Tag Archives: renew

Surround Yourself

Who and what do you surround yourself with?

In a world inundated with negativity, it is crucial to surround yourself with the opposite, positivity. I’m not saying we should walk on a delusional path, ignorant to the realities of the world. I am simply saying that it is important we do not transform to them.

Even the Bible warns about it:

“Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”- 1 Corinthians 15:33

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” – Proverbs 13:20

and one of my favorites:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2

But it’s not just about people, it’s about everything. What is your mind seeing every day? Whatever it is, it is setting up a platform on which you will focus.

Living most of my life with incredible anxiety, I know this all too well. The vicious cycle that captures our minds like prey. This was most recently experienced after my daughter was born. While I couldn’t admit it at the time, I suffered from postpartum anxiety which teamed up with the post traumatic stress disorder that still lingered from my son’s anaphylactic reaction years before.

During this time, the last thing I needed was more negativity, but it was everywhere. Every other post on Facebook had it. The news that was on television. The news that people told me. What I was google searching… what I was searching for… what I was reading… turned into what I was thinking… It. Was. Everywhere.

Until I had a huge wake up call, I was choosing what to surround myself with. Sure, it was all out there, the negativity our society sometimes seems to sickly crave, the accidents we can’t turn our eyes from. However, it was my own choice if I looked or turned away to something else.

So I decided then during a session of breastfeeding my daughter I would gradually take control back from this vicious cycle once and for all.

That was when I started to google search positive quotes and song lyrics, leaving them on my phone to see when I went to text. Or when I would try to search up something fearful, I would see Bible scriptures of hope in the search engine and screen, then reminding myself to put the phone down. I started to plant seeds of positivity everywhere… my phone, my phone cover, my keychains, my computer screens, my ID holder, my classroom, etc.

Unlike the keys we must carry to get where we need to go each day, we do not need to carry the weight of the world’s negativity with us. Instead, learn to surround yourself with positive people who empower you and your life with reminders of all that is good in this world. Because the truth is… there really is sooo much good, just waiting to be seen.

There is so much beauty in the world if you train your eyes to see it. And if for some reason, you don’t see it… create it, become it, be it! That is why I embrace the mess because it is surrounded by goodness.

Scripture Strength

One of my favorite scriptures that hangs above my daughter’s crib since before she was born is Proverbs 31:25: “She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” 

 

_She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future._..png

Every night before bed, we have prayed this scripture over Madison since birth. Interestingly enough, it fits her little, but big personality perfectly.

Isn’t it what we all hope for our daughters!? For our youth!? For our future?!

To be strong and respectable in a world that often tries to strip that from us…

To laugh through life not allowing worldly fears to steal that from us in an attempt to hold us back from who we are meant to become…

To stand confident in how we are beautiful just the way we are no matter what makeup and filters lie to us about …

And those imperfections that make is human, are perfectly designed to make us just that, beautifully and wonderfully made…

At only two, Madison is already so strong-willed and decisive, which makes some moments quite challenging. And she is quite fearless and independent too (The sprained foot, giant knot on her forehead and slight bruise under her eye, all within a month and a half of each other, were proof of that.) So as we continue to guide her and maybe even lead her down the stairs for now, we are confident that she will continue to be just that: strong, confident and of course, kind. For those qualities define true beauty and what we want for her.

Interestingly enough in reciting this over Madi, I didn’t realize at the time the overwhelming and uplifting effect all of this was also having over me. It’s amazing to see how much change can happen over 2.5 years. How much I’ve changed! And I’m not talking about those few added pounds that came and made a home in my hips over that time. Instead, I’m talking about learning the beauty of them. I’m talking about the beauty and strength that comes from having a daughter.

But that strength doesn’t just come from having kids, it truly comes from having a purpose. It comes from praying and asking God to reveal and confirm that purpose. It comes when we are walking in that purpose, His purpose for our lives.

So on the days when I am feeling worn down and like I need a break and more time, it is nice to know I still have the strength to get me through. And it’s even more empowering to know, she has it too.

 

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*It’s also on my phone case too, thanks to my thoughtful husband.

 

What are You Powered By?

In a life that tries to drive at 100 miles per hour, energy-wise it is often difficult to keep up. In fact, with balancing kids, work, and everything else, I am often asked, how do you find enough energy?

