Those before me always said, that once I became an adult, and especially when I became a mother, that time would fly by.
At lightening speed.
And there wasn't a darn thing I could do about it.
And as I spent part of the the day looking at photos and "Timehops" from 2004, days and nights that seem like just yesterday, I get a gnawing in the pit of my stomach. That 14 years FLEW BY. Just like that. And now that I'm a mother, I'll blink, and my 1 year old will be 15. And I have to catch my breath as these thoughts swirl in my tired little brain.
Every year since 2015, as I prayed for it, God has put a word on my heart. A word of the year if you will. "Diligence" became a focus that first year in which he'd like me to work all areas of my life. I took it to heart and was diligent in not only studying the word to become closer with Him, but I also finished a degree in nutrition and stayed the course in trying to get pregnant. As unfun as finals and invasive infertility tests were. He blessed and delivered. His promises are so good. Always.
For 2016 he placed "abundance" on my heart. And He delivered. Not only were we blessed with the greatest blessing of all, our son Grey, after years of infertility, but we also received amazing job opportunities, traveled with our sweet darling newborn to beautiful places and made new friendships. The year, as exhausting it was with a new little boy, was definitely abundantly blessed.
I feel like it marked such a significant year in our life. Sometimes its hard for me to grasp all the beauty that was wrapped up in this one year of our life, because to be honest, for so much of it I felt like we were simply surviving. Learning how to be parents. Learning how to be a married couple with a baby. Learning how to function on minimal sleep. All of it, just learning my new role as a mother, wife, daughter of the King. And as the days, even looking back on them, blur together into one hazey picture, I know this year is one i'll treasure at the top.
2017 the word "Community" came through clear as day and I set about seeking friendships that I could pour myself into, while at the same time finding fellow women and moms who could in turn fill my cup as well.
Mr. Charming and I did well at keeping up with our friendships, dinner hosting and party planning. We made relationships outside of our little family bubble a priority last year and it really paid off in so many amazing ways. Just building the tribe we call ours and we're excited to see the relationships continue to flourish in the future.
2018 arrived and I was excited for the focus area God would ask me to look towards. In all honesty I was hoping for something really exciting. Something that meant I would be getting back to me more. Something that meant my home business would take off, or that we'd travel to tropical locales. A grandiose word that brought about images of excitement, thrill, or again, abundance.
Falling asleep the night of the 2nd of January, I heard Him softly whisper.
Hm? Come again?
"Acceptance." This felt so mundane. And I actually fought against it. Surely that wasn't meant to be my word for this year. And as ironic as it was, I didn't want to "accept" it.
But as I sat with it for a couple of days, I saw so many ways in which this was a jumping off point to be a growing year for me. And He was right. Just as He always is. There have been heart issues I've been fighting against for some time. Situations, relationships, and just my role in life at the moment, that I need to accept. That I've tried to change, that are not my place to change, or that cannot be changed. They simply need to be accepted, and no one can do that but me.
Whole-hearted, giving-it-to-God acceptance. And when I think about the heartwork and surrendering that this will take me this year, grandiose seems fitting after all.
Do you pray for a word each year? Do you set a word for yourself? I'd love for you to share and I'd love to keep the conversation going on how it's going for you, (and in truth for me too.) Connect with me on Instagram at @NoshandNurture and we can chat about it.
There was a day in the not so distant past that tried to overwhelm us. As a household. Which means, I feel, that the enemy was trying to break down our walls and shake our faith.
The baby wasn't sleeping well during the challenges that presented themselves, so I was teetering on an emotion-driven cliff of exhaustion. The body shop/insurance company from an accident we were in on vacation totaled our car and we needed to buy a new car and have a car payment all over again when we worked so hard to reduce our debt to try to buy/build a house.
Speaking of the house, the city denied our permits and we can no longer build the home on the land we've been planning towards since before our baby was born.
So, like I said, there was a day, in the not so distant past that tried to overwhelm us.
