Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Fine Art of NOT Reacting to your Teenagers.

The fine art of NOT reacting to your teenagers. Is there really an art to this?  I think I should thank every difficult customer I ever served in my early twenties with my retail store.  Thank them for teaching me through mouthy rages of insistence how to respond.  The customer was not always right. Neither are our teenagers.

The customer could bring in an item that was not purchased in my store and scream in face that they wanted a refund/money for that item. Or a customer would get all red in the face and angry because the item that was available last week was no longer available, and I was demanded to get it to them now. Or a  customer who wanted their furniture NOW as in right now, as in stop what you are doing and serve me now. With no understanding that their furniture was secured in a warehouse and that our trucks were out delivering to scheduled appointments. Yet even with that knowledge would get so worked up that I would not physically close my store, run to the warehouse and pull large pieces of furniture that required manly strength and deliver myself.  Customers who left messes in my store and walked out. Food, dirty diapers tucked in a corner, finished beverage containers.  My favorite was a customer who insisted we were having a half off sale on ALL our furniture.  Threw such a fit that she would never shop in our store again. And came back next week to again tell us how awful of a store we are but still wanted to buy the furniture and did. (Kind of like our teenagers who are nice when they want money or a ride somewhere.) 

Here is what I learned in my twenties that truly helped me with my teenagers. No matter what comes out of their mouth, do not react. I learned that most people have about 2-4 minutes of angry energy and steam.  If I was quiet and practiced active listening skills with concern for my customers it was almost always the 2 minute mark that they ran out of steam. If I tried to inject and react to what they were saying it was like locked and loaded and 2-4 more minutes added to the fuse.  The fact is simply this. Customer's truly believed they were right, even in obvious and factual wrongs. Teenagers are the same way. They will say and do things that are so factual wrong, but they believe they are right. Do not take offense to what comes out of their mouth. Do not react to what is coming out of their mouth.  Listen. Actively listen and try not to inject. Let them get out what they need to get out. I trained my entire sales staff to respond this way.

I made the mistake many times with customers in my earlier months of opening my store to try and point out that they were in fact either lying or their facts were not accurate. Like the women who insisted that our entire store was 50% off. She showed me an ad, which was from another store and then insisted I match their 50% off sale. I listened, let her blow all the steam and energy around what she thought should be her right. I asked if I could ad her to our mailing list, so when we did have sales she would get them.

Teenagers just want to be heard and understood. Really that is mostly what it is. In the same way I trained my sales staff to never take to heart what the customer was saying, in the same way never take to heart the hurtful words that come out of our teenagers mouths. Breath deeply as they are blowing off steam. Actively listen. This does not mean  you are agreeing or allowing the offenses. It means that they are able to outward process, unedited, and after it's all out you will be amazed at how ready they are to come to the table for a more controlled conversation.

I can not tell you how many angry customer's were diffused by just listening. Like the customer who bought a lamp for her 8 year old. Came into my store yelling and screaming at my sale person because her one year old touched the lamp and burned his fingers. Somehow that was my store's responsibility. She yelled and screamed. I stepped in and excused my young 18 year old sales person who sold her the lamp. I listened. I breathed and I allowed this customer to have a voice. When she was done, I asked her if she needed some water?  I told her that I had kids and burns are scary.  I asked her where the lamp was. She did not bring it back. She just thought we should educate parents on the dangers of lamps. She came back over and over and continued to buy products from my store. But believe me when I say she came in red faced and angry that day and left happy and heard.

Our teenagers get red faced at angry at us.  It's going to happen and that is when we get to make a choice. Join the screaming and fuming match or wait it out. Then ask if you can get them a drink of water. Let them know you are so glad they felt that they could come and talk about it with you.

Now on my 3rd teenager and I can say that I may not get it in the moment at all times, but I have the resources in my back pocket with the experience of years with customers and my first two teenagers. My first two have grown up and into good friends. Now on my way with my 3rd teenager and still two more after that. Whoa baby it's sure is a ride.  So remember, try not to make a face or interrupt the outward processing of our teenagers.  Actively listen without trying to inject your own opinions and ideas. And if this is hard, then take some very slow deep breaths while they are unloading. Not always but easy, but we all have it in us to give it the ol' colllege try.  Happy teenager raising.

