11/3/17

{me, a chatterbox?}

if you have followed my blog at all you know that my heart has always been to share God's grace in the midst of human tragedy ... or what we perceive as tragedy.

i'm honored that this sunday, our pastor has invited me to share my testimony during the morning worship service ... i'd love it if you would pray for me as i share the richness of God's grace this sunday. i used to wish to have a story to tell, and after rickey's death, i feel i do have one, one of God's immeasurable grace towards us! as rick and i talked last night, i shared with him that i still feel so inadequate to share considering that i have truly had such a blessed life. when i think of all that others are facing in this world, death, destruction, homelessness, addiction ... my testimony seems easy. losing rickey was not easy by any means, but when you consider that my worst bad dream {rickey dying suddenly and unexpectedly} culminated in actually being rickey's BEST.DAY.EVER {he went to heaven}, well, that puts a whole new perspective on even that day, doesn't it?!

if you're local and don't have a home church or would like to visit the abundant life church/mission you are invited to join us for worship at 10 a.m. :) 

... speaking of which ...

i have a couple of things to share ... one of them is a "funny" or at least it was to us!

as rick and i talked last night, while he was wishing i'd let him fall asleep, i shared with him how i think death taught me to be more tolerant. 

you know, those little quirks that your spouse or your child or your best friend has, the little things that they do over and over and over {and over} that seem like they drive you crazy lose their importance in light of eternity, or at least they should!

some day, you may miss those little things. when they are gone or silenced forever, they may become the things you cherish. or, you may realize how silly it was to let them irritate you, because in the end, they probably really don't matter that much!

i told him that i think it has certainly made me less likely to become overly irritated by any of his little quirks that in the past may have become a stumbling block in our marriage.

he and i have both had some tremendous growth in Christ over the past year or so and he responded in kind and mentioned that it is funny how the things you find "cute" while dating, can quickly become not so cute when confronted with them day in and day out.

because i was pretty sure that he couldn't be referring to me, i asked him for an example which came very quickly 

... hmmmm ...

our conversation went something like this:

{to preface the conversation, we met online and for the first week that we knew each other our conversation was via facebook messenger and text message only}

him: "you know, like, oh, that is so cute, she is such a chatterbox"

me: "you thought that? you thought it was cute that i was a chatterbox?"

him:  "well, yes, i really never knew anyone like you. you could talk for hours, about nothing. even before we met in person, you chattered in our texts and facebook messages, i thought it was cute how you could go on and on. and then once we had met in person, i could always know that you'd send me a text telling me all about your day and then in a few minutes the phone would ring, so you could tell me the same thing over again."

me:  "but you liked it, right?

him:  "yes, it was cute, but sometimes a bit much, like the day you left work and before 10 minutes had elapsed, you'd texted 173 words, and it was only 7:00 a.m. AND you were driving!"

me:  "oh, yes, i remember that, but you still think it's cute, right?

him: "well, you are learning when i need you to be quiet so yes, it's still cute, most of the time"

anyway, yes, i'm learning, slowly. i'm quicker to look at what he is in the middle of before i burst into conversation, and usually i do pretty well. unless i'm really excited about something! i do try not to chatter ALL.THE.TIME! but sometimes life is just so exciting i can't help myself!

while this exchange was a bit humorous, there was a depth to it, a depth that i have come to love and cherish. 

Proverbs 27:17 says:

"as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another"

trust me, we've had some sharpening over the last 5 years and neither of us really likes to be sharpened, but God has done a remarkable job of it, and we have grown and learned and found a love for each other that at times so amazes me that i just have to step back and look up and say "well, i know that was You, God"!

all of this brings me to my second thing i wanted to share!

as most of you also know, i ended my relationship with lularoe back in august.  i'm still awaiting a large sum of money from them for the inventory that i returned, agreeing to take a loss on it as their numbers do not agree with mine, but we aren't willing to risk losing it all by arguing with them. a few things have come up with the new company i had decided to work with that i strongly feel are God telling me that this company and direct selling/multilevel marketing is just not where i am called to be right now.

since meeting rick, he has encouraged me that i need to "tell my story". sunday will be the first time i'm publicly doing that besides here on my blog and to get up and "speak" it is different than sitting down to write it for the {maybe} 10 of you who actually read and follow my blog! we are praying that this may open the door for me to share of God's grace in other ways, and that He will make clear if i am to pursue a few other things that i believe He has set before me.

rick and i also have a passion for the homeless shelter. again, to be honest, it started out more as his passion as he turned 12 in a shelter and has such a heart for others in the same situation as well as for veterans {which he is} and those battling addiction {which he has}. all things he knows first hand, and i've had to learn to have a heart and compassion for through him as i've never experienced homelessness, i'm not a veteran and i've never battled addiction in the true sense of the word.

we are currently in the process of discussing with our pastor how we can serve the shelter.  right now, it looks like we will assist {or possibly take over} fundraising efforts as well as being ambassadors for the shelter. what this means is we will be going to other area churches and organizations to present the work that is being done and to give updates on current needs, prayers and praises.

while the details are ironed out, we would covet your prayers! with me no longer doing direct sales of any kind, we are trusting the Lord to provide the direction of our finances and to bless this stage of our life. we truly want to honor Him in all that we do and this seems to be the direction we are strongly being encouraged to pursue. i promise to keep you updated as we continue to follow God's leading in our lives! thanks for following along on our journey!

11/1/17

{lucky 13}

the number 13 ... thought by so many to be "unlucky" but loved by rickey and embraced as his "lucky" number.

every year before bow hunting season began on october 1, he would have me write a #13 on an arrow of his choice ... the one he would reach for first when a buck came into shooting range ... and many years, that arrow brought home a trophy buck, other years, just some venison for the freezer, but either way, it was always rickey's request ... 

