I’ve visualized this moment for a long time. When I would be able to finally sit down and write the miraculous story of how our move from Texas to Arizona came to be. I dreamed of the ways God would use us as an example of pushing through the hard stuff while patiently waiting for him to release us. Now as I sit here on my final day in Arizona before flying home to pack up our life & drive it west forever I don’t even know where to begin. I wish you could read my prayer journal as the last 5 weeks have unfolded this move out of no where. From praying that God would move my heart to love where I was at and feel at peace if His desire for us was to stay. To praying for God to bring ALL of the connections together as we laid this move happening NOW on the alter ONE ... MORE ... TIME.
As we’ve begun telling close friends and family I’ve been asked the standard questions like why Arizona? I thought you loved Texas?
On the first of the new year my devotions read John 4:4 “there was a shorter route but Jesus NEEDED to go through Samaria.” That pretty much sums it up. We NEEDED to make a pitstop on the way to our destination. But seriously ... after answering this endlessly the past few weeks I can tell you this. When I left Iowa 6 years ago I can confidently say I ran AWAY from Iowa to Texas. For the first 3 years the move was all I ever wanted. It wasn’t Iowa & that’s all I cared about. Kobi and I learned how to become a team of ONE. We were both so codependently attached to our friends and family we weren’t the first people each other would turn to. Any good married couple would tell you making this a habit is basically at the top of the marriage survival list. We found an incredible church focused on growing leaders. Kobi became very involved with various soccer leagues even getting me to join my first team ever so we could play together. I found my Mastermind group filled with kingdom women God hand selected to mentor me through the toughest season of my life yet ... while they would probably just refer to me learning the art of “adulting”. These women have taught me what true relentless prayer looks like. I have loved living a fast 3 hour road trip away from OKC so I could grow an unbreakable bond with my warrior friends Shelly & Amie. If you know Kobi at ALL you know he has completely transformed himself in Texas. Somedays I am in complete awe of the strong husband ... the leader & provider of our household he has grown to be. But ... if I had known what the next 3 years were going to be like I would have run back to Iowa barefoot.
It was NOT fun.
It was NOT easy.
I cried more in the last 3 years than most do in a lifetime.
I watched everything in my life from friendships to confidence crumble.
I learned what it’s like to NOT be an unstoppable goal crushing champion.
I also became very familiar with the feelings of deep depression.
I knew God was doing something deep within me and most days I had JUST enough in me to make it through the day hoping that tomorrow the sun would shine again.
My poor parents ... goodness I hope I never have to go through the pain they experienced as I called them daily either sobbing in hopelessness or rip roaring MAD and just angry hating God. But like really great parents they assured me God was doing something great and would let me lose my crap for the 87,000th time on the other end of the phone.
All the while about a year into our Texas adventure I began traveling to Arizona. What began with Kobi driving my Cadillac to work that connected us with our new friends Sarah and Joe ... grew a love for this beautiful place in the desert. Let’s be honest it started with MY love of this place. I have a handful of friends that have diligently prayed alongside me for years to change Kobi’s heart to love the southwest. Ok to be completely honest my friend Lindsay and I have prayed to be this geographically close since college. Finally after a few trips to Arizona on our marriage retreats with the Townsend Leadership Program & watching soccer with the Whipple’s ... Kobi too was ready to move to this beautiful place of mountains ... relaxed recreational culture ... and “Midwest nice” type of people. But that didn’t mean we could move just yet.
