So, some time has passed since my last entry. I think about making them a lot, but never actually sit down to do it. Do you do that with something in your life? Have every intention of doing something, but life just gets in the way? Whether "life" is a family emergency, social media, a TV show that catches your attention, etc? Yeah, me too.
It's been a busy summer! I had an amazing time at my company's convention in Denver in July, Spent a ton of time at Safeco Field with the love of my life, and we just got back from spending a week in the wilderness at Kalaloch Beach with our extended family. We also celebrated 6 years of being married on Sunday. It's a pretty fantastic time for me right now.
That's not to say that I haven't had my own trials recently. We've been battling with our insurance company and a specialist's office for a procedure related to our fertility struggles. We have spent a LOT of time crying out to God for answers, patience and peace, knowing He will come through for us, just not knowing how or when. I also have been struggling to find the motivation or inspiration to overcome the negative voices in my head about the completely attainable goal I have of earning the Spa Destination Trip to the Dominican Republic with my Lemongrass Spa Products business. If I am not over-achieving, my human/perfectionist brain tells me I might as well give up. *insert the clip of the record screeching to a halt here*
Wait... WHAT?! Why am I thinking like this?? Because I'm not placing my faith in God, I'm placing it in me. That's an issue. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who is my strength." Note that it doesn't say I can do all things because I'm awesome. It's through Christ because HE is my strength. Yes, I'm a "strong" woman. I am a business owner, I'm a survivor - but I'm only those things because of Him. He gave me life, He gives my my dreams, He directs my path. When I put my eyes on Him, when I ask Him for my direction, to show my what my next step is, things may not get easier, but they do get more clear and I can see my path more clearly - maybe even a light at the end of the tunnel.
I got a new tattoo yesterday. It is the word "Brave" with an arrow. Lots of people are making the correlation with the Disney Princess with which I share a hair color, spunk and the first few letters of our names. While that's a big fat bonus, my love of that little spitfire isn't what inspired my new ink. It's a reminder that He makes me a Warrior. I Am Fruitful posted an instagram story this morning reading from Zechariah 10:3b-5. We were created to be warriors, and He is with us, fighting, holding us up, leading us through.
One of my very favorite worship songs is "You Make Me Brave" by Bethel Music. We weren't made to stay on the shore, friends. He is making a way for us to get out of our comfort zones and accomplish things we never thought we could! "No fear can hinder now the promises you've made" - How powerful is that lyric? Lord knows I need to be reminded of that daily, if not hourly! Another song I'm absolutely in love with (along with the artist) is "Brave" by Sara Bareilles. Whenever I need a little pick-me-up or a kick in the butt to get going, this song is one of my go-tos. If you need some encouragement, speak up! If you've got encouragement to share, speak up! I want to see everyone I know and love be brave in their own way.
I think I was probably 30 before I realized that music speaks to me in a much different way than it does to other people. My whole life, I would take it VERY personally when someone would dislike or mock a song that was dear to my heart. I would also get annoyed and upset if my boyfriend (or later, husband) was singing a song that talked about cheating or something that I just didn't find very flattering or becoming of them, me or our relationship. Stop judging me, I know now that reacting like that isn't normal.
I come from strong music-loving stock. My maternal grandparents and my mom both loved going dancing and loved good music, hymns, variety and entertainment. My paternal grandmother was in the church choir, my grandfather was a drummer and a whistler and my father was an excellent singer guitar player. I grew up with music all around me. By the age of 6 I was in in the Junior Choir at our church and I remember days on end in my youth where I would sing everything - yes, everything.
Music has also brought me some of my very best friendships. From church, High School and College Choirs, theme park and musical theatre cast members, to local bands and worship teams, and an enormous amount of some of my most favorite people in the world were brought into my life by a mutual love and admiration of *NSYNC and my ability to write HTML code (yes, seriously - I'm also wrapped in my *NSYNC throw while writing this). Music has also given me a way to commune with my God that fills my soul in a way that I never knew was possible.