Honestly, there was a time when I was burnt out, and just going through the motions.   (A life of anxiety will do that to you.) I was emotionally and physically exhausted. However, once I broke free from the anxiety, it was more than a breath of fresh air, it was a new life. 

Now, there some days that I do feel exhausted but it is easy now to differentiate between physical exhaustion and just needing to slow down a bit.   It is all about slowing down these days…  in fact, it’s more about balancing my energy and learning how to best disperse it.

Since I don’t drink coffee, I cannot use it as a power source.  Instead, I have learned a few wonderful ways to maintain a healthy level of energy. No more highs and definitely no more crashing…. it’s all about balance.

Here are my sources of energy:

  1. Prayer: It will always my number one.  When I started to stress, I try to catch myself and pray.   I start each morning with prayer, reading the Bible, and writing.   All of these empower me to face the day positively and courageously.   A lot of my energy comes from this.   “Surely, God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” – Psalm 54:4
  2. Wolfberry: One of my favorite products by Young Living is Ningxia Red.   This supplement supports whole body wellness and sustains energy naturally. Even my husband enjoys an ounce or two of this drink.
  3. Kombucha: It has been noted that the gut is considered to be the “second brain.”  In fact, a lot of your immune system is located in your gut. Therefore, taking care of it is very important.   Kombucha has many benefits aside from immune health including being a source of energy.  My favorite is ginger; however, more and more options continue to emerge. Once again, my husband has become a fan of this source as well.
  4. A morning run, jog, walk, workout session:  This is such a huge source of energy for me.  Pairing this exercise with the right foods helps to ensure that the balance will be maintained throughout the day.
  5. A green morning shake up: Get that blender out (Vitamix in our case) and mix those fruits, seeds, nuts, and veggies up into an energizing morning shake. Here is my favorite recipe.)
  6. Lemon/celery juice: Drinking warm lemon water every morning was something that I started doing over four years ago after my miscarriage and “mysterious” medical issues.  I warm up about 16-20 ounces of warm and then add freshly squeezed organic lemon juice to it and sip before I eat anything.   however, after reading some of Anthony William’s books and resources like Celery Juice I also added in celery juice to my morning routine. 16 ounces of organic celery juice I blend and drink on the empty stomach then wait 15-30 minutes to eat.  I have been doing this:
    1. lemon water – Wait 30 minutes
    1. Celery juice – Wait 30 minutes then eat breakfast (However, I just recently switched this up and start with the celery juice instead.)
  7. Diffusing: No matter the mood or day, I can find the perfect oil to diffuse from joy to valor to even EN-R-GEE itself, they all life my spirits.
  8. Relationships: Who are we kidding? Relationships are exhausting or at least they can be… however, they can also be empowering.   That is why it is important to make sure to invest enough time and more importantly, love into our valued  relationships because they really do give us strength, energy, and life.
  9. Fresh air:  A friend and I made it our goal to go outside and walk during our Friday lunches.   While life got too crazy and this stopped for awhile, we are bringing it back. Get outside even on those frigid days.   Just breath in the freshness of pure air, God’s goodness at work.  It is one of the best sources of energy.
  10. Sleep: Get to sleep early and wake up early.   It truly makes a difference!

There was a time in my early 20s that I would travel around with a frozen bag of peas to help reduce the bags under my eyes (no joke…a little overboard … but then again that was me during my early 20s)  However, even as I near 40, frozen peas are long gone as they are not needed… even on my makeup free face.  Finally, my coffee mug may still remain empty; but I have a few other sources of energy up my sleeve… 

 

Where do you get your energy from? What are your main power sources?

‭‭Above the Noise
Proverbs‬ ‭3:1-8‬ ‭

When night falls
darkness tries to steal
do not forget His teachings,
but keep His commands in my heart,
for they will prolong
my life many years
and bring me peace and prosperity
for they make stand strong.

In a crazy world
it gives me pure and utter joy
to know that I come
from something so complete
from a truth above all else
where His voice I hear clearly
where His plan I trust
above the noise
it is where peace
is what I meet.

Let love and faithfulness never leave me;
bind them around my neck,
write them on the tablet of my heart.
Then I will win favor
and a good name in the sight
of God and man.
Hearing His voice over the others
and following it
walking though what I do not yet understand.

In a crazy world
it gives me pure and utter joy
to know that I come
from something so complete
from a truth above all else
where His voice I hear clearly
where His plan I trust
above the noise
it is where peace
is what I meet.

