Leaning on Grace

Mommy Fail

This is the kind of night it’s been, and I feel so defeated. After almost two solid years of being a working mom, I just can’t get the hang of it. I’m mentally and emotionally drained at the end of the day, and I’ve got very little to offer the two most important people in my life. By 5 p.m. I have heard and said my limit of words for the day, but Josiah wants to SAY ALL THE WORDS.

In the midst of this season, I can’t ignore that every time I turn on Pandora, Hillsong’s “Oceans” comes on. “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders”…I’m not sure if God is leading me to a giant leap of faith or if Jesus is just reminding me to trust Him in my everyday mess.

When it comes to parenting, my mom always says you do your best and then you pray for God to fill in the gaps. In a time when I feel like my gaps have turned into gaping canyons, I need to trust that God will hold Josiah and give me grace for all the ways I fail my child.

At the end of this gloomy day, Josiah still wanted to hold my hand until he fell asleep. God’s grace is sufficient for me.


To My Birth Mother on Her Birthday

Deborah Ann

Dear Mom,

Today, you would have been celebrating your birthday. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed that you’d be in your mid 50’s. I usually recognize your birthday, and then try not to think about it much. Avoidance has been my way of coping with your and Jamie’s “dates”…birthdays and last days. I have your tender heart, and these days are usually too much for me to dwell on.

Your suicide wrecked me, and I used to carry that burden every single day. I was supposed to be able to trust you. When I learned that you’d left me, the world became a very scary place. I didn’t trust anyone, not even God. You gave me life, but in a way, you also took it away. You thought you weren’t lovable, worthy, or needed…I wish you knew how important you were. A mother’s love and presence are one-and-only.

My story has been transformed over the last five years, though. Sitting in a church service a few weeks ago, I heard the preacher talking to the congregation about how so many of us were carrying emotional and spiritual baggage. It hit me in the best way that I can’t relate to that anymore. I was now a spectator, where I was once a serious participant. I don’t carry the weight of your life and your death anymore. I am free. Hallelujah! I have been held and healed by God, my Savior, my Rock, my Redeemer. His love is a healing balm to my heart’s greatest wound. I laid my anger and hurt and abandonment down at the foot of the Almighty. He saved me from my own sin, and He freed my heart from the consequences of yours.

I’m still sad, though, for you. No person should ever have to feel that her life isn’t worth living, but you did. You endured worse pain in your short life that I could even fathom. I grieve for you that you never had the chance to be healed by the One who speaks love and worth into your heart. I don’t know what your relationship to Jesus was, but I hope He is holding you now.

I wish you could see me now, Mom. You’ve missed so much. My grand slam in third grade, my middle school dances and the time I went to state for shot put, how I excelled in all things art and crafts (you passed that down!), my graduation from high school, my first date and first kiss (yes, they came after high school), my graduation from college where I finished #6 in my class. I did all that without you, but it wasn’t easy. I thank God for the man you married. My dad’s heart is tender, his back is strong, and despite his own heartache, he was with me every step of the way. And the woman he asked to raise me after you’d gone…boy, is she a force to be reckoned with. She’s carried the weight of your choices with grace and mercy. You see, Mom, what Satan worked in your life, Jesus redeemed at the cross. The LORD was working out my salvation long before the world began. I wish you could see what He’s done in my life through Jesus, my family, and my friends.

I know you’d be proud of your girl. I made it through. I married a man of God, and although we’ve struggled, we didn’t give up. I brought the most beautiful baby boy into the world. I was afraid I wouldn’t be a good mom because I was so broken, but if there’s one thing your life taught me, it’s that I am irreplaceable. My love for Josiah is important, worthy, and needed.

I wish we could bake you a cake today. I wish you could see Josiah, snuggle him close, and let him help you blow out the candles. He has your crazy big eyebrows and your sweet dimples. I’m sorry that you’re missing out on him. I am thinking of you today, and I hope you do see how well things worked out in my life. I hope that you have peace from the torment you endured here. I hope that my testimony about you and about Jesus can be a beacon of light to others who, like you, see only one way out of their pain. If you would have given Jesus a chance, He would have healed you, too. My birthday gift to you is my faithfulness to Christ and my commitment to tell others about His healing mercy.

Happy Birthday, Deborah Ann. You mattered. I love you still.


Felisha Joyce

Simple Immunity Boosting

We’ve just started a cold bug. I started to get that icky-sicky feeling about half way through the work day, and Josiah has definitely had the sniffles for the last few days. Obviously I’m no doctor, but I’m making an educated guess when I say it has a little (or a lottle) to do with my slacking off in the natural health department. The holidays, followed by moving, meant I dropped the ball on anything that wasn’t eating, sleeping, and going to work. Basically I made sure we didn’t die, but that was it.

There are a few things I’ve done that aided our family in being pretty stinking healthy this winter, up until now. Josiah had two viruses in December, but we know exactly where they came from…family, the people he was around A LOT. So although I wish I could have prevented those bugs, I count it a blessing that he’s been less sick this year (so far!) than in years past.

