The Sweet Hive
We meet again.
Saying goodbye to one year, while excitedly anticipating what’s to come in the new.
As I lovingly hug this last day of 2018, I can’t help but reflect on all the lessons, the season of growth, the season of loss and how God continued to show that He is so beautifully amazing. He used all the things that hurt like hell to help me bloom. He used the highs to keep me going and he wrapped me around the loveliest of friends and family to flourish next to.
I’m not sure if you remember, but at this very time last year, I had no job. Not even a potential interview. Nothing.
Currently, the weather is somewhere in the low 50’s. It’s rainy, cloudy and windy. Surprisingly enough, I’m loving this weather. I know most people would say they dislike or even hate it, but I am embracing the new season.
Similarly, I’m welcoming the new season in my life as a business owner with open arms. The next few months, while terrifying, will be my busiest of the year. I have tons of markets I’ll be attending including two-day Boho Markets in November and December, Flea Style Fall Show and a new show in both Waco, TX and Saint Jo, Texas. I’m equally nervous and excited.
To prepare myself for the most wonderful (and busiest) time of the year, I’m working on me. I know not everyone who reads this lives the same life as me, but I know we all juggle a lot. Whether it’s a stressful full-time job, kids, pets, obligations, friends/family, commitments, etc., we all have a lot on our plate. With the holidays approaching, we can either run on fumes or learn to prepare ourselves like an athlete to finish the 2018 race with a bang.
So, ladies (and gentlemen), I’m sharing some tips on how I’m prepping my body and mind for the end of the year.
I’ve got a lot going on, as I know many of you do. Both my husband and I have businesses we are trying to get off the ground, which means, our weekends can get full. If I don’t have an event, we typically have one scheduled for Hive Coffee Co, which means, we have a lot to prepare for during the week and on weekends. That’s why I use (and love) Google Calendar. Every school reminder, every market, every birthday, every commitment is all tracked online. This means, I’ll receive a reminder on my phone so I never forget. Additionally, I’m able to look at the month in its entirety without double booking or wondering what lies ahead for the week. Both personal and business are tracked and color coded, so I can stay on top of it all. This tool is FREE, and you can use on both desktop and through an app on your phone.
With so much on my plate, it’s easy to want to skip through serving or attending church. But as a family, we’ve decided that if anything must go, it will never be church. Church is a priority for us, even on the days where we are so tired. Not only do we start our week serving others, but we are able to push pause on all that we have going and fix our eyes on God and his house. Additionally, seeking God throughout the week is vital. Whether it’s a free bible study through Horacio Printing, or a bible study through the Bible app, a sermon from Elevation Church or through prayer and meditation, my time with God doesn’t end on Sunday. Anytime I feel off track, I know it's because I'm steering away from what is most important and that is my relationship with my creator.
I don’t have a business degree, so trying to manage through this new-found career, things can get tough. There’s so much I have yet to learn, that’s why I listen to a podcast a day (at least). I recently posted some of my favorites on my Instagram stories which include Rise Podcast with Rachel Hollis, Business Boutique with Christy Wright, Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher, NPR How I Built This, Elevation Church with Steven Furtick and The Tony Robbins podcast among a few others. I once heard that all the information we ever needed can be found on the internet for FREE. Many of the things I’ve learned have been through hours upon hours of education and mentorship from people who don’t even know I exist! I bet whatever dream you have in your heart, you can find a blog, an article or podcast on the internet for FREE.
I’ve finally committed to an exercise program that I not only love, but I look forward to. It has helped me sleep better (no more melatonin), increased my energy (no more wanting to just flop on the couch after work), increased my peace (bye anxiety), improved my confidence and I feel so accomplished after every workout. Seriously, it has made a world of a difference.
If you are not working out, even if it’s just walking, do yourself a favor and start now! With the holidays approaching, so much yummy but calorie infested food will be at your doorstep.
With a full schedule and plate, I forget to have fun. Lately, I’ve been creeping out of my boring “get things done first” attitude, to stop and smell the roses. It could be trying something new and thrilling like zip lining or something simple like watching a funny movie. (My current recommendation is Game Night with Rachel McAdams.) You can work hard, but still make time to have fun, laugh and enjoy yourself.
I learned from Rachel Hollis to create a playlist with music that would help when (1) I’m unmotivated (2) need an energy boost or (3) to calm my anxiety. I’ve created a few playlists that help with just that. If you want to know my favorite songs that help with what I mentioned above, you can follow me on Spotify at The Sweet Hive.
This year I'm planning to support small businesses for all my holiday shopping. Not only will I avoid lines and crowds, I will support businesses just like mine that work hard to create one of a kind goodies typically made by hand. Not only will I find products I can't find in the stores, but you guys, Target nor Walmart do happy dances when I buy from them. I am choosing to support local small businesses and I hope you do too! Most small businesses have an online store, so you can do all your shopping from home. (Stay tuned for an upcoming blog featuring all my favorite small businesses.)
You may be sick of me talking about Rachel Hollis, but this lady has helped me big time over the last few months. Her podcasts, documentary, and now the #Last90DayChallenge have helped me end 2018 with a bang. What is the Last 90 Day Challenge? It’s committing to living the last 90 days of this year as hard as you are committed to living the first 30 days of the new year. Instead of a downhill slide into 2019, you are ramping up. Every Monday I get an email with a weekly themealong with a challenge to focus on. Additionally, every day we are encouraged to complete the Five to Thrive. Seriously, this has been LIFE CHANGING. There is still time to sign up. Click here for more information.