We both knew while yes ... God had MOST definitely called us to Texas ... and that while it absolutely beat the heck out of us ... it also grew us into warriors that TRUSTED in God’s every move. What we wanted more than anything was to do this move on HIS timing. To be RELEASED and not to RUN. They say God’s delay is never His denial ... but they don’t talk about the season in the desert of the delay. Last summer I really thought everything was coming together for the move. I spent a few weeks in Arizona ramping up my business out there. But as the days went on I could feel the timing just wasn’t right. I returned home with a broken and incredibly angry heart. This was actually what started my 60 day social media fast. On that fast God opened me up to what was REALLY waiting for us in Arizona. I realized how DISconnected we were. That Texas might be filled with incredible people ... and a handful of people we love ... but at the end of the day it wasn’t where our tribe was. I began to STOP seeing Arizona as this plentiful place to explode by business and STARTED seeing it as the HOME God had been preparing for us all our lives. A HOME where Christ centered friends and family of ours have been relocating to for years. A couple weeks ago in Phoenix my mom and I had dinner with friends of hers that she made in Iowa about 40 years ago. The Greens ... unbeknown to us before this dinner ... live 7 minutes from our new Arizona home. We crawled in my car after an incredible night with them and all my mom said was “Wow. It’s like you are moving HOME.” I just wept with a grateful heart.
Now I know another question burning in your mind. My friend Tammy asked me recently if I was sad to leave Texas. I said ... I wont miss the people because true friendship knows no distance. I won’t miss the city because I’ll always visit for work. But if I’m being FULLY honest which we know is my style ... I find myself constantly battling the sadness of ... that is NOT what I thought that would be. That we went there full of hopes & dreams that were smashed into the ground. It was a season of one big heartache after another. I am gratefully taking the wisdom I gained & moving on with not a single glance in the rear view mirror.
To everyone of our friends in Texas we thank you. Thank you for loving us through one hell of a season that seemed to last a lifetime. We are people that NEVER forget loyalty & loving us when we weren’t always at our best. You know the guest room is ALWAYS open for you.
To Shelly. Can you believe it’s here? Can you even believe it. Guys not only did Shelly marry Kobi & I ... but she continued to chase after us with all her guts to make sure we turned to each other no matter how dark it got. And let’s all be honest. Those first few years of marriage are HARD ... so she had her work cut out for her.
To Susan. Thank you for going on this prayer journey with me that unlocked my deepest desires. I DO believe with all my heart we have been released because of our daily prayers we have been circling together. “Delight yourself in the Lord ... and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4. Thank you for joining with me every day to make sure my desires are His.
To our friends in Arizona ... oh man. Sarah & Adriana ... thank you for being the ones that started it all. Whipple family thank you for being the reason I never stopped coming & having a soccer team for Kobi to join. TLP family thank you for being the reason we got Kobi to even get on a plane to visit & showing him he would have friends when he came. Armijo family thank you for always welcoming me into your home all the months I flew in for a fast 24 hours. For praying & hoping knowing that there would be a day we would call this city our HOME. Ashley you crazy freaking friend of mine. Thank you for diligently forcing me to make more and more friends here each time I came so when this vision became a reality I was already surrounded by a tribe. Zach & Megan .... hahaha ... goodness sakes you are my little bro & sis from another family ... and while technically Mary Kay brought us together I love that we all get to build this new great life in a MUCH warmer climate. Thank you to my aunt’s Rochelle & Sue for marrying my uncles a billion years ago so I could move to your homeland years later with cousins just waiting for me. Laura & Kayla we have so many cousin hikes ahead of us ... who ever knew 30 years ago as farm girls in Iowa we’d end up minutes away from each other a thousand miles from home. Tiffanie ... my Iowa Hawkeyes forever Arizonian ... thank you for opening up your home not once but TWICE so I could go before our moving truck with all my stuff and begin setting up our new place. Krista & Lebs thank you for relentlessly claiming alongside me this would be our home. Thank you for showing me WHERE we wanted to live in this big city ... and for giving me a picture in my mind that I focused on DAILY to turn into a reality. Krista you were my HOPE on days I wanted to throw in the towel.
Most of all ... God thank you for letting us go to a place that stands for transformation ... rebirth ... and the ultimate symbol of strength and renewal. Here we go!