Here’s my list of super simple immunity boosters…

  1. Drink enough water
  2. Get enough sleep (seriously, 8 hours should be a minimum, folks!)
  3. Keep your sinuses moist (I know about 97% of you just cringed at the word moist). I went to a D.O. when I lived in Indianapolis, and he said keeping your sinuses from drying out is one of the most effective ways to ward off upper respiratory illnesses. I can totally attest to that! Try these ways:
    • Run a vaporizer or humidifier around that clock, or at least when you are sleeping. I’ve had the most success with the cheapy vaporizer I bought from CVS this year. It is working so much better than the fancy humidifier I bought for Josiah’s nursery. The vaporizer has a little pool for Vick’s vapor rub, but I just put essential oils in it!
    • Salt-water nasal spray daily. You can make it or buy a saline spray to pop in your purse/backpack for a few dollars. I’d suggest reading the ingredients and avoiding preservatives. Keep it natural!
    • Salt-water nasal rinse. Again, you can make this or buy it.
  4. Take vitamins and supplements. Yes, you should be able to get all the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet, but let’s face it…even our organic foods have lost potency, because our land has been stripped of it’s health by modern farming techniques (READ: God’s ways are ALWAYS better than man’s).
  5. Limit refined sugar intake. That stuff is terrible (I know – I have felt like crud since the move, because I’ve been eating so many quick, convenient foods! Ew!)
  6. Use essential oils. I know you’re sick of hearing this from all the oily Mommas on the interwebs, but they really do boost your system (and they smell gooooood!). I use the NOW brand, and I know all you fancy oil subscribers are tisk-tisking. We have a limited budget, and this is the best option I can provide my family in this season. Even the cheap oils are better than no oils. Our winter is proof. Don’t judge a sista’s oils, okay?!
  7. Live simply. A stressful life is a sick life. What can you cut out?
  8. Exercise. Get that blood pumping! This helps cut the stress! Exercise is a need, not a luxury. Do whatever you have to do to make it happen. I found some great beginner yoga videos online, and they have been a game changer. Yes, I’d love to have access to the incredible gym where I pumped iron (Ha!) in college, but that just isn’t my reality…and it’s not an excuse not to take care of my body.

Taking care of yourself can be very simple, but you can’t let it slide when life gets crazy. Take my word for it! <sniffle sniffle>

Togetherness with the Right People

This week was one of those times when I felt like all the introverting in the world wasn’t going to be enough to fill me back up. The move, school, work…everything was taking, and I could not find a way to recharge. I ended up crying in my van as I hid from the cold while the gas pump was chugging along. “God, I don’t know what to do. I need You to fill me up. I just feel so empty.”

Life is so amazing right now. Please don’t read this as I am struggling in general. Just feeling perpetually behind. But prayer is always a good idea.

As much as I felt like I needed time alone, God knew that I needed togetherness with the right people. Time spent with family in the last 24 hours has totally recharged my batteries. The right people know how to cut the small talk and get to the heart of things. It’s okay to be straight with people and say, “I’m angry/tired/frustrated/sad…even mean!” Last night I spent some time getting my meanness out, that is, telling my mom the frustrations of the last few weeks. It’s such a relief to give those negatives feelings a voice and then release them.

If you’re not feeling great about life, please open up to someone you trust, and be real. Vulnerability is scary, but you won’t regret it.

Goals for February 2015

I’m a person of many words thought and written, but far fewer spoken. That’s a reflection of the mess inside my brain. I get way overwhelmed when I look at “the big picture,” but I love creating and accomplishing the tiny tidbits that lead to the larger goal.

I made a chart for myself (In Excel, because I’m a lover of spreadsheets #nerdalert). It serves to break down my bigger, ultimate goals (column headers) into more tangible, doable tasks (bullet points). You can download a Printable Goals Chart if you want to try it out. It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done. Maybe I’ll upgrade it someday when I don’t have so much else going on!

Example Goals Chart

I usually print it out and hand write the bullet points, but this way was quicker, so let’s just pretend, okay? 🙂 You can print a new one daily, or do the same one for the whole month. Either way, I think it’s helpful to break it down. Those big goals aren’t so daunting that way!

I did a few posts last year with monthly goals, but they were cumbersome and overworked. I think I’m going to take a stab at something simpler.

February 2015 Goals:

1. Finish reading Acts, and read through Romans

2. Plan and go on a good date night with Mr. Dummel

3. Practice Josiah’s memory verses with him

4. Bring a weekly meal to an elderly couple at our church

5. Look through and organize home decorations, and get rid of anything we don’t intend to use

6. Make fluoride free toothpaste for Josiah (I made this one for myself, and it’s great! I believe the baking soda is what made Josiah turn his nose up. I may just edit that out and see what he thinks)

7. Finish front door monogram for my kindred spirit and sister-in-law, Leah.

Here’s ours nearly completed (I love the creative process and pictures of works in process):

Monogram Unfinished (1)

I loved making the little fabric rosettes. This tutorial was excellent. Here’s one of Leah’s:

Monogram Unfinished (3)

When I asked her the color scheme she wanted and then sent her a picture of the fabric options I already had in my stash to match, I think she got just as excited as I do when I’m crafting:

Monogram Unfinished (2)This picture doesn’t do the colors justice. They are just so pretty.

So what are your goals for February? I’d love to read them!