Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trying to climb out of a hole...

I'm going to be perfectly honest...the past two and a half weeks have been incredibly rough for me. I wish I had amazing things to share with y'all but I just don't right now. My pseudotumor cerebri migraines have been extremely intense, other health issues have surfaced, and I haven't been able to get anything accomplished around the house. I am mentally shut down, buried in a dark hole I've created. 

This isn't anything new for me. I get really overwhelmed by things "piling up" in my head and then I check-out. I'm not a negative person, in general, but I tend to see my life as a series of personal failures. If you tell me something I've accomplished my brain immediately puts a negative spin on it. I wouldn't dare say it outloud, it's just an inner voice that won't shut up. I've always been this way and I hate it. It's something I am continually working on through prayer and counseling but after 35+ years it can feel quite impossible at times. 

This toxic thinking has plagued me recently in our quest to simplify and move into a tiny home. Whether it's having a panic attack over meaningless items around the house, talking through finances with Ed, preparing for our upcoming garage sale, or utterly hating my weight/health problems it's just all one big pile of junk in my head. 

Everything seems virtually impossible and I feel this tiny house/simplifying thing is going to be one more failure in my life. I know all these words and thoughts in my head are not of God. I know "with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" and "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" but sometimes it's just too hard to silence the negative. 

Y'all, I'm struggling right now and this is my heart's cry...


Friday, March 10, 2017

Cupcake Liners & Panic Attacks

I started the week "full-tilt bozo" (as my mom would say) and began to tackle the kitchen. I was very naive thinking it would be just as seamless and relatively painless as everything else. Y'all, I was so wrong!! 

It probably wasn't the wisest decision to start with all my catering supplies...like, I seriously picked the one area of the kitchen that would potentially cause high anxiety and panic attacks! I was not thinking clearly, obviously! 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Books, books, and more books!

I only cared about cleaning one thing this weekend: our books. Cookbooks, magazines, children's books, reference books, Ed's Chemistry books from Purdue, etc. You name it we probably had it on our shelves. Most of the books had a nice thick layer of dust all over them...because, you know, we used them a lot! {insert eye roll} 

I enlisted child labor, aka Emma and TJ, to sort through the literal hundreds of books they've been holding onto. Hundreds. As I helped them decided what to keep, sell, or throw away I started thinking, "Why do we have all these books?". And then it hit me, I wanted to fill the shelves and so there wasn't any "dead" space and it looked "put together". Seriously?! I was holding onto massive amounts of books just for decoration?? Please tell me I'm not the only one who does (or did) this!!

Not wanting empty shelves or cabinets just so things look put together is like wanting to fill the empty spaces of my heart with things of this world just so I don't feel cravings or longings. Only the Lord can fill the emptiness. He is the only One who satisfies. Possessions satisfy for a little while but in the end they only hold us back from what the Lord wants for us. That is becoming extremely evident to me with every shelf we clear and every box we fill!

Lord, help me be diligent in pursuing You and letting go of the things that are holding me back from all You want for me and for our family!

What else am I holding onto just so I don't see empty space??

Friday, March 3, 2017

Hidden Treasures


Today I started going through something I dreaded. Absolutely dreaded...all my recipes and cookbooks! It was a source of anxiety for me because so many of the cookbooks were handed down from my Gaga. She was a phenomenal cook and loved finding new recipes to try out. I am a lot like her which is probably why it is so difficult for me to let go of items she owned.

Unfortunately, I can't hold onto all the books on our journey so, with a prayer and an empty box, I began to sort through everything. It really wasn't as difficult as I had been expecting...prayer answered!

The last thing I sorted through was a HUGE 3-ring binder of recipes I had collected, printed, and cut out over the last 14 years. I would say 98% of it went in the trash. What a waste of paper and ink!! Ugh! But in the process of throwing away everything I found a precious "hidden treasure". A treasure I had missed for years!

Gaga had sent me a copy of her famous Honeybun Cake shortly after our daughter Emma (who is named after her) was born and when we were living in Evansville, IN. The recipe is faded, which is fine because I have another copy, but the little sticky note is what really matters to me!

"Lauren, 
When you make this cake, make it with love and it will be AOK. Take good care of yourself and little Emma. Let me know how it turns out.
                                                   Love you, 
                                                     Gaga"

I'm not going to lie, I had an ugly cry when I saw this! It was like the Lord was giving me a little glimpse of what I had been missing by holding onto all this junk! If this is a preview of things to come then sign me up...I'm ready!

Thank you, Lord, for this sweet reminder of what is truly precious to me!


"I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." Isaiah 43:3

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A roadblock already????

I throw myself into whatever dream or passion I am pursuing at that moment. I'm always thinking 1000 steps ahead. It causes me to be extremely hard on myself when that dream or passion doesn't turn out exactly the way I had envisioned. Proverbs 16:9 says, "In his heart a man plans his course; but the Lord determines his steps." That verse floods my mind on a daily basis. I don't particularly welcome it most days because I want to do things my way. I don't need help, I've got this. That doesn't seem to be a winning mindset for me (or anyone really). That's why the Lord reminds us in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through HIM who strengthens me"! Not, "I can do all things through a carefully planned out path" or "I can do all things through my lofty dreams" or "I can do all things because I really, really want this". Only the Lord can help me. Only the Lord is the one who gives me the ability to do anything. Whatever I accomplish in this life is because of the work of Jesus Christ in my life! Anytime I try to do things in my own power I fail miserably...like flat on my face, in the dirt, all cut up and bruised.

Simplify.

I don't think I have ever lived a simple life. I was an only child for 7 years, my dad owned his business and was very successful, I was well-traveled at a young age, always flew first class, and pretty much got whatever I wanted. There was nothing I lacked. I had dozens of barbies, Legos, beads, and pretty much every new toy that came out in the 80's. I even went to a wonderful private school. I learned so many things but I never really learned how to live simply. I never learned how to be content with just a few toys. I never learned the benefits of living within my means. I really did have a great childhood filled with unconditional love and a ton of opportunities. I don't blame my parents for filling my room with fun toys and gadgets. Not at all. They were doing exactly what they believed would be best at the time...in fact, I think most successful families in the 80's and early 90's had about the same mindset. But basically having unlimited access to all that stuff shaped my way of looking at the world and all possessions in general.

I could have definitely "unlearned" all those things in my 35+ years on this earth...but I didn't want to do that. Why should I? Having stuff is fun. I mean shopping is therapeutic, right?? {Insert eye roll and sarcasm} There's nothing wrong with desiring things, it becomes sinful when that desire starts to control our lives and motivations.

Desire for possessions has consumed most of my life. If I am feeling sad, mad, happy, excited, or any emotion really, I go shopping or I treat myself to sushi, my favorite snack, etc. I knew my preoccupation with possessions was becoming sinful. I knew I was beginning to worship the creation, rather than the Creator. I knew I was desperately attempting to fill a void in my life that ONLY the Lord could fill. I knew all these things and, yet, I still did them. It was one of the sins I kind of swept under the rug and pretended I didn't need to deal with it "right now". I mean, everyone around me has the same problem...that makes it okay, right?? We are drowning in stuff. Drowning. I'm looking around the room as I type and all this crap piling up makes my heart rate increase and my stress level skyrocket...something has to change!!