a two-become-one married couple! It honestly was much easier than either of us had prepared for or anticipated! lol However, it is challenging, but in a totally different way than we expected. While we’ve had our fights, the biggest challenge is learning to keep our ever present goal of not just having a healthy, fully functioning relationship; but one that takes steps to avoid issues that are ultimately unnecessary and pull relationships apart. We want to set a foundation and make pre-decisions now that will aid in diminishing problems later.

March 2022

We also got a second puppy Skydda to fulfill my husband’s life-long dream of having a German Shephard mixed puppy/dog. We have played and traveled so much this year, adventuring and road tripping through much of “middle America” aka the back roads through much of the eastern side of the mid-west (to avoid tolls)!

One of the many many summer road trips we took!

My bestie and I decided to close our business and stop doing it full-time. Ideally we will still dabble in it, and do fun projects that WE like to do, rather than take anything that will pay the bills. We found that the economy, material prices, and pandemic were lasting longer than we knew how to ride out… And the stress of providing was causing pretty substantial burnout for both of us, plus the physical toll it was taking on our bodies was rough… Not to mention soon I would like to have children, and we didn’t feel it was fair to put the burden on my bestie to carry on the business alone so I could have maternity leave.. Or, worse, if possibly my being 37 potentially means complications, bed rest, etc.. that it would create additional unreasonable burdens. It was a better and more peace-filled choice to call it, to return to best friends, and be grateful to the Lord that I kept my three cut-off fingers, that our business provided for us for 3 1/2 years… And now we can move to a new season! Plus, at the same time, my husband switched jobs as well, and now he’s a salesman for Thompson Creek and loooves it!

As we approach 6 months married, I find myself constantly overwhelmed by gratefulness for the Lord’s faithfulness… In 2018 and 2019 I really was unsure at my core if the Lord would be faithful to me.

5 month “anniversary”, walking the dogs in “the dog days of summer”

But, let me tell you that He is faithful, even if it takes longer than you think it should.

Sick and hurt, but snuggle puddle!

Even now, when life currently feels like *a lot* due to me struggling through coughing and head colds for much of the last 6 weeks, one dog having major stomach issues, the other hurting her paw, and Stephen having new weird work hours… PLUS I’m struggling (yet again) with finding a new job, which means finances are tight… even now gratitude spills out of me. Life is rough sometimes, full of pain and sorrow, frustrations and exhaustion, one thing after another, but whether now or in the distant future, it does get better, it changes, and joy returns.

The Lord is as faithful as the rising and setting sun.

Hold on, because one day, even in the midst of struggles you will find joy and comfort again; but don’t try to rush this current season, let it be what it’s supposed to be, and gain every ounce of learning and wisdom you can from the now.

2019 Journey to Making All Things New

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking through 2019, what was going on in my life a year ago, and all that I have learned throughout this year. And, because I love all things year end reviews, song compilations, top pictures, all of it because it is specific reminders of a full year, not just the most recent life events… And let’s be honest, we are all prone to forgetting how we felt or what the journey was like.

Going into 2019, like many years previously, I had a theme.. Unlike many people I know who have a single word, apparently picking *A* word is not my jam, because I tend towards phrases, multiple words that fold into one another, or in the case of 2019, I had two: Redefine and Reshape. I wasn’t totally sold on redefine and reshape as my theme, I was still so hurt and angry that I really didn’t trust my gut a year ago to be an accurate reflection of where the Holy Spirit was leading… but I also could not let the two words go, so I went with it… If it was wrong, such is life, I had gotten much worse wrong so it wouldn’t hurt anything. My words seemed fine but I felt very hands off and kinda ambivalent about them.

I felt very much like I was going to sit back and that GOD was going to be doing the work of redefining and reshaping.. Partially because I was still struggling so badly, and I knew without a doubt that I had no way of forcing or creating healing within myself… it was only the Lord that could restore all that had been broken in 2018.

So, with that perspective in mind, here’s my year in review.

In January my best friend and I officially launched our business full-time and not as a side gig. We spent an absurd number of hours working on business planning, website designing, social media setting up, etc.. etc.. Plus, figuring out how and where to get business, and then of course actually do the projects that pulled in money.

Being all in with our own business was freeing, exciting, and it was so overwhelming that I actually don’t remember a whole lot about that that month in terms of what happened day in and day out.

I read It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkheurst, and it felt like someone else had put to paper the struggle within me towards God. I was so hurt, I felt totally betrayed by him, and I was entirely absent of answers or understanding… And yet, I *knew* in my head that He had been faithful before, and He never changes, so therefore He would continue to be even when I didn’t see why… And yet, with this book, someone else understood and had written it down. – It felt like the first glimmer of hope pointing to the fact that one day, it was going to be ok again, and God would heal me, and I would see His love and faithfulness throughout it all.. One day.

Also, I turned 34.

February was maybe even more of a blur, and in a matter of weeks with our business we were navigating over 40 clients somewhere from inquiry to completion… Which meant that we were also trying to create and learn the best way to manage every step of our project process. I don’t remember, but I’m fairly confident my best friend and I both melted down and had many arguments all because of the stress, anxiety, and learning how to communicate in a new way with one another.

AND to top it all off, somehow through me filling out a survey we got noticed and interviewed by Square, and they shared our story with NowThis, and it BLEW UP. If I’m being honest, I panicked and kept telling my best friend, “We’re not ready for this!!” And honestly, we weren’t, but it was amazing and super encouraging regardless.

We (my roommates and I) also tried returning to church a few times, but ultimately decided that we weren’t ready to engage in a church community just yet, and needed more time… Plus, we were very much enjoying our slow Sunday mornings with Jesus in our living room.

If you’re unaware, March is National Women’s Month, and it was such a fun month for us as a business! We were featured on the local news because Square also shared our story with the local news!.. Business continued to be equal parts insane and really exhausting, but there was no doubting at this point that we were making it work!

While I had been dabbling in online dating for a few months, I started actively engaging in online dating again. I wasn’t sure how to put my heart out there again, but I finally decided I also needed to start practicing dating and purposefully taking steps to put myself out there, but realistically I didn’t end up going on any dates.

April was an interesting shift because we were every bit of working insane hours to keep our business going and as productive as possible, and I found myself having the emotions of gratitude about how the Lord was blessing our business and showing us favor that I was keenly aware we did not deserve and should not actually be happening… But I still felt largely numb and disconnected from my sweet savior.

I ended up going to an 8 hours intense Bible study that focused on prayer and fasting throughout scripture. It was insane and amazing because for the first time in eight months I had an immense amount of awe for the Lord once more. I found myself wanting to engage with the Lord again, but I was also aware that I was not suddenly better… I still felt that God had broken my heart, and I expected Him to fix it, heal it, restore it, and that none of those things had happened yet.

Also, adding to the stress, my dog (and my bestie/roommate’s dog) got poisoned, by a chemically contaminated raw-hide, and began getting really sick… As in explosive uncontrollable diarrhea all over the house for almost two months. It took us a couple weeks to figure out what happened many rounds of meds and probiotics and special food.

It is always interesting looking back at things, because May was equal parts SO much fun, and really challenging.

