Nothing figured out

Hi sweet friend!

I’m so happy to welcome you back to this blog.

It’s a place for us to meet.

To take a deep breath in, then out.

Stay awhile and let me say a few things that I hope bring, well, hope to your heart and mine!

Has this ever been you? (It’s been me)

Scrolling whichever social media platform, feeling all the feels as you see a precious new baby, then feeling all the bad feelings as some sad news hits your heart, carrying, filling up, feeling worried and simultaneously not empowered to do anything…

Have you ever tried your best to have boundaries that fill your heart and make your heart feel safe?

Only to realize you’ve been living days, months, years with many down moments, much anxiety and an overwhelming sense of defeat?

Girl, it’s me, too.

You are not alone and I love you and yes, lol this is social media, but I’m here for you.

I’ve taken a year off social media because someone close to me invited me to do it.

For me, this is a grace-filled decision that still was pretty hard to make on 12/31/2020!

Also, it’s not a black and white decision. So if I feel okay, I go on here & there. It’s taken years for me to move away from this or that restrictive decision-making. It’s been such a worthwhile journey and it also vibes with me much better to seek balance a bit more, as I can!

I’ve been back on for my business and it just feels so good to not need to be on there, and barely be there but to come on when I know it’s a good idea for me to get on and share.

I think the first thing I noticed when I stopped daily, hourly scrolling was that the ever-increasing pressure I had felt and the urgency I had felt in relational interaction started to release.

I think the first thing I noticed when I stopped daily, hourly scrolling was that the ever-increasing pressure I had felt and the urgency I had felt in relational interaction started to release.

I’m still in a lot of important healing processes but one of the outcomes for me of healing is always creating.

My essential oils business is about creativity and helping people and that’s something I’m delighted to continue this year.

Social media is the best place for me to share my heart & business while we are edging our way out of a pandemic and so I’m just posting as the creativity waves hit.

And then getting off.

I just am still seeing so many ways social media has drained me and the number one thing I struggle with as I scroll is not being able to guard my heart.

I’ve tried, but I just can’t. If my heart is soft, I’m open to whatever I see. And if I put a shell on my heart, I become someone I don’t want to be.

So I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to do social media like I have in the past and I’m okay with that.

I think I just didn’t realize there was a way out of the scroll and for 2 years I actually tried to do my normal “Sabbath” break from social and realized I actually couldn’t. It was keeping me together, even though it was hurting me.

It’s because of the treasure of relationships and the way it connects me to you, my precious friends!

So I always understood why it was impossible for me to give it up in any way, for any amount of time, but I knew my heart and soul would feel better if I could break that desperate “need” cycle and find some new ways to cope with the struggles of my life.

I also needed to find the special beauty that I have to offer, again.

There has been so much crying! I haven’t cried since becoming a girl mom- weird, I know!

And now I’ve finally just let myself tear up any time I feel it (advice passed to me from my own mama) and it’s been incredibly healing. Forgot how cleansing it is to have a good cry!

There’s so much more I could say…but I just mostly wanted to write and invite you in.

Share with me- have you ever found yourself in this cycle of being needed & not being able to offer what is needed?

Have you been able to find a good balance between living your life and enjoying social media?

I’m so grateful for each of you!

Me as a mom daily and Me as a make-upped person getting ready for date night 🙂

XOXO,

God, our Father in Heaven

Many of us are familiar with this prayer from Matthew 6:9-13 which says,

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.[a]
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,[b]
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,[c]
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.”[d]

Matthew 6:9-13

Who is our Father in heaven?

Is he like men on earth?

What comes into your heart when you think of the word, “father”?

Do you shudder?

Does your heart melt?

It is so polarizing, depending on what kind of father or fathers we have known.

Have we experienced their kindness, or debilitating pain? Or some mixture of both?

Have they pushed their agendas & mindsets on us harshly, or even cared to ask for our thoughts? Or have they sat down with us and truly listened to every word, then weighed in with life-changing wisdom?

It’s good to know that God of the bible is called Abba. This word is Aramaic and is related to the Hebrew Av from which Abba or “father” is derived.

