My 2018 Word

This last Fall I had a strange pain in both of my armpits that would not go away. The pain began in October and it seemed to get worse and worse as the months went on. If you go online, you can of course find all sorts of horrible diagnoses. Knowing that many lymph nodes are located in that area, I figured it was best to see the doctor. She was unable to detect any swelling but ordered an ultrasound to check everything out. Unfortunately, the imaging center couldn’t get me in until a full week later. This meant another week of wondering and waiting, thinking everything could be okay or maybe something was wrong in there? The pain lessened a bit, but remained.

Finally the day arrived. I had seen several references of the word “river” the day before the appointment. Because of this, I asked God for the same word on the day of the appointment – as a sign that everything would be okay. As I waited in the room to be called back, I felt led to pick up a specific magazine lying on one of the tables. This headline caught my eye: How to Overcome Fear. I’ve definitely been plagued with fear in my life and it’s only intensified since becoming a mother.

I flipped to the article and skimmed it…it was nothing groundbreaking. But the very next article caught my eye. It was by Glennon Doyle, one of my favorite authors. It was titled: The Gift that Comes from Hitting Rock Bottom. In the article, she was in the midst of her divorce and very much at her rock bottom point. On a trip to the grocery store, unshowered and in survival mode, she met an angel from heaven.

“As I took my cereal, milk and bread out of the cart, I stole a look at the cashier. Something about her face froze time for me. Her hair was downy and white. Her skin was brown, leathery—the face of a native Florida girl. But it was her eyes that stopped me. They were cornflower blue, with deep wrinkles like rivers around them.”

There was the word I had asked for: River. Glennon proceeded to tell the woman she was in the valley of life at the moment. And then her angel responded this:

“Don’t knock the valleys…everybody wants to be on the mountaintop, but up there the air is so thin, you can hardly breathe—and all you can do is stand still and try not to fall. But in the valley, that’s where the river runs, sweetheart. That’s where all the power is.”

I had been in such a state of anxiety for the prior weeks which happened to coincide with the Christmas season. I kept feeling like I was failing at life, that I keep finding myself in these low places at times, and especially during the holidays. But God was reminding me that it is not a bad place to be in at all.

Glennon’s words continued to hit home:

“As my cornflower angel told me, we’ve got it all backward down here. We want to be on the mountaintops, but we’re not called to be victorious. We’re called to be wise, strong and kind. We are admired on the mountaintops, but we are beloved in the valleys. All the magic is in the space between mountains, where we have to unbecome everything we thought we were and start from scratch. This is hard to do, because when pain comes in the form of uncertainty, our instinct is to scramble out of it, to grab blindly for the familiar. But when we rush out of the valley, we miss gathering all the wisdom, strength and kindness we need for the next climb. We have to learn how to sit by the river and be still enough to claim its gifts.”

All of a sudden, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Sitting at the bottom of the valley where the river runs. This is how God and I work – I ask for signs especially if I’ve been hearing or seeing a certain word. God then shows me more than I ask for. To know I’m still wading in the water and sitting in the pain but I’ll be better off for it. And if you think about it, the mountaintop moments in life are few and far between. If we didn’t experience the valleys, the mountaintops wouldn’t be nearly as sweet.

As it turns out, my ultrasound results were good. Days later I was with girlfriends setting our 2018 intentions and the word I received from God was “FLOW.” Not surprising, given my river experience in the waiting room. I’m flowing in the river valley this year and hoping it will be another season of growth. And maybe next year I’ll be ready for that ascent up the mountain.

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Each year in January, my girlfriends and I go away for two days and reconnect. We discuss our prior year and set goals for the New Year. We each ask God for a word to guide us through the upcoming year. I am always blown away by my word and how spot on it is for my journey that follows. So as we enter the fourth quarter of the year, I wanted to break down how my word has guided me so far. But first, a history of my past words:

My word for 2015 was “believe.”

My word for 2016 was “free.”

My word for 2017 was “light.”

I was really surprised my word was “light” when I first received it back in January. But over the year, its meaning has slowly unfolded. I feel like it’s helped me to remain in the light when things feel hard and I want to slip into the darkness. I am reminded to stay conscious and present and to be mindful of where my thoughts are running off to.

And the duality of my word is beautiful. I’ve mostly seen my word as being a light bearer and a light seeker, But I’ve also seen “light” as lightening the load I bear on a daily basis. On letting go of the thoughts and feelings that don’t serve me. This is hard for me. Harder than anyone knows. My thoughts have the tendency to go negative in the blink of an eye. And living “lighter” means hands wide open, turned towards the sky. Empty handed, ready to receive what God has for me.

It makes sense looking back how I first had to “believe” with all my heart that change was possible. What a year that was. I was truly fighting an uphill battle. I have many childhood triggers I’m constantly working through as they come up. Processing my feelings is part of the work I do to be conscious with my family.

The word “free” was a relief in many ways for me. After such a hard year, I felt I was a butterfly finishing its transformation and flying off into the world. Of course, I still feel stuck oftentimes. And that is where “light” comes in. To remind me that this journey of life is anything but easy. But it can be whatever I want it to be. I can come into the light any time I choose. I can stay in the light. It’s that simple. When I want to fade away to blackness or just shut out the noise, I am reminded my job is to be light – to my kids and to my family and friends.

