Turnip Pasta

Dear Mild,

I’m supposed to be working on a new project to be released next month, but felt compelled to rock life The Mild Way – without limitations or time constraints, and with ease. I can’t say that you’re always an easeful child, but your perspective… oh sweet boy, your perspective is often easy and, come to think of it, light.

Praise God that you are resilient, because we both know that living with a sensory spectrum wild child little sister can be a hard experience to praise through. Though baby boy, we prayed through for sure!

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Like turnips, praising through is an acquired taste. Fortunately, we have many, many teachable moments where turnips and praising through can be experimented with – and better yet – experienced. Especially, when you live on the wild side.

My son, I’m pausing today for an ah-ha moment. One I want to share with you, after seeing you praise through it all – the work and the play. The therapy sessions with your wild sister. The incredible gift of raising baby bunnies. So, here’s what I found myself stopping for:

Sweetness, in watching you, I have found is that there is a difference between praising through and praying through. Praising through means you’re eating up those Turnip Spirals and giving thanks for them and their provision and their provider and their nourishment – even if you don’t particularly enjoy the taste or texture. While praying through might mean that you’re asking Big Papa to take the wheel, possibly to avoid an experience or perhaps even to heal it (even if that isn’t in His will).

Praying through is good. Our prayers are important and God surely takes notice, whether or not it’s in His plans to change the course. But our prayers can sometimes miss out on an incredible experience: praising through the storm. I call it the truest healing space. To praise through pain is a battle I didn’t even put on the map recently.

But I am now.

Anyhow, since starting Kindergarten, you are filled to the brim with sheer enthusiasm over pretty much everything again – from coloring for hours to classic television shows (cue I Love Lucy as the highlight for an entire Sunday morning) to playing sports. Your world is how I want mine to be: passionate and sure. Even at the end of a wild day, you find things to give thanks for. Your trust is awe-inspiring.

YOU are awe inspiring. Example: Just the other day, we noticed that our bunny was falling asleep as you pet him. Your response, “Oh, I get it! He must have sensory processing disorder!” It’s funny that I didn’t even think of the impact her therapies have on how you look at the world! This path is making you someone it otherwise would not, sweetheart. And I love the person you’re turning out to be. A place for praise in the storm.

Now, let’s chat those Turnip Spiral’s you loved so much!

All My Love,

Mama J.

Turnip Spirals (Pasta)

  • 2 organic turnips, peeled
  • choice of organic cooking fat
  • garlic
  • basil
  • sea salt

Mama Friends, If you don’t have one, buy a spiralizer (here’s mine on Amazon)! Grab those turnips and turn them into medium or thin noodles in under 5 minutes. While grinding away, add 2-3 tablespoons of your choice fat. I love using duck fat for these! I highly recommend finding a local source so that you can always have some on hand. If you’re an autoimmune-paleo-approach mom, fats are a huge key to your success – and a staple in your house. Veggie mama’s can use coconut oil and produce the same results!

Add spices about halfway through. If you’re using fresh garlic you can saute it in the pan before adding the noodles. Saute your noodles in the pan until they become mostly transparent and slightly browned. (You’ll see what I mean.) Remove from heat, and eat!

I hope you enjoy!

 

I’m Not Doing the Dishes and Mama, Neither Should You

Dear Husband,

I keep imagining that one day, I will wake up and be like you. Stable. You can have a “full” day and not have a physical-emotional-intellectual set back that rocks you to the core of your soul. You can look at a pile of dishes and not worry that if you spend extra time cleaning them today, you might not have the energy to exercise later. And really, it’s the exercise that makes you (me) come back to life. The dishes… well, they’re dishes. And perhaps, just maybe, if they had a pattern it might stir my soul a little more than it does today. But as of 0900 on the first day of fall 2016, dishes do not stir my soul. But, hitting the mat does.

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I am thankful for a good, good Father who shows us through his actions that we are all good enough. Even though sometimes my good enough doesn’t feel good enough.