This is Daddy, or Papa, or Baba, a term of endearment towards a father.

Romans 8:15 speaks of God as Abba.
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.[a] Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”[b]

As I woke up today, the light was shining in all around me from a sunny day after many cloudy days.

I would go in and out of sleep and hear whispers to my heart of who I am, as God’s treasure.

Whispers from the Holy Spirit.

I do believe God to be three persons (Matthew 28:19-20). I know it doesn’t make sense, but I think it doesn’t make sense in a beautiful way, not an unintelligent way.

I’m thankful to not quite understand how God can be Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I love thinking on this mystery.

And I love addressing each one. The Holy Spirit makes Jesus known perfectly, and Jesus is a perfect representation of the Father. And the Father is “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:6).

New International Version
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven

Hebrews 1:3

I think my favorite thing I’ve come to recognize in interpreting Scripture from the Bible is seeing one principle repeated throughout all 66 books in different ways.

So I can find God as a father in the old testament and all throughout the entire Bible. These echoes and mirrors we can see throughout the 66 books makes me feel a sense of awe. So many different authors from different times and yet the connections are woven through every page. This is truly why I believe these words to be inspired by the Holy Spirit.

And so, “Father” becomes something new to me.

Something different and better than I’ve ever seen modeled to me.

I’m thankful for every moment my dad and my father-in-law have shown me what the Father-heart of God is like. It’s generous, giving everything to provide for me, listening, kind, turning attention towards me, enabling me to skip out on some things in life that would hurt me by sharing wisdom freely without judgement.

And yet, that is just a whisper of who God the Father really is.

I don’t know about you, but I need to keep getting to know Him.

I have been getting to know Him in reading His word, through talking to Him and listening for that still small voice, or His shouts in the beauty of nature.

He is so much better than we ever dreamed and He has good things in store for us.

God is like a mother, more nurturing than we ever dreamed and He has comfort for us.

God uses all of His power to reach our hearts. He never uses it against us.

Will you join me in forgiving our fathers who have gotten it so wrong sometimes?

I don’t say that lightly, for many of you have seen far more abuse and only terrible things from that man known as “father.”

But I truly have found that forgiveness releases all of that bad from me, and I imagine giving all of that brokenness to my Father in heaven, letting Him absolve it in Himself, in His Son who died for us and was resurrected, who conquered all of that horrible would-be inheritance.

And then we get to go free. To become good fathers and mothers ourselves, and ask His forgiveness when we fail in our own fallen state.

His goodness keeps coming for us. His forgiveness is always there.

HE is always here, present with us. Not absent. Never unkind. Always using His power to give us good things.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

James 1:17

I love the whole book of James, such a good read!

Much love to you,

Eilah, the princess- reminding me of how we are adopted by our good Father in heaven & called His royal ones.

Renaissance

I was sharing this with my husband.

So much is going on within my heart and mind right now.

I think it’s a renaissance of me.

God showing me the very heart of who He created me to be.

And giving me the way forward to actually voice what has been stuffed inside for many, many years.

You see, I have a tender spirit.

And I love to agree with people to make them feel comfortable, while ignoring the voice inside of me or the feeling of warning within.

And so, I have been all set to vote inside the proper and acceptable viewpoints and mindsets that so many people around me deem to be correct.

But there’s a voice inside of me, that voice that only I have been given.

Hear me roar!

(in a kind way)

I’m not just meant to be kind!

I’m meant to say what I mean forthrightly and own my thoughts and viewpoints.

With grace, yes, but also with tenacity.

How many women do you know, who like me, discount themselves at every turn?

We say, “I’m not really feeling this but if you are that’s cool, or I feel this but sorry if you feel differently, or I will totally do that (while feeling completely overwhelmed and guilty inside).”

The most shocking revelation for me yet as I step into this, is that the views I hold within my heart and mind turn out to be liberal views.

Super shocking to my system because I’ve never even been up close to a real, live liberal!

I am pro-life, so I have always thought in common pro-life terms.

