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! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Not afraid to say it...

Yup, I failed!
BIG TIME!
I started this month with the ambitious goal of blogging daily for the entire month of February.
Ha...
Day 21... haven't blogged since... Saturday, February 15?  
That was almost a week ago!
BUT, this whole 28-Day Writing Challenge just made me realize that I'm a person who truly needs to set more goals for my life.  Just in general.  I need to be a person who challenges myself.  Set goals.  Big goals.  Small goals.  Goals in general.
I've realized I need to take a closer look at my life, sit down, and come up with a few GOALS.
This will be my challenge for the next few days and weeks.
Beginning with this...
Blogging is not a chore.  Writing is hobby.  And enjoying a hobby should be my goal.
So, thank you for those who are still reading, those who hung in there with me.... and to those who will continue to stick with me despite my "failure".  
You'll hear from me, SOON.  
Don't worry!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ohio bound...

Blogging from the road tonight... OH bound and excited to see some friends! Unfortunately I failed to bring the laptop and I can't seem to enjoy typing on the phone.... so, taking the evening off from my 28-day writing challenge...

See you soon!

Have a blessed weekend!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Daughter


Dear daughter Elsie,

On this Valentine's Day, I want to tell you how much you're LOVED and cherished!  
You bring so much joy to this mama's heart!  
There isn't a day that goes by on this earth that I don't thank God and pray for you.
Your smile makes me smile.
Your spirit warms my heart.
Your spunk for life, the dancing, singing, jumping for joy, and raising of your hands in excitement...
... and even the naughty, whinny, and defiant moments.  All of you... I praise God for your life in mine.
Your bright brown eyes, your fine brown hair, and your girly toes.
The way you sing and speak...
Your sharp memory for books and story lines...
The way you hold that microphone, spin, and sing your favorite songs!
Your half-turn somersaults, 
Your messy demeanor at the dining table,
Your "I do it myself!" attitude.
I LOVE YOU, daughter!


I pray that Christ would be your only valentine...
... the one you search, find, and fall in love with.
May you receive the gift from God that the world cannot offer you.
Grace.
May Jesus grant you joy and spare you of unnecessary hurts.
But if you find yourself crying, heartbroken or in mourning
May He turn those moments into dancing!

My dearest daughter...
My hope and wish for you, is that you become a young lady who loves the Lord, loves your family, and lives to serve your neighbors.  
May your heart and passions pursue the things of God.
And I pray that as you find joy in your pursuit, you would grow to be an AMAZING woman of God!

Be kind.
Always say thank you.
Love your brothers.
Respect your Daddy.
I LOVE YOU, daughter!
Happy Valentine's day!


From Joy's Hope blog
I love this sweet tune...  if you have a daughter, a sister, a mother... check this catchy little tune!  
Elsie... this is for you, daughter!
Mommy loves you!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

#throwbackthursday




9.26.97
Dear daughter Helen

Happy birthday.  20 years ago you came to be a part of my and your mother's lives.  You brought much joy, surprises and hope.
Your life has been a blessing to us.  You grew, developed your personality and continue to grow to be that person that God has purposed since before your birth.
Your godly character, your faith and convictions are precious and I hope they can be developed in their plenitude from here on out, now being influenced by professors and new friends here on the SPU campus, where God allowed you to come and study.
Here at SPU you begin a new chapter in your life, now focusing on your professional formation.
Always look to develop your Christian life and character, being very near to our Lord Jesus, daily.  Look for good Christian friendships, with those who are really committed to the Lord.  May God give you wisdom in this and in your studies.  I am and will be praying for you, and will do whatever is possible for you to be able to study and succeed in all you do.
Remember that your dedication and sacrifice now will bring benefits for the rest of your life.  Therefore, together let's make this effort!  And when you finish your academic college formation, may we rejoice and praise the Lord for all that He will certainly provide, especially in the spiritual, academic and financial areas of your life.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us"  Ephesians 3:20

Remember that we'll be praying for you, and will be with you in every moment.  Not only us, but above all, God will be with you in whatever moment of your life, especially during your moments of difficulty.
Psalm 46 and Psalm 121.  Proverbs 3:1-8

May you feel God's blessings daily, which are made new every morning.  May He give you physical health for all your daily activities.