Friday, June 24, 2016

I Use To Hate Love Songs

I hate love songs. Not really I love them. I hate them and I love them. I started out loving one love song, but then love never happened so then I did not love them anymore.

Something I will share with you. Love songs never moved me. As in N.E.V.E.R after the age of 14.  I always thought my girlfriends were PMS’ing when they would cry over a song. I mean really.  What I have since learned in the past year and half is that I never really fell into the kind of love that makes you cry over a song.  Unless two weeks and being a fourteen year old counts.  But certainly never in  a relationship fully loving someone. The kind of love that makes you cry over love songs.

I was driving home, over a year ago. A thirty minute drive out to the farmhouse I was living in at the time. My youngest son was in the car with me. This song came on. And tears, real tears, started to stream down my face, as the artist sang, “I give you Allllll of me......”  Emerson looked at me laughing. “Mama are you crying?”  And by that time I had turned into a fully engaged cry baby. Only a couple of months into dating and some silly love song, the first time in my life made me bawl like a baby.

Okay so I may had gained more than a few pounds in a small community the year. I may have been fighting an inner struggle of how to dress and feel good about myself with this extra weight. I may have even beaten myself up way to much. But then this man, this kind and loving man would wrap his arms around me, hold my hand and my guard was let down.  And then some love song comes on the radio. “Cause all of me loves all of you, all your curves and all your edges and all your perfect imperfections…”  Thank you John Legend for being the first artist to make me cry. I know most girls cry in their teens. I was crying at almost 50 and it was soooo noted by my ten year old.

I explained to my young son that when a man truly loves a woman, he loves all her curves and imperfections and this man, that I am dating demonstrating that. He was 101 acts of kindness and love to me. I use to hate love songs. I hated them because they were stupid to me. And I would watch my friends get all giddy, silly and stupid over songs of love and the boys they were crushing on. And I never had the desire to listen over and over like they did.  I did once a very very long time ago.

It all started in 8th grade when I kind of wondered if love was real or not. I was crushing on a boy named Stuart. He was tall, blond hair, tan. We slowed danced to “How Deep Is Your Love” at the 8th grade sock hop. He asked me to slow dance every single time but it was that song when he squeezed me in.  He was wearing a plaid flannel shirt and he smelled good. He held me tight and I was a girl that could use some holding tight.  Later that next week we would meet at the heaters during breaks at school. And then he kissed me. And then he wrote me a note. It was a beautiful handwritten note to me. He handed it to me at one of our meetings by the heaters.  He said that every time he hears the song, “Lady” by Little River Band he thinks of me and that he thinks he is in love with me. “Look around you. Look up here, take time to make time and make time to be there. And I love you best.” And my heart melted.

The next week he did not show up at the heaters. These were large heaters in an old school building and truly a great place to warm up inbetween classes. What does a girl know about love anyway? Except I believed him.  I thought about him day and night and drew hearts with my name and his name. I never told a soul. When my girlfriends asked I just told them he was a friend. I was keen to girls, whispering and gossip. I was going to protect this love.

I did not Stuart for almost three days. I thought he was sick. Then I saw him. He was standing by her locker, his arm around me. He saw me and looked away like he did not know me. The End of love and silly love songs. 

It’s kind of weird to think I have been married twice and love songs never hit me. The first marriage was a shotgun marriage. Neither of us were in love, neither of us dreamed of our future, and love, and holding hands and kissing to a favorite song. It was trying to love in a hard situation. The second love was an intellectual love. He is nice and kind, this must be love, but still no songs move me. Then that one day back in early winter of 2015 driving out to a farm house with my son and that song comes on.  A silly love song and I am bawling.  To have someone love you in an unconditional manner is love.   All those curves and perfect imperfections and he was falling in love with me.