I learned through prayers and tears that we need to trust God's no's, and trust God knows our future and His plans for us better than we do. As hard of a pill as it is to swallow, we weren't meant to build that small family homestead with the big tree, pool and garden. It wasn't meant to be our place as much as we could picture ourselves raising our tribe there.
We need to lean in to God and let Him continue to lead and show us where He sees us and trust that whatever that looks like is better than our best vision.
My love for Christian film began many years ago, when I was asked to play a role in one with a local director. Working in mainstream entertainment for so many years, I felt like entertainment and faith had to live separately for so long.
Then I found Christian music and Christian films that rivaled the cinematography, production and casting of its secular counterparts and I was moved and excited to be able to be uplifted by the word in a new way. It was also a way for me to share my Christian lifestyle and love of God with my friends outside of church. And while living in the Bible and attending church is still first and foremost, watching these inspiring, God-filled stories come to life on the big screen is a great option for entertainment that gives God the glory.
The way that we should live every area of our life.
Enter to win AN AUTOGRAPHED POSTER OF THE FILM or A COPY OF THE BOOK.
Comment on this blog post for your official entry and mark on the Rafflecopter widget below to let me know you have so that it can choose 2 random winners on 3/9.
For a better chance to win, additional entries can be obtained by visiting the "The Shack" post on my Instagram (www.Instagram.com/NoshandNurture) and following the rules to enter.
No purchase necessary. Must be 18 and a resident of the US.
Official Site: www.TheShack.Movie
There are times in your life where you pray hard. Really hard. Because you know He listens. And it's beautiful and safe and reassuring.
Tonight I sit in our baby's finished nursery and its one of those nights where I'm praying with everything that's in me.
Our plan is to successfully achieve a natural birth, if it is in His will, and as our due date rapidly approaches I recognize that it is only with God's strength, peace and presence will I accomplish this task that seems so mountainous. I will admit it, I'm scared. My humanness, with all its flaws, taunts me with thoughts of weakness, inability and defeat. But God is bigger. And as a child of God, I know I can do this through Him and His abilities, not my own.
As I called out to Him tonight, I prayed for guidance on how to prepare for this task. As I keep reading everywhere that I "must be prepared". As it is a task unknown to any new mother, how do I properly prepare for the pain? How do I properly prepare my mind, which has been held prisoner to anxiety so many times in my life, for the task to continue on when it's hard? How do I properly prepare for the unknowns?
And then a sweet answer just washes over me, Jesus.
That's the only answer I have. I've read every book I could get my hands on. Talked to friends and family on successful births. Mr. Charming and I attended birth classes. We've hired a doula. We've packed our hospital bags. We've watched birth videos. I've drank my tea. I've gobbled down my dates. I've done pelvic tilts and chiropractic adjustments. I've gotten prenatal massages and practiced breathing and meditation.
But, Jesus. He's the One who can give peace. Strength. Clarity. Renewal. And I must rely on that and that above all else when I'm feeling my weakest. Because no matter what worldly tasks I busy my hands and mind with, nothing other than Jesus can surpass all understanding with His grace and mercy upon the birth of our miracle.
The beauty of it all is this, if there's a situation, any situation in your life that haunts you, taunts you, scares you or asks you to struggle, call on Him. He will always show up. He may be a silent bystander in the corner if He is waiting out the right time to show Himself in the situation, or He may be a sweeping warm blanket of peace and contentment (as He was during our miscarriage) - but no matter, call on Him and He will be there. In His way, on His time. There's nothing in this world more precious than that.
Not even a brand new babe, no matter how he or she gets here.
If you have a prayer request leave it below! I'd appreciate your prayers surrounding our birth and the welcoming of Baby P. God bless!
I've never written to you before. All the things I've wanted to say.
Maybe it's because, if I did, I'd be saying you were real. And I guess, in a way you are a part of my reality. But in so many more ways you're a lie. A lie I sometimes can't help but tell myself.
