Celebrating Mom: Rebecca, the Beautifier.

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I met Rebecca at a youth bible school, many a FEW years ago, when we were barely out of our teens, both still single, leaving our mark and making our own fun in our then tiny, conservative world…she was confident and fun, better known as “Becky” and I was a confused rebel kid, trying to find my place or rather, the loopholes in the system.

She seemed different than the rest of the girls, and I was automatically drawn to her outspokenness, and confidence. She was someone I respected, and wanted to get to know from the start.

My sister and I stayed at the same place as her and some of her siblings, and in one week, she had become a friend that I admired not only for her dry cracks of humor, but also for the grace with which she carried herself.

We built a mutual circle of friends over the next several years, events and bible schools, and eventually we spread our wings, traveled, moved away, lost our dads and we lost contact. Life happened.

In the meantime, “Becky” morphed into Rebecca, and did the unthinkable-she got married to a guy she met from a dating site and ended up happily ever after moving to-you guessed it-Colorado!

Now here we are, five years later, back in each other’s lives, with our husbands and our two kids, just a few towns away from each other.

She has since popped out two of the most gorgeous babies besides my own, and made a beautiful little home for them and her husband, John, on their tiny suburban lot on the North side of Denver.

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In fact, when I first stepped into it, I remembered all the reasons why I liked her so much and why we had become friends. It was like walking into Pinterest, but better, because it was filled to the brim with hand-painted inspiration, and homegrown dreams that had sprouted into reality and into every crevice of her life and mine. There was not a single corner untouched by her artistic nature.

I kinda wanted to move in, actually. It was so sweet.

I should have known because, that is Rebecca.

She is creative and passionate, always looking for something to add her touch to, and dramatic in all the right ways.

She loves spending quality time with those she loves, and is the happiest when she’s “making something beautiful” and “blessing others.”

She adores those gorgeous babes, Jazmyne (4) and Cassia (1) and they keep her busy enough, but she still makes time to do all of the above.

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She chose these objects for her photo shoot, because “as a busy mom of two littles, a pacifier and rubber ducky are in use on a daily basis. The chalk paint represents my need of a creative outlet. I love to take something old and breathe new life and beauty into it,” she says.

Well I’d have to agree, and that pretty much sums up Rebecca.

She describes her life right now as “answered prayer” and goes on to say that her dream is to start her own interior design business and to continue to stay at home with her children…and “way more than fits here” she adds, with a smile.

The best thing she’s learned from Motherhood is “the beauty of sacrifice, and finally and fully comprehending the love our Heavenly Father has in sacrificing for His children.”

Rebecca’s life is definitely one of sacrifice, but not without beauty. Her husband has a serious, life-threatening lung disease, which has taken them to the emergency room many times, and she has spent equally as many nights by his side, praying and caring for him. Those are difficult times, but they never dampen her spirit or squelch her passion.

In fact, that’s when Rebecca shines the most. Her creativity comes out in the worst of times, her grace shines through on the darkest days, and she takes it all on with a sense of humor, and a paintbrush. That’s how she lives and loves her life.

She has a way of making the world a bit brighter, and making even the ugliest things beautiful.

And that’s why I love her.

(Blessings, dear Rebecca! You’ve brought so much friendship, laughter, and beauty to my life, and I am deeply grateful for you! You keep me smiling…thank you, my friend!) 

Note: All photo credits belong to Thalyta and Thalyta Swanson Photography, rights reserved. If you would like to share this, or any part of this content, please link back to this article, in its original entirety. Thank you! So we can all stay happy.:) -Ruthie

The Chaotic. And a Few Things I know.

It’s been a bit chaotic around here.

Baby boy’s been squealing from bellyaches, Beanstalk’s been asking “why” and I’ve been jostling and juggling and answering questions. I’ve been chopping veggies, packing lunches, and buttoning up princess dresses with one hand, bouncing baby in the other….Holding and swaddling, explaining and swaying.

I’ve been returning phone calls, taking orders, and running a business, ALL while nursing an infant. Rushing one child to school while keeping the other one calm. Getting one up. Putting the other one down…

You know. That kind of chaotic.

