New Years state of mind

Scrolling through Instagram feeds, it becomes apparent to me that there is a recurrent theme – People are so OVER 2016. And ready for a fresh start. Admittedly, I’m also feeling this same exact sentiment. 2016 has me all, “Bye Felicia.” There were some good beginnings, to some very good relationships (personally speaking, as well as a wonderful young man for my oldest daughter), several friends who continued to inspire me and feel like home, and always, laughter. But – If I have to be honest here, I’ve also experienced a loss of translation in 2016, confusion, heart hurts, and miscommunication that has injured and in a couple instances, completely cut off relationships that I loved. I believe in grief. I do. It sucks, but you can’t short cut pain because if you try to stuff it down, it will re-appear later. Loss of self, loss of a relationship, a friendship, maybe seeing a situation with clean eyes, hurts. But grief and pain, if you let it, will build such strength of character and empathy, that it will change you, and you will change others around you, by your growth. It’s gonna be okay, Babe. I’m gonna be okay. Life is funny that way. Not “ha, ha” funny. But just, you can’t control some things that happen around you, or to you, but you CAN do a lot.

I haven’t written on my blog in a good bit, because I’ve been in such a place that I considered myself frozen. Waiting on stuff. Sometimes, other people. Sometimes, stuck in…hell. Authenticity is super important to me, and frankly, I just haven’t been in a space where writing about fashion and fluff seemed appealing to me. I didn’t feel it. So, I stopped. I’m good at real. Sometimes, too good. Y’all know I’m going somewhere with this.

People cannot change you. They can certainly mess with you. They can steal your joy. Rob you of your best, most fruitful life. But they cannot have your core, your essence. You are still you. Your mind is still intact. You are sharp as a whip! Your desires and passions, do not die. Even if frozen, Darling. You are in there. I see you.

Here’s the beautiful thing. Add good stuff to your plate. I mean, don’t worry about the stuff that you cannot take off right now. And just add good stuff to your plate this year. Go back to school, cultivate and nurture good friendships, build a strong support system, serve others in their pain (yours will still be there, but magically will dim), and for craps sake, be YOU. God, you have no idea how people will love you for this. If you are you, people will think that they can be brave too, and you will free them up to be THEM. 

I haaaaate New Years resolutions. But I like adding good stuff to my plate because it chokes out the bad. If you concentrate on adding good, you are focusing on the good, and pretty soon (NOT by accident) your plate is overflowing with good because that’s what you are mindfully creating for yourself. Dream big. Don’t stop there! Keep going. Go further with the good crap, Baby! Pass it on, like a marathon baton, and keep running.  Gooooo!!!!

That’s what I’m doin’ this year. Holla.

 

Warmly, Sarah

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The Great Gatsby

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This is Gatsby, our chocolate lab. He is the sweetest dog, ever. We love dogs, have always been a dog family, and I can’t remember a time we didn’t have one. There was Chloe, Duke, Sampson, Chase, Bridgett, Duke II, & now sweet Gatsby. I have been wanting to do a post on him for awhile now, because he really is such an important member of our family, and he has a testimony. But today, after we had a close call with him, it became apparent that it was the day to put aside all things “Fall and fashion” and just pay tribute to him.

All of our dogs have been strays. Adopted out of tough situations. Underdogs. Neglected pups. Mistreated loves. We have never paid for a dog, or gotten one from a breeder. We have rescued them all – but they always end up rescuing us, and giving far more than we imagined. Kind of like Jesus does. We do have a favorite breed – The lab. It’s funny because we have never sought them out, or requested one, but they always find us! They know.. We are so grateful, and thankful that God lets us love them. We spoil them with affection and attention, because we have been spoiled with love too. It overflows to them. The love never runs out. We also do this with people as well. We can’t help ourselves!

Today sucked. Really, really bad. This morning, Gatsby was found unresponsive to the usual things: His name. His leash. The promise of a walk. Food. He was lethargic. He couldn’t walk. Wouldn’t lift his little head, only his eyes. Ray scooped him up in his arms, and took him to the hospital. There, the vet said that his white blood cell count was very, very low. He was vomiting. His stomach was cramping. He was in pain. We immediately prayed. We asked everyone we knew to pray. Side note: I was at a prayer meeting until the wee morning hours, this morning and it was powerful. We talked about a lot, but one moment stuck out, in particular. Pray God’s best. Lord, that’s a hard, hard thing to do. My flesh is like, “Noooo – save him!!!” And let me be transparent here for a sec – Nearly every person I have ever prayed to live, has died. Left me. Gone. Major abandonment issues here. Y’all, I have dealt with so much loss, it’s unimaginable to most people. So, I prayed the painful “God’s best” prayer. And asked others to pray. They did. And Gatsby’s hanging on. (We still need the prayers though, because he’s back-and-forth.)  I gave in, and just maybe, God honored my surrender. I believe He did.

Gatsby has a story. A testimony, if you will. (We all do, baby.) A trucker found him in North Carolina, abandoned, hungry, and tormented by some young kids who were hitting him with sticks. Today we discovered, that he also has a pellet in his back from someone shooting him with a BB gun. He had fleas. He was tired of running. He needed rest. Some of you are tired too. You’ve been bullied. Beaten down by circumstances you couldn’t control. Running from your past. Needing to be fed on more than just bread & water. Love starved.