So many times have I prayed, cried, begged, pleaded for you to simply taken away from me. But I've grown and I now see where I went wrong. You weren't supposed to be neatly removed from how I'm wired.
As a woman, as a Christian woman, I've become wiser through His word and I know now, you were meant to be part of this journey. As ugly as you are. Because it's in those dark places, those messy, inconvenient places where our lessons, stories and purpose is birthed. And although I'm learning the role you play in my life, tonight, I just have a few things to say.
Even though I've learned that you are not me, you are simply part of my journey, I get angry. I'm angry when you steal precious moments. I'm angry when there is laughter in spaces where immovable walls feel like they're closing in on me. I'm angry when there's meant to be laughter in moments where I feel I can't catch my breath.
And it's you, this lie, this tool of the enemy that is stealing those moments. Moments I can't get back. What my journey as a Christian has taught me, the most beautiful thing of all, is that I have a powerful God. A God who heals. Who grants peace beyond our understanding. Who will stand firm when we speak the name of Jesus. And I've seen healing. I can say that now. It took me many years to turn to Him, instead of turning inward. Instead of retreating under the covers. To the backseat. To a glass of wine. To a dark quiet corner. Now I look upward. As hard as it is sometimes to unclench. To open my arms. To dry my eyes. I look upward, I give my heart, my mind, my breath to the One who can grant me strength. Perseverance. Healing. Love. The most beautiful things. For these most beautiful things can erase the darkest things.
This may take you by surprise, because He truly does move mountains we can't fathom budging. It happened to me anyways. Some moments where I expect to feel scared, I now feel strong. Moments where I expect to feel pressure, I feel happiness. A lightness, a joy in moments that are meant to be celebrated, not tolerated.
So I say to you today, anxiety, I know you want to make me weary. Tired. You want me to second guess every single event. Every single step forward. I know you've won many times before. You had a power over me that made me miss out on so much. And I will not stand here today and say that I am strong enough to move past it. To be cured by my own will or any earthly remedy. Because I'm not. None of us are. But He is. He is our rescuer. Our savior. Our great, protective Father. Who loves us, who truly, deeply, unconditionally cares for us. And that, that love, that strength, that salvation...
Anxiety has no chance against that beautiful truth.
May we all remember this truth, in every situation. When our knees wobble or when our palms sweat. When our heart races or when our breath catches. May we remember that we aren't strong enough to conquer all, but we can rest in the loving arms of our Father who is.
For all you brothers and sisters who struggle with anxiety. I understand and I'm praying love and blessings over your situation.
As God was the one who led me to all of this, my journey, my health, this blog, I shouldn't be surprised when he whispers topics and post ideas to my heart. The gritty ones. The ones that swim in my soul, that are hard to write, and make me type through blurry eyes as tears threaten to stream down my cheek.
I've seen amazing doors open for this brand & blog - blessings that I know come from my Father in Heaven. My true provider and guide and I want to honor Him and stay true to the gifts He's given me by giving all the glory to Him through any success that may come our way.
There is a song I've fallen in love with, O.K. there are many songs I'm in love with, it's in my DNA, but there is one in particular as of late called "My Story" by Big Daddy Weave. Every time this song plays I hear that whisper deep inside, nudging me to keep telling mine. As my audience grew, I got scared. Scared to be too vulnerable. Share too much. But Jesus urges us to lay it out there. So, as uncomfortable as it may be, we must own our stories.
If I told you my story, you would hear hope, that wouldn't let go
2011. Feels so far away yet feels like just yesterday. I had dabbled with LiveJournal journals for many years, pouring all of me out onto the screen. And maybe 10 people read it. But that's not what mattered. It was my therapy, an outpouring of emotional baggage that bound me up and the release felt liberating. When I started feeling sick and depressed and in pain in 2011, I started writing again, to deal with it. I lost many friends in that space of time in my life. I couldn't tell them what was going on. I was ashamed. I was terrified of being terrified in my own body. Writing is where I felt safe. What began as a blog titled "Me and Mr. Charming" was a journal of me trying to deal with the fear, the frustration and the uncertainty of my many new diagnoses. A mix of incorrect, "incurable" and new.