I was 17 years old the first time I set foot in Columbia Foursquare Church in Richland, Washington. There was a youth revival explosion going on there, and a few of my friends from choir had joined their youth group and invited me. Growing up Lutheran, I had never heard clapping in church (check that, my grandma's "rockin" southern baptist church clapped... it was anything but rockin, in reality, but they did clap) let alone a band that had drums and electric guitars. People were lifting their hands and dancing. I was enthralled, and once I felt my human apprehensions leave me, I was all in.
You see, music is worship for me. It's time for me to use the incredible gift that He has given me - I hope that doesn't sound as boastful as it looks.. I'll have to write some time about how long it took me to accept that the gift I have is above average on the talent scale. King David wrote and sang songs to the Lord (see: the majority of Psalms), Miriam led the Israelite women with tambourines and dancing as she sang (Exodus 15), Jesus and the Disciples sang a hymn at the end of the Last Supper(Matthew 26:30; Mark 24:26). The page from the book of my life tonight was sitting in the bathtub with my favorite playlist of worship, praise and hymns on, just singing and spending time with my creator.
Music has gotten me through some of the best and worst times of my life. Certain songs take me back to moments in my life instantaneously. Debbie Gibson's "Electric Youth" takes me immediately to my cousin's bedroom, where we would put on concerts. When I hear Chris de Burgh's "Lady in Red" I am 7 years old sitting in front of the TV dreaming of being on the Miss America Stage. Trisha Yearwood's "She's In Love With The Boy" or "Baby, Baby" by Amy Grant put me in the passenger seat of my dad's little yellow car on the way to Walla Walla. Sisqo's "The Thong Song" (not linking that one... wow...) makes me laugh incessantly thinking about Melanie singing on her way to work. Anything by "Vengaboys" makes me think of Tawny and Jessica and hockey games. Natalie Grant's "Held" reminds me of how God brought me through my rape and healed my body and heart. "Everything" by Michael Bublé puts me in the passenger seat of Corey's Subaru, him singing it to me as we would drive back and forth from Richland to Yakima, our relationship brand new. Casting Crowns' "Who am I" was the first song Corey and I ever harmonized together on one of our may Car-eoke sessions. "Fade Into Me" by David Cook returns me to my first few hours as Mrs. Corey Kingman, dancing at our reception. "Imagine/Sing the Wondrous Love Of Jesus" by Amy Grant places me firmly in the pew of that same Southern Baptist Church I mentioned above where we were celebrating that my father didn't have to imagine anymore. Bethel Music's "For The Cross" puts me on the stage at Yakima Foursquare Church, worshipping next to my dear friend, Kelsie. And every time I hear "We Declare" by Foursquare Worship, I'm taken back to the first time we worshipped with the team I am now a part of at the South Campus at the NWD Conference in 2015.
The song that sparked this post tonight was one I categorize in "Oldies but goodies", Steven Curtis Chapman's "Magnificent Obsession" - specifically from the re:creation album. It's a song I've heard and known for years, and it may not be anything like the current worship songs that are catching my ears/heart/soul from Bethel Music/Hillsong/Foursquare Worship, but it was the deepest cry of my heart tonight. "Capture my heart again/Take me to depths I've never been/Into the riches of Your grace and Your mercy/Return me to the cross/And let me be completely lost/In the wonder of the love/That You've shown me" Yup, that about sums it up.
The next song I knew I needed to hear and sing to Him was "I Just Want You" by Sara Bareilles. Ok, so that's not on my deep prayer playlist, but again, it's about what my heart cries when I sing it. My favorite lyric is, "Take it away from me if it's for the best/Somehow I've ended up the head of this/Freight train that isn't mine/You, I just want you" How often do I lay something at His feet and immediately pick it back up because I don't have the instant answer I'm used to because we can ask Siri/Google anything at any time? God isn't Siri - and Hallelujah for that, Siri's an idiot most of the time.
Both songs have a very similar message, that made me realize what I need to do to realize my "word" this year - TRUST. I just want my Jesus. I want His word in my heart, I want His love flowing out of everything I do and say, I want to serve Him, I want Him to be enough for me and for His praise to be on my lips. Everything else is bonus, He gives me more than enough and I am content with that. That's the goal, isn't it? Well, it is for me.
But that's just not going to happen yet. That's one thing that happens to me when I am in a season of writing - I can' t focus on tasks until I get my thoughts out of my fingers.
