“There are so many lost souls here.”

I was digging for my social security card when it happened. I found it, in an old purse. The letter from my brother.

You see, I did my taxes today, 4/4, just shy of when they are due, per the usual. But I couldn’t find my school tax form and because they sent it to me, I can’t just reprint it. No. I have to fill out this form in addition to a copy of my social security card, they need a photo ID, blah blah blah. Fine, no problem.

But I didn’t know where my social security card was, so I started digging.

But the letter, oh the letter. Immediately I knew what it was, that it was one of the more recent ones, that it would tear my heart open in the best way. When Andy was good, God, he was the absolute best. You’ve never seen a bigger, whiter smile or felt a more loving hug. And I knew this letter would be just that.

I will always remember you this way!

The absolute freaking best.

Sure, there are some complaints in there, but that was just Andy’s way.

The thing is, I just thought about him on my way home from my errands and taxes, no more than 30 minutes ago. Not that it’s anything new. He is on my mind all the time.

I’m just missing him, or I am thinking of all the could have’s, but today, I was thinking about my need to heal. I haven’t even tried and truth be told, I haven’t looked at one text from Andy, I haven’t listened to one saved voicemail, though I have several, I’m sure. I threw out every one of his letters too, post-divorce. So this one was truly an answered prayer.

I was praying about it in the car. Praying for strength and to have a peace with God’s plan. But it was a rough prayer sesh for me, I was sad and feeling like I didn’t do enough. And then, the letter.

“I have to thank you again for everything; your support through my whole messed up adult life has been more beneficial to me than you may ever know. And the thought of your support and kind words and thoughts help me on a daily basis.” His words, to me.

I am crying reading them again, typing them. Thank you for your words, Andrew, right when I needed them.

He read a lot, too, back then. He liked the Buddhist way and would teach me through his words. He told me he was reading his usual “Buddhism Liturgy” and a lot of self-help books, even though they are corny. He quoted “to appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.”

He said he liked it. That he wanted to “stay busy” and “surround himself with positive people no matter what.” That, too, is super hard to read and type. God, I miss you.

(Talking of prison life) he wrote that, “Another quote which I liked but cannot find goes something like, “Either teach them or learn to bear them,” by Marcus Aurelius.

He also talked of being denied a visit from my Dad due to a new metal plate in his knee. He called it ‘bogus’ in his very Andy-like way and said he hoped Dad was coming home from up north and that he hadn’t wasted the drive. He talked about the weather, and urged me forward with work saying “Best wishes with all of your work endeavors, I hope you can sustain yourself doing what you enjoy.”

He said he wished to do some volunteer work, that it would make him feel good to help people.

He closed with that shoutout to me that I shared at the beginning. I am still crying writing this, it goes between happy and sad tears, and a gratefulness that I found this letter, which I will forever cherish.

That’s all for now. If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading. This hasn’t been edited and I’m about to post it. This is as raw and real as it gets, haha.

God bless you XOXO

Iwantwellness.co, Soon-to-be, ledtoshare.com

So here we are, 2021 and I feel like I haven’t written a blog in years. Lucky for you, it hasn’t been that long. Lucky for me, y’all are still here. (Thanks!)

So first things first, the name change. I’ve realized that as much as I don’t want to get rid of iwantwellness.co and everything that comes with it, that I do want to change it all, at least to a point.

Yes, I still want wellness. Always.

But I want to share what’s on my heart, more. You will still see food posts as I cannot resist. You will see lots of God, my favorite verses and songs, books of faith, and anything else I feel ledtoshare. See where I’m going with this?

You will still hear my stories, and struggles. I’ve bared my soul more than once on this blog and I will only continue to.

When I share the deep and dirty, it allows others to relate. If this isn’t connection in the world, (especially as we know it right now,) I don’t know what is. I chose to be publicly vulnerable and not because it’s easy (and sometimes it’s not fun either) but if I help one person, it’s worth it to me.

If I remind one person that God is always with them and it helps them through that minute, hour or day, it’s worth it. If I share my (new to me) workout struggles and it gets one person to relate and inspires them to get back into activity, it’s worth it.

If I write something and no one reads it, no one comments or posts, it’s still worth it to me.