After taking myself off gluten and dairy after reading many books on things I was dealing with I started to see healing and as I began to write and spend more time in the kitchen this little space began to morph into a food blog. At the time still unaware of what a "blog" even was. I was a writer, and this was my space. Sharing recipes and support for those who were as scared as I was in a vast internet world. That's what felt natural.
This song hits home because where I really began to find healing, soul-deep, true healing was in hope. God's great hope. As anxiety took hold of me so many nights I fell to my knees and I just prayed. I knew I couldn't do anything for me anymore, alone, without my Lord and Savior. I had been baptized shortly after feeling this way and I knew He was my only chance. He was what could save me, heal me and give me a future and purpose from all I was going through.
If I told you my story, you would hear love that never gave up
So many times I prayed to be "normal". I prayed for God to take away my anxiety. My fears. My immune issues that made me catch EVERYTHING I was around. The pain in my pelvis & bladder. The hopelessness that I wouldn't be able to be the wife I wanted to be. The future mom I longed to be. That I still long to be.
I felt He was quiet for so long, until He wasn't. He held me in His arms. He walked with me when I'd go on slow, relaxing walks to clear my mind. He was with me in the fitness room as I obediently worked through my pelvic exercises. He was with me when I was scared to eat my meals and lost 15 pounds I didn't really have to lose. He was with me when I sobbed long, hard sobs in church as I felt Him begin to cleanse me. Body, mind, soul. He was there. Loving me. Loving on me when I felt like I was losing my worthiness to those in my life. His love NEVER gives up. And had I not clung to Him, I would be so lost. His love allowed me not to give up. To pray, to find strength in what was going on. To never stop looking for answers. To never stop listening to His still small voice. And to be obedient to the ways in which He could heal me.
If I told you my story, you would hear life, but it wasn't mine
As the blog started to grow, old passions fell away. And my passion and love for health through what God has given us began to grow with a rapid fire I hadn't felt in years. Maybe ever. Going back to school and pouring my heart into this was so clear and doors have opened that can only be explained by a loving God blessing a child. I want to live authentically in this space. I want this blog/brand to stand for what this journey has truly meant for me. For me, for my life, for my marriage. I want to love on those who are scared. Scared of food, scared of disease, scared of pain and just hug them, speak life and Jesus into them and let them know they have a friend, a sister in Christ.
I want His message to speak volumes from here. If it doesn't then I haven't done my job as a servant to the One who has given me an abundant life and a beautiful purpose. Is it always easy? No. Is it a painless journey? Nothing worth it ever is. But through the storms is it joyful, and fulfilling, beautiful and wonderful? Absolutely. Because I know from whom it comes. And even more beautiful? This gift is available to ANYONE who asks to receive it. It's that simple. No matter what you're carrying. No matter what you've done, there is cleansing in His name. You only need to speak it.
This is my story. Praising Him for every moment. Every breath. Every opportunity. Every ounce of love, grace and mercy.
If you are struggling with food restrictions, with anxiety or with illnesses that are still being researched, know that God is holding you. Take a deep breath and fall into His arms. And though I don't hold a candle to our Father, I'm always here to be a friend, a listener, a sister in Christ to make the road a little less lonely.
Transitional seasons of our lives can be tricky waters to navigate. Sometimes you know their coming and you can feel them approaching, able to prepare as you wade in the waters. Other times its like a tidal wave that sweeps you up, steals your breath and throws you harshly onto the rocky shore to start again.
I'd say this week is a mix of both. And my emotions seem to ebb and flow like the tide that draws near and slips away. This week Runway will close it's doors for a while and while I know this means God's opening new doors for me, my career and my family,, some that I may have already stepped through, it's bittersweet. It's been a week of clinging to God through the emotional roller coaster of forging new paths, reaching for new dreams and trusting.
So much trusting.
