Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Before I lay myself to sleep...

Tonight it's just me...

No fancy outlines.  No pretty pictures.  No deep and insightful quotes.
Just me.
Tomorrow morning marks the beginning of my firstborn son's academic career.  He's starting Kindergarten and it's painfully hitting me that he will no longer be spending the biggest bulk of his time under my care.

Oh Jesus... watch over my big boy.  May his steps be ever so protected by YOU.  

I know there will be a day when I'll look back to this very day and reminisce it with fond memories.  And I've talked to many parents lately who kindly reminded me (well... "warned" me) NOT to blink, or I'll seriously miss the entirety of my days... and years.  

Wow.

Can I just freeze this night?  Can I just stop the clock?  When I remember "back in the day" when I spent my days in school, and home was where I rested.  Home was where I could relax, and eat extra snacks, and play.  And sleep.  Home was where I didn't have to pretend.  It's where I knew I could throw my backpack to the side and just... be.  

Yes, Joshua went to preschool last year.  5 days a week.  However, in my own little limited mind, he was still under my care during "most of the day".  Right?  He was at school for a few hours in the morning, then he was HOME.  But now... wow.  He'll be "gone" for...  EIGHT hours!  

Jesus, watch over my big boy.  And when he faces opportunities to grow, may he jump on it! May he develop a love for learning.  May his curious and inquisitive mind be used with purpose.  May he grow his love for books and reading.  May he remember to "pray to Jesus" when he feels alone.  Preserve his innocence.  Provide good friends for him.  Will he have a good buddy?  

Let me NOT blink.  

I know he'll be all right.  

And so will I.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Work Within

Dear God - 
I get it.  
You're doing some work in my heart and soul lately.
I didn't know I was under construction in the areas where you started digging this past week.
I get it.
Through the busy weeks, warm days, full moments, 
You show up... and show me that I still have a lot of "growing up" to do.
There are no words to fully express the incredible feeling of freedom, dependence, and joy I want to have.  
I WANT IT.  
I want to feel free.
I want to depend on you.
I want to feel joy.  
To HAVE joy.
I cannot lie... I feel tired.  Anger.  Dissatisfaction. 
I want to rest.
I want to sit.
I want to breathe.  
Deep.
Create space.
I want to sip coffee with a good friend.
I want to touch sunshine.
I want to feel drops of rain...
The wind on my tired skin.
I WANT YOU, God!
To hear a word of encouragement.
To sense your presence.
To see color.
Am I the only one who desires and needs a "day off"?  
Am I the odd woman who cannot get her hormones under control?
No blaming!  No excuses!  No complaining!
But how can I find healing without revisiting past pain and hurt?
This past week I realized that I'm living with the aftermath of problems I once hid behind pretty wallpaper.
I moved on without dealing with my faults from the past.
Lord... I'm glad that you want... you desire... to heal me.
Thank you for the provision of forgiveness you offer me TODAY.
Thank you that in YOU, I don't need to live a solemn life.
Thank you that you promised to turn my mourning into dancing.
I may miss friends and certain relationships... but you're the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Forever.
Do your work, Lord.
I get it.  
I need it.
Amen

Monday, May 19, 2014

Whitespace to Rest

A mere 2 days ago, I received an incredible gift.

Reading is one of my favorite things to do... and this book is ABSOLUTELY...

BEAUTIFUL!

Not just because it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, 
but because it invites me to REST.
Yes...
... to rest.
To "awaken my soul to rest."

Faith Barista's Bonnie Gray has written her very first book, and I am so excited to be reading and walking on this journey with her.  You can check our her story and more details about this book HERE.  

Ironically this is a crazy week for me... meal prepping, church dinners, hosting, doctor's appointments, birthday planning, business, etc... but how can I get through it all without taking time to exhale?  How can I "inhale" Jesus' presence when I'm not taking the time and choosing to find those whitespaces in my daily life?

I talked about finding "free flowing" spaces before.  I am reminded, once again, that without those "free flowing" spaces in my life, I am unable to see, experience, taste, and touch God's grace and presence in my life.  My desire is for the whispers of Truth to loudly speak into my soul.  For the forgotten corners of my heart to be fully available and open to the fullness of His grace, forgiveness, and His art.  Miracles.  Life.

Cannot wait!

Cannot wait to dig in... to journal... to create whitespace for God to speak.  
Cannot wait to rest... and in return, find direction and renewal.

Get your copy...

Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Gift of Perspective

Meet Kelli.

Galen, Kelli, Benaiah & Bo
A woman of FAITH.  A woman of PRAYER.

