Fall is Here

    Who doesn’t love the smell of apples, pumpkins, and spices? Who doesn’t love the blend of orange, amber, gold, green, and the deepest of reds? Who doesn’t love pies and Sunday football? My friends, fall is upon us! It is my favorite time of year, but ironically it is also a great metaphor for letting go and preparing your life for spring.

    As you know fall is also called Autumn and while that has a beautiful ring to it, how simple yet powerful is the word “fall”? It symbolizes the falling of leaves and in Old English, the word derives from feallan which means “to fall or to die.” What else must fall right now in our lives? What leaves of pain, hurt, bitterness are we harboring and need to just let fall to the ground in order to bare our trees and prepare for new life?

    This week has been one of the toughest weeks of my life and today when the cool air blew through, it reminded me that a new season it upon us and with those seasons comes change. Change is not comfortable. It feels like the dress that still doesn’t fit quite right, yet we have to put it on to remind ourselves of what we ultimately desire. Change is hard because of fear! Fear that we will not be successful at the new job or venture we are running towards. Fear that if we magnify the looking glass, we will see that our choices are not based on what is true and good, but what feels good. Fear that if I change my thinking, it will change who I am or maybe even make me weak.

    But when God chooses to change the season, the world does not fight back. It understands that the falling, dying, and reviving is necessary for the story of life to continue. My shadows are roaring louder and bleeding darkness all over my picture lately, but I know that just as the season is changing, so is my life. I am being pruned and made bare, so that new life can well up and flourish. Closing the door on the chapters of our lives that have been kept a secret and held us captive is a scary, exhausting, yet enlightening experience.

      Fall brings so many lovely smells, foods, pastimes into our lives and I want to bask in each of these with joy for what is to come, not sorrow for the losses that I have experienced.

    What does fall represent to you? What are your favorite things about this new season you are in?

    Freedom in Truth

    Have you ever walked so far on a journey and realized that you somehow ended up back in a spot that you vowed to never enter again? Maybe it is the back road of that small town where the broken heart lives, and the boy who said everything right and stole your heart ended up breaking it into pieces. Maybe it is the big city where you indulged in too much, and the mirror started to reveal more of you than you wanted to see. Maybe it is back at the high school football game where you see people that once made you feel small, or in the dark corners of the night where you meet a man named depression who comes to steal all your joy.

    There is so much along our journeys that come back to haunt us and hold us hostage to our past. Our freedom is robbed when we circle back to those places. The cycle of doubt, shame, hurt, and an unhealthy attachment to those roadblocks in our journey can destroy our lives, but recently I have learned that we can approach those not as our chains, but our stories. I have lived a very hidden life. I post the one I want people to see. Don’t we all? I learned very early to put on a face to hide things that were not suited for others to see. This blog is opening up a floodgate of emotions and unveiling pieces of myself that have been reserved for only the deepest waters of my heart.

    Finding Freedom in the Light the shines on my face leaving my shadows behind me!

    Sometimes the shame creeps up on me, sometimes the mirror lies to me and tells me that even though I work so hard, that I am not worthy to feel confident and beautiful. Sometimes I think I don’t deserve the amazing man I married because of all I have put him through. Sometimes I want to go back and redo the last 15 years and see if it will change the outcome of certain aspects of my life. And feeling all of this makes me feel guilty! What a vicious cycle!

    I believe however, in the midst of this wreck on my journey, that there is freedom in TRUTH! The truth is that I am not perfect. I have made some mistakes that have caused some waves in marriage, my friendships, and my health. I have stretch marks, love handles, thick thighs, and chubby cheeks, but over the last three years I have lost 85 pounds and run over 1000 miles. I have let my depression and anxiety steal months and precious moments of my life. But in all this, there is freedom in accepting my Truths!

    There is a definition of freedom that I love. It says that, Freedom is when we are in a state of being exempt or released usually from something burdensome. Instead of burdening myself with feelings of shame, guilt, feeling unworthy, and hopelessness, I am free in accepting those as past journeys; towns and cities that I once traveled through, that I have pictures of in my heart, but that do not hold me captive. I am released from them, exempt from feeling their weight, but comforted knowing I have a stronger stride because of what they taught me.