At this point I was a couple months into focusing on fitness and getting back into fitness after allowing work to just take over. We were training for another year of Trifecta Spartan races, and I was stoked because my goal was to finish in the top 10%. Plus, some friends and I planned a trip for July to go to Jamaica… We all knew we needed dedicated time for rest and fun… If only I knew what was coming in a just a couple weeks…

I also began actually investing and praying regularly again… I felt like I started to have things to pray not just for others but for myself as well. Up until this point most of the time I prayed it was thanking God for how well our business was doing, my friends and family… and then telling Him I needed Him to heal me because I had said everything that I had to say, it was His turn.

Heading into June, I really had no clear sense of where or how things in my life were getting redefined and reshaped. I didn’t really see anything markedly different, I largely didn’t feel anything had changed. – When asked, I just sort of felt this internal shrug, I don’t know.

And then my insanely painful and life altering accident happened, and suddenly nothing in my life was the same.. nor would it ever be the same honestly. – Even miraculously keeping ALL three of my fingers, they will never be as they were before the accident again..

The first week in June I almost entirely cut off three fingers, and yet, with so much pain, surgery, pins sticking out everywhere, ridiculous numbers of doctors visits, and countless numbers of meds and supplements… I found myself equal parts insanely grateful, surrounded by so much support and care, and struggling with so much internal fear and frustration.

I don’t do well being unable to take care of myself and not being capable… And yet, here I was with nothing else to do but allow others to love and care for me.

And this traumatic event is when it seems as though God began to implement His Redefining and Reshaping of me, my heart, our relationship, how I see the world, and my perspective on literally everything. It is one of the worst ways to find healing, but six months later I just cannot find anything but gratefulness for how God has worked in my life.

The rest of June, and JulyAugust, found me pretty much sitting on my front porch, going to PT appointments twice a week, online dating, and doing whatever one-handed typing I could to create proposals for clients while my best friend LITERALLY became a one-woman show and kept us afloat!

We went to Jamaica in July, I had pins sticking out of my fingers, and I was unable to get my hand wet, but we had an incredible time anyway. The ocean and sunshine are always the best places for God to touch my heart with peace and rest. While there I read a book about 7 women who God used to change the world uniquely in a way that men never could because they are women. I returned from that trip so encouraged.

In June I had basically decided that since I had little to do, I started actively trying to go on dates. So, surprisingly, damaged fingers and all, I went on a lot of dates, talked to an insane number of men, had a lot of monotonous conversations, and I even dated a guy for a couple months. While he was fun, it was not ultimately a relationship that had the type of future that I wanted, so it ended.

In September my whole house did our annual “sucky sober september” health reset; which sounds much more focused on not drinking alcohol than it actually is (it’s actually connected to a story about a friend almost dying from Anemia)… We do a complete health reset, food, exercising, as well as spiritual shifts. Any and everything we can do to make healthy choices. Along with pursuing all things health, my roommates and I decided it was time to return to a church community, and we took the month to visit a few churches to see where felt like home.

I also had my second surgery on my fingers to give me the best possible chance for fully functional fingers.

In October, we settled on a church that after visiting several places it just felt the most like home, it was also the a location of the church I had gone to the 8 hour bible study, so we were very much drawn to it because of the teaching. – It is the bring your Bible, take notes, and let’s work our way through scripture type, and felt a lot like honey to my soul. Honestly though, while I’m not yet comfortable in the church setting as a whole again, this particular church feels like a place where I can continue to heal, and one day be ready to step into being involved once more. But for now, I can go and learn, grow, be around other believers, take communion, sing worship songs, and be poured into.

At this point, I bounced back and forth between actively online dating and pausing my accounts for a week at a time to take a break. Online dating takes so much intentional work, and I was very discouraged, yet continued to feel like I should keep pursuing and practicing dating.

And, of course, at this point nothing in my life is ever absent of intentional finger healing, so of course I had stitches removed, daily stretches and exercises, and continuing to go to PT twice a week throughout everything…

November felt like such an interesting shift towards contentment and as though God was changing seasons for me or as though dawn was starting to arrive. When I look back at November, it feels like the Lord has put people, sermons, even instagram posts, and allowed me to have experiences that point towards hope being restored… It also probably helps that I made the decision that it was my turn to just “do the hard work” and spend daily time with Jesus in Scripture again rather than sporadically… For the first time in a little over a year I decided that no matter how I felt or how late I crawled into bed, I was spending time in His Word. It was time.

Also, one of the absolute biggest highlights from this month was that one of my closest friends in DC moved into our house, so now all of my best girl friends in DC live with me. It literally feels like our home is covered in peace, healing, laughter, and challenging authenticity.

December is always a fun change, and while it gets dark so early and begins to get cold, it is also such a beautiful time full of lights and fun outtings with people I love!

I’ve also found a unique level of peace and contentment in the unknown that I have not experienced in years. While I do not know what is to come and more heartache is possible, I also feel an unusual level of safety. There’s this still small voice inside sweetly reminding me that I can trust God to lead my heart once again. He loves me, He has changed me forever, and following Him will never be without unfair heartache, but obedience to Him means being fully his even when I don’t understand and it tears me apart… I have learned so much about the sweet tenderness of how Jesus heals us always. I do not yet have a clear yes or no with things, but what I do have right now is the beginning feelings of hope and a returned settling that the Lord makes all things new.

Fully Engaged Healing

Healing is a process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(Two weeks after my surgery, when my stitches were going to come out)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(Pins stabilizing my bones, and when the pins got pulled 6 weeks after surgery)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(Before and after the Steri-Strips and scabs came off)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(My second Surgery)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(The day my stitches from my second Surgery were coming off)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(As the scabs were healing from my second Surgery)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(The straightening brace I’ve had to wear for a while, and my scar-healed fingers)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been a little over 6 months since my accident where I almost entirely cut off three fingers (everything except some skin/tissue). While I’ve had some decent injuries before, broken bones, dislocated hip with torn ligaments, car accident injuries, and endless number of minor dislocations or injuries; I have never had such a severe, traumatic or long-healing type injury with a huge level of uncertainty on the other side. As my Physical Therapist told me for weeks every time I asked if something was normal or to be expected, “Krista, nothing about this is normal.”

Literally half of 2019 for me has been entirely consumed with both pain and healing of equal measures.. But, the physical healing is coming on the heals of an all encompassing painful internal process to healing in 2018.

I have learned so much about healing from my accident, it weirdly has brought a lot of peace, and also so much clarity on my relationship with God… and with others.

2018 was painful, but the most prevalent element was the complete feeling of betrayal and abandonment by God. As though He had orchestrated it all, and then left me to wither away and die in the desert exactly like I had told Him I feared all along. – How do you pick up and continue to love and serve a God after that? I didn’t know, and honestly I don’t know that I have a clear answer even still, but what I do know is, my hand has been a painful miracle in every way. My accident has taught me more than I ever have cared to know about the nature of any type of healing and allowed me to see my process with God with more clarity.

So, here are a few things I have learned about healing, mostly this is for myself, but hopefully you find some encouragement from it!
These things are not in order of importance, just how I process.

“It Takes Time”
This is infuriating and at the beginning of healing I was just angry every time someone told me that it takes time to heal. I would angrily vent in my head about how time does not magically remove the pain, time cannot solve every wound… However, they also aren’t wrong, while time is not the only element in the healing equation, it is absolutely the foundation of healing. You simply cannot heal in any way without the gift of time.

And, in the midst of healing, time seems like anything but a gift because it means living through the painful slow moments, and sometimes it just feels like it is all too much. However, we don’t have to make it to six months from now, we have to make it through right this moment. God doesn’t ask us to have enough strength to survive for months from now, not even tomorrow, literally He just asks us to trust Him with the now, and to allow Him to take us to the next moment.

