A Message for the Lonely: You are Not Alone

Disclaimer: I wasn’t planning to post this. I actually wrote this months ago. I didn’t want it to make people feel awkward or obligated. (You’ll understand as you read). But… I feel like I need to share because this is part of life, and part of my struggles.

Based on a conversation with other moms a few weeks ago, I think many can relate. My hopes are that by sharing our hearts we can help each other reach truth and self acceptance. So please know, I’m not doing this in an attempt to seek attention, I’m doing this in an attempt to seek healing. I’m also posting this for all other women who struggle with feelings of loneliness to know: You are not alone.

You know that saying, “Nothing good every happens after midnight?” Well, in mom terms that translates to “Nothing good every happens after 9:00PM.” This seems especially true tonight.

Scrolling through social media late at night is just not a good idea for me… I felt pretty good about myself right before I opened up my computer, and now I am in tears. (This outcome is also magnified by hormones LoL) All I could see was the success of others that I didn’t have yet, the parties and celebrations that I wasn’t invited to, and the friends and deep connection with others that seemed out of my reach. 

My heart is breaking. I feel like I don’t belong. I feel unwanted. I feel unlovable. I feel forgotten. I feel a deep ache in my heart. I feel a longing in my heart for connection. Real connection. A connection I had with a group of friends in college. We could openly share our struggles, our joys, our awkwardness with each other without any judgement, knowing we’d have unconditional love for each other…. I miss that kind of connection.

So now who do I talk to? I feel like I really don’t have that one girlfriend that I can spill my guts to. (Update: I know this is now a lie, as so many friends have opened up to me in the past few weeks… but alas, this was my thought when I wrote this.) So I’m spilling my guts to my computer screen. At 11PM. On a Monday. God, help me. (Literally).

I am reading the book Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst right now, and it’s so fitting. I just started and feel like I’ve gotten bits of nuggets from it, but still waiting for my ah-ha! moment to arrive and be fixed… but that doesn’t just happen from reading a book. That happens from intentional prayer, reading multiple books, chewing on the truth (not literally, but mentally), hashing things out with God, waiting, listening, worshiping, and possibly repeating the process multiple times.

What I do know is how I feel, and I recognize these are lies. I feel unwanted… forgotten… unlovable…. maybe I start to believe the lies because I can think of so many events I wasn’t invited to, inside jokes I don’t know, opportunities I wasn’t included in, the times people who I’ve met before literally forgot me. Every time one of these things happen, it’s like a tiny stab in my heart. So I scroll through a Facebook feed and those tiny stabs lead to a gaping hole.

A hole in my heart that people aren’t meant to fill. My feelings of being loved don’t reside in people justifying it. I (should) know I am loved, because I am called Beloved by my Creator and Savior. I belong because He says I belong to Him. I may not belong to every clique or club, but I belong to His kingdom, and that (should be) is enough. I am never forgotten. My God knows my thoughts, my sorrows, my emotions every second of every day… and despite that He still wants me. He longs for my heart. I long for that to be enough.

How do I believe this truth? I know I’m not the only one who has these struggles. Please share your tips and truths below.

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Self Care Series: Sunshine

It’s time for another segment of our Self Care Series: yay! Ok, y’all… First, I have to show you just the awesomeness (yes, it’s a word… in my book! 😉 ) of the timing of this series: 

1. May is Mental Health Awareness Month: Hello?!? Self Care = Self Love.

2. I am currently listening to Tiffany Peterson’s Mindset Makeover Series, which focuses on mindset and self care… you guys.

Ok, now that I got THAT out of the way, let’s continue. Last time, I chatted with y’all about sleep, and today I am going to talk about something that may seem totally opposite of that, but it’s equally important: SUNSHINE. Yep, sunshine!

Now, I’m not going to tell you that you need to spend hours a day soaking up the rays, because, hello: skin cancer. BUT I do think it’s really good for your body to get sunshine every single day. So, I’m going to share my routine with you, and you can cater it to your liking and schedule.