Ladies you know what this post is really about?  I am sitting at home on a rainy day and that song came on. Almost a year and a half later and it still makes me cry. Why? Love is hard and I know I am sharing more on this matter in the past year.  And I talk to countless women on this matter. When a man loves you, it’s not about what you look like or think you look like. A real man in love with you will make you feel secure in that love. Not insecure and crazy. A real man will keep showing up even when things are hard, when you are high or low. Let that man love you. Let him love all your perfect imperfections. Because how we view ourselves in not how that man loving you views you. I bet if I asked 20 men to describe their wives or the women they are dating it would not be what you think. Now scroll up and listen to that song.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Personal Experiences Based On An Entire Life

I wrote a blog, "When You Let Your Heart Love, There Is Going To Be Pain" (you can read that here: HERE  ).  It was raw and from my heart. It was an accounting of my story of being 50 years old and experiencing a love different than my first two marriages and very profound to my heart. As a matter of fact, if you scroll back, you will see that I have posted a few events, experiences and matters of my heart concerning dating John.  Through my own personal experiences I write. I am not ashamed to make statements about not truly understanding love and relationships. I had to step away a few times because if we write a post like that, and we are dating someone, we put it out there. And that dating relationship could change, and then we put all that out there.  I had a few friends question me about that posting. After all I will not even put on Facebook that update of "In A Relationship".  If John and I decided to take a different path or journey without each other I would be sad, but I would also be a much better person in having experienced that friendship/relationship and first love with John.

Things get messy and hard.  We are taught to be strong and courageous. I am tired of being strong and courageous. Really it takes ALOT of work.  It is OKAY to be weak and confused.  We ALL, not one single person, has walked down the same path as the other. We work and respond to our personal experiences based on an entire life and direction that no one single person shares.  When we share our journey, we either help, inspire, encourage, teach, or offend. It's just how life is.

I pray for my friends. I pray for their relationships. I pray for their marriages. I can pour wisdom directly from God's WORD and not my own personal experiences.  I can be strong or I can be weak.  It's a journey we take. Some choose to share in platforms like this. I choose to share because in the journey of my life, I see God's hand, His direction, His favor, His blessings. In the hard and the easy. In the weak and the strong. The honor of a God who is the keeper of our hearts.   I can be vulnerable, and I can be nothing less than honest with the journey I am on. God is in all of this. And if you do not know him personally I can say this. There is freedom in the cross.  The cross that Jesus went to for you and for me. That is the freedom. To be me as I am.  Knowing that HIS love, grace and hope cover me. If you want to know Jesus, the God of my heart I want to share with you. If you read through this entire blog you will see every single day how God shows up and is covering my heart.
Be blessed~elizabeth

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Oh To Be A Mom...

What does it take to be a mom?  I use to stress myself before I ever had kids, of thinking what it must be like to be a mom. As a teenager I watched how mom's mothered.  And decided that I could never be a mom. I have a confession.  I made it through all the diapers, late night feedings, broken bones, and sidelines at the games, baking for the events, and homework and reading, and wearing the same t-shirt with spit up, and showing up to a meeting with a beautiful expensive jacket also with spit up. I have five of my closest friends around me for a life time. Two are out of the nest, three will be venturing out in the next 4-10 years and guess what, there is a secret to be being a mother. It may not be your secret, and it may not be what works for you, but God, in his beautiful direction took my crazy childhood of abuse and abandonment and taught me the greatest gift of all. To love my children unconditionally. To smile often, to let the little things go, and to just show up in their lives and love them right where they are at.

To establish from the minute they utter their first words that they matter. To listen to their babbles turn into words, which then turned into opinions and passions different than mine. To show them daily evidence that God is real was easy.  From the minute they could blow on a wish flower, to standing on a chair cutting apples and baking cookies. Talking about the glorious ways God has designed them.   I think parents who believe children should be seen and not heard are wrong. I think parents who believe that their children should respect them, and then in turn show their children no respect are wrong. You have to guide your children and teach them right from wrong. teaching them by your daily examples.  Teach them to respect other people's space and opinions. Teach them through example what kindness and serving others looks like. Let them see your process.  Let them see you struggle, and hurt and come out smiling.  If they never see the way cookies are made, they will take longer in appreciating what others have done for them.

This is a ramble.I realize there is no rhyme or reason to this blog post accept that I have five amazing kids. My boys, all four of them, are not on drugs to alter their God given personalities.  They are boys. They were designed with energy. They have a different learning style. They enjoy school, eat well around our dinner table and are void of all the freedom with technology. They play outside all the time. They are loving and enjoying life. Even as each one passes into being a teenager, the rules, with struggle are established. It's hard and I have cried a thousand times because no matter how much they push you away they show up for dinner, and bring their friends. Because deep down they remember you playing pat-a-cake, and they remember you snuggling them when they are sick, and they remember you giving up your seat they could see better. They remember you did not walk away when it was hard. They remember that you were there listening to strong opinions and ideas.