Grief takes time, your heart takes time to heal, injuries take time, emotions take time, perspective takes time, growth takes time, rest takes time… Everything takes time in order to become healthy.

When I cut through every bone, ligament, tendon, nerve, and muscle (all except for a little skin) on three fingers of my dominant hand, and once surgery was done to repair what was possible, from there it just takes time to heal. I literally had no option but to give my fingers time.

God chooses to take time, and to use the gift of time in creating a healthy “us” on the other side. It is not quick, it is not pain-free, and it cannot be avoided. – It is that simple.

The foundation of healing is that it takes time; and, I impatiently hate that, but we can’t get around it.

“You Must Do the Hard Work”
Second to time, is that there is actual hard work involved in healing. There is nothing that can substitute for hard work.

And while doing the hard work is not always the literal second step, because depending on the situation, sometimes the second step to heal properly is simply rest, or medication, or who knows what… but in terms of the longevity to healing, and in terms of importance, you must do the hard work involved if you actually want to get better.

There will inevitably come a moment when it is time to do the hard work. Sometimes that involves a therapist… or in my finger’s case, it meant a physical therapist. In other situations it involves taking a really hard look at your own mistakes and processing, in some instances it means addressing your own broken and toxic traits, and then doing the hard work to root out the problems in our own mind and heart that has created or holds us in unhealthy situations. Many times this step involves a lot of God time. And, unfortunately, the longer we put off the hard work of facing the pain involved in healing, the more painful and longer the healing will take.

The reality is that healing is more painful in every way than we ever expect, but it also must be faced head on and dealt with. We cannot sidestep or blame or point fingers or play any sort of avoidance game. – We just inevitably have to do the hard work of facing our own brokenness and limitations and put in whatever is required in order to heal.

My fingers needed twice a week Physical Therapy (from someone who I’m convinced is the best PT in the whole area!), but I also had HOURLY exercises, stretches and activities I had to do for months…. MONTHS (and continue to have to do for many more months to come). It has been so frustrating to feel like everything I did or do is followed up with finger exercises.

Shower and get ready to go somewhere – Exercise the fingers.
Go for a run – Exercise the fingers.
Go out to dinner with friends – Exercise the fingers.
Send work proposals – Exercise the fingers.
Watch a tv show – Exercise the fingers.
Make dinner – Exercise the fingers.
Wake up in the morning – Exercise the fingers.
Get ready for bed – Exercise the fingers.

Exhausting.

The level of intentionality is absurd, but it has also caused me to realize that the reality is, this IS the hard work of healing. – It is not fun, it is frustrating, annoying, exhausting, and most of the time I just simply don’t want to do the work. But, it has also sparked this idea; what if we took this same approach to internal or heart healing? Grief healing? Relationship healing? Anxiety healing?

What if after literally everything we did we took 5-15 minutes to stop, pray, and focus on doing whatever hard work is needed so that we can heal as totally and completely as possible? It would be a life changer.. And one I’m honestly not totally ready to take on and do in many areas of my life! haha (just being transparent)

But, let’s not forget, while doing whatever hard work is needed to heal is actually really painful, there is an emotional toll that doing the hard work takes on you too. We must face straight on the emotional toll and pain or we risk making it worse for much longer.

“These Emotions Won’t Last Forever”
One of the biggest things I have learned in this whole healing process is that just because I have a STRONG or visceral emotional reaction right now, does not mean that’s how I will feel in two minutes… or tomorrow. And, if my emotions can change so quickly, it probably shouldn’t be allowed to guide me, but must also be acknowledged.

In this process of healing, I have had to learn how to pause, acknowledge and create space for my emotions to be whatever they are right now, and be ok with that… Even, and maybe especially all of the really dark and negative emotions that are every bit of the process. The emotions need to be allowed to be, but also they must be controlled, and emotions are not meant as sole guides to what is true or false. I have also realized just how much my outward reactions to my emotions must be intentionally and appropriately communicated to those around me.

My emotions have honestly rarely accurately reflected the true situation in front of me. However, my emotions are an important part of the situation in front of me, they can even be helpful, but they just are not the sum total.

For example, the movements, things and places that caused me extreme anxiety when my accident first happened (for good reason) now almost six months later have become movements and place of joy and progress in my healing.

I have begun to practice mentally choosing to put a “pause” on reacting to or with my emotions. Instead I have actively decided much of the time not to engage or outwardly take the actions my emotions want until tomorrow, and then, if I still feel just as strongly the next day, then I allow myself the freedom to respond or take action.

More often than not, simply giving my emotions time (back to that time thing) helps me to gain perspective, and also not be a crazy person tossed about by every fleeting emotion in the healing process.

“Attitude Makes All the Difference”
We choose our attitudes, they actually do not control us. Just because you or I feel a particular emotion or allow an attitude to be expressed to everyone around us, does not actually serve as any clear indication of what is good and healthy.

No matter what, it is our choice. Our choice matters, especially when our emotions or attitude are negative, we have the literal ability to pause and choose. Feeling and acknowledging emotions does not mean giving them the power of control over you, you can tell people what is going on without giving into the chaos of the attitude.

When things are difficult, and we can decide to see the ridiculousness, absurdity, frustration, pain, and every other emotion with an appropriateness fit for the situation. Choosing your attitude truly makes ALL of the difference.

I have found that I can better let people into my feelings and situation when I communicate the fullness of it all, but also to choose to communicate the negatives accurately, and pair them with the positives and realism accurately. – Not allowing an attitude to control you/me/us takes the worst situations, and it creates spaces for so much laughter, so much support, and so many stories and memories that will never be forgotten because I choosing the correct attitude.

“Words Matter Inside Your Head”
Self-talk is one of the most important things while healing from anything.. Like literally talking to yourself in your head actually matters. And, I don’t mean fake fluffy nonsense, I am talking about calling out your own bull$h!t in your head, and correcting the falseness and lies when your own thoughts throw pity parties.

I cannot count the number of times my mental state has spiraled in the last year and a half, but especially the last six months.

No one knew what was going on in my head because it was often when I was alone, late at night, during a particularly intense and painful period of time with no immediate solution, and sometimes it was when someone would say something insensitive or that I didn’t understand, and I would spiral mentally.

It would go something along these lines:
“I can’t stand this (insert whatever emotion/person/frustration/pain), this is the worst. Why does this only happen to me? Other people have it so great, it’s never going to get better, this is going to be forever, how am I going to….” and then it would hit me how short sighted and shallow/immature I was allowing myself to be with this line of thought…

I would literally make the choice to change and pep-talk myself in my own head (I’m not someone who talks out-loud to myself):
“No, that’s not true. Right now DOES suck and it might actually just be the worst thing. And, it is true, other people have been BLESSED, but would I wish this terrible thing on them? No! I would not! But also, the reality is, this probably isn’t actually the worst. I’m just having a pity party. What I do know to be true is that this will also change. Life promises to never stop changing, and God even says that the seasons change and there is a time for everything. So, this is a time that sucks and hurts, but it won’t be forever, it’s just right now. Tomorrow will be different. I can do this.”

Or, I would be angry/frustrated/in pain:
“I can’t handle this, this is too much, I shouldn’t have to do this or deal with this.”

