Tag Archives: self care

Against the Winds

I’ve never been a big Science person. Sure, I find some of the information and discoveries to be amazing; however, reading, writing, math and even art have always been more of my thing. But now I have a son who has a mind fascinated by science and engineering. So these concepts that I once found little interest in, I now find myself wanting to learn.

One concept that I read and learned more about this past year was the fact that planes take off against the wind.

My reading was inspired by Henry Ford’s quote, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

Most people, including myself believe, it has to do with resistance. However, after some reading, it has to do with this being the way it requires less acceleration to get to a certain speed.

Basically it is the way to higher altitude using less time and less speed.

For many of us though, and figuratively speaking it may seem like a paradox. Taking off against the wind seems to be counterproductive.

But this brings us back to the biblical concept of leaning on God against the trials,

against the challenges,

against the changes,

against the discomfort…

against the winds.

“But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”(Matthew 14:24, 27 NIV)

God wants us all to do this. He doesn’t expect us to have the strength ourselves. He doesn’t expect us to have the momentum and power to take off alone. He wants us to lean in and allow Him to do His thing.

So today, no matter what we are up against, let’s praise God for it. Let’s be thankful knowing that he is using those very challenges, those very winds… for beauty… for strength even if we can’t see or feel it yet. For suffering is a moment compared to what eternity holds.

“Lean on me against the winds of each day. For true strength is built in this way.”

Therefore, today …

I am thankful for the winds.

🤍 For more imperfectly perfect posts, follow me ➡️ @theartofamessyhouse

Pandemic Puzzles

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

The past year has changed a lot! And yet one thing that remains through all seasons is the importance of self care.

If you are anything like me, the year has shifted and made us reevaluate a lot including this area. It has encouraged me to try out new activities like #walking, forcing the #runner in me to slow down.

But it has also added back some old favorites such as …

PUZZLES!!!!

We did puzzles and puzzles and more puzzles. And even if we lost a piece or two along the way, they were a great outlet.

Self care is not selfish. It is necessary. We are not created to be robots. Without caring for our own health, our bodies and spirits grow weak. Our hearts can harden too. We cannot serve others if our cup is empty. Start by filling your cup today with God’s word. Then, add in other activities that take care of you…. like a walk or a puzzle.

What kind of self care did you lean into this past year? What do you plan to continue into this new year? Better yet, what will you do for yourself today? ❤️

Invest in Rest

For those who know me, I am not one to rest. In fact, it is a challenge for me to sit still. But resting is one thing I am investing in this year.

Resting isn’t being lazy. It is not a waste of time.

Rest is a gift.

In fact, we are all called to rest. It is part of self care. It is part of caring for the physical body. (I learned that the hard way with my recent knee injury.) But it is also part of caring for the body mentally.

It is even asked of us in the Bible.

“Remember to keep the Sabbath as a holy day. You may work and get everything done during six days each week. But the seventh day is a day of rest to honor the Lord your God.”(Exodus‬ ‭20:8 ICB‬‬)

But I don’t know about you, but that’s where the questions arise. How will I ever get it all done in six days when I can’t even figure out how to do it all in seven?

God doesn’t expect us to understand it fully. He doesn’t expect us to figure it out. He just calls us to trust Him to hold true to His promises.

With that being said, He promises us that He can do abundantly more through us with our six days than we could ever do alone in seven.

So yesterday I started, I rested. Or I tried… but it’s a start! 😉

Do you take one day a week to rest? If not, join me in investing in this principle this new year.

refresh #renew #rest #dayofrest #trust #god #selfcare

speakup #everydayfaith #bekind #faith #christianity #children #kids #parenthood #motherhood

2020 Reflections

2020 was a lot. A lot of discomfort, change, loss, pain, challenges and the unexpected for so many. It was a lot.

Throughout #2020, I’ve learned a lot too:

⁃ A lot of people had struggles and experienced loss this year. I learned that even when I don’t know how to comfort someone or the right words to say, #praying is something I can always do. It is something we all can do. #alldayeveryday #everydayfaith

⁃ I learned that I #love and miss hugs more than I thought. (Guess I am a hugger at #heart.)