About 2 weeks ago I had one of those mornings at my MOTTTS (Mothers of Tots To Teens) group that will sure become one the most special times I'll ever have with this amazing group of women.

Kelli was our scheduled speaker for the day.  We usually spend our mornings studying a chapter of our selected book for the year.  But once in a while we have the privilege of having a "speaker"... someone who comes and shares about a specific topic, a particular challenge, or teaches us to "do something."  You know what I mean, right?  We think of "speakers" as someone who is an "expert" on something... anything!  But Kelli was different.  

She is one of us.

A teacher.  A mommy.  A wife.  A friend.  A daughter.

She is one of us.

2014 has been a CRAZY year for Kelli - to say the least!

Her second born son was born a month earlier than expected.
Her first born got croup.  
They totaled their SUV after hitting a telephone poll that snapped in half!

Through it all, Kelli began and finished reading the book "Circle Maker" by Mark Batterson, and as she prayed and considered what she was reading, she asked God to make her a woman of FAITH and PRAYER.
As she so candidly blogged about this, the Lord did not wait to begin that process in her life.

Her husband went in for a yearly health screening and found out his white blood cell count was WAY high.
He was quickly diagnosed with chronic Leukemia.

A woman of FAITH and PRAYER... THAT is Kelli!

The morning that Kelli shared her story with all of us, 30+ women, was actually an answer to one of her prayers.  She shared that when she was in college, she had a "vision" that one day she would be speaking to a group of people, sharing her story and being an encouragement to those present.  WOW!  Can I just say... WOW!  Chills throughout my entire body!  Tears suddenly engulfed my eyeballs... the same ones that could not, for a second, blink... for fear that that exact moment was a just a dream.  Another one of God's visions for us women.  Women in community.  To think that as I sat among those women that morning, and as Kelli shared her story, the One and TRUE God was orchestrating the realization of the vision that Kelli had YEARS ago!

A miracle.

A confirmation.

Crazy thought... that God would use our circumstances to accomplish His purposes for our lives!

Kelli's story and her current journey bring perspective to my daily life.  She is walking with her husband Galen as he battles this terrible cancer.  Cancer.  A word that should not be in anyone's vocabulary at the age of 28.  Cancer.  A word that should not describe something you're fighting while fathering 2 young children.  Kelli's faith in the God who created Galen isn't perfect, but it's exactly what she asked God to give her.  Faith.  And prayer from the saints, from you and me, is what carries this dear family today.

And through it all, Kelli prays to God and calls Him GOOD...

"I need to learn.  My situation doesn't need to change. I do.  I need to learn to trust, to be joyful, to accept the peace I am given and be thankful.

So I will choose to trust, in spite of every thing I don't know.

I will choose peace, in spite of living out one of my greatest fears.

I will choose to be thankful, because God is good. 

He is so, so good.

Amen."

So, here is where I want you to get IN-VOLVED.  Pray!  Pray for Kelli & Galen.
Go to her blog (Rasler's Ramblings) and get glimpses of Kelli's faith walk.
For healing.  For strength.  For grace.  For faith.
And in the stillness of your moments with God, ask Him to reveal to you... What is it that YOU want from Him?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Meet Radik... an URGENT need!

Today's post comes with an URGENT need for response!


As I share another story this month, my hope and prayer is that you and I would be able to be the raise the awareness and in this case, the URGENT NEED for this boy.

Meet Radik.


Radik is a 15 years old boy from the Ukraine.  He is in need of a family to commit to adopting him and begin the process within the next week before he turns 16.  He will age out in 2 weeks!!!  If the paperwork is not started for adoption by then, he won't be able to be adopted.  And he has a deep desire to have a family.  

My friend Gina who shared this story with me has a friend that lives in the Ukraine and knows him personally.  She has asked me to get the word out and pray for a miracle for Radik.  Here's what she says about him.  "Radik is an orphan in Eastern Europe. He is a special boy who is almost always smiling and enjoys interacting with people. Over the last few years Radik has watched as several of his friends and classmates have been adopted. He often talks about his desire to have a family too, but his time is running out. Because of his age, Radik is in need of a family to commit to adopting him and begin the process within the next week before he turns 16. Please pray for this miracle for Radik."

It is URGENT that the news get out about this boy!!!  

If you know anyone that is considering adoption, please help us spread the word.

If you or someone you know want more information, please contact my friend Gina at kgnorr(at)gmail(dot)com and put "Radik" in the subject line.  