And I would realize that my selfish and self-centered game was ON POINT, and it was time to hit the reboot:
“I actually CAN handle this, it is not too much, and I’m strong. I will be strong, and I will make it through this, I just have to focus on right now.”

Even if I didn’t know that I actually believed it in the moment, I chose to say and decide these things. My inner dialogue game was strong, and I had a severe back and forth situation, but it was important to counter my own lies and actually choose not to believe everything I thought.

“Use All of Your Words”
I have spent SO MUCH TIME the last six months using all of my words to not only communicate needs and wishes, but also to communicate how I feel, how I’m choosing to engage in healing, and to give lots of updates on where my healing is at in the process.. But, by far, mostly I have used all of my words to just share my story. The level of love, care, support, encouragement, laughter, questions, and honestly just the vast far reaching community of people invested (so many people sending food or money) in my healing has been *hands down* 😉 the best part!

Vulnerability is never easy, and it’s certainly not easier for me. I just choose to use all of my words regardless of how I’m feeling, and not expect people to just know or assume what is best for me.

I still regularly get people messaging me to check in and wanting updates or to share a tip they know about healing. I love everything about sharing my healing story with other people because it always reminds me I’m not alone, and because it makes it much more fun and enjoyable! Sharing with others openly totally changes what is literally a traumatic and worst nightmare type situation into the least likely and yet really great connection with others.

So, use all of your words to share even the lowest worst parts because people connect with pain and brokenness and we heal better together. Don’t be a jerk with your words, don’t allow your emotions to cause harm to others, but share your experience and process.

“Take Your Medicine and Vitamins”
But for real, take your medicine as prescribed or take the medicine, even if it simply will help you sleep better. And also, vitamins have played a huge part in my healing process, even if it means going to the doctor to get blood work and see where you’re deficient, do it! Why not do everything possible to give ourselves THE BEST POSSIBLE CHANCE?!

I am 100% no longer the “I don’t like to take any medicines” person, and instead I am the “If I am not ok, I will take whatever I’m supposed to in order to be ok again.” person. – All it took was one night of running out of medicine several days early than my body was ready for to realize that my body cannot do the hard work of healing itself if I am not taking the appropriate medicine that allowed me to manage pain and sleep well.

Playing catchup with pain is no joke and honestly it is just dumb. – Follow your doctor’s orders.

Let’s all agree that allowing ego to get in the way is not a good idea no matter what…
Let’s also collectively give grace and celebrate with to those who have experienced healing in the power of Jesus name alone to praise the Lord for that healing; and those of us who need medicine in order to experience healing too, we also praise Jesus’ name for providing for us.

“We Need Other’s”
Over all, I have realized that healing of any kind has so many elements involved in the process, but it is not possible without intentionally being invested and allowing other’s to help and be a part as well.

Unfortunately, it is easy to get stuck and focus on one part of healing or worse, one part of the brokenness, but we need other people to keep us oriented towards Jesus and prevent us from staying where we are. I cannot stress it enough that we need other people around us while we heal.

“It Doesn’t Simply End”
There is no clear simple ending. When we are healing, we just aren’t suddenly better like a flipped switch. Healing looks like slowly tapering and moments of “oh, I’m no longer where I was” beautiful revelations!

I am not done healing at all, and I will continue to learn more about what this process looks like… But, I do know at this point that I have no option but to be fulled engaged in my healing so that on the other side of this, whether we’re talking about my fingers or my heart, I will be the best possible and healed version of myself.

Overlooked Parts of Healing

There are so many parts that are mostly overlooked when it comes to healing. My hand is no longer exciting to hear updates about, and my heart healing from the brutal past year is even less interesting.

I am learning a lot about the injury and healing process in general; whether it is a physical injury like almost cutting off three fingers or having your heart damaged. – If you have not heard the story about my hand, here is the 20minute YouTube video of me sharing about what happened.

However, I have been thinking a lot about how much things just take time, and in the midst of healing, everything just feels like it takes forever, and it hurts more than you would expect. But, some of the most frustrating parts about healing in any capacity, is that the process largely leaves so many questions unanswered and creates space for moments to be replayed obsessively… And, often the only real answer to everything is just to give it more time to allow for healing.

I’m not so good at choosing the patience that time needs in order to heal or allow things to settle and work themselves out. I lean severely hard right towards pushing, driving, and doing literally anything and everything to help myself get better in any possible way faster.

I have been learning so much about forcing myself to heal well and completely through my hand, but I’m also simultaneously getting progressively more frustrated at where I am not at currently. But, my hand injury has also created space for me to process the last year or two of my life, the hurts and heartache that I’ve experienced, and how I feel now about it all.

I went back and read my prayer journals from last fall. – I was full of pain, questions, frustration, and so many ‘why’s’ aimed at God. And a year later, I still don’t know. I don’t have answers yet, and I still don’t see why things had to be so painful… I have not magically found my fairytale perfect story ending. There is no prince to sweep me off my feet, and the animals are definitely not helping with the chores.

I’m currently 12 weeks post hand accident, and one year post massive heartbreak from a man I loved, and 11 months since losing my job; so much has happened in each of those time frames. My life doesn’t even remotely look the same as it did a few months or a year ago. In some ways it makes me sad to remember just how much has been lost, and everything and everyone that has done damage. In other ways, I am ok with the fact that I have an entirely different life now.

I have been thinking a lot about the damage done, and how I just don’t have answers. I don’t see clearly why God allowed things to happen the way He did, and I really don’t see how He is healing and redeeming things…I don’t see where He is using these parts of my story and life for His good, it doesn’t make sense to me, and it may never.

This is the overlooked part of most people’s stories that we don’t want to tell or we all just forget about on the other side… Sometimes I think it’s because we want to overlook the frustrating middle, the timeframe where we just have no option but to keep moving forward one day at a time. I hate the seasons of life when I can’t see why God isn’t doing what I feel like He should, I don’t like when patience and perseverance are my only options. These overlooked parts and frustrating parts of my story forces me towards my only choice: to actively focus on what is right in front of me, choose gratefulness for small things, not obsess about what is behind and all the ways things did not go how I wanted them to go.

But, that’s the point, things will never be what we dream up in our fake lives in our head. No one could have prepared me for sustaining a major work accident six months after launching into a full time small business… And then having to essentially sit on the sidelines for months.
No one knows what to tell me about why things went down with the guy who broke my heart… And truly no one knows why I continue to not be able to find “the one”, and instead just find various levels of frustration and confusion.
No one can tell me what God has planned next or how long it will be until I understand… If I will ever understand on this side of eternity, without making up a largely false narrative about what His reasons and purpose were… No one knows.

For the most part my hand doesn’t hurt consistently anymore. It still gets shooting pains, weird sensations, and is extremely sore after PT or a particularly aggressive day of home exercises and stretching. – This is also how my heart feels; for the most part it doesn’t hurt anymore, sometimes it gets shooting pains, or feels weird things.. and it is often just sore and exhausted.

But, if I am being totally honest, most days I’m just entirely over the process of healing now… For both my hand and my heart, I’m just tired of it all. I don’t know that I will ever be in a place of not needing some sort of healing, but at this point it seems like all I do is work on healing.

I’m tired of needing help, I’m annoyed that I can’t move my fingers like I want to, and I can’t feel the things that I need to.

I’m tired of working to heal my heart and having to actively focus on not giving in to hopelessness.

