Faith Over Feelings.

Faith Over Feelings.

 

So this happened.

A Plane Engine Fell Apart In Midair 

One thing my close friends and family can say about me, is that they know what some of my deepest fears are.  In fact, I am pretty open about my fears, and sometimes I may come across as anxious or fearful, but I like to think I am just more honest and vocal perhaps than the next guy.  Because I’d be willing to bet he has just as many if not more, fears as me.  He just doesn’t think about them, or like to talk about them as much.

Probably the biggest phobia I have right now is my fear of flying.  I can’t tell you where it comes from, as I used to fly just fine! It wasn’t until about five years ago it started to develop.  I am actually wondering if I have a fear of heights in general.  The most scary and daunting situation to me is flying over the ocean, specifically the Pacific Ocean, mainland to Hawaii.

And yea, we live in Hawaii.

So, guess what, it is not easy at all for me to decide to fly back East.  I have wondered many times if I will never again leave the Hawaiian Islands, which wouldn’t be so bad except all my family, and closest friends are very far away, and it is not affordable for all of them to come see me!

My husband and eldest son are currently on the East coast, and about to get on a United Airlines flight to come back home.

 

 

 

I have already decided as of a couple years ago that I will never fly United due to their horrible customer service.  Statistics show them to be one of the “least safe” airlines due to mechanical failures and inability to keep up with proper maintenance.  Whenever my husband books with United I get irritated, because he knows how I feel.  (My flying preferences if you’re wondering, for safety and/or amenities is Virgin first, then Hawaiian.  Alaskan Airlines and Jet Blue aren’t bad either.)

As I was driving home from dropping my daughter off at school yesterday, I had the radio on, and the D.J. mentioned something about a flight from San Francisco to Honolulu having an issue but landing safely.  All day, I tried to ignore my curiosity what that was about.  But as I was preparing for bed I thought to myself, “I’ll just look into that, after all they landed safely and didn’t give much detail on the radio so it couldn’t have been that bad, and perhaps knowing will actually help me feel better”.

Boy how wrong I was.

The story was basically the beginning of my worst nightmare.  I went into a full-blown panic attack, the worst I’ve had in a long time.  It was a United Airlines plane, same airline as my loved ones are about to board, and it happened over the Pacific Ocean on the way to Hawaii, as my worst fear is concerned, and thankfully, they were only an hour away from the Islands, as if they’d been much further out the situation could have turned out devastatingly.

How was I going to rest until I knew that my husband and son were safely back across the Pacific?!  How was I myself, ever going to get back on a plane and cross over when one of my worst fears has now been proven true (thank God it wasn’t me on that flight!)?  I immediately began looking for one way cruises from Honolulu to the mainland, so that I could give myself a [false] sense of peace, that I had other options if I ever need to leave.

IMG_0033Here’s the thing.  I have read a lot about aviation, how the physics work, and what causes turbulence, etc.  I know all the statistics about how safe it is to fly, and how many planes are in the air every day with no issues, and how rare it is for anything to happen.  I have talked to therapists, and read about conquering fears, about how you aren’t supposed to feed your fears by avoiding them, but instead face them head on.  I have prayed for this crippling phobia to be taken from me, so that I don’t have to worry or obsess over flying anymore.  I have been on six different planes in the last five months, and will be getting on two more in a couple weeks (short trip to Maui).  And I can tell you, that my fear is no less now than it was a year ago, quite the contrary, I am MORE terrified.

The last flight I took was actually very pleasant and not too horrible turbulence wise, but I was borderline hyper-ventilating for at least three of the six hours.  It seems like an eternity up there in those planes where I feel trapped, and helpless, and terrified of plunging 40,000 feet into the ocean.

I was talking to one of my best friends about this today.  He said, “May I submit to you, that this is actually proof that you are living by faith, despite your feelings?”

You see, my feelings say “Fear, terror, lack of control”, but my decisions so far have said “Trust, Obedience, Courage”.  I have not felt courageous at all, while taking any of those six flights.  As I said, I feel more scared today than ever.  It seems that the advice of facing my fears was useless, because there has been no relief.  It seems that the advice of reading statistics and about how planes are designed or work has been pointless, because for every 50 good statistics I read, I find that one horribly fatal one and then that seems to be the one that sticks out most.