"here, write on my arrow"

and so i would ♥ 

 13 ♥ xoxo .... 

his love for the number 13 was carried on in his children as they wore the number proudly when they played sports and after he want to heaven they each had a tattoo created ... each one representing their own personality ... each one honoring their daddy/uncle!

{in this photo from top center, tessa's on her heel, nick's on his thigh, taya's on her inner arm, addie's on her shoulder and kajsa's on her forearm ... a forever tribute to a man who was well loved!}

thank you andrew for capturing this quick moment in time that is truly a tribute to a man who loved so well and was loved so dearly!


the amazing photographer at taya & justin's wedding captured the beautiful photo below, and i absolutely treasure it ... a private beautiful memory between taya & her daddy on this most special friday the 13th ... the day she married the man her daddy and i had prayed for since he was a little boy!


in taya's own words from her facebook page:

XIII
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Unlucky or not, for the past six years, 13 has been binding.
A number my dad liked probably just because the rest of the world feared it.
I don't think he was fearless. Or Superman. Or above anyone.
He was simply human.
Loving and caring in a way that's inspired us and makes us want to remember a number.
.
.
.
Bonded.
.
.
.
Not only to my sweet husband on the luckiest of Friday the 13ths. But to family. Us who live on in the love one man poured out to us.


{she said it perfectly and oh.my.goodness. i love you my sweet taya jill}

"13"


10/7/17

{l.e.a.v.i.n.g LuLaRoe}

sometimes blogging can be a scary thing ... you open yourself up and become transparent and it's through the written word which means that your facial expression, body language and tone of voice can't be heard. that is why i often create posts in my head for days, sometimes weeks before posting them, and many don't get posted!

THIS is one of those posts.

a few weeks ago, i put up a video on my facebook page about "leaving lularoe" and i got feedback ... some good, some not so good, and i ended up taking the video down.

here i am, weeks later and in the same position i was when i made that video so i'm taking the time to share ... it is up to you if you want to continue reading or not.

in april of 2016, i discovered lularoe through a vendor that was at an event i attended. i liked the product, was intrigued by the concept and immediately booked a party. rick thought the clothes were cute and that it was a business i should look into joining. i spoke at length with the girl who ended up being my sponsor, and after prayer and much discussion, rick and i decided to take the leap into the "lulaworld"! this was a huge decision as you are essentially purchasing your own boutique, which does not come without cost. i sent in my paperwork on may 1, with the premise that if it was meant to be, i'd have the necessary funds in hand by the time my "on-boarding" call came ... in 6-8 weeks. during my time of waiting for the "call" to come, i started cleaning our house and purging ... so we'd have room for all the items i'd be receiving and also to generate some of the money i'd need to purchase my initial inventory! we actually sold 2 t.v. sets and many other miscellaneous household things we just never used {the purging felt very good!} 

fast forward to june 30 when "the call" came ... eeekkkk, i had the money in hand and i was so excited, to say the least! when my $6,000 + of inventory {yes, that is the initial investment} arrived, i was a bit disappointed ... I received it on july 8 and 1/3, yes a full 1/3 of it was 4th of july items ... 1/3 of the new items i'd just paid good money for were from a holiday that had just gone by! the day it arrived we had been at the Christian music festival "lifest" and it was 11:00 p.m. when i opened those boxes, and sat in the middle of my dining room, surrounded by clothes i was afraid would never sell {who wants 4th of july on july 9th?} and cried. i finally went to bed feeling defeated, before i even started, and even e-mailed lularoe that night asking if they were setting me up to fail {they never responded}. when morning came, i decided i could make the best of it or the worst of it, so i shook off my disappointment and dug in! 

to say it took off beyond my wildest imagination, despite all the red, white and blue items would be an understatement! lularoe was still new to many people, and there was great excitement! i put in many, many long hours, but i did love it! i loved what i was doing, i loved the interaction with other lades. i loved watching my customers come out of the dressing room looking and feeling pretty!

i.was.busy.! i signed up for vendor events, booked pop-ups in my home and packed my inventory to do pop-ups at the homes of friends and strangers! i traveled with my inventory and did all i could to make my business successful! 

i took time each tuesday at noon to tune into the home office call where weekly we were encouraged ... encouraged to build our business, to build our downlines ... and how were we to do that?  well, of course by BUYING MORE INVENTORY! from my immediate upline all the way to the top, it was preached "go deep before going wide" {meaning buy more of one style, carry 8-15 of each size in each style, and then when you got there, add a new style}! "the more you have, the more you'll sell" was the mantra. we were asked on home office calls why we would "waste" our time sitting down to watch a t.v. program in the evening when we could be building our business? we were encouraged to read motivational books to build up ourselves and our businesses, but, better yet, get those books on audio so you could work your business {take pictures, pack, ship, post photos ...} while you listened to the motivation. while i am in no way opposed to hard work, i was honestly putting in 12-14 hours a day on lularoe.  i missed so much of life because my phone was attached to me so i wouldn't miss a sale. i checked and answered messages at 5:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. as i was falling exhausted into bed, and yes, often when i got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. granted, i was blessed. the income from lularoe allowed us some luxuries we would not have otherwise afforded, and for that i am grateful! but lularoe and my business had become my little "g" god and i didn't like what i was becoming because of it.

early in the spring of 2017, i had a month where i exceed $12,000 in sales, which meant that i had "cruise qualified" ... for my 1st month ... i needed to do this for 6 of 8 months to earn the free cruise offered to top sellers. the next month, my sales weren't 2/3 of that amount, the next month, maybe 1/2.  the market was obviously becoming saturated. in my small area at one time there were probably 20 consultants i was aware of ... all competing for the same local customer base, vendor events and "pop-up" parties {in home selling events}. i began to feel a slave to lularoe and some mornings didn't even want to open the door to my lularoom that had become so overrun with clothes it was no longer my happy place! i had 400+ pairs of leggings in addition to 600+ other pieces of inventory and my customer base had seen all of it, and was begging for more, but i had no where to put more, and what was here wasn't selling ... and the "kicker"? we were strongly discouraged from putting things on sale {what retailer doesn't clearance out the old to bring in the new}?