It’s no coincidence 2017 was the year of the total solar eclipse. My friend posted a picture of the moon blocking the sun with this caption and it so moved me: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

The darkness does not have a hold on me. I believe it and I am grateful to see the light. I am so excited to find out my word for 2018.

Love Yourself

A photo by Azrul Aziz.

I notice moms everywhere…passing by me at Target and at gymnastics – 2 kids in tow, 1 on the way. The stressed look on her face. Trying to juggle it all. Feeling all alone. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this, was it? Isn’t this what she looked forward to her whole life? Getting married and having babies? Why did no one tell her how hard it would be? Why did no one tell her to stay young just a little while longer. Little did she know how many sleepless nights were ahead of her. How many fevers she would tend to. How many days the laundry would pile up around her while she felt anything but joy. Continue reading “Love Yourself”

Slow down, Summertime


When I think of summer, I think of long, slow days. Somehow someway though, this summer has been busier than years prior – by what seems to be a landslide. But not in a bad way. I was honestly dreading this season because of the lack of routine. But then, on the other hand, I was really craving carefree, unscheduled days and even a bit of adventure. I think we have managed to fall somewhere in between structure and total freedom. We have just enough going on to bring some consistency to our days and weeks, but we are also flexible and staying up much later than usual. Which brings me to my next point on busyness. Continue reading “Slow down, Summertime”

Paradise Found


For as long as I can remember, my mind has been captive to negative thoughts.

I wasn’t necessarily aware of it, but I was definitely not a “glass half full” person if you were to ask me. I knew that I longed for joy – but I really believed my circumstances just weren’t allowing for it. Whether it was cranky kids, sheer exhaustion, or a season of sickness, I always felt the odds were stacked against me in my search for happiness.

I so badly wanted to find this ‘paradise’ in my life – that time and place where everything would finally go my way. I was so caught up in the “if/then” game: “If only the kids were a little bit older, then things would be easier.” Or: “If I could just get a solid night of sleep, then I wouldn’t be so irritable all the time.”

{to read the full article, click HERE}

The Quest for Clutter-Free


Lately, things have seemed so busy on the home front. I feel like I’ve been rushing from place to place to place. Doctor appointments, kid activities, school open houses, regular errands. Nothing really out of the ordinary, but it’s seemed nonstop for weeks now and shows no sign of letting up. And no matter how hard I try, I just cannot seem to stop piles from accumulating all over my house. Does anyone else feel the same way? If I try to put away the items, it never fails that my husband or kids ask me later that day, “Have you seen my (insert missing item here)?” And then, “Why did you put that away? I wasn’t done using it.” Continue reading “The Quest for Clutter-Free”

Taking Back Monday


{image c/o Honeybee Boutique}

I remember it like it was yesterday. My daughter was roughly 2 months old and my husband had come home from work to have lunch with us. As we sat there talking, I kept thinking of something interesting I could add to the conversation…but, I literally had nothing. My morning had consisted of changing diapers, nursing countless times, and I was still in the same clothes I had slept in the night before. So I listened to my husband tell me about his busy morning while I wondered what was happening deep down inside of me.

This was such a pivotal moment in my new journey of motherhood. For the first time in my life, I was experiencing an identity crisis. I didn’t know who I was anymore. It felt so confusing…I had wanted to be a mother all of my life. So why wasn’t it fulfilling like I had envisioned?







Why I’m Starting to Ignore My Kids


I’ve decided I’m much too attentive to my kids. It’s amazing the different responses they get when they ask their mom vs. their dad for something. My husband pauses (a really long time), and usually finishes up whatever it is he’s doing (or watching) and they usually end up asking him about 3 times for whatever it is they needed. When they ask me, on the other hand, I tend to grant their request right away. I’m usually in the middle of something, so it seems easiest to get their snack/water and go back to what I’m doing. In this process, I think I’ve created demanding little monsters in some ways! They seem to have no patience for anything! Continue reading “Why I’m Starting to Ignore My Kids”

The Hard Days


You know those days where you are so utterly exhausted as a parent because everything seemed to work against you from the moment you woke up? I had one of those not too long ago (chances are good it was a Monday). I don’t even remember the details of the day except it’s likely the morning began in the 4 or 5’oclock hour, which happens oftentimes with my youngest. I’m sure the rest of the day involved an argumentative 5-year-old, siblings fighting over every little thing, errands that needed run, and maybe a sickness or two. I honestly can’t even recall. But I do know it was one of those nights where my husband had an event that would go past bedtime. So I was on my own with the kids and the day seemed to last an eternity. Continue reading “The Hard Days”

Longing to Belong


I’ve always been a person who has routinely “belonged” to something – be it a church, small group, or simply a band of like-minded moms. Belonging to these communities has always been a staple in my life. That feeling of being known, loved, and welcomed with open arms is something I have found to be invaluable. I even encourage other women to “find your tribe” and love them well. I know we aren’t meant to do this life alone, and we all need this type of support. Continue reading “Longing to Belong”