For Meghan, You Were Wonderfully Made

Standard

I have sat here for a very long time, wondering what I should type.  What could I say to even do justice to really truly describe the amazing woman who was our friend, Meghan.  Sometimes when things happen like this, words seem empty or even scarce.  I have thought about Meghan and her family a lot this weekend as I know many of you have as well.  We all loved her.  She was a friend, an inspiration, a mother, wife, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, a Breast Cancer Warrior, amazing writer, a giver, a Red Phoenix Rising.  So I decided to write a tribute blog post to her.  My blog is all about Living Wonderfully Made, and boy did Meghan emulate that.  So, here it is…..

Meghan, Red Phoenix,

There is no one way to describe you, but there are many instances that describe who you were to so many people.  Over the past two years I have watched a woman who fought with everything she had not only to fight against cancer, but to bring more kindness into the world.  See, Meghan, that is who you were…. You were kindness.  Your infectious smile and your beautifully written words to describe some of the hardest things to have to write about was nothing short of talent.  Your beautiful little boy is an example of the love you and your husband had together and he I know will not only grow to be a strong man one day, but also will grow to continue on your legacy of kindness, because, you instilled that in him.  Your love for people was apparent in the continued stories that we all read of how you impacted so many.  

As I close my eyes to picture you in my mind, I think about the times we spent playing softball, little girls just wanting to have fun, get dirty, and play!  Over the years we all grew up, moved on, and started our families.  Your friendships to those closest to you remained strong as you always knew how to make your friends feel special.  I know this only because it is so apparent in how they talk about you.  You were special to them Meghan, you were their treasured friend.  Your family, now, this is where I get emotional, because oh Meghan, you were so special to them.  The “Brown Sister’s”  wow what a Foursome you all are.  Each of you so unique, kind, special, and absolutely BEAUTIFUL in your own unique ways.  I loved seeing your times together.  A special bond of four amazing sisters that death can never take away.  

Meghan you left us with a gift.  Your presence on this Earth, even though we all feel it ended way too soon, your presence was a gift.  Your continued crusade for spreading kindness and love is a gift that we all treasure.  You have impacted so many and it will never be forgotten.  

On sandy shores in Heaven, I am picturing you walking next to Jesus holding His hand and talking with Him about kindness and love.  Meghan I know you are not here on Earth, but in Heaven you will be waiting for the ones that miss you so dearly here.  A Red Phoenix Rising up above the clouds and flying towards a warm sunshine in the distance.  You were a true example of what it means to LIVE Wonderfully Made, because Meghan, you were oh so wonderful! 

 

If you all would like to read more about Meghan’s Journey about who she was and read her blog I please URGE you to click on this link to read more about her and GIVE.  Her family will need our support for the future.  Let’s all continue Meghan’s legacy of kindness and love by giving to her family.  You can click on the link below to do so.

“I Am Red Phoenix” Blog and Link to Give:(Copy & Paste Link)

http://www.iamredphoenix.com/give

 

 

Our Extra Special Valentine’s

Standard

It never ceases to amaze me the moments that come around when navigating a new journey.  Especially experiencing all the emotions that come with it.  This week was one of those times where I felt like time just stood still and I was truly in the moment faced with another eye-opening and sobering experience.  Tuesday was Valentine’s Day, a holiday that I am not that fond of because to me, you should be expressing Love to your husband or wife everyday like it is Valentine’s Day.  This Valentine’s Day though changed my mind about what it means in my life and proved to be an extra special day for my husband and I.

Wyatt had his very first Valentine’s Day Party at his School and we were invited to join in!  Wyatt is in a Special Education classroom that has 2 special education aides and 1 special education teacher.  These ladies are a blessing and I can’t express how much I just love them and how they love my son on a daily basis.  The other children in Wyatt’s class are like him and have a diagnosis of Autism.  We were given the opportunity to not only partake in our son’s day, but in their day as well!  My husband and I were the only two parents that made it to the party.  Many parents are not as lucky as we are.  Many work during the day and probably don’t have as  much flexibility in their work schedules to take time off for special events like these.  It was all the more reason for us to take this experience in and just love on all these kiddos!  I felt really honored to be there.