with things literally coming to a screeching halt and my sales diminishing at a rapid rate, i was beginning to get nervous. in april 2017, lularoe announced a 100% buyback policy meaning that if a consultant just wasn't doing well, the company would buy back their inventory at 100%, basically no questions asked. while i thought this was amazing, i didn't want to be a quitter, and continued to do my best to build my business, promote the "up-sell" to sell more inventory and to "buy more so i could sell more".

finally in early june, i shared my mis-givings about all of it with rick and we, together decided to wait it out through the disney launch thinking that this may be just the "grand-slam" we needed to kick-start my business. it proved to be the opposite. from the night of the launch of the first items it was not what i'd hoped it might be. when and if i could get product, others had gotten theirs a good week before me, and many shoppers, even my "loyal" ones had gone elsewhere to claim their favorites, so when mine arrived, they were old news. 

the month of july was spent in soul searching, prayer, lots of discussion with rick, tears and more prayers asking for clear direction as to what to do .... bringing us after a series of events to august 1 where it became clear that leaving lularoe was the right thing to do. i made the difficult call to home office followed by my official resignation e-mail. my resignation was accepted and i was advised of my next steps. the process seemed fairly cut and dried, and at that point, the retailers that i'd spoken to had had a seamless transition with the funds from their returned items in hand in about 6 weeks, 8 max. checking the calendar, this meant that we'd easily have funds before the beginning of october, which was perfect as we'd be attending taya & justin's wedding in georgia on october 13. we were cutting it close, but not in the least concerned. lularoe had been very good to us up to this point, why would it change now? 

armed with all this information, i did run a few "GOOB" {going out of businss} sales, but felt guilty that I was undercutting my teammates and fellow lulasisters so i wrapped those up and began the tedious process of sorting, taking inventory of, and with my mom's help, neatly packaging 100's of pieces of product getting it ready to box up and ship out when my return mailing labels arrived.  finally, 24 days later, on august 24, i had those labels and on august 25, we brought 9 boxes of inventory worth $9,747.00 wholesale to ups to be shipped back to lularoe. 

per the tracking numbers on all 9 of those boxes, they arrived and were signed for on august 31 ... and then the wheels fell off the bus.

folks, since the day i shipped out those boxes, i've not had my lularoe inventory to sell. i COULD have gone on selling it at a discount 50%, 60% off, but didn't because it didn't feel like the right thing to continue doing when i had friends and teammates still trying to sell at full price. the fact remains though, that on 8/25, i packed up my business and entrusted it to a company whose motto is to bless lives and strengthen families. i sent back, per the policy they instituted almost $10,000 worth of my life. and you want to know a little secret?

I STILL DON'T HAVE MY REFUND CHECK and it is not on the visible horizon. before they will issue the check, they will send me a verification, to make sure that my total anticipated refund amount matches what they counted in the warehouse. if that number is off, i provide documentation as to the discrepancy and wait for their reply. once i do agree to that amount, i wait for the next check run, which can vary from every wednesday & friday, to every friday to every other friday ... depending on the whims of lularoe that day, or so it seems. this process may also be stalled because their printer is broken {which supposedly accounted for a week long stoppage in the issuance of checks} or because their phone lines are down {another weeks worth of delay}. this from a multi-million dollar company who just opened another warehouse on the east coast to handle the influx of business.  a company that of their own accord offered the buy-back program, and encouraged consultants who were no longer able to continue with the business to take advantage of rather than selling at a discount and  hurting other consultants. a policy that i trusted. from a company that i trusted. for the record, i'm in this sad situation with 1,000's of other consultants who are owed $100,000's of  refunds. emails to the company are replied to with canned automated responses and calls are answered by "day makers" who read a scripted response and offer little more than what lularoe has instructed them to say ... this after sometimes waiting on hold 2, 4 even 8 hours!

$9,747.00 ... $9 ,747.00 of inventory sitting in a warehouse for over a month. a check for $9,747.00 anticipated for over a month, and still no sign of that check arriving any time in the near future. for this small town girl who was running a home-based business from a spare bedroom ... that's a pretty good chunk of change.  

and you know what? i feel like a quitter. i feel like i gave up. i feel defeated. i feel cheated. i feel sad. i am scared that i may never see that money.

yes, i KNOW that my GOD is bigger than lularoe. i know that my GOD knows what is going on and He has a plan for it all. i "know" all these things, but that does not make waiting for this amount of money any less stressful. it has caused some "intense fellowship" between rick and myself. it has caused more sleepless nights than i will admit to. it is draining on me and i'm tired.

so while i don't want to completely "throw lularoe under the bus" if you mention my journey with them, i may respond less than exuberantly! 

i am thankful for the blessings they afforded my family ... more than i can express, but right now, i'm also disappointed with how they are dealing with this situation. i'm disappointed that i and so many others are left at their mercy. i'm hopeful that some day in the not so distant future, i'll be able to report that my check arrived and i can breathe easier and put this behind me and move forward, but for right now ... just keeping it real ... this kinda stinks! 

if you read this all the way through, thank you. i didn't post for you to feel bad for me, but to let you know what has transpired over the last 2+ months. to give you another "glimpse" into my life. 

