Forgiveness (It’s A One-Man Show)

I used to brag that if a person wronged me, they would be dead to me for life. But, the truth is, I am naturally inclined to forgive. I’d like to say that it’s because I am following in Jesus’s footsteps (both Jesus Christ and my husband Jesús). But, more likely than not, it’s because I detest confrontation and will do everything in my power to avoid it. Additionally, I am at an age where in order to hold a grudge I have to actively remind myself of why I am even mad. Admittedly, I’d rather use that brain space to keep track of my many audiobook and television plot lines.

Segueing oh so smoothly to audiobooks, I’m currently listening to Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker. This is my first ever Jen Hatmaker book. I’m sure I put it in my audiobook queue after seeing it listed in some Bustle or Buzzfeed listicle, especially if the words “funny” or “memoir” were used in its description. I didn’t know this was a book by a Christian author, and was slightly caught off guard when she brought JC into the mix. I am not opposed to Christian books, I just wasn’t expecting it. That said, so far it has been a perfect mix of funny, relatable mom experiences and how these experiences relate to God’s Word.

I just finished Chapter 18: Forgiveness School, where Hatmaker talks about a troubling situation that occurred in her life a few years ago. (BTW: I was unable to use my Magnum P.I. Googling skills to figure out what this was in reference to.) She said that eventually she had to forgive and start praying for the person who wronged her in order to heal her own heart. Here’s the kicker: forgiveness, Hatmaker says, does not have to mean reconciliation.

Talk about a light bulb moment.

The only real grudge I’ve held onto in my adult life has been out of fear of reconciliation. I realized that I am no longer really angry at this person. What I am is afraid that forgiving them would mean having to befriend them again. This is not something I want to do.

It sounds way more dramatic than it really is. This person never harmed me physically, and I am sure they loved me and had the absolute best intentions. I loved them, too. Unfortunately, our core personalities are complete polar opposites. They are confrontational. I avoid, ignore, agree, and make peace. They wanted to be together always – from Friday nights to Sunday barbecues, to holidays, family vactions, midweek lunches, and Tuesday evening dinners. My body and mind regularly need space to rest and recharge.

In this relationship I often felt bullied, belittled, and judged. I could never say “no” to any proposition without having to give an explanation that they would immediately reject, and then suggest a way that I could rearrange my entire life in order to do what they wanted. If I still said “no,” there would be tension and animosity.

There is so much more to this story, but to cut to the chase, we no longer speak. For years, I have held onto this grudge – not of the relationship ending, but of how I was made to feel while in it. I haven’t wanted to let it go. I didn’t want to forgive because I believed it would mean having to get together, explain how they hurt me, listen to how they were hurt, and eventually kiss and make up. I am not ready for that, and I don’t know if I ever will be.

Hatmaker says that some relationships are not safe and may never be safe, and this is why “forgiveness is a one-man show.”  You can choose to forgive without reconciling. You can ease the burden in your heart without putting yourself back in a toxic situation. You don’t need their permission or their blessing. Forgiveness is a one-man show, and today, that’s the show I’ve chosen to attend.


Moms just wanna have fun, too

It’s been the weirdest week ever, and it’s only Wednesday.  For all of the ups there have been an equal number of downs. Just today I was given some news that has taken some time to sink in.  It’s both good news and bad, and at the same time it’s neither bad nor good.

It’s something that I’ve been wanting to happen, yet unexpectedly, made me a little sad.  I will share this news in the next couple of weeks when everything is said and done.  In the mean time, in case you were wondering, it has nothing to do with pregnancy.  (I’m 38 people…there are cobwebs on these here ovaries!)

I can share that this news will mean bigger and better things for AquaSeventy6, and for that I am STOKED! Stay tuned….

