Facebook Fasting {update}

12 Jun

So far it’s been 4 days since I posted about my Facebook free summer. I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been easy. And to be completely honest…I have cheated…a little. Because I’ve been tagged in pictures & comments, the notice appears in my email… so of course (duh!) I click to see what it was . And because I am so weak, I then peek a little more to see the news feed. But just a little. This is so ridiculous. Seriously. {Note to self: must work on self control.}

But, I have realized that it’s not just about Facebook. It’s about most everything online. Pinterest and blogs are just as distracting to me and can cause all those feelings I mentioned before. Thank goodness, I’m not on Twitter, that could be a disaster. My eyes capture images, stories, successes, opportunities, activities, vacations, creations…I feel like the world is moving on without me…to bigger and better things. Bigger and better than what? I’m not sure. But better than where I am, I’m guessing.

**

I’ve been journaling daily about how this process is going,  my weaknesses, my frustrations, what I am learning, my feelings, thoughts. Geez, you would think I’m an addict or something. Ha! Maybe I am…and this is my detox. An addict to an empty virtual life, or really addict to an online stalker life…peeking into other people’s lives, or at least what they let me see of it. Yeah, that does sound kinda creepy.

The first few days I was excited, determined to live in real life. Be present. I was on a mission to figure out what I am supposed to do with my life. I wanted to plan out what my future will look like. My mind was consumed with this thought. What am I supposed to do? I had ideas, but nothing was making sense in my head. None of them seemed right. I was getting anxious. I thought I needed to figure this out  asap. Not sure why it felt so urgent, but I was determined to find my answer.

On Sunday afternoon I tried to share this with my husband. I wanted to bounce ideas off of him, get his opinion. Maybe I just wanted him to tell me the answer. I’m not sure what I said, but it didn’t come out the way I wanted it to…it never does. I was on the verge of tears and I didn’t want to be a crying mess so I didn’t completely share my heart. I think that was OK. No, I know it was OK. We ended up talking about some other things that made me reflect on where I have been and where I am now. Even just a year ago, I was in such a different place. Eventually, the kids came in and needed daddy for something, so I crawled into my bed, pulled the sheets over my head, and tried to just cry it all out. I thought maybe I just was backed up with tears and they needed to get out. I tried. It didn’t work. Then…

Surrender.

The word popped up in my fuzzy head through the emotions and tears. Surrender…oh yeah. I forgot about that. My word this year. Let go…hands up…white flag waving…surrender.

I picked up my e-reader, and opened up my Jesus Calling book.  {Yeah, watch out, I may go all spiritual/religious-y on you 😉 }

I turned to the page titled June 10 and read:

Rest in me, my child. Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen. Remember you are on a journey with me. When you try to peer into the future and plan for every possibility, you ignore your constant Companion who sustains you moment by moment. 

Ahhhh….

It’s crazy how that happens…it was exactly what I needed to hear.

Surrender…

Let go…so you can rest….

It ended with this verse:

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.”  Psalm 62:5

And I will leave you with that because I can hear my little guy waking up from his nap…crying (oh joy!). Oh, and on the way to his room, I might stop in the bathroom to throw up, because that is how I feel right before, during, and after I hit the “publish” button on a post like this…because doesn’t everyone just love being wholly and completely vulnerable? Yeah, me neither.

xoxo

Amber

Advertisements

Facebook Free Summer

8 Jun

Ok, people…here goes nothing.

I have decided that this summer…

I am going Facebook free.

I’m sure that sounds a bit dramatic or maybe a little cheesy…  but it’s for reals and it’s what I need to do.  If you’re wondering why, let me explain… (and if you’re not wondering you can skip down to the end or read along for fun. Oh, and let me just say that these are pretty embarrassing to admit and I really debated about explaining why,  but as I try to be transparent and true to myself I knew that I must)…

***

1) Time Killer: FB is one of my biggest distractions. Told ya, embarrassing to admit.  But whether it’s hopping on the laptop to check in with one of the groups I’m part of or see what friends are up to, 30 minutes to an hour can pass by in no time. Not to mention how frequently I have missed the amazing cannon balls and underwater flips my kids have asked to watch as I quickly peek at Facebook on my phone while we are at the pool. There are plenty of things calling for attention and FB and my phone are not ones that need my time.  I have my four littles at home with me this summer and those are the important things that really do need my time.

