Almost a year ago, we moved into our new home in the Hill Country. Day one, the neighbor to my left greeted me in the driveway with a bottle of wine and a loaf of banana bread and our friendship has grown into daily conversations ever since (obviously)! The neighbor to my right is a different story.
Our homes out here in our neighborhood are on about 3 acres each. We can see one another's homes from our own but they are spaced about 50 yards or so apart. I have grown used to the lights, the comings and goings, the sounds of the dogs and the over the fence chats with our neighbor on the left. The neighbor on the right was, what I assumed, living in another city or something. I can think of one time where I saw a light on in her home. Her lawn was never kept up with. Sounds of life never drifted over to our home. A thought occurred to me a time or two to walk over and introduce myself but the word on the street was that she must've moved away so I never bothered. I regret that now.
A week ago, I got a knock on my door in the middle of the day. One look out the window seeing the Deputy in uniform terrified me, assuming something had happened to someone in my family. I quickly but hesitantly opened the door to many questions about the neighbor to my right. "Have you seen her lately?" "Have you seen any cars at her home." "Have you seen any lights on in the house?" I answered no to each of the questions but it was the last one that startled me the most: "Have you noticed any peculiar smells when you go outside?" After answering no yet again, I asked the Deputy what was going on. "Unfortunately, we have discovered that your neighbor has been deceased in her home for months." OH. MY. GOODNESS. Y'all... where do you have to be in life to be passed away for months and no one has noticed? After my jaw dropped and my heart ached for this woman, I began to wonder what her life must've been like. A few days of neighbors talking and stories developing led us all to understand that this 50 year old woman battled mental illness and a drinking problem. She was estranged from her adult children and husband and had apparently given up on life, friends, family and faith and just sort of existed alone in her battle until she either took her own life or simply faded away.
Even writing this brings me to tears because had I known someone was actually living there, I would've tried to help. I would've encouraged her to get help, to find a a tribe of women to support her, to remind her that dark times come but that the light also shines again.
Wherever you are right now, please make sure you have at least one person that knows you, that cares, that notices when you don't respond, that notices when you are down and alone. Find your person, your people, your strength in numbers and don't ever sit in the darkness for too long.
Be well. Reach out. xoxo. Coach Kim
When my daughters were little, we watched The Princess Diaries at least a gazillion times. I remember hearing the above quote the very first time we watched it, and it has stayed with me over a decade and a half later!
What about FEAR? Do you want to run away from it? Do you want to ignore it? Have you been told if you have fear you aren't a Christian? Do you feel bad for feeling fear?
Let's unpack this a little bit. Some fear may be irrational but if anything this pandemic has taught us, a lot of it simply isn't. I am not telling you to go around and take on and accept all fears running around in your head. I am not suggesting you give those fears any more power than they deserve. I am telling you that it's okay. Fear is okay. I want to help you understand how to live with the fears that sneak up in your daily lives. I want to remind you of your tools to tackle those monsters as they arise instead of letting them take over; take control; grow bigger.
1) Acknowledge it. "Hello Fear" (of snakes, of death, of loss, of heights, etc.)
2) Sit with it for a bit. Set a timer. Accept it. Honor it.
3) Put your feet on the ground firmly. Feel where you are at this exact moment and ask yourself these things:
Am I currently in danger?
Is this an old wound arising up stirring up my current life or is it happening now?
How much time do I want to give this fear today? (hopefully your answer will be <30min)
Have I talked to God about this?
What can I do about it?
How I can go forward without the Fear dominating my life?
I will tell you some stories about my own fears and I hope you are able to find some humor, laughter, tears for a second if you feel 'em, and some hope!