The kind of chaotic that dangles you over the edge of insanity if you don’t quickly learn to accept the mess. The kind that leaves you in a constant state of desperation, if you don’t soon learn to let go of your ideals and your boxes and the way that life “should be.”

And so I am learning.

I am learning that it is better to embrace the chaos, than to fight it. To enjoy it, rather than to resist it.

I am learning to laugh in the face of frustration. To breathe through the crying and the not sleeping and the not knowing, because there are still a lot of reasons to smile. And there are still a few things I know.

I know that this won’t last forever.

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I know that this stressful, sleep-less season of our lives is only temporary and that eventually the bouncing and the bellyaches end and our babies will grow up.

I know that ten years from now, we will hardly remember the screaming and the stress of these chaotic times.

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We will only remember the smiles.

We won’t remember the nights spent in rest-less pacing or the hours in anxious praying. Only the kisses and the chatter and the joy that came in the morning. Every morning.

When I see the present in light of the future, I know that I am okay.

I know that I have the best of friends and the dearest of family who are there to help me, to bring me chocolate, and to make me laugh.

I know that I love my children more than anything, and that I would not survive without the man that they call Daddy.

I know that love is all we have and it will triumph a thousand sleep-less nights.

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At the end of the day, I know that life is not meant to be thoroughly planned out or even prepared for. It is only to be received as a gift, no matter how challenging or amazing it is.

Through it all, I know that God is still good and life is still beautiful. No matter how chaotic it gets.

My Journey to Health: Before, After and Beyond.

Well. We’ve reached the end of this series. (YAY! We did it!)

We’ve made it through the good and the bad of my close-up encounter with cancer, and the ugly of losing my father. We’ve lived through the not-so-pretty parts of my tango with weight gain and migraines and miscarriage. We’ve re-visited the pain of infidelity and the horrors of suicide. And now we’ve come face-to-face with our worst fear, the coffee enema!:)

You have, in essence, watched me go from this:

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To this:

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And from this:

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To this:

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Now before you get too excited, let me just say that these are not the most accurate “before/after” pictures. Apparently I tried hard NOT to be in pictures when I was at my worst. And for some reason I can’t find any of when I was at my best and healthiest, pre-pregnancy. I am already three months along, in this one.

Oh well.

I think you can see at least some of the progression that I’ve made. Perhaps in looking at these pictures, you can identify at least a few of the positive changes that have taken place in my life. Ones in which the details of my body don’t matter as much as my attitude towards it. Progression in which my size does not matter nearly as much as how healthy I feel…and how happy I am.

At any rate, I want to say thank you for your presence and support on this journey! I feel truly honored that you would come along with me on this walk through the pathways of my past. You have given me the faith to keep going. You have given me courage. Courage to live out my passion. To write. To help. To dream. And to tell my story. I sincerely thank you for that!

So while this may be the end of this particular series, it is definitely not the end of my writing or blogging, nor is it the end of my journey to health!

In many ways, THIS is just the beginning!! As much as I discover new things and new ways to keep me and my family healthy, I will be passing it on to you. The pursuit of health and happiness, is for me, a fun and exciting one, and I am thrilled that I get to share it with you!

I feel beyond blessed that I get to spill my knowledge and experience with you in this way.

Having said all that, I must let you know that I will be taking a little rest from this blog…I will be taking a small break from this and all weekly series, while I bring another human into this world! I say “small break” but you never know how it goes with babies. It could be weeks. It could be months till I get that figured out and get back to a resemblance of a schedule. I might go quiet on you for a month, or I might get an urge to blog in the middle of the night when those after-baby hormones keep me awake. Like I said, ya never know with babies…

But rest assured and be excited that there will be MORE.

When it comes to the topic of health, I’m only geting started! I haven’t even touched the subject of water or coconut oil or the benefits of chiropractic. I’ve only begun to expound on the healing I am currently experiencing with essential oils.

And when it comes to happiness…well. There is no end to the many ways in which I find it, in my daily life. I am constantly discovering small stuff that makes me smile. And I will never stop sharing those with you!