2) Creativity & Confidence Squasher: That sounds kinda weird, but let me explain. I am part of a few groups on Facebook from some art classes & workshops I have taken. They all have been amazing!  And through them I have met wonderful, creative, talented women. It has been an awesome community to be a part of. The problem is, I realize that I have spent more time on Facebook looking at what everyone is creating than creating anything myself.  I see what they make and what they are doing and then start to feel like a loser for not being “as good” or “as this” or “as that.” Also, I’ve had the situation where I will see something someone else created or did that I have actually thought about doing… but once I see theirs, I think to myself that I now shouldn’t make that or do that because it no longer seems like an original idea and/or i don’t want it to appear like I have copied someone else.  I am probably over thinking it, but it’s how it makes me feel. There are so many images shared online and I need to just step away and be inspired by the “real world” around me.  Does that make sense?

3) Emotion Feeder, Perspective Snatcher & Validation Deceiver:  This is tough to admit out loud. But it’s the truth. Looking on Facebook can stir emotions in me that I really do not care for. My insecure self  (which is also affected by the Creativity & Confidence Squasher) appears and starts feeling things like self-doubt, jealousy, and self-pity…which turns into sadness, frustration, irritation, and anger.  Feeling these things and comparing myself and my situation to others can cause me to lose perspective. I forget that I am living my story, not someone else’s.

And the last one and most embarrassing to confess … Facebook isn’t where I should be looking to receive acknowledgement and validation. My worth should not be wrapped up if x amount of people “like” my post or comment on my picture…whether so and so accepted my friend request or not. Sadly, and tough to admit, I know I have used it to feel known. Maybe it’s because most of my days are spent with four kids under 10 years old and I don’t get out much by myself or with other friends (or at all!). Maybe not. But, I know I’ve used it as a place to feel like I actually exist in this world.  And if I am not on FB, I have had the thoughts…will people forget about me? …will they miss me? I know it’s silly, and especially as I type it out, it seems so ridiculous. But there it is…it’s me.

***

This summer, I want to be

silent – no FB noise

still – slowed down,  to think & listen

surrendered – completely trusting

I want to spend more time

writing

creating

playing

taking adventures

making memories

***

I want to LIVE in REAL LIFE.

So, I’m signing off of the social network.

Part of me doesn’t want to, but the other part knows I need to.

I want my family to have the best of me this summer.

I want me to have the best of me, too.

***

{and if you miss me on FB, you can visit me here on this blog}

H.A.G.S.

xoxo

Amber

birthday pARTy!

2 Jun

I had the privilege of having five 7 year old little girls over this morning for a birthday pARTy!

A few months ago I donated this basket and along with a 2 hour art class for 5 little girls for the silent auction at my daughters’ school.

The lucky little girl who won the basket used the art class as her birthday pARTy with four of her friends.

I showed them how to create this canvas

and they were AMAZING little artists!

My pictures of their canvases didn’t turn out very well, but I was amazed how quickly they caught on and how creative they were. Each canvas had it’s own personal touch. I think the girls were pretty happy with their creations. I know I was! I had such a fun time with them and am thinking I want to celebrate more birthdays this way. Anyone else want to have their pARTy in my basement “studio” with me? Just tell me when and I’ll be there 🙂

Checking in…

1 Jun

Summer has begun and it’s been….

awesome, lazy, busy, HOT, rainy, cool, late nights, late mornings, happy, frustrating, bug bites, sunburns, and i am loving it so far!!!