I’ve always been warned away from the devil’s way and what he’s doing on the earth.

But WHAT if the enemy doesn’t win, y’all?

What if God beat him, once and for all.

What if Christ is exalted more than worries and fears that consume us.

His kingdom is pure light.

It has yet to fully come and YET, within us, He HAS shone His light in the darkness.

His light WINS every time.

We can hug the homosexual, without fear that it will rub off on us or some ungodly spirit will enter our homes.

We can vote any way we want and not receive the judgement of those who would tell us who we are according to the way they think.

Their opinion?

Doesn’t matter.

That little love button that threatens to undo you because the comment that is loved is so mean, that comment that’s in response to you pouring out your whole heart before the person. And then you are called names and told that everything you’ve given to yourself as a life calling doesn’t count.

Who are you, huh?

MY GOD says I am loved.

He is ABLE to give me wisdom.

Ain’t nobody gotta be afraid for me!

I’m HELD.

I’m CLEAN.

My land, my nation is clean where I walk upon it.

I don’t bear the weight of the guilt of a whole nation.

JESUS DOES.

Love,

Ailene <which means bringer of light and messenger of truth, so there you go!>

*renaissance- yeah it means revival of the arts. I take it here as a resurrection of the heart and thus creativity of me. I believe we are each created as fully alive living art pieces. Each a facet of our creative God’s heart on earth, never seen before.

Do you ever feel like you just aren’t enough?

Do you ever feel like you just aren’t enough?

Don’t do enough, can’t give enough?

Everyone around you seems to do the best they can and you come up short, again.

In your tone of voice, your work, your estimation of yourself, your weight, your style, your smarts, your ability to save money, to raise your kids to be free-spirited yet educated…on and on.

Friend, can I lead you where my heart just went?

Let’s ask ourselves some questions:

  1. Is this an unusual season?
  2. Is it a tougher than usual season?
  3. Are you in the midst of what feels like a huge learning curve?

And some more questions:

  1. Are you getting the water intake you need, like how about in this moment?
  2. Are you able to take 10 minutes to do something de-stressing?
  3. Can you just breathe in and then breathe out in this moment?

There…so glad you joined me for that. 🙂

Is it maybe your own estimation that is causing you to be so tough on your own self?

This post is prompted by a realization I just had.

So, this is my second year of having two children. And continuing to work full-time. And since March, the two days a week I used to escape to the office turned into fully working from home. The weekly couple of mornings of childcare for my older child turned into having him home every day. The baby stopped needing naps in the mornings, and with all of the upheaval, the older one stopped taking naps altogether.

It’s been such a huge learning curve. I’ve had seasons like this in the past, where the amount of responsibility required of me for that season is just more than I can handle. And though there are some things I can drop, the minimum requirement feels many times like too much.

Anyway, I looked at my time off for the year and get this, friends. It actually makes me want to cry.

I only took one half day off for a personal day plus two more for a sisters’ long weekend. For the entire year.

I barely took that off.

I have had two children at home with me from March until September and worked full-time.

This means I’ve worked through their ups and downs and needs. And given myself to their needs while still making sure to catch up on work late into the night, after getting up early to do it.

This means, that because I’m already at home, even when I’ve been sick, I’ve just adjusted my hours instead of taking time off.

I had this thought, “girl, what is your problem?!”

I guess I would just think, I want to save my time off in case we get to travel in the summer.

And then, I’ll just wait until it’s closer to the end of the year, so I can look at those days off and have hope.

(I’ve used up my days off for the year early in the year before and it was so tough mentally!)

So now it’s OCTOBER.

Girl, take a day off.

Take.a.personal.day.

Haha, anyway, friend I hope you have days off. I know not everyone does. I am so very blessed. And yes, I’m privileged, I really, truly am.

And I’m here to remind you that so many breaths of fresh air are here for us after we go take the walks, or take that personal day, or just stare out the window and dream a second while drinking a yummy drink.

I pray you get that recharge time soon. Let me know if you feel comfortable, your thoughts and something you do to recharge below.