During the party we sat with everyone during snack and got an inside look at therapy in action.  Wyatt and his peers receive a modified more flexible version of ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Therapy which is a therapy that has proven to be the best for children with Autism.  During the day Wyatt and his peers are asked to request for what they want repetitively so that they develop speech and develop other areas of everyday functioning.  It is designed to help these amazing kiddos find their voice.

I became very emotional watching as Wyatt and his peers worked SO hard to sit through snack, request, and “interact.”  During the time we were there for his party I was amazed and just filled with pure love and joy watching these kids work hard and manage all the sensory input that was being thrown at them.  At times it became very overwhelming for some, while others, like Wyatt were oblivious and in their own world.  As a parent I experienced a variety of emotions watching this all unfold.  Sadness, heartbreak, joy, pride, but, most of all LOVE.

I can’t help but think about how much we as “typical” human beings take for granted in our everyday lives.  The ability to do everyday tasks at ease as well as just experience the world around us at ease.  Those with developmental and physical disabilities don’t experience that.  Everything is work for them.  Which makes them extra-ordinary and in my eyes the most amazing Human beings.

Valentine’s Day for me will never be the same again and this is why.  I had NO IDEA the plan God had for me when we were faced with the diagnosis of Autism with Wyatt.  I still have no clue what the full plan is, but it is slowly coming into formation.  My love and admiration for those with special needs is growing and it has started because of my son.  Every year on Valentine’s Day it is my goal to make these extra special kiddos feel extra special love, I am not sure what that will look like, but I am sure God has a plan for it.  My definition for Valentine’s  Day has changed in my mind.  Yes, it is for showing your significant other love on that day, but I think for me, it will be about having many extra special valentine’s not only just my son, but for his peers as well.

 

Live Wonderfully Made!

-Carolyn

Soldier On Momma…

Standard

Sitting in a diner with my coffee refilled for the fifth time, (yes I drink that much), I am depleted to say the least with my eyes puffy from crying myself to sleep the night before.  This journey is not what I planned.  Another rough patch we are experiencing in our special needs parenting journey.  The pain, the anger, and lack of knowing what the right thing to do comes flooding back in and yet I keep soldiering on, because that is what us Momma’s do right?  We pick ourselves back up and keep walking through the messes.  We continue to go on with our day regardless of the fact that we haven’t showered, done our hair in days or did that workout that we told ourselves we were going to do the day before.  We get up and go to work during the day or at night and then come home to laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, meal planning, and the role of supportive wife on top of all that.

Someday’s I get it right and someday’s I don’t.  This week I did not.  Navigating the world my son lives in and how he experiences it still is an adjustment.  The increased withdrawing, meltdowns, and lack of connection this week has broken my heart.  I am continuing to learn daily what works for him and what doesn’t.   I am not even a year into his diagnosis so what do I expect?  Perfection?  NO!  Of Course I can’t.  I just have to keep going, keep learning, keep pushing, because that is what WE do as Momma’s!  We soldier on!

I know there is another Momma out there reading this who is feeling depleted.  Feeling like the weight of the world and her family is on her shoulder’s.  I say to you and myself, “Keep Soldiering on Momma!”  Regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the fact that you just can’t seem to get it all right….know that you CAN make it!  We have to make it!  Being a soldiering Momma is not easy but it is definitely worth it!  You are enough, you are loved, I believe in you, and so does God!  Below I wanted to share some verses that I have leaned on this week to help push me through and keep soldiering on.  I hope that you can read these and feel the love of God empowering you to continue to be the best Momma to those littles just like you always have been!  I am calling these my “Soldier On Momma Verses”

 

Soldier On Momma Verses:

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”                   -James 1:12 NIV

“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” -Philippians 4:13

“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” – 1 Chronicles 16:11

 