I hate snakes and I don't mean just a little. Snakes actually terrify me to the bone chilling core. I decided to move to the Hill Country a year ago on land absolutely riddled with snakes of all kinds. Smart move. Days after we moved in and set up our home, I saw a coral snake cross my path in the BACKYARD (if you aren't familiar with these bad boys, go google them). Now, I know from growing up in the country that these slinky things have to gnaw on you a while to be dangerous, but that doesn't stop the freak out in my soul. I have two pups whom I worry about and I only let them outside to play and do their business when I am with them. My reality is that my fear is real and substantiated but I choose to live here anyway. I went online and ordered snake repellant granules as well as a dozen solar screechy siren things that go in the ground and emit bad vibes to the oncoming snakes. I felt better. My fear was real but I found a solution and I was able to move on! (Denial probably played a pretty big part in this process but I really felt like I solved something really big and that gave me peace. ) Um, this morning that same sneaky species of a snake crawled in my path again albeit 9 months later. My fear came back. The snake paraphernalia tools I used to manage my emotions no longer work and now I have to sit right here realizing that the snake got away and crawled into a hole and underneath our house and my husband blocked the entrance with a rock ?! We called a pest control company who promises us that they can control the snake problem and you know what, I choose to believe it because doing something, anything, brings me greater peace than fear.
Let's move on to a more "personal" topic; my oldest daughter. We fear for our kids the second we find out we are pregnant don't we? She has battled addiction for 9 years. I feared the worst, the hospital call that came 6 months ago. Luckily she survived but her battlefield is still large and her addiction is still loud and I live daily with the fear of yet another phone call. How on earth do you live with that sort of fear and yet still seek joy and peace? I pray, I worship, I sing, I help other woman and I set a timer to cry and grieve and it's a gut wrenching pain I can't describe. Somehow, HE gives me the desire to not let it paralyze me.
I lost my sister two months ago. I used to fear the end. I literally held her peaceful hand as she passed onto Jesus and it wasn't as scary as I thought. I have a bit more peace with the end than I did before. I still fear the end, but I have to live with that beautifully as we all do.
What is haunting you? What is holding you back? Are you willing to maybe give those fears a little less power in your life today?
How can I help you?
xoxo Coach Kim
(Alright, a lot of people are credited for this quote but I am going to go with Nelson Mandela).
This is our first Spring in our new home. We wanted to mow our field that spreads its' beauty right outside of our little fence. It was getting tall, unkempt and likely harboring a lot of slithering snakes (oh heck no!) and it just felt like it was getting away from us; from the freedom for our dogs to roam freely; for us to "see" what was ahead of us. I wanted it to be nice and tidy and pretty and guess what? I wanted it like NOW.
Our neighbor convinced us to let the field continue to grow and to have patience. He kept promising us a sweet field of flowers. The rains came, the field grew, surely the "things" living there mulitiplied yet the flowers stayed away. We had a choice to make... were we going to trust, hold out, wait for the promise from our neighbor, or were we going to let haste and the large lack of patience get to us first?
We waited, we trusted and we tried our best to ignore that crazy, beautiful and unruly field full of stuff we just didn't really dare to venture into and guess what? The promise, the truth and the beauty emerged just like he promised despite our doubt and temptation to alter the natural progression it needed to take before the blooms showed up.
Do you resonate with this? Girl.. let me tell you, this could be the direct representation of my life at times. I don't want to wait, I don't want to listen to others promises while I see nothing. I don't want to wait to trust. I want to take things in to my own hands but when I do; when I have, what did I miss out on? I am certain there are some absolutely beautiful scenes, events, stories and adventures I missed simply because I though my way was best.
Slow down this season.. in this crazy, scary, unprecedented pandemic and TRUST him to reveal the beauty in His time and just like looking at that field that seemed to hold nothing but fear of the unseen shady things living in it, embrace it for what it is, allow fear and questions but ultimately hold on to a promise, a kind word, a special friend, a text, a Zoom, a workout, a book that brings hope, a Bible app... just find the things to hold on to until that beauty comes back around. K?
xoxo, Coach Kim
This is how I FIGHT my battles
This morning, fighting off some feelings but knowing what I needed to do, I walked up to the empty upstairs and prepared to do my Barre3 class streaming with those I used to spend time with in a room where just a few days ago, my daughters slept in. As God would have it, this beautiful song randomly started playing on my playlist. SURROUNDED by Bethel Music and Kari Jobe filled my soul as the words "This is how I fight my battles" filled my ears and I did feel I was fighting my battles the way I knew how at that very moment through worship and movement.
