From Complacency to Holy Hustle

Do you sometimes feel like you have reached the pinnacle of your best?
Does the work that you put in daily leave you feeling smug, as if you couldn’t be doing better?
Have you brought yourself to a place of complacency, just to look around and see everyone else running towards new goals?

Pull your big kid pants up. It’s time to get to work.

a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.

When we become complacent we feel like we have reached the pinnacle of our being. We’ve made it to a point where we are so happy with what we have done that we then stop trying to improve.

God has made it perfectly clear that we are NEVER done learning, loving, changing, evolving.
There is always room for more hustle, and if we are doing it right then it will be a holy hustle.

I’ve been reading the book “Holy Hustle” by Crystal Stine and it is giving me some pretty BIG perspective on how I became so complacent in my own life. I gave up on certain things because I tried once, and it seemed as if God had already decided that my best wasn’t good enough and so He wasn’t going to bless me in that area anymore. When in fact I was simply hustling for ME and not for HIM.

Yup. Lets see that one more time…

I was hustling for ME and not for HIM.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”
-Colossians 3:23 NIV

I had become my own human master and I was struggling for it.

So what does this mean?

For me it means I need to pay more attention to the things God/Source/Divine is leading me to. I’ve laid out some pretty rad goals for myself for 2020 (I’ll share them at a later time) but right now I’m giving them to Him in prayer and meditation. I’m allowing myself to listen….

For the “No, not this”
for the “Yes, my child”
for the “Why not this”
for the “This won’t serve you”

He is ALWAYS looking out for ME!

I plan to hustle in 2020.
But it will be a holy hustle that will serve Him.
It will be anointed, because I will turn it over to Him at each step.

“Hustle tells us we should push ourselves ahead to get more. Holy hustle tells us to work hard in the name of Jesus to make His name great, not ours.
Holy Hustle, by Crystal Stine

Like The Trees…

My front porch looking out-BLESSED!

Today as I look out the window onto my front porch I am in awe of the simple beauty. The big, blue and open sky and the many trees who are standing tall after the storms.

I am like the trees.

I have walked through many storms…

  • mental and emotional abuse
  • anxiety and depression
  • medical issues
  • infertility
  • loss

…but I am still here and I’m still standing strong, just like those trees.

My root system is expansive and deep, with God at the center of that system. The people I choose to surround myself with in my darkest moments help to grow those roots, help to keep them watered.

I am stronger for the pain I have been through, the roots more embedded than I ever could have imagined.

Today I am thankful.

Today I take in the beauty.

Today I am different.

The improved version of yourself begins with one different element—a different reaction…a different word…a different routine…a different perspective…a different investment…a different choice.


Try one different element. It might just be the start of a better way of life.

from “Only Love Today” by Rachel Macy Stafford

the cold hard truth…

Every SINGLE day is a struggle.

Don’t upset anyone. Don’t push the envelope too much. Keep your feelings to yourself. Don’t let him see you cry. Don’t let the feelings bubble up.

Take the pill. Every morning. It’s the only chance of keeping yourself from going absolutely crazy.

Reach for the oils. Valor & Tranquil become my life rafts Each day I use them and they help me to create a sense of “it’s ok for now”.

It’s overwhelming sadness. It’s a feeling of unwelcome and not being good enough for this life I’ve been given. It’s the knowing that I have messed up so many times before-so what makes this time any different.

It’s a huge brick sitting on my chest and hot tears flowing down my cheeks.

Sometimes I can’t even bring myself to get out of bed. I’m lucky to get myself to work-those are the bad days. The days that I feel so weighed down by the utter heaviness of the feelings.

Sometimes I can get something done.

A load of laundry. Maybe get it folded too. Cook dinner for the family. Run the vacuum in the living room.

It doesn’t feel like enough.

The struggles are real…..

Am I good enough?

Am I going to make it?

Will I get through this?

Can WE survive it?

Will I be too much for him?

It’s a daily fight for me. And sometimes I don’t even know why I feel the way I do. But I know that I make it work. I let my feet touch the ground EVERY MORNING and I make sure the devil knows that for one more day I am here to fight.

How it feels…

Always questioning.
Is this it?
Is this the moment that I have feared?

I gasp for air.
My chest tightens.
It feels like 1000 pounds sits on it.

I feel the pain begin.
The pain of not knowing.
The uncertainty, the fear.

My heart races.
It takes everything I have to breathe.
To fight the need to run.

This my friends is my anxiety.

to her

It’s late. Like 1am late.

We light up cigarette’s and pour glasses of wine.

