Thursday, January 3, 2019

One Word 2019

Hey,  y'all! I wanted to do a quick little piggy-back to my last post about my goals and intentions for 2019. If you followed me over the years, you know I usually choose a "word of the year," and this year is no different. I feel like this word fully wraps up what I need to do to accomplish each of those intentions. 

The word is focus.

I want to focus on my priorities. I want to focus on my family. I want to focus on my faith. I want to focus on my finances. I want to focus on my health. I want to focus on knocking out my courses toward my ministry degree. I want to focus on what's important to me, and quiet the noise of everything else that distracts me from accomplishing my goals. 

This word just came to me as December was winding down, and I was immediately confident that this is my word. In years past, it took a lot of thinking and deciding and mind-changing to come up with my word of the year, but this year I was immediately sure, which excites me because I feel like it will really resonate and stick with me throughout 2019. 

If you think one word to focus on throughout the year is something that will help you accomplish your goals for the year, I highly recommend you check out the "One Word That Will Change Your Life" devotional plan on the YouVersion Bible app. It's a 4 day plan that really helps you work through choosing your word.

Until next time, 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Reflections and Goals for 2019

I've been a wife for about 10 1/2 years and a mother for almost as long. We have moved multiple times before finally settling back down recently in our hometown just 3 doors down from my in-laws. We've relied on God the entire time for direction, and when there have definitely been some "I don't know what You're doing here, God, but I trust you" moments, for the most part I felt pretty secure in what my role was and how I was supposed to walk it out, however hard it may be. And that's just the truth - this stay-at-home mom thing, it's HARD, y'all. Add in homeschooling and you've got a recipe for burn-out. (Just keeping' it real.)

Burned out as I may be, those things are still a priority in my life. I don't care that it's hard. I know God called me to it and I want to walk it out, but I find I was trying to walk it out they way I saw other people walking it out. I think I've come to a realization that if I walk it out differently than "Miss Perfect" on Youtube, that's totally OK! That's the beauty of homeschooling, right?! You do the things and make the choices that work best for your family, not someone else's.

I know that's hard. Trust me! I am not in any way a "keeping up with the jones" kinda gal, but I would be lying if I said I didn't fall prey to comparison and all its lies. I can't help but beat myself up when my kid isn't reading as fast as that kid from church or when I don't have it all together like another homeschool mama I know. I have spent the majority of this school year feeling so guilty and defeated, and I've decided that has to stop! It will all be ok. It'll be ok if we don't get to every book on the shelf. It'll be ok if my kid needs a little extra time to grasp phonics or long division. It'll be ok to say no every once in a while. It'll ALL be ok!

All the reflection and self-realization that I've been doing as we come to the end of 2018 and are looking ahead into 2019, I've decided to set a few goals for myself. Now, these aren't "New Years Resolutions" but more like choices to better adapt to our current season of life.

My first goal is to practice self-care. This is something I often put on the back burner, and I'm realizing that when I am exhausted and overwhelmed, my children and my husband don't get the very best version of me. They are just getting what I'd compare to burnt leftovers, which nobody enjoys. I want my family to feel peace, joy, happiness, etc. when we are together! I don't want my stress and often times foul mood to poison our days together! I plan on setting aside some time to do things that destress me and bring me joy. Things like reading good books, bible journaling, writing, working out, meeting up with friends for coffee and a good chat. I know if I take time to pause more often, the rest of the time won't feel so draining.

My second goal is to eliminate all of the current activities and obligations that are unnecessary. Saying no is something I've got to make myself do. Sometimes it may be saying no to a good thing, in order to have a better thing: peace. I have honestly taken on too much, and because of that I am unable to give anything my best, which in turn completely stresses me out. This isn't healthy for me at all, and it certainly isn't being a good example to my kids. I am choosing to do better.

My third goal is to limit social media. For someone who runs a business based mainly through social media, that is hard. Truthfully, though, outside of business stuff, I feel like a social media fast would do my brain and my heart a lot of good. I plan to pursue more face to face interaction instead of through a computer/phone when I have a need for human connection. I am sure that not only I will benefit from this, but friends and family as well. I'm pretty excited at the thought of shutting out the world's noise so that I can experience MY world more attentively.

And lastly, my fourth goal is to change up our school days to make our learning more fun and efficient. My middle child is having a tough time in school, mainly due to some visual processing issues which make it hard to remember things she sees. It's hard to teach phonics and reading to someone who cannot remember what she is seeing. I've got to find a few more creative ways to help her remember her letters and sounds, and it's something I will be passionately researching over our holiday break so that when we start back in January, it will be like a fresh and exciting start for her. I'm sure the other children will be excited for some fun and new activities for school as well. If I can make it more like fun and less like work, I feel like it has a better chance of sticking. This is top priority for me.