This pandemic has many people struggling with things that aren't often addressed. Depression and suicide rates are high right now. I want you to win this battle. I want you to know you matter. If I have one reader or one thousand.. I want that 1 or 1000 to feel loved. I want you to shake off any assignments or agreements the enemy is trying to place on you. I want you to know your peace blanket can come in the form of dressing yourself in battle gear. Imagine yourself putting on a cloak of God's full armor. Feel it like a warm blanket of comfort and joy. (My own coach left me a beautiful voicemail last night reminding me of these tools to cope).
At 13 and 18, I fought a really big battle and tried to take my own life but by the grace of God, I didn't succeed. The battles continued to follow me throughout my adult life and sometimes they tried to win again. You are out there. The one that feels this temporary feeling is permanent and I want to encourage you to fight your battles with God holding you in His arms until the feeling passes. For some of you, riding the wave of emotions until it passes is super duper hard. You've had reasons for wanting to give up. Satan lies to you. You are confused, torn, feel like you have no worth. You feel as if you won't be missed. You feel you have to DO to earn a ticket to be loved or honored or adored. See these stinking lies for what they are. Raise up your white flag to the enemy and simply say you are done with believing his lies. Sing your worth OUT LOUD. Demand that the enemy stands down, that all agreements he has tried to place on you are broken. Sing. Worship. Pray. Make a schedule and do it when you don't feel like it.
Do not make a permanent decision based on a non-permanent emotion.
The starfish parable reminds us..
One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.
Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.
The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”
The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”
You matter to me, just like the person in the story that threw back one starfish at a time. If you are struggling or hurting, please believe me when I say I understand. I am here. I will listen and most of all, I will remind you of a savior who can breathe peace, joy and a sense of calm back into you as you ride it out.
Find some ways to grieve..
Most, if not all, of us are losing something right now... job security, your own schedule, your privacy, your socializing, your friends, your favorite gym, your church, your dates, your family member time, your sanity, your income and for some of you..your health. I could go on and on. As I write, our power has gone off and the candles are lit as yet another "gentle" reminder of things absolutely out of our control.
I want to honor your fear, your worry, your sadness, your feeling of loss. It's real. I have been encouraging my clients this week to just sit with that feeling for a second. We tend to try to avoid the heavy, burdensome feeling in our souls when we try to process loss. We like to fill it with busy-ness, other emotions, wine, coffee.. hey, I am the first one to admit to all of that!
What do we do with this feeling of loss? It may be too soon for many of us to hear this but I want you to do your absolute best to continue to look for the good in this. If you have lost your job, I hope people in your community or circle are stepping up and reminding you of human goodness. If your schedule is a mess because you have kids at home you are entertaining or schooling, I want to encourage you to imagine being an elderly woman sitting in silence most of the day and to maybe embrace the joy in the chaos (after you cry a little) as absolutely hard as that may be. If you have lost your job or your health, I cannot imagine your pain, worry and fear right now. I can simply offer for you to please keep getting on your knees and to allow those people around you to demonstrate compassion and comfort reminding you of God's mercy.
The social gatherings, jobs, schedules, date nights and gym times will return and we will be a different, more loving and even more caring community than ever before.
But again, what about that feeling of loss? How are you grieving? What does that look like for you? Do you have someone to cry with? Are you a fan of journaling? What does setting a timer and allowing yourself to cry for an hour a day sound like? Do you have a favorite Bible App you like to read? How often are you talking to God right now about your feelings? What is one thing you can do that feels "normal" right now?
Each woman I have spoken to this week has a different scenario surrounding the loss they feel. One thing they all have in common is the feeling of relief after simply talking for a bit. The sting is lessened, the burden is shared, the heart is heard.
For me, as your coach, I feel it too and it's not often that I will discuss my own situations with you unless it relates but today I feel as if it does.