Because I am ledtoshare. I pray that God blesses ledtoshare.com to whatever He inspired me to do it for. If nothing more than to share His word, His love, and my delicious food, then so be it=)

I’ve missed y’all and I’m glad to be back. (I know, back again HA.) Have a blessed Monday and expect to hear from me soon, and a lot more frequently.

XOXO, Emily

2019: The Year That Should Have Broke Me

I just refused to let it.
I thought this would be my best year yet.
I started out 2019 traveling the US with my husband, a dream we had made a reality. When our marriage fell apart in early March, I shared about my separation and pending divorce. And as if that weren’t heart-wrenching enough for one year..
I didn’t share that my younger, older brother, was released from prison for maybe the fifth time..? I’ve honestly lost count. (And well hoping for the best, I prayed not to have to live through the worst, again.)
I didn’t share that I had a friendship-ending falling out with my “forever” best friend of 20 years in April.
Or that my step-dad was diagnosed with cancer just before Father’s day.
Or they my mom was diagnosed with cancer in August.
These things shattered my world, one by one, seemingly again and again.
So I did what I do, and I cried. I cried the tears and I felt the feels.
Then, I pulled myself together, and found strength through it all.
I cannot say the whole year was a bust. That brother I talked about is the strongest, most resilient version of himself that I have ever known, and we are closer than ever.
And that friendship I lost in April was superseded by meeting, online and then in person, the most faith-filled, beautiful inside and out, loving and caring girl that I have ever met in my entire life the month before that, and I joyously call her best friend.

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My parents are still not 100%, but are both cancer-free, praise God!
And while I don’t know where I want to live or what I want to do with my life entirely, I completed training for my new career in September and have been a flight attendant ever since, a job that I love even more than I thought I would.
In 2019, I kept select people close and I kept God closer. I put my life 100% into His hands, like never before.
I was scared and felt lost, had no idea where to live, what to do, how to feel..or how to do it all earlier this year. So I let go, and I let God.
This isn’t some miraculous turn around story and I can honestly say I’m SO happy this year is almost over.
I can also say that my work life is pretty fantastic but the rest of my life is still messy, and it still hurts.
My parents are on the mend, and I’m beyond thankful for that. My ex BFF and I have completely severed ties but I know that the people I do have in my corner are my people, my family, and my heart. I’m so blessed to have them.
And no matter what, I choose happy everyday. I choose laughing and making new IMG_20191128_130023memories to crying and replaying old ones. I choose joy and excited anticipation for the future.
I know next year won’t be perfect, and I have no false hope about creating a life without ups and downs. But at the end of this year, I find myself with a new sense of calm, a reclaimed joy, and the ability to fully-focus on the good, beautiful, and abundant blessings around me.
I didn’t write this as a pity post, or to brag on how I came out on the other side but yet to share this very real and very raw side of me as this year comes to a close. We all struggle, and we all go through hard things, whether we talk about them, or not.
If you want to share or talk through anything, please reach out to me. I will be more than happy to listen, and show you love, to pray, and be an ear for you to talk to.
And please, give yourself to God, so that He can guide you. I promise you, you can get through the hard stuff. Always believe and stay full of faith, and happy almost 2020 friends=)

Scripture Sunday: Be Thankful Out Loud and Intentionally

Last week Sunday I went to a church that was recommended to my by the AirBnb hosts I am staying with. I loved it, as I knew I would, and it was such a great message.

The service after Thanksgiving and leading into Christmas pointed out that gratitude is not something that is inherently known, but taught. As children, or now as parents, we are always reminding kids to say thank you, to show thankfulness, and to have gratitude.

Pastor talked of gratitude and that it is not always felt. Throughout life it must be practiced to be learned and truly felt. Do you practice gratitude? I love that it can be learned because that just means everyone has to potential for gratitude, and that it can be a part of your life, even if it isn’t in the present moment.

We were reminded to be thankful, in the good times, and the bad.

Give thanks in all things. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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We were reminded that giving thanks invites God in and that we didn’t get where we are without Him.

Along with Him, who are the people who have held you up, during good times and bad? Who has been there for you, no matter the circumstance?

It is so easy and loving to thank the people in your life. It’s free and quick, too. So really, what is there stopping you from loving those in your life and thanking them?

And to wrap it up, he told us that we are our story and what we make of it.

