Thursday, February 22, 2018

healthy stepmom - support for a healthy lifestyle


When I became a stepmom, the first thing that took a dive was my health, especially my weight because of the stress of it all send my thyroid into chaos.  Two and a half years later I am still dealing with that.  I gained 50 lbs! Even writing it hurts.  Thankfully this year I was able to find a doctor who helped me tremendously and the weight has started to come off albeit slowly.  But I am feeling healthy and with lots of energy.

But this experience made me want to help other stepmoms avoid the pitfalls I fell in, like emotional eating and drinking, lack of energy that led to no exercising and just retreating into an unhealthy cocoon.  I look back and I remember the girl I used to be-- actively running and doing Crossfit, eating very healthy and just thriving.  I am now back into the thick of things even training for a half marathon.  And slowly I am starting to feel more like myself.

And that is why every week I will share a Healthy Stepmom post-- as a way to promote motivation and support to the momma's out there.  From recipes, to exercise to makeup, skincare and fashion, I want to share posts that motivate you. A healthy lifestyle is so important and self-care is necessary for a healthy and thriving life. It is amazing how, especially new stepmoms, do not realize how necessary self-care is to maintain the sanity.  But it is also as a way to network, clear the mind and just be a happier version of yourself.  I believe in healthy living and I want to share it with you. 

Tell me, what kind of post would you like to see as part of Healthy Stepmom?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

stepmothering with grace - protect the house

Stepmotherhood is not for the faint of heart.  And I have to believe that God knows I have a strong heart to travel this journey.   It is not just about the drama of dealing with stepkids and their mother.  For me the worst part is seeing the attacks against my husband—a good man that put up with a lot of emotional and physical abuse for the sake of his children.  And because he endured so much, it breaks my heart when his children hurt him.  Part of it is that he has taken the “high road” and has not spoken his side of the story to protect the kids from the realities of an abusive marriage at the hands of their mother.  But we pay a price for their protection.  And that price is betrayal by those he is protecting.

Did I mention stepmotherhood is not for the faint of heart?
As I sit here, I realize this week has been soul crushing and demoralizing for him. This man, who is a man’s man, won’t say that his soul is crushed, but I know him.  I know he hurts, and all I can do is offer support.  This week, by coincidence, we came upon evidence of the duplicitous scheming going on behind our backs by his daughter and her mom.  My husband is not the emotional type but he loves his children, especially his daughter.  And to see the effects of her words as he read them was soul crushing for me too.  I was hurting for him.  Suddenly he looked aged; the sadness palpable.  My protective instinct wanted to shield him from this pain, and scream at those hurting him, but I knew what he needed was my silent support.  So I held his hand and offered it.  Never underestimate the power of silence.
And as he slept, I cried silently for this man who has my whole heart. A man with a truly good and generous heart that is being trampled and treated awfully.  And today, I am still here—offering my support.  Because I will never let him walk this valley of shadows alone.  We take deep breaths as if by doing so we can cleanse the hurt away.  We arm ourselves with patience but that act tests us.  We pray.  I know he does it silently; I do it on my own. I think of prayer as private time with God.  But maybe it is time that we do it as a team; that we both put on the Full Armor of God—the one passage of the Bible that made me turn to God when I was an unbeliever.  I believe in my heart that the prayer that brought me to will deliver us through.  I believe that with my whole heart.

This is our house, and we must protect it.  This family in the cusp of falling apart must be protect it.  This child, oh dear God-- this child who will get lost in life MUST BE PROTECTED.  Life would be easier without the headaches of this drama, but we were raised by amazing parents and we cannot let her go down a road that will lead to disaster, even if she does not understand it. So TOGETHER, we put on the Armor of God. Together we head this head on and with arms full of faith.