My loss will look and sound a little different than yours perhaps. No matter what yours is.. it's just as important and real to you as mine is to me.
The empty bed is what gets me. My oldest daughter was "mine" for a bit after her car accident this past December. For four months she slept in this bed. Nights of pain, tears, laughter, reconnection, healing, joy, sleepless nights and late morning sleep ins seemed to define not only her life but a very large part of mine and I was grateful, not for her pain, but for her presence after such an extended absence due to her addiction.
She made the choice last week after a lot of prayer and seeking guidance to quarantine with a friend who was isolating for two weeks before she arrived (a "normy" as those in the addiction world like to say) and although she's only 15 minutes away, this mammas heart sees and feels an empty room and the pain and trauma and loss of the last several years keeps me up at night. How do I cope? Well, I talk to her daily, I pray for her fervently, I ask God to protect her and I learn to let go. I cry to my husband, I keep my self in check with exercise and I sit in her room and allow sadness for a bit and then I move forward. She told me she loves it here but she sees this as a chance to continue her recovery and therapy and phycial therapy online like she has been doing and she has asked me to believe in her and for all the naysayers (even myself sometimes) I do believe a new light and life shines in her since her tragic accident and awakening. She told me she loves me and our family but that she wanted to figure this out on her own for a bit, enjoying sobriety and real life for a second on her terms, not my 48 year old Wheel of Fortune watching and early bedtime terms and I mean... who can blame her. My loss also comes in the fact that it's a matter of time before my youngest daughter returns to isolate in her own apartment at school and then I'll have another room to walk by and I'll likely grieve the same way. I see a dining room table set for 7 that only seats 3 now as my step boys are still in Denver with their mom until this is over. I focus on the 3 of us here and I don't take it for granted, not for a second.
Grieve it girlfriend. Honor it. Spend some time in it. Look for those wanting to help you. Laugh at this insane time if you have it in you and spend time in honest communication with the man above.
"Sure is a long way up here God but I wanted to get as close to you as I can." Does anyone remember this episode where little Laura climbed up a mountain to pray for a miracle for her brother? I don't know about you but lately I've been wanting to climb up as close to God as I can. I also feel a little bit like we are currently living like Little House on the Prairie right now. I mean think about it, really. Families are all under one roof. Days are filled with schooling, chores, finding ways to provide basic needs like food and essentials. Lots of praying and resting when it gets dark out and waking up when the sun rises.
I believe amidst the chaos that there's a ton of beauty and when this is (God willing) all over and done with, we are going to possibly look back on these times and miss certain elements of it and I am doing my best to remember that.
For me personally, my two daughters are learning to know one another again. As most of you know, my oldest (22) has struggled with drug addiction and the past 8 years has been anything but "normal" and my daughters grew super far apart. Since her accident in December, she's been home and healing and getting used to new friends, a new life and a new routine.. but like everyone else.. that is haulted now and I worry about her going backwards. My three step boys are in Denver with their mom and we now only see them virtually and that's an adjustment for sure.
My very social 20 year old daughter made the choice to move 9 hours home from Arkansas and to leave the few friends and roommates still there, behind. She's learning to be around her sister again, to honor their differences and to put up with isolation like we all are. But last night for the first time, I realized just how much I am trying to hold it together for all of them.. to be the positive and happy go lucky cheerleader when one is afraid of her weakened immune system from the accident, when one is terrified of how long she will be kept from her "life" and also afraid she is going to accidentally bring the virus to us from college, and a husband who is working non stop while he can to support us but whom also loses sleep afraid he will get sick. I wanted to reach out to someone, to text, to vent, to cry.. but I didn't want to be a burden on my friends who are also going through the same thing. Long story short.. I am offering the UNLIMITED "package" so that you can have that person I needed and we can all get through this in creative ways.
Laura Ingalls, I get you girl. I also know we don't need to climb a mountain for Him to hear us right now. He's right beside us. He's not angry. He hasn't forgotten us. He didn't bring this on all of us as a punishment or a curse. I want to be there for the real emotions, for those wanting to maybe be uspet with God right now. I want to be there for those that may not know how to pray, how to mourn, how to ask for help.
