October 9, 2015

See the Good

Today I watched my sweet daughter bravely face a painful medical procedure.  I am in awe at how brave she is.  When my husband and I walked into the room after it was over, her brave little self had a huge smile on her face.

She amazes me, and I am so proud of her.  At such a young age, she has mastered what has taken me years to get a handle on.  She sees the good in most every situation, even when she knows the situation will hurt.  That is not a skill that comes naturally to me, and I need to remind myself...

September 22, 2015

I am worth this time

Last January I created this Truth card.  It was a time when I realized how important it was for me to take care of me, and one way I can do that is through daily soul work.  I did fairly well in the beginning of the year taking care of me, but over the spring and summer I fell off the wagon.

Spring left me with school activity after school activity to attend.  Our oldest was in 7th grade and our twins were graduating from 5th grade.  The end of the 5th grade year there are a lot of activities going on, including a science fair and 5th grade camp.  We had extra work that needed to be done and the extra activities created more transitions than normal in our family.

Our family's summers are usually crazy hectic, for the most part, in a fun way, but the fun still has a certain element of stress. This year was no exception.

In our city, school gets out at the end of June.  Both of my boys are on the Autism spectrum and change sets them off.  I absolutely HATE the first week that school gets out, and, again, the first week that school begins.  Yes, hate is a strong word.  And I feel strongly about how much I completely dislike those two weeks.  I've tried to change my attitude about them, but the stress runs too high in our family during those transition periods.

Well, summer began as usual - kids arguing over just about everything.  My boys have one meltdown after the next.  My stress level went up and I instantly went into cope mode.

We went camping for 5 days over the 4th of July.  I love to camp, but getting a family of 5 ready to camp, along with the boat ready to go in the water and trying to keep everyone meltdown-free is another story.  By the time we got home we were back into another transition and I, again, went into cope mode.

All three of my kids are in scouts.  My boys went on a couple of weekend trips with the Boy Scouts, and attended a week long Boy Scout Camp.  My daughter attended Girl Scout Day Camp and I worked the cooking station at that Day Camp.  Each of these outings threw our kids back into transition mode.

Then a small crisis happened with my mother after she had surgery.  I had to drop everything and bring the kids to Oregon to care for the issues.  More transitions - this time completely unexpected transitions.

Then, of course, back-to-school... shopping for school supplies and clothes is not easy for my two boys to do.  Clothes shopping for my two skinny, hard-to-fit, boys was rough.

Needless to say, I managed to go through most of the Spring and nearly all of my Summer operating in cope mode and not taking care of myself.  I feel it in my body.  The stress is taking it's toll.  This past week my whole body has been wracked with pain.  It's time to remember how much I need "me" time.  How much I need to do soul work daily.

The end of last summer I ended up hospitalized with Congestive Heart Failure caused by Stress Cardiomyopathy.  This summer I began to wonder if I was headed down that road again.  Now I know - somehow I must stop and take care of me.  Like my Truth card says - I am worth this time.

Dear Renee,  You must start taking time to nurture yourself, no one is going to do it, and the world needs the very best of you.

September 21, 2015

Closed for Restoration

A few years ago a scrappy friend of mine encouraged me to take a class called "Soul Restoration" through Brave Girls Club.  At the time, I didn't quite understand what the class was all about.  With three kids in scouts, sports and robotics, our funds tend to go toward activities for our children.  After that first MOMSnext steering meeting, I contacted my friend and asked her a little more about Brave Girls Club.  We messaged back and forth about it and I considered it - but I wasn't yet sold on the idea.  I just didn't know what to expect and didn't have a clue how life-changing Brave Girls Club courses could be.

A couple of weeks went by and Brave Girls Club offered a compilation class called "Brave Girl Summer Art School."  It was a combination of two classes that Melody Ross and her team had previously developed.  I was excited about this compilation class and became a student.

I loved how the classes focused on art techniques and my desire to learn new techniques kept me coming back daily.  But the overall theme of the class, learning to accept myself for who I am, addressing old fears and learning to face the world with bravery through art and journaling was truly the message I needed to hear.  I finally closed myself for restoration.

My process of facing old hurts began.  I did add "Soul Restoration" into my course list, along with many others.  The courses I have taken have drastically changed who I have become, and they continue to change me today.

Note: All of Melody Ross' Brave Girls Club classes are now available through a single monthly subscription through Brave Girl University.

September 20, 2015


I am a brave girl.  I have been a brave girl for over a year now.  I decided to be a brave girl after a decision to lead crafts for a 2014-2105 MOMSnext group at a local church.  The theme was "Be you BRAVELY."

I recall walking into my very first steering meeting and finding a binder at my seat at the table.  The "Be you BRAVELY" logo was placed into the front cover of the binder.  I had not yet learned what the MOPS theme was going to be that year.  The first thought that popped into my head was that I signed up for the craft leader position during the wrong year.  After all, I felt anything but brave.  Thoughts crossed my mind that I could not do this.  I would be discovered as a fraud - people would learn how un-brave I really was.  How on earth could I teach other moms to be brave, through crafts, when I was barely hanging on in my own personal life.

I muddled through that steering meeting.  I listened to the other women and provided input when asked.  I recall feeling overwhelmed as I climbed into my vehicle at the end.  Tears started to pour down my face - and I knew it was time - it was time to learn how to be brave.  As I drove away I prayed "Please God, PLEASE help me learn to be brave."

Looking back, my prayer to learn to be brave, is similar to my childhood prayer of asking God to help me learn patience.  I'm in my late 40's, and God is still providing instance after instance to teach me how to be patient.  This past year became a whirlwind year where I faced my biggest challenges.  And I began to learn how to be brave.