Thank you, guys!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Beating Mesothelioma... Meet Heather.

I'm sharing with you the story of an amazing woman today!  I started this month with a strong conviction that God wanted to use me, my blog, and every ounce of social media influence I had to SHARE the stories of PEOPLE around me.  I strongly believe that we are enriched, blessed, and challenged BEST by the ones He surrounds us with in this world.  People.  His BEST creation.

May is National Cancer Research Month.

I was completely unaware of this, until I came across Heather.

Meet Heather... 
Lily & Heather Von St. James

At age 36, and 3 1/2 months after the birth of her first and only child, Lily, Heather was diagnosed with Mesothelioma and given 15 months to live.  Miraculously, she beat the odds and is still here 8 years later!

Here are some facts:

Mesothelioma is considered one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers.
Every year, around 3000 people are diagnosed with this deadly cancer.
Most people are given just one year to live upon diagnosis.  
There is no known cure for Mesothelioma and the future continues to look grim as attention to the disease as well as research funding continues to decline.  The only know cause of Mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, which is still NOT banned in the US.  Sadily, it doesn't look like asbestos will be banned anytime soon, as there is too much money being made by using this deadly mineral.


After reading up on her story, and watching the video on her website, I was convinced that THIS was a story I could give a voice to.  Heather is fighting this horrible disease and has asked me (and you!) to fight with her.  By spreading awareness of this disease, maybe, just maybe... a cure can be found.

Will you do me a favor?  Well, maybe not a favor.  Please have the HONOR to go to Heather's website and get to know her.  You can also find her on Facebook HERE.

Cameron, Lily, & Heather Von St.James

"With HOPE, the odds don't matter!"  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What's in a STORY?

Welcome to May!

Well, we're 4 days well into the month of May ALREADY and I'm a little late in introducing what this month will be all about on this blog!
STORIES...



Stories about you and me.  About the ordinary and the extraordinary.  About petitions and miracles.

If you were asked to share your story, would you be able to freely articulate WHAT your life has been about in the last few days, weeks, months or years?  What about the people involved in your story?  The characters, the circumstances, the "plot", the lessons learned, the desired ending?  Would you be able to concisely articulate and express the "a-ha" moments, the miracles, the good and the bad?  


I've lined up some AMAZING stories and I can't wait to share them with you this month!


So... stick with me and keep checking back!  

And if you don't want to miss a thing, don't forget to "follow me" through email.  Just add your email on that little box on the right-hand side column and you'll get updates on any new posts I share this month!  I won't send you any junk mail!  Just updates!  Easy, right?

See you soon!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It's BEEW-TEE-FUL, Mommy!

Have you ever had those days when you "kinda" sensed you'll be short on patience?  Well, let me rephrase that...  Have you ever started your day already tired, lacking focus and just plain cranky?  And no... it's not that time of the month, yet!  
This morning had potential for disaster.  Baby is still NOT sleeping well at night.  Dishes piled up on my sink but... that's ok.  I could live with that.  The van had to be taken to the shop for a scheduled maintenance appointment (which I had completely forgotten about it... and yup... threw off my "plans" for the day!). 
BUT, I gotta tell you....  
I HAVE SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR!  
Amen?
I remember having "those" kinds of days so often after Elsie was born.  Juggling a very active toddler and a newborn was, in my own little world, so hard!  I remember refusing to see and feel the sunshine through my windows, or the colors in my garden, or even the soft grass in our backyard.  
I remember burying myself under the false pretense that "nobody understands", that "everyone gets to sleep but me", that "one more muffin won't hurt me"!  Ahhhhh, lies, lies and more lies!!!
Can I just fast forward to today and give a big shout out to Jesus?  Seriously!  Having 3 healthy (and active) children IS a blessing.  Sure, it's not easy... not gonna lie.  But it is SO good to know that they are healthy!


This picture of my daughter was taken this morning.  I was listening to James MacDonald daily podcast while reading through some Scripture, enjoying my coffee (with my favorite Amaretto creamer), and trying to maximize Noah's morning nap time.  Elsie enjoys "working" beside me and usually just goes to town on her crayons!  This morning, she was overly delighted with her art and said "Look!  It's BEEW-TEE-FUL, Mommy!   
I WANT that excitement about life, don't you?  
It must be exactly how God feels when He looks at us!  Isn't that amazing?