I have been trying to be a little more “unplugged” if you will, so I can be with my kiddos. But I am also working on a few new things that I am really excited about….like opening up an etsy shop (a little scary!) where I am hoping to use it to create awareness and help others. I am hoping to offer some little give-aways as well!  I am also working on starting a new blog. Yup, that’s right…this one may be no more in a week or so. I still plan on blogging, but just not here. I’ll let you know when that happens…don’t worry, i won’t leave you behind 🙂

In the meantime, you should really think about signing up for this amazing art class. You won’t regret it one bit!!!! Even if you think you have no talent or creativity, this will prove you wrong. You’ll be so amazed by what YOU create!

Happy Summer my sweet friends!

Summer is here already? {yay & yikes!}

23 May

Tomorrow is my girls’ last day of school! I kinda can’t believe how fast the school year went.  I have been looking forward to this day for a while now…well, mostly looking forward to sleeping in, swimming, having all four kids home together, hanging out with my daughters, sleeping in.  But as it is quickly approaching, I am also starting to fear that…I won’t be able to sleep in (thanks to my 2 year old), my kids getting sunburned at the pool, all four kids home together, my daughters’ constant fighting, and that I won’t be able to sleep in.

I am realizing that I need to be a little better prepared for the days ahead. Most of the time I am a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of girl, but sometimes that just doesn’t work out so well around here. If I’m not proactive, the day can go south real fast…whining, fighting…which turns into mom yelling {or hiding in the bathroom}…you know what I’m talking about.

So I’ve been trying to brainstorm a little to see what we can do this summer. I’m not gonna get all gung-ho about keeping them busy 24/7, because we need a little lazy around here…that’s what summer is all about, right?

So far this is what I’ve got:

Source: google.com via Amy on Pinterest

**

Reading: yup, just cause they are out of school, I ain’t gonna let ’em get totally stupid. Maybe just a little. And as great as it sounds to be part of the library reading program, I am such a slacker mom that I never actually take my kids to turn the paper in to receive the big prize: a plastic medal and a coupon for french fries. Um, no thanks.

Source: flickr.com via Brian on Pinterest

**

Creating & Art: I recently turned our basement into a little art studio and every supply is easily accessible {still shocked my 2 year old hasn’t poured paint everywhere}! I have been coming up with some little projects my girls can do, in case i get the “but mooommm, I don’t know what to make…” I’ve tried to record some little tutorials on the computer for them showing them how to do some of the things since it’s difficult to do that type of thing when little West is around, but so far, I’ve recorded them without audio. I stink at computer stuff.  But anyway, hopefully, something will spark their little creative minds and get them working again.

Source: lilluna.com via Bessie on Pinterest

**

Lemonade Stand: I know at some point they will ask for this or that and I’m sure I’ll hear that they really really need such & such. So, if they want it, they can buy it…with their own money. We’ve got a great little lemonade stand and a neighborhood pool that will bring them some great business 🙂

**

Catching Fireflies: Who doesn’t love doing this?! It’s one of my most favorite things about summer! Plus, my mason jar obession will be put to great use.

**

So that is about all I’ve got so far. Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Please keep in mind that it’s HOT & humid here in the summer. So outdoor activities are only good in the early morning or at night {except that’s when the mosquitoes are out}.  And nothing right in the middle of the day, cause my kids get BURNED, thanks to their father’s fair skin. We still have a napper and a half, so it’s best we are home by 1pm or else mama may go crazy by 5pm. Oh, and I’m paranoid about ticks this year too. So limit the hiking/playing in grassy fields suggestions. Other than that…would love to hear what you’re doing!

Oh, and a diet suggestion that can help me lose 20 pounds by this weekend would be much appreciated? Thanks!

XOXO

-Amber

I’ll Show You Mine…

18 May

Over at Jeanne Oliver’s blog, she is doing a little series every Wednesday this month called “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.”

{Get your mind out of the gutter!}

This week she is showing what is in her purse. I think last week might have been about make-up, so bonus for me cause ALL my make-up is in my purse…sad, but true.

And you guys can thank me later cause I just cleaned out my purse last week. So no smashed goldfish or extra pacifiers. Yes, it’s still shocking to me too that this much crap is in my bag after I cleaned it out.