⁃ I learned that #healing is possible. I saw miraculous healing and protection this year in family and even in myself. I saw the #powerofprayer !

⁃ I learned that waiting is not time wasted. Instead, it is time to grow. (I learned #patience is still an area I’m working on.)

⁃ While on the growth topic, I learned that we limit ourselves when we stay inside our comfort zones. Growth often happens in the discomfort.

⁃ I learned different ways to connect through virtual teaching. I learned different programs, techniques and platforms to use. I learned a lot of technology that I otherwise would never have learned! (My eyes may argue that it is too much #technology though.)

⁃ I learned how to connect with loved ones on a different level and also that it is okay to need space and quiet time too.

⁃ After 15 plus years, I learned to not be addicted to #running and that stretching and core is so important too. I learned to not be reliant on working out (even if it took a knee injury to get me there.) @ thanks for helping with your great videos and workouts too. And for helping me think outside the box.

⁃ I learned that when a dream is on your heart and won’t go away, chances are- it’s waiting for you.

⁃ I learned that even a baby step is a step. Each step is important to the process even if it involves some backward steps too.

⁃ I learned to appreciate quiet moments, and the loud ones. I learned to appreciate the small moments and the big. And that sometimes the quiet, small moments turn out to be the greatest.

⁃ I learned how to #selfpublish a #book! Thanks to @ helping me through. #illustrator #talent

(❤️ This book is now available on Amazon here: Book 1: How to Be Kind

⁃ I learned to lean in more and #trust #God!

⁃ I learned that while our world and country needs a lot of work still, I learned that there are really a lot of #good and good people all around.

⁃ I learned that while I still have a lot of work I need to do, I can do my part here and now (just like everyone can)… despite the mess… despite the imperfections.

So 2021, I pray you bring blessings, laughter, health and love to everyone. I pray and believe for God’s hope and joy !!! I pray and believe. ❤️❤️❤️

#dreambig #hope #bethegood

#howtobekind #childrensbook #bookone #series

#speakup #bekind #faith #christianity #children #kids #parenthood #motherhood #authors #authorsofinstagram #writers #author #writersofinstagram #books #writer #bookstagram #writing #writingcommunity #writerscommunity #reading #book #write

(My top 9 pics were totally cut off but I decided to let it go… to let it be… and to embrace the #beauty in the #imperfections instead !

#theartofamessyhouse

#happynewyear

2020 Reflections

2020 was a lot. A lot of discomfort, change, loss, pain, challenges and the unexpected for so many. It was a lot.

Throughout #2020, I’ve learned a lot too:

⁃ A lot of people had struggles and experienced loss this year. I learned that even when I don’t know how to comfort someone or the right words to say, #praying is something I can always do. It is something we all can do. #alldayeveryday #everydayfaith

⁃ I learned that I #love and miss hugs more than I thought. (Guess I am a hugger at #heart.)

⁃ I learned that #healing is possible. I saw miraculous healing and protection this year in family and even in myself. I saw the #powerofprayer !

⁃ I learned that waiting is not time wasted. Instead, it is time to grow. (I learned #patience is still an area I’m working on.)

⁃ While on the growth topic, I learned that we limit ourselves when we stay inside our comfort zones. Growth often happens in the discomfort.

⁃ I learned different ways to connect through virtual teaching. I learned different programs, techniques and platforms to use. I learned a lot of technology that I otherwise would never have learned! (My eyes may argue that it is too much #technology though.)

⁃ I learned how to connect with loved ones on a different level and also that it is okay to need space and quiet time too.

⁃ After 15 plus years, I learned to not be addicted to #running and that stretching and core is so important too. I learned to not be reliant on working out (even if it took a knee injury to get me there.) @ thanks for helping with your great videos and workouts too. And for helping me think outside the box.

⁃ I learned that when a dream is on your heart and won’t go away, chances are- it’s waiting for you.

⁃ I learned that even a baby step is a step. Each step is important to the process even if it involves some backward steps too.