All of those things are hopefully not only doable but also successful for the coming year. I have some business related goals as well, but I will share those in another post soon.

Let me know if you have any goals you plan on working on for the coming new year.

Until next time,

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"You Should Have Been" : Stop measuring yourself by someone else's definition of success.

Making the choice to be a stay-at-home, homeschool mom is definitely counter-cultural these days, though this choice of lifestyle is beginning to gain momentum as of recent. It still seems to shock or even almost offend people when the topic arises of staying home and raising my own kids by choice.

I can't even tell you how many times I am asked, "But, why?"  There are a select few that celebrate with me the blessing it is that I'm able to stay home with my kids, but others definitely act completely appalled that someone would make this choice for any other reason that financial necessity.

The thing I hear most often is, "You should be a [fill in the blank]," or "You would have made such a wonderful [blank]." In a lot of cases, those things would definitely be true, or at least fall within a realm of possibilities. Being someone who always excelled academically, it seems like "such a waste of potential" to certain people that I am not using my talents and abilities in the way that they think I should.

The most often thing people say to me to fill those aforementioned blanks is, "You should be a teacher. You'd be so great at it" This is the statement that makes me laugh and I usually respond with, "I am! And yes, I'm pretty darn good at it!" (I could go on a whole tangent about actually teaching versus classroom management from my elementary education major days in college, but that's another post for another day.) I also get writer/journalist/cosmetologist/artist/chef and the list goes on. Truth is, I as a person do have quite a few talents and abilities, just the same as another human on the planet. Just because I didn't pursue a particular career field doesn't make any of those strengths or talents null and void, or as I have often heard, "a waste." I use my teaching skills to teach my own children and hopefully pass on the love of learning to them. I use my creative skills through my writing on this blog, graphic design for my church, artistic abilities for bible journaling and for teaching local bible journaling classes. I free-lance as a makeup artist during wedding season, and I love cooking homemade, from-scratch meals to bless and nourish my own family. None of my "potential" is wasted! I may not be collecting a big paycheck each week, but I feel like my lifestyle choice is actually maximizing my opportunities to share these talents while at the same time fostering the type of home life I desire for my family.

I do admit, in my younger days, these types of comments really affected me. I let my self worth be defined by other people's thoughts of me. My friends, that is a recipe for disaster! I struggled for so long feeling like a failure. That, on top of going through the emotional/hormonal rollercoaster of having three babies back to back, had me in quite the ditch of depression for a good length of time. I felt strongly that I had made the right decision for my life and for my family, but I still struggled with how other people viewed me. I want to share with you a few things I realized that brought me out of my slump and that has completely changed my mindset so that maybe if you are feeling those same things, you will be encouraged.

#1. Success is subjective. 
We all define "success" differently. Person A may define success by financial gain, material possessions, and personal station. Person B, (namely me), defines success by growth in wisdom, character, and family unity. Person C may have a completely different definition all together. I stopped judging myself by someone else's definition of success and rather started measuring myself by my own spectrum of success, and it has been incredibly freeing!

#2. Dreams change.
I, for one, do not want to be held up to the dreams I had when I was 16-18 years old. A lot has changed since then, and I'm sure that's the same for you. In a lot of ways, I do not even feel like the same person I was then! If you had known me in my high school years, my idea of what I wanted my life to look like was drastically different than what it is today. I talked all the time about how I didn't ever want kids, and my mind changed regularly about "what I wanted to be when I grew up." I think God has an incredible sense of humor, because not only did I marry and have kids very young, my  desire for children has grown immensely.  As I've grown and gained insight to what I believe to be God's will and purpose for me, I have found a love and passion for motherhood and all that comes with it. So with that, my "dreams" have changed from being self-centered to God-centered and family-centered.

#3. Our worth comes from God, and God alone.
I don't want to sound cliche here, but hang with me. Especially in the social media age we live in, everyone's thoughts and opinions are shoved in our faces on a daily basis. Ladies, tune those voices out! Unfollow the people who post things that discourage you and instead only follow those who encourage and empower and support you. Easy as that! You are not obligated to see everything people post on social media. I've honestly gotten to the point that I unfriend and unfollow people on a regular basis. This doesn't mean I don't like the person or that I don't care about them. You don't have to agree with people to love them, just the same as you don't have to follow people on social media to love them. Satan loves to discourage us, cause us to doubt ourselves, cause us to feel inferior and depressed. He uses any means necessary to get into our heads, and social media is his biggest cannon.  We make it easy for him to attack us! Stop listening to the voices that tell you that you don't measure up, and instead listen to the voice that tell you "you are fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14)

All in all, mommas, I urge you to stop listening to those "should have beens." No matter how sincere and well-meaning those comments are intended, all that comes from them is feelings of inadequacy, so just tune them out. It's taken me a long time to learn this lesson, so I pray it comes much easier for you!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Time For Everything: Time to Write

It's been a while since I've had the urge to pick up the blogger hat and try it on again. I know my desire to write will never be smothered, I just feel like haven't found my perfect outlet. But for some reason, the same instincts that told me to lay blogging aside over a year ago has resurfaced and is now telling me it's time to write. I'm not sure that means I have anything more interesting to say than I did a year ago, but let's give this thing a whirl.