My husband and I have been beginning our day together outside. It’s beautiful, y’all… not my backyard, my backyard is just typical, the beautiful aspect is starting the day together outside. We have no rigid routine set for ourselves, we just sit out there after getting our oldest to the bus stop and the younger three kiddos play outside and eat dirt and whatnot. We’ll drink our coffee, read whatever book we happen to be working on (I am currently reading Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst), and just hang out for a bit before he has to leave for work.

What I also started doing was literally laying out in the sun. Not for the sake of tanning, because anyone who knows me knows I don’t tan (despite the fact that my mom is Hispanic, therefore making me half Hispanic… still no tan for me). However, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the feeling of the sun on my skin. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, but I do. 

I remember laying out with my friend Amanda from college on random big rocks the campus had placed throughout the college. There we were laying out on these big rocks right outside of the UCC (I don’t even remember what UCC stands for anymore… I am so old!). The feeling of the sun on my skin is addicting.

I have been laying out for 15 minutes a day for the past couple of months. During nap time when the sun is shining the most, I’ll throw on a tank top and shorts I would never wear in public, and lay out on our outdoor couch. I set my timer so I won’t fall asleep out there, because the heat in South Texas is no joke y’all. This 15 minutes is bliss.

Here are some health benefits from getting sunshine:

– Can help to lower your cholesterol 

– Can help to lower your blood pressure

– Supports your immune system

– Elevate your mood

– Creates Vitamin D in your body

– Improves the appearance of your skin

**Note: We all know that prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer, so keep these times brief. If you’re going to be in the sunshine for more than 15 minutes, then you’ll want to protect your skin. Preferably with a natural sun screen!**

I wanna hear from you! Do you enjoy being out in the sun?

Chasing My Dreams: Meeting Gary Vaynerchuk Along the Way

Two weeks ago, I met Gary Vaynerchuk. Now, I’m blogging about this for a couple of reasons: 1. I want to remember this experience for all eternity. 2. I want to challenge y’all to go out and fight for your dreams. They are worth it. You are worth it.

In order to document this experience, I need to take you back to April. The night of April 15, 2017. I had a dream I was sitting in a business meeting with Gary. Now I don’t remember details, because right as this dream began, I was woken up by a kicked from my 4 year old who is notorious for crawling in bed with us.

So, I thought that was kinda weird, but started getting ready for Easter service at church. I’m applying my mascara when I hear Gary offer his 30 Pitches giveaway. Basically, he offered 30 people to come to New York, pitch their business to him within a 30 second time frame, and he would provide you with feedback.

Now a lot of thoughts went through my head: I should really post about Jesus on my feed and not Gary Vaynerchuk… There’s no way I’m going to get chosen… He’s gonna have thousands of people apply… Will I even be able to afford to fly there if I did get chosen? Whatever. Screw it, I’m gonna go for it.

So I entered the contest. And then I got chosen. And then I freaked out. And then I found cheap flights (thanks SouthWest!). And then I left my 4 kids and went to New York City for the first time in my life. And then I freaked out again. And then I went to VaynerMedia. And then I freaked out again, but only on the inside while I tried playing cool on the outside. But what do I know about being cool? I spend my days with my 4 little kids, so my version of cool is singing all the lyrics to Moana. Whatever. My kids think I’m cool. I got this. Breathe.

I get to VaynerMedia, and mingled amongst the other business owners. There was such an interesting crowd: from social media consultants, to coffee roasters, a volleyball coach, and luxury soap creator. We made our way to a conference room, shaking DRock’s hand and chatting with Tyler while we waited.

 (Tyler is super tall, y’all!)

Gary called us back one by one to give him our pitch. So there I went: a stay at home mom from Texas with a heart for natural healthcare and big dreams. I gave him my 30 second pitch that roughly went like this:

“So, I’m a stay at home mom to 4 kids 6 years old and under, and today I’m pitching to you my side hustle. I’m a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and what I do is educate about natural and holistic health, and I point people in the right direction as to what essential oils would be best for them and their family. Then I help them learn how to use the product correctly, and reach their health goals.”

To which Gary responded: “Great.”

Then: LONG. AWKWARD. PAUSE.

Me: “That’s my pitch.”