Upon moving to Hawaii so many people have called me brave, courageous, and talked about the amazing opportunity and adventure we can find here.  But really, this journey has been all about self-growth, and learning lessons.  That’s it. That simple.  Just as there hasn’t been any huge job landed, or perfect property opportunity, in my battle of this flying phobia there has been no huge release, or miraculous healing.  And I am starting to wonder if I have to just be okay with that!

There’s a scripture from Paul in 2nd Corinthians where he talks about how he has had many revelations, and speaks much truth, but he won’t boast about himself because he has a thorn in his flesh that he has pleaded with the Lord to take from him.  He believes that this struggle of his is not meant to be overcome quite yet because it keeps him from being conceited.  “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  And then he goes on to say, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

For me this thorn in my flesh has not gone away despite every attempt to face it and will it away.  It would be amazing and nothing short of a miracle to never again have to worry about getting on a plane, or a loved one doing so.  But that is not my reality.  My reality is that it’s a very real and strong fear.  Do I cower, and find ways around it?  (I live on a tiny island now, so doing that doesn’t seem very fun or practical).  Do I give in to my fear and cry every time my husband or children get on a plane, and refuse to ever step foot on one myself?  Trust me, these are the thoughts and feelings that I have.  I would miss a lot of things and people in the rest of my life, but it would be so easy for me to succumb to those feelings.  It would be very comfortable.

Or do I continue to step out in faith.  Faith in our airlines and the FAA that they are doing their jobs to continue to keep us safe.  Faith in the steps that I take to conquer this giant in order to continue to live a life of freedom and truth.  Faith in my God, and that His grace is sufficient, and with His power alone I can be truly, perfectly strong.

I still don’t have all the answers, I still don’t know when the time comes what I will choose!  If I had to make a choice today, if I am honest, I think I would choose the cruise! But there is a lot to think about and consider in here.  If you have any thoughts or comments on the topic of faith and/or fear I would love to hear them.  You can message me at thebriarpatchco@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

I would encourage you also my friends, don’t let fear hold you back.  Whether it’s something as large and hindering as my fear of flying, or something smaller like reaching out to a loved one and apologizing, or something more creative like being afraid to give your all to an endeavor in whatever dreams you have.

Let’s put faith over feelings, and allow our lives to be true testaments of greater.

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When Perfectionist is a bad thing

When Perfectionist is a bad thing

Another parenting post.

But perhaps this can apply in many other situations in our lives, whether with people that work for us, spouses, or anything really.

I was talking to a friend recently, who gave me some good advice.

“Don’t expect your 8 (5, 1) year old, to act older than their age.”

I have often been disappointed or frustrated with my children for things that could be considered normal behaviours.

img_3460.jpegExample: I pick up all the couch cushions and pillows off the floor, for the thousandth time this week, the millionth this year, and my toddler within minutes tears them all off again, laughing and finding it to be the best game he’s ever played.  I see the out-of-place pillows; I obsess over the dirt and dust they are rolling around in; my mind is wrought with concern over rips and tears; I get mad.  I have to remind him, AGAIN, that this is not the purpose of the pillows.  I resist the urge to yell “Sage! Stop!” as a last-ditch effort to end the madness.  It is futile.  I let it ruin my mood.

Why would I expect my toddler to care about the cleanliness or organization of my couch pillows?  To him, these are a great tool for fun!

Since my friend challenged me, I have been constantly checking my mind for unrealistic expectations.  And it is actually helping me! It may seem silly, and I don’t think I am being too soft, but now when my daughter starts to unpack her lunchbox after school, instead of getting upset that she ate only two small items (and usually the least nutritious), I expect that she didn’t eat ANY of the food.  Why would I expect my 8-year-old, who during lunch time at school has the freedom to choose what she eats or doesn’t, to choose the nutritiously dense items to eat first?  Of course, she’s going to go for the fruit snacks, or the muffin first as opposed to the cucumber slices or hard boiled egg.   Now, when she has eaten most or all of her lunch, I am ecstatic!

