Just Keep Swimming…

I have to be honest with you guys, I’ve never been a fan of the whole “just keep swimming” thing, but today it’s been my mantra. I have had the hardest time getting going – like, so many ridiculous things have gone wrong that it’s just silly at this point. Mondays when my mom is in town (like this one) are my major work days. She watches the kids most of the day and I come in to my little work area in my room and just get as much stuff as possible done.

So today I came in here with so many things to knock off my to-do list – and none of it happened. I got locked out of my blog forEVER, and I finally had to break down and ask my husband for help. And of course he fixed it in about three minutes, which made me more upset than anything because it made me feel incapable. Then I ran what I thought would be a quick update on my computer because it was acting wonky and it took TWO HOURS. So I basically wasn’t able to use my computer for the entire morning. And when about 95% of what you do is done on said computer, that really puts a kink in things.

Instead of just feeling frustrated and annoyed like I normally would at these inconveniences, I let it take me to a bad place. As in, the place where I start to doubt myself, my intelligence, my ability to succeed, my purpose, and on and on. I have such limited time to do anything (because of the little people that live here) that minor interferences seem bigger than they really are, but usually I can kind of brush it off and move on. Today was rough though.

Doubt Kills Dreams | Haven Gray {the blog}

Basically I had to have a little come to Jesus meeting with myself and give myself a pep talk to keep going. Get out of the spiral of doubt and insecurity, and move on and realize that those negative thoughts and feelings are not the truth. The truth is that I have dreams and goals and things I hope to accomplish in this life, and if I am following God’s plan for my life, then I will accomplish them. If I am asking him daily to show me what it is that I need to be doing, then I will continue to follow the path that he sets out and, most likely, I will accomplish things through him that don’t even seem possible.

Since my personal struggle has always been self-doubt and insecurity, I feel like that is where I am attacked most often. For the most part I feel like I’ve kicked it. I’m in a really good place in my life where I’m more secure than ever before, and I feel capable of chasing the dreams that I have for my life. But every once in awhile there seems to be a little chink in the armor, and the first things that creep in are those familiar thoughts of being incapable, having no true talent, not being good enough, special enough, pretty enough, smart enough, determined enough – or simply that I haven’t truly been called to do the things that I feel that I have, because who am I to have any true calling on my life? Why would God use me when there are so many women already doing big, amazing things so much better than I ever could?

It’s a sad, scary place to be, and it’s a place I used to live regularly. Thankfully now it’s only a place that I get dragged into very, very rarely for very short stints of time and then I snap out of quickly and move on. Like this morning – I let myself go there for a few minutes, then I was wise enough to get up, take a break, grab a snack, and then get back to it with a new perspective.

I’m never sure how much I want to share with strangers on the internet about my personal life and struggles that I’ve dealt with or may be dealing with, but I do want to encourage anyone who happens to stumble upon this post that may be feeling similar things. It’s so easy to become consumed by those destructive thoughts and feelings – especially if you’re prone to depression, as I was when I was younger. For me, it’s important to do just what I said – get up, physically move away from the place that I’m at, maybe take a walk or grab something to eat, watch a funny show or listen to some worship music, anything to snap yourself out of that funk. And then when you’re ready, get back to it, but give yourself a nice long pep talk before you do. Say a prayer, if that’s your thing, and ask God to show you his truth, what he says is true about you – I promise it’s none of the destructive things you were wallowing in before. He is for you, and he has a plan for you, and he wants to see you succeed. Obstacles may present themselves and painful things may happen and lessons may be learned, but if you keep your eyes on him, you will find a hope underlying all of the other junk that comes from something you can’t explain.

I don’t know if this post will reach anyone who needs to read it, or if it was more therapeutic for me, but I certainly shared a little more than I planned on. I just have to trust that this is what I was supposed to log in and write (finally!) and go with it. And please, whoever you are, whether we know each other in real life, or “internet” know each other, or if you literally have no idea how you found my blog – feel free to reach out. You can find my email on my contact page, and I would love to hear from you.

Struggling With Realness in a Pinterest Perfect World

I feel like I’m a pretty “real” person, both in person and in my online life. I don’t have much of a filter, I’m basically an open book, and I’m a notorious over-sharer. I pretty much share the good, the not-so-good, and the bad with anyone who asks (and sometimes those who don’t). I honestly feel like that what I’m supposed to be doing – not that my “calling” is to be real with people, but I do feel like God wants me to help other mamas see the reality of life, not the perfect versions that we so often see on social media.

But even though I know it’s not all perfect for anyone, even when it looks like it, and for the most part I am happy to put my not-so-perfect world out there for everyone to see, every once in awhile I find myself looking at all those gorgeous ladies on Instagram or Pinterest with their perfect hair and clothes and houses and very clean, smiling children and I’m like – dang, girl. All these other mamas have got their stuff together – what’s wrong with you?!