⁃ I learned to appreciate quiet moments, and the loud ones. I learned to appreciate the small moments and the big. And that sometimes the quiet, small moments turn out to be the greatest.

⁃ I learned how to #selfpublish a #book! Thanks to @ helping me through. #illustrator #talent

(❤️ This book is now available on Amazon here: Book 1: How to Be Kind

⁃ I learned to lean in more and #trust #God!

⁃ I learned that while our world and country needs a lot of work still, I learned that there are really a lot of #good and good people all around.

⁃ I learned that while I still have a lot of work I need to do, I can do my part here and now (just like everyone can)… despite the mess… despite the imperfections.

So 2021, I pray you bring blessings, laughter, health and love to everyone. I pray and believe for God’s hope and joy !!! I pray and believe. ❤️❤️❤️

#dreambig #hope #bethegood

#howtobekind #childrensbook #bookone #series

#speakup #bekind #faith #christianity #children #kids #parenthood #motherhood #authors #authorsofinstagram #writers #author #writersofinstagram #books #writer #bookstagram #writing #writingcommunity #writerscommunity #reading #book #write

(My top 9 pics were totally cut off but I decided to let it go… to let it be… and to embrace the #beauty in the #imperfections instead !

#theartofamessyhouse

#happynewyear

6 Years Ago & Grateful

This past weekend TJ had a moment of frustration about his allergies. It was the first time in 6.5 years of his life that he had spoken up and said that sometimes he gets frustrated. He is currently still allergic to dairy, eggs and peanuts. He went on to explain that he knows dairy is in a lot of foods. So he vented and we listened. Then we came up with a game plan for what new recipes we could try that were safe and yummy for all of us. That made him happy and so excited.

It was both heartbreaking and precious. But we also agreed we needed to continue to pray and believe that one day he would outgrow more, if not ALL of them. And trust me… we believe!

The next day as I was scrolling on my social media page, I saw a memory of TJ from 6 years ago. Those cozy, adorable pajamas were ones I could never forget. Instantly, I was brought back to that late afternoon. It was the last picture I had taken right before his first allergic and anaphylactic reaction…

6 years ago…

I remember it like it was yesterday …

It was a snowy, December evening when I gave him that tiny spoonful of yogurt for the first time.

I remember the highest level of fear I have ever felt. I remember the terrifying ride in the ambulance that had no epi-pen jr. in it. I remember holding an oxygen mask over his face, praying that he would continue to cry because… crying meant he was still breathing!

But I also remember 45 minutes later and being so thankful to have gotten there in time.

I remember the doctors in the emergency room being so comforting …

I also remember the triumph…

I also remember watching TJ’s resilience that those 21 food allergies could not erase. I remember his smile…

I remember his smile when he saw us standing there.

Back then I used to say, “I’ll be happy when …”

… all the allergies are gone …

Or

… when I have more money…

Or

… when I get to go to Disney World with my kids…

But then I see their smiles…

Then I saw his smile…

And I read God’s word more and more and I realized joy is not something we wait for.

Joy is a gift from the Lord.

So I celebrate the allergy count dropping from 21 food allergies to 3. I celebrate the here and the now because God is here and now. And He is always working!

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So I am grateful. I am joyful. I am hopeful.

Right here and right now.

Kindness is Strength

Kindness is attractive.

It is contagious.

It is brave.

It is strength.

Yet, kindness is not always seen this way. The misconception is that it is the opposite. That strength develops from others’ weaknesses and that being kind is not having a backbone. That the only way to get ahead in life is to be cruel, stomping on others, making everyone in your way know who is boss.

But true strength has nothing to do with that. It has nothing to do with the hatred that is often so much easier to throw out during the day. It has no comparison to what bringing light to the positive could do instead. For when strength is gained in the midst of kindness, it is beyond empowering to the body and to others. When kindness is used in its true essence, it changes people’s days, it changes lives, it changes the world, it changes you. And while it can be argued that it starts from within, much of it truly begins to surface with our words.