... and i guess also to encourage you that even though life will bring us to times like this where we truly have absolutely no control ... GOD remains in control ... and again tonight as i lay my head to sleep, wishing today would have been the day my funds would have arrived, i'll still thank God. 

for His provision for each day.

for the fact that He is not unpredictable and will not fail me, ever.

for the fact that even these circumstances do not surprise Him.

for my amazing husband who has stood by my side through every step of this journey, and continues to be my rock.

for my new business which is so very refreshing!

for the promises in His word that i'm cherished, loved and adored!

10/5/17

{d.r.e.a.m.s.}

being transparent

this is has always been the most difficult part of writing/blogging for me

being transparent

i don't want to post and get a bunch of "oh, i'm so sorry" comments
{i don't blog for pity}

i don't want to post and hurt anyone
{my girls, my husband, family or friends}

i don't want to stir up division or hurt.

but, let's be honest, sometimes life.is.hard.

sometimes the past collides with the present and leaves you reeling a little bit.

sometimes just being able to verbalize that we are human and we have hurts, and pains and that life is real is all we really need to do, and sometimes being able to share that can or will encourage someone else that there is HOPE, hope that can be found in Christ alone!

if you haven't already figured it out ... "this" is going to be one of "those" posts! {so please, in advance, i'm not looking for pity and i pray that my words don't cause pain to anyone who reads them ... but here goes}

we have a wedding coming up ... taya & justin will be getting married in just a few short days! this is such an exciting time! taya is our "middle" and i'm afraid that sometimes she got lost in the typical "middle" child position. i honestly pray daily that this sweet, precious girl knows just how much her mama loves her and that she will forgive me for the mistakes i made in being her mama and that our relationship will continue to grow and flourish as she becomes a wife and {hopefully, hint, hint} a mama! we love justin and know that God has blessed taya with an amazing guy to spend her life with!

because, seriously ... what's not to love?!! :)


in all seriousness though ... from their first date to their engagement ... which was a day fit for a princess ...


we have fallen in love with justin {almost} as much as taya has and we are looking forward not only to their wedding day, but to the life that God has called them to together!

sweet, precious ty just had his 9th birthday ... he's had more birthdays without his papa than with him and his memories of papa will mostly be through the stories he hears us tell of him than real memories ... but i can assure you precious ty {and mama ashley} that you were loved with an immeasurable love ... and THIS picture to me is the perfect depiction of that love {i think we have pictures of each grandbaby just like this with their heads cradled gently in papa's hands}


this may seem all very random, and in reality it is but i share these little things to say that life is not always what we plan for it to be. life {and death} is not in our control. 

last night, as i snuggled in bed and fell asleep, safe and secure in the arms of the amazing man that God has brought into my life, i fell asleep praying prayers of thanksgiving to God! thanksgiving for the amazing life i had with rickey {because let's be honest, with taya's upcoming wedding, it would be hard not to think of her daddy} and the beautiful girls we were blessed with ... being their mom has truly been one of the greatest blessings i have ever had! i was thankful for my wonderful "bonus kids" nick & ashley and their families who are such a blessing!  i was thankful for the new life God has given me and the miracle of being able to love again, and truly enjoy life with a man who desires to follow God's leading in our lives and desires that we leave a legacy for Him! i was thankful that i have 3 more "bonus" sons because of rick and that my life is truly so full and blessed!  i fell asleep safe and secure and thankful, oh so thankful!

as night gave way to morning, i was dreaming. this is not unusual, I have dreams all the time! some are vivid and memorable, some are vague and blurry, some make complete sense and some are dis-jointed and make no sense ... they are dreams after all! last night though, my dreams were just unsettling. maybe it's because the wedding is coming up, maybe it's because it was just sweet ty's birthday, maybe it's because i'm finally chasing a dream i've had for awhile that rick has been strongly urging me to pursue. i'm not sure why but last night i dreamed that rickey died. yes. i know. rickey died almost 6 years ago. but in my dream he died. and then he died again. and again, and again. and although it was only a dream, it was an unsettling one. one that left me just a little "off" and a little teary this morning! i know that i know that i know where rickey is today! i am thankful and blessed to have had an amazing life with him! I am thankful and blessed that God brought my sweet "new" rick to me! i know that it was just a dream, i know that i'm blessed and held in God's hand and that all things work together for good, but still it was unsettling! 

all this to say ... i guess grief hits when you least expect it! when i met rick, you may remember if you've read my blog for awhile he asked me "when are you going to grieve"? because with him, i could share that i hadn't. that i felt like something was wrong with me because i didn't cry, honestly, i almost never cried. i held it in because i had to be strong for everyone else. i didn't grieve, at least not well ... and in that simple question he gave me permission to grieve, and he gave me the promise that he'd be there to support me through that process ... and i became free! free to fully love again and full to grieve in my way, in my time. but, boy-oh-boy, it sure can hit at the strangest times! 

where am i going with this? i guess i'm not sure ... i just felt the need to share with you all ... to share that God IS good! that He loves us all the time. that we are held in His everlasting arms and He does carry us through ... and that sometimes, the past does collide with the present and we just have to "go with it". of course in a "fairy tale world" rickey would have been here for ty's birthday this week, and for taya's upcoming wedding and for all of the milestones that have come since 11/5/11 and all those that are yet to come ... but God ... but God in His infinite wisdom knew that rickey was supposed to come home on that november day in 2011. He knows more than we do and He has written each day of our lives in His book before any of them came to be {it's in psalm 139 ... check it out if you don't believe me}! He knows. He cares. He was there and He is here! He gives and He takes away ... blessed be His name!

so ...  as i maneuver through this day, as i shake off the remnants of sleep and a dream that {yes} was unsettling, i rest in God, knowing that where i am today, who i am today, and what i'll do today {and for all the days of my life here on earth} is because of Whose i am today! 

xo, sheila

9/27/17

{it.started.with.a.dream.&.a.prayer.on.a.beach}

someday, Lord?