So without further adieu…

1) my purse: which I LOVE!!!! I was sad to have to retire my most favorite pleather bag from Target, but this little number makes me happy.

2) a Chuy’s gift card {I wish it were a tortilla}

3) My all-time favorite wallet/wristlet because it has a place to hold my phone and a clip for my keys. It may not be the most attractive thing, but when i need to run a quick errand, I just grab that and go.

4) a JoAnn’s receipt

5) check book (who the heck writes checks anymore?!)

6) a map of Belmont University

7) keys

8) blue ballpoint pen

9) #2 pencil

10) mechanical pencil

11) sharpie

12) phone

13) bobby pins and 2 clips

14) gum wrapper

15) 3 tubes of Cover Girl Outlast Lipshine: 2 of them are #310 Sleek Suede  and then I got all adventurous the other day and thought I’d try a new color #245 Berry Blast…that was a mistake.

16) mascara: Cover Girl Lash Blast (apparently I need two…one for each eye, maybe?)

17) eyeliner: Revlon Color Stay “blackberry”

18) a mustache

19) little journal, to clear my mind of all the nonsense

20) a business card from my most favorite store in town that makes me smile every time I look at it 🙂

21) sunglasses: my one and only pair… if I lose them, I will cry

22) hand sanitizer: Bath & Body Works, Caribbean Escape

23) $21 CASH! {which I never have…score!}

So there you have it folks. I know you’ll be able to sleep better at night now.

You’re welcome.

The “B” Word

9 May

Balance.

I despise that word {along with “Focus” but that is a whole other post}.

All my life {and still today} my mother would tell me if I could just get a little balance then things would be better. Well, I don’t think I have EVER been balanced. My emotions are high or they are low. I do things all the way or not at all. Then if I go full force, I end up burnt out. I let the house go and then get overwhelmed.  And all the while I’m trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. But it’s hard when there are a whole lot of other responsibilities {four littles, a man, and a dog} that I must tend to.

How do you create time for yourself but also give your best to your kids and husband? There are so many desires in my heart. But I don’t seem to have time for all of them. I am a dreamer and spend so much time thinking of all that I would love to do instead of actually doing something, doing anything!

I want to serve other women who have lost their way. I want to create a place for retreat for those who are weary. I want to encourage young girls to stay true to themselves. I want to have a creative space for them to use. And my heart is especially heavy for those who cannot speak for themselves…the millions and millions of orphans.  How do I, little old me sitting in a suburb of Nashville, TN covered in laundry and dishes and dirty little hands and feet, do anything to help those causes? I also have a desire to create, to make art and jewelry and learn new artsy things. So how does that fit in with all this other stuff?

I know I am a wife and mother first. I want that. I do. I know how blessed I am to have a loving husband and four beautiful, healthy children. But I also know that these other things have been placed on my heart for a reason. I know that what I went through the last few years and my experiences, my depression, are meant to be able to help and encourage others. It brings me joy whenever I am able to help and serve any of those needs.

So where is the balance? How do I do all those things? And if I’m not supposed to do all those things, what do I give up? How do I know which direction to move?

One day, about 10 years ago, I was standing in line at Barnes and Noble waiting to check out. I started looking at the little displays they have set up. One was filled with bookmarks with sayings and quotes. I picked one up and it read,

“It is never to late to become what you might have been.” – Anonymous

It resonated with me. I just sat there thinking about it. Because I think at the time, I was slowly slipping away, but didn’t fully realize it. I remember feeling very defeated. I didn’t know exactly how to interpret that quote for my life, but it was powerful enough for me to hold onto it.

Then i picked up another one and it said,

“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

That resonated with me as well. Again, I couldn’t quite figure out what it meant for me and my life, but that day I bought those two little bookmarks and have carried them with me for the last decade. Finally last year those little quotes came to life. Out of my fog, they made sense.

Now I am just trying to figure out how to balance it all…my life and responsibilities…and the desires of my heart.