Xoxo,

2019- Year in Review

2019 will always be the year I had my baby girl.

She came to us “late” but early this year in February.

Such a sweet gift and perfect addition to our family.

IMG_2719

I just finished playing with my son, laying beside each other laughing inside his tent.

There’s nothing that fills my heart so much as quality time with my little family.

IMG_4124

And my larger fam. My heart is so full from a recent trip to Pennsylvania where I experienced the love of so many aunts, uncles, cousins, step-cousins and my immediate family as well all stayed together in our parents’ home.

My heart is also freshly grateful at the reminder of the brevity of life.

My heart grieves the brevity of this life and it also grows and stretches up into the hope and surety of my faith.

Eternal life.

Perfection of beauty.

Togetherness with God and all those who choose His love and just to simply believe.

He has saved us from our sins.

Sin= the ugly in each of us that separates us from God.

God= pure light & complete forgiveness.

Exchanging ashes for beauty.

 

I loved this year. Yet, it was really, profoundly hard.

I’m insanely proud of myself for how I handled really tough circumstances and challenging mindsets this year.

I didn’t always feel like I was winning, but I was.

And hey! Not only did I find a workout groove from 37-41 weeks pregnant in the beginning of the year, I was able to punch out 87 workouts from July on.

 

I’m proud of that and also just so grateful I can move my body.

I may be the heaviest this year that I’ve ever been by a lot, but I’ve learned that’s not a determining factor of beauty.

That comes from within and shines outward. And curvy isn’t ugly.

 

Dear One of my soul,

Thank You for life. For my husband who is the friend of my heart & life forever and the best person all around. For my teeny lady who is completely delightful and so beautiful & funny. For my son who taught and is teaching me the fun it is to be a mama and just how tightly love can weave its way into my heart for another human.

For my mom, who has weathered many storms with me and we always come forth stronger, more whole and more in love with each other with better tools on how to keep growing together. And my dear daddy who is the most amazing man I know before I met the most amazing man I know who is my husband. ❤

For my sister, who journeys with me through many things of heart & body and who also shows me how beautiful a life can be in many seasons of the soul.

For my older bro, who is not only fierce, but is someone to deeply love, easy to love and so deep and wonderful.

For my younger bro and his cats. 🙂

For my dear grandma and all the beauty she has grown on earth and the deep faith she has passed on to each of us.

For my dear grandma-in-law who is such a joyful person and loving generous Christian.

For my in-laws who have become even more deeply family and are a lot of fun for us all to be around and also oh so generous of heart.

For my coworkers who make life wonderful and help me to grow and be better.

For all who I love and who have loved me and mine.

XOXO,

Ailene

What I wish They Told Me Before Having 2 Kids under 2

Here’s what I wish “they” would’ve told me before I had 2 kids under 2.

  1. Fall and Christmas plates & decor come back in season before you know it. Just leave them out! 🙂
  2. You might feel like you are required to be the energizer bunny & pulled in many directions, but just breathe. It.will.all.come.together!
  3. Prayer is powerful.
  4. Reach out for help. And when God sends help, open your heart to receive it.
  5. Stay close to your partner. Let out the ugly to God, then a tamer version to your partner. Sometimes it will be in the reverse order & that’s okay because life is real & they will love you through it & perhaps offer insight, kind eyes or prayer that will heal you. In the midst of it all, keep pursuing your spouse in some small way. It will go miles!
  6. Diapers are just diapers. No need to potty train super early unless it works for you & your toddler! You get used to it & it’s one less thing to worry about right now.
  7. Give it a little while before you feel like you’re in a rhythm. The home will come back in order, your health will come back into order, just take it in small steps towards your main goals. Write them down so they’re not in your head! Then give yourself grace as you slowly implement them. It will be soo satisfying when you reach each tiny goal- don’t worry, it will happen!
  8. Take in the moments of rest. When baby needs to nurse or be held longer. When the toddler needs to be held or read extra books. These are the highlights of your life. Truly, these babies won’t be babies forever and even the toughest memories when they are tiny become beautiful after some time passes.
  9. See if you can either a) get up a little earlier than the kids to meditate, pray, read the Bible and/or do something you love for a few minutes (sip some tea while watching the sunrise, etc.) or b) stay up a little later to do the same thing. But believe me, the more sleep you can get, the better so sometimes that is the thing that is most necessary & helps you the most!
  10. I wish someone had told me all of the JOY having 2 babies under 2 brings. When the 4 of us just lay on the floor and laugh, it fulfills something in my heart that I could never have dreamed. It’s SO good.