Last night I spent most of my time putting some finishing organization touches on my office. It's not 100% done, but it doesn't look like a tornado hit it anymore, either. I got to thinking as I was making sure that my business materials for tomorrow night's party were in order. I am so incredibly blessed. Not that I don't know that, or that I'm not thankful for it every day, but sometimes it just hits you.
I have a partner who makes enough to provide for our needs without me having to have a job outside of the home. It hasn't always been like that in our marriage, but right now it is, and that's AMAZING. It has afforded me the opportunity to not only follow my own passion of pure, natural products to be used on our bodies, but to help others branch out and do the same. I have been asked a lot by people who are interested in our new life in Western Washington if I'm working. My usual answer is, "I am! I have a direct sales business and it keeps me pretty busy!" It's always interesting to see their reactions to that.
I know Direct Sales isn't everyone's cup of tea, and that's OK. For a while I thought it wasn't mine, either. I've always been intrigued by the business model, being able to make your own schedule and be your own boss. I tried several other companies through the years. I was a rep for (the now defunct) Sensaria Natural Body Care, they were my first foray into the natural skin care and the direct sales worlds. That was kind of fun because my sister and I were both on the same team and both used and loved the products. However, neither of our businesses got very far off the ground. Not long after I gave that dream up, I was introduced to Arbonne International. WOW - I got a TON of information, education and networking experience in my time with them. Honestly, I think I could've done well if I had been in a different financial position at the time - I couldn't very well sell the products if I couldn't afford to use them myself.
Before we got married, Corey and I decided that trying my hand at a Pampered Chef business would be a good idea. I had a great friend who was my upline and I LOVE to cook. The products pretty much sell themselves, but my network was too small to get started well in Yakima - my market was really saturated with consultants at the time, and I didn't have any recruits. I have a kitchen full of incredible products and still host shows for my friends who are consultants, it just wasn't the best choice for me.
Skip to March 2015. My friend Mary posted on Facebook about a new business venture she had - Natural, Pure, Fresh and Organic skin and body care, and on top of all of that goodness, it was AFFORDABLE. I believed her, she's a very down-to-earth woman with 6 children. I offered to host a party for her, but living 1.5 hours away and her still having a teeny little in need of her being close, Erin Sheeran, her director, came up do pamper the gaggle of women I had in my sitting room that Friday night. I absolutely fell in love with the products immediately. In fact, my wish list was so long that it was cheaper for me to use my hostess credits toward the business kit than it was to purchase everything.
I remember the conversation I had with Corey very clearly. "So, I'm going to sign up, but it's just to get this stuff at a discount, it's only $25 a month in product to get the 25% off discount. I promise I'm not going to do this like I did Pampered Chef." Oh, the things we say when God has other plans for us... I decided that since I had this giant kit of goodies, and the products were so awesome, that I'd go ahead and have a few friends over and see if they wanted to order anything. I very quickly made my first "Jump Start" goal and had friends wanting to host parties with their friends. Weeeellll, maybe I'll do this as a business a little bit...
Cut to March 2017. I wasn't sure how moving would effect my business. I'm happy to say that I am now a Team Leader, with a goal to be a Director by the beginning of 2018. I have several amazing friends and family members on my team all over the state (and beyond!) at varying activity levels (Some $25/month, some $500-$1000/month) and I couldn't ask for better ladies to be surrounded by, mentored by and able to mentor. It hasn't been a rocket-rise of success for me, it's been hard work, blood, sweat and tears. But every step of the way I've been encouraged, lifted up and had confirmations all around that this is the business, field and team that I'm supposed to be in. I don't want to be confined to a schedule that I can't adjust to see my husband more than just in passing, or not be able to take vacation at the same time as him.
My friend Julie (a fellow BossBabe) posted the graphic above on Facebook earlier today with a reminder that she gets about following her dreams. Man, as someone who is following hers right now, and seeing how God is blessing it because I am doing so prayerfully and thoughtfully, not for money or fame, but to educate and help people, it's SO resonating with me!