And they remember that I did not miss out some important grown up moments with them.   I thank God every single day that I could orchestrate my work life to be present as a stay home mom. My kids think this is true, but they also see me working, and traveling for work and they share in my work load when they are old enough to travel on a plane and be left in a hotel room while I run to a breakfast meeting. They have sat with presidents of companies I have worked with because they added value to my work. Value in that the friendships we have grown into and the ideas and opinions that were valuable at two or three or thirteen are move so as they have grown up around the stories of my work.

Oh to be a mom.  To let go of how of the bad ways you were parented and adopt all that is good produces kids who love life, love school. love being in our family and bringing other in.  When the last one leaves home I will have had kids living in my space for.....are you ready.....38 years....and then it will be time for grandkids. Thanks God that your biggest blessing and joy is mine, too. Our children.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

When You Let Your Heart Love There Is Going to be Pain

September of 2015 had been one of my hardest in figuring out love, expectations, and changes, and dating.  Over ten months of dating bliss.  He has loved me well. He has shown up, and taken care of my heart. Did I let him love me to much. Did I become dependent on that kind of love that when the winds shifted I was lost at sea? Did the winds really shift or are we now facing realities of dating, kids, family, work and now we choose what we are willing to fight for? Only thing is I had never fought. Polite marriage partners who avoid conflict. Slipping the crumbs of brokenness under the carpet equals two divorces. Ouch. ( I hate typing that.)

Life at that time had thrown in some very hard things.  Things for him and things for me. I have been independent with my hard in the past. Figuring it all out, and then moving on by myself. I am very good at that. Only in loving this man, I allowed myself to become vulnerable, weak, a cry baby, did I mention vulnerable.  Through my outward process in both my happiest, joyful and harder times he has loved me well. He will not let me do this on my own. But I insist. Why? It's all I know how to do.

As life unfolds in the day to day stuff we are learning about each other. As hard as things are, and as much as I want to jump ship I am going to wait. To be honest I have actually tried to jump ship when things get hard. Why? I do not trust my heart or his. I am not going to run, or presume that blissful dating is done. Even in taking a few steps back I am asking God to show me how to fade in and how to fade out.  Am I even suppose to that?  All these thoughts noted in my journals from that one September in 2015.

I told him on one of those "blissful" nights that he should just go home. I was weepy, and sad and I was scared. When you let your heart love there is going to be pain and as much as I want to protect him, myself and even my children there is pain. I am not angry or mad, just sad. Very sad.  Then God reminds me that he has showed me and that John has loved me well. Our maker of love is God.  God tells us to serve and give the best way to love. He serves me, and gives so much to me.  To remember those times, to write about them and then extend grace because we are two people with very deep pasts, and habits, and as we learn and grow, we get to decide if we put our arms around each other and link hands and work through the hard OR if this kind of hard to to hard to go forward. Is it to hard to fight for? 

I remember that time so well in our relationship. I remember thinking that if our relationship ended that night, I have seen what being loved well looks like.  I was so sad that we were both facing something hard stuff.  I admit that each time things have been hard, he has had to grab my hand and pull me in closer because in learning about love, we also learn how we fight for that love or not. I am not a fighter. I fought so hard in both marriages that failed, that fighting just isn't there. I am so lucky that he has not given up on love and fighting for the one he loves, me.

So tonight, as I sit alone and ponder I am even more in love with him. In my hardest moments with him. I love him more.  I am learning how to fight for love. It has been 9 months since that time back in September.  We have both come a very long way in dating. We have had to be there for each other on so many levels of every day life.

Two weeks ago we took a road trip together. Just wandering around Central Oregon.  I was thinking of what I would have missed if I did not open my heart to working out hard stuff. Looking at antiques together. Trying a new Mexican restaurant. Laying in the sun on a park bench in the middle of nowhere taking in the sunshine. Loading the back of his truck with our thrifty furniture finds. And I would not be sitting at this beautiful desk he bought me, because I may have begged a little. This afternoon I brought it inside to just sit and work. Plopped right in the middle of everything.

Last Fall was learning how to really work out life together. And we still do that only now I am able trust him, trust us, and trust the process of what God designed.