I am constantly saying, “Speak life,” and I love that as a thought process. Speak the good, what you want to happen, and the positive you foresee for yourself and your future. There is negative all around you but you don’t have to focus on that, or let that be a part of your day.

You are your thoughts. If you change everything from “have to” to “get to,” how will that positively impact your day? How will that change your mood?

Being thankful in everything we have is something so many take for granted. Not everyone has a car to drive, fresh water to drink, a safe place to live, or a job to go to. Turn having to drive into getting to drive. Be thankful for the water bill you pay that ensures you have running water to use. Have a grateful heart for the house you get to clean and the bed you get to make. And you get to go to work, to a job that you worked hard for and chose. If you don’t like it, work hard, and choose something else. These are all things we get to do.

But in the meantime, be thankful for what you get, all that you are blessed with, and the people all around you. There is always something to be thankful for!

If you’re reading this, I want to pray for you:

Dear God, Thank You for everything You have done and everything You will do for us. We know we are not here because of what we ourselves did, but because of the grace and opportunities You have given to us. We thank You for the people in our lives. We praise You in the good and the bad. We will remember to be thankful today and everyday, and turn what we “have” to do, into what we “get” to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Scripture Sunday: Do You Podcast?

They’re people who love podcasts and people who don’t. I am the latter and in fact, I would rather tear my ears off than listen to someone talk at me.

But then there was this: Elevation Church podcasts with Pastor Steven Furtick.

And I was hooked. Not to the podcast life, but to this podcast specifically. To me, hearing him speak via podcast is like hearing him speak at church, and I cannot get enough.

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Elevation Church is based out of North Carolina but it’s broadcasted in a number of ways throughout the world. Steven Furtick is relatable, funny, and a loyal man of God. His sermons touch everyone who hears them and are just great.

Sometimes guest pastors come in, too, and while they’re no Steven Furtick, they’re also pretty phenomenal.

My friend told me about this church and the podcasts within the last couple months, but I really only started listening to them within the last couple of weeks. And guess what?

God is so good. He was like, “Oh yeah? You like this Steven Furtick guy? Well, good. I have put you in a place and time where he will be a part of a conference, where you can go and see him. Oh, and it’s free.” Thank you God, you are so good.

If you haven’t heard of him or checked it out, you should. It’s good stuff.

If you’re reading this, I want to pray for you.

Dear God, thank You for always showing us ways to come closer to You. We are so grateful to know we are always in the right place and time according to Your plan. How lucky are we that You take anyone, whether a pastor, friend, or stranger, to show us Your love. We thank You for all that you do. You are such an amazing God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’ve Been Quiet, And This Is Why

I’ve been really quiet on my blog and social media. And if I’m being honest, it’s been really hard to get back into it.

I have all these ideas, content for days..but I just don’t want to.

Because I also have a sadness, a hurt, and something that has really turned my world upside down. I have a pending divorce, a soon to be ex-husband, and a hole in my heart and in my days, too.

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I haven’t talked that much about it. I’ve done what I can not to think about it, dwell on it, or make myself relive it again and again.

But the truth is, it’s very much on my mind. It’s fresh and raw, and it’s heartbreaking. But it’s a part of my life now, and I’m learning to accept it.

The thing is, I didn’t ever talk much about our problems. But really, not many people do. I tried to see the best in everything, focus on the good stuff, and do what I could to make the bad stuff, better.

But it didn’t work and this is where I am now. I’m hurting, healing, and trying to smile, all at the same time. But back to my point, I’ve been quiet, but I don’t want to be.

I asked a friend of mine, why? If I have all these ideas, plans, content, and things to say, why am I feeling so restricted and closed off. She asked me if I had blogged about my divorce yet. And the simple answer was…

no.

She told me I was feeling inauthentic. She said that I wasn’t feeling up for sharing, blogging, and talking because I didn’t share about the divorce yet. And she was right.

So this is me, sharing. This is me opening up and being vulnerable about the hardest thing I have been through thus far. And you know what?

It’s still hard and it really hurts. But I want to heal. I want to grow. I want to be the me that loves, cares, and always finds a way. So that is what I’m doing.

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I’m finding my way, slowly. It’s a painstaking process and it’s far from over, but I’m doing it. And it’s not going to last forever. And you know what else? I’m gaining courage and strength from it.