If you feel like checking out what Lemongrass Spa Products is all about, either hosting or purchasing click HERE, or comment, shoot me a text, FB message or email. If you're interested in seeing if this could be a good option for a business for you, I can help you see if it is, or if it's not, I know a lot of great BossBabe leaders who may be a better fit for you. I'm so passionate about helping other women achieve the life they were born to live and it would be my pleasure to be a part of your story! How can I pray for you and your dreams?
I have been a part of a lot of clubs in my 33 years on this earth. The worst by far is the "My Parent is in Heaven" club. My father passed away two and a half months after we got married. It was sudden, unexpected, and an awful crash course in how to be a mourning adult and keep your young marriage together at the same time. (My husband passed that test with flying colors)
I'll never forget that morning, my husband and his sergeant giving me the news, my legs becoming useless, having to call family members and give them the news. For a while I went into business-mode, having grown up around and working in a funeral home, I knew there were plans to make and documents to sign. I had to contact the Multnomah County Deputy handling this so that I could find out where my dad's body was. We needed to get to Portland. I stood in the shower and bawled. I stood in our closet incredulous, thinking, "How do you choose an outfit to go make arrangements for your dad?!"
I will also never forget the people who reached out to me in those first days and weeks. A lot of it is still a blur. My dear friend Erin offered us a place to stay in The Portland area that night and got me pizza and wings. When we got home the next night, Zach came over just to chill with us. Kristi came over just to sit with me. My cousin and her family made the trip from Seattle to Eugene for the service. And countless others sent cards, texts, Facebook posts and messages. It all was a great show of love that I appreciate to this day. But you know what? It still sucked.
Two parents went to heaven this week of people I love dearly. Even though I never met my friend Peg's mom, I feel like I knew her a little because of the stories I had heard about her for years - my mom had been friends with her growing up, and the stories Peggy tells about her family are epic. Ed I did know. He and his wife were a model of Christian marriage to me, people who adopted me as a surrogate daughter just because I was friends with their kids. Wonderful people who have told me they love me and reached out to support me countless times over the past 20 years.
My heart is broken for my friends in a way that it couldn't be if I hadn't been through it myself. Having the hope and knowledge that we will be reunited with our loved ones in Heaven doesn't change the fact that it hurts and it's hard and that life will never be quite the same. Even Jesus experienced the pain of loss when he heard of his friend Lazarus' death, "Jesus Wept." (John 11:35) Through the next year they will go through emotional changes that they've never felt. They will experience everything in a different way. The good news is, they will get through it, and God will place people in their life to help them do that. I am already praying that my ears are open and my heart is obedient to do whatever He needs me to do for them.
Tonight, to celebrate International Women's Day, I went to Ladies' Night at Puyallup Foursquare Church. Not only did we have the auditorium filled with ladies, but to have us all worshiping our God? It was pretty much AMAZEBALLS - should you say that about church? Meh, I just did.
Tonight Pastor Britney Archer spoke. She's in her 20's, she's no bigger than a heartbeat, but she is so filled with the Spirit of God that it's no wonder why He put her in charge of our new East Campus in Bonney Lake. It was my first opportunity to hear her and she for sure didn't disappoint.
For a long time I didn't have many women friends, it was hard for me to have more than one or two ladies in my life that really meant a lot to me, people I could learn from and pour into as well. The time I spent in Yakima started to turn that around. I had more close women friends than just my sister and a handful of others. This new season here in the South Sound is proving to be even more abundant in the growth of my female community. I've also had quite a few people reach out to me in the past few days to let me know that what God has put on my heart to write in this blog has touched them. I'm so thankful that they've told me that - it confirms that this was a desire in my heart from Him, not from me.
I'm a smart woman. I'm not afraid to say it, I'm not afraid to own it. I know quite a bit about a few different subjects and I'm well educated. I'm very fortunate in that. I live in a country where that is acceptable and encouraged. I'm not ashamed of it, and it's not a bad thing, but it bites me in the butt a lot.
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, there is a surrender that happens. We tell Him that He is our Lord, He is in control, and we know that His plans are the best for us. My father was an alcohol and drug counselor for a time and had sparkly stickers in his office that said, "Let Go and let God." For type-A, organized planners like me, that is much easier said than done. Of course, being a smart woman, and looking back at situations that have turned our well in my life, and can see that happened because I did exactly what those sparkly stickers said.