God bless you richly.

With love.

your dad,
      Makoto Ono
9.26.97 @ SPU

"Someone I Miss" - Day 13 of 28-Day Writing Challenge

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

10 Ways To Win My Heart

Joshua's preschool class had a Valentine's party today.
It was so cute to see him get excited about getting simple little valentines, candy, pink pencils, and more candy!  I picked him up from school and he was quick to describe his most favorite valentine... a castle-shaped pink sucker.  Yup.  He said, "I want to show it to you, Mommy... but you have to close your eyes because it's gonna be a surprise!"  His excitement made me think and wonder, "Helen, what gets you THIS excited?"  
I know I've been posting a lot of different lists lately.  And honestly, it's one of the best ways I am able to express my likes/dislikes.  So today, you're in for another LIST.  These are not in any particular order.  And this is definitely not a "hint" for anyone out there trying to warm my heart with a cute little valentine.  

Ways to Win My Heart
1.  Write me a note.  Randomly.  For no reason or occasion.
2.  My children's smiles when they first wake up in the morning.
3.  Coffee.  Chai Lattes.  Tea (brewed just the right way...)
4.  Dark chocolate.
5.  Kindness.  Pure kindness.
6.  Pretty skirts.
7.  Blessing of friends who carry me through the daily routines, not just the special circumstances.
8.  Watching people worship... it warms my heart like no other.
9.  Create ways for quality time.
10.  Tell me what God's been doing in your life.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Something Unusual - A 5-Minute Moment

Confession time.
I am starting this post without having ANY idea what to write about.
The unusual thing about this is that I often have at least a vague idea on what I want to put on paper, well, on screen.  But today, I'm free-flowing and filling this grand blank space on my screen with random words.
We'll see what happens.
I'm totally "neglecting" the little voices behind me right now.  I got 3 of them, all in the same room, watching good ol' Curious George!  Ahh... those sounds make me happy.  Not the monkey, but the little voices.  Almost like they're talking to each other.  Believe me... they're not!
So, before baby #3 starts fussing, let me keep typing.
Have you ever found yourself deep in thought, all without realizing that time is flying?
No, do not delete that last sentence.  Even if it made no sense.
Tell me the last time you cheered really loudly.
Tell me the last time you cried.
Tell me the last time you prayed so hard for someone, that your knees got tired and your carpet soaked with tears... real tears.
Tell me the last time you felt truly confused.
All of those questions, I could be asking myself.
Nevermind...  baby's fussing.
Gotta go!
Truly unusual, indeed.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter

My writing challenge topic for today was "The Weather".
I can honestly go on and on about this Winter... how it's been one of the coldest, snowest (is that a word... it is now!), windiest, and freezing Winter I've experienced in my lifetime.  
Several feet of snow rest outside my doors.
We literally walk through the "opened Red Sea" of white snow on our way to the church next door.
There's been close to 10 snow days (and 2-hr delays) at Joshua's school since the New Year's.
Cancelled church services twice in January.
Cabin Fever is an official state at our household... for ALL of us!
... and on and on and on....  

But the weather means more than just the temperature on the thermometer gauge, or the appearance of rain, sunshine, snow, or wind in the atmosphere.  It's more than what separates the south, the coasts, or the plains of the midwest.  When I think of the weather, I'm reminded of how fleeting, passing, and transitory the moments in my life can be.  One day can be bright and sunny, others can be overcast and rainy.  Stormy days.  Warm days.  Stuffy days.  Wet days. Dry days.  Dark days.  Breezy days.  And even crazy days... when its an "all of the above" type of days.  