You see, I believe there are times when I SHOULD expect that my expectations be met.  i.e. “Please go upstairs and get your socks on so we can leave,”.  This morning, this direction was blatantly ignored, and so I had to make a correction.

But how many times in a day do we expect things, only to be frustrated and disappointed?

I realized that for me, there are expectations I have almost constantly that I was not even aware of!  I think that it stems from a “Type A” personality, or a “perfectionist” mindset, or whatever term you want to fill in there.  But the more I am understanding where these attributes are a weakness for my mind and heart, the more I can open my eyes to reality, and have a true sense of peace.

Do you have unrealistic expectations that are stifling your joy?  If you are finding yourself stressed, frustrated, or disappointed constantly, maybe it’s time to ask yourself that.

Let’s learn to live in better peace together.

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A Little Sidenote

A Little Sidenote

I am interrupting my afternoon laundry folding/homeschooling/dish washing to deliver a quick message to you, friends!!

My husband is on his way home!  (No, that’s not the real message).  He has been gone for 4 weeks for a job.  It’s the longest we’ve ever been apart, and the longest he’s been away from the kiddos.  His absence was tough on us, but with a ton of grace, a little patience, friends, and prayer we made it to the other side!

While he was gone, I read a few great books, and got into a couple mediocre TV shows.  One of them being, “When Calls the Heart”.  It’s not the best acting, or the most flawless plot, or sexiest dialogue, but there is a slight inspiration I get from some of the characters.

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What inspired me to press pause on Netflix and write this post is that, in the episode I was watching just now, one of the characters has just offered to make a repair in a single mother’s home for her.  The mother hesitated, and kept saying “I don’t want to be any trouble”, but the man insisted, responding “No trouble at all, I just have to bring my tools next time I come this way!”.  It got me thinking: was he just saying that or was it really “no trouble at all”?  The repair is small, and easily made with the proper mind and tools, but to the mother who didn’t have the tools, or the know-how to do it, it was a HUGE deal.

How many people are there around us that have needs, that for us could be so simple and easy to meet, a slight inconvenience if that, but to the person with the need, it could make a huge difference.  What would happen if instead of averting our eyes, we looked up and saw even one need of someone around us that we could easily meet, and could literally change their quality of life (physically, spiritually, emotionally).

How many times have I passed an opportunity to help someone, such as this?

I don’t know about you, but I think that this world could be a much better place.  And I am realizing more every day how that cause, that effect, that CHANGE truly does begin with each individual.

Let’s start today.  Let’s lift our heads and stop being so scared or wrapped up in our own stuff, and start making a bigger difference.

Throw me a bone

Throw me a bone

I wonder, as a mom, how many times in the last few weeks alone, I have asked myself, what am I doing wrong?  I have even recently asked it aloud to a close friend of mine.

She gets sassy. What am I doing wrong?  She gets mean to her brothers or friends.  What am I doing wrong?  She is disobedient.  What am I doing wrong?  She challenges all the consequences.  She doesn’t eat.  She ignores me.  She shuts me out.

What am I doing wrong?!?!

Why is that always where my mind goes?!

Last night, I was given a beautiful glimpse of something else.

There was a HUGE pile of clothing on my bed that needed folding. After finishing up the dinner cleaning, I remembered about this pile and I sulked upstairs to finish yet ANOTHER chore.  Much to my surprise – this is what I found!
img_3305-1.jpegNot only was the clothing folded but it was mostly put away.  I asked baby girl if she did that.

She told me that she saw I needed help.  She had seen my job to be done, took grace on me, and folded it all on her own.  Without prompting, and without even telling me or bragging about it during dinner time.

I was so moved.  It was literally the nicest thing I think she has ever done for me on her own free will.

I realized in that moment,

Oh mama, you are doing something right!

Persistence friends.  Parenting is so much work, and Ive said this before, the reward or results are not always immediate.  But they are there!

An Ode to Growing (and guitars)

An Ode to Growing (and guitars)

This June marks ten years since my father passed away.

My parents split up when I was pretty young.  One spring, I was 12 years old, my mother sent us to stay with my father in central Maine for a week during school break.  I have a lot of memories from this trip, but the most impressionable one being my introduction to the guitar.