I am here. Keep looking up. xoxo Coach Kim
Come to Him... all ye who are weary.
I don't have the words, the wisdom or the ability to make everything okay in the world right now.
It's okay to feel uneasy, not ok, and apprehensive.
I can post all of the positive images and verses and pretend that I am ok. I am real. We all are. There are some of us so alone they aren't sure what to do. There are some who have so many littles at home, they are losing their mind. There are some who are older, sick, poor, unable to work or order in. Some have steady incomes, some have lost their job, some have always worked from home, homeschooled, been a stay at home mom, but for most, this is all very new.
My thoughts won't apply to everyone but I wanted to share them for what they are worth today.
I have found myself several times in my life battling the darkness, the sadness and the guilt for having those feelings just added to them. I learned a few tips and tricks along the way that have eased my worry about them returning but I have to be mindful, cope ahead when I know I could be susceptible again and above all, to put God before my emotions.
Our lives are mostly topsy turvy right now. I THRIVE(d) on a schedule and a routine. Yep, I was that that girl, that child and now that woman that isn't a fan of weekends or summers or school breaks because the lack of routine freaked my mind out a bit.. can you imagine?? So.. what do people like us do in times like these?
Set an alarm.
Thank God from your knees.
Spend time in your Bible and in your meditation.
Make your bed.
Make a schedule so you feel you have a purpose and a checklist.
Carve out a time each day for work, kids work, yard work, homework, work work.
Carve out a time for exercise. Get creative here. Most of you have been a member of a gym or a class and you have the skills in you. Pull up a youtube video for abs or booties or cardio.
Carve out a time for rest.
Have set meal times.
Buy groceries and supplies once a week and get creative with your new budget or your new time.
Have a set TV off time during the day.
Have a set bed time.
Make a certain day be laundry day.
Make a certain day be housecleaning day.
As part of your schedule, add in an outing and you may have to get creative here and even toss some options in a bag and pull one out each day. Socially distant is tricky but think of wildflower drives and a picnic. Think of a day you visit all your old homes if you live close.
I know a lot of you have babies, toddlers, youth, adolescents and teens at home and these are going to be trickier to do but trust me when I say that looking at a schedule takes less time and energy than trying constantly to figure out what to do next.
I know some of you are alone. Reach out daily in a video or phone or text. Don't isolate.
I know some of you are scared. Look up please and find a relationship with Him maybe for the first time. Make some prayer journals, some prayer rooms, some connections you've felt you didn't have with Him.
Come to Me.. all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28-30
Maybe this is His greatest way to bring us all to Him. To get us to slow down, to look up, to come together, apart. I want you to stay above the darkness, out of the shadow, ahead of the sad. Take this one day, one "schedule" at a time and keep looking around for the reminders of Hope.
Cry if you need to. Pray when you can. Laugh at the crazy times. Provide Hope to those who may need it today and ask for them to give hope to you on the days you need it.
I am a holler away.
Three years ago, during yet another run of not hearing from my daughter, I sat in my bed with my Bible on my lap, a stack of brightly-colored note cards and a pen next to me, and I searched for promises I could hold on to. I wrote down 27 verses and taped them all over my wall in my closet where I would spend years stading, kneeling, crying and reciting. Months would come and go for years when I had no idea where she was. We would reconnect for a moment and she was gone again and the cycle would continue. I remember in October, through tears and a lot of pain, asking God what He was waiting for and why He wasn't bringing her back to us. One morning He answered me through that heavy, happy feeling that I call the Holy Spirit quietly whispering.. "I am waiting for you to be ready." I sat with that for a few days and did some honest reflection before I proudly stood in that closet and told Him I was indeed ready and the next day, which was the night before my daughters car accident, I had a heavy feeling to call two very dear friends to come over and pray with me for her life. We spent two hours on my couch praying specifically for the salvation of her life; for the restoration of everything the enemy had taken these past 8 years; and for her to be protected from all that had been going on. I had been praying relentlessly through anger, tears, turmoil, breathless moments when I knew bad things were happening, and hope. I knew it as it was happening with my friends in that moment that something had shifted. The next morning my daughter was in a head on collision. The firemen had to get a tool to cut her steel door and remove her from the wreckage where she was pinned in, not expected to survive.
