Last week I had caught a pesky cleaning bug, not to be confused with the one that I have everyday and won’t let me relax until my floors are cleaned, beds are made, kitchen clean and de-cluttering of piles my children and husband create with ease. I caught the bug that all of a sudden makes your eyes aware to the grease stains against your dining room wall, that just so happen to be the height of your 1 yr olds hands when standing in her seat. I quickly laid the children down in hopes that I could go and make the wall stop screaming at me to clean it. Nap time is my treasure, my quiet place, my reward for holding it together when the baby decides to fill her diaper just when we are already running late for school and walking out the door or when her sister decides to have a meltdown because she “has nothing to wear” or best of all when the sweet, precious, thoughtful 5 yr old boy all of a sudden talks back to you with a fowl face. I hate giving up nap time, I read, pray, work on worship, call breastfeeding moms for work or better yet sometimes get to take a 45 min nap!!!

So there I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the walls in my kitchen during nap and I found myself with this immense amount of self worth…for all my working mom/wife friends, please don’t roll your eyes…I really did enjoy it. I started getting excited and began to anticipate Richard coming home after working a long day just. I wanted him to walk into his home that he leaves daily to ensure we are clothed, fed, and off the streets, and be able to feel like a king. I was immediately drawn to the INTIMIDATING verses in Proverbs 31. You know what I am talking about, even if you haven’t been raised in church, I would be surprised if you have NEVER heard of this “ideal” woman.

I had a smile on my face, a bounce in my step and I started mopping the floors (something that I don’t usually do since my helpful husband mops and cleans our hardwood floors, I just sweep and vacuum daily). I started to attack the pile of dirty dishes, yet again something I don’t EVER do, my husband has been washing dishes for the last 4 yrs…I know you can hate me later. I desired to be that women who is “energetic and strong, a hard worker” Proverbs 31:17.

A few days later the baking bug bit and bit hard. I had finally received my order of GF flours that I had been waiting weeks for and had overheard my husband moaning about wanting pumpkin pie during our very sudden crisp fall weather. A few months ago meeting his tummy’s desires would not have been a hard task, but I am still very new to this whole GF cooking/baking. It has been 4 months since going GF and I have been attempting recipes that are easy. Being a somewhat experienced baker/cook, always from scratch and making a pie crust that I have been asked countless times for the recipe, I was scared to try a GF crust.

Among the 9 piles of laundry blocking the view to my back yard patiently awaiting their turn in the washing machine, I found my self armed with Proverbs 31:15, “she gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household”. I know I wasn’t getting up early, but I was sacrificing for the one I love, I understood what that verse meant for me. I pulled out my very first christmas present from my husband 6 yrs. ago and placed the kitchen-aide mixer on the table. I called the girls and told them to come and help me make a pie for daddy! They came running, smiles on their faces, because let’s be honest, they learn how to be a wife and mommy not from what you tell them, but by the example you lead.

They took turns without fighting over who got to measure the flour, salt, sugar or crack the egg. I soon saw that my pie crust was going to make it, that it would be something that I would proudly stand at the door waiting for my hubby to come home to. I have loved to cut out and shape fall leaves for my crust through out the years, because I will never forget the first time I did, having my husband rub my back and feet and telling me how wonderful and beautiful my pumpkin pie was.

Ezzy being the ever inquisitive child grilled me on each step, but when we got to the leaf making part I realized I needed to really explain to her why I was spending ALL the extra time to do something so meticulous. I told her in layman’s terms the important role a wife has, Proverbs 31:27 “she carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness”. I placed the last leaf on the pie and had two little hands wrapped around mine slowly pouring the pumpkin filling into the pie shell. She and her little sis helped clear the table and I handed her a rag and sprayed the table, knowing she would start wiping the table off, as she has started to do because of finding worth in being mommy’s little helper. Proverbs 31:28 “her children stand and bless her”.

My husband walked through the door with the weight of the world on his shoulders, I immediately guarded my heart and prepared myself for the let down in reaction to the fresh out of the oven pumpkin pie waiting for him. He stopped mid sentence grabbed me and held me close and told me how much he loved me, Proverbs 31:28 “her husband praises her”.

Through our short 7 years of marriage I have been a horrible, substandard, demanding at times, unforgiving wife. I was young, strong willed and worst felt more spiritually mature then my husband. That all changed one sunday morning when our pastor gave a sermon about SUBMISSION…I KNOW, a word that the world tells us women is an insult to our gender. I walked away convicted and yes felt condemnation at points, but I soon realized I was really messing with the marriage God wanted us to have. There were days I made leaps and bounds in the biblical submission. Then there were days my mouth and attitude put me right back to square one.