There seems to be a sad trend in publishing right now, with Conde Nast losing Lucky and so many others being laid off, I pray we all find our way in the world of the written word. Some may argue that it's dying, but I don't believe that. I refuse to. Words can mean and do so much, that we just have to continue to work with the times. Print may be dying, but words, words can never. And I will continue to write in the mediums that are thriving, because writing makes me feel alive.
There's a lot of uncertainty and "don't knows" when things like this happen. And part of the roller coaster is when the enemy of doubt, of not trusting, tells me to be scared in these moments. But I'm loved by a bigger God, One who has bigger plans and I cling to His better and His future for me.
So I look to the blessings. I look the the fact I've had more hours this week to pour into joining with more female blog communities that love Jesus and love community like The Peony Project. I've been able to submit for multiple guest posting spots and sponsorships. I've been able to organize my office & spend time with family.
I am finishing up my Personal Nutrition program and have been accepted with a scholarship into the advanced program with an emphasis on Food Allergies, Digestive Disorders and Child and Pregnancy Care. I can feel the transition. I just have to hold on with faith.
There are other matters on my heart that are blooming and are being prayed on. I just need to remember, every day, every hour, every moment, to surrender and take His hand. Because when we're walking on rocky shores, it's the only way not to fall.
I always thought this was my story to write. That I could somehow create, maybe even manifest, all of my dreams. Ones that would inspire a glowing memoir, or at the very least a grand tale I could tell my grandchildren one day. Destined to orchestrate a song of songs that would write my legend. Dancing through scene by scene, directing my plot twists, character castings, even my leading man.
But then the Grand Author showed me years ago that it wasn't my story to write at all. That is was His. That I was the one cast. That each scene was unfolding just as He had written it ages ago. And that His son would be my true leading man. That He would be all of ours.
And it's been a story more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed of writing for myself. Because there have been surprises, twists and turns. Triumphs and meaningful hurts that I couldn't have, and probably wouldn't have, written into my own pages, and I would have been lead somewhere completely different than where I am at today.
And that thought is terrifying.
Living according to Mandi, I got some things right. But I got a lot wrong. Sometimes, people in my life ask for that girl back. And I feel like this probably happens to a lot of people who are changed. Who have been saved. In the beginning I got defensive. I resisted their resistance. But the more I looked upward, and trusted His pen over mine. I could breathe easier about those people in my life who I realized, if they truly wanted the best for me, they could let go of what I let go of in me, and accept me for the girl I was written to be.
I will still strive and wake to live my dreams, because I feel like, since I was just three years old, that he planted things within me I feel like I should be using. Talents, passions and dreams that just don't seem to let go of the deepest parts of me. And free will and all that, jazz. We have responsibility to keep moving forward. We are just blessed to have His strength on days we don't want to.
And I'm learning what that means on His terms now. For so many years I did what felt good to Mandi. When I wanted something I wanted to run at it at full force. I've grown up seeking the future. Always wanting to know what's next, always hungry to one-up my last accomplishment. My dad used to say (almost daily) "Mandi, you need to just slow down." or "Mandi, you just need to show patience". Now I hear that resonating Fatherly voice repeating those sentiments. Asking me to enjoy the NOW. Enjoy the wonderful, beautiful gift of now. And truth be told, it's a daily discipline for me.
But I believe it's that daily discipline, that daily connection that we work on that makes us the strong men and women we are. The strong, inspiring men and women we were written to be. And that's worth all the work it takes.
Since the inception of social media, the internet has become a flurry of everyone’s thoughts. Everyone’s feelings. The sometimes reckless emotions. Their shared moments. And most of the time, the moments we share with the world are our sparkly, happiest moments.
Last week in church our pastor spoke about detoxing our need to be like our neighbor. Always wanting for more, and how social media drives this to epic proportions. I encourage people to post positive, happy moments. I adore seeing my friends, family, acquaintances and though it’s not always easy, my enemies thrive. Succeed and have joy in this life.