The beauty of the created Seasons can reflect the natural order of my life and yours.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God "has made everything beautiful in its time."  Beautiful.  Everything.  Beautiful.  In their own time, EVERYTHING created can own the beauty of their Creator.  Eccleasiastes 3 also states that "there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens."  Life, death, planting, harvesting, mourning, laughter, silence, speech, war and peace.  The Lord is in control.  Through it all.  In all.

I'm also reminded that Winter prepares us for Spring.  Did you know that a good Winter frost is exactly what farmers want for a good crop and harvest?  The snow prepares our fields for living fruit.  A good crop NEEDS a good frost.  I remember a couple of years ago when I learned about how farming is truly dependent on the perfect weather.  If it's too dry, too wet, too windy, or too of anything, "something" in the crop suffers.  But in all of this, God is in control.  He owns the land, does He not?

And the same goes for our spiritual state.  We all sin.  We live.  We die.  And on this side of heaven, that's all we really deserve.  We would be condemned to die if it's not for God's grace and Christ's unconditional love and sacrifice on the cross for you and me.  The only way to truly LIVE is through accepting this gift of salvation in Christ, and turning away from darkness.  And that's what Winter does to Spring!  One of my FAVORITE SONGS OF ALL TIME (yes... I'm NOT exaggerating here!) is "Every Season" by Nichole Nordeman.  I heard Nichole perform this song LIVE in Seattle... and I will never forget the lyrics of this beautiful song.  It goes like this:

Every evening sky, an invitation
To trace the patterned stars
And early in July, a celebration
For freedom that is ours
And I notice You
In children’s games
In those who watch them from the shade
Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder
You are summer

And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and was to come
You are autumn

And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
Shivers underneath
And still I notice you
When branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, You open doors for life to enter
You are winter

And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring

I absolutely LOVE the idea that in EVERY SEASON, God is at work, even if undercover.  Every season has a purpose.  And "even in death", God opens doors for life to enter!  Through Christ's death on the cross, He opened doors for me (and YOU) to experience life and life abundant!  THAT is beautiful!  Winter opens doors for life to enter in the Spring!  THAT is beautiful!  I can never see Winter the same way again.  I look forward to Spring.  And Spring... Summer.  And Summer... Autumn.  

So, talk about the Weather?  Sure!  I can go on and on and on.  But finding meaning in the Seasons of my life is much more beautiful.  Seeing His hand at work during every moment... THAT is beautiful!

Can YOU find beauty in everything that surrounds you?  Can YOU find meaning for each season in your life?  There IS a time for every activity under the heavens.  And that includes this year's harsh Winter.  If that's what it takes for LIFE to enter in a few weeks...  I'll take it!  


Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Favorite Thing To Do Right Now

Reading.
I look forward to it.
I shared about it before... but READING = BREATHING to me these days.
I need it.  It refreshes me.  I enjoy it.  
There's nothing like taking a deep breath after a stressful and busy day, sitting down on a comfy chair/bed/corner, picking up a book (or reader), and engaging my mind on a story line, wisdom sharing, or more importantly, on Scripture.
Reading.
I enjoy focusing on someone else's words.  Their train of thought.  Their wisdom.
I enjoy the turning of pages.
It brings me true satisfaction when I finish a chapter, a section, an entire book.
My dad once told me that when I was younger, I used to read all the signs on the street, on billboards, on store fronts, whenever I was riding in the car.
I still do that.
I read signs.  Billboards.  Store fronts.
Reading.

My current reading list:
1.  Jesus Calling - by Sarah Young.
2.  Unfailing Love - A Woman's Walk Through 1 John. - by Karol Ladd.
3.  Unglued - by Lysa Terkeurst.
4.  She Did What She Could - by Elisa Morgan. (on my queue)
5.  The Prayer of the Lord - by R.C. Sproul (on my queue)
6.  Bible - ESV (English Standard Version)

Lately for me, there's nothing like a quiet house, early morning (or late night), a cup of coffee or tea, and a book.  That's my favorite thing to do right now.  Unfortunately this above scenario is a rarity around here.  But I still make time at the end of my day to pick up my Bible and a good book.  

What are YOU reading right now?