We each take turns griping about our lives-kids, husbands, girlfriends, work, bills. We each nod while the other speaks and mostly agree with whatever the other is saying. Sometimes there is a bit of tension as one of us might disagree with what the other is saying. But at the end of the glass (or glasses) of wine and the multiple smokes we always walk away knowing that we love each other. That we will always be there for each other. And that when we sit down over wine and cigarettes again it will be the same.

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.

-Elbert Hubbard

And then somewhere along the road the late night talks get further apart. And we both get busy-sometimes too busy.

But we still find the time for quick text messages back and forth. And when we can fit it in we find time to sit down with each other. It’s not always easy-but we make it work. Our hearts seem to just know when the other needs us and so we rely on that silent “bat-signal” of sorts to push us to contact the other.

Then one day that bat-signal gets silenced. Maybe it’s because there is so much going on in our hearts, our minds, our lives that it’s just hard to hear that small and silent signal. I blame you. You blame me. And neither of us wants to be the first to reach out. I would guess we both feel pain. We both are hurting-and we both are scared.

I want to say that I don’t care

that we aren’t friends anymore

but I really, really do.

I’m sorry I pushed you away

and I’m sorry I never got around to apologizing

because I don’t think it’s my fault

and neither was it yours.

We grew apart


you stopped trying

and so did I too.

And I keep telling myself it’s okay I lost you

and that I will meet a million different people in my life time

it’s just deep down I know that

I won’t ever meet anyone like you.

Tumbler User

Truth bomb moments

I am a product of my past.

And even though I have very much left that past-it has shaped me into who I am.

The good, the bad, and the ugly parts.


I spent the good portion of 5 years pretending that I was happy in order to not be considered a failure.

I was cheated on just two weeks into a relationship-but two days later I had welcomed her back into my life.

Want to talk about a HUGE red flag that I chose to simply ignore??

I proceeded to support her/us.  I bought her alcohol, I paid the bills, she worked some-but couldn’t seem to keep a job. I didn’t have a car-couldn’t afford one because I was paying the bills and providing the alcohol and the cigarettes. I was always taking care of something and if I ever started to admit to myself that it wasn’t good for me I found something else to take care of.



When I finally did decide it was time to walk away it took a LOT. I walked away 8 years ago.

Today while talking to someone I was given a revelation-we’ll just say that God spoke clearly through this person

I was codependent on a codependent relationship.

Wait what? Come again?

My ass was codependent on a codependent relationship.


“Codependency is a constellation of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that profoundly affect the way the codependent person relates to others. People who are codependent define themselves and gain or lose their self-esteem based on the reaction and behavior of people they are in relationship with. This, in turn, leaves them vulnerable to being controlled by others.



Talk about a truth bomb.


My entire relationship was based on keeping things as kosher as I could for someone else so that I could be happy myself.  And all the while that person managed to kick me to my lowest most days-but I basically kept going back for more-I craved it.

(typing that makes me shudder)




That’s my past. That’s what has shaped me.


I’m now 7 years into a relationship that has basically saved me.

I love my husband. He is a remarkable symbol of grace and faith. He loves me-without a shadow of a doubt.


We have been fairly kosher for these first 7 years.  We have recently had to lean into our marriage and put some work in.

The devil was coming at us something fierce man.


The only way I knew how to get attention for those 5 years was to pick a fight. It actually makes me sick to my stomach to type that. To put weight behind that thought.   UGH.


I don’t have a good working knowledge of how to do this whole marriage thing the right way.  My husband bless him-I don’t think he knew what he signed up for.  I don’t think I fully realized how damaged I was.

It is my past.  I don’t like to live there.  I HATE dwelling on it.

but it is beginning to rear it’s ugly head.

I am a pro at sabotaging my own happiness.

I am realizing that I have so much of my own work to do.

Thank God my husband is a pro at seeing past my ugly parts.

The time my wife introduced me to my husband…

So for some of you this story is old news. For many others it is going to be new and possibly confusing. That’s ok. I was lost and confused at one point too. I’m sitting here typing this with two tiny bottles of emotional support-Joy & SARA. The first doesn’t take much explanations-the second is meant for processing emotions. There will be lots of processed emotions in this post…lots.

On February 28th, 2014 I got to marry the most amazing person ever-her name was Nikki. She turned my whole world upside down when I met her and was able to show me how it was to really be loved.  I walked down the aisle to her surrounded by people who loved us to the following chorus from 1000 Years by Christina Perri-

“Darling, don’t be afraid
I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more
And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more”

Every single word resonated with me, I fully believed that God had brought us together-I had no idea that just under two years later it would all be tested.