    I want to tell my stories because I am learning how to accept and navigate this freedom, but please do not be fooled; it is the hardest lesson I have learned. I am being tested, chiseled, attacked, and I literally feel like I am alone most of the time in the depths of my own thoughts. Yet, the light shines even on the darkest of nights, and Joy comes in the morning!

    As I write this blog and begin to open up more in my daily life, I hear people who share their journeys and the comforts of universal struggles overwhelms me. My prayer is that you fight to find Freedom in your Truths! Don’t hide from them, or be ashamed of them, but shine them in the light and let the shadows of those burdens fall.

    Share this blog and let’s start a new wave of people who can accept their whole journey and use them to empower others!


    Reverse Bucket List

    I have been spending a lot of time the last few weeks pondering the, “what=ifs”, “the shoulda, coulda, wouldas”, and my bucket list, so to speak. You know the one that is more like a fantasy bucket list than my, “really going to happen” stuff.

    Thinking about these things got me really down and even had me doubting some pretty big choices I made in my life. After reflecting and reading some fellow blogs, I decided to do a “Reverse Bucket List”-a list of all the great and exciting things I have already done in the 30 years I have walked this Earth. So, here are some of the highlights of my life that I am ever so thankful for:

    1. I got to go to Disney World as a pre-teen thanks to my grandpa who was a radio station DJ and got us free tickets ( I was a turd the whole time to my parents, but my dad rode the Tower of Terror with me and it was amazing for this roller coaster junkie)
    2. I tried out to sing the National Anthem at the Missions game and was one of the ten winners out of 200 contestants. I sang it on my 16th birthday! It was EPIC!
    3. I got to travel to Brazil when I was 14 on a Mission trip and experience the love and compassion of people who are less fortunate, but with the biggest hearts I have ever seen.
    4.  I married my high school sweetheart in the same church we met in and surprised him with a song I still sing today! I will never forget that smile on his face!
    5. Though I didn’t go to Julliard like I wanted to, I did get to graduate with a Bachelors degree and technically I have enough hours to have a PhD in something! I just can’t decide what I want to be when I grow up….
    6. I gave birth to a miracle micro-preemie and watched her beat every odd that came her way
    7. Luke and I got to spend our 10 year anniversary in Mexico soaking up the sun and enjoying being brought back together after a time of brokenness.
    8. I gave birth to another miracle girl who is the Sunshine of our mornings!
    9. I have been snow-skiing five times, to the beach and river countless times, and traveled through 6 states (It pays to be a youth minister’s daughter along for the youth trips)
    10. I have met the most amazing people in my life who have either been there just briefly or for a lifetime, but what an honor it has been to be in the presence of people who work hard, have shown me love, and had an impact on my life in some capacity.

    I could go on for days on all the experiences I have had in my lifetime as a teenager, youth minister’s daughter, a musician, with Luke, my girls, my friends, my co-workers, my students, my sisters, parents, but there is not enough white space on this page to fill all the beautiful experiences that make up my life and all the shadows that linger as well.

    Today though, I wanted to focus on being grateful for these wonderful moments that God allowed me to have in my life rather than be bitter about where my road has not yet taken me.

    Look out on the journey, but don’t forget the one you left behind

    There is a time and a place for “Bucket Lists” and I will share mine soon, but it is also equally, if not more important to show gratitude for the places we have been and what that journey has taught us. I encourage you create your own “Reverse Bucket List” and share it in the comments or feel free to email me. You will be amazed at the beauty of your journey!


    All I Ever Have to Be is What You Made Me

    Today I missed church! It might seem like a small thing to most people, but to a preacher’s daughter it comes with a bundle of guilt especially when you are responsible for playing the piano, singing, and generally just being present. I had surgery to remove a tooth that infected some nerves in my mouth on Friday, so I am still in some pain and just needed some rest as I also had my first week of school. As I lay in bed writing this post, I am reflecting on the way I feel when I miss church and it is deeply rooted in the multiple identities I have as a woman. I know so many of you can identify with this!

    Obviously I am the preacher’s daughter, but hey I am 30 now with a family of my own, so I should be past the “aiming to please” stage, but really I am not. My parents were never the kind that asked any more of me than what I genuinely was, but somewhere I got in my head that I needed to be golden and perfect almost. This notion was both a blessing and a curse! There was this thought process inside me that believed I had to be perceived as perfect to the outside world, but this was just the beginning of a lifelong battle of never being satisfied, or good enough, and a perfection that is unattainable.