The Armor of God - Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Joining Dance with Jesus Grace and Truth  Five Minute Friday, Faith ‘n Friends, Sunday Thoughts Linkup, Chasing Community, Salt and Light, #GraceMoments Sunday Thoughts , Mommy Moments , Inspire Me Monday , Glimpses, Good Morning Mondays,    LMM LinkupTrekking Thru, Tell His Story,   Holly Gerth,  Kristin Hill Taylor,  Seeking God with Jaime Wiesel,  Writer Wednesday,  Modest Mom,  Share Your Cup, Crystal Storms, Modest Mom,   Thinking Out Loud Thursday,  Recharge Wednesday,   Moments of HopeQuietly Through Thursday, A Fireman’s Wife  Faith on Fire,  Chasing Community,  Be Thee Inspired  

Thursday, February 1, 2018

the power of 'yes' - a love note to my beloved

"YES" was the word.

One word.  It changed everything.

With that "yes" came a new life, a new journey. Through thick and thin. In sickness and in health. When I said yes, I agreed to all of that.  I agreed to you-- my person-- but I also agreed to the package that came with you.  Was I prepared for everything that came with it? Absolutely... NOT.

But I agreed to this life that sometimes makes me wonder "what was I thinking?" or "would I say YES if I could see what was in the future?"  Sometimes my head says a big no, but then I look at you-- the one God chose for me-- and then I know I would do it again.  Because you are the one I love.  My beloved.  The one I feel protective of. The one I would defend and protect from the lies of those who want to cause you trouble. You have never asked me to do this for you, but my heart and soul wants to.

During the hard times, I question God when He put in my heart to say 'yes' to you.  Why would He want me to be here? Why would He want me to experience all the emotions and drama that come with stepmotherhood.  And then I look at you.  And I know-- I am here to walk with you.

To give you a shoulder to lean on, to hear what is sitting heavy in your heart, and to walk this sometimes crazy life together.  I am here to be your other half, your shield, your confidant, your trusted advisor when this life seems too much.  You may not tell me when the stress of dealing with the remnants of your former life are too much, but I know.  I can see it in your eyes.  And in those moments, I hold your hand and we decide to just BE in the moment.

There is comfort in just being us, and that comfort comes from knowing that God blessed us by bringing our paths together.  The power of our 'YES' comes from the Lord.  I agreed to love all of you with your imperfections and to live a life as a stepmother to your children.  And you agreed to love me with all of my imperfections and my crazy love of dogs and miniature donkeys.

And in the end, that is the key, we said yes and agreed to everything that our lives bring.  Not just the good but also the bad. Through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. And I take these vows seriously because I said YES.

The YES that said "I agree" to love all of you.


Joining Dance with Jesus Grace and Truth  Five Minute Friday, Faith ‘n Friends, Sunday Thoughts Linkup, Chasing Community, Salt and Light, #GraceMoments

Self-Care – How Exercise Can Help with Anxiety and Stress

Early on in my stepmotherhood journey, I discovered how much my body needed exercise, not so much for weight loss or physical fitness but for mental fitness.  It was my me time when, through exercise and sweating, I was able to burn through whatever anger, angst, or anxiety I was going through.  For me prayers or conversations with God is the first way I exercise self-care, but there is a physical manifestation to the emotions we fell, and exercise can help dealing with them.
How can exercise help dealing with stress? Here are some benefits that have been proven to occur in your body when you exercise:

  • Endorphines Central. Exercise reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators. [1]
  • This chemical reaction in your brain is usually know as a runner's high, but truly any exercise can cause the same “feel good” reaction. It is also a mood enhancer because exercise helps with self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. And it can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life. [2]
  • Working out does something pretty amazing for at least while you are exercising—makes you forget about the stress as you focus on your body.  This creates a meditation state.  I often find myself talking to God as I am running or swimming.

  • ‘Me’ Time is Good.  Whether you chose to exercise alone or with friends, it provides an opportunity for either breathing with calmness or make friends and network.
Recommendations: Find an activity you love and pencil it in your calendar.  It is not about turning it into another chore but rather, having it your calendar as a reminder that ‘me’ time is important too.  Once you choose your activity, devote 30 minutes at least three times a week.  It is said that it takes 21 days to form a habit.  So let’s make this a healthy habit as an investment in our physical and emotional health!  


Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional nor mental health specialist. The opinions offered are simply what has worked for me as I go through this journey of stepmotherhood.

