Fine…

Last week, my boss asked me how I was doing. I blurted out a partial list of stressors in my life. After I felt like I puked out a few too many feelings, I said, “You probably weren’t looking for that long of an answer. Maybe ‘fine’ would have been good enough.” Or would it have?

People around me were having loved ones die unexpectedly or die slowly, both of my (vaccinated) parents were ill with COVID, navigating the school schedules of cross country practice (in a different location each day with a kid who cannot drive)/band/bowling/gym/6am swimming for cross training, weekly market baking, picking & processing garden vegetables, one son 900 miles away navigating freshman year alone and needing a vehicle to get him through winter & hopefully home for Christmas… & 100 other things. I’m not unique. I’m one of many moms (and some dads) who have a rolling check list of “to do,” “to find,” or “to get” running through their brains. So yeah, this last week, I haven’t been fine, but I consider myself lucky.

I’m spinning in my head with everything, but I’m learning techniques to make it better. I’m overwhelmed by life, but I know there are people who need and depend on me. I may be sad for others, but I’m thankful for my family. “It could be worse” doesn’t mean that your struggles aren’t valid. It’s not a competition of woe’s. Sometimes we need to let things out and release them… set them at the feet of Jesus, release them into the universe, turn them over to a higher power – whatever it is, we don’t have to hold onto it. We don’t have to pretend we are fine.

I was part of a Wise, Wild Woman conference last week. I went back and watched my interview. I need to take my own advice. Find your joy. Do the things that make you happy. “Yes” you can do what you love. Sometimes events shake us and sometimes we feel stuck. It’s ok to reach out for help. It’s ok to need someone even when you’re a fixer/helper. I know I’ve written about the subject before, but I feel like some of this was smacking me on the head & need to be repeated. If you’re swimming along and things are great, good for you. I am honestly happy for you and jealous (it’s ok). If you’re struggling, hang in there. Reach out, ask for help, talk about it out loud. Say the words you need to release. You don’t have to always be fine. Sometimes we just need to hear that it’s ok. We aren’t alone. You are not alone.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Smile when you can, cry when you need to… it’s ok to not be ok, but you are needed here.

The end…

This is the beginning of a recent cross country race. It’s one of my favorite views. The race gun goes off and the kids start running. The long horizontal line funnels down while they jockey for their spot. They try to find their pace. Don’t go out too fast and burn out, but don’t save too much so you have too much left over at the end.

Between 5K’s, half marathons, full marathons and cross country runs, I’ve lost count of how many I’ve watched or participated in. 50? Maybe more? It doesn’t matter. While the starting funnel is one of my favorites, the end is my other favorite. Not the finish line end, but the end of the pack. The kids who still are running even though many of the spectators have already moved on. They may have had to walk part of the course, they are battling an injury, struggling with the heat, or this is their pace. Regardless of their story, they are worthy of claps and cheers. They need someone to smile at them even if they have no idea who I am.

What’s the point? I know how they feel. I’m usually at the back of the pack too. I haven’t run in several years, but when I did, it was more of a slow jog. I have a friend who walks faster than I jog. At some point in our lives, we need someone to cheer us on. While it feels great to hear the loud cheers when you’re at the front of the race, the few people who cheer you on when you’re just hanging in there are important too. Odds are, either you know someone towards the back of the pack right now, or maybe it’s you. I hope you’re cheering someone on, if you’re able. It doesn’t take much – a smile, a quick text, a lunch visit, an unexpected package or treat… you never know when it might be just what that person needed to keep them going.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” Hebrews 12:1

What the cluck?

This is Noodle chicken. Pepper is behind her and Daisy is in the back. They are part of the flock of nine hens at our farm. Noodle is wondering why I’m taking pictures of her. Pepper is trying to grow her feathers back. Daisy is annoyed there aren’t more treats. Chickens are funny. They can’t smile but they have a bunch of different cluck noises and expressions. So far, it seems there is a cluck noise when they lay eggs (called the “egg song”), a different cluck when there is danger, a cluck indicating something exciting (like a frog), a cluck when there are treats, a cluck when they see me, a cluck when they are determining “pecking order,” a cluck in the morning and a different one at night. Chicken personalities… who would have thought?

This is Sesame chicken. She is wondering why Noodle was chosen for the first picture. She is usually the last one in the coop at night. She can be kind of sassy and she loves bean plants.

The chickens are pets. I could tell you a story or something specific about each one… even the new ones. They are as unique as you and I.

So why a “fluff piece” on a Tuesday? These ladies were the back drop to my interview for the Wise Wild Woman conference next week. It’s a free virtual conference with several of the authors from our book along with other amazing women. Of course I talk about my chickens a little. You’ll probably be able to see them peeking around – looking for snack.

Women sharing stories of healing and connection creates safety and opportunity for others women to show up and rise. Join us for the call of the wild ones in this virtual conference for women. I’m excited to be a part of the change we are seeking in the world today, I hope you can join us! Come receive, learn, relax, laugh, and connect with us!

https://mavisfrueh–melissacorter.thrivecart.com/wise-wild-woman-virtual-conference/

I also have some books in stock from our book launch! Message me at mavisfrueh@journeyofenough.com to get your copy today.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Hope you will be able to join us in the conference and hear from these amazing wise wild women!