So, I want to apologize in advance – to my rock, and my more stable half – that the dishes can peace out. Just like the laundry did. I’ll get to it when I can get to it. But my mat, honey… I promise you, I will make room for that. Because then I’m a better version of me for you and for our mild and wild babies. I am worthy of self care. I am so worthy of it.

If there’s another mama out there reading this – so are you.

{insert picture of me rolling out my mat with a big, huge, happy smile}

Peace & Love,

Your Wifey

 

Paleo Pancakes

Happy Fall, friends! I’m so excited to share with you what Miss Bliss & I spend our time on – especially on our wildest of wild days. She’s a sensory craver and seeker (with exceptions), and we find that cooking can be particularly helpful when she needs to engage in the world!

Dear Wild,

You may not remember me at my worst – for this I pray – but you will remember me at my “best”. You will remember that more often than not, I will don my apron like armour and prance around the kitchen on a cooking-high. Cooking is one of my most favorite therapies. Cooking is where I feign complete control over my wellness. It’s where I have peace and joy and fun. It’s magical. So magical, my sweet girl, that it just so happens to be where (on most days) I can be pain-free. Even on a hard and trying day, I will dig in in our kitchen. The feel of granite beneath my palms as I dust away strewn pieces of cauliflower – baby girl, it’s my zone.

I’ve been playing with recipes for some time now, and thought that today I would share one that you might enjoy cooking again one day too! I pray that you cook. I feel as though mamas miss out when they don’t sink their hands into some gluten free flour and feel the perfection of what God gives us for nourishment.

This is where we learn to pause. Sweet girl, I pray blissful pauses over your life, my wild child. The kind of pauses that make us better people.

Now, let’s chat Paleo Pancakes!

All My Love,

Mama J.

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We must eat well, my friend! My mild and wild children have taught me this. Be nourished and you can do (almost) anything.

Grain Free, Vegan, Paleo Pancakes

  • 2 fancy Eggs (you know the type – organic, cage free, vegetarian fed…)
  • 1/3 cup each of coconut flour, tapioca flour, almond flour (replace almond for sorghum if you or your babies have food allergies – I’ll be trying these with cassava flour next!)
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • vanilla coconut milk
  • optional: blueberries, apples (and cinnamon), dark vegan chocolate

Add all of the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl, and blend thoroughly. Add in eggs and enough milk to desired consistency (mama doesn’t measure – and I feel like with liquids it’s a different quantity every time anyhow). Make sure that your batter is thin, but not watery. Throw in some optional goodies – we love ours with blueberries or chocolate – and spoon batter onto a griddle or well-oiled pan! Cook until you see bubbles forming in the top of your pancake and then flip. Enjoy with organic, local maple syrup amazingness… or some honey!

Note: You can replace the eggs with Energy Egg Replacer! I was pretty impressed with the texture.

 

Motherhood + Marriage

Motherhood + Marriage

Dear Mama,

I read this post over the weekend – that has (what I feel is) a fabulous message…

When children come along, we believe that we can press pause on the soulmate narrative, because parenthood has become our new priority and religion.

If we are raw and real about where parenthood stands on our list, would we say it’s our first priority? God does say to train up a child, yes. He doesn’t say to hunker down. He doesn’t say it’s a space where two become one. (Gasp.) And that, my dear friend – it’s okay.

Being a special-child and miracle-child mama, my ambitions often get in the way of what we’ve been gifted. We have the opportunity to raise up His children. And oftentimes, this blessed wild child becomes the center of my focus. How could she not?! The everyday wildness speaks to a constant need to be on, so that – perhaps – we can live a more stable life. But is it stable if I don’t put my husband first?

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I love this picture. It captures a sensory wild child on a good day – and the profound impact that parenting can have on a marriage. She rocks life all up in our space on a daily basis!