The past year and a half or so has been extremely tough on my little family. We've walked through businesses starting and shutting down, financial highs and super scary lows, relational rollercoasters, obligations and responsibilities above and beyond what we were equipped to handle, and even a recent death in the family. All these things have left me feeling completely drained, emotionaly  bankrupt. I dare not say "rock bottom," but it's not been easy in the least.

Yet even through all this, I feel like I've seen God's hand through each and every little step in our journey. When we have been at our lowest, it was if there was a small whisper of hope to remind us, "God's got this." And He always did! When we thought we were facing our "worst case scenarios," He showed up on our behalf. Things always fell into place just when we needed it, but not before we thought it couldn't get any more desperate.

When I've had all these things that have gone on in my life where God has shown up in a big way, it's hard to keep that to myself. Maybe that's why I feel like I need to write. I'm not sure if we are out of our storm yet or if there is another one just on the horizon, but I do know that no matter what, God is on our side. No matter how many times I fail Him, He is ever faithful!

I'm not sure where this is all going. I just feel like it's time to write, so that's what I'm going to do. Write about anything, everything, but mostly of the amazing things God has done, is doing, and continues to do in my life. I hope that through this messy journey I call life, you can find some encouragement and maybe a giggle or two along the way! Hope to see you back here soon!

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

What is Bible Journaling?

What is Bible Journaling? #illustratedfaith #biblejournaling #journalingbible #journalingbiblecommunity #biblejournalingcommunity #faithart #artworship #ipaintinmybible
By now, if you are a Christian and have been any where on the internet in the past year, I can almost guarantee you've come across Bible journaling in some sort of capacity. Some of you may be thinking, "That's the coolest thing ever!" Others, however, may be thinking, "What in the world is this, and why would anyone want to do it?" If you identify with the latter, today is your lucky day. I've got the answers you've been looking for.

We'll start with the basics.

What is Bible journaling?
Well, that answer is quite subjective, but here's the best way I can describe it for you. Bible journaling is an act of responsive worship. I like to call it "art worship." I've also seen it referred to as "faith art." Think of it as a response to the Lord of whatever you might be reading in the scriptures. It's so much more than mindless doodles or just making the pages look pretty. Just the same way we worship with prayer or song, we can worship Him with our creativity. (Isn't that awesome?!)

What are the benefits of journaling?
I've already pointed out that journaling is an act of worship, but there are other reasons why I think you should give it a try. I personally can attest that journaling brings about a deeper connection with the Word of God. Reading the Bible becomes interactive. To respond with art, you first have to have an understanding of what the scripture is saying. I find myself not just reading the scriptures, but truly studying them and asking, "What does this mean, and how can I apply it to my life?" From these questions, I get my ideas of how to respond and what imagery I want to use to journal. Secondly, I find the process of creating the art highly meditative. When you are creating your artwork based specifically on a certain passage of scripture, you are thinking more intentionally and deeply on that message and connecting with it on a more personal level. I find that journaling also makes memorizing scripture easier because your mind is connecting the scripture with the imagery you are creating, making it easier to recall.

Do I need a specific Journaling Bible?
The answer to that is no. You could technically just use whatever notebook or loose paper you want. I do use an ESV Single Column Journaling Bible, but that's just personal preference. There are so many Journaling Bibles out on the market now, you can surely find one to fit your personal needs. They even have Bibles that already have some artwork in them that you can color in coloring book style if you don't feel comfortable with your own drawing skills. There is something for every person, in almost any translation you prefer, at any price point, regardless of your artistic abilities. The possibilities are endless!

I want to point out that not all Bible journaling is the same. Remember, it's very personal and no two people's bible journals are going to look the same. Some people may not do any artwork, but instead they might use it as a prayer journal and write out their prayers in the margins. Some people use their Journaling Bibles specifically for artwork and use different mediums that may cover the words completely and use a different Bible for their reading or studying. Others, myself included, prefer to use their Journaling Bible as their main Bible for journaling and for reading, so we only use mediums that are translucent so the words are never covered to the point of being illegible. There is no right or wrong way to journal. It's all between you and God.

[Click here to check out my post about my favorite Bible journaling supplies.]