What’s something you wish someone had told you about having 1, 2 or 3 kids (or more!)?!

Xoxo,

Ailene

What Type of Parent I am

I’ve had the amazing realization of what kind of parent I should be this week.

I want to start by saying that I have a reallly compassionate heart and I remember what it was like to be a tenderhearted kid.

So, I guess I’ve always wondered how I would parent.

I figured that I would still be my Italian self who can be loud & passionate, but also gentle which is my nature.

I’m guessing I’m probably not alone in feeling a little afraid of how to proceed.

But 2 year olds…man, they pull it out of you.

You find yourself with a tantruming little person in front of you and you just have to figure out how to deal. Amiright?!

Our 2 year old’s tantrums have been at an all time high in the past few weeks and I won’t go into details, but let’s just say I’ve had to face everything. Just everything about how to parent and who I am as a parent.

And it hit me- I will be a firm and tender parent.

Firm where it’s absolutely needed for guidance and to keep my child from harm and from harming others.

And tender as soon as he gets it and I can just wrap him up in my love.

No matter how upset he has been, my love has been bigger.

It just overflows and you’re just trying to find any way to bring calm back to their hearts and environment.IMG_1683

I guess my heart as a child used to be confused by authority figures who were harsh and never explained themselves.

Every person has moments where they handle it badly, but I think the thing that healed me the most was those authority figures who followed up and apologized and when it was appropriate, explained what was going on.

I still don’t completely know how this will go- that’s parenting a firstborn for ya!

But I’ve had so much confidence in my parenting and my child responds amazingly well to my confidence.

So, to all the other mamas and papas out there who are going through tough times, I’m praying for you, that as you read this you’d feel grace and just know what to do next with your child.

We’re doing it!

In it together,

Ailene

To the One

For being a courageous person, I haven’t felt very fear-less lately.

Haven’t felt like stepping out.

And along with that, my goal of using this as a platform to hear others’ voices, a chorus of courageous ones together has not been happening.

In fact, I’ve failed to post someone’s blog who accepted my invitation to guest post after I was so deeply moved by her heart and asked for more of her writing.

9 months later, here is a powerful ode to many. To the ones who fight for alive hearts, here is a guest post by Deni Elise Gustafson. My dear friend and only sister.

To the one who grew up too soon
To the one who had tears that came much later than the moment of pain
To the one who didn’t hear what was needed
To the one who has experienced the death of so much
To the one who had their childhood stolen, their innocence stolen
To the one that had to say goodbye to hopes and dreams again
To the one that was broken on the inside with a smile on the outside
To the one who had to be strong when everything was crumbling
To the one who couldn’t join in with lighthearted banter
To the one who is fighting a battle unseen to the naked eye
To the one who cannot even voice feelings for there are too many and not enough all at once
To the one who has been misunderstood and misrepresented
To the one who never heard, “Will you forgive me? I was wrong”
To the one who is trying every day just to make sure food is on the table and beds are warm
To the one who feels like giving up
To the one whose health has dripped out through praying hands

To the one who fights for gratefulness against all odds
To the one who chooses to believe He is good
To the one who stands up for themselves when everything says to back down
To the one who speaks up even when their voice has grown hoarse
To the one who fights for a heart that is alive and feels
To the one who gives kindness and forgiveness even when undeserved
To the one who lets wonder live in childhood and beyond
To the one who lives generously in faith that provision will come
To the one who creates a safe place even if just in hearts shared
To the one who is trustworthy and keeps their word
To the one who is weak and therefore strong
To the one who lives like eternity is real
To the one who believes, hopes, and endures

“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ Matthew 25:23 NIV

 

If your heart is numb the first time reading, like mine was, let me encourage you to read it again a second or third time. The power of these words go deep and sometimes it takes a bit for a distracted hearts to settle in and feel.