60 days ago, my husband and I were coming back from the gym when he reminded me we decided I was going to fast social media for 30 days. A couple weeks before I had seen a picture with a former friend. A friend that had hurt me deeply & abandoned our friendship without warning or reason. The anger that came from that picture was what led us to the idea that maybe I should ditch social media for a bit to “find myself” or something. Annoyed that he remembered I threw out one last post & deleted the apps from all my apple devices. There is a lot of responsibility I have with my job to post on a private Facebook group so we made the deal I could access that group from his laptop when needed.
The first 5 days were pretty tricky to be honest. I found myself taking pictures of what I was eating or days I did my hair and had no where to post them. I would text my husband and my friends because obviously someone in the world needed to know this was happening. At that moment the idea that I thought someone cared what I was reading eating doing thinking became very humbling. Like who are you to think that anyone cares. I promise you I was fully convinced that God had called me to this fast because I had become full of myself & needed humbled. Y’all we even bought puzzles to do late at night when I would normally be scrolling.
By the second week I was becoming familiar with an old friend … Google. I remember asking my husband where in the world do you go to when you have a question if you can’t poll the Facebook/Instagram world? As the month of August continued on I simply shoved myself more & more into my business convinced I would have the most epic month that ever was, so I could stand on a stage proclaiming why the world needed to ditch social media in order to truly be their most productive selves.
People were reaching out to me to see what I was up to … to update me on what was happening in the world … and I was reaching out to them simply to see how they were doing … letting them know how much they matter to me. I thought ahhh heck this is why high school reunions were created because without social media you don’t just know if they have kids but are they even ALIVE?!
At some point that month my friend Mandy and I had a good laugh about “if you don’t check in on Facebook are you really there?” I realized how much I travel … & not only how much I love to travel … but how much I enjoy sharing those experiences of growth with the world even if it only impacted one person. I didn’t see it at the time … but I think this is where the loneliness began to take root.
As August came to a close and the 30 day fast was nearing an end the anxiety was high. I wasn’t ready to go back … so I made the decision here we go again for 30 more days.
I’m a BIG believer that God sees things in our life that need to be dealt with. That when we choose to constantly keep pressing those things down He will eventually call you on a journey that forces them into the light. I probably should have known by the level of anxiety I had going back to social media that it was about so much more than deleting a source for comparison.
August really was a pretty cold turkey month … even though I had permission to get on for work … I barely did that because I simply didn’t want to. In September I recognized my presence in my private groups needed to be stepped up so my team didn’t literally think I was dead. This month also brought about some great travels with incredible memories I wanted to remember for the rest of my life so like any good millennial I quickly logged on to post a couple pictures so the annual “Facebook Memories” could bring me back to that moment.
It was the middle of September … late on a Sunday night I found myself sobbing silently on my kitchen floor. Like I said before … if you keep shoving down your troubles … God will eventually bring you on a journey that forces them into His light. That night I realized how lonely I was. I realized for a full year I was so stuck in the “not knowing” of why some friendships had to end … that I isolated myself into a paralyzed pit of analyzation. It was causing me to question everything from my faith to my career. It had me wishing appointments would cancel so I could have another day in my pajamas. It had me choosing not to play full out because I was determined somewhere deep in my subconscious I would do whatever it took to continue isolating myself from the pain of potential abandonment.
You may be asking but what does social media have to do with this?
Everything. Now I’m not saying to stay on it or delete it. Do I think everyone should pick one month a year to disconnect to re-center themselves? Absolutely. It provided immense clarity. But I also think we need to acknowledge what it DOES give us. That as alone as I was the 12 months prior to that 60 day fast there was a shred of connection being made through it. It made me feel like a part of a tribe and a community. That even as physically lonely as I became … social media lessened the pain through the connections we have through posts & stories.
Yesterday by pure accident a Super Soul edition with two of my favorite ladies, Oprah & Brene Brown, popped across my screen. Bless my husband’s soul he even sat with me as I wrote pages of notes & let God unveil His final pieces of wisdom through the journey of this fast. Brene said, “no one wants to own the SFD [shitty first draft] of their thoughts & story they’re telling themselves.” She said our brains require us to make a quick fast story of who’s good and who’s bad without ever considering the need to be brave & push through to that vulnerable point of connection. She said vulnerability is the measure of courage and for forgiveness to happen something must die and grief must begin.