    I spent so many years trying to be perfect and hiding my secrets, my emotions, my depression, my broken marriage, that I missed out on living life. Here I am 30 years old, and I feel like I don’t know how to cope sometimes with the arrows that come my way. The thing is that I don’t have to please anyone! I know that, and I believe that, but living that is a different story! Can I get an Amen?

    There is an Amy Grant song that my mom still sings and reminds us of when we feel like we are trying to hard to be what the world wants us to be. It simply says, “All I ever have to be is what you made me.”

    The steeple is outside the church, lifting itself to God…maybe sometimes we should do the same!

    I have made so many mistakes and I am not the perfect preacher’s daughter, but who asked me to be? My parents certainly never did! I put it upon myself to think that I was meant to be perfect or golden and let me tell you…it was exhausting! I am so broken from the chapters of life: bad boyfriends, bad break-ups, feeling inadequate when it came to brains, talents, or beauty, comparing myself to others, depression, secrets, infertility, anxiety, a broken marriage, broken dreams, and a lost identity.

    What I am realizing over time is that women have so many identities to uphold: the woman, the wife, the mom, the daughter, the sister, the friend, the career, and so much more. It can be exhausting! Some days, you just need to lay in bed, and think about who you are and whose you are! Don’t compare yourself to others because they are not walking in your flip flops or heels or boots! I am not saying lay around in bed all day or never go to church because I believe in community, but realize that your identity as a woman is your voice and what a story we all have to share! Share it when you are ready and when it feels genuine.

    I missed church today and you know what, I am okay with that because my God is big enough to hear my heart  from wherever I am, and my life is not measured by how many Sundays I play on that piano. Slowly, but surely, I am learning that lesson. I am so thankful that he opened my heart to sharing my story on this blog. I am really a very private person, but I just hope that through the posts and pages on this website, you will find that being a woman, with all the identities we take on, is an adventure. Our journey should not expect perfection, but rather bask in the the glory of the unknown…don’t worry about what others think, don’t live in the future, don’t live in the past. Just LIVE the LIFE God has given you! Enjoy every moment! I am learning this very tough lesson right there with you!

    If you are struggling to find the balance in all the identities God has placed in your life as a wife, mom, working woman, friend, caregiver, etc., I would love to hear from you, or if you have inspiration for our readers on how to balance all those roles, we would love to hear from you. Either way…it important for us to support each other!

    Blessings on this Sunday!


    The Shadow that Started it All

    Being called Mommy was the dream that was above them all for me. I wanted to sing my babies to sleep instead of sing on a big stage every night. I wanted to change diapers instead of change from plane to plane traveling the world. I wanted to build a home for my family instead of build riches to fill my wallet or degrees to fill my mind.

    Getting married at 18, I knew already that having a family might be a difficult task as I had struggled with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) for two years. I had already had one miscarriage in high school that no one knew about. It was terrifying to be a preacher’s daughter, pregnant at 17, but then to lose the baby all alone was one of the most traumatic experiences in my life. It took me years to tell anyone about this baby and the loss.

    We started trying 6 months after getting married. Months and years went by with an empty womb. We saw countless doctors, ran hormone and genetic tests, and realized fertility treatments were the only option for our dream to become a reality. We went into debt for the needles, Intrauterine Insemination procedures, medicines, and long drives to the fertility doctor. I actually got pregnant on the first try with a set of twins. I lost one twin at 6 weeks, and the other at 11 weeks. This was the moment darkness entered my heart and mind like I had never known. I felt like a failure! Why couldn’t we get pregnant like normal people with the fun involved? Why couldn’t my body hold to a baby or babies that I already loved so much?

    We went through 7 more procedures with no luck. I had gained so much weight, my stomach was bruised by the needles, and the void in our hearts was growing. Infertility is not easy on a marriage, in fact, many times it can be the thing that breaks marriages apart. Ours was holding on by a string! We took a month off of all the meds, traveling, procedures, and tests to prepare for In-vitro fertilization. The day I signed my first teaching contract, I started feeling very queasy, had indigestion like never before, and cried uncontrollably. I am not a crier, so I knew something was off. I took a pregnancy test expecting a negative because it is what I had seen for five years. Two minutes later, there were two pink lines. My world was changed forever that day!