It’s hard to explain accurately to anyone who has never experienced it, what it is like to almost completely cut off three fingers, and then go through the healing process.

It’s equally as hard to accurately explain to someone who has never experienced it, what it is like to be in my your 30’s and single, and actively not allow yourself to become hopeless or unhealthy.

I’m full on antsy now most of the time, and I get really frustrated that I cannot go back to working full-time yet. I still cannot workout like I want to, and simple things are exhausting and take an exorbitant amount of focus… But, my only option is to take every day one day at a time.

I see every day how much my heart and hand are learning how to heal, and the process is slow, arduous, confusing, and there is nothing normal about it… So, on top of it all, I don’t have any scales to tell me if I’m navigating it well or how long I have left. I still don’t have answers, it is mostly unknowns ahead of me (and a mountain of bills), but what I can say is that I am learning intimately about in my own impatience, how much I constantly try to check and figure out where I am and where I should go from here; when my only real option is to give things time..

The overlooked parts of healing means that I have to take it one day at a time, no matter how I feel, and let God do His will.

Ripped Apart

Life has a weird way of changing on you suddenly. But, I think we forget about the fact that life is ever changing because we get lulled into believing that things are the same due to so many seemingly mundane moments.

My life feels ripped apart after a defining moment a few weeks ago. And yet, I find myself more grateful than I’ve felt in about a year.. or more.

Three weeks ago, my life dramatically changed due to a work accident; when I almost entirely took off three fingers on my dominate right hand. It’s traumatic, crazy painful, really hard to manage, very humbling, scary, overwhelming, frustrating, and so so many other emotions and actual nerve and healing feelings.. and yet… I see mostly good. I don’t understand it, but this trauma seems to have cleared my intense heart pain of the suffocating silence between God and I from the last year, and allowed me to have words to start speaking to Him again.

About this time last year I was really struggling with the fear of being hurt and feeling stuck because I very much did not feel at peace to walk away. It was crippling, and the different ways I reached out for help were largely met with silence or ignoring. So, I looked to God, and had maybe the most vivid connection I’ve had with Him, which ultimately after looking it up later realized it was Exodus 3. – Long story short, I had this image from The Prince of Egypt movie, and felt God say “I Am, I am here.”

I probably haven’t seen this movie in 20 years… But, it was the image and the phrase I heard.

The more I dug into this story, the more rich it has become to me. Even still.

The crushing blows that created silence between God and I were largely due to being certain He had lead me into the desert, and left me there to die (in a heart sense). The man I loved destroyed my heart in the most painful way he could have, and I lost my job unexpectedly all within a month. And, it all felt like God’s fault, He had prevented me from protecting my heart, and instead had kept pushing me to be all in… no matter what. Then it all was ripped apart and I was left to silence from God.

The silence continued.. and honestly feels a lot like it’s still largely in effect a year later.

This is round two of my “Dark night of the Soul” type season. – You can listen to a pretty good sermon on it here (this is part 1 of 2). But, no matter what I did or didn’t do, nothing was forcing God to do anything. I couldn’t hurry it up, and I was unable to do anything but relinquish to giving God the time that this season obviously is calling for. So, I went to church a few times, found one I really love the preaching, but honestly, I mostly don’t go. I miss it a little, and I think it’s important, but I also know I need time to heal and this season it doesn’t include attending church or any striving of any kind to fix it.. 2019 is about God redefining and reshaping everything.

I could go on for eons with the details, rationalizations, total misses, etc.. from the last year, but the reality is I felt like God broke my trust and betrayed me.. I rationally knew that to be untrue, and along the way found my faith in Jesus is more solidly firm in my head rather than my heart. I KNEW God had not failed me, but my heart also knew only pain… and I had nowhere else to go but to sit and wait for Him to prove my head right and heart wrong and show me where He had been all along.

I saw God in the business I started with a best friend.. It exploded and flourished. But, that didn’t heal my heart.

I saw God in my friends and family’s support and love.. But my heart didn’t know what to do with the lack of healing even still.

In full honesty, God and I are not all of a sudden better.. My finger accident hasn’t fixed that, but there has been a shift towards healing.

However, what has happened is that when I almost cut off my fingers with a circular saw, Jesus showed up in a miracle and literally saved my fingers. It was so bad when it first happened that I thought I had cut two of them entirely off… but they held on by a little bit of skin. Somehow, that skin got progressively better over the next couple hours, and I had enough circulation and healing to postpone my surgery to the next day. So, I keep telling people that Jesus legitimately saved my pinky and ring finger… And, I’m not placating. It was bad.

I get pins out this week, and then I get to start another year-long process of healing, just of mostly a different kind. There is so much more pain ahead. – A seemingly never ending line of days of needing help and having to humbly give up much of my independence… Which can also substitute in as identity in my own strength.

Also, a punk kid stole my phone two weeks after my finger accident, and I ran him down and got it back… Ask me about it, it’s a ridiculous story.

But, what I have found in this trauma is that I am ok. The I Am is still here… and I was reminded that even after God told Moses He was there, heard and saw the suffering of His people, it took a long while and a whole heck of a lot of work before they were set free from slavery… and an even longer 40 years until they found fulfillment in His promises. Sometimes it just takes a stupidly painful amount of time to see ANY progress… Which also doesn’t remove the pain I’ve been through, or still have to come.

Sometimes life, people, and just the complete and utter brokenness of our world causes more pain than we can wrap our minds around… But, also, God sees our pain, He cares, and He is here… even if it takes a long time for us to see it and an even longer time to feel it.

I have no choice but to dig deep and find my perseverance stubbornness to continue this path towards God no matter what.

My life has felt ripped apart for about a year now. – And yet, I am grateful, even in the midst of literal excruciating pain.

New Business 101

So, one of my best friends and I both started working full-time for our new business at the beginning of 2019! – We’ve been doing this work on the side since 2016, but due to her six month plan, and my unexpected unemployment, we decided to give this owning our own business thing  a for real shot!..
Boy has it been insane.
Overwhelming.
Exciting.
Exhausting.
Entertaining.
Hard work!

And worth every bit of it all…

Here are some New Business 101 things I’ve learned (and some tips).

Hopefully this is a helpful place for you to start!

Also, just so we’re clear, I have two masters degrees, ONE OF WHICH IS IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION and I’m so confused most of the time and taking stabs in the dark as we grow and try to improve and create new systems, processes and increase our client numbers! So, don’t feel badly or as if you “should know” something… You can only know what you’ve learned, and everyone has to start somewhere!

  1. It IS overwhelming.

    You have to find invoicing platforms, customer management platforms, manage social media, create a logo and website, make business cards (and maybe t-shirts and car magnets!), fill out a load of federal government forms (pro tip: don’t do this during a government shutdown.. it makes it more complicated haha!), THEN you have to fill out a bunch of local government forms… All while actually working to have income, respond in a timely manner, create and send information/estimates/invoices etc..

    It.

    Is.

    Overwhelming.

    Just accept it, everything is too much, and that’s ok. It’s an insanely steep learning curve, and you’re knowingly in the dark about what you need to do in order to be officially official.

  2. You Aren’t Perfect, Give Yourself Grace.

    But for real, you aren’t perfect… Which means you will mess up, miss deadlines, totally botch a project, miss-price/quote/invoice something, misunderstand, forget to inform… etc..etc.. You will create things that are less than you desire. It’s a part of the process.