when rickey died on 11/5/11, i seriously had no idea what God might have in store for me. at that moment and in the moments, and days and weeks that followed, i just knew that i needed to continue to trust in Him and to trust that He would lead me. and He did, ever so graciously! as that fall gave way to winter and then winter turned into spring, our lives moved forward, jobs and graduation and even vacations. the girls and i were blessed with some extra money in december and spent some of the week before Christmas in chicago, tim & rochet {rickey's brother & sister-in-law} opened up and shared their lake home with us over spring break and then 7 & 1/2 months into this new journey, at the end of june of 2012 tim & rochet most graciously invited the girls and i to crash the party that was their anniversary trip to pensacola beach ... and we accepted their most generous offer.

the girls and i packed up the escape until there was no room for one.more.thing and started out on a road trip that made memories to last a lifetime!

i have always loved the sun, the sand and the waves and had never had the opportunity to spend days just enjoying the combination of those 3 things like we did at the condo on pensacola beach. they were days that i cherished ... but, they were days filled with the sadness of not sharing them with rickey and of all unknowns of the future. they were days of watching families and couples and again "feeling alone in a crowd". i had just left a job of 8 years and accepted another, tessa had graduated and was looking at what to do for college. the not knowing what the future held, was scary but the days at the beach were healing for my soul and it was in those days that i dared begin to dream that maybe, just maybe God had more of life and "someone" to share my life with in store for me.

so, as i sat on that beach on those lazy june days soaking up the sun and the sand and listening to the waves crashing, and the seagulls calling and my beautiful girls playing in the waves, i dared to dream. 

i dared to dream and to pray that maybe, just maybe God not only had future plans for me that could be "good" again, but that maybe, just maybe He had a special "someone" out there for me as well!

it was that i began to pray that if God didn't intend for me to remain single that He would make the path clear. that He would show me the way. i was intrigued that i had these feelings. i was scared to death to think of "dating" again at 45 years old and i was just a little excited to think that maybe, just maybe someday, sometime, i'd sit on a beach ... maybe the one i was sitting on, maybe a different one, but that i'd sit on a beach chair with someone special to me. someone who let me know i wasn't "alone in a crowd". someone who loved me. someone to call my own. someone to hook pinkies with {you know, so we didn't leave tan lines}!

little did i know, or dream that sometimes, God answers your prayers sooner than later and a few weeks after that vacation, He brought rick into my life!

fast forward to today. today it is 5 years and 3 months to the day that i began to pray that prayer. to surrender to God that i was open if He had someone out there for me ... and tomorrow?  tomorrow, rick and i will board a plane at 6:00 a.m., a plane bound for san diego, california!

through unexpected twists and turns and a few unknowns with my home based business after following the unexpected prodding by God to leave lularoe and join amelia james, rick & i are leaving tomorrow morning for san diego.  we will be heading to a rep retreat for amelia james. a "retreat" in san diego, california ...  where we have a tiny little room at an airbnb ... a tiny little room with one other home separating us from the beach.  a beach with beach chairs, and sun, and sand, and ocean. a beach very similar to the one that i sat on 5 years and 3 months ago!

though i will have some meetings and training time, we will be there together. we will get to walk hand in hand on the beach, and sit in the sand or on a beach chair and "pinky hook".

and what makes this even more "cool"? sunday will be our last morning in san diego. since they are 2 hours ahead of us, we will most likely be up to see the sunrise. sunrise at the beach, together ... never forgetting the past or those who have played such important roles in our lives, but also looking forward to the future ... the future that God alone has in store for us. the future that He has already written!

and sunday ... though the dates were not planned by us ... sunday we will wake up at the beach, with the sun and the sand and the waves. a beach, just like where i first dreamed that maybe God had someone in my future who would love me and cherish me ... and sunday, sunday rick and i will celebrate our 5th anniversary ... and i can't think of a better way to celebrate!

i've been blessed!

9/15/17

{did.you.smile.at.yourself.today?}

rick & I just spent 2 days at a pretty intense training for some seriously serious businessmen and women!

for the most part, i felt totally out of their league if i'm being totally honest!

i asked rick as we drove home yesterday who his favorite speaker was and he, like me couldn't name just one!

well, i liked what ed o'keefe said about this, and ed clay, well he is just amazing, and jesse, well wow, jesse! and then there was rome, oh and vinnie, and yemeni .... oh, too many to remember and way too hard to pick a favorite!

although i felt a little out of place, i did take away many, many good bits of information and though much of the content was aimed at marketing and entrepreneurship and i'm not sure how or if i'll put most of what was shared into practice in my business, there was a common thread which i loved  ...

be grateful

build your tribe

family is the most important thing you have

be grateful

you become like the 20 people you hang around with most - choose wisely

be grateful

smile ... start each day smiling at yourself in the mirror for 60 seconds ... i loved this one because, remember, God is smiling at YOU .... He loved you and created you and you are cherished, loved and adored by Him ... start each day remembering THAT with a smile!

be grateful

date your wife {remember that one, rick!}

breathe

be grateful

read

expand your knowledge

take some time each day for yourself

eat well

exercise

be grateful

do you see a theme?  even though this wasn't a Christian training, the principals put into practice by these highly successful men had very Christian roots. we even received t-shirts that simply say "grateful" on the front! 

so today, i challenge you, stop what you are doing right now, and head into the bathroom {it's easier if you're alone} and set the timer on your phone for 60 seconds. now, look into the mirror and 

SMILE!

that's right, smile ... now keep on ... for 60 seconds!

ok, now breathe, in deeply through your nose ... ok, blow out the tension through your mouth ... in, deeply through your nose, and feel your stomach expand ... now breathe out through your mouth and pull your belly button towards your spine as you exhale fully ... once more, in through your nose, belly expands, and out through your mouth, pulling your belly in :) 

o.k. ... carry on and have a great friday! 

oh, yes, and never forget ... YOU are cherished, loved & adored!