We took him in, bathed him, cleaned him up, fed him, cared for his medical needs, and loved him unconditionally. He was redeemed! His past, no more. He was ours, and we are his people, his family. Despite all his needs, Gatsby needed LOVE immediately. Without question. We are the same. God has wired us for relationships. It’s scary. It’s risky. Who can you trust? Who has your back? Who won’t disappoint you? There is only one answer: Jesus. I can’t look to another to make me whole, or complete. No one will “complete me,” heal me, make me happy, give me what I need. Don’t put that responsibility on people. It’s not fair. And it’s not permanent. People fail. All the time. Big time. Big, big time. God’s waiting with his arms open wide to you. You may have known Him your whole life. But do you really?? He’s calling your name, from a safe, warm house. With all the food you need. The blankets. The warmth of real friendship and meaningful relationship. The tender loving kindness that satisfies your soul. The stick-to-your-ribs love that you want. Its all yours for the asking, my precious people. Don’t wait until you are already dehydrated and dried out! Don’t wait until you are self-harming, sabotaging, hiding from people, hurting. Don’t do life alone.

As I sum up today, there’s a reason Gatsby is up there, in that picture with our precious, tender Gianna. You see, Gianna is Gatsby’s favorite person. Ever. Hands down. Gianna is Gatsby’s person. She gives him the most love, and attention. And it’s a special love between Gatsby & Gianna. I can’t explain it, other than to say that when I watch them together, I feel that I am looking in on something… magical. Something so pure, and so precious. A girl and her dog. It’s no secret dogs sense things: Spirit things, soul things, weather things. Dogs have a gift. And Gatsby is attracted and attached to Gianna. She is gifted in love. Her spiritual gift is love. She has more love in her little pinky than most people possess in their entire hearts. True! Gianna wants to be a vet. I say, Gianna IS a vet, she just hasn’t gone to school for it yet 😉 Gianna will change people that walk into her veterinary office because she has compassion and tenderness from her own special testimony. She is the light, and joy in our home. It flows from her so naturally, and it’s contagious.

You have a testimony too. Right now. If you don’t have someone to help you loosen it, I can! I would be honored. Get in touch. We can find your gift together. So so much love to y’all!! Thank you for praying.

 

Warmly, Sarah

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Fitbit breakup

 

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I tried it. It went back. Here’s my feelings about Fitbit – what worked, what didn’t.

For those of you not familiar, Fitbit is a device you wear on your wrist, like a bracelet, that measures your daily steps and physical activity, water intake, and sleep patterns. For a lot of people, I know that owning a Fitbit motivates them to move more. In the interest of posting an objective review, it can be effective for people who want a visual reminder to get their 10,000 steps a day (recommended by Fitbit.) For many, the fireworks that go off when the 10,000 steps a day is achieved, is magical for them, and worth $120.

In a nutshell: I can more or less tell if I deserve fireworks, without glancing at a bracelet. Answer: I always deserve fireworks. And, so do you. We don’t need a bracelet to be all, “You are a rock star!” “You did it!” “Congratulations – You’re totally worthy.”

Dear Fitbit. We already know. Bless your heart.

Before you think I’m a poor, fat, bitter hater (only one of those is true), let me explain my side of the coin. Let’s call this, The Right Side of The Coin, just for reference. Because it’s my blog, and I totally can do that.

Here’s the deal: I am a list maker. Bless my heart. I like to make daily to-do lists, and it’s epic to check those boxes off, or erase them all together – Victory is sweet. The boxes that don’t get checked off, take up space in my mind. Space that is precious real estate. I don’t put lame things on my list. They don’t make the cut. I’m selective. I’m a list-making snob. Things like: hair appointments, orthodontic appointments, bringing cupcakes to a classroom, cheer practice, date-nights, etc, all make The List. In contrast, walking, hydration, and rest, do not. Either does walking my dog, because – Dude! These things will happen. They are automatic.

I assure you, I get more than the 10,000 steps in. I have 3 kids. And a large house (that I actually walk around in, without being carried.) And activities. And sports. And a pleasant life, that requires movement.

Fitbit became un-fun. (Yes, we’re making this a word.) It was a drudgery. It was ugly on my wrist. It was sweaty. It wasn’t practical. I’m simple and don’t need a whole lotta hoopla. Unless, it’s Shoe Hoopla. Bring on the Shoe Hoopla immediately!

All joking aside though, I have one serious issue with Fitbit: Unfortunately, it can be a shaming device that you pay for. You pay, to make something make you feel like crap if you had an “off” day. Y’all know that I’m all about encouraging words, and making you feel great (because you really are), and I’m concerned for some people that wearing a Fitbit might not be good for them, mentally. Negative thought patterns develop silently, and can be sneaky little buggars. There is a new Mom somewhere, who is trying to hold it together, and have a daily shower. She does NOT need a Fitbit. At all. I’m giving a lot of people permission to get free. Y’all need some freedom!

Jesus didn’t wear a Fitbit. He didn’t need the approval. Just sayin.

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