I am really thinking about this this week as I travel. Mr. Charming and I have been planning this trip for almost 4 years now. We have been talking about fully experiencing the California Coast before we have littles. So, we saved and saved, and although I saw some work hiccups just as we were about to leave on this trip we invested so much into, I was reminded by my Father...
Joy comes in the morning. So I decided to trust, take the leap and take this adventure.
Along this trip I've experienced amazingly beautiful, wonderful things that we've always wanted to experience. We've seen beautiful, wonderful things we always wanted to see. And as we post our photos along the way, that’s been the shiny highlight reel that everyone has got to see in a 3 second flash as they scroll through social media.
If you are a follower of the blog, you will know some of my story. And time away from home isn't time away from struggles. Inflammation and hormonal issues can still cause me pain, making me not be able to enjoy the vegan lattes I like to enjoy when we travel, or most of the foods I planned on trying, like a Sensitive Sweets cupcake in Fountain Valley, or a gluten-free/dairy-free pizza slice at Fresh Brothers in Newport Beach. The same pain and hormonal imbalances can cause complications in moving forward with our Baby P plan, and having a body that wants to nap when you just want to keep exploring isn't all rainbows and unicorns. But these are my moments too. And I own them, and accept them, and thank God for even these. Because I believe He has a plan with it all.
I choose not to dwell on these moments anymore like I've done in my past. I have given them to a greater God, who has a plan and a purpose, and I will try to shine for Him. Through the shiny moments (where it’s easy to sparkle), and through the dark (where I need His hand to pull me from it all and dust me off a bit) and pray He keeps providing me a light to get back to the joy.
So keep sharing your smiles. Embrace your beautiful moments. Recognize where they came from and be thankful. With your whole heart, be thankful. And in those beautiful moments, when you stumble, or when something happens and it’s hard to let go of the perfect image you had for the moment, look up, take a deep breath, pray a thankful prayer and always remember…
Hope through Him is ever present, and joy comes in the morning.
Today was pretty awesome. I've been struggling a little this year with my true purpose. I know the things I'm good at. I know the things that I'm passionate about. I know the things that bring me joy. I know the things that entertain me. & then I know the path that can help others. Finding a way to blend, mix, merge and choose forks in my road is what trips me up sometimes.
I've been praying a lot lately on God's plan for me. And as an imperfect person of this world, sometimes I get impatient. Or I feel like I'm not measuring up. But then I dive back into the word, and I swim in his grace, and His love for us, and I remember, that I'm not called to be perfect. I'm called to be humble, obedient, and follow His path for me, the best way I know how. And if I stumble or take a wrong turn, I trust that if I call on Him, He will guide me back. That's been the hardest part for me to remember. Fearful of the misstep.
I've put my heart into this brand 110% this year, and I feel like it's a calling I never expected. I ADORE that I can connect with a beautiful community of women who share in my struggles, who share in my stories & tell me theirs. I love that my challenges forced me to take care of my body and the health of my family. And I love that I am blessed to be able to talk about my faith in this little space I've made, you've helped make. We've made. Together. And I can feel God's presence in it as it becomes more than I imagined.
While going through this journey, I put a hold on music & touring. For a while, I did. If you read my story, you will read when I started getting sick and it was at that time I stopped touring, stopped promoting, and nearly stopped recording.
It was just until this last year that I felt confident to go back into it. My record label welcomed me back with open arms (a blessing & a rarity in this crazy business) and we are writing again.
Which brings me to my news of today. Today I was offered my own 30 minute radio show by my label to take Nosh & Nurture to a whole new platform. I feel SO blessed to have another space to reach people about healthy and nurturing living, while featuring some of my favorite people in this community.
We are still in the verrrrrrrrrrry early stages of development, (day one), though I hope to launch by mid-summer once I complete my Personal Nutritionist Certification. I just wanted to share the news, because, awesome.
I hope you'll continue to take this journey with me. I love you all for being a part of this and I hope you'll continue to share your stories with me, because they inspire me. Everyday, they inspire me.