9/6/17

{c.o.n.f.e.s.s.i.o.n.}

confession ...

i'm sitting here at my computer, hands poised ready to type but i can't see for the tears blurring my vision.

confession ...

i'm crying over a person i really don't know.

over what seems so unfair to my human mind.

so.seriously.unfair.

i got a text this morning {which to preserve privacy i'm going to change important details} which read ...

"don't know if you saw on facebook but *E* died this past weekend after a battle with cancer. *E* had a spouse and a 5 year old child. *E* was a believer, but i know you know how their spouse who is still here feels.".

i don't really know *E* but that doesn't matter, in an instant *E's* spouse and i have a connection ... we've joined the ranks of the one relationship that God has ordained to last "til death do us part" ... parents grow old {usually} and die ... sometimes, sadly parents outlive their children and children die ... or children do as is the *natural* order of life, they grow up and move on, as they are supposed to ... the marriage relationship is the only one that is commanded after that covenant is made at the alter to last "til death do us part" ... but what happens when that parting comes sooner than our human mind anticipated?

death is not.ever.easy to understand here on earth because we are human.

however, death.is.a.part.of.life.

it is a part of living and loving and allowing yourself to be vulnerable and opening yourself fully to that one person you have covenanted to love "til death do you part". it can come slowly after illness or it can come quickly, unexpectedly like a thief in the night.

just be assured ...

it.will.come ... as i was reminded this morning.

band-aid removed.

scab picked.

wound opened.

yes.it happens.

every time i hear of someone losing their spouse ... especially when the loss seems to have happened too early in our human minds. the wound is jarred just a little ... it will always remain for it is a battle scar that makes me who i am. and i have had to learn that that is o.k.!

yes. i have been given love again and am forever grateful, but human remembrance still remains, and sometimes is triggered when it is least expected. 

so the wound is re-opened in that i know how the spouse feels.and the acknowledgement that you know that i know how the spouse feels becomes a strangely healing balm. you know that i know ... you get that this road as the widow/widower is a unique one. hurt, yet healing all at the same time.

and ironically {?} you knowing that i know and today being the 5th of the month triggered tears that i didn't expect!

the 5th of the month ... the "day" of the month that our lives changed forever. a day i thought would ALWAYS be marked with remembrance .... 1 month ago today ... 5 months ago today ... 9 months ago today .... 33 months ago today .... but even that memory "fades". never forgotten, yet not so keenly sharp as in those first few "5th's" we encountered. 

yet today, today i woke up aware it was the 5th ... counted the "time" {5 years and 10 months} and was thankful. thankful that i am as aware today as i was on 11/5/11 that rickey is in heaven, celebrating with our Lord and Savior for all eternity {what a party that must be}. thankful for where i am today, for who i am today and for how God has shown himself to me over and over and over again in those 5 years and 10 months! i woke up thankful for the amazing gift of the man lying next to me who i was blessed with when God opened my heart and allowed me to love again! thankful for where God has led us and for the adventures we have coming up in the next 6 weeks {stay tuned for those}. thankful for 3 beautiful daughters who have followed their daddy's heart and love Jesus with all of theirs! thankful that God does work all things {even seemingly senseless tragedy} together for good.

so, yes, tears blur my vision. 

grief for another life that seems to have been cut way too short by earthly standards. a little one whose life is forever altered because a parent they adore is no longer here on this earth to love on them. grief for another parent left to do the job of 2. grief for a spouse left wondering how they are supposed to do it alone. grief for a family left grieving.

but, hope.

hope because God knows.  he knows the grief of this little one who will miss their parent forever. he knows the ache of the spouse who feels, right now, like their right arm has been ripped off.

hope because God knows. he knows the grief of the family and the questions of "why" and he holds every.single.one of the tears this dear family is crying in a bottle.

God knows.

while we in our human frailty don't know and can't understand, HE DOES. and therein lies the miracle of Him.

so i confess.

tears blur my vision ... tears of grief for human loss.

tears because of a simple but profound statement "i know you know how *E's* spouse feels".

tears of joy because another believer is home for eternity!

tears, because sometimes you just have to let them out so HE can catch them and hold them in a bottle for you ... and because i held mine in for way too long after losing rickey.

confession.

life is hard.

truth.

God is good.

all the time.

and

all the time

God is good!


8/31/17

{some.days}

some.days.

some days, i come here to write and i have so much i want to say, i shut my computer down, because there just isn't the time or the room, and surely i'll lose your interest by the time you've read 1/10 of what i've written!

i guess that means that i need to be a little less "wordy" ... or to try and condense my thoughts!

life has been a whirlwind lately!

i've left lularoe.

i decided to join a new company and for reasons known only to God, things just became clear that was not the direction to go, so i headed in a slightly different path, still along the same lines!

i'm now with a company called amelia james .... it is BRAND new with just about 500 reps nation wide, so i find that exciting! because of my experience with lularoe, i know that being on the "start up" end of a company, there will be hiccups, but hopefully they will be worth it!

i have so many loyal customers who stuck with me through the transition, that it's been pretty smooth!

as always, rick has encouraged and supported me in this venture and actually encouraged me to add a 2nd line to my "boutique" so i'm also selling for a company called essential bodywear which is absolutely amazing ... not as new of a company as amelia james, but still very small {less than 500 reps which is amazing}!

so far, i'm very pleased with both companies and excited to see where God takes all of this! 

rick and i have been busy enjoying the last days of summer and getting ready for a business trip to tennessee in september and then a family trip to the atlanta area in october for taya & justin's wedding!