Here I am 60 days later honestly still filled with that same anxiety I had 30 days ago about coming back to the world of Facebook & Instagram. Maybe because it’s a lot to keep up with … maybe because the mystery of the world not knowing what you are up to is kind of nice … or maybe it’s because God has brought to light the dark lonely place I put myself in and the idea of coming back with that raw pain makes me want to puke. But today I’m choosing courageous vulnerability. Starting the journey of re-connection by adding those silly little apps back to my phone & scheduling coffee dates with anyone I’ve isolated. Standing in gratitude for God’s crazy plans we can never quite understand until they play themselves out. It’s time to bring on another level of becoming brave.
I get a lot of requests for growth book suggestion requests ... and typically my first question is "well what kind of book are you looking for? What area of growth are you seeking?"
This day my friend Jessica didn't have an area in mind but asked for my Top 3 reads of all time. So off to my shelves I went to see what snagged my attention. Next thing I knew I had pulled off 8 books that I could remember causing significant shifts in my life! Since this is a common question I also decided to take it to instagram & go live talking about how each book had impacted my life & the change that occured after.
So here you have it! Check out my Top 8 Most Impactful Reads from the Last 8 Years of my life!
ENJOY my friends & remember to keep becoming brave ;)
1. Failing Forward by John Maxwell
2. 15 Laws of Growth by John Maxwell
3. Greater by Steven Furtick
4. Gifts of Imperfection by Dr Brene Brown
5. Necessary Endings by Dr Henry Cloud
6. Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio
7. Whisper by Mark Batterson
8. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Have you ever had one of those conversations ... where you look back & you wish you could eat your own words? Not because you said something bad per say ... but because what you said triggered the other party in the conversation to reply with a dagger from the enemy meant to poison your hope. Sometimes you can literally feel the air being sucked from your chest as insecurity & doubt take over. It can be the tiniest thing that causes those insecurities to creep in ... creeping ever so slightly if you aren’t on the lookout you won’t notice the infection until you are a defeated hopeless mess.
I had one of those today.
As much as I wish I could take back my own words that started the conversation ... my heart is overflowing with gratitude that God nudged me to forget the checklists of the day & instead lean into him for his grace.
Ever have that moment where you hunt high & low for the current book you are reading like it should be RIGHT HERE because you read it yesterday ... but instead your eye catches another ... you decide ok God whatever I’ll start this today instead.
“A very real enemy has been strategizing and scheming against you ... assaulting you ... coming after your emotions ... your mind ... your man ... your child ... your future. In fact ... he’s doing it right this second. Right where you’re sitting. Right where you are.” - Fervent by Priscilla Shirer
Ever since moving to Dallas 5 years ago purely because I knew God was calling me here for the greater plan he has for my life ... it has been WAR. While my highlight reel has featured incredible business success ... behind the scenes it’s been a fight for my life and my soul since the moment I landed.
“... a personalized strategy has been insidiously put in place to destroy your vibrancy and render you defeated. It’s been drawn up on the blackboard by someone who knows where you live and whom you love ... knows your customary tendencies and knows from long experience how best to exploit every single one of them. And maybe up until now it’s been working.” - Fervent by Priscilla Shirer
I’ve dedicated my life to growth ... becoming firmer in the knowing Christ has designed me to change the world by igniting a fire in hearts to learn grow & lead others into growth ... learning how to lean on him to find strength in my weaknesses ... but sometimes just as I find the antidote for one of the enemies poisons ... it’s like he creates a new strain targeting yet another one of my weaknesses.