If you were married before there WILL always be a past that you have had, and that he has had.  That past is going to step into the middle of everything you both are. Take time to learn and understand. Ask questions and be open to what God would want to do differently this time around. Do not give up because divorce in any one's life is about giving up and dividing and going into separate rooms, and sweeping things into back rooms of your heart.

And even today after dating John for over 18 months I could end this relationship today and be in the best place possible.  I do not see this ending any time soon, but basically saying out loud how thankful I am for John, and for his heart to work at being in love.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Oh yes, and flowers. We love flowers.


There are silly things that girls like. Things like shoes matching handbags, and special lip colors, and a boy who notices what is important. Oh yes, and flowers. We love flowers.  We want them to notice these things, right?  Sometimes those simple things can, in a relationship, be cause for discontent.  Because sometimes he does not notice and yet there is an expectation. Then silly becomes kind of sad, and eventually accepting that it was just silly after all makes you feel sadder.

I love flowers. In almost all my homes I had flowers everywhere, planted and purchased. Filling rooms. My favorite flowers to grow have been roses in all kinds of colors.  Every once in a while John shows up with flowers. For no particular reason.  Just because he was at the store and saw them and thought of me. Or just because and no reason at all. It's not silly. It's what I love. How does he know this about me? I do not know, but I think if I could keep those rose pedals forever I would.

Thoughtfulness on his part is more special than the actual flowers.  There are many thoughtful things he does daily.  Like today, I heard someone at the front door.  It was John.  He was going to get me coffee. I was holding a cup when he answered the door. But he thought of me and my love/need for a morning coffee.  Or the time I tried to break up with him. And he showed up at my doorstep ever single morning just after 7am to tell me he loves me. My boys watched this.  They learned something that week. "Mama, John really loves you." Silly me. Learning to work out relationships.

We have to be able to communicate in our relationships.  Millions of books published and they are still rolling off printers.Why? Because relationships are breaking up daily.  Are you able to express your likes and dislikes? Much like how you make a salad. I can easily express what I love in a salad and my favorite dressing. But in that intimate relationship I can hardly express where I want to eat. I know, silly right?  No not silly. If you love flowers say so.  If he forgets to buy flowers for you then tell him how important it is to you. If you love Blue cheese salad dressing then let him know.  However, defining your relationship by his ability to bring you flowers, or the right salad dressing now that is silly.

Look at the relationship you are in right now. Think of your biggest struggles. Have you voiced them?  Do you have expectations he is not aware of? Have you actually noted his heart of kindness? Have you noticed his well intended gestures to show you how much he cares for you? Does his thoughtfulness get lost in the hustle of the day? Him going to work daily, so you can be provided for. HUGE!! Believe me when I tell you this. At 50 I am not ashamed to say that I am learning this. God bless the first two men I married, but clearly as couples and two divorces this stuff was not figured out. To be with a man, who's life experience brought him to this place of love and care for me. All I have to say is thank you God for his past because it has made him the man he is today. A man who understand what it takes to make this relationship work. Who does not give up because I am way behind the learning curve.And allows me to bumble out the words.... And oh yes, and flowers. I love flowers.

Flowers they do matter to me, and I am guessing if he read this today...guess who is getting flowers.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

He Leadeth Me Out In A Boat

 The past six months there have been some very big events in my life that have taught me some things..
To start with I thought it would be a good idea to trade my Mon-Fri days with my boys with their dad.  Allowing myself time to regroup and reconnect back into Portland.  I quickly realized the void in my heart in  not looking in my kid’s faces each morning before school. Chatting together, making breakfast and getting them off in their day.  Being a full time mom is what was a BIG part of that joy in my heart. Being with my kids in the morning is more than just that first cup of coffee. But that connection.  God had always put on my heart to be mom first. This was the first time in 28 years of being a mom that I was not part of that. Going on a business trip is different.  There is a return day in that same week and you are back on schedule. This was bigger than I could have planned or imagined. 