Gary: “Ok, so what are you wanting from me?” Panic set in. I wasn’t prepared for this. I just thought he would spit out advice. So I responded by telling him I was just looking for advice.

He starts telling me I already know things he is going to say (which is true for anyone that’s been listening to his content for longer than a week): patience is key (which is funny because I was planning on wearing his Patience is Key shirt, but changed my mind last minute). He talked about collaborating with more people, contacting 5-10-20 more people at night when I’d rather be sleeping, and he also mentioned trying out Anchor, and providing a daily podcast highlighting a different product each day. (By the way, my Anchor station is up and running, you should check it out). You can also find my podcast on iTunes. Just search “Amanda Gerber” and you’ll see my podcast!

We ended with a book signing and selfie. It was quick meeting, and I’ve gotten some really crazy looks when people found out I flew to NYC for a 3 minute meeting… But it was so much more than a 3 minute meeting. Not only did I meet Gary, but I got to brush shoulders with others on his team, and the culture that’s in that building is truly inspiring.

One of my favorite parts about the day was the friendships I made with the other business owners in the room. We stayed and chatted for hours, sharing stories and dreams. I told many about our desire to grow our doTERRA business to a full time income, and my family’s desire to give to our community in big and powerful ways to further the kingdom of God.

To top off the day, after a group of us went out for pizza, we walked across the street to take a photo across the street in front of graffiti wall. The words along the wall read “and maybe I had a dream about you…” I couldn’t have been more thrilled. We took a group photo, and I had a take a photo by that caption, because that’s how it all started. With a dream. I’m still chasing and working towards my dream, now go chase yours!

I’d love to encourage you as you work towards your dreams. What are some of your dreams and goals?

Super Ordinary Wednesday

Some days my Instagram feed looks like I live in a fairytale land where all things run smoothly and life is wonderful. Honestly, some days I feel like I’m in a fairytale land. Some days life does run smoothly, all my to-dos get crossed. I spend some time connecting and reaching out to people in my doTERRA business, my kids eat their veggies, and I rock out a YouTube video like a boss. Some days I truly feel like Super Man… or Super Woman, I guess. You get the picture.

But other days… other days are just… an ordinary day. It’s those freakin’ ordinary days that get you. At least the ordinary days get me. My personality is very much achievement driven, and if I don’t feel like I’ve achieved anything in a day, my mood can easily go from Life is awesome! to I’m the worst human being on the planet. I know, it’s totally irrational, but I’m working on it, and luckily, I don’t have these days very often…But I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that today is one of those days.

My 2 year old, Isaac, learned how to climb out of his crib, so nap time becomes the most unproductive and frustrating 2 hours of my life. My 4 year old, Tim, won’t go to bed so I’m snapping at the whole family, my kitchen never got cleaned because I’m just tired from constantly having at least 1 child on me, and my laundry has taken over my favorite spot on the couch. (I thought if I put it there it would motivate me more to fold it. It didn’t. Now I just regret that decision.) I did absolutely nothing for my doTERRA business, and it’s one of those days when my husband and I pass like ships in the night, so adult conversation was minimal… Unless you count the times I talked back to Gary Vaynerchuk while watching his YouTube videos while nursing baby Sarah. And I feel like a failure in every aspect of my life… I know, so dramatic!

    So. Much. Laundry.

That is not the day to scroll your Instagram feed and stalk moms you admire. Not today when your house is a mess, you haven’t blogged in over a week, and you discovered caterpillars are feasting on your arugula. It’s okay to admire people and their talents and abilities, but probably not on days you feel like crap. Because that just feeds the feelings of crappiness (someone help a girl out. How the heck do you spell crappy-ness? My computer doesn’t know what to do with that word.). On days you feel like crap you should turn off your social media and text a friend. Someone who can remind you that you’re not a failure in life… you just had an unproductive day.