Friday, January 26, 2018

don't lose yourself, stepmomma

Before I became a stepmom, I was a successful single professional with a career I loved.  I felt strong and like I could conquer the world.  Which is why I was caught by surprise when, after three months of marriage and instant full-time stepmotherhood, I realized I was on the verge of a depression.  It happened without me noticing, until I almost fell down that precipice that almost robbed me of the most important thing I have: ME. 

Society is brutal towards stepmothers.  We are seen as the evil ones-- even when the ending of the previous marriage has nothing to do with us. We may not have even been in the picture until years later but it does not matter.  We are here: the evil stepmom.  So it is only normal that as new stepmoms (and even veteran ones) we try to be the best we can, even when it is breaking us.  

I do not know about you but when I realized, after spending three days in bed and not realizing it, and nobody telling me, I went through a rollercoaster-- surprise, sadness, anger, and determination.  It was heartbreaking to feel like stepmotherhood was robbing me of ME.  I was trying to please everyone, to be the perfect stepmom and wife, and meet all the pressures and expectations that society puts on stepmoms.  I realized that while I was doing that, I forgot to take care of myself.  I was losing my essence. 

Photo by Brooke Cagle on UnsplashAdd caption

So I fought back to be the ME that said enough to being bullied by kids, sort of ignored by a husband who suddenly felt like it was no longer his job to care for his kids since he had a wife.  In that process I found the me that said "I fell for it once but I will not react to your narcissistic nature because lack of attention drives you crazy".  But above all, I said to myself:


So I surrendered to that truth with all of my strength and faith.  And I became intentional about finding myself and what made me a happy and healthy woman-- self-care exercising, finding new hobbies. But above all I prayed, even when the anger was within me and made my body tremble. Because here is what praying and self-care did for me: they helped me focus on my purpose. That same purpose revealed to me when I was deciding if becoming a stepmom by marrying my husband was the right thing.  That purpose put in my heart that made me surrender to His plan and I said "Yes, I will marry you". 

Remember, stepmommas-- YOU are most yourself when you are wrapped up in purpose, not your position.  Do not lose yourself in the circumstances of the position of "stepmom" even when it challenges you.  Instead let us all focus on the purpose that brought us here.  Let us not lose ourselves and let His purpose for us be the guiding light.

every stepmom needs a tribe

Hello and welcome to Stepmom Tribe (SMT).  My name is Luna and I am so glad you are here today to hopefully learn a bit more about what SMT is about.  This little tribe started out of the need to come together with other stepmoms and simply be.  If you are here, you are probably a stepmom and know what a hard journey this could be.  I became an instant full-time stepmom three years ago when I said “I do” to my husband. And let me be the first to tell you, no books, blogs or videos prepared me for what came after. It was not all too bad at first but as then the challenges of stepmotherhood started rearing their ugly head, and I felt like I could not catch my breath. To this day some situations still make me feel like that. Which is why SMT came to be. 
I needed to surround myself with other warriors who have or are walking this walk.  SMT started as an Instagram account and I will be the first one to tell you that without my followers, there are times I would have lost my mind.  And slowly I started feeling like I wanted a bigger platform where I can expand on various topics.  And here we are.
So, what is SMT about? Helping each other through this journey and coming together to help each other flourish. 

What is SMT not about? Bashing each other.  I want you to be able to vent without fear of judgement and in a respectful manner.  Will there be times when I may use a cursed word? Probably, but I will try not to.  Will there be times when you will read something that will make you have to do the ‘yoga breathing’? I promise you there will be. But I want you to feel comfortable doing that. 

Think of SMT as that one friend’s house where you can come, tuck your feet under a comfy blanket and just be, and breath.  This is what I strive for.  We are strong women who do not get nearly enough credit for everything we do.  But your tribe always knows all the things you accomplish on a daily basis and how you are treated in the process.  Here we want you to thrive and flourish. To be in this journey and still be you, to not lose your essence in the daily grind.  Here you are welcome as you are, stepmommas.  Welcome to the tribe!