Struggling With Realness in a Pinterest Perfect World

So this is my question: How. How on earth do these women do it? I know everything is prettier cropped and covered with a beautiful Instagram filter, but still – there has to be a little reality behind it. What made me think of this is my fingernails. Random, I know, but hang with me. I posted a picture of me and my boys, and my hands were showing, and you could see my short little nails with no polish. I am a nail biter, and no matter how many times I break the habit I go back to it. It’s a ridiculous (and childish) lifelong struggle.

So I was looking at my nails, and I started thinking about how all the super trendy, pretty mamas on Instagram always seem to have their nails done. But hooooowwww? This is my question. When are you doing this? When are you finding time in your day to slip away to get your nails done on a regular basis? Do you get a babysitter? Does your husband watch the kids? Are you some type of magician and you can do them yourself and make them look like that? I just don’t understand.

And it’s not just nails. It’s all the perfect, pretty hair. I am so not a hair person. My hair looks the exact same basically every day of my life. It’s either freshly washed and has been put up in hot rollers so it’s kind of wavy-ish, or it’s way past needing a wash and has been caked with dry shampoo and has THEN been put up in hot rollers, so it’s kind of like matted and sorta-kinda wavy. I so badly wish I was the girl who woke up and spent 30 minutes making those beautiful beach waves that everyone has, but it is SO rare that I actually make time to do that. But man, those moms who do it look so put together!

I think the struggle for me isn’t necessarily that I’m comparing myself and I feel inadequate or wish I was more like anyone I happen to stumble upon in the great big online world we live in, but I think the struggle is just that I don’t understand how these things are being done. How are other people finding the time to do it all, when some days I’m barely surviving until bedtime? If I had an extra six hours a day (after the kids are asleep, of course) I think I could look pretty fab, I would work out, my house would be clean, my dishes and laundry would be done, I might even cook occasionally. But with the 24 hours a day that I get, I just really can’t. I’m basically just trying to keep us all alive and relatively clean, if we’re being honest.

So I vote that we all just keep it real. Does a mother of two (or one or three or five or twelve) really have time to do it alllllllll? Some of it, sure. I find time to work on my shop (Haven Gray Kids, if you’re curious). I find time to write. I find time to read my bible and pray and play with my kids and keep my house picked up and somewhat clean and to spray tan and have my hair highlighted every couple of months because, hello, priorities. The things I feel like I must do for my sanity, I get done. But I don’t fix my hair every day, or paint my nails, or work out, or take beautiful staged photos or flip houses or own a boutique, or, or, or, or.

I guess the moral of my story is, just do you. Am I allowed to use that phrase? It felt kind of wrong. But I like the sentiment. Do what makes you feel good, what helps keep your kids alive, what you must do each day to be sane and happy and healthy. You simply can’t do it all. Not now. Maybe not ever. But you can do the very most important things, and if you’re honest with yourself, you know what those things are. Focus on those, and let the rest go. For now. You can always conquer the world after your kids are in school. That’s my plan, at least.

Haven Gray – The Blog

Life is funny, and one thing I’ve learned in my time here on earth is that you can never predict the future. I’ve been a “blogger” for more than five years now, but my heart hasn’t been in it for a a few years. I struggled to find my passion for writing, and when I did, I would lose focus and revert back to the same thing I’d always done – which was a whole lot of posting about my boys and our daily lives. Although I definitely think there is a time for those types of posts, I never felt passionate about writing them.

Recently, I’ve been feeling the urge to write again. My life has been turned upside down within the last 10 months or so, in an incredible way, and I know that this is where the passion to write is stemming from. I have been learning so much, soaking in such good stuff for the past several months, and I want to share it. I also want to share my thoughts and feelings along the way. I’ve been doing this a lot on my Instagram account, but I’ve been feeling led to do something more with it. So here we are.

The thing that turned my life upside down was actually God. That still sounds almost silly to me, because it is the absolute last thing I was expecting or looking for. For many, many years I had been perfectly content to keep God very far from my life – I always said if I felt like something was missing then I might consider pursuing the whole “God thing”, but I never felt that urge. However, for some reason it appears that God decided it was time, and things started happening almost without any effort on my part. It’s been an interesting time, and although it isn’t something I was searching for, I can’t begin to explain how thankful I am that it happened.

I feel like there are several things that God has in store for me, and I think this new online space might be a part of it all. I also feel like the online boys clothing shop that I launched with my mom a few months ago, Haven Gray Kids, plays a role as well. I have big, big hopes and dreams for the places that my life might go over the next few years, and I’m believing that they will come to pass. I hope that this blog will be an outlet where I can share as things begin to unfold.

So with that, Haven Gray {the blog} is officially launched. Thanks for stopping by, friends.