A Letter to Depression

Standard

One of the things that many people know about me is that I am pretty open and honest with the things I go through in life.  I share my story and I share it only because I want desperately for those who need to hear it draw some strength for themselves by hearing it.   My openness about my life is not always received well but I think of that as the enemy getting angry at the fact that God is using my pain to help someone else.  If you aren’t met with resistance then, well, you aren’t doing it right.  So today, I am sharing with you something that I have struggled with for the majority of my teen and adult life, Depression.  It has been something that has come and gone and I have fought it and won in various seasons of my life.  Over the past year with all the changes and new paths that my family and I have been on, it has decided to come along for the ride.  It wasn’t until recently that I decided that I needed to seek some help for it.  Yes, you heard that right.  A Christian woman who loves the Lord is seeking help for depression.  It is a very real thing that many people don’t understand and often feel like you just need to “get happy, count your blessings….etc”  If it were that simple, trust me I would be jumping on that!  I am not new to this road so I know exactly when it has crossed over to the path of no return and when I need a hand to pull myself out.  So today I am taking that first step.  I also decided to write a letter to Depression to put it on notice and declare war on it.

I am sharing this not for sympathy or attention because I don’t want or need it.  I am sharing this because I want to help someone else who may need to crawl out of this darkness themselves.  So please read, share, and tell others that you think may need to hear this.  Thank you and remember to LIVE WONDERFULLY MADE!

 

Dear Depression,

I often don’t ever like to acknowledge you because I feel that gives you power, but I want you to know how I feel about you so you will no longer feel the need to stick around.  You have plagued me for too long.  Through most of my adult life you have felt the need to pop into my life during times of change or even times when I was trying to find my way in peace.  You leach on and suck the life out of me, sometimes I can’t even think!  I am so tired all the time, but yet you won’t let me sleep.  You steal life, kill my spirit and drive wedges between the most important relationships in my life.  You are nothing but a big black cloud that follows me around.  I have fought you and cried about you over the years and quite frankly I am just sick of you!  So I say, NO MORE!  I am not going to fight you with tears, medication, or sleeping my life away.  Nope, I am going to fight you with the most powerful things of all.  The LOVE of Christ that resonates deep in me.

Yes, the power of prayer and the living God Himself will help me defeat you.  I will be eliciting the help of counselors, friends, family, and my inner light.  That light shines brighter than any darkness that you could bring.  God has not given me a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).  I will laugh in your face and change those hopeless thoughts into a flood of hope and courage.  I refuse to let circumstances define me or let you rule my mind.  I am sure this will all take time but your days are numbered depression.   Mark my words, you have NO power in my life.  Life is too short and precious.

You see, I have a precious family.  Yes, we go through hard times, but you know what, our LOVE is stronger and deeper than you could ever imagine.  Lets just call it what you are, you are evil, you are the devil trying to steal, kill, and destroy me!  You may think you have the power to do that, but my Savior came so that I may have life.  My family has my back, my GOD has my back and most of all I AM stronger than you think.  The strength that lies within me is often underestimated by you, but I have made it through a lot and I will continue to do so.  I will never stop fighting.  I know all your tricks.  I have been dealing with you for a while.  My God is bigger and smarter and honestly so am I!  My heart, soul, and LOVE for my family is big, broad, and never-ending.

I will end this letter with this…. “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.  He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You make your saving help my shield; your help has made me great.  You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.  I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.  I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.”      – 2 Samuel 22:33-39

– Carolyn

True Meaning of Live Wonderfully Made

Standard

When I first put together this blog, I had a different idea of what it was going to be.  The phrase “Wonderfully Made” comes from my Life Bible verse that I live by.  It is something that I have strived to come to peace with.  Finding oneself & being comfortable in your own skin is so challenging, but I have found that with God’s help, it becomes not only an adventure, but also an awakening.  Last year was a year for me to become strong and truly comfortable in my own skin.  What I quickly realized was, that was only the beginning of the journey.  God has had some different plans.  This year has brought new challenges that I needed to be physically strong for, but I found I need some work on the emotional and faith strength.  No one has it all together, but honestly a year ago I thought “Hey I am doing pretty good!!”  I find humor in that because I look at things now and that is not what I am saying!  Right now I am saying, “I am a mess!”  Living Wonderfully Made is not only about the physical part of life, but I have been learning it is about being your “Authentic Self.”  It is about incorporating your whole life including the passions that maybe you sometimes ignore or don’t leave time for.  It is about being unapologetically you!  No excuses, no masks, just TRUE Authenticity!