thank you everyone who reads here regularly or occasionally or regularly for being here with me on my journey ... i really do plan to make blogging a more regular part of my daily routuine so stay tuned .... it may be about what we are eating today, what i've read, what we are doing or who knows ... sometimes i get a bit crazy!  

stay tuned and join me for the ride!

i love you all!

xo
sheila 

8/6/17

{my.why}

alright ... here it is as best as i can put it into words 
{and maybe with more honesty than you want}!

back in may of 2016 when i joined lularoe, i had a dream & no i'm not trying to sound all mlk, jr., but i did have a dream!

or a vision.

a vision of what i thought my boutique would be.

what i thought it could be.

what i wanted it to be.

here's what i "saw" ... 

i saw a cozy little "boutique" type room in my home. 

a room with some clothing racks with some fun, cute, not your "ordinary" clothes that you could come and try on and feel pretty in.  a place where you could maybe find something a little "out of the ordinary" or "out of the box" for you that you loved and that made you feel good!  

i envisioned a cozy little corner in that room with a couple of chairs where we could have a cup of coffee and a chat ... about your kids or life, your relationship with God, where you were safe to laugh or cry or just have a shoulder to lean on if you needed it.

unfortunately what i envisioned is not where i found myself about two months ago!

about two months ago, i found myself sitting on the floor in my lularoom {there certainly was not room for cozy little chairs} in a room filled with 400+ pairs of leggings and 600+ pieces of other inventory wondering what i was doing!

i began to pray in earnest about what God wanted me to do with this business  that i was beginning to fear i had allowed to take over my life. 

i had allowed it to take over my priorities {God, husband, family ... and THEN everything else} and i had let it take over my home. i didn't go to the bathroom or take a "relaxing" bath without my phone by my side. i didn't enjoy my daughter's bridal shower without checking my phone. i didn't go out to dinner with my husband, to church to worship God or to get my hair done without being attached to my phone! i answered comments, private messages and claims from the time i got up in the morning until the time i went to bed at night. i checked notifications before getting out of bed in the morning and i sometimes even checked it if i got up to use the bathroom at 2:00 a.m.!

earlier in the spring, i had "cruise qualified", meaning i had sold $12,000 in inventory in one month and i wanted to do it again ... and again and again! because if i did for 6 consecutive months, i'd earn a cruise.

i'd earn a cruise, but at what cost?

when i began to sell this clothing, i was asked to state my "why" and that was easy for me or so i thought. i loved the clothes and felt good when wearing them! i loved visiting my sponsor's home and sitting with her in her lularoom and having those heart to heart chats about the clothing and so much more. i knew what it was like to feel alone in a room full of people after becoming an unexpected widow at the age of 45. i knew what it felt like to need to buy plus size clothing, but feeling like none of it was very attractive. i "got it" so finding a why was easy!

i wanted women to come to my home and leave wearing an outfit that made them feel good about themselves for the first time in a long time. or maybe even for the first time in their lives. i added to my why that i wanted those women to always know they were loved and that they were not alone in the world.

though i still love those reasons, and there is still a ring of truth to them, in may of this year, i'd lost sight of even that in my quest to add to my inventory, to "go deep" by buying more so i could sell more. i found myself feeling buried in a room full of inventory that i had no idea how i was ever going to move.  i was beginning to feel smothered in the room that was supposed to be my happy place, that was supposed to be you, my customer's safe place.  

and so, i began to pray.  at first, i kept this little secret tucked away safely in my heart, praying for some clarity while putting a smile on my face, ordering more inventory and plodding along.

finally, i had to share the burden, and did so with rick, simply asking him to pray along with me for clarity, which we both did. we also began to have some hard conversations about what.to.do. 

we decided to wait on a few things and continued to pray for clarity.

a few more things came up that seemed to point in the direction of me leaving lularoe, but i just wasn't ready to do it ... yet, so we continued to pray!

last weekend, as i was really struggling with what.to.do, rick felt the nudge that we needed to go forward at church during the alter call to ask our pastor to pray for and with us, telling him only that we needed "direction".  while he prayed, my eyes filled with tears as he verbalized my exact prayers that i'd been praying for months ... except i'd not shared them with him!

no, we weren't hit by a lightening bolt during that prayer. we didn't walk out of church and see an airplane pulling a banner telling us what to do! we went to bed that night, like so many nights before still praying for clarity and direction.

on monday, rick had to run some errands and while he was gone, it was if God turned on a lightbulb and i had an answer. i texted rick and told him as as much. when he came home, we talked again, and made the decision to end my journey with lularoe. it was sad. it was a relief. it was scary.

i still love lularoe. i love the blessings it brought into my life and the friendships it brought my way. i have "sister" consultants who i believe will be my friends for life. i have customers who have supported me in amazing ways and continue to do so. i've seen it from those of you who have shopped with me in the past and have reached out to me this week and are excited to see where my next adventure is taking me. 

i.am.blessed. 

& it is because of lularoe ... so this is in no means a "bash lularoe" post. there are some things that i don't agree with. there are some business practices that i've seen with lularoe that i'm not extremely pleased with but over all, in the past 14 months, lularoe has brought far more blessing into my life than not, so i leave with a thankful heart.

but i leave. because it is time.

i leave with peace.

i leave knowing that God's hand was in it and i have the full support of my husband and my family.

i leave knowing that my customers are in good hands with my lulasisters.

and, i leave excited because i'm taking a little turn in the road and it's exciting to me.

i leave knowing that in my new journey, i'll set boundaries! i won't be attached to my phone 24/7. i'll set business hours and stick to them. i'll make sure that my priorities are in order, and i'll re-check them on a regular basis!

i leave, knowing that i'm leaving one business, but starting another {actually two!} that can also be a blessing to you and i pray that they will be!  