And these things are coming from unexpected sources. For example, I made a public announcement about our divorce on Facebook, (partly because I have shared so much about Nick and I on Facebook throughout the years and also partly so I wouldn’t have to retell the story forever,) and I can barely begin to tell you how many people reached out to me.

Some pretty close friends had been through a divorce, and I had no idea. Others are literally going through the exact same thing as me, right now.

Perspective.

We are not alone in this world. We are not the only ones facing hardships. And when we share our story, it opens us up to additional support and love from our people.

I realize this also may open me up to scrutiny. Questions of, “Did you fight for your marriage?” were hard to hear.

All I know is this was the right thing. I don’t feel a “huge sense of relief,” and I’m not sure I ever will. But I do know one thing.

Time moves us forward, whether we like it or not. All you have to do it put one foot in front of the other, each day. And eventually the hurt and the memories will fade. The future plans you looked forward to will be changed into new plans and become a new life.

And this will be just another part of the past. I just remind myself to leave it there, so that I can look forward to my future.

Thanks for reading, following me on this journey, and supporting me. XOXO

 

Scripture Sunday: Make God a To-Do List

I heard this recently and I just had to pass it on.

We all know that God wants us to have joy, be happy, and give love to others. What does God not want us to do? He doesn’t want us to worry, be sad, be negative, be anxious, cry, or really anything negative. So what do we do then?

Because this life is hard. Things break our hearts, cause us pain, and sometimes it feels like it will never end. But it will, and this is how to stop it right now. Give it to God.

Write God a to-do list. Tell Him all the things you want Him to do for you, so that you don’t have to. He wants us to come to Him. He wants us to give Him all the bad stuff, so we can hold on to the good stuff, and only the good stuff.

Make His to-do list, and be real with Him. Tell Him you want Him to have your sadness, you worry, and your hurt. If something is breaking your heart, put in on His to-do list. If something is making you anxious, add it to the list. If you want to change but your’re struggling, add that to the list, too.

We know that everything happens according to God’s plan. That we need to share Him and share love, and that ultimately that’s all He wants from us. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t human and that we won’t feel these feelings.

It’s ok, and He understands. But He also wants us to remember that we don’t have to shoulder it, not any of it. He wants us to give it to Him. He wants to take all of it so that we can stop and smell the roses, slow down, be happy, and enjoy this life.

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So, make Him a to-do list. Give him all of the bad stuff. And only keep the good stuff.

If you’re reading this, I want to pray for you.

Dear God, Thank you for allowing us to give You all the bad stuff. We are so thankful to give You a to-do list of the hard things that make us hurt. We want to always remember that we can come to You with anything, no matter what it is. And we want to live with love and happiness in our hearts, even if we’re feeling all the humans hurts of this life. God, you are so good. We praise You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Scripture Sunday: Ask God Where to Go

I don’t feel lost but I do wonder.

I wonder “where” I should be going. I also think about what I should be doing. I love to do lots of things, and I always have. But I think about if I should be doing more of one thing, and less of all of the things? Or if I’m doing what I “should” be.

Do you wonder about that?

For me, I love knowing that God has a plan for me.  I love knowing that even if I stray a bit, God will bring me back to where I should be. But I also get that feeling, that ‘déjà vu’ or instinctive knowing, that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

It’s Him telling me that I am where I should be and I’m doing it right. And I’m so thankful for each time I hear it.

I’m so thankful and grateful that there is a plan for my life and all I have to do is live it. I encourage you to talk to Him about it all and stay in peace that everything is as it should be.

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If you’re reading this, I want to pray for you.

Dear God, We thank You for having a plan for our lives. We are so thankful that we can come to You with our wonders, doubts, and questions about ourselves. We thank You for reminding us that we are on the right path. We are so lucky to live in the peace You provide to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Where Are We Now: Cocoa Beach FL

Yup, we’re back in Florida! This time, it’s only for the short term. And we’re only in Cocoa Beach for the week, very short term. Then Delray Beach FL for a month. But where have we been? East Coast baby!

Last time I wrote, we were in the mountains of North Carolina. I love the mountains and we have never actually stayed in the mountains, so it was truly amazing. We hiked a lot and drove the almost two hours to Asheville for one day. We visited Otter Falls and Lineville Falls, worked a lot, I cooked a lot, and it was really a great time. I want to go back!