I mean, kinda. It wasn’t too unproductive. I fed my kids real food, remembered to pick Noah up from school, and I made a few phone calls. It wasn’t the worst day in the world. Seriously as I’m typing this I’m already starting to feel better about life. New thought: When you feel like you’ve failed at your day, make a list of the positive things you did. I’ll start with mine:

How I Rocked This Ordinary Wednesday

  1. Got up at 5:15am to read Scripture and pray.
  2. Went to yoga at 6:00am.
  3. Did some gardening with the kids this morning.
  4. We ate a healthy breakfast and lunch.
  5. Picked up Noah on time… Well, only 5 minutes late.
  6. We ate a healthy dinner.
  7. Contacted some doTERRA friends.
  8. I kept all 4 kids alive.

I feel better already. My outlook on my day has shifted. Ok, seriously, DO THIS next time you feel like you didn’t accomplish enough. You’ve done more than you realize. Remember, even Superman wasn’t Superman all the time. Sometimes he was just Clark Kent. And that’s okay. And remember, that comparison game is kryptonite.

Come on, share some success you’ve been having during the ordinary days! What have you accomplished today?

Stop Waiting. Start Doing: Overcoming Fear by Taking Action

Starting something new can be scary. I’ve been wanting to start a YouTube channel for a few months now, but I’ve been too nervous to begin. I dealt with a lot of doubt and fear. I’ve gotten really good at making up excuses.

I don’t have a fancy camera to take a quality video. 

I can’t think of somewhere in the house with good lighting that I can take a video without the kids jumping in it or their toys being all over the place.

I don’t know anything about editing or adding cool graphics. How do I learn about that?

What if I run out of things to talk about?

How often should I do a video? Once a day, once a week, a few times a week?

How long should my videos be? 3 minutes or 30 minutes?

I don’t wear make-up most days. Am I gonna have to do my hair and make-up every day I do a video?

What if no one likes or subscribes to my channel?

What if I fail?

Please tell me someone can relate to this! I’ve talked myself out of doing this so much, but think about it almost daily. YouTube has become my Google. When I want to learn a recipe or how to plant strawberries, I don’t go to Google anymore. I go to YouTube. So I thought to myself: Well, I have a website already with information to the public, I should start a YouTube and provide that information in video form. It just makes sense logically, it’s my doubts that get in the way.

The truth is, I am still struggling with many of those questions. I still have my doubts about the quality of the video. There is still the fact that I have no experience in graphic design, video editing, or anything other than shooting video for my kids on my iPhone… But I just decided to let that go. I don’t think I’ll be regretting starting my YouTube channel with my lack of experience. I think in the long run, I would regret not starting at all. I would regret letting my fears take over in this area of my life, and if my fear is winning in one area of my life it’s pretty much a guarantee it’s winning in another area.

 <– A monumental moment!

So, how do you overcome your fear? By taking action… Go write that book, go shoot your vlog, go take those dance lessons. Whatever you’ve been waiting to start: Stop waiting. Start doing.

How about it? What are you going to start today?

P.S. I’d be so grateful if you’d go and check out my video an future videos. My channel is my name, Amanda Gerber. This first video is called: Amanda Gerber: Introduction Video and doTERRA Essential Oil Tips. 

Express Yourself: Taking Time for Creativity

We were making small talk while rummaging through this huge bin of papers. There were old photographs, certificates from school, and spirals upon spirals of songs, poetry, and thoughts. My sister, Rachel, was looking through her bin of childhood treasures and was on the hunt for a particular journal that had a particular song.

I thought it was a hopeless case. I pulled out papers that would obviously go in the trash pile while she looked through different notebooks hoping to come across her song. Now, there were lots of notebooks of songs, but not THE song.

I realize this might not be the norm for some kids… but for Rachel her time was spent in drawings, reading, and singing. Mine was spent reading and writing. I wrote poetry, short stories, or just jotted down my thoughts. Basically what would be now blog posts and tweets before that even existed. Back in those days, you just wrote for yourself and for the art of it. I didn’t write thinking anyone else would read it, and would rarely share my writing. I dreamed of writing novels until one day I heard it’s not a reliable profession, so I squashed that dream at 17, and I’m just now rekindling that fire at 30 years old.

Anyways, moving on. We’re digging through this bin, and about 10 minutes in she finds it. We read it, and it’s powerful enough to bring a grown man to tears… Who knew that this song written by this 15 year old girl would be so profound? But then again, of course it could.