    Be strategic and learn from everything, but don’t lower your standards for anyone else, don’t be a people pleaser, do your best, work so hard, and remember that no one is perfect.

    Learn from it all, and you will grow and create some incredible things!

  3. Creating a Business is a Steep Learning Curve! 

    You’ve likely never done this before, so no matter how much you google new business things, you’re absolutely going to miss crucial bits of the process; accept it and give yourself grace.So, here are some helpful tips that I learned about where to start:

    ~ Business 101 is hard to figure out, this website has helpful info.

    ~ Get an FEIN (or EIN – Employer Identification Number) You can’t really do much without it, so start here with the officially official stuff.

    ~ Get business insurance. Like for real, you’ll feel better… plus you need it to get a business license.

    ~ Build a website, even if it is simple and not completed, you can add and change it later. But, having a website is huge for people looking into you, and take the tutorial on SEO and follow the prompts to help you get found!

    ~ Social media is a must. – Create a Facebook page, Instagram account, and/or Twitter account. – People want to be able to find you. Don’t feel like you have to do all of them like a crazy person, pick two, and create a presence.

    ~ Get a Yelp Business page.

    ~ Once you have your EIN number/documents in hand, go to your state’s government page and fill out the application for a local business license.. Then take it to the local office and start the soul-sucking process of wasting hours of your time as you navigate what additional paperwork you need to run correctly..

    A few examples of things you may need or need to get:
    ~ Proof of business insurance,
    ~ Home occupancy (unless you are renting somewhere, then you’ll need a different type of occupancy),
    ~ Certification of clean hands (meaning you don’t owe them money),
    ~ Sales license,

    And depending on the industry, there’s a slew of other things…But, there’s no substitute for going to your local government office and being super kind to each person you get in front of because they really will help you figure it all out… It will take hours, it will be frustrating, and you will probably have to return numerous times… But, go when you have nowhere else to be that day, and go around 10:30am (that’s when I’ve found there to be less of a line).

    ~ Also, look into health insurance for yourself.. It’s hard to navigate, but give yourself time to figure it out!Everything takes money, but it doesn’t all have to be done before you can “start” your business.

    ~ GET. A. CPA. – Save 30% of everything you make after expenses for taxes, that need to be paid quarterly. You do NOT want to forget and have to scramble the money together…

    ~ In the beginning, save 10% of your income as part of your business growth. You need to start immediately putting money away in case things happen, then you don’t have to pull it out of your personal finances, but it also starts setting your business up to be self-sustaining.

    ~ Review everything every 3 months or so to make sure you’re on track and everything makes sense.

  4. Everything Takes More Time than you expect and ever could anticipate!

    As in, the number of admin hours you’ll need, double it at least.The length of time it will take to complete a project, communicate all the things, fix something, forget something, go get more materials etc… You will need to give yourself SO MUCH EXTRA time.

    Give yourself grace, because it takes much longer than you expect or think is acceptable, and it will take longer than your clients/customers think makes sense. – So, overestimate the time it will take you to reduce your own stress level!

  5. TAKE TIME OFF.

    Just do it.

    I picked one day a week that I do no work at all.

    No invoices, no text messages, no e-mails, no discussing projects, no errands for work. Literally nothing.If at all possible, choose a time of the day when you “call it” quits. Otherwise it’s easy to get up earlier and stay up later trying to “get ahead” of your workload. This will never happen, you will never catch up (that means your business is doing great!), instead, recognize that the work will still be there tomorrow, and you can only do as much as possible each day while still choosing to have a healthy balance. Once you’ve gotten the hang of your schedule, start literally scheduling more time off – one Saturday a month, vacations in the future etc.. You have to plan for things or they will never happen…

    AND, if you are running your own business, you have to choose a few things that make you feel the freedom and joy that got you started down this path! – For me, it’s not having to get up early everyday, my peak hours are 9pm-11pm… Which means I’m in bed after 11 most nights, which means getting up before 7am makes me not so much fun.

  6. You need people around you.

    For your own health and well-being, you need people who bring you life, and help you stay balanced.

    No matter the work you’re doing, if you are in business with someone else, married, single etc.. You need people who will keep you balanced, focused, encouraged, and help you navigate when enough is enough.

    For me, it is my roommates and close friends, they have literally closed my laptop while I’m sitting on the couch and said “That’s enough today, it’s time to eat and watch tv, it is 8pm.”
    Your close people, also can help you stay encouraged when you’re so stressed you don’t see the good and productive… Or on those bad weeks when your clients/customers are just making your feel awful.

    Let others love you as you climb this steep learning curve of a mountain.

  7. Don’t Read the Comments.

    If and when you get some publicity, don’t read the comments online. It is where the cesspool of humanity goes to entertain themselves.

    Even if the comments are 98% encouraging and supportive, you will ONLY remember and obsess over the 2% that probably are just spewing totally wrong information.
    If you do end up accidentally reading the comments, do.not.respond. It will only make your life miserable and more stressed and no one will win.Additional pro-tip:
    It is important to remember that misinformation, misquotes, and misunderstandings are likely to be shared… and maybe even intensely argued about in the comments or reviews.

    Choose wisely what and how.. or even IF you want/need to correct the information. If it doesn’t ultimately matter, then let it go and leave it alone.

    If it is important to correct the misinformation, be sure to do it with the utmost professionalism and kindness. Don’t add to the fire.

  8. Live (or die) By Your Calendar.

    Everything is scheduled, and I’m SO NOT A SCHEDULE PERSON. – I thrive off of “winging it” and “flying by the seat of my pants” …. However, that’s a poor business strategy, and you don’t have time for that.

    The reality is, if it isn’t scheduled, you’ll either forget it, not have enough time to complete the project, have too many interruptions, miss stages of the process, or forget that traffic impacts your ability to get places… Put it on your calendar, then live by it and let people know that if it isn’t scheduled you’ll forget about it.

    Having it on the calendar helps reduce your stress because you avoid the “am I forgetting something” brain obsession.

  9. Celebrate EVERYTHING.

    Every little good or great thing, celebrate it. It’s a motto my house of friends and I live by: You completed your first project? Definitely calls for pizza.

    You made your sales goal: Ice cream it is!

    You survived the first month full-time? Means it is time to treat yourself to the movies.

    Completed all the paperwork for your business license? Champagne toast it is!

    etc.. etc..

    Make any and every small good thing a reason to celebrate. Owning and running your own business is SO hard and SO stressful, which means you have to create space for the good things and build memories that help counteract the stressful ones.

  10. Reach Out to Others.

    It is really important to ask others for help, advice, tips, support etc..

    ~ What books should you read? (I’m currently reading The Pumpkin Plan)

    ~ What platform is the best bang for your buck for customer management? (HoneyBook is my recommendation, but Dubsado is another one that my friends recommend – Let me know and I can get you a referral link!)

    What is a Business plan anyway?

    ~ Where do you get more clients? (We have found major success with Thumbtack)

    ~ Am I the only one who is overwhelmed and confused? – Nope. Welcome, it’s how we all feel.

    ~ Where can you find your community? By searching hashtags associated with your industry, we have found that Instagram is where it’s at for our industry and the community is SO fun and encouraging, full of incredible people, support and tips… And #stickerswaps!

  11. HAVE FUN. 

    Enjoy the ride, it is crazy, hard, exciting, overwhelming, full of adventure and meltdowns!

    But don’t forget to have fun with the process, and remember why you are doing this!