Eventually I started to make head way. God placed some wonderful God fearing women who were honest about the struggle of TRUE submission, the at times impossible standard the Proverbs 31 woman made and their own victories and failures.

As I started to have a heart change and not just a mind change, I saw a different man throughout the years…

The man who recently made me GF ck noodle soup from scratch after caring for the kids all morning long and a suddenly sick wife. The man who stands at the kitchen sink listening to God’s word through Christian rap and allows God to do soul work while he is scrubbing away the grime from our dirty dishes or even his own soul. The man who sat by me on a friday night with all kids in tow to support me leading worship in a new setting, which just so happened to be way past their bed time. He could have been home decompressing the week and putting kids to bed early.

You see, when I decided to stop thinking about my own self worth and trying to achieve and maintain it in the ways the world tells me to, I started to realize that I found so much worth in finding my identity as a child of God and then his wife and now a mom. All it took was being his cheerleader, “her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life” Proverbs 31:11. It meant that no matter how hard my day with poopy diapers, children experiencing the new found joy in autonomy or the daily demands of running a house, that I had to wait and be there for him FIRST. I started to bite my tongue when he came home, asked him how his day was and once I heard him, encouraged him, supported him, I would then go and prepare a meal for him, knowing that when he was able to let go of the day he would be there for me just as I was for him. “when she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness” Proverbs 31:26…this is still a daily challenge for me friends.

He recently tackled a big project that I to be honest wasn’t sure he could do. I mean, he works in an office all day pushing paperwork, working with his hands isn’t trade-work. But after a wonderfully long sunday nap I awoke to my husband carrying in a beautiful wood bench he made after listening to me complain about the countless bowls of milk that kept finding their way on my piano bench that had taken up residence under our table. I expressed my shock verbally and physically and soon learned later in the day how much that meant to him. You see I didn’t force those things to coax his ego, I had said them out of habit, knowing deep within my soul that I have to be his cheerleader, “she brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life” Proverbs 31:12

In a world where people are trading spouses like a pair of dirty socks, I know that those people have/had the choice to make it work. I know that if I am not his cheerleader, if I don’t believe in him, if I don’t let him know I desire him just as much as he does me then it means soon something/someone else could.

So why am I writing this?!? Because I know there is a newly married wife or new mother out there that is trying to figure out who she is in her life. Asking how she is suppose to get and hold on to self worth and it’s driving her nuts. Because I know there is a woman out there who is struggling with the whole biblical submission and finding God’s word to at times be sexist and completely missing out on the beauty God designed in a partnership involving spouses. I know that there is a woman out there that just wants her husband to choose her first and doesn’t know how to get him to place her on the top of his soul’s list.

Please don’t think I have it figured out, because I DON’T have it figured out. I can recall a time not to long ago that I was disrespectful to my husband, because the bad day I had got to me. He didn’t deserve it, but he got it. I am just saying that in the years that I allowed my heart to change and conform to the new found knowledge I learned in God’s WORD, I saw the epitome of an Ephesians 5 man, who has modeled sacrificial love for me in SO many ways. He recently came to my defense, gave me sound advice and best of all was my protector and I didn’t ask him to be, he just did it out of habit and I can tell you I needed him to come and save me.

Ladies, are you one of those women I talked about in the above paragraphs? If so I want to encourage you to read Proverbs 31, find a friend to talk about it with, ask older women in church, but start reading it, dissect it, and ask God what does it mean for YOU. You know what I love about there being so many different translations in the Bible, I can re read a verse in a different translation and it becomes alive to me in a new way! If you don’t read the Bible and find the word submission a death sentence then just do this:
1. go find the best cheerleading outfit, pom pom, picture of said stuff, or sticker
2. hang it up somewhere you can see it to remind you of how important this simple act is
3. start being the biggest cheerleader he has ever had in his life

Soon you will see his heart change and be blessed by his love for you “her husband praises her: there are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Proverbs 31:29.

I hope this jump starts you, because when I first started believing and obeying who I was called to be: a child of God, his wife, and mother to his children, along with all my daily duties, I soon realized that I can’t find self worth by trying to achieve it in how clean my house is or how fast I can run a race, how nice I dress on sunday, or the new success I achieved attaching pinterest uneding ideas. It’s when I decided to try out for the cheerleading squad that I soon had the support of a loving man who believes in me and lets face it, when a woman is confident in who she is, praised, believed in, supported, she CAN DO ANYTHING she puts her mind to “she makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night” Proverbs 31:18.