I need him. I need my husband, because he’s my rock. It’s confusing and hard and even frowned upon to not put your miracle mild or sensory wild child first! I adore being a mother. It’s been the center of my universe these last few years – as I’ve finally embraced what life looks like as a mama bear. (It’s messy, y’all. It’s M E S S Y.) But motherhood, my parenting path, does not define me. It refines me. I want to be pressed upon to be a better person. Even if this means struggle. It grows me! But to whom will the benefit of this growth go? With God’s grace, I will care for my spouse for long after these babies depart our home. He should benefit from my growth – and not just then, but now.

I would love to hear your heart! Let’s share the ride.

Much love and peace to you and yours,

Mama J.

The 27 Day Crash

For those of you who are new to my blog, my take is that everything in life is a conversation. Some of those conversations we’ll have face to face, and some will be played out through pen and paper and clicking keys – because it’s just too hard to have this talk any other way.

Dear Mama,

You may be well or unwell or stable or… wait, are any of us really stable? Anyway, we need to be real with each other. I’ll start: There were 9 glorious months of well. And then an epic crash. Epic. As in, I put on my war gear and went into battle for 27 days. You can learn a lot in that amount of time. And by day 25, I was ready to visit my therapist… I needed to talk it out. Fortunate or unfortunate, I forgot that I needed to talk it out and life looked bleak on day 26 and 27. But there would be light (dear friend, there is always light).

After the 27 day crash of 2016 – I’ve found myself back where I started. On my knees. Chronic fatigue is real. And I spend hours of each month (because I usually have 1-2 challenging days each month), researching the why. I feel fortunate to not be Job, yet in these moments I “get” why I feel so compelled to use his story (The Book of Job) for the book I’ve started to write. I might even add some of this to my book. If you are living or have lived in the state of unwell or well, I’m going to remind you that BOTH are impermanent. I heard it ever so clearly as I prayer-walked this morning. Don’t grow roots here. With Chronic Fatigue, with postpartum depression or anxiety, with ANY pain story, you don’t just recover from it. But you aren’t allowed to wade in the mud forever either.

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My sweet mama friend. I encourage you to live your life to the maximum amount of “stable” you can, and then you give yourself grace for being human. You are human. So am I. Praise God for that, my dear. I don’t want that kind of responsibility – and I doubt you do either!

If you haven’t Chronic Fatigued, then I’m going to break this down for you. I wrote this recently on my personal facebook page, where I live out some advocacy on “atypical motherhood” with like hearts…

Most folks assume chronic fatigue means you’re just tired. When reading or responding to a text message from someone you ADORE feels exhausting, there’s something wrong. I’m not just tired. Physiologically, my systems don’t keep up with normal life. Most likely they’re fighting an invisible long gone virus. The worst fights are when a real virus or infection comes along though. It’s all out war. The World Health Organization has considered that CF should be renamed SEID: systemic exertion intolerance disease. Link those words together and you’ll get a glimpse into my world. My systems (all of them) get overused in any way, and I will crash. My body and mind will become uncomfortably slow. Read that again! I’m not slow. I am actually absurdly smart. A geek if you must!! But our conversations probably won’t be remembered or make sense when I’m in a crash. Sometimes I even slur my words. And my emotions? It’s not a good place.

I’ll end here. Sometimes, I’m not in a good place, but STILL God. Is. Good. And so is THIS adventure. It’s one where I get to learn from suffering and pain, and share what I’ve learned. I get to sit with others who have been on the pain path and I still get to experience long time periods of being pain free. I get to move with others who want to work it all out. (So thankful for the gift of movement – especially after 27 days of 5 minutes here and there.)

Ask me anything. You shouldn’t go this alone. We don’t have to go this alone. Bend; breathe; and let your soul be restored.

“But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.” Job 36:15 NIV

Love,
Mama J.

How To Get Everything Done

Dear Wild,

Someday, you might just have a business of your own. Or maybe for reasons other than changing lives or paying the bills,  you will crave “getting all the things done,” but there will come a day or many days that it seems impossible. Let me advise you today, that business ownership is for everyone (especially the attention-shy wild one and the mama who feels so very hopeless about her world) and that you can get all the things done.