There are still days where I fall off the wagon but incorporating these tools and tricks into my life have been so helpful. My hopes are you can use one if not all of these. I’d love to learn how they are helping you. And if you know of any great tips for the end of the year, please feel free to share.
I’ve written tons of cheesy blogs about my love for my husband as each anniversary approaches (Read last year's blog here). It has become somewhat of a tradition. Over the years we have celebrated with trips, fancy dinners, expensive presents and even a tattoo. This year we will celebrate our 10th anniversary in just a few days, I’m not sure whether we should laugh, cry or demand a trophy. I say that with all due respect, because this year has been our most challenging year in our marriage. It’s been a year of leaning on each other while starting not one but TWO businesses from the ground up, questioning our dreams when they don’t look or feel like the movies, finding ourselves challenged as parents, learning how to cope with the uncontrol of what life throws at us, adapting to change and being tested in our faith repeatedly.
Sounds romantic, huh?
I’ll be honest, this isn’t what I pictured on our wedding day 10 years ago.
And still, with the hardships life can throw, there has been lots of joy. We’ve learned how to dig deep to encourage ourselves, when others, sometimes with no intent at all, manage to crush our spirits. We’ve seen God do miracles through the provision of what seems so little and stretch to supply every single need. We’ve been on the receiving end of other’s generosity. We’ve seen how strong our bodies are as we hit the ground running with little to no sleep as we hustle and bustle for our dreams. We’ve been happy for others but also battled internally as we compare our season to others’ success, financial gain or even availability of time. We’ve been stretched so thin, pulled and pushed and yet, here we are, still standing with a love that gushes out of our pores.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
This year, the one I married, picked me up when I was down, hugged me when I was weak, pushed me to keep going, loved me at my worst, supported me when others didn't and beamed with pride with every accomplishment I tackled. He helped me with my dream, picked up where I lacked, cried with me during our loss, stood next to me at church singing songs of hope when we could have easily just stayed home. He prayed when my faith was lost, he spoke truth and promise over me when my fear was at it's highest. He found my baby Reus, not once, but twice! He picked up extra work to help make ends meet. He never once complained. He never left my side. And he always greeted me with coffee and amor.
We use to dream of how we would celebrate this milestone - a lavish party, a once in a lifetime trip, checking off something on our bucket-list? Yet here we are, with so little, and yet so much and we know in our hearts that our 10 year anniversary won't be remembered in how we celebrated, but in how we survived.
I am learning to cherish this trying time. I know in my heart, these are the days we’ll look back on and reminisce about. We've shed tears of utter pain and joy, all the while producing the best memories, learning lessons, togetherness and love.
The labor of our love will reward us soon enough.
A few months ago, during a storm, a limb from our neighbor’s tree fell on their home. Our neighbors had not moved into their home yet, so they had no idea that this massive limb was laying on their roof. As the days passed, the limb which once held vibrant green leaves was now lifeless. The leaves had turned yellow, a sign of dehydration. The beauty it once held was now completely gone. Eventually, our neighbors were notified and hired professional help to clean and prune the tree.
And then on Sunday, at one ‘o’clock in the morning, my husband and I were awakened to a loud thud. You guessed it! The same tree, which branches extended slightly over our garage, had broken off. There was no massive storm, nor was it a windy night. It just broke.
As I tried to drift off to sleep, I couldn’t help but picture the tree as a metaphor to a person who is detached from God. Due to dehydration from living water, they break, wither and no longer produce fruit. But the more that I thought about the tree, the more I felt God was leading me to something else.
During a recent road trip to Austin to get our oldest ready for his sophomore year at the University of Texas (Go Longhorns!), I stumbled upon a verse from Jeremiah 17:8.
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.
I knew God was trying to tell me something, as I felt so drawn to the tree from earlier this year. (Read Blog Post Here). I just didn’t know what he was trying to show or teach me. So, I started seeking this tree thing a little more.
I realized that God was trying to paint a picture for me. He showed me that 2018 is more about pruning than producing. He is cutting off dead branches in my life to reduce the chance of breakage later.
“Daughter, did you see what happened to those limbs? Instead of waiting for a storm to break you, I’m going to prune you now, so you can be stronger! I know it doesn’t feel good in this moment, but I want you to know what I take away or remove from your life is not a loss. It’s a gain.”
Cue ugly crying.
In the inconvenience of a broken tree limb, he’s wrapped up my year in one verse.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:2-6
Instead of trying to rush past my pruning season, I’m going to let God do the work in me. No lie, I’m scared that too much cutting is like receiving a bad haircut. But just like hair, you must cut the dead ends to reach that Selena Gomez Pantene ProV hair bounce.
Once that happens, I’ll be like the tree in Jeremiah 17:8. I will not fear the heat (trails), my confidence will rely on Him always. I will not be anxious for I know the same God who took my 5 loaves and 2 fish and stretched it over 2018 will continue to supply all my needs whether I have little or much. I will not stop bearing fruit, for with God all things are possible! This is my confidence. I will see the goodness of the Lord.
Prune: reduce the extent of (something) by removing superfluous or unwanted parts.