… … … …


In October 2015 we were driving through Jacksonville one evening and chatting about random stuff when Nikki said something that would change our lives forever.

“I haven’t been true to myself for a long time, and I finally feel like I can be honest with myself and with you.”

My mind went racing-every single part of my body starting to prepare for flight or fight.  My heart started beating so fast and somewhere in the back of my brain I started thinking of every single thing that could possibly come next.  In a matter of a few seconds I had created too many scenarios to even count.

Probably because my brain had dived off the deep end I can’t remember what exactly was said next so the following won’t be quoted.

I’ve never felt comfortable in my body.  I have always felt like I was living a lie-but I have never been comfortable with the person I am with to share it.  I love you and I am thankful to be able to share my true self.  I’ve been stuck in this body-I am transgender.  I want to become the real me.


I cried.

I cried tears of relief that my marriage wasn’t ending.

I cried tears of grief-I knew our lives would be changing in many ways.

I cried tears of unknowing-could I support the person I loved as they made these changes.

And while I cried-my heart swelled.  I knew-thinking back on that song from our wedding day that I would love HIM for a thousand years more.  I knew it would be difficult.  There would be pain. There would be change.  There would be unknowns.

But I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I loved the person sitting next to me and that I would do whatever  was needed.

**be warned-name change/pronoun change from here on out**

We had been together for 3 years.  I had been effectively lied to for 3 years.  Although my heart never faltered-I didn’t always act with grace.

I stood by Nyk while he told everyone important in his life about this transition.  We were met with nothing but love and understanding.

I struggled myself through issues of my own identity, issues about what would come in the future, what all these changes would do.

I had the best support in the world-from Nyk.  He understood that while he was transitioning so was I.

I was losing my wife.  I was losing the person I had fallen in love with.  I was losing what we had started together.


But since that fateful moment in 2015 we have built a strong foundation on what was already a great cornerstone. When we triumph it is together and when we struggle it is with each other by our side.

And so this is the story of how my wife introduced me to my husband and I couldn’t be more thankful to Nikki for introducing me to Nyk because I have never seen someone so true to themselves since that day in October.

All I ever wanted…

Trigger Warning….Infertility.











Ever since I was a little girl all I have ever wanted was to become “mommy”.  I never, ever thought to prepare myself for the “what if” moment of infertility.  There was never a reason for me to believe that I would have trouble getting pregnant.  I was a young, relatively healthy (I do like my soda and chocolate) adult who was ready to run the race!

I watched as countless friends got pregnant and became Mommy!  I LOVED watching their pregnancies unfold on Facebook (thank you social media)!  When Nyk and I got together, before we were even engaged, we discussed family and what each of us wanted.  It was important for both of us to expand our family and bring that joy to one another as a married couple.


We got married in February 2014 and did not hesitate to wait to much longer before trying!  I started upping my water intake and taking pre-natal vitamins as well as making walking a part of my daily routine.

  • I took my temperature every single morning before my feet hit the floor
  • I tracked every single day of my “cycle” on an app on my phone
  • I took ovulation tests and we narrowed down our chances each month to just a day or two of trying


This photo was a captured moment of absolute love during our first year of trying.

And each month-it was a disappointment.  Each month we would wait those 14 days from possible insemination and get so so excited as we edged closer.  Ask anyone who has been trying/tracking-you can technically test 5 days before your missed period-It was a STRUGGLE not to do that each month.  Each negative test before my period actually arrived still gave me hope and if I was a day or two late….FORGET IT….I was dreaming up names (which we already had picked out of course)!!


And then…usually while Nyk was at work…I would get my period.

I would sob.  I would yell at God. I would scream into my pillow.


And then I would sniffle my way out of my misery and open the app on my phone to record my start date and the whole cycle would start over again.


You can never prepare yourself for an entire year…12 FRICKIN months of negative pregnancy tests.

12 times of making sure that you were ovulating.

12 times of doing the BD (Baby Dance in the infertility world)

12 times of waiting for the fourteen days between BD and the arrival of your period.

12 times that you figured out what your due date would be-to be destroyed when you realized that it wouldn’t be a Christmas miracle, or born on so and so’s birthday, or born in May before it got too hot in FL.


I cried so many tears.  Nyk was so supportive and also so frustrated.  He wanted this for me. He wanted this for us.  He couldn’t give this to me and I know it was not fun for him to watch me just disappear into a slight depression.


During this year that we struggled two of our God-babies were born.  I was always cuddling and loving on those babies-most days they were all I needed to feel ok and some days-it was honestly hard to be around them.  Where was my miracle??