    Pregnancy was rough for me, but I said “bring it on” at that point because I was so ready to be a mommy. My Lily Claire was born at 25 weeks due to my hormone issues and inability to carry a baby to term. She was 1 pound, 11 ounces and I will tell her story in my next post. But, this little tiny girl was the answer to my every prayer! She made my dreams come true! She is now a feisty, free-spirited, smart, healthy 6 year old.

    Lily Claire Huth
    One Pound, 11 Ounces
    Born at 25 weeks

    We enjoyed her and didn’t think much about more kids for a few years until we realized that we weren’t able to get pregnant again. Because we had her, the desperation and struggle was not as strong, but I still wanted her to have siblings. She was already starting kinder and we were having baby fever. After coming home from our 10 year anniversary trip to Mexico, I started having that indigestion and crying again. Evidently, we just needed relaxation and a few margaritas. Two pink lines changed my life again!

    Unfortunately, due to Lily’s premature birth, I was put on heavy watch during the second pregnancy. I had progesterone shots in the butt every week, weekly appointments with a specialists, and was put on bed rest at 6 months. At 35 weeks, Charlotte Raine made her way into the world, and my heart was fuller than it had ever been!

    Charlotte Raine Huth
    5 pounds, 7 ounces

    I had two beautiful girls, an amazing husband who stood by me through infertility, miscarriages, and depression, and yet post-partum depression crept into my life and put a shadow over my beautiful picture. To add to this, three months after having Charlotte, I had another early miscarriage. Once again I kept it a secret because I didn’t want people to think that I was not overjoyed for the blessings of my two girls and renewed marriage. But depression doesn’t go away because you ask it to. It lingers in the crevices of your heart and mind. It robs you of the joy you should be feeling and if you are not careful, it can chase away those closest to you.

    My dream to be a mommy has been fulfilled and my heart a wellspring of blessings. What I have come to realize is that along the way, shadows, secrets, loss, and struggles have painted themselves on top of my joy. I wake up every day with my boxing gloves on, ready to fight this thing called depression that stemmed from things in the past and now blooms with new petals of the present. Being mommy, with its failures and victories, is still my dream! I have two beautiful girls to remind me of the bumps, bruises, and scars it took to make that dream a reality. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

    Our little family! These girls bring JOY to our heart.

    For those who are in the battle of infertility, depression, anxiety, or a marriage that is holding on by a thread, I hope you find comfort knowing you are not alone. Your fight will be your story, and believe me when I say that my fight with these things will never be over.  I heard an art teacher say this week that any mess up on a painting can always be fixed. What a beautiful metaphor for our lives! So let the shadows and dark areas of those struggles add depth and beauty to your picture.

    I would love to hear and be inspired by your stories of motherhood or overcoming depression. If you would like to sign up to receive the posts and newsletters through email, please do so on the home page.


    The Journey Transcends the Destination

    I took this picture on one of my vacation runs in the hill country. I rise with the sun, take a step and run the race. The Journey is all that matters!

    Originally I planned for this blog to be all about my fitness journey and how when began to lose weight, my shadow was literally shrinking, falling back into that girl I was before PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), before the depression, before the countless months of fertility meds, before the routine of unhealthy habits. However, as I began to soul search, I realized that my shadows were so much deeper than the one I saw shrinking with the weight loss. I had so many dark places in my life that were hidden even from myself.

    After years of health and hormone related issues, we finally figured out I had a thyroid problem. I was put on one pill that changed my whole life. I woke up one day, decided it was time to live, and I hit the road and ran 1/2 a mile. I think I almost died that day! I hated running! I was the girl that told my junior high coach I was allergic to running. But I kept going and now, three years later, I average 20-25 miles per week.

    I began to play with my diet and learn what foods my body could and couldn’t handle. I didn’t follow anyone’s specific diet or meal plan. Instead I listened to what my body was telling me.  I cut out red meat, refined carbs, and replaced two meals with Herbalife shakes. Over time, I was in the best shape of my life.

    I find myself in a slump right now. I still run almost every morning, but my runs have lost their therapeutic vibe and without weight lifting, cardio is only maintaining my figure, not chiseling my target areas. I find myself eating the snacks that Charlotte eats, putting more carbs on my plate than fresh veggies, and not drinking enough water on these hot summer days in Texas.