Case in point: When I was 26 I swore off men. I decided that since my "picker" was obviously malfunctioning that I was quitting. About couple weeks before I turned 27, the Holy Spirit spoke to me while I was complaining about the frequency of the match.com commercials being shown, telling me that my husband would be there. 3 weeks after that birthday, I got a message from Corey, and the rest, as they say (whoever they are), is history.
That's a pretty intense show of how trusting Him is the way to go, right? You'd think it would make trusting Him in other situations easy. Maybe for some people, but not me. I'm stubborn and my brain takes over. I forget about how God saved us from buying a house that would've tied us to Yakima when Corey got promoted and we felt His call to stay. I forget that He put our amazing friends here in Puyallup with a house that had extra room and gave them extra large hearts to take us in for months and months. I forget that He has brought both Corey and I through bouts of depression and PTSD in our lives. For as smart as I am, I sure do a lot of forgetting.
The verse that is often quoted about God's plans is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." That's great! I mean, it's God's Word, so it's good. What strikes me in times when I'm questioning His plan and how His timeframe is not what I'd like it to be comes from the book of 2 Kings, from verse 5, "I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you." Maybe I like
This journey of infertility that we are on is hard, but so is the rest of life. I was telling Corey today as he reassured me that this is just a season we are going through, that I'm ready for a lighter season. We are waiting for a lot of things right now, listening for a lot of answers, looking for direction.
In light of all of that, here's my new prayer, "Heavenly Father, I'm impatient, but you know that. I lose hope, I don't trust You like I should. Help me to hold tight to your promises. Help us to find joy in this season, while we wait and listen. Help us to see You in everything we do. Thank you for the gift of our marriage, for our lives and for never giving up on us. Help us to see every blessing you give us for the miracle it is. In Jesus' name, Amen."
One of the items on my vision board for this year was to start and maintain a blog, so here it is. Well, the start at least. I've felt really compelled to start writing again, now that we're getting settled into the new house.
Last year was for sure a journey for us. It was about this time last year that we were only 75% sure we were going to be moving to Puyallup. Check that, Corey was only 75% sure, I already knew we were moving. Looking back now, it was a whirlwind that seemed to drag on forever while we were living through it, but God was faithful in every step. We live in a home that I only could've dreamed of when I was younger, the transition to living with Corey's mom has gone absolutely swimmingly, and we have grown our friend-base from the amazing two we started out living with to a small group of amazing people we know we can count on to make us laugh and lift us up. Many of those friends we have met through the small-group ministry of our church, Community Group.
I decided to speak up yesterday in our Community Group and admit that I have been feeling depression trying to creep it's way back into my heart and mind recently, and I'm so glad I didn't let my pride get in the way of that. All of the changes in the last year have been really hard for me, and now that most of the change has taken place and the "normal" of not being in Yakima, not being on staff at the church, not having the wonderful friendships within a 20 minute radius and learning a new city and life has hit me hard. Being vulnerable and receiving the prayers of the group, knowing that will continue through the weeks until we meet again was worth it. John 1:5 (ESV) says, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." How very true and reassuring that is. Dear friends, if you have darkness in your life, invite the light to shine on it, for that darkness cannot prevail.
Depression is a liar and a thief and a tool of the enemy. My particular body make-up is prone to Depression because of the chemical imbalances PCOS causes. It looks different on me than some people. It doesn't make me sad or withdrawn at the beginning. I get suspicious, I can't sleep, I take on the negative emotions of others SUPER easily, I fall back into my "little kid place" where I am sure everyone is mad at me and if I make one wrong move I'll be all alone, my thoughts aren't what they should be and they're much harder to shake than when I'm not dealing with depression.
I am beyond blessed to have a partner and husband that understands what depression does, how it lies and the signs of it in me. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have him in my life, in my ear and when I need it, in my face telling me what he sees and the truths I need to hear.
I try to hold to a few key Bible verses that help me. I'll share them here, but feel free to leave your favorite verses that get you through your tough times in the comments.
A 30-something living life in the PNW. Wife, Jesus-follower, Business Owner, Hockey Lover, Craft & Glitter Obsessed.