I love how God uses my own circumstances and surrounding people (big and small) to remind me of His goodness and faithfulness, and of my need for Him.  
So, here's a few things I've learned about "those" kinds of days:
1.  Get in the Word of God.  The Bible is a "lamp to our feet" (Ps 119:105).  
2.  Stay healthy and active.  I can't go without THIS!  
3.  PERSPECTIVE is key!
4.  I'm NOT alone.

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God."  Romans 5:1-2 (ESV)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Abundance Got Me In Trouble!


I have way too much stuff...

WE have way too much stuff!
And I have to admit, I'm in trouble, now!
Lately I've been finding myself juggling a few too many responsibilities, trying to accomplish way too many things, and getting behind on daily chores and tasks.
Being a stay-at-home mom, wife, home manager, crazy wrap girl, mentor, friend and daughter, ALL AT THE SAME TIME!  Now, I am not complaining a bit.  I actually find JOY in doing and being all of those things listed above.  
BUT, I find myself trying to "catch up" a lot.
Bills...
Laundry...
Dishes...
Cleaning...
...on top of constant feedings, phone calls/emails, and... *sigh* my daily time with the Lord.

I realized that the "too much" is getting me in trouble.
I live in a house where I'm tripping over toys, always picking up "stuff" off the floor, table, hallways, chairs, and never seem to create a free-flowing environment.  You know what I mean?  You know what I mean... when you walk up and down the stairs and always catch something out of place.  You, then, take your time to pick it up and find its determined place.  Ahhh...  I wish I could just stop picking things up!  FREE FLOWING spaces... where are you?

OR... pardon me for a moment.  Let me vent for a bit about my laundry dilemma.  
I'm sure I'm not the only one in the world with this issues...
So, we're a family of 5!  If I don't do a load of laundry EVERY.SINGLE.DAY, I fall behind. 


Seriously...  So, last week we had a really busy weekend, so on Monday I had 6 loads to do!  Yup, SIX!  So I went through SIX wash/dry cycles, and had a MOUNTAIN of clean laundry in our guest bedroom.  4 FULL laundry baskets!  My mom came over to watch the kids for a few hours and saw my laundry drama.  Bless her heart!  She insisted on folding ALL OF IT!  (Mom, if you're reading this, THANK YOU!).  Anyway, so now I have all this folded laundry, but on the corner of my eye, I see another basket full of dirty laundry already whispering "look at me!  I'm ready to be washed!  Look at me!  Don't neglect me or I'll start making a "mess" in your clean corner air over here..."  
AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN HEAR THE LAUNDRY TALKING TO ME?  
Oh, good gracious!  Clean laundry, folded laundry, dirty laundry.  

So, on this Saturday morning, while I was washing the dishes, and as I was still hearing the laundry whispering to me from the guest bedroom down the hall, I realized something...  the abundance that lives in this house is getting me in trouble.  BIG trouble.  Too much.  Too much laundry.  Too many dishes.  Too many toys.

And hear me out... Have you said any of these statements before?
1.  I'll do the laundry tomorrow.  I still have clothes to wear.
2.  I'll do the dishes later.  I still have clean plates/cups/forks in the drawer.
3.  Should I fill up the tank now or after I get my groceries?
4.  2% or almond milk?
5.  Eggs & sausage or pancakes for breakfast?
6.  Pulled pork or bbq chicken for dinner?
7.  Non-fat or soy Chai?  Hmmm, maybe a Cinnamon Dolce today!
8.  Blackest black or dark black mascara?  Lipbalm or lipgloss?
9.  NIV or ESV?  
10.  Dark wash jeans, jeggings, or good ol' yoga pants?

Ahhhh!  I have SO much!  I could go on and on with this list.  Could you?  The options are endless!  The choices I have are endless!  And today I find myself overwhelmed with STUFF.  I need to create those FREE FLOWING spaces in my life.  Less options.  More room for thanksgiving.  More room for joy and contentment.  More room... period.  

So, are YOU in trouble by abundance, too?  Do you want to join me in attempting to clear out those cluttered spaces in our lives?  Let's GIVE more.  Let's purge more.  Let's clear the abundance of what we have and don't need, to make room for FREE FLOWING spaces in our lives.  And maybe in those spaces we'll find more peace.  And maybe, just maybe, less laundry to deal with.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Postpartum Depression... and a new chapter with It Works! Global

If you know me well, you might have witnessed my Postpartum Depression months after my daughter Elsie was born in July of 2011.  She was a doll and so precious, but my mind was so distant and my body was weak.  There were nights I would just cry, in both sadness and anger, not at Elsie, but at myself or at my circumstances... my pity party often went like this: "Why can't I just be by myself?  I hate this "job"!  This FEELS like a "job"... I hate it!  Why am I crying again?  I need a break, NOW!"... and on and on and on.  What started as the regular "baby blues" became a true problem.  I was able to put on a front that everything was fine.  I wore a mask at church, with friends and family.  As far as people knew, nothing was wrong.  But I knew it was a problem.  It was a problem because it was affecting my relationship with Joshua (only 2 at the time), my marriage with Joel, and my relationship with Jesus, my Creator.  I felt alone, despite being surrounded by a strong church community, a strong mommy community, and good friends.  I knew something was wrong.
Time went by... I learned to live with it.  A year passed.  