Since then, we have been in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, and Bermuda. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

Myrtle Beach was a preplanned family vaca with my in-laws in lieu of Christmas presents last year. We stayed in a condo, on the beach, and had a bright and expansive ocean view. It was beautiful. The temps were hot, so we all pulled out our shorts, sunglasses, and light-er clothes. We took a helicopter ride over the city, went to dinner and a pirate show, and got ice cream in the bustling and touristy downtown. It was a really fun time and I hope we do it again somewhere fun next year.IMG_20181014_103637

After that, we went to Charleston SC instead of Murrels Inlet SC for the next week. Originally, we were going to be in Murrels Inlet for a conference Nick had. The conference got cancelled when they thought the hurricane may or may not make it there. We went south to Charleston, where we were flying out of a week anyhow. In the end, Myrtle Beach, Murrels Inlet, Charleston and anything south of North Carolina were unscathed. And besides, Charleston was meant to be.

We stayed at an AirBnb with hosts that were so similar to us, it was as if we were life-long friends coming for a visit. Nick and I took a walking tour downtown and after, Nick took himself golfing. We also worked a lot (like always LOL) and went to a wing bar to watch the Brewers game. RIP Brewers season, you will be missed! From there (Charleston) we flew to Bermuda and back, another conference for IMG_20181016_170700_136Nick. But our hosts from the AirBnb were so great and gracious that we left our car there for the time we were in Bermuda. Thanks again Kara and Ben, we cannott wait for our paths to cross again!

And Bermuda, oh Bermuda! The weather was great, the views were better, and the people there were the nicest. Nick only had two “work days” out of the four-ish that we were there so we even got to explore a little bit. We walked to the local grocery store which was only about a mile away. The prices there are really high but most of what we did at the hotel was covered and we were able to enjoy our time without really spending a lot of extra dollars. Win-win. Among the fun stuff was the beach, a pink sand beach, the exploration to the store, and oh, did I mention the view? Ocean front view again! And those colors and that water, there’s nothing like it. Truth be told, I’m not really a beach girl, but the once or twice a year I do make it to the beach, I really enjoy it. And Bermuda was definitely no exception. Plus, with a cool right off the ocean breeze and 70s temps, the beach may have been “cold” to others but to me it was perfection!

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Bermuda 

 

And now we’re back in the states and in Florida and Cocoa Beach is on the menu for the week. We have work planned, I’m going to get into the kitchen again, and workouts, too. Once we leave here, we will be back in Delray Beach, the city we lived in for three years in Florida. We look forward to seeing our friends and, well, our friends! Haha. Nick will go into the office for a bit but the weather is going to be death, still in the 90s and high humidity, the costs of everything will still be high, and the traffic (at the start of snow bird season) will be horrendous. All in all we’re excited for our Florida friends, and because it will be short-term stay. Thanks for reading!

Scripture Sunday: Ask Him and be Patient For The Answer

I realized lately that there are things happened, that seemingly keep happening and I wonder, “Why does this keep happening and what does it mean?” Instead of just wondering, I pray about it. Because really, who is going to give you a better explanation for His plan than God?

Some questions are silly like, “Why has there been so much elephant decor at the AirBnb’s we’ve been staying at?”

Some are more serious like, “Why are we following the hurricanes?” (Seriously, a month before we went on a preplanned trip to Myrtle Beach, hurricane, and now, about a month before we stay in the Florida panhandle, hurricane.)

There are so many things that happen in this life that I don’t understand. There are so many things in this life that I question. I try not to to obsess or let it be my every thought, but I do pray about it. I ask Him why, and I ask Him to show me, to tell me, and to explain to me what’s happening.

And sometimes I think, “God, hello! Why aren’t you answering me?!” But then I remind myself of John 13:7

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So that’s that.

You have to have faith, be patient, and sometimes, you even have to wait.

If you’re reading this, I just want to pray for you.

Dear God, Thank You for Your plan. Thank You answering us in the perfect timing. Thank You for all that you do for us. We are so lucky to have You on our side. You just want us to be happy, enjoy life, and come to You with everything. How awesome is that?! Thank you for reminding us to have faith and be patient. You are an awesome God! In Jesus’ name, Amen.