If God can lead you to it…

I was scrolling through Facebook before bed, too tired to move off the couch. We did a lot of canning on Labor Day. Whatever we don’t sell at the market, we try to use in some way. Today was salsa and jam day. We made 3 more batches of mild, medium and hot salsa, 3 batches of pasta sauce, strawberry jam, blueberry jam, chokecherry jelly & strawberry rhubarb jam. It was more than twelve hours of prepping, cooking & canning. My husband carried a canner full of jars and water up and down our patio steps many times on Monday. He wore gloves & glasses to prep the jalapeños for the hot salsa. Everyone stayed safe, so it was a good day. We do the canning outside on a propane stove. It keeps the heat out of the house and it’s much quicker.

Anyway, I saw this quote from Toby Mac. He’s a Contemporary Christian artist and has lost a son. His words struck a chord with me & I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to write about. We all face struggles of some kind. Most of the time we don’t know what someone else is going through. They may have lost a loved one, struggled to get out of bed, battled depression/loneliness/anxiety, struggled with hidden health issues… the list goes on. After I was done with breast cancer treatment, I had a bit of a panic attack. I wasn’t “actively” doing anything… no more surgery or radiation, no more regular doctor visits… I was just set free to do what? Now what? It’s a strange feeling. Like maybe when you’re not fighting anymore, it will come back?

I met with a counselor at the cancer center and also met with mentor (someone who had been through breast cancer herself). I asked, “Does it ever get easier? Is there a day when you don’t think about it?” Their answer was “kind of.” Eventually it doesn’t consume your every thought… other things fill in. You make plans for the future instead of putting plans on pause, you take some chances you had held off on, you find a new routine. I’m thankful that now I have to do math to remember how long it’s been. This past Memorial weekend was 6 years since my last surgery. This coming December will be 7 years from diagnosis. The thing is, it won’t ever go away. It will always be a part of me, always a part of my story, always a concern for my family.

But I like to think I have helped others who have gone through cancer. I’ve shared tips for them and for their caregivers, I’ve sent care packages to strangers, answered questions when I could and said many prayers for healing and strength. I remember hearing, “If God can lead you to it, God can lead you through it.” FYI, this was not helpful for me. It kind of made me mad. Why did God lead me to breast cancer at 41? Why did God make me give that news to my family & take me on a journey I didn’t ask for? Why did some friends turn away and abandon me? Why was work so challenging while dealing with such an illness? I don’t have the answers. Maybe it is because I was meant to help someone else.

The same could be said for you. Have you struggled with something and then been able to help someone else? You might not even realize the impact you had. It forms a connection. I picture a spider web in my mind… a small strand connecting us to someone else. When you get enough of those strands, the web can be pretty strong.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Stop and take a moment to reflect on how you’ve helped someone else. You are here for a reason, even if it’s not apparent to you, you’ve no doubt made a difference in someone’s life. Maybe God really did lead us to it.

What if….

Matthew West has a new song, talking about living life to the fullest. My sister thought it would make a good blog post. She’s right, only I don’t feel like I can give it justice. I’m not doing these things. I’m not going all in or prioritizing right. Yes, I’ve crossed some things off my bucket list. I’ve checked off some of the things I knew I wanted, and added to the list with things I never dreamed of. But I don’t feel like I live every day to the fullest. I feel like I hold back, I underestimate my abilities, I assume infinite tomorrow’s. There’s always a someday or a maybe when… does that mean I’m filled with regrets? I’m honestly not too sure. Yes and no.

The thing with regret is, I usually think it as something in the past that I did, instead of something that I haven’t done yet. I do have some “I wish I would have” moments… things I didn’t do. I’ll let you read his words and see how it resonates with you.

What If – by Matthew West:

[Verse 1]
I’ve heard ’em say before to live just like you’re dying, yeah
Wish I could say that’s how I am but I’d be lying, yeah
Lying in my bed at night one too many times, I’m thinking
What if? (What if?) What if? (What if?)

[Verse 2]
My biggest fear is waking up to find what matters
Is miles away from what I spent my life chasing after
Is my story gonna have the same two words in every chapter?
What if? (What if?) What if? (What if?)

[Pre-Chorus]
But last I checked this heart inside my chest, is still beating
Well I guess it’s not too late

[Chorus]
What if today’s the only day I got?
I don’t wanna waste it if it’s my last shot, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
No regrets, in the end
I wanna know I got no what-ifs
I’m running ’til the road runs out
I’m lighting it up, I’m right here, right now, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
No regrets, in the end
I wanna know I got no what-ifs, yeah

Verse 3]
See I refuse to be a should’a, would’a, could’a been
I can’t go back in time, I don’t have a DeLorean
What I’m tryna say is I don’t wanna say these words again
What if? What if?

[Pre-Chorus]
But last I checked this heart inside my chest, is still beating
Well I guess it’s not too late, no no

[Chorus]
What if today’s the only day I got?
I don’t wanna waste it if it’s my last shot, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
No regrets, in the end
I wanna know I got no what-ifs
I’m running ’til the road runs out
I’m lighting it up, I’m right here, right now, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
No regrets, in the end
I wanna know I got no what-ifs

[Bridge]
I’m gonna dream a little bigger, burn a little brighter
Stand a little taller, closer to Your fire
Dig a little deeper, reach a little further
Love a little harder
I’m gonna dream a little bigger, burn a little brighter
Stand a little taller, closer to Your fire
Dig a little deeper, reach a little further
Love a little harder

There it is. I feel like I take steps forward and steps back. An open book, then a closed up clam shell… ready to take on the world, then not able to move… cleaning like crazy, then unable to put my clothes away. Adulting is hard. Please don’t give up. People need your light. It’s ok to not shine bright each day, just don’t forget about your flame.

I’m wishing you peace on your journey of enough. Peace for your heart, peace for your body, peace for your soul. May you be surrounded in love and light. Maybe the song will spark a “what if” for you too.