I have been Bible journaling for almost two years now, and if you can't tell, I'm highly passionate about it. Bible journaling has completely changed the way I read and study the Bible and has helped me truly fall in love with the Word of God like never before. If you'd like to take a peek inside my Bible, here's a video I did a few months back of a quick flip-through.

Stay tuned for more Bible Journaling specific posts here on the blog. Also, you can follow me on Instagram @cammorrison as I post my journaling pages regularly. I plan to do an updated flip-through video on Youtube sometime after we get done moving.

Until next time,

Disclaimer: This blog uses affiliate links. Don't worry it doesn't cost you anything, but it helps fund this blog to keep content free. I promise to you that I will never promote any company or product I don't 100% love and believe in. Any reviews or suggestions will always be completely honest. Thanks!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Refining Fire

Truth is, the only word to describe our lives as of late is stressful.

You may know that we have been on the house hunt for quite some time, but the Lord just kept pressing on our hearts that it was time to go "home," as in our home town. Although it seems we barely just got here (even though it's really been a year and a half), and we've made some really great friends and love the church we attend, it just became quite clear to us that if we don't let go of here we'll never be able to see what it is God has for us there. So, after a long house hunt here and many closed doors, we started pursuing the house in our home town that Jake and I have been in love with for several years. Truth is, it's been on the market for quite a long time and every time we'd pass it, we'd dream that we could one day live there. It seems that day is almost here. We're currently under contract and have a closing date. The move is bittersweet, but I'm so ready for it to be over and done with. We'll miss our friends and church family here, for sure, but we're confident this is what is "meant to be."

All that being said, if you've ever purchased a home before, the process is stressful. And since we are self-employeed, the process of applying for a mortgage loan is extremely complicated and frustrating to say the least. I certainly pray that this is our forever home and we never have to go through all this again! No joke, it's taken months to finally get here, to see the finish line, and I'm honestly still holding my breath afraid that something will fall through. I know it's all in God's hands, and we're quite confident He's been leading us here this whole time, but that doesn't mean going through it is a walk in the park. Far from it!

So here we are, about to move. The beginning stages of packing have even begun. All the while, we've got several big commitments and obligations we're trying to work around, and we're also trying to homeschool and keep a somewhat legitimate schedule. There's so much on my plate right now, I could just topple right over any minute, figuratively speaking.

This isn't a complaint or rant, though. I've told you all this because I wanted to let you know that God's grace and mercy are getting me through. I struggle with feeling guilty, as if I don't have any right to feel stressed out. I know how blessed and privileged we are to even get to walk through this. Some people may never own their own home. Some people would love to be able to have three precious children to stress them out. Some people would bend over backwards to be able to own their own business no matter what a headache it causes at the bank. I know all this, and it keeps me at times from honestly letting go and give these problems to the Lord. I feel like I don't deserve to be worried or stressed over these situations because other people have it worse than me. Am I the only one who feels this way? Friends, here's what I've realized. Other people's struggles and hurts don't mean our own has to be discredited. The Bible says, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)." It doesn't say, "Give only your worries and cares that are tougher than someone else's to God." He wants all our worries and struggles and fears, even the smallest ones, because He loves us. All that I'm going through, it's just refining fire. He's teaching me to draw near to Him, get on my face before Him, even for the smallest of cares, because He wants a deep, intimate relationship with me. He wants me to know Him and truly rely on Him in everything. I'm learning, too, that by not bottling up my stresses and pretending that I'm "fine," I have more peace and joy, which is exactly what He wants for me, and for all Christians. 

Isn't it awesome, that no matter how long you've been a believer, He is still continuously teaching us? This scripture is one that I've known, even memorized, for YEARS, but today it speaks to me in a new way, and I'm so very thankful.

Here's to learning something new. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Little Did I Know...

A couple of weeks ago I posted about our family's cycle of back to back illnesses. I wish I could say that our sickness ended and we've all been well and good since, but unfortunately that isn't the case. Things have continued, and have even gotten quite a bit worse.

After my last post, we've gone through another round of Hand, Foot, and Mouth and then for the past 7, yes SEVEN, days we've been battling the most awful stomach flu I could ever imagine. It started with just me, but then all three kids quickly got it and we've yet to find relief. As soon as I think we're all better, someone starts throwing up again. (TMI, sorry!)

All I can say is, I called the enemy out, and he came striking back even harder. We're not surrendering, though.

Although I'm a relatively "crunchy" mama when it comes to household cleaning supplies, my Thieves cleaner and my other natural homemade cleaning supplies aren't cutting it. I'm breaking out the Lysol for this junk!

I wish I had a more uplifting and encouraging update, but sadly we're all just barely holding on at this point. I'm going to spend the remainder of my evening disinfecting (again) and tackling this Mt. Everest sized pile of laundry and praying with all my might that we get through tonight with nobody puking in their bed. (Eww...again TMI, but it's my current life.)