When I found out I was pregnant with Noah, my biggest fear was that I would lose my mind.  So I prayed.  I told people about my fears.  I KNEW that I would need stronger accountability, support, and encouragement after this baby #3 was born.  

And Noah came into the world.  I was determined to fight my depression.  I tried to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, but when I became sleep deprived (still am!) and fatigued from chasing 2 other young children, there were days I found myself losing my mind... AGAIN.  "Lord, help me!" was my prayer... often.  And He made Himself present!  But Postpartum Depression is real.  And I know there are clinical causes/reasons for those "baby blues".  I KNOW.  I'm a trained counselor, remember?  I've walked with people who's suffered from this condition.  I KNOW.  I've experienced it.  Since I've never taken any prescription medication for it, I was hesitant to try anything.  Call it PRIDE.

Until one day, I came across these health, whole foods supplements called Greens.  



One of my mom friends was a distributor with It Works and offered to give me a sample of the Greens.  At first there was nothing magical about it.  But let me tell you... overtime, week after week, month after month... I could NOW feel the difference in my physical and emotional health.  I had energy.  I had strength for each day (and sleepless nights).  I wasn't craving junk food or needing the caffeine I couldn't have.  I had my angry moments, but they wouldn't linger anymore... and not as often as I'd expect them to come.  I  don't think it's a coincidence.  It was a gift to me!

So, when the opportunity came for me to jump on this journey as an Independent Distributor with It Works! Global, I TOOK IT!  Not because I want to get rich.  Not because I want to take on another business.  But because I BELIEVE IN THE PRODUCT!  Are you kidding?  If this Greens thing is balancing my insides with all kinds of good stuff, I want to share it with everyone I can!

The other side of this journey came a week before my decision to join.  I was sitting at my dining table paying my monthly bills.  It came time to write that dreaded check to cover my student loans payment.  Argh... those student loans that NEVER go away!  It's been almost 13 years since I graduated from college, and almost 7 since I finished graduate school... I brought this debt into my marriage and I feel responsible to pay it.  It's not fair to Joel.  I decided it was time to do something about it.  


So It Works! came to mind.  I want to be debt free!  I want to pay my student loans!  I want to make at least enough every month to cover the student loans payment I've been making since I finished grad school... since I married Joel.  I want that loan balance to go down to ZERO!  THAT IS MY GOAL!

So, whether you can identify with me and you suffered from Postpartum Depression before.  Whether you're dealing with anxiety issues, migraines, back pain,... whether it's a physical or emotional issue.  I believe It Works! might have the supplements your body is needing!


There's something for everyone!


Or maybe you want to try "that crazy wrap thing"!  You can experience tightening, toning and firming in as little as 45 minutes!  


It's crazy!  I've been wrapped once and here are my results!

Maybe you've heard of these products.  Maybe you're thinking It Works is only about those "crazy wraps".  But I'm here to tell you that It Works has been MORE than that for me!  It's seriously given me the sanity I need to care for baby # 3... yes, the one who just turned 4 months and has yet to sleep through the night.  I feel healthy.  I experience joy.  It's not easy.  But I feel physically healthy and able!

If you're ready to take that step and try It Works, LET ME HELP YOU!

Visit my It Works! Global Website HERE.  

Become a Loyal Customer!  


I am actually looking for at least 4 Loyal Customer during my first 30 days!  Can I count on some of you?  Loyal Customers can get wholesale/distributor price on all products, get 10% in perk points (which can be used to get more products), free shipping after your 4th month, and the $50 membership fee waived!  

Please watch this video here to get more detailed information on the Loyal Customer Program!!!

OR, if you're ready to JOIN MY TEAM and become a Distributor yourself, LET'S DO IT!  I'm looking for 3 other friendly faces to JOIN ME in reaching my goal to pay off my student loans!  I need you!!!!



Again, visit my website at www.helengentz.myitworks.com!

I'm excited about this new chapter with It Works!