… the struggle is real

… real good.

If you know me, one of my favorite things is quotes! And, I heard one that resonates deeply with me and hit me pretty hard.

“We should concern ourselves not with pursuit of happiness but the happiness of pursuit.” Hector and the Search of Happiness.

For as long as I’m aware, I’ve always been very much a destination minded person. I focus on getting the result and being frustrated with the journey to that result. I wasn’t working for “the journey”, I was busting my butt for the result so that’s where I would focus my attention. That sounds great and logical until you realize you have to take the journey in order to get to the destination and how you journey dictates who you will be once you arrive which is, ultimately, much more important than the achievement.

When I was struggling with infertility, I just wanted the baby.

When my marriage was falling a part, I just wanted it fixed.

As I build this business, I just want to hit this income.

I wanted, worked for, cried for, broke down over, fell a part over, shook my fist at God over, secluded over, and lost myself over an outcome. Not wanting to endure the journey. Wanting to fast forward through the hard stuff to finally experience the joy, the beauty, the dancing, for all of the sorrow, morning, and ashes.

My mind was focused on what Alaina (& everybody else) was doing (or not doing), but not who Alaina was. I was focused on what God was doing (or not doing) instead of who he was. Because I wanted a certain outcome and the doing gets the job done…. all the other stuff was fluff. Because no one is perfect, anyway, right?

Or does it?

As far as I was concerned, the journey is great but we can get to all the learning after we hit this goal, right?? After we get the baby, after the marriage is restored, after we hit these ranks. We can enjoy the spoils as we do the same work we would have had to do while we fought for the spoils……. right? So silly.

But, what I missed is that who you become and what you learn as you walk, run, scratch, crawl etc to those goals, is what gets you to those goals. What keeps you there. What allows you to bring other people along & help them hit their goals with a wider perspective about the experience. (And, really…… what motivation would I have to work on the inner stuff if I’ve already got all the outer stuff I want?)Without a shadow of a doubt, that as much as I want what I want & need what I need right. now, I am able to happily pursue. Frustration, disappointment, and the tendency to beat myself up along the way have decreased dramatically. Instead I look for God in everything. I imagine how this waiting, failure, and missed mark is a part of the “all things” when God promises that “all things” work together for my good and his glory. I am able to see how things are lining up, improving, and coming together. I’m able to relax as God works instead of being wound up about what he is working on.

And, I’d rather the best version of myself and able to teach, impart wisdom, support, and be there with a healthy mindset and emotional/mental state.

Those things are more important than whether or not we reach a goal!!!

As we walk through a season of wait and journeying, we should definitely remember that focusing on the “who” & the process of becoming. Those things will help give perspective to our experiences as we work hard to hit those goals. At the end of the day, all of it is going to pass away and there will stories for generations told of what kind of person we were and who we were that last longer and will be more impactful than what we accomplished.

I’ve got major goals planned for 2019…… many of which hinge on the lessons I’ve learned and who I am and worked (am working) hard to become and I’m thankful for the journey. I enjoy the pursuit. And, look forward to enjoying the “spoils of war”.

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… ‘tis the season

Christmas magic | hope | joy

This time of year is full of traditions, celebrations, parties, music, themes, joy, and hope.

A time we focus hearts and minds on the “real” meaning of this season while eyes, minds, and hearts and battling with keeping up, Christmas cards, decorations, lights, shopping, spending, dresses, invitations, gifts, wrapping, travel.

….. making sure we feel a certain way when we experience our homes, trees, streets, shopping centers, & movies.

Basically everything around us puts us in a certain mind frame.

All of the holiday things are trying to make us feel happiness. Cheer. Joy. Hope. And, magic.

And, it works really well until it doesn’t.

I personally adore the holidays. I love alllll of the Christmas magic. I love the joy and the music and the scents and the wreaths and the everything that comes with it.

I love how the year ends with happiness and celebration.

I love how it ends with hope that hopes against itself the way Job did.

But what’s hard is when you don’t have it. When it’s not overflowing. When joy and peace and magic don’t have room to expand because hurt, sadness, and defeat are overwhelming.

It’s hard when you have no hope.

And, lack of hope and defeat don’t always look like it sounds. Doesn’t always look like a bowed head and slow walking and talking Eeyore. It can for sure look tired. But it can also look like comfort and overindulgence.

“… because it doesn’t matter anyway,” says hopelessness.

It doesn’t matter because nothing ever changes. It doesn’t matter because you’ve tried before. It doesn’t matter because the last time…… it doesn’t matter no one notices.

It doesn’t matter ….. because we can sometimes feel we don’t matter.

If we believed we mattered and our thoughts, voices, and decisions made a difference in this life, we would make choices (& stick with them!) that could change our life.