But not all in the same day.

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This is a picture of my wild, naked, knife-wielding sensory processing miracles and self care all in one. Sometimes on really incredible days, I can actually combine two of my priorities – and everybody wins. Refuse to go to bed feeling like a failure. Because you aren’t.

 

Just a few weeks ago, I was blessed to sit in a room full of business leaders and pastors. Me. A stay at home, work at home, leggings-as-pants-wearing mama bear. And, while I missed you every single moment my sweet and exhausting child, I was given fruits for my labors times ten. The fruit for working hard these last two years – with you – was listening to Bishop T.D. Jakes talk about balance.

Wild, we’ve been fooling ourselves! We can get all the things done. Just not all in the same day. Something is going to slide each day, as Jakes put it. “Just don’t let it be the same thing two days in a row.” Boom. That was GOLD. So, let me think out loud for a moment here. This means that…

  • if today we only read one book, mama can make it up and read you five tomorrow
  • you watch an extra show today so that I can pay the bills (aka work next to you) we can go television-free tomorrow
  • we eat organic, vegan, gluten free ice cream for dinner tonight – I can make a fabulous paleoish, green-filled dish for us all to enjoy on Saturday night

and I can do all the things and do it guilt-free. (If you’re a mama reading this right now, I beg of you to do life guilt-free with me!)

What Bishop Jakes did not touch upon is the essential foundation for BAU, or business as usual, is… (wait for it) priorities. There are priorities and necessities and wants that make you the best version of yourself. Today, I want you to ask yourself two simple questions:

  1. What is a daily priority? For me, It’s God, my family, and my well-being. The first one is always first; the second two are interchangeable in order depending upon the day.
  2. What helps me focus on my priorities first? I call this my oxygen tank. What is filling me up so that I can focus? I am the mother of a sensory processing child; a seeker; a child that has anxiety and OCD – and quite honestly, I’ve never been quite so great at focusing either. My go-to’s include: a good cup of tea; great jams (usually worship music), comfy and cute clothes (I really, really hope to go the sustainable route super soon… I’ll share when it comes); patience; presence; and an easily accessible source of dark chocolate. For real, the chocolate needs to be like Right. There.
  3. What do I feel guilty about? Can I let it go, and sing “There’s always tomorrow” with Ms. Annie herself? If not, should this be added to my daily Top Three priority list? I (somehow) am walking around with so little guilt right now, I don’t have an example for this one. But one that I did have guilt over was having a nanny four years ago when I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t walk because I didn’t take care of myself. And that was all on me. So, I changed it. My well-being is a Top Three priority. And it will stay that way.

I’m going to end here, sweet wild baby – and friends who will someday have names attached to likes – with a verse to reflect on. Trust that you’re choosing right, because of who you are trusting in. “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” – Isaiah 26:3

Love,
Mama J.

Impact, Part II

So what’s next? How do I teach you the simplicity of choice versus chance in a world driven by a wait-and-see-approach? Our thoughts, become our actions, become our world. And this world is a place that we have the opportunity to make an impact in. Unless there are excuses. But we aren’t making excuses. Not us. Not the resilient child who fought a virus that wreaked havoc on his tiny body, bearing unfathomable pain at only 11 weeks old. And not the strong mother who has fought physical, emotional, and generational pain from her own childhood two plus decades ago. We are made for impact…

Dear Mild,

But I’m not making it. I have been hovering in the raw, emotional pain of being a burden for seven long days (again). When my immune system takes over (and attacks herself) sweet boy – it’s like you lose your mama. Actually, you do lose her. I have been a ghost around our house – tidying up here and there – and then retreating to the couch; folding some laundry and then taking a rest; laying down upon my yoga mat and then serving another meal. A ghost without a smile.