One of my ups this week was my monthly girl’s night out. Mention GNO and visions of dance clubs and male reviews, jager shots and streaked mascara come to mind….yeah, none of those.  In our late mid-30s, we try to maintain a level of decorum that won’t leave our teenagers horrified or scarred for life when opening their social media accounts.  “Hammered-mom-at-a-bar” is not a good look, ladies–at least not for me…anymore…at this age. 😉

Instead we choose a nice restaurant where we can have a glass of wine (or a Captain and Coke), bitch chat about our hubbies, brag about discuss our kids’ recent accomplishments, complain talk about our jobs, but mostly just laugh and have a nice time. (Sans kids, sans hubby.)  Our kind of GNO may not be one for the Richter Scale, but it’s much needed and suits us just fine.

At the end of the night, it was so awesome to see my friend Kristy pull out her keys and slip her AquaSeventy6 Key Ring over her wrist.  Love it!

So, how do you unwind with your amigas?  Tell me in the comments!  xoxo


Becoming REinspired

I’ve been feeling less than inspired lately.  Who am I kidding?  I’ve been down right UNINSPIRED for weeks (months?)  Last night while at dinner, I confessed to my hubby over wine and some tears that I have lost my creativity.

While I am truly HAPPY in my personal life, my head is no longer swimming with ideas.  The words that couldn’t wait to tumble from my fingers to the page have simply ceased to exist.  My son turned 14 last week and the most decor I could muster up for his birthday dinner was a plastic tablecloth and some utensils wrapped in a napkin.

My brand new sewing machines sit basically untouched. I can’t even remember the last time I purchased a yard of fabric. I have a gorgeous vintage French Provincial dresser, begging to be rehabbed, parked in the middle of my garage since September. (I haven’t stepped foot in a thrift store in weeks.) I’ve barely even used the DSLR camera hubby gave me for Christmas.

Two years ago, if I would have had all the tools at my disposal that I have today, I would have been unstoppable!  So what’s wrong with me?  Hubby assured me that I have not lost my creativity, but likely I had misplaced my motivation and inspiration.  Of course, he is right.

Since moving back to Florida and getting a job outside of the home, AquaSeventy6 has taken a backseat. It’s been hard to juggle working, shuttling the kids to and from school, cleaning, laundry, family commitments, and more, while hubby works loooong hours. I don’t have an assistant, a housekeeper, nor am I part of a carpool. It’s just me.  The days I do get something on the blog or on Facebook can be discouraging.  The new Facebook filters on business pages only distribute my posts to 10% of my followers.

BUT, the truth is that I’ve worked too hard on this endeavor to let it die. 

I decided to go through my old blog posts and photo albums in attempt to become REinspired.

The REinspiration:

I began my creative career in 2009 writing for local online parenting sites. That same year, my friends Autumn and Kara started a business hosting social events for moms. Their goal was to inspire, and that they did!  The idea of owning my own business was planted, and immediately I knew it would be called AquaSeventy6 (although I didn’t quite know what kind of business it would be.)

September 2009, Mommyista Big Bash

A year later Autumn and our friend Holly invited me to join them at a holiday craft fair.  They loved the Vintage Dish serving tower I had created for my MIL’s 60th birthday party and thought they would sell well. Although the craft fair was cancelled, Autumn and I went on to create this blog. We made a myriad of super cool accessories, gifts and housewares (including The Vintage Dish) which we sold by hosting our own show– the first annual Holiday Shop & Sip, and eventually AquaSeventy6 became a business.

What kept me motivated over these years were my friends and clients.  I loved getting positive feedback and inspiring others to take on a DIY project, hit the thrift stores, start a new hobby, or even turn their passion into a business

Soon after AquaSeventy6’s birth, several other mom-owned, handmade businesses started popping up in the area.  It was awesome to be surrounded by a group of friends with so many ideas such as Marcy from Kaiya Designs, who was recently featured in the Tampa Bay Times, Jasmine from R&E Avenue who has clients all over the country, and Kara who now owns Simply Vintage Candles, was featured in Smart Retailer, and just this week shipped a PALLET of her hand-poured soy candles to Pennsylvania.

2013 Spring Shop & Sip

I’ve met even more creative women throughout the years, from writers to photographers, artists to designers. I’ve listed some of them on my sidebar under (appropriately enough) INSPIRATION.

I’m feeling it now…the beginning of my REinspiration. I don’t know where it will take me, but I am ready for the ride.