    So today, I created a workout calendar for both me and Luke, and I revisited my mileage goal for the year in order to motivate me to hit my target goals. Instead of running 500 miles this year, I plan to push myself to run 650 miles. I am currently a few miles short of 400, and with the help of Runkeeper and my Fitbit Blaze, I can keep track of my miles and pacing. Sample fitness and meal plans will be making their way on the ‘Healthy Living’ section of this blog soon.

    Here is a sample of our workout schedule for the rest of August: Workout Sample Calendar

    The beautiful thing about a fitness journey is that it is a journey, never a destination. Sometimes we take wrong turns, or we linger at a rest stop for way too long, but with determination, hard work, and accountability, you get right back on the road and let your journey take you to places you never thought you could go. I try not to let the shadows of the old me stop my journey; rather, I use them to fuel my tank and remind me that every corner of my picture, dark or colorful, has a purpose.

    What are your fitness routines and how do you fit them into your work and home routines? How has your fitness journey been a catalyst for healing in your body, mind, and soul?


    I am that Mom and that Teacher

    Another school year is upon us and while most teachers are sad for the summer to end and anxious for the new year, they are generally ready to implement new techniques, decorate their rooms, and meet their new students. I am going to be completely transparent; I am not that teacher this year. I am the teacher who is wondering if she really makes a difference anymore in a world where violence and hatred seems to lurk in every corner. I am the teacher who is terrified that I am sending students out into a world knowing how to bubble, but not knowing how to be compassionate towards humankind. I am the teacher who cries during her conference because she takes on all the burdens and pressures that her students face. I am the mom that worries that my own kids will suffer from my over-dedication to my students. I am the mom who forgets snacks, special dress-up days, and sometimes I forget to check her backpack. I am the mom who is exhausted by the end of the day from giving all my energy to someone else’s kids and coming home on auto-pilot.

    I am full of anxieties and fears for this new year, not only for what is to come as a teacher, but also ensuring my own child is getting a good education and balancing the job, my fitness routine, poor finances, rebuilding my marriage, coping with my depression, along with raising a toddler. Today I sat in a training and kept thinking about how I just don’t know if I have “it” in me anymore-that spark that used to help me connect with kids and relate content to their lives. The shadows of my fears and failures as a teacher and a mom are overwhelming me as the new year is upon us. And yet, my prayer is that all of you, teachers, moms, both working and stay at home, feel that you are not alone in your worry for what might come.

    I have volumes of soul searching to do in my life in order to figure out what paths I am going to run down, but please know my life is not void of JOY. I am blessed beyond measure, but I must speak truth and invite you to reflect on the shadows that revolve around your career and how it affects your family and you as a woman. Use those shadows to empower your goals and vision for yourself! Spark up a conversation with your husband, friend, mom, boss about where you want to be. And most importantly, find balance in the rustlings of your day.

    I am that mom, that teacher, who plans to get out the rusty, old balance beam and take it one day at a time.




    Let the Shadows Fall

    The dictionary definition of the word, “shadow,” like many words, has an array of meanings, but when I tried to wrap my head around what I wanted this blog to exemplify, one definition stood out: “the shaded part of a picture.” My life, just as all our lives is an ever-moving panoramic picture. At first glance, my picture looks beautiful. A portrait of family, faith, laughter, and music, but if you look closely, you will see the shadows behind those blessings-the shaded areas where I hid my fears, secrets, and broken dreams.

    You see those shadows are not meant to disappear as my first drafted title, “The Disappearing Shadows,” intended; however, they are meant to fall back into the picture, the life that was given, and that I choose to fight for everyday. I don’t want to forget those shaded and dark areas of my life, but I do want to use them to strengthen my voice, those who are battling their own shadows, and ultimately, I want to believe that my picture is still beautiful.

    This is why my blog isn’t revolved around a specific hobby or talent, but rather, it will just tell my story of all the shadows and colors that have blended together to make up this portrait that is my life. It has no intention of looking perfect, but rather inviting all of you into the journey I am on. I am learning to let my shadows teach instead of hurt, mend instead of break, bring hope instead of hide away.

    I invite you to the deepest places of my picture where I have been hiding for a very long time.