I pray that somewhere in my continuing story, you will find new depths of joy in yours. I hope that somewhere in my ongoing journey, you will find the courage to walk your own. But more than anything, I pray we live our lives fully as God intended.

May we all remember that no matter where we are in our process, there is always hope. There is always LOVE.

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And where there is love, there is ALWAYS a way!

Health and blessings and peace (and babies!!)…till next time.

My Journey to Health: Learning to Forgive, Part 2.

After writing last week’s post about forgiveness, I realized that there was so much left unsaid about this subject. There is so much more to the story, at least for me, that I decided to dedicate another post (in this series) to it. In all reality, I could probably spend four more weeks on it and still not do justice to the impact it has had on my life.

Forgiveness has been such a major factor in my healing process and it affected me long before I ever realized that it did.

My parents taught me to forgive others and in this area, they certainly walked their talk. I often heard my dad pray for his “enemies,” or those who had hurt him and I saw my mom respond to insensitivity with kindness, a meal, a hug, or a card. I watched them both reach out to my older sister when she had accidently become the perpetrator in my brother’s death. They never blamed her or held it against her, that she forgot to pull the keys and then failed to see when her little brother crawled back into the parked car, and rolled it down a very long hill.

They showed me how to grieve, and yet forgive at the same time.

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I knew from their example that it was good and beautiful and Godly, to forgive. But I did not yet understand how important or powerful it was.

Until years later when I came to Oasis with my Dad, for his cancer treatment.

That’s when I began to understand just how important it is to forgive, not only others, but also yourself. Dr Contreras spoke often about the importance of it when it comes to healing cancer. He spoke of the miracles he witnessed when a person released his/her body from the prison of anger, bitterness, and hatred. And chose forgiveness.

I saw a few of them, myself. I will never forget the middle aged man who had come there for his third or fourth round of treatment, and found his body clear of cancer after he released and forgave his father. He told us the story. It was one of severe abuse and hardship and yet he had overcome his fate, he had canceled out his death sentence, with one single act of forgiveness.

This man touched my dad and I in ways he will probably never know.

I remembered him later, when I had made myself sick from feeding on the lie that I was “not enough” for my husband. I remembered his story when I saw the deterioration of my physical body, after only a few years of the brutal punishment I had inflicted upon it.

I knew that something had to change, when I woke up one day with my eighteen-month old baby sitting on top of me, “reading” her books, and I had no idea how she had gotten there. My body was so depleted of insulin, it had shut down and I had passed out on the bed in her room.

I knew when I collapsed in a pile of self-inflicted misery at the top of a deserted Tennessee mountain that I could not come back to our home, the same way I had left. I was done running. I was done fighting! I was done resisting the power of love and forgiveness that had relentlessly pursued me there.

I decided that day to agree with God when he told me that I was worthy. Worthy of life and joy and abundance. I would listen to him when he spoke through a friend and told me that I was worth singing and dancing over. I would let myself be loved again. And from that day forward I would find a way to be kinder to myself.

It was the smallest baby step, but it was a step toward healing, nonetheless. A very important one that continues to heal me, to this day.

I know that I would not be here if I had not made that choice. If I had not surrendered to love that day, I would not have gotten off of that bed. Or come back from that mountain.

But I did. And my “baby” has a much happier, healthier Mama, because of it.

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I encourage you, my friend, to make that same choice. If you find yourself at the bottom of your own inflicted wounds or the wounds of another, I urge you to let them go. I invite you to the freedom and the health that is yours. Let go of the hate and anger and surrender to LOVE.

Your life and your family and your healing depends on it.

I  want to leave you with the words of Marianne Williamson, who says it best when she says this:

As you forgive others, you begin to forgive yourself. As you stop focusing on their mistakes, you will stop punishing yourself for your own. Your ability to release what you think of as the sins of others will free you to release yourself, putting down the weapon with which you punish yourself so savagely.

Forgiveness releases the past to divine correction and the future to new possibilities. Whatever it was that happened to you, it is over. It happened in the past; in the present, it does not exist unless you bring it with you. Nothing anyone has ever done to you has permanent effects, unless you hold on to it permanently.”

That, I am learning, is the beauty and the importance and the power of forgiveness.