When my body is this tired, sweetheart, I don’t know how to live with the wildness and joy and abandon that always emanates from my soul. It’s like my soul is starved – so very weak. In these times, I sink back into that deep dark hole of a time just one year ago… a time during which unwell had lasted for over 12 months, and from which a tattoo sprung forth – my arm artfully inscribed with “run with your burdens” (plus a semicolon). I don’t know how to feel alive during these spaces (insert sharp in-breath taken from sudden realization here) because I don’t pray in these places.

Ouch. I don’t pray for myself. Somewhere deep, underneath it all, I don’t find my needs worthy of prayer. And, what has been rattling me is that I truly don’t know why. (Yes, I’ll figure that out.) I also don’t know if I can get much more vulnerable than this, my mild child. (Pssst, if you haven’t noticed – my letters to you are public. Yup. I guess that I must imagine someone else might benefit from watching us grow. I hope it’s true.)

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Our first professional family photo shoot last fall. I had Dengue at the time, and didn’t know it. A few weeks later, I would get the tattoo I mentioned. The tattoo that meant I wouldn’t give up. Let’s not give up. Miracles come from madness.

 

Anyhow, I went to the Global Leadership Summit last week. (Honey, I am bringing you there when you are old enough to see and hear it all!) During it, I was reminded of Impact. I was reminded that I put out a call-to-action that together, we would own life. Again, here I am not owning it… barely able to recall the last few days and falling into the enemy’s trap of doubt and distraction from what is at stake.

Impact.

We are made for impact.

Tonight, I answer the question I posed last month (how will we make it?) with this: WE will make it. We will make it together, not just as human being hand-in-hand, which is already how we roll… but with a bigger Togetherness, in which God is at the center. We can’t go this alone. And after the last few days, I finally get why we don’t want to.

Impact.

We will make it, son. God’s not holding out on us, so we can’t be holding out on him.

I’m interested to see how this all evolves. This praying for ourselves “too”. This balancing of humility. I bet that there are miracles just waiting to spring forth when we value ourselves the way that our Maker does. I love you, Mild. And better than that? He loves you. As you are, and as you transform into exactly who He has created you to be.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. – Psalm 139:13-16

Love,
Mama J.

Labels

Dear Wild,

This morning I woke up and I read this amazing article. I knew that I needed to dive into our story, again. I instantly felt that others might need to know why I share our story (even if I know why I share our story). Too many people might feel that this is unnecessary, and it might be uncomfortable for them to read these posts – often with raw emotions and vulnerable hearts. Others might even feel like this is invasive. We’re opening the door into our private lives to share some of the experiences that we’ve had with you, my sweet miracle child. But to not share these, would be detrimental to our growth as people and as a family, and it would perhaps halt the impact we might make on other people going through something similar.

What I want other people to know, from the moment that they dig into our conversations here, is that you DO have a label! And I’m okay with that. But, what I didn’t realize until last night, was that you don’t know you have a label. It made me really quite sad to see your confused little face as I explained an outburst to your big brother. I knew in that moment, you weren’t prepared to listen, but one day very soon you will be. Listen, my sweet girl. Mama is about to tell you all about your label. The label that describes your quirks and disposition. The quirks and disposition that make you, you.

Let’s pause here. Some people might think that’s a great thing! That you, my wild child, have no idea that you have sensory processing disorder, or that you are most likely on the spectrum. But to me that means you don’t know who you are. And sweetheart, I will give everything I’ve got for you to know and accept the kind of different that you are. You are wild; you are funny; you are fantastically smart; you have the most interesting perspective on the world. You amaze me every single day… even as I dress you because you can’t quite do that without prompting; even as I feed you when we are on a timeline, because I know otherwise you’ll get distracted; even as I remind you to use the toilet, because I know that again there might be too many other sensations going on for you to process, and you won’t recognize the sense of urgency. You are amazing, even though I jokingly refer to you as my tiny Alzheimer’s patient. (Because let’s be honest, even though you’re amazing, you take work.)

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One of those moments where I would do anything to see your beautiful face, but your comfort is in hiding behind a pirate hat – in your own sweet little world.