So what I want this blog to be about is a search for a more authentic self in all capacities. I will be chronicling my journey and I hope to highlight the journey of others as well.  My life and every messy part of it will be a topic.  Transparent and honest about myself as a mom to a special needs child, a woman, a wife, and everything else in between.  Sharing my passion for words and my reality is nothing new to me.  The one thing I have recently promised to myself at the dawn of this New Year is to pursue my passions, pull myself out of the intense darkness I have been feeling and shock the world with light.  You know, no pressure.  I hope that in reading my words that you too, will pursue a Life Wonderfully Made.  The one that God has intended for you.  So….Shall we start?

-Live Wonderfully Made,

Carolyn Decker, xoxo

5 Things To Dwell on when Comparison Has You Trapped!

Standard

“She looks like she has it all together”,  “Wow, I have only lost 6 lbs, she has lost 30 and looks amazing!”,  “Why can’t I be motivated like her”, “She must have good genes, I will NEVER look like that”.

Do any of these phrases sound Familiar?  Have you said these in your mind before as you scroll thru Facebook, Instagram, or even while you are going about your day?  I feel like a lot of these sentences are things many women say daily and have become ingrained into our brains and in turn, we have become trapped!  For me, these are things I have said over and over and over.  They were part of the culture of my brain and sometimes I find them trying to sneak back in.

In my pursuit of health and fitness, I have noticed a trend of up’s and down’s that I experience.  It can be a lull in my motivation to exercise,  a lax in my clean eating and keeping out the junk, or it could even be I am feeling on top of the world where I can accomplish anything!!!  Can I be a little honest?  I am in a lull right now.  My eating hasn’t been stellar, my motivation to exercise has been dull, and I have had some stinking thinking myself!  In these times I turn to writing out my reasons for this shift in my journey.  I have come to the conclusion that I have allowed negative thoughts to over take my thinking and as a result I have turned to the dreaded word….COMPARISON!!!!! UGH!  Just to say the word makes me cringe!  So, it is time to get back my positive thinking and keep it moving!  I have come up with a list of 5 Things To Dwell On when I turn to Comparison, Negative Thinking, and a Defeatist Attitude!  So…here they are!

5 Things To Dwell On:

  1. Comparison trains your mind to ignore what you have already accomplished! 

Um, I’m sorry, since when did my journey and accomplishments become dead in my mind so much that I am now comparing myself to someone else with a different type of journey!  I have worked my tush off, become healthier than I have ever been and I am letting some idea that another person is better than me because I am maybe not there where they are yet?  What kind of crazy thinking is that?!!!  I will NOT ignore my progress because frankly I am really proud about how far I have come!  Not to mention I need to be inspired by other’s and their journey as well!  Isn’t that what it is all about?  Knock it off!!

2.  Goals….REMEMBER YOUR GOALS!

I have become obsessed with setting goals.  So much so that I set them weekly!  I have to remind myself that my goals are NOT the same as someone else’s and I have to remember why I have set these specific goals for myself.  So, when I start to feel unmotivated, I open my journal and see my goals staring back at me and then I have no choice but to feel more motivated after seeing them again!

3. You have a UNIQUE Path.

This one I really need to keep in mind.  My path has not been easy, I have had to overcome some serious obstacles to get to a point where I am right now.  I have climbed over depression, anxiety, and a slip up with my eating disorder just in 7 months!  My path has been uniquely created by my Heavenly Father and I must not lose sight of what HE has for me!

4. Quiet the outside Noise.

I must put aside the very things that bring in the chatter.  I need to sit quietly away from it all and just breathe.  I need to journal, pray, and maybe even cry a bit to get it out so I can move on.

5. BE Thankful

I have started the practice of every morning meditating on the things I am thankful for.  I need to be thankful for how far I have come, that I said YES to my journey, and that I have a loving family that supports my efforts and cheers me on.  This takes Comparison out of the equation and returns it to where it belongs…IN THE TRASH!