  12. If You’re a Woman: Welcome to the Club!

    It’s SO fun being a Woman owned business! – It’s like you’re magically a part of a new group of encouraging women!

    But, if you celebrate it (especially in March, which is Women’s History Month) people will hate on you, others will come out in full force to celebrate you, and it will be confusing but also SO fun!

    You will start seeing and wanting to support other women owned businesses, and you’ll find that other women want to support you because they’ve been there or love your dream!
    Some men will be very encouraging, others will be clueless, others will be ignorant, and others will be mean. – Don’t take any of it personal, enjoy the good, give patience and grace for the bad, and forgive the hurtful things, and move on.

Reach out to me!

I’d love to connect with you, encourage and support you, and share whatever little bit of information I have gained… Or pick your brain for what you know!

Connect with me on Instagram: @kristapbback or my business: @builderchicks

We haven’t been doing this business thing full-time for long… as in, we could still count in weeks like you do with a newborn baby!.. However, we are learning, growing, determined, and working so hard! Occasionally I’ll probably share more here about what I’m learning (in business and life) as always.

This is 34

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, this is 34.

I’m 34, and let me tell you, 33 kicked my butt. It was good and it was awful. It was hard in every way, it challenged me, grew me, destroyed me, and maybe hopefully began to repair me as well into a more fully healed and whole person than I was when I started.

God and I had some really intimate highs, some painful lows, and a slew of confusing silences.

This is a really long-winded blog, it’s ok to not read it, it’s mostly for me to process externally anyway.

So, for my birthday, here are 34 impactful things that I learned this year that I think are worth noting.