Trust in the Lord with all my heart
and lean not on my own understanding;
in all my ways submit to Him
and he will make these paths straight.
Do not be wise in my own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to my body
and nourishment to my bones.
This is where He always provides.

In a crazy world
it gives me pure and utter joy
to know that I come
from something so complete
from a truth above all else
where His voice I hear clearly
where His plan I trust
above the noise
it is where peace
is what I meet.

-JK


© Jennifer Kosuda and The Art of a Messy House (theartofamessyhouse.com), 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Kosuda and The Art of a Messy House with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Be Who You Needed

In many ways, this quote has become my motivation this year. I could spend hours, if not days, talking about what I lacked and needed growing up. The struggles that almost took my life time and time again as a child, adolescent and young adult. I could point fingers and place blame on person after person for why I was the way I was, why I hated myself for so many years despite having so much to be thankful for.

But forgiveness allowed me to stop the useless finger pointing and take on the new challenge, applying to every part of my life.

“Be who you needed when you were younger.”

And it has truly changed the way I breath, the way I live, the way I love.

So who did you need? What did you need? What do you still need? Turn to the Word, pray for the strength and then do this very thing. Become who you needed. Become who you need. Become who the world needs. For there is beauty in becoming who you need … in becoming who you are meant to be … amongst the mess.

Judgment

 

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According to the dictionary, to judge is “to form an opinion or conclusion about something or someone.” The reality is judgments, good and bad, are thrown at us every day whether we see, know or admit it. And that’s not going to change, although I’d like to think that most people in this world are really good. Judging is part of human nature. However, it does not need to affect us in a negative manner.

But that’s the tricky part: it’s a two-step equation that starts within.

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Equation:

Rewire + Deflect = PEACE

Rewire your own judgments  + Deflect others at you = PEACE

Peace also includes learning to not compare yourself to others and not taking things to heart which is definitely an area I struggled with for a long time…

Okay, once again, I can’t lie. I’ve always been the hyper-sensitive girl who cried at movies, many songs, at criticism, and even if I got in trouble… (which was rare.) Take for instance that day in Mrs. Fritzinger’s fourth grade science class after I let Anne copy my answers in the bathroom before class and got caught, the tears overflowed like a flood.

Sensitivity plus the fact that I was hyper-aware of those around me and their feelings, created quite a time bomb waiting to explode for years. I can taste the saltiness of those thousands of times when I tried so hard to swallow away the tears, instead of giving in to their currents.

Still, I was always sensitive and I have always wore my heart on my sleeve. The only difference now was I embrace it and use it as my strength. Empathy was a quality I was blessed with and when I could not control it, cursed with. I’d like to think now though after some insights, it’s mostly a blessing…

It is ALL about perspective.

So let’s jump ahead to motherhood…or rather parenthood. Judgments are everywhere! I’ve been guilty of being sleep deprived, overwhelmed and unprepared. Oh  and sometimes, or most times, my kids’ jackets are not zippered as we run into daycare. I see the watching eyes.

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Around when Madison was six months old, I was really at some of my lowest times emotionally. However, my children brought me joy except those days that turned into screaming match after screaming match.

And it had been one of those days, but I needed to hit up the store and get out of the house despite the chaos. In preparation for a party, I was missing one ingredient so I packed up the kids into the car and went for a “quick trip” to Shoprite. Quick was where I was wrong.

As I pulled up, I heard an explosion in the backseat so I set up a changing station in the trunk as my son stood next to me in the parking lot. (It never fails! Why does Mother Nature always call my kids at the store?)  To add to the moment, TJ had been screaming about forgetting his buddies aka army of stuffed animals at home. Bad mama! So lots of yelling and crying commotion as I took Madison out of the car to find out my next “surprise.”

Let’s just say the diaper had not worked.

It. Was. Everywhere.

I striped her of everything. She was naked except from her new diaper. There was a mess everywhere. It was then that I realized I had forgotten a change of clothes aaaaaand had no bags to put everything in.

Bad mom again!

I searched around. Dozens of people walked by me. I would say, “Excuse me.” All I wanted was a bag from someone’s double bagged groceries.

No one stopped.

No one looked.

And I’m pretty sure even though I’d hate to judge …

everyone heard.

On the verge of tears, I remembered that I had a blanket in the back seat and decided it was warm enough to use the blanket and diaper to wrap up my daughter and go into the store. My son was hysterically laughing now, talking about how his sister was naked under the blanket at the store. I wanted to laugh too but my anxiety was sky high.

