Ah, Back to Ireland.

2013 was the last time I got the opportunity to visit Ireland. I have been twice for ministry opportunities.

Now, I have the opportunity to return this July.
I.Am.So.Excited.

Each time I go there, I fall more & more in love: with the place, the people, and spreading the Love of God across the ocean.

It’s another great opportunity to spread God’s love across the globe. My biggest passions meet in this: ministry, people, travel, and Ireland. 

So, as you found your way to this blog, please pray with me about ways to support: prayer is greatly appreciated. Of course.

But, if God moves your heart to donate (any help at all is so much appreciated), here are some ways you can do that, too:

  • A “gofundme” option is available.
  • I started an Etsy shop: TinyNepheshArts.  If you are looking to purchase some art, including custom orders, I have some pieces available for sale.

Prayer is always appreciated for sure.
Prayer that God would bring in the finances for the entire team.
That we would make connections, make an impact, and become more globally minded in our living.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me: scentfilledsoul@gmail.com.

Thanks in advance for support and blessing.


I also enjoy the opportunity to pray for those who read my blog. So, as you are praying for my next adventure, let me know below what I can be in prayer for for you. Blessings!

 

Why Tiny?

So, I’ve talked before about my dream to live in a tiny house and travel to do youth ministry. 

I have gone through several stages of what/how/when, all the important questions. But, I know a lot of people wonder about the why…

So, why tiny?

Because there is so much, too much

Too much beauty out there not to experience.
Too many attractions not to see.
Too many amazing people and places to visit & meet.
Too much love out there to stay in one place.

Also, too much pain to only stay and help in one spot
Too much brokenness to only touch one area.

Too many dreams in my heart.
Too many thoughts in my head.
Too many experiences I want to have & places I want to explore.

That’s why tiny.

And, I have BIG news on the Tiny House front…coming soon to a new blog dedicated just to that adventure. I can’t wait to share it with you all!

Choosing Hope

“You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.” – CS Lewis

There have been so many times in my life when things aren’t exactly as I’ve expected….and recently, I find myself in a whirlwind of times like that…

I feel like therapy sometimes lacks/neglects an integral piece – connection on an “I’ve been there” basis.

I love what I do (about 95% of the time) and most of that 5% of time is made up of paperwork no one told me I would have to do & I hate it…but a small portion of that 5% is that piece that I feel is missing:

Our professional decorum often prevents us from getting further down into the muck of people’s lives with them, giving them a glimpse into what we’ve struggled with.

I know my kiddos (the older ones, especially) have a hard time connecting with me at times, because all they see most days is the successful counselor who got a 3.8 GPA in high school, graduated, went to college & grad school, and has lived a great life. They see someone well put together & seemingly without struggle.

What I never get to show anyone – what regulation dictates I keep to myself is:

The success was born out of many sleepless nights, when I did homework, read, or watched TV only because I was not going to sleep anyway.
That many nights are still spent this way – how most of my creativity & studying comes about.
The amount of nights tears stained my journals, all with similar messages: God, why is this my life? Don’t you love me? Why am I so worthless and unlovable?
The work was all about being enough just in who I was, and I could never seem to get that.
The only reason there are no physical scars is because by the time I knew what self-harm was all about, I had one “acceptable” form, along with knowing how to do it without leaving any marks. So the scars only live in my soul.
The amount of days the only reason I made it out of bed was out of anxiety for what people would think if I didn’t…and some days even that wasn’t enough.
That I was so traumatized by my middle school experience I have since never set foot in the school building – and am not sure I ever really want to.
That I cried so many tears in my high school – their high school – and didn’t know if the future would be as bright as I always pretended it would be.
That the only reason I am where I am today is because I refused to quit fighting, even on my darkest days. I chose to believe in hope and then live each day as if that belief were true.
The bullies didn’t stop, the pressure didn’t loosen, and the pain was with me day in & day out, as I made the choice to do something different, hoping one day it just wouldn’t be there any more.
That faith was more of a fight most days than a given…and it is that precise faith & walk with Christ that is the only reason I am where I am today. He didn’t give up on me, even when I was ready to give up on myself (and on Him).

I mean, my clients & my kiddos know a little bit of my story, but professional guides would limit what they have access to; and in the therapy world, that makes sense.
So, I will stick with this, as this is the path I am currently on…

I just don’t know if this is the exact place God will always have me.
As a matter of fact, I know it’s not. I know His call for my life involves so much more.

But, right now, He is teaching me so much where I am. And, for that, I am thankful.

I am also praying for doors to open and opportunities to present themselves for me to walk in others’ mess & share the hope that I’ve always had, but sometimes had to consciously choose. I am praying that, even with the proverbial “hands tied,” I get to be hope in a hopeless world, as I am tapped into the ultimate source of hope.

I wish more of my clients would understand Lewis’ words, and that I would also embrace them…instead of feeling “stuck” in the choices I’ve made that got me here, I’d like to trust that after I’ve mastered this step, lived this dream, God has another one ready & waiting; and the same for those around me…

Church that isn’t “Church”

Today, I visited a new church – in an art studio. Bringing the number of interesting places I’ve attended church services up by yet another. The list includes:

  • Churches
  • Night Club
  • Movie theater
  • Art studio
  • Grand Hotel Ballroom (Disney’s California Grand Hotel)
  • Homes
  • School Gyms
  • 100+ year old school house
  • Cafe’
  • Camp
  • Parks

And I love it!