I am ready to leap, but I know it takes baby steps. I am not in a place to start something from scratch. Maybe it means i just step into something already established and serve in that capacity. Maybe it means I just give of the little resources I have. Maybe just a little of my time. It sounds much easier to do, but the dreamer in me wants more. I guess that is where the balance comes in, right?

my life lately

1 May

Why hello there.  It’s been awhile.

Let me catch you up on the daily happenings from the last few weeks…

Put my mother and children to work

landscaping the front yard

then we laid sod

started landscaping backyard

built a trellis

lunch date with this hot doc

softball practices & baseball games

Disinfected my car {from the dead bird found in it} and cleaned the guts off the front window. True story.

Started this online class with the amazing Jeanne Oliver

got a black eye

Had to take Daisy to the vet to get this nasty growth removed cause it kept bleeding. Gross.

Then had to help carry her into the house cause she was so drugged and couldn’t walk. It was kinda sad, but kinda funny too.

almost got lost on a hike with my boys {thank goodness for GPS!}

then watched them play with their trucks at the nature center

Thought about opening an etsy shop to sell things like this

this

this

and maybe this

Turned the basement into an “art room”

then showed friends how to make art

They created some amazing canvases!!! I’ll show you some other time.

Spent the day with Sally three days before she delivered, shopping here and eating our weight in tortillas here.

Got dressed up {shocking, I know} and went on a date with my husband to see this

Entertaining, thought-provocting, very well done… SO GOOD!!

If it comes to your city, do yourself a favor and go see it!

More landscaping in the back

My dad was laughing or really just irritated cause he thinks it’s ridiculous that we are doing yard work with mostly children’s garden tools. I have never gardened before, so I don’t have all the gear. Use what you’ve got, right?

And they worked just fine, thank you very much.

Rock was delivered

Anyone want to help transport it to the backyard?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

Drank almost a gallon of this…

{something I should not be proud of}

Got to visit my friend in the hospital and meet sweet baby, Colton Daniel

I feel kinda bad because my kids will never see the pictures of when they were first born, cause I NEVER looked that good! Way to go Sal!

Piano lessons {recital on Sunday!}

Decrapifying my house and getting ready for the neighborhood garage sale this weekend

*overwhelming*

*help!*

Oh and get this…I just found out that school is out May 24th!

What?! That is crazy talk.

Summer is here in less than 3 weeks!

I don’t know whether I should be excited or freaked out.

And so it continues.

My life.

I am so blessed.

What have you been up to?

My Wednesday Letter {a note of thanks}

18 Apr

I am embarrassed to admit it, but I am a terrible thank you note writer. Seriously. I’m pretty sure I wrote about 13 thank you notes for my wedding (200 guests!), about 7 for baby gifts (I have 4 kids!), and maybe 3 just for random gifts and things over my adult life (16 years!). I know you are horrified. {You can close your mouth now.}

And the sad thing is, is that I LOVE receiving them. When I open them from the mailbox, I always think something like, That is so thoughtful of so & so. She didn’t have to do that. I love her. I’m pretty sure there aren’t too many people saying that about me. I’m working on it, people!

The best kinds of thank you notes, though, aren’t the ones sent to thank you for a present, they are the ones that are sent to thank you for receiving one of the greatest gifts

friendship.

**

Will you join me in writing today’s Wednesday Letter?

I want us each to thank a friend. It could be one from childhood, one we’ve lost touch with, one who was with us for only a short season in life, it could be one we don’t even know very well, one we just met, one that is with us now, or one of our dearest friends . It could even be one we lost and never got the chance to thank.

**

So, I encourage us to each take a few minutes out of our day to stop and reflect about our many blessings called friendship. Then pick up a pen and paper (doesn’t have to be anything fancy) and write a little note of thanks. I guarantee you a smile will greet that little note on the other side.

And to you, my sweet friend…

**

You truly mean so much to me and I am blessed to call you my friend.

All Y’all

15 Apr

Just in case you were wondering.


And for an added bonus:

And now you know.

You’re welcome.