I am told that my dad was an excellent guitar player, and loved music.  In fact, music runs deep in the blood of my paternal family.  And although music had always fascinated me, this was the first time someone else was excited from my interest.

My dad played a little guitar for me, and then he let me try it.  He showed me some of the basic chords such as Em, D, and C.  We played a game where I would strum a chord, and him with his back to me, would have to guess what the chord was.  He got it right, every single time.  I was in awe.  I instantly became infatuated with guitar.  I didn’t have one of my own, but I was insistent that I wouldn’t forget what he taught me.  On the ride home back to Western NH from Maine, I used a pencil and paper to draw out the guitar neck and where my fingers should go on the strings, not even realizing at the time that that’s exactly how chords are written out!  I practiced on that pretend guitar neck the whole 5 hour ride back.

 

For my graduation from 8th grade, my gram gave me her own, beloved guitar.  I could be mistaken, but I believe it was one of the first guitars that she herself had ever had!  It was an old acoustic/electric Yamaha, from when they made Yamaha well, sometime in the 70s I believe.  It was a little beat up, and in less than perfect condition but it was the most treasured gift anyone had given me to that point.  And the sound it made was one of the most beautiful I had heard to that point.

All throughout high school and after, my life in some ways revolved around guitar.  I took several classes, private lessons, played in various high school garage bands, in churches, in talent shows, and so on.  Most of my closest of close friends played guitar, like it was a sticky, gummy, nectar that drew me to them.  I brought my guitar to school, sitting in the hallways and playing with my friends as people walked by.  I brought it to work, playing in the dining rooms of the various restaurants I worked at, after my shifts ended.  I brought it to summer camp, playing around campfire at night or in the cabin in the morning.  I brought it on vacations, sleepovers, parties, I brought it everywhere I could.

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Theres the top of that old yamaha… Sorry I cant find a better image right now

And then my dad died, unexpectedly.  He didn’t wake up one morning.Somehow, my guitar became a sad thing.  It’s like I lost my passion and desire, or like I was afraid to play it.  In some ways, that guitar is one of the few things that made me feel truly connected to my father.

 

All the pain I felt from his passing was reflected off my passion for music.

I would try to pick it up here and there, if I saw a nice guitar someone had for example, I would try to play, but it’s like my mind would draw a blank, and my heart just wasn’t in it.  So, I just stopped altogether.  It was too painful.

Over the last year, my heart has had a shift.  Something, like a tiny sprout, began growing inside me.  I started thinking about playing again.  I felt like my spirit was being prompted, “Go, get a new guitar, one that you can love, and can pick up and be joyful.  And start playing again.  Stop silencing the song within you.”

Wow.  It was scary to think of it!  But I began talking about it with some of my close friends, and my husband.  This past summer I was really getting ready to buy something, and take it back up, but I just kept pushing it off.

When we moved to Hawaii our financial situation tightened a bit.  I found myself longing for the guitar that I hadn’t bought, but didn’t have the money for now.  I was craving its smooth wood in my hands, its weight on my shoulder, and its sharp strings at my fingertips.

On Christmas morning, guess what! My husband, whom I had a pact with not to get Christmas gifts for eachother, had a guitar hidden behind the Christmas tree.  I saw it almost instantly, but I knew he would want me to be surprised, so as I handed the kids gifts out to them one by one, I ignored what was back there, and played the charade.  As the gifts dwindled down to about half, I couldn’t pretend any longer, “Oh! What is this?!”  I knew we were a little tight for cash, so I expected it to be a Target guitar or something, and was nervous for my reaction when I opened the case.

NOPE!

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He got me this beauty.  (He had landed an unexpected side job unbeknownst to me, and when the guy handed him exactly the amount that he had wanted to spend on a guitar for me, he knew it was meant to be!)

It is truly the most beautiful guitar I have ever played.

Fast forward to now: tomorrow evening, I am joining my churches worship team for their practice. With my guitar. It has been so good to pick that thing up and play it.  My heart sings every time.

Friends, it’s okay to mourn.  It’s okay to put things on hold because we are busy.  It’s okay that we don’t do everything we think we were meant for, right this second.  But when that still small voice within begins to grow something, don’t ignore it!  Don’t push it aside.  If you’re too busy, reassess the priorities, even if they are simple things like keeping a perfectly clean kitchen or bathroom.  Or being a “perfect” spouse or parent by means of stressful, time consuming tasks.