Go try out for his cheerleading squad and see that you can be “more precious then rubies” Proverbs 31:10, in his eyes.


don’t drop the torch

I have been putting off writing my report on the recent conference I attended due to the fact that there was SO much new information that this stay at home mom’s brain had to download, but most of all because I am concerned that I wont be able to translate it correctly to my tribe…

I was shocked, excited, scared, any intense emotion out there I felt it, when the conclusion was made I would be the one going to represent my tribe at the National Indian Health Board Conference. I know I should have been ready, this was part of the work I knew I would be getting into, but I figured that the ruffling of feathers I have been doing during my short 8 months on the board would automatically mean that I would be benched for the conference. It came to a vote, and I walked away from that evening realizing I was going because THEY wanted me to go…

Never mind the fact that leaving my 3 babies for 6 days was terrifying, it was also intimating to think about having to dress professionally when I have lived in my faithful yoga pants for the last 6 yrs since leaving the work place, and then to think that I had to actually sound smart, sent me running to turn in my resignation…

My two sweet and giving friends, who seem to love me regardless of all my faults, dug through their closets and handed over professional attire that they had once worn before making the decision to join the club of stay at home moms. Their kindness can’t be overlooked and I just want to say I am so thankful for Kelsey and Deja, and the way they example giving hearts with no strings attached.

The day came for me to board the plane and say goodbye to my babies, Kyre had never experienced my absence, and I was a ball of nerves. I hugged them goodbye and tears clung to my eyes as my little man told me with tears he “missed me already”, then came the moment I tried to say good bye to Kyre, just to have her stiff arm me and cry, sadly she had figured out why everyone was crying. Ezzy, our tough girl, said “by mom!”…atleast one person in the house didn’t find sorrow watching the drill sergeant board the plane.

Alaskan Airlines, keeping up with their stellar customer service and putting clients first, managed to place my connecting flights” gates the farthest distance apart, and to top it off, leave 20 mins late each flight. By my last flight I was worn out and had successfully broken a sweat in 2 new airports, clinging to the hope I would see my bag at my final destination.

I woke the next morning and looked out at the amazing view from my room and said a prayer asking God to be with me. Humility, something that can come and go in a blink of an eye, is something my heart seeks God daily to give, especially when I find pride seeping in. I asked God to give me hearing ears, so I can go and speak for my people, just as God called Moses and through Aaron did. I asked God to make me a light, to protect me and help me to know what to do and say.

I walked out with freshly pressed pants, heels, and a fancy top and kept telling myself, “you can do this”. The next few days are where my dreams of the future will never be the same…

God placed God fearing women in my life, all who took it upon themselves to mentor me. They all held various positions in their tribes, one working as a consultant, one working as an IHS facility director, and one working as a health board member. Their mission in life was to make sure that I met everyone they possibly knew. I found myself at the end of each night, mentally and physically exhausted. My cheeks hurt from all the smiling and talking. My feet killed me from the heels that maybe touched my feet 3x a year for the occasionally wedding or event in small town .

I spent every break, meal time, and potential “me time” networking, many times not by choice, thanks to a pushy husband and my new mentors. As time wore on the the meetings grew in size and there was one thing that set me apart from others. As I surveyed the packed room of dark skin, high cheek boned, and long straight hair people, I couldn’t deny the disparity of ages. I was the youngest by atleast 15 yrs and the few of us 45 yrs and younger could be counted on both hands and feet. That night I was texting my experience with a friend and her hubby told me to read 1 timothy 4: 11-12. I ended that night with tears in my eyes and began to ask God to tell me what I was suppose to do with all this new knowledge.

The next day I had the opportunity to hear the president from the National Congress of American Indians speak. His name is Jefferson Keel, and as he said “I’m not here to tell you what a bureaucrat would say, I’m here to just state the facts”. He stated that the SEQUESTRATION shouldn’t be taking place upon the people who had owned 97% of the land, that “Funding is a moral and legal obligation from the US” The main issues he addressed were:
#1 poverty, the most pressing thing tribal leaders face today and many governing(congressional) leaders can’t relate because they haven’t experienced it themselves, which then leads to:
a. health issues
b. substance abuse
c. neglect of children=obesity, heart disease, suicide,social issues in school and with their peers (taking place due to the environmental and family factors that are effecting their social status).
d. domestic abuse

He also stated that, “some are becoming leaders because they are forced to be because of their current situations they are in” I found my heart racing, the tears fogging my eyesight, but more importantly I felt the nudging in my spirit, that the truth that was being laid out I couldn’t ignore when I returned home. This information that God intended for me to hear at this conference was the very thing to light a fire for my soon to be future. The very last statement he said was “we haven’t fought this battle like we have fought others”.