 

Don’t let comparison steal your accomplishments.  Don’t allow the lie that someone else’s life, fitness, or journey seals a fate for you that you will never accomplish your goals!  Instead allow someone’s journey to inspire you. Look at yourself in that mirror and know that YOU are amazing and deserve to continue to pursue those AWESOME goals you have set for yourself.  Because I KNOW you can achieve them.  Together lets achieve greatness and pursue Health and Happiness!

 

 

11 Years of Recovery and What I have Learned

Standard

Blog Post 11 years

It has been a long 11 years, but here I am on the other side.  In a place where I NEVER knew I would be.  So for my first blog post as part of a newly designed blog, I thought I would share what I have learned in these 11 years of recovery from one thing I would not ever wish on anyone, an Eating Disorder. I won’t get into all of the icky stickies of what my eating disorder was like, because honestly that does not help anyone.  Just know it wasn’t pretty and that I am lucky to be here today.  So with that being said, here is what I learned.

  1. Every year there is something new to work on in recovery.

Recovery has many layers for those trying to get out of the pits of an eating disorder.  There is cognitive levels where you need to change your thinking, there is depression, anxiety and mastering those emotions, there is the nutrition end of it (holy moly that is a tough one) and of course there is the ever loving, finding peace with your body.  For the 11 years I have been in recovery, all of these variables have been a work in progress and while I have not perfected them, I have become stronger in fighting all of these variables.

2. Get to know your body and LISTEN TO IT!

One of the biggest things I have learned is if I am not listening to my body in all aspects, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, then I will be not in-tune to what it needs.  I feel like this is important for everyone to learn.  Even those without an eating disorder history it is important to learn how to listen to your body.  So one way I have learned to do this is thru paying attention to every thought and feeling that I am having.  When I am feeling off I search for the reason why, is it my diet , is there stress that is not needed, am I allowing myself enough rest, am I praying?  These are all things that I have learned to do to create balance in my life to stay healthy and in recovery.

3.  Finding Peace with your body is Tough, but it is POSSIBLE

So it is really tough as a woman these days to find complete peace with your body.  I mean lets be honest, with everything plastered in social media, TV, Music, etc…. it is nearly impossible to not feel tempted to compare yourself.  For someone in recovery, it is 10 times magnified!  So, I have learned to not completely mute the outside noise, but at least limit what I pay attention to.  I have learned that I need to focus on what GOD says my worth is and not what other people say it is.  So I hold close to my heart the fact that I am FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY Made in God’s image the way He wants me to be.  That is what I lean into during times of tempted comparison.

4. Be Fearless!

It takes incredible guts to fight an eating disorder.  It affects every aspect of your life.  It turns you into a person that you never thought you would become and then when you are trying to get better, you have to find a whole new you.  Its exhausting and a LONG process.  One of the big things I have learned while going thru this process, is that I need to be fearless.  I need to take big steps and do things I would have never done before.  This year I took a fearless step outside of my comfort zone and joined in the process to becoming physically fit but also nutritionally fit!  Holy smokes did I have some growing pains with this process and still do, but I have come a long way and boy am I glad I took that step!!

5. Recovery IS POSSIBLE

This is the biggest thing that people misunderstand about Eating Disorders.  I am here to tell you that it is possible with hard work, support, and fearless perseverance.  There can be peace after the ravages of this disorder.  So I guess what I am trying to say is that if you know someone that is struggling, if you are struggling or you think you know someone who is struggling, just know, it is POSSIBLE TO RECOVER!  I am living proof!

 

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  This is a huge week for me to celebrate because it marks 11 years of recovery.  This year I am celebrating even more because I have found a peace that surpasses my understanding, which I can only give credit to my Lord and Savior.  Without Him bringing the right people to my life and providing the right support around me, I would not be here.  Not only that but he brought a passion to help others into my life and now I am fully pursuing that passion through Wonderfully Made Fitness.  What a journey it has been and I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world.