  1. I’ve fully submerged myself in the importance of forcing yourself to write/journal your prayers and thoughts. Even if not every day, it gives a place marker for the things you’re struggling through, and a way to go back and review how you have grown and changed. It’s the best thing to do when you have nothing to say inside or too much to make sense of.
    Even if it’s once a week, write it down… Especially your prayers and feelings towards God.
  2. Don’t just share your highlights.
    As intimately personal as seasons can be and feel, they were meant to be shared. The good, bad and ugly. It’s really important to allow people to see all of you. Obviously at varying levels depending on the relationship, but sometimes you have to be more vulnerable than makes sense to someone you barely know.
    Life is meant to be shared so we all know we are not the only one and we can help one another heal.
  3. Celebrate. Everything.
    I learned this from my dad. My mom calls him a “fun junky” and he loves to use anything as a reason to celebrate… “It’s Friday and we survived the week? Celebratory Pizza it is!!” – This year was really hard, and a few of my friends and I decided to celebrate everything. Try it! Celebrating everything makes the hard times better with moments of relief, and the best seasons more fun.
  4.  Setting expectations is really important.
    I’ve always been a communicator by nature and nurture, but this is the first year I’ve started really focusing on setting expectations for myself and clearly defining them or re-defining them with those around me.
    Most (not all) arguments, heart hurts or relational pain of any kind can be avoided if expectations are clearly explained and talked through.
  5. Life is shitty sometimes.
    There really isn’t anything you can do or others can do to make it better, it just has to be ridden out with the faith that it will get better because everything just has a season, and each season will pass.
    The shitty parts of life feel like forever, but they aren’t, so give it time.
  6. Take the time to just be present in your good moments.
    I’ve tried to make it a habit to take moments to just sit and be and focus on memorizing good moments. The way they smell, the laugh lines on someone’s face, the sound of the ocean or laughing, how I feel in that moment etc..
    Take time to tuck away good moments in your heart.
  7. Learn how you process in a healthy way…
    Just because something is the way “you” process doesn’t make it beneficial or healthy… But, learn what is, and then create space for your process.
    So. Many. People. told me what I needed when the man I loved broke my heart and my job suddenly wasn’t mine anymore; all within a months time. But, I knew that I wasn’t them, and I couldn’t make myself process like them, I needed to observe my own personality and process and create space for that.
    If you don’t know how to be healthy, ask people older than you or those who know you really well to help you. Don’t let your hurt and pain create an unhealthy process for you.
  8. When life is a shitshow and everything is out of control, make yourself choose healthy things within your control.
    For me it was meal prepping healthy food for the week and exercising every single day. It made sure that I was giving myself every good and healthy food and chemicals (hello endorphins!) in my system that would help, but mostly it was something *I* could control in a healthy way in a season that was totally out of control.
  9. Apparently Essential Oils really do help.
    I’m such a reluctant hippie when it comes to essential oils (I use primarily Young Living *cue drama*), but they have made a difference. Nothing that is EARTH SHATTERING, but small things. A few times they made a huge difference, and a few times I didn’t notice much. But, overall I did feel better, and whether that’s placebo or not is irrelevant if I’m feeling better. There are instances when essential oils worked better than anything else I could find, and didn’t give any side effects. So, do your research (it’s actually hard to find research, but slowly more studies are being done), but also maybe start using them.
  10. Sunshine really does make a difference in how you feel. Do everything possible to put yourself in some sunshine, even if you look like a crazy cat sprawled out across the floor. Do. It.
    If you can’t find sunshine, go make your own fake sun and lay in a tanning bed for 6 minutes. (I’m not even kidding with this one)
  11. Self-care, like everything else is on a pendulum swing… Sometimes it looks like face masks and bubble baths, but usually it’s real and honest assessments of where you are, and what you need… AND THEN TELLING SOMEONE ELSE. Usually half of the time I think I need personal alone time for “self-care” I actually need my closest people, laughter, and a shared experience that makes me remember good times are ahead.
  12. I don’t understand God.
    I don’t understand why He allows so much pain and suffering. I don’t understand why He doesn’t fix things the way that I think a kind, tender, faithful and loving God should… I don’t understand why some people experience so much trauma, and why others experience so much blessing… But, then again I have been believing in God long enough to know that pain and suffering doesn’t mean God is absent, even though that’s really what it feels like sometimes.
    My lack of understanding God often leaves me angry, frustrated and hurt by Him, but, it doesn’t mean I believe or love Him any less either. It is all just the reality of the situation.
  13. I’ve discovered this year that my head has more faith in God than my heart does.
    My heart is fickle and full of chaos and turmoil. My head remembers the things of the past compared to how things are now and is able to process through and draw logical conclusions. My head is able to recall scripture to anchor to when my heart just feels chaos. God is faithful, even when He doesn’t seem like it right now.
  14. When you’re going through the worst season, or even just a really hard one… You have two options as it pertains to those around you that love you:
    A) communicate your needs to others.
    B) Give them the grace and benefit of the doubt that they are in over their head too… And, they are likely just as incapable of reaching out to care for you, as you are for them.
    There isn’t any other options with those we love and rough seasons.
  15. When you’re in a good place, reach out to those that aren’t.
    If you’re in a really great place and those around you are not… Every. Little. Thing. Helps.
    Text messages, bottles of wine, chocolate, hanging out, sending gifs or youtube videos, sitting silently, sending a card, cleaning the house, hugs.. Anything that shows you see them, you care, and you have the capacity to carry the burden with them for even one day.
  16. Adulting is hard. – But, it’s worse when you allow yourself to wallow in unhealthy choices.
    Adulting well means choosing to do hard things that are good for you no matter how you feel… But, do it anyway, especially when you have to force yourself to make good choices regardless of how you feel. Doing those healthy-hard things now means the better things later.
    – And, if you’re struggling with depression, it’s ok, we all do at some point. But, it’s so important to talk to a few people who love you about it, and ask them to help you.
    Also, physical exercise of any kind truly does help.
  17. Forgive.
    People are shitty sometimes. People can make awful choices that directly or indirectly cause pain…  But, not everyone who hurts you was malicious or even understands, and sometimes people use us and disregard us because they are inconsiderate. Sometimes people hurt us out of misunderstanding, and other times they are too self-centered to see how they hurt us. No matter the situation, it’s really important to forgive. (Which is not the same as forgetting, that’s just stupid to think we will forget like it never happened.)
  18. Take breaks.
    Take a break from your phone, social media, tv, movies, anything that is a distraction for you needs to be something you break from… Whether that’s a few hours, days, weeks or seasons of breaking and fasting it. Give the distraction a break and step away. It’s really hugely important for your brain, your heart, and your soul.
  19. When you’re not ok, STOP READING THE NEWS.
    I’m not even kidding. Do whatever it takes to avoid the news and people who talk about the news. I’ve gotten up and walked out because people I care about wanted to talk about world news and I couldn’t handle it and knew it. – Your heart and mind were not meant to absorb the world’s news constantly. Ban it from your world for a little while and replace it with good, fun or uplifting things. Your heart will thank you.
  20. Apparently a regular skin care routine actually does make a difference!
    The last half of this year I’ve begun doing much more than just washing my face twice a day… Or for a while I was washing, toning, moisturizer, and SPFing daily. But, what I’ve discovered is that once a week face masks, washing and moisturizer twice a day, and the semi-occasional exfoliation really does wonders. But, even more than that, I’ve learned to rotate my products every 2-3 months to keep it effective. (Seriously, mid-thirties women should not still be struggling with acne)
    – Fun tip ladies, treat your neck like it’s your face. It helps.
  21. Do hard things that you are a little afraid to fail at.
    I took on some seriously daunting physical challenges this year. I was really very uncertain if I would be able to succeed due to my tendon and ligament disorder that causes my body dislocate all the time. It took so much training, but also a lot of people to help me learn and grow and stay focused when I wanted to quit. I succeeded, and I was more proud of myself than I expected to be. Especially given everything that was working against me while I trained.
  22. Community that loves you makes all of the difference.
    I’ve always been a more-better when it comes to people around me. But, this year I allowed people to actually step in and be around me and with me through my various seasons and types of processing. It made a huge difference… But, it is also so much work to continue to pursue people when life is busy and hard. Scheduling things for a month later really does help.
  23. Holding Steadfast doesn’t mean what most think.
    I learned how hard it is to hold steadfast. To remain and stay strong. Yet, I also learned that it does not come without struggle, pain, doubts, fear, and turmoil… But that it cultivates a different type of stubbornness; one that is not selfish or for your own gain, but rather despite how it feels, the consistent choices to pick up and continue to remain steady.
  24. Perseverance has to be cultivated and you have to prove yourself.
    Doing hard things and seeing them through no matter how you feel, what you’re going through, whatever obstacle is in front of you, all of these things can only be cultivated and created with the decision to persevere. You learn who you are, and sometimes you have to actively choose who you will be… And then, on the other side, you discover that you truly are someone who perseveres no matter what is in front of you.
  25. Obedience to God doesn’t make sense.
    Probably the biggest and most painful thing I learned this year is that obedience to God doesn’t make sense. In fact, it is often awful and really incredibly hard. Obedience, no matter how you feel or what other people say, and even if it is illogical, it doesn’t matter if you know what God is asking you to do – You have to do it.
    Obedience is hard, and proving that you are faithful (although not perfect), is another thing that can only be learned and created through perseverance. Your integrity grows, your patience grows, but you also have to take lots of moments to step back mentally and choose the right choice instead of the reactive response. It’s hard, and there’s no way around it. Learning obedience is a must.
  26. Being single in your mid-thirties is really rough.
    While being single has some life-giving and really fun opportunities, and while I do my best to live life fully… it is also heart crushing and soul killing to be single with the majority of men today.
    It’s also hard to be single and to be given advice by people who are ignorant of what it means to be much more than a decade into adulthood, and still navigating life alone.
    Dating is really awful the vast majority of the time.
    Being a single woman who loves Jesus, and chooses to remain a virgin in her mid-thirties (hello hormones anyone?) is literally no easy task. Because there are also very very few good single men who believe and follow Christ wholly, it easily creates an overwhelming depression about what the future may or may not ever turn out to be… It’s hard.
  27. Being single is better than being in a broken marriage.
    I have watched and walked through some really awful marriage situations with people I love so much. It breaks my heart to watch how people’s brokenness, sins, selfishness, apathy, laziness, or just meanness creates so much unnecessary pain and turmoil.
    Marriage is what I want, but I am not blind to the pain it can also cause.
  28. Decisions have natural consequences, and wisdom matters.
    I feel like this year more than any before it I have started to see and reflect on the wisdom of situations and choices. My own and others. What can I learn from this or that? I’ve started to see choices and natural consequences like a highlighter leading to wisdom or foolishness, and that has led me to pray more for wisdom and understanding.
    … I don’t know how much God has answered those prayers, considering so many things in my life, but It still is the thing I pray the most for.
  29.  Sometimes, all that can fix a situation is the ocean – Or really any vast expanse of space…
    There is a peace and calm that settles over your anxious heart and racing mind when you put yourself somewhere that makes you feel small. It is really good and resetting.
  30. It is really important to learn who you are.
    I’m intense, I’m passionate, and I’m kind…. But, I’m not gentle.
    I have learned a lot this year about the qualities I possess that are really good, but that I frequently misuse. I have also learned a lot about how to better communicate so that I am not harming others…
    I will forever be intense and passionate and kind, it’s who I am naturally.
    I will forever have to work incredibly hard to be gentle when the situation calls for it because I am not so great at this when I’m not paying attention to myself… We are all flawed works in progress.
  31. I learned this year that I do not trust God with my heart when it comes to love and romance.
    In fact, I expect Him to build my trust and then rip it away and leave me even more broken. – I wish I had a healing answer for this to share with you, but because of the 14 month process with God and this guy who hurt me this year, I don’t. I’m still hurt by God more than the guy at this point, and I don’t really trust God with this area of my heart… So, I’m trying to find my way back to Him and healthy in this area… To Be Continued.
  32. Travel.
    You need to travel, even if it isn’t out of the country… Although I really love to do that too.
    This year I learned from some of the most incredible people in another country. I learned about humility and perseverance, forgiveness and faith, and I learned about strength and love in a way that I had never seen before. Traveling and experiencing people and places changes your heart and helps you see things differently than you could ever understand by just reading about it or watching something about it.
    Traveling gives perspective that I think God uses to help us see better.
  33. Patience is cultivated.
    Between God, my dog’s 14 month health issues, people, and so many other things, this year I have learned so much about patience being cultivated and chosen. You don’t become more patient just by going through rough situations, you grow in your patience when you engage in it fully.
  34. Change can be good or hard or fun or the worst thing ever.
    Change is like the seasons, it will come and it will go… It can be good or bad, ugly or beautiful, fun or the worst, exhausting or exhilarating… Change is not inherently anything.
    So, it’s important to choose change for fun things… change your hair, get a fun tattoo, buy clothes that are a different style, change-up your pattern. Allow change to be good for you, and fun, because change will inevitably come at some point that is not positive…. But, that too will change again.