To say the least, I got a lot of looks.   Right as we were going to the self check-out line, one person commented on how adorable they both were.  Instead of thanking her,  I quickly jumped to defend myself...

…from what?

“Adorable and naked. We had an accident in the car and I had to run in for one item. Mother of the year over here.” I made a joke about it which she laughed at as she walked away smiling.

(TMI on my part but I feel like parenthood unleashes a lack of filter or at least, it did with me.)

Had she even been judging? Had anyone been throwing negative stares? Or was it my own perception? Did it even matter?

Then, let’s flashback into time when TJ was 7.5 months old and diagnosed with 21 possible allergies. Due to his severe anaphylactic reaction to yogurt, he was required to eliminate all of them. I had been a new mom and strongly committed to breastfeeding him for many reasons. So I quickly decided that I would give up those foods too so that I could continue nursing him. It was what I knew in my heart was best for him. I wanted to at least try out the diet to see if it would work. I have never been one to dismiss something before I tried it. While the diet free of gluten, oats, tomatoes, nuts, peanuts, eggs, sesame, and dairy was difficult enough, the hardest part of it all were the judgments and isolation that came with it for those six months.

During those months, TJ was always sick so we cancelled on a lot of plans.  And when he wasn’t ill, I didn’t want to go to weddings or parties anyways. It was too hard to try to defend why I was doing what I was doing.

At that time, I had it all wrong though.

I had no one to defend myself to.

No one to answer to.

I knew that it was the right thing for TJ and knew it would benefit him in the long run. So why did I find it so hard to let go of what others thought and just live in the moment…

happily…

You would think most people would have been supportive.  Yet, do you know how many people would come to me and make comments about it like …

– I would never do that…

– I must be selfish because I would it consider it…

– Why are you doing this to yourself?…

The questions and comments came from so many people. And those were the ones, I actually heard. The Lord only knows the ones that were said behind my back.  It was such a sensitive time for me and I had the totally wrong perspective.

Looking back, I think many of these people were trying to be supportive but it was not the type of encouragement that I needed…

Not judging or at least I’d like to think so…

One person who always supported me was my husband. He knew my heart but he also always reminded me that it was always going to be my choice when I wanted to stop nursing and the diet. Yet, I still felt isolated at any social events I attended as I felt that people were judging what I was eating and what I was not eating, saying why they would never do what I was doing. It was an isolating cycle that I just kept running into. It was easier to isolate myself than face people’s opinions…

until I realized …

none of those judgments matter …

None! …

only God’s …

Food is everywhere! Socially, it is such a huge part of our culture. Through the elimination diet, I learned a feeling, an emptiness that no one deserves to feel because I allowed it to become like that. I learned what I never wanted my son to feel regardless of 50 allergies, 3 or none. It made me learn and devise strategies, recipes, and a lifestyle that would foster the complete opposite for son, future daughter, students, etc. It made me embrace inclusion, acceptance and advocacy in a way that protected every individual.

They say don’t judge a book by its cover but the reality is … they are… so accept it (deflect it) … but remember YOU write(rewire/renew) the story within… so make it good!

The best part is … no one judgment matters other than God’s, so embrace the stares as compliments, the questions as encouragement ….and smile back, letting your Mama/Dada strength shine through. I promise it will change you forever…

 

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Just Before Dawn

Just Before Dawn

After the darkest hour

comes the new dawn

comes where it all changes

revival to a world

where smiles form in the creases

of the new day’s yawn.

Just before dawn

the darkest hour of day

yet it stands in the knowing

in the praising

in the promise

that light is just hours away.

Even in the pits

there is a peace

there is a love

there is a hope

given to all who accept it in

the power, the light, the promise

that must keep burning within.

Just before dawn

the darkest hour of day

yet it stands in the knowing

in the praising

in the promise

that light is just hours away.

Not as the world gives

not as hearts can be troubled

not as the night fills with fear

for just before dawn

the light is still so very near.

Just before dawn

the darkest hour of day

yet it stands in the knowing

in the praising

in the promise

that light is just hours away.

-JK

For more on this: turn to John 14:27


© Jennifer Kosuda and The Art of a Messy House (theartofamessyhouse.com), 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Kosuda and The Art of a Messy House with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Sunday Motivation