I love visiting different places and seeing how God is moving and working. I enjoy seeing the needs, seeing things I can pray for & be a part of.

And, honestly, I love seeing how pastors of small church plants keep their hope despite hardships & opposition.

This church I visited today, in the community I grew up in, was small. Welcoming. And, encouraging.

The pastor & his wife, who I see around often, have clearly been called by God, and have bravely answered that call. They have seen some recent hardships, but have not let that dissuade them.

It’s amazing how when we step out into something God calls us to the enemy tries to keep us down. The enemy’s best friend is our comfort, fear, and

When I encounter people like these pastors, at this church, at the small churches in California I have been blessed to be a part of – pastors & ministers who step out in faith, whether with great support or little – I get excited & hope for that kind of bravery myself.

I’ve alluded to that desire to build my Tiny Home & travel doing creative youth ministry.

And, anyone who reads this blog knows that writing is a part of my passion…

But, my need for security often overcomes the bravery that I so wish for and pray to have.

So, I am so thankful God has placed so many of these brave souls in my life, as leaders, teachers, and friends. I am so thankful that, so far, many of them have wanted nothing more for me than to follow where God leads, even if the rest of the world thinks the vision is crazy. I am so thankful for the richness each of them has added to my life, shaping how I live, pray, and worship.

I will take their cue & continue to move forward in the dreams God has placed in my life.

And, if you are in the Oklahoma City area and looking for a welcoming church, I know of several.

The one I visited this morning is Fusion Church of Yukon. The pastors there are so welcoming, so full of life and vision, and really love people in such a unique way. I recommend checking them out if you are new to the area, looking for a smaller & welcoming church, and/or are looking for a church that is kid friendly. They really show a great heart for the kids of their congregation.

During my visit with this church, I met some great people. I had some incredible conversation with the pastors. And, I found a gluten-free, tiny house loving friend. I look forward to visiting again in the future.

I can’t wait to visit more places that God opens up to me, and I can’t wait to pour what I learn from them into what God is doing into my life.

Also, look out for more of my Tiny House journey – it’ll happen, I have faith 🙂

 

Why I Should Probably Work Part-Time When I’m a Mom Someday…

So, I have a few days of #SingleLife to make up for that I missed during October. So, here goes one:

Today, I was struck by the thought: When I become a mom, I should probably work part-time…

And, I’ll tell you why.

If I work full time:

  • Forget getting breakfast in the morning; my kids won’t even be on time to school, like, ever…I will not be able to get up early enough to get them off to school on time, much less fix them the breakfast they need as growing kiddos. For instance, this morning? I woke up 20 minutes before needing to leave the house, & I ate a previously cooked egg as my breakfast. That’s right. Egg. Singular. So, no, that’s not going to work…
  • Speaking of food, I really do enjoy cooking. I mean, did you see the lovely meal I cooked yesterday? (See it here). But, I can’t be Suzy Homemaker every day when I work 10 hours a day (I know, that’s  more than full time – welcome to the educational, mental health, and medical fields…) So, tonight’s dinner? Left over chili, chips, and chocolate. I can’t feed that to my family every night. I mean, I could, the chili was great, gluten free, & I made it from scratch. But, still, my future family deserves more. I’d like to be able to cook more than once a week for them.
  • Time. I have a tendency to be a work-a-holic who has trouble saying no or putting boundaries on my work time. But, when I work part time – talking like, 30 hours or less, I’m much better at it. I want more time with my family when I get one. I feel it’s best for them, and I know it will be best for me.
  • My creativity & passion severely suffer with a full time job. I face a greater threat of burn out & stress, losing myself in helping others & realize how hard this world has it. Thank God He’s in control and I’m not…now, if only I could tap that creativity & passion, brining back my motivation to write a story to completion.

If I’m a stay at home mom:

  • I’ll. Get. Bored. Now, I’ve worked with kids all my life. Kids of literally all ages. I know that they are entertaining, a handful, a full time job in and of themselves. But, I also know, without adult interaction, I will get bored. My co-workers & I sometimes go into one another’s offices to have conversations once the kiddos head home, simply because we’ve spent all day talking to kiddos. So, I need a grown up outlet.
  • It’s kind of impractical in today’s world for everyone to be a one income household, and I suspect, we will not be a family blessed with that ability. I know my husband will likely need some support from me, financially, even if just to help pay off my student loan debt.
  • I have student loan debt. That’s not my future husband’s responsibility, it’s mine. I followed God’s call, and I bear that weight. If he want’s to help, great, but it’s my responsibility and mine alone.
  • I have student loan debt from getting a degree. One I’ve worked my entire life for. I can’t imagine living a life where that get’s pushed to the side, never used again.

So, the answer seems to me: part time working mom. It’s really the only way for me, I’d guess.

So, now, the prayer begins that I can be that kind of mom when the time comes. Balancing work & life. Bringing Glory to God by the life I live, and honor to my husband in all I do.

Final note: For all you rockin’ moms out there: Keep up the good work! I read your blogs, I see how hard you are all working. Breast feeding moms & formula moms. Working moms & stay at home moms. Home cooking moms & eat out moms. Crunchy, traditional moms & techno, modern moms. Creative arts moms & sports moms. You’re all working really hard for your loved ones, and it’s great! I genuinely can’t wait to be in the mom club one day.