Embrace that little sprout.  Water it.  Give it some light.  It will grow!  And that sprout could be the key to what you’ve been trying to unlock.

Thanks Friends <3

Thanks Friends <3

I want to take a moment simply to say THANK YOU to you! If you’re reading my words right now, thank you.

Starting this blog has been very fun and exciting! It is something I have wanted to do for a while, and I am determined that 2018 is my “year of commitment”.  Deeper commitment to the important things in my life, including the dreams and goals that have been steadfast in my heart for many years.

This blog is one of the first steps toward that for me in the new year.  I have truly enjoyed writing, creating, posting, and most importantly hearing back from my readers.  I am so excited to share with you all! And I am amazed that you have taken the time to journey with me.

This is only the beginning.  A new beginning.

Stick with me, my friends. It will be worth it.

The Cliché Post

The Cliché Post

It’s all about perspective, right? I thought I had this down, like to my inner heart of hearts down.  And then life changes.

My family moved to Hawaii four and a half months ago, from the quaint and beloved state of New Hampshire.  The move was, for lack of better term for the sake of this post, very impulsive.  We did it on three weeks’ notice.  No, we aren’t military (everyone asks), and it wasn’t like a job assignment per say.  Originally, we came to Hawaii for a construction project we were a part of, but we thought it was a temporary deal.  We planned to be here for two months and that’s it.  But destiny had different plans.  We felt in our gut that we were supposed to make the incredibly temporary move, permanent.

I know, it sounds adventurous and romantic and inspiring (and I hope it is all those things) but really, it’s just plain DIFFICULT.  Truly.

You see, in New Hampshire I was getting to a place in life where I felt like things were finally coming together.  We had helped start a church with our favourite people in the world, and it was thriving.  We were in a beautiful, great town that had the best community and was the type of place where most people would want to raise their children and send them to school.  Our business seemed to be doing well and taking a turn for the better, and we had hopes and dreams for the future that we were getting ready to implement.

We had built what we thought was our forever home, or at least the home we would raise all our babies in.   And it was a serious labour of love.  We literally built it ourselves from the earth up.  My husband did all the site work, we designed and printed the blue prints, we put our own sweat, blood, prayers, tears, cement handprints, EVERYTHING into that house.  And it was beautiful.  This past spring, we got baby chicks, we designed and planted beautiful vegetable and flower gardens.  We had brilliant plans for a patio off the back porch and even a custom, in ground swimming pool.

Life was good.

 

 

Moving to Hawaii rocked all that.

You see, last night after my babies were all tucked into bed and I finally had a moment to reflect, I became very emotional.  I was thinking about the tiny, 3-bedroom, duplex we are living in now, that has no yard, barely enough room to park, and lots of problems.  I was thinking about how tough it is to homeschool my kindergartener while my almost two-year-old is in this constant phase of tantrum throwing.  I was thinking about how expensive the kind of fresh produce that I am accustomed to is here in Hawaii, and how it’s even difficult to find some of the grocery products that were staples back East.

Really, I was regretting what I’d left behind, and comparing everything to that life.

After a good cry, I got my journal out and started to fill it with prayers from my heart.  And I realized how silly I was being.  Yes, I believe it is okay to miss what we left behind.  I believe it is okay to be sad about the huge, custom, GORGEOUS kitchen I had spent years dreaming about and finally received to have to leave it after only a year.

But I also was looking at it all wrong in that moment.  What if that first house was just a stepping stone to the next house.  What if I saw this move as an opportunity to do even greater.

What if I focused more on what we do have, and the blessings we have been given over and over again instead of continuously lamenting what I am “missing”? What if that missing would keep me from something even more incredible?

Friends, when things get tough, I know, it is so easy to feel sorry for ourselves, and our loved ones.  My encouragement to you today is try not to look backwards wishing for what once was.  If we can focus our intent on what’s in front of us, and gratefully, accept the challenges and push through the processes, what greater reward might there be?

Are you holding yourself back from your victories today?

Let’s let go together, and win some more!

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