Find more creativity by Deni give a follow on Instagram:

@missdenipenny and @theconfidentgiraffe

@missdenipenny

Blessings in light,

Ailene

An Open Note from a Very Pregnant Lady

Written January 25, 2019, 2 days before my daughter’s due date.

If I see one more self-righteous, shock factor pro-life photo or statement.

Listen, I’m as pro-life as they come. I’ve had a huge heart for babies who are unwanted and moreso a passion for mamas who are facing pregnancy that is unexpected and perhaps terrifying.

Before we dehumanize the situation by sharing traumatizing things, let’s think about who actually goes for an abortion.

She’s strong. Yet she’s faced with something most of us cannot fully relate to. Can you imagine her situation? She’s a college student who worked so hard to get her scholarships and she had a moment of passion or was, worse, put in this situation by force. Wouldn’t you want to press delete, too?

Yes, deleting a tiny bunch of cells who for sure will become a human is horrific. Yes, ending a heartbeat of a beautiful child is terrifying. But it’s not an easy choice and I don’t know who is righteous enough to look down on someone in that situation.

Maybe you just want to “get the word out” but just look into the eyes, the beautiful eyes of a woman who is in that situation and love her. Fight for her unborn child by supporting her. And even by giving her the dignity to make the choice herself. You just literally cannot save her child. It’s HER child and her choice to save him or her. She’s the one who will live with the choice, in every way and you might be able to come alongside and support her in a huge way by adopting her child. But the traumatic photo on Facebook? Who is that helping?

The statement full of shock factors that are just absolutely disturbing- is that gonna help HER? Or is it some battle you’re fighting against…against who exactly? “The other side”? Just make it personal because though it’s a human rights issue it’s the most intimately personal choice a woman could ever have.

To those who are in this place. You, brave woman, you are strong. You can make this choice. I hope you see the potential this tiny group of cells or this fully-formed human has inside of you and find courage to bring that person forth. This would be the most selfless and heroic thing you could ever do and I believe, the redemption key to your story. I think it will enable you to move forward and not hold you back. You can offer a child literally everything in giving them life. But it’s your choice to make. And I hope you feel the love so many of us have for you, though we’ve never faced what you’re facing and don’t know if we’d have the courage to follow through with what we are asking.

See yourself in five years. Where are you? Where is this little one? Can you be proud of this decision? Can you live with it? Not shame on you– can you live with it? But seriously, if this crushing weight you’re feeling was lifted, can you feel the life you’ll have? Make your decision that way and know you are loved.

To all the women I know who have had a child on their own, facing very uncertain circumstances and risking reputation, future career choices, everything- you are the most bad*ss woman out there. I feel barely worthy to wash your feet. I am astounded at all that you have given up to give life. I am ashamed at how easy I have it in so many ways, for pretty much no reason of my own.

I wish I could do more to advocate for YOU. To help you get the college degree you don’t have the time, finances or mental space to obtain because you’ve chosen to become a mother. To lift off the pressure you feel, bearing all the weight of parenthood on your strong but slim shoulders. To let you deeply, surely know that you are worth loving and being stayed with. Worth being honored and cherished. As a person, as a woman, not just because you are a mother. Girl, I wish I could give you security. For the future, heck, for right now. I can’t, but I will stand up for you and women like you for all my days, in any and every way I know how, and I won’t pretend to “know” you, to know your circumstances and to judge you according to my own standards. I promise to advocate for you and to love you and I commit to speaking highly of you because that’s all that is in my heart for you, all my days. I can’t say it in enough ways, you, you’re amazing. I can’t believe you chose to give life when so many wouldn’t, couldn’t, or haven’t. Thank you for making your child’s world your whole life and in so doing; giving us the whole world. Your son or daughter is one of the most amazing gifts we could ever have in this world and I just want to say, thank you.