But it’s harder for you. And that is why I shout out your label(s) to the masses! It’s so much harder for you – and you should know that. Not because it’s a place for you to grow weary and complacent and weak, but because you need to know that you are a force to be reckoned with. Every day you face unseen battles that typical kids don’t face. I watch someone like Dr. Temple Grandin and her accomplishments, and I think YES. The obstacles you are navigating will allow for you to make a far greater impact on the world than I can.

Labeling allows for you to know – and one day soon process – how very strong you are, my sassy girl. And labeling allows others to “see” you. So often the world runs about without focus. When we share your label, we give them somewhere to set their sights on. Expectations change, and understanding begins.

So, I’ll end my ramblings here. I want you to know that you are different, because different equals powerful. I want others to know you are different, because all types of different have a place in our world. If we were all the same, no one would step outside of normal. Spectacular change comes from life outside of normal; and the greatest contributions that we can make come from being different! And you my sweet baby girl you are so different.

Have you heard yet, baby girl? You. Are. Different. And praise God for that.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

– Romans 12:6-8 NIV

Love,
Mama J.

Priorities

Dear Mama,

Today, I’m writing to the mother who cares for everyone else. I know you. I know you well, because I’ve been you. And in case you’re in the midst of scrubbing endless dishes, and floors, and bottoms… and no one has said this yet to you today, let it be said: You matter. Your wellness matters. And as you’ll hear me say thousands of times going forward on this blog, Well Women Rule The World. Period. You can’t be unwell and live the life that you are meant to live. It’s just not possible! But what is possible is listening to your body, your mind, and your spirit so that you can become the best version of yourself.

Yes, it is possible.

I know this because I lived it and I presently still live it. And to be honest, for the first time in my short and long 31 years, if assessing my personal wellness was a job… y’all, I might just get a raise this year! After countless hours and days – and a counted 10 + weeks – in physical therapy learning everything possible about my 47 percent-able body in 2015, I identify my wellness as a Top Three priority every single day. If you know me just a little bit by now, you know some of this… I have chronic autoimmune disharmonies; I have a special child (my sensory processing disorder miracle) with therapies; I have a second miracle a few years older than Ms. Bliss with sports; I am married; I am a sole income provider and a work-at-home mother; I am beginning to write; I travel often; and I advocate for women in motherhood. And still, I put my being well as a priority. Why? Because none of that gets the attention that it needs, if I don’t get the attention that need.

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My number one priority is my being well, because she needs the best version of her mother – not just some days, but on as many as I can wrangle! It feels good to break the generational chain of self-imposed guilt and lack.

If you have read this far into my post, you are either thinking that 1) I am the master of all trades and have it all figured out, or 2) you have realized that I have nothing figured out – except for Top Three. About a two years ago, I read an article that quoted Jim Collins in saying, “If you have any more than three priorities, you don’t have any.” And it was like a lightening bolt went through my body as those words made their impact, and suddenly, I got it! I have zero priorities when I’m focusing on everything: (cue drum roll… wait for it… wait for it) nothing – yes I said nothing – gets done as intended or as well.

Being a sensory mom, I’m going to now bring us face-to-face, mama. I’m going to put one hand on either cheek, with your permission. And I am going to ask you to look at me. You are in the midst of a battleground, friend. But the battle has truly already been won. You are worthy and you are loved and you are whole. You need to be your number one priority, because you value yourself. You know that others depend on you, and without being the best version of you, you can’t be there for them. Not fully.

This leads me to re-read the words that I have given myself and my son – both chronic quitters when the going gets tough: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7. You are fighting the good fight. You are finishing the race. And the foundation of it all rests on your faith – because you have already taken action.

I’m ending today with a reflection: What action – beyond reading this – do you need to do to make yourself a priority – a Top Three? Is is a support system? Is it quiet time alone?? There have been many tools in my tool box throughout the years: from self-help books to humor; from church to therapists; from journaling to community… yoga classes to personal practice… painting, drawing, retreats… each has played a significant role. Stripped down bare, what will it takes for you to draw out the perfect child within that is hugely, wholly, and unconditionally loved? Find her. Find her because she will make a far greater impact than you ever could.