Last February I made some very dramatic decisions. I woke up in the middle of the night. Wide awake.  Those who know me know I am a girl who loves her sleep and sleeps well. When I am awake in the wee hours I grab my Bible because I know God needs my undivided attention.  I poured through scripture and prayed for my children, and those whom God put on my mind. I saw this vision of me packing up my store and my house.  What a crazy vision to have.  For one thing I hate packing. And the past three years of trying to find a home in a small community had me moving two times already. For another, I am a mom, homemaker first and foremost and have made that my priority over any and all work I have ever done. Creating a home that my kids want to gather. Yet in that vision of packing and moving there was, for the first time in two and a half years, a sense of peace. Not fear, not frenzy. The quiet of the night. Just God and me. I asked God what was next.  I was thinking a move back to Portland and changes in many things around my life, but this. Really? “God it’s me, Elizabeth. I do not do moves. I am homemaker, cook dinner every night, and need my space to be laid out for my creativeness.“ And where?  If I am packing, then doesn't it make sense I would know where I am going. Silly girl logic.

The very next day I got a text from my Landlord for Skip To My Room.  He was allowing me to store Skip To My Room stock until I was ready to move or until he leased the building. Well he leased it and I had ten days to move it all out.  Three thousand square feet of kids room furniture and accessories.  Even after God had met me in the middle of the night. I still freaked out when reality did hit. I still freaked out. And again I freaked out. How? Where? What?  I spent a day positioning all the furniture to be moved first.   It’s hard to find help on a weekday.  When you are 50, it’s not like your friends are offering to help. I called my oldest son who lives an hour and half away. He, like his mama, loathes moving. ( Go figure I have been in the furniture business for over 25 years.)  He even questioned why I would call him. He came.  He got in his car and said, “I am on my way mom, we got this.”  And guess what, we did not have this, God had this. And with fun, joy and a smile the signs were taken down. Because in God's way HE showed up.

As I was waiting for Elliot, a young man showed up in my store.  Elliot walked in seconds after he walked in. This young man asked if he could help. God had brought this young man, to the two people who cannot stand moving. This young man was a Hercules kind of strong. He would pick up a dresser and carry it right onto the truck. Over and over he did this with each piece of furniture.  That day I did not lift one piece of furniture. I simply directed the guys into the storage space and they or I should say “he”, that Hercules young man, did most of the work filling my storage unit with ALL the heavy pieces. There were those awkward moments when Elliot was helping him carry a large piece of furniture and Elliot would look over at me because …well…this Hercules young man would just take the entire piece and carry it off. 
Elliot and Shawn loading the storage unit. 
Two weeks later, it was time to move my house.  Packing the entire home into storage and doing all this looked kind of crazy to most people.  It was even crazy for me. I even had friends sitting at my kitchen counter laughing along with me as I packed and purged.  Yet in obedience to God, this was going down in the town.  I was not sure what to tell people. I simply said I am preparing to move back to Portland. Relocate back to my home of over 23 years. The boys were excited.  Friends and family in Portland excited. Even a close friend gave me a guest room to call home until I had things in order. Yet, when I lay in bed at night I kept thinking how ridiculous and crazy this must seem.
 In December of 2015 I had three contracts with my consulting business end unexpectedly.  I had already made the decision to close Skip To My Room in this small community and relocate back into Portland.  I had brought my store from Portland to a community that already had a history of small business’s struggling to keep their doors open. I thought a bright cheery store like this might help, but sadly, the streets lined with “For Rent” signs should have been a warning. With the store closed a limited client list I was able to think about some “what next” thoughts. I was thankful for some financial reserves and enough business to allow me to pray and think through what would be next.  That dream I spoke of earlier came in February.   By the 10th of March I had a client that did not pay me for February. They had a habit of being late, but this went beyond late. As I struggled with packing up my home, a wave of peace came over me. It was through tears and fighting an internal fight between what I wanted to be doing, and what I believed God had wanted me to be doing.  God knew all along how to best provide for me.  I was being positioned for that "what's next" and I personally could not see that in this extreme transition. My "what next" was not going to be hindered by clients not paying. I was already being cared for in ways that God had orchestrated. 

  Have you ever struggled with what you know you should be doing, and what you want to be doing?  I was living in a beautiful home.  I had a stunning view of the Columbia River to wake up to every single morning.  I had Mount Hood right outside my kitchen window. A beautifully decorated home and the kids loving this place. I cried a lot that week.  I cried every single day.  And yet through all the tears, could be the cheer-leader for the boys and this next adventure. I knew that God was directing all of this. Because on my own I would never had made these choices. But here I was. God leading me.  Listen to this song and you will know exactly where my heart is being lead. 