2 Corinthians 1:4 “He comforts us in all our troubles.” My dear friend & spiritual mentor reminded me of the FULL chapter of Hebrews 11. This chapter reminds us of the difficult journeys of those who came before us. They were mocked stoned banished & ridiculed for standing firm in their beliefs ... but it was by their faith they continued to pursue the calling God had placed on their life. You can try & say life isn’t that hard anymore ... we aren’t stoned in the streets ... but sometimes I think it would be easier to be stoned in front of hundreds than slandered in front of thousands on social media.
How often do we take our heartaches & troubles as signs of closing doors ... when in reality its the enemy seeking to destroy the very thing God has called us to be great in? I’ve found sometimes I get so distracted in over contemplating WHY something happened that left me wounded ... & is causing me to want to walk away ... that I miss seeing God’s strategic moves for protection & better alignment to set me up for the victory he desires for my life.
Today I am choosing the War Room. I am choosing to show up for battle armed in specific & strategic prayers that protect me ... that comfort me in this very area the enemy has been using as his battle plan since before I was even born. I believe God has victory for me ... and I believe he has it for you!
You probably noticed by now I have a slight love for learning & books. I’m very much a “read today what my soul needs” kinda girl that rarely feels the need to finish a book cover to cover to feel accomplished. Honestly it’s doing book reviews on youtube that has caused me to create the habit of a book finisher lol!
Now why have I spent countless hours in the past week rearranging & redesigning my office space ... in addition to purchasing an unlimited Club Pilates membership in spite of the free membership I have to a great gym?
Literally 1 week ago I left Iowa at 4:30AM Texas bound after a fast 25 hours with family. I was determined to completely listen to a new audible read I had just purchased ... The Power of a Habit! Now full disclosure here ... I’m not a fan of the reader’s voice ... and obviously I was exhausted ... so the fact that I KEPT listening on this 11 turned 13 hour drive is a testament alone to how SERIOUSLY impactful it is.
I’m not here to unload the entire book to you ... but what I will say is this ...
What cues in your life are creating what outcomes?
Are you lacking rewards & success in certain areas of your life & you aren’t quite sure why?
What NEW cues (aka triggers that cause you to do stuff from habit NOT will) could you create today to increase the likelihood of success in this area tomorrow?
For me two major things stuck out as I drove down the Kansas Turnpike ...
1. Son of a gun. No WONDER I’m still in my pajamas at 2 in the afternoon! Previously I had a SET routine. I put my pajamas on before bed & I lay out the next day’s workout attire ... set the alarm ... and close my eyes precisely 7.5 hours before my alarm will go off giving me exactly 20 minutes to throw on my workout clothes & run into class the next morning. (Yes my friends I know that my perfect rem cycle is 7.5 hours).
... why did I stop?
... I started having hormone issues & it was suggested I not do high impact workouts ... but we set serious financial goals at the beginning of the year so getting a $200 monthly Pilates membership would put a little wrench in the 2018 financial freedom plan. See my conflict of health & financial goals?! Until I realized I’m LOSING like $200 a dang DAY because not working out took away my cue to come home ... shower ... get dressed & get OUT of the house to make big friggin things HAPPEN!
2. DAMNNNNNIT. I totally forgot the other half of the “important biz goals to track” are BEHIND MY DOOR & no wonder I want to sleep or Netflix every time I sit down to read ... I’ve got the WRONG CUES.
... the direction of my desk ... the placement of my dry erase boards & bookshelves ... the spaces I had to read ... everything about it was ALL WRONG in order to create the correct CUE that would trigger the correct habit to achieve the goals I desire. About 4% of our day can come from inner will ... the rest is up to habits & hoping we’ve made great ones!
... so a week later ... lots of moving hunting & rearranging later ... my entire office is a new layout dry erase boards on the walls & all in order to make sure I’m seeing ALL I need to see to accomplish ALL of my goals all month ... and I’m no longer sitting on the couch or bed to read & instead of reading finding myself 3 episodes deep in a new Netflix series LOL!
In summary ... get the book ... download the audible ... whatever you do ... this is going to be one of THOSE books like I have in every version & routinely revisit for a lil life tuneup ;) happy reading my friends!