So be kind today. Make a conscious effort to be kind. No matter what the world tries to tell us, Toby Mac has it right with his quote, “Kindness is always in style.”

Anniversaries

We must celebrate relationships in our lives and anniversaries are a perfect time to do that. Even though it is just one day of the year, it is often difficult to find time for even the people who mean the most to us. My husband is my rock and while it has been 14 years since we met and 10 years of marriage, he continues to be the best decision I ever made.

I was 27 years of age when we got married and still really relied on the opinions of others at the time. The beach wedding I wanted was frowned upon and even the fitted dress I wanted received those frowns too. Therefore, to steer clear of any more added drama on our special day, I made decisions based on others not completely on what my heart was telling me. Still, we had a perfect day, truly one of the best days of my life.

A few years after our wedding, I told my husband that if we ever remarried (of course to each other), I would do things the way we felt was right for us, not what was right for others. I then forgave those people and even myself for that time, acknowledging how much I had grown. It was then we also came up with a great idea: we would renew our vows at 10 years on the beach in the town where we met!

So two days ago we did just that! We renewed our love with personally written vows to each other’s and engraved wedding bands. We brought our children, parents and aunt to come to the beach where it all started 14 plus years ago. (I even got to wear a fitted white dress.) It was beyond special and perfect! God even held the rain until right afterwards.

Life is about these moments. In life, it is often easy to celebrate the big ones like weddings. However, we must make the time for the smaller moments too. They deserve to be celebrated too!

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

https://www.bible.com/111/ecc.4.12.niv

Though my husband and I are there to support and defend each other, it really helps having God as the first strand in our cord of three. “A triple braided cord is not easily broken.” Life is filled with highs and lows, mountains and valleys. However, it is with that added support of faith that we can better climb together tied to the strongest rope possible for when we fall. I know it is hard to take a single hair band out of my daughter’s curly hair as it can easily get tangled. We are like that single band when we stand alone. God must come first. And even though I fought that for so long, His undeserving grace led my husband and I together over fourteen years ago.

My blue eyed dream come true.

My answered prayer.

“You and me together
Through the days and nights
I don’t worry ’cause
Everything’s going to be alright ” – “No one” by Alicia Keyes

But remember anniversaries only come once a year, we must try to make the time to celebrate the important people and relationships we have throughout the year too.

Love always finds a way… if we let it.

Love is always the answer.

So I’m striving to continue to make sure my priorities are in order and to value my friendships and relationships even more.

My goal is to celebrate my marriage by making the time for it each day … even if that means that some nights the kitchen counter id let an unorganized mess.

Peach Cobbler Cookies (Dairy free, egg free, peanut free)

 Who doesn’t love a good cookie? Cookies are one of my favorite types of desserts to eat and also experiment with. This summer when I was looking for something new to bring to barbecues, I stumbled across some recipes for peach cobblers. Since my son has dairy, egg and peanut allergies, he cannot eat dessert unless it is made by us or purchased from one of our reliable companies. Therefore, I tend to like to bring desserts to events so that he can be included too. Everyone deserves to be included!

The following recipe is a play on peach cobbler. It is dairy, egg and peanut free as well! Add some ice cream to the top or sandwich it in between two cookies! You will want to put those summer diets aside for this one.

However you decide to eat them, they are promised to be delicious and totally worth the mess on the counter.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Vegan butter

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup applesauce

1.5 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract

2 Tablespoons dairy-free milk (We used almond, cashew, pea called Protein Milk by Silk because of its thickness and richness)

3 cups flour (We used organic, whole wheat but it can be substituted for a gluten free one)

1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup chopped peaches (skinned and cut into tiny pieces)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Skin and cut the peaches into tiny pieces.
  3. Mix melted butter and sugars in a bowl.
  4. Add the extract, milk and applesauce.
  5. Add flour and the rest of the ingredients into another bowl.
  6. Mix both bowls together.
  7. Stir and fold in peaches.
  8. Grease trays with non-dairy butter.  Press cookie circles down with a fork. We made them about 2 inches in diameter.
  9. Bake for 16 minutes.
  10. Enjoy by themselves or with some dairy-free ice cream.  Our favorite to eat it with is vanilla cashew ice cream by So Delicious.