I would get incredibly angry at God during those moments “How dare you make me feel anything but JOY around these babies?  Why don’t I get to love on “my” baby?  Where is the compassion for me?  Why have you deserted me?”


It was so hard. so hard.

Please know that if you are struggling with this-reach out to someone.  I found the kind hearts of so many people-near and far-both strangers and friends who have helped me through this struggle.

I found comfort in the following verse in the bible:

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. “

Romans 12:12



Our journey would continue….






Military Brat life…and no I wasn’t an actual brat.

Okay, so my older brothers may disagree with the title and say that I actually was a brat when I was younger-but that’s for another day and another post!!

Most of you reading this will already know about the things I’m about to share.  As fellow military brats you have experienced a lot of it right alongside of me-this will be a walk down memory lane for you.  I’m really writing this for the non-brat people out there. I’m hoping this may give you some insight into why I (and the more collective we) are the way we are.

Let me also say this topic will span many, many posts and probably not in any kind of particular order-because that’s how I roll.   So strap in for the long haul y’all 🙂


Vesuvius Naples, Italy


So let me first say-I led a slightly less crazy military brat life (hereafter referred to MB life) than most people. After being born in Naples, Italy and spending a few years in Gaeta, Italy (a seaside town just north of Naples) we moved to Virginia Beach, VA for a few years and then headed back to Naples. I was just 6 years old when we returned to Bella Napoli-we would stay there until I was 18!!


Yes, you read that correctly, I spent  1st grade through 12th grade in the same school.  This is UNHEARD of for MB life, usually you are moving every 2-4 years.

“You are so lucky you didn’t have to move so often!”

“At least you got to put down roots.”

“You got to go to the same school-got to know the teachers-WOW!”


I’ve heard it all:

  • I didn’t really experience military life
  • I was privileged to know a “hometown”
  • I didn’t know the upheaval of moving all the time

To all of that I say Bullshit!

*I made friends-good friends-to watch them leave just 3 years later

*I created bonds with adults at church and school who then proceeded to leave me when their orders, or their spouses, were up.

*I had to form new relationships with doctors, often too, they seemed to cycle out of the hospital every year or two.


So yes, I may have been able to put roots down.  However, those roots were still affected year after year.

Now let me re-focus.  I’ve just made it seem like those MB life years of my life were horrible.  Quite the opposite-I was able to do so much while living overseas.  I’ve been at a Papal audience at the Vatican-two of them actually!  I’ve skied the Swiss Alps.  In fact I skied one particular run that started in Switzerland and ended in Italy (it was seriously the coolest)!!  I have walked the base of a volcano-the one pictured above, and seen first hand the destruction it made years before.  I’ve been to towns by the by the name of Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Positano, and Alberobello.  I have walked up to the top of the Tower of Pisa and also between the coastal towns of Cinque Terre. I have gazed up at Big Ben and walked in front of Buckingham Palace while imagining I was a princess within its walls.  Most of this was done before I even turned 16!

I am beyond grateful for the life I was able to lead growing up as a military brat.  It taught me many life lessons that I still rely on today.  There were also some really, really tough parts though and they also play a big role in who I am.


Who Am I?

It’s the age-old question isn’t it-but do any of us ever actually know the answer? What I do know is what makes me-where I have come from and that seems to give me insight into the answer to the question.

I am first a daughter, a military brat to be exact. Born and raised in Naples, Italy and soaked in European culture for the first 18 years of my life. I loved almost every single minute of it…more on that part of my life later.

I am a Christian; however, I am NOT perfect. I find myself asking for forgiveness more days than not. Every day is a reminder that my faith is larger than any obstacle put in my path. My marriage overcomes these obstacles all the time because God is in the center of it.

I am a wife-twice married and once divorced. I have been cheated on and I have been lied to. I have been brought to my knees with anxiety and had to fight to re-gain my self-worth. I have also been shown what true love is, been given respect and been built up and supported by my partner. I have been treated as an equal and reminded daily that I am worth more than I had ever thought I was.

I am a step-momma, and it hasn’t been an easy road by any means. We are more alike than either of us would like to admit, so we butt heads like a couple of fighting bulls most days. Yet I would do anything for her-she may or may not know that-but I would.

I am a God-mom to three beautiful babies. They could ask me for the moon and I would do all that I could to reach into the starry sky and bring it down for them. I have been trusted to always lift them in prayer-to be sure that they always know God’s love for them. They have taught me so much-and I am so thankful that their parents have chosen me for this role.

I am all these things and so much more. Each story from my past and each moment of my present continue to shape me into who I am today. I am constantly evolving and so I welcome you on this journey of self-discovery with me.

Photo by: Kaylee Labor Photography