It wasn't until a week or so after her accident when I saw this verse in a new light. That night I went through the Bible three years ago, I wrote down this promise from TPT:
Psalms 107:16 God spoke Be healed and she was healed, delivered from deaths gate. For he smashed through heavy prison doors and shattered steel bars to set her free.
If you notice in the above picture, I wrote down "shattered steel doors" on accident.. not knowing that was the promise He was actually giving me. He would literally shatter the steel doors of that back seat of the car to set her free.
For today, she's in our life, in our home, and she is restoring and returning and she's healing not only from the accident but from her life. For today. My prayers won't stop.
Believe in Him. Recite His promises. Don't give up. It may not look the way you think. Find the peace in it. He's getting you ready. That voice in your head that tells you His promises and holding Him to it are meant for other people not you, remind it whose daughter you are, boldly recite the promises back inserting your name (or the one you are praying for), and walk off with peace knowing He's got it. And do it again tomorrow.
Love, Coach Kim xoxo
A little bit about me... serious body image issues resulting in three treatment centers when I was close to death at 13, 18 and 30. I was surrounded by girls and then women just like me. We struggle to look in the mirror, to be in a swimsuit, to stand anywhere but the very back in the gym class. I know you are out there too. I love you.
I also know those of you out there that have slayed the body image demon. You stand proudly at the beach like these women. You are in the front of the class facing the mirror with your own reflection so close you can touch it. I love you too.
Like many of us do during or after our struggles, I found a silver lining later in life. I am a mom to two beautiful young women but we didn't have fashion magazines, diet talk, a scale or weight talk in our home and I taught them they could always turn around and NOT look at the scale during doctor visits. Had I not journeyed through my own issues before, I may have leaked that junk out on to them!
I don't know what your goal(s) look like unless we are working together but part of my job is to make sure they aren't self-deprecating but rather, full of self love while also honoring God with your purpose. I doubt God wants me hiding in the corner in the back of my barre class trying to creativley avoid looking in the mirror. He knows I am a work in progress and that I'll somehow find a way to honor His purpose for me from a safe lil distance for now, and if you're like me, you will too.
During one of my treatment stays, a stunning young woman sat next to me in group for weeks. She would tell me that she hated her reflection. I could simply not believe she didn't see what I saw. I wrote the below message on a Post-it, stuck it in our bathroom mirror and the next day she came to me thanking me for giving her a new way to look at herself.
Look at yourself the way I see you and all that will remain is beauty. Love God
You are more awesome than you think you are.. ass and all. Keep moving toward the front, and if you are already there.. thank you for reminding us to SLAY.
The chicken sandwich
As I sat down to write this, I made the mistake of having the news on. The new chicken sandwich from Popeye's just made an encore appearance and some crazy incident between two people waiting in line just made the news. I turned it off. I now listen to worship music and my mind, soul and heart feels better.
What do you give your attention to? This isn't a lecture on avoiding social media, your phones, the television or movies. I really just want to say that whatever gets the most of us is what fill us. What we start our day with typically dictates the way it will unfold.
As a child, I remember a needlepoint saying hanging in my Aunt Wa Wee's home ( how much do you love her name?)....
A DAY HEMMED IN PRAYER SELDOM UNRAVELS
I didn't realize the truth in that then as much as I do now. If we start our day in prayer, worship and thanksgiving, we are certainly not guaranteed a day without some trials but we are more equipped with peace and knowledge to go slay the day in a way that otherwise starting out staring at what everyone else's life looks like in comparison to yours doesn't.
Honor yourself by honoring Him and see how your day can feel a little less unraveled.
Keeping it real. Keeping it simple.