Be it how we’re eating. Who we’re spending time with. What we choose to read and watch. How we choose to spend our time. The risks we take, the opportunities we take advantage of, and the work we’re willing to put in in order to change things.

So many people will exit this season in more debt. They will endure this season with little. They will gain weight. Feel like poop. Over eat. Over drink. Feel bad. Want different but not choose to make the intentional choice to do something different to experience life different.

But, not you. Not this year.

It stops with you. Because you matter. Your children matter. The quality of your day and your babies’ days matter. Because we want the more we know exists. But were too scared go after it.

And, I’m proud of you already. For even THINKING about what differences you want and need to make. Then, I’m going to be proud of you for taking the steps to move from a thought to an action based on the circumstances you thought about. We’re moving. Taking one step at a time – not in a circle, but forward.

2019 is going to be an incredible year…. because we are making the choices that lead us to better.

And, I’m excited. You deserve it. I deserve it. We deserve it.

If you’ve seen what I do and why I do it and love it…. email me. (unashamedgrowth@gmail.com)

If you’ve seen how my life is different and you want your own turn of the page and start of a new chapter, email me. (unashamedgrowth@gmail.com)

We can end this year and and start next year in hope.

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… let it go

It’s so funny how ONE thought & decision has a such an impactful domino affect on your entire mindset. I say ‘funny’, but I know that it’s the Holy Spirit leading to where we are supposed to be and molding us into who we are meant to be. I believe that because every single one of these ideas are connected to something the Lord previously taught & is teaching me. They build upon each other & are affirmed by so many people in so many ways. And, I’m moving in a very non-Alaina way which further lets me know that this ain’t a flesh thing. There’s something much bigger unfolding.

Now, we know that I’ve very seriously committed to being intentional and unapologetic about everything in my life. Some ways are easier, some are a bit harder….. but at the end of the day, I know that if I want my life to look a certain way, it’s up to me to make better choices that will lead me to that place. Step 1: When your friends call you out on something…. listen. process. & deal with it.

We can’t become better without being willing to accept who we are (the “us” we don’t/can’t always see) and being willing to do the work to change what’s holding us back.

After a convo with a friend, she called me out on some stuff and I processed. We talked again. I processed some more. Repeated that a couple of times until I understood the why behind the what.

One of the realizations: I’m a hoarder…… It’s not so bad that the qualifications are met for the show, but enough for me to think about why I am keeping so many…… memories. I tend hold onto stuff for a narrowed down couple of reasons.

1. I have (& am working through) a scarcity mindset. Now, this stems from quiet a few places, but I’ve held onto clothes/shoes that I haven’t worn in years. Clothes/shoes that I will legit never wear. And, even forgot about. They’re useless…….. And, they’re just taking up space.

2. I felt that by holding onto stuff, it meant I deserved what I had, added to my value, or didn’t take the effort for granted. This goes for the girls’ school work to teacher gift packages/cards, old purses to shoes…. just stuff that really no longer held value to me, but I kept it because it meant I had value for even having it.

Ex: I have a little nook that had two years worth of the girls’s school work & daily notes daily y’all) from teacher. Which I first began stashing it, I planned it get one of those clear, plastic boxes with dividers to store work in……. I didn’t want forget anything. Eventually, y’all the amount of papers just piled up in that area was shameful. But, I couldn’t. After I kept asking myself ‘Why?’ after I hit a new revelation about why I keeping pictures of colored apples, numbers, and animals was because I felt that by holding onto this stuff, it proved that I was truly grateful for their lives. Yup.

So I got rid of it.

A ton of shoes, baaaaaags of clothes, the piled up school work, and the bouquets of dead flowers.

Yes. I went through a stint where I loved dried roses. But, they’re dead. So, I got rid of them, too.

More doesn’t mean better. Or fuller. Or worthy of anything.

Holding onto things just means there’s less physical space, mental, & emotion room for you to receive what you really want and could actually use.

I literally love the feeling of getting rid of things. I love the feeling of having more options because you’re able to see what you do have that you actually enjoy…… the space is less cluttered so your mind is also clear. It feels good to donate. To give things way. To let go of old things that were purposeless & taking up space. Along with a physical clean up, I’m also being very intentional about my emotional space + mindset. Clear boundaries, goals, desires & the undesirables are set in place. I’m leaving space for those things to continually develop & become more and more clear. Growing past old thoughts, habits, & mindsets and THAT feels good. It’s freeing. I refuse, refuse, refuse to allow dysfunction, hurts, thought patterns rooted in insecurities, fear, & limits guide my life. There’s just so much more available to us and we can’t access it stuck in hopelessness that’s masked in certainty.

I’m determined + committed to roll into 2019 already working toward what I made my mind up to accomplish.

Ready & making room for overflow and abundance.

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