So we get done reading it, decide to just toss the rest of the bin since she found her treasured item, and she asks, “Why don’t I write anything like this anymore? I feel like I haven’t written something this good in years.” The answer is quite simple that I almost felt bad about saying it, but it applies to me as well.

“Because we don’t make time for it.” Again, so simple and so true.

“In high school you aren’t worried about the mortgage payment, how your kid is doing in school, the pile of debt that doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller, or if you’re a good wife and mom… You’re just a kid trying to make good grades. You made time to be creative. Sure, it was easier to find the time then, but you can still write just as good now, even better. You just have to make time for it.”

The same advice applies to myself. I can’t expect to ever write a book if I can’t even keep up with a blog. I have to schedule time for it. Whether it’s a few hours one time a week or few minutes every day… Take care of your gift. Practice at your art. Make time for creativity.

Don’t feel guilty for making time to write or dance or or garden or sing or paint or bake (or whatever your gift is!) because you’re not getting paid for it. Keep life enjoyable. Do what makes your heart come alive.

I’m not saying quit your full time job and work on your hobby. But I do think if your hobby is what stirs a fire in your soul, that could eventually be what produces your income. Not just by wishing it to happen, but working at it consistently… little by little, day by day, week by week.

How about it? Will you take some time to be creative today? What does that look like for you?

Simplify: Clothing Choices

simplify-clothing-choices

I wasn’t expecting this. I was expecting to watch a documentary on Netflix that would lead me to question the way I buy clothes for my family… But I did watch the documentary, and it did cause me to rethink the way I buy clothes.

Like most families, my family is on a budget. So much so, that we don’t even have a budget line for clothes because there are other things we prioritize putting in the budget: like food, and paying off debt… and tacos. Seriously we have set a budget to get breakfast tacos on Sunday morning. Priorities, y’all.

Ok, back on track. So, I’m looking on Netflix for something to watch, and I like to learn new things, so I’m usually watching a documentary on Netflix when I choose to watch something. After watching every single food documentary on Netflix, I picked The True Cost. It was something different. Something to take my mind off of the fact that I’ve considered adopting a vegan lifestyle about 1,017 times but haven’t taken the blunge yet. This documentary caused me to think about another lifestyle change.

It opened up my eyes to truly see how our demands for cheap, fast clothing has caused so many others to lose out on a fair wage, decent working conditions, and in some cases their own lives. I urge you to watch it.

I was also enlightened about everything involved in the different materials of clothing. I’m pretty careful about the foods I purchase for my family, the products I use to clean our home, and the way I care for my family’s health. I try to stick with organic and nontoxic products, but I never considered my family’s clothing to be a source of toxic material. I mean, it’s cotton, right?! What could be wrong with cotton? I never knew that the majority of our clothes are made from GMO toxic cotton. I never knew the amount of pesticides used to spray on the crops and the surrounding areas affected by the residues of those pesticides, seeping in their water supply, in the air, and in our clothes.

What does this mean for me? I don’t exactly know, I can’t answer that right now. I do know that now I’m asking questions like: What’s in the material of this cotton? What country was this shirt made in? Were the workers provided a fair wage and a safe work environment?

Now I’m looking at much more than just the price tag. I know now that when I’m “getting a steal,” I really am getting just that: a steal. Someone worker, probably a woman in Bangladesh was robbed out of a decent wage. She is most likely struggling to survive and care for her children.

Realistically speaking, it’s not in my budget to buy only organic made/fair wage clothing. But do you know what is in my budget right now? Wearing hand me down clothes from friends instead of buying new clothes often, borrowing a dress for a special occasion rather than buying a dress I’ll only wear a handful of times a year, I can reach out to my talented friends that make clothing and ask them to sew items I need… and I can spread the word. Let’s look at more than just the price tag. Let’s look at the material, look at the country our clothes are made in, and look at the lives impacted.

Let’s help each other! What companies do you know that provide a fair wage to their textile workers? Do you know companies that use organic materials in their clothing? What are your thoughts?