All of a sudden the information I had heard the day prior from the IHS director was different, the constant pushing of the Affordable Health Care Act, by people who stand to gain from the Native People, and the countless cries and demands falling on deaf ears for help from various tribal leaders all made sense.

Each workshop I attended, required me to lean on God, to point me in the right direction so I could learn and go back and share with my tribal leaders the impacts, decisions, and steps that need to be taken for the future of our people, the future of our children.

I lost count of how many people I met, and was in awe of the success of the tip my aunt had shared with me before leaving for the conference. She told me to make it a point to wear my culture, that it was really important to take pride in our heritage and share it with others. So my husband and I loaded up the kids and went shopping at a local store here in town. I have frequented this place quite a few times and the shop owner’s wife is usually cringing when I walk in the door because she knows I won’t walk away paying full price for anything. When I shared with her that I was leaving for a conference, she was immediately excited and told me that I was going to be going in style. I found myself with a BEAUTIFUL chilkat sharf, a leather hair piece, a wooden bangle, and some native art thank you cards, and a discounted price I never would have asked for. The scarf was my greatest treasure and allowed me to talk to so many people!

My last day in Michigan was a breath of fresh air. I was overjoyed to see that the conference ended and noon and was already dreaming of the pool I saw from my bedroom window and only graced once in the last 4 days. I was in desperate need of some alone time as I knew I would be jumping into mommyhood in less then 24 hrs. But that all changed when my mentors decided to rent a car and explore. We were staying at a beautiful large resort, that we hadn’t left in 5 days. I did however have the chance to run some of the land not on the resort thanks to deciding to follow some fast runners in a race the conference was holding. I was planning on walking it with my mentors, but they all knew that I was dying to run, so they sent me on my way…one lesson I learned was to make sure to not run faster then the person who’s responsibility it is to show where to turn…after running an extra 2 miles I found my way back, tired and dehydrated from the muggy Michigan weather. BUT, I did however still end up finishing in the top middle of the race! The race was put on with help from Billy Mills, the first american native to win an olympic gold medal, and the only us citizen to place in the 10000 m dash. I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting and yes, soon found out that we were family…I know, you white people are shaking your heads, but yes we shared our family tree and soon found out that I should be calling him “uncle”

Back to my last day…got side tracked with my other story :). We started out with a mission of finding some food and hoped to doing a little sight seeing. We stopped at a pizzeria and I thanked God for the gluten free pizza, since I had spent the majority of my trip picking at food and being very limited in my diet. We shopped at the tourist shops and I soon found out how much fun all the crazy tourist have here in our small alaskan town. But the part that had me ending my day with tears of joy and a sore belly from laughing, showed me God had orchestrated my entire trip. All the way down to getting lost with 3 navajo women on the outskirts of town in search of a lighthouse. We shared our experiences, stories, motivators that got us involved in the healthcare field for our people. We talked about our trials, how the substandard healthcare of ourselves, children and family was the underlying cause for us to desire to be a voice.

As I sadly said my goodbyes to the women who loved me like their own daughter, I told each one of them my sincere gratitude for reaching out to me and taking the time to introduce me to so many influential people. When my new choctaw hugged me goodbye she told me not loose sight of the future. That I am sharp, that I am capable of being the change that needs to happen, that I need to realize God gave me an amazing husband who supports all my endeavors, that God knew Ezzy would make me a mighty voice for those in need of adequate health care, but most of all that I am the hope of the future, that I am the one the torch is getting passed to.

So as I am digesting everything, I am finding my future a little clearer, and I am realizing that going back to school is on the agenda. If I am going to be a voice then I need to be an informed one. Richard and I have been working on the details and I will be applying to get my Master’s of Public Administration. As a friend recently told me, “if its God’s will then HE will foot the bill”. To all my friends who find joy in praying for others, will you add me to your list? I am aware that going back to school with 3 little ones will be a challenge, but I also have a lot of peace, realizing that each step that I have been taking in faith has lead to me my current role in tribal politics and healthcare. With God on my side to guide me and keep me humble, I pray I won’t disregard the responsibility that will come as I choose to reach out for the torch and pray that I won’t drop it.