i hope that if you've stuck with this blog post to this point, you'll stick with me on my business page over at 139sheilasplace.com to see where this journey takes us!

i also leave knowing that this year has helped me to re-write my why.  it has actually allowed me to turn my simple "why" into my prayer for myself, and for you ... 



i do pray as i begin each day, that i can be a little light in your day and that when you leave me, either in person or in cyber-space, you'll leave knowing that i value you for you and am blessed to have you in my life!

xo,

sheila ♥

7/30/17

{what happens when you decide to "creep"}

OK ... so i realize that i left you all kind of hanging for awhile here ... sorry, july totally got away on me!

after reading all of my crazy questions, rick was actually quite gracious, answering all of them and then some, while telling me that he considered me a "hoot" which i think was a compliment! his answers gave me a good bit of insight into who he was {or said he was} and answered the two most important ... he did love MY Jesus and my green bay packers ... so at least he was worth a second thought and further conversation!

since he said he hadn't found a local church to attend, i told him where i went to church and invited him to join me on sunday, and then i also texted him, since he provided me with his cell number.

i simply said, "hi rick" to which he replied "hi sheila" ... and when i asked how he knew it was me, he replied that he hadn't given his number to "that many girls" today ... oh, boy ... that money for comedian lessons well spent yet again!

in texting, he also told me that he was headed to peshtigo to watch soccer practice as he was the coach and the season was starting soon ... coaches couldn't officially hold practice since it was off season, but the team captains could and the coaches could watch.

since that was the case, and i was headed to see the girls at Bible camp, i decided to put my detective skills to the test since i'd learned in my snooping the day before that he actually lived right on my route to camp.  with slightly shaking hands, i followed the gps directions down the twisty, graveled country roads, wondering if i'd gone a bit crazy! i turned left, off the main road, then left again, and then right and there, on the left side of the little country road was the fire number that identified his driveway ... but i couldn't see the house, it appeared to be down a long gravel driveway, tucked away in the forest! just as i got *very brave* ... remember, he was on the way to practice ... and put my blinker on to turn into his driveway, it hit me ... HE COULD BE LYING!!  he could be home. he could have a wife and 5 kids playing in the yard, he could be a lunatic, he could be ... {sometimes i watch too much t.v. and read too many books} any number of creepy, very bad things!

now my hands were really shaking as i turned as quickly as i could into that driveway and booked it out of there as fast as i dared ... without looking like it was actually ME who was being the "creeper"!

i honestly think my hands shook and my heart beat at a very uncommon tempo the rest of the way to camp while i tried to reassure myself that i was the only one who knew of my craziness!

i had a nice visit with the girls, got to wish tessa a very happy 18th birthday and headed home ... not via the route that took me past that long, now scary, driveway! 

{p.s. ... rick really was at soccer practice that day and there was not a wife and 5 children playing in the yard. he was not any of those creepy, scary things that i imagined that he could have been, and i didn't end up chopped in teeny, tiny pieces and thrown in the river as fish food, but i sure cured myself of "creeping" at least for the time being!}




7/11/17

{i found you}

.... it was 5 years ago today after finding and friend requesting rick on facebook, that i sent him a p.m. that simply said, "sorry, found you" :)

little did i know that he had horrible cell service at his house and his cell service doubled as his internet, so he didn't get my message right away ... which certainly led me to believe that maybe i made a mistake by creeping, but i was still holding out hope!

thankfully once he had a decent signal, he got my message and he did reply ... 

"thanks sheila, i didn't realize a facebook stalking would be so nice!" 

he then offered that i could ask any questions that i wanted to ... 

an offer i think he may have regretted soon after reading my next message!

i decided that i wasn't going to waste time and not ask the important questions, so i asked about his family relationships, prior marriage, relationship with his kids, did he drink, did he smoke, some other quite personal questions and the two "deal breaker questions" ...

he had said he liked liverpool soccer, but did he like my green bay packers

and

did he love my Jesus?

again ... his internet connection wasn't the greatest, or he had to process all the questions this crazy lady fired at him {or maybe a bit of both} so i didn't hear anymore back from him that day, and went to bed wondering if i'd ever hear from him again!

tune in tomorrow to find out HIS take on all the questions i shot his way and my totally crazy panic stricken moment when i decided to creep on his house!

7/10/17

{getting to know you}

... the next day when i checked my computer, i had a notification that i had received some messages on the plenty of fish site ... 

eek ... that was kind of scary!

some were automatic delete ones, like dr. cheerio who i mentioned yesterday!

another, namely the guy from the gym doing the pushups went something like this ...

"hey, i saw that you checked out my profile but you didn't comment." 

um ... 

no ...

i didn't ...

was i supposed to?

well, i didn't actually say that, but i thought it! 

i'm not actually sure how i responded, but i must have said something because i remember that he then came back with ...

"do you know the problem is with runner girls?"

to which i remember i responded ...

"as my dad would say ... what did you do with the money your dad gave you for comedy lessons?"

which instantly sparked an "lol" back from gym guy ... and that was the beginning!

at that point, cautious me kicked back in and i decided to check him out on facebook ... to see what things there looked like!

thankfully, rick didn't really care who looked for him, so nothing was really hidden {which of course i couldn't be sure of at that point}. most of his personal info was out there for the world to see!  from his facebook, i could find where he lived, which i promptly googled and found to be 30ish miles from me. i found where he worked. which was a gym a hour north of me as well as where he coached soccer. which was a half hour south of me. at that point, i again felt brave and sent him a friend request, not knowing if he would accept or if i'd ever hear any more from him!

... but, hear back, I did ... however, that is part of tomorrow's story! :) 

... stay tuned! :) 

{me, a chatterbox?}

if you have followed my blog at all you know that my heart has always been to share God's grace in the midst of human tragedy ... or wh...