Coming from someone who has found her, and knows her… whatever lengths it takes, it is worth it.

Love,
still a child, always His child, an imperfectly perfect Mama J.

We’re better together.

 

Beyond the Pain Story

Beyond the Pain Story

Dear Mama,

I am not the controversial type, but please hear me out. Too many mommy blogs and facebook page and twitter account owners out there chatter on and on about their pain, not realizing that 1) what you focus on is what you become, and 2) anything that you share from a space other than love fails to spread love. In my heart, I feel like these posts and articles and tweets and rants aren’t helpful. Not only are vulnerable and possibly broken beautiful souls not claiming greater wellness from reading the content, but additionally they are being dragged into the depths of a sorrow that they aren’t prepared to handle. Is it possible to have PTSD from carrying another’s hurt? I’m no psychologist, but it just might be. Follow pain story “content providers” for long enough, and get captured in the pain story.

I was captured in the pain story. Whether the pain is body, mind, or spirit – the journey feels so very isolating, and talking about it feels inclusive. You’re suddenly a part of something. Does it feel like a village? A tribe of support?? In some ways, it might be. Maybe. But maybe not.

I remember the first time that I typed #spoonie into my instagram search bar, hoping to find others like me who wanted more. Like, really, really, really wanted more. (Because we all know or have been the person that says that they want more but the actions prove otherwise.) My hashtag search results produced thousands of horrific pictures, with commentary below them that truly boggled my mind. Here and there, I would find a woman who had not claimed the pain story and had instead chosen to rewrite it. But there were far too few. And it crushed my soul to read those posts, or scroll through those galleries. So, I stopped.

Then I tried to volunteer for a few different organizations dedicated to a change-movement in women’s wellness. And it was like… ARGH! (Picture woman mentally running in the other direction.) Not only was it like diving into insta-spoonie-land all over again, but so much of their pain stories resonated with me. I have a history of abuse, addiction, poverty, an eating disorder, complicated pregnancy, autoimmune disharmony, and postpartum mood disorders. I’ve been a mess! And every time another pain story popped into my feed, I felt myself reliving history instead of searching for His story in it all. His story is so much more important than mine, than ours.

Chances are, you have experienced a pain or two and that’s why you follow my posts. But let me own something right here and now: I am not going to allow, nor will I ever allow, you to wear my pain. I am sharing from a space of having been healed and of daily re-healing. I stopped looking outside for support, and crept inside – into my relationship with myself and into the most important relationship of all: the relationship that I had (and have grown) with Jesus.

If you’re not a Christian, I hope that you won’t stop reading here.

raw
I am the girl in pink. I was released from 10 weeks of intensive physical therapy just two weeks before this hi-flying adventure in Cozumel last December.

And this is why… My soul felt weak. I was easily entrapped in pain. Living with a special child as an autoimmune mom… I had tapped out any resources left of my own. I needed fuel and nurture and security and most of all peace. After losing it (“it” being my mind), for what is hopefully the last time on my poor unsuspecting husband, I was one hundred percent sure I could absolutely not do mothering alone spiritually. Don’t do your mothering alone, please. The next best things to Jesus, are a good therapist (I’ve had three), chocolate (try raw and organic because you’ll feel less guilt – because really, do you need more?), and finding a community of vulnerable mom’s that refuse to be pain. Please.

The last few days, I’ve been putting together the blueprint for such a community. And if you pray, y’all – will you do me a favor and lift up the intention and the cause? Raw motherhood doesn’t mean we must always weep together. It means that sometimes we rise to the occasion in the discomfort and practice living through the discomfort, until it either becomes comfortable or joyful – or best yet, an experience to grow others from.

Claim what you want.

Rise.

Own where you are.

Rise.

Empower others to do the same.

Rise.

Please?

All My Love,
Mama J.