God knew. He knew what was going to be next and prepared me. He knows me. He designed me.  He set things in place right down to sending a Hercules kind of young man to help with a move. He even blessed me with an incredibly strong man to be dating who could not only support me, but he has some Hercules strength as well.  He helped me move every single box and piece of furniture from my home. And into storage everything went. He listened to my outward process. He should have been wearing a life preserver with all the tears I cried. Now what?

I was sharing a room with this beautiful Texan gal for a business workshop weekend away at a dude ranch.  Our first night we were up until 2am. Our second night we were up until 5am.  She and I both shared our stories, our lives. We had known each other months prior through online meetings and conference calls with a business we are working. This was our first time face to face and in each others space. Sisters and friendship was birthed.  She said, “God is either correcting or perfecting when we are going through transitions like this.” 

I have always been doing something. I have always planned, set goals, and then followed through. Paper and penciled out the plan.  Quite frankly, for most of my life people ask how I manage so much on my plate. How am I able to balance “it all”? And I never really thought much about it. I came from a big family. I have a big family.  I have always said, “A good night’s sleep and dinner around the table with a plan are what fuel me for the next day. 

I have spent the past two months showing up.  I feel like God is saying, “Get in the boat Elizabeth and drop your nets.”  I have been showing up and dropping my nets.  I have been working hard to get things in order.  What has happened are two things that have been part of my DNA.  The first is being that full time and present mom.  I have had the blessing of ordering my work life to be that for my children. Even with a guest room in Lake Oswego, OR I am here in The Dalles more often than not. With my boys every single day I am here.  The second is kids room design. 

A few weeks back my oldest son was praying for me.  His prayers and supplications were beautiful to listen to.  He was going to God on my behalf with the very business that he grew up in. Telling God, that this is how mom has ministered to others.  And Elliot is right.  And I realized in that prayer that I had lost sight of this. A struggling community took some steam out of what I have loved. 
I had the opportunity to get a ride into The Dalles three weeks ago.  My main car left back in Portland. My second car here in The Dalles had been collecting dirt.  That blue van that has carried more furniture here and there than any van should.  One day last week I just did it. I took inventory of what I had in storage,accessories, furniture, and what I wanted to be doing, painting and doing that “dropping my nets” moment.  I bought a few vintage pieces and updated my paints and brushes.  You see, twenty five years ago there was this young girl who started a store.  Her parents did not support this decision because she did not have a business degree. Her friends, well they were encouraging but also quite practical in, “How are you going to do this?” that store turned into quite the business.   Today, I am in that same place. What God designs in us, and living in that design HE will provide and help find that way.   I have been the biggest cheer–leader to my very own children. Directing and encouraging their hearts in how God has designed them. 

God is my biggest cheer-leader, along with my kids and those close friends. I could not open the store back up in the Portland area as quickly as I had hoped.  Two years in a small struggling community and Skip To My Room  does not have the two years of shining financials that leasing companies need.  I know that God’s plans are bigger than man’s plan.  I have lived this knowledge in my life over and over again. He gives us the desires of our hearts and then, if we are seeking him, he will guide and direct that next step. 

For the first time in my grown up life I have taken time.  Slowly getting in the boat, rowing with all I have and dropping my nets.  Then the fun really starts. The waiting.  Who loves waiting for the unknowns of what is next raise your hands?  And there I have sat. In the middle of some waters that has been uncharted waiting. In that waiting I am also resting.   I also get to be a full time mommy as best as I can with this kind of change.  And learning more about what it means to rest, wait, and trust in the Lord. 

Truth is I went a little bonkers in trying to figure out every single detail on my own. I have looked back on my journals of the past six months and truly thank God for HIS peace and love that carrying me. I was reminded over and over that fear is NEVER from God.  The enemy comes to take, steal and destroy. Not this girl.  God is my protector , advisor and in HIM there is no fear of the unknowns. 

What is next?  While I sit in the boat with my nets cast I am painting, and doing what I love. Taking one day at a time.Working with a couple of very cool client projects in business development. Seeking God's direction. Reading, listening to music and appreciating those who are encouraging me.
 I decided to write this today to inspire and give hope to those who are in uncertain times. Truly the past six months have been uncertain times for me.  It is okay to wander, struggle, and not have it all figured out.  There is a peace that passes all understanding when we seek first the Kingdom of God.Taking time to rest in him. Sitting in boat with the nets cast.