No Fingers Left to Point

I started this poem during a time when I was still using excuses as my crutch.  I was still relying on the good ole’ “I am this way because…” phrase.   The truth is that it is often easier to blame others than to accept and take on the challenge of change. It is easier to point fingers when you fail than to accept it a pathway to change.  In life, we must be careful though because soon we can be left with no more fingers to point.

 

No Fingers Left to Point

Finger points, gun ready aim,
fire
the broken glass is first,
because even shattered windshields require
blame.

First finger points
to their childish quarrels
as words expel more
an eye for an eye,
can they even remember
what that stands for?

Second finger points
he makes me do it
the choice is never my own
a squirrel cannot survive the streets
on such an indecisive throne.

Third finger points and cries
the ability to shoot back
depends on what her lonely heart lends
to her cheating hand
anything for a friend.

Fourth finger points
their words make her starve
to hunger differently
it is not her own
nor that of the skeleton they not see.

Fifth finger points
they fill her cup
like everyone does to fit in
as she still keeps track,
what even matters?
what even counts?
in drunkenness, she thirsts
a new way to silence, the crying within.

Sixth finger points
plaid skirts to her knees
try it the right way,
until rolls it to the waist
her morals to the curb
caves for someone to love
no one to save me
as if, no one watches above.

Seventh finger points
to her white dress
how can she still cry
how can she still yearn for more,
as he promises to stay
and plays the violin
over her broken seams
no longer knows herself
no longer the recipient
of her own dreams.

Eighth finger points
they judge her before
a mother they can see
babies she wraps in love
nurturing this new version

Of me.

Ninth finger points
these shoes teach me to be, just that
as they tiptoe into the dance
my feeble legs fake that seductive strength
of who they cannot understand
still broken in form,
but somehow, I still stand.

Tenth finger fires
and no more remain
leaves me as a fingerless pawn,
in this fruitless game.
For all these fingers, they point back too,
aimless, blameless, responsible,
and for the first time,
I face imperfection’s true attack:
no one to blame,
no where to point,
no where to run,
to face the truth, fingerless,
exposed accusations leaves me alone,
to do just that –
finally sells me back the truth
that accepts and forgives them all,
as I hold myself
in the unclenching of a fist,
for ten fingers I now lack.

Finally I accept it all to breathe free
responsible solely for me
with no fingers left to point,
I finally face
that I wish I had all ten of them back.


© 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.


Freedom comes when we stop pointing fingers. It is then we can unfold our fists and soften our hearts to the life we deserve. Excuses are just that, excuses. They will never bring us to the more our lives are made for. Those excuses are crutches that steal so much more from us than they do from those we direct our anger, our sadness, our fingers to.

Freedom comes with patience and prayer.

Freedom comes from time used wisely instead of being wasted in the distractions, in the excuses.

Freedom comes from forgiveness.

It comes from letting go of the clenched fist and allowing the heart to beat freely again. Freedom comes from leaving all the excuses on the beach and getting into the living, healing waters, instead of waiting for someone else to save us.

That was a difficult message for me to hear because I didn’t want to hear it. It was easier to blame others for my battles and hardships than take the matters into my own hands. For the longest time I thought that it meant I needed to take on and carry all of that weight myself.

But that is never the case.

We are never meant to carry the burdens ourselves.

The resentment and excuses will never allow us to truly be free of anxiety, depression and pain.

But learning to let it go will.

So, please forgive me now for the mess. I’d rather walk proudly with the scars and with my fingers and arms ready to hug my loves, even if it means I may have to skip, jump or even limp over the clutter at times. But at least I have no more crutches laying around to trip me up too.


“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.””

‭‭John‬ ‭5:6-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/111/jhn.5.6-8.niv


Get your mat and walk! Lay down the excuses no matter how long they have been stirring there, no matter how long you have been waiting. It’s your time to let go and live.