Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019..

I never planned on writing this out- not on purpose, but mainly because this year quite literally flew by. But as December 31 rolled around it was just on my heart to stop my day to day tasks and reflect on what all this year has brought. Not really with intentions of sharing it with others, but more to just sit and reflect on what all God has done in our life. To start, let me just say I couldn’t wait for 2018 to get here. I was so ready to kiss 2017 goodbye. The only positive thing I have to say about 2017 is we received one of our biggest blessings, Harvey- other than that it sucked. My marriage completely crumbled to dust and I didn’t see how I could pick up all the pieces to move forward. I watched an interview from my favorite author, Lysa Terkerust, and she was talking about how our dust is the perfect recipe for the Creator’s hands to form into clay to make something new. At the end of 2017 God laid the word “Restoration” on my heart. I was expectant for restoration in our marriage, family, and finances. Why I’m sharing this on the blog, is because 1. I have sucked with keeping up with this.. I know, so sorry guys. I actually wrote a post about why I broke up with blogging & then never got around to posting it. Yes, life is that busy around here. 2. I hope that the one person who needs to read this will read it and see there is hope on the other side of heart ache if you give your dust to God, along with control, and let Him do His thing! Hope you enjoy.

-End of 2017, God whispers “what if you move into the Airstream full time?”

-End of January 2018, Zach quits his temporary job, takes a leap of faith and starts to work full time on finishing our Airstream to live in. We then come to the conclusion Zach is going to go back to school for Aircraft Mechanic out of state, so we would live in our Airstream to cut costs. We found a school, a place to stay, etc. All we needed was a finished Airstream & a tow vehicle since my 4Runner wouldn’t cut it.

We started to look for a bigger car & settled on a Ford Expedition because we thought we outgrew my 4Runner since we had two car seats and a double stroller in the back. We went to a dealership and found the perfect used one, which by the time we traded in my car we would walk away note free. It seemed like the perfect idea. Zach and I were blinded by new car love, so we asked my dad to come along and look for anything we were missing. Luckily he did and the deal didn’t seem so grand anymore. Luckily we walked away and didn’t let our flesh take over, because God obviously had other plans.

-Beginning of February, we decided to list my car online and if it sells we would then find a new car. My car sat and sat with no bites.

-March rolls around and at this point we are second guessing Zach going to Aircraft school. We would take on a lot of student debt, which is something we aren’t comfortable with and along with full time school Zach would have to get a job so we could live, LOL and that would mean we’d have zero family time, which we were NOT okay with. And my car is still for sale.

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-Beginning of May, God whispered to me, “What if you sold your car to fund a new project”?! Around lunchtime that afternoon I told Zach, “hey, what if we sell my car and use that money to fund a new airstream project. We’ll just both use your truck and not have two vehicles.” Zach said-“Absoustley not, I’m not making you give up your car.” And guess what?! Right after that conversation- 9 minutes to be exact, I checked my phone and we had an email from a couple 1.5 hours away offering us exactly what we wanted for our car. We said “Well, this must be exactly what God wants”. We wanted to continue to live a debt free life so this meant we could reinvest this money and not take out any loans. They came to pick it up two days later, on our wedding anniversary that we didn’t think wed make it to.




A week later we found our next project, Magdalene. Zach and my dad drove to Quitman, TX to pick it up. Then we also acquired a second Airstream project from someone in Little Rock that we couldn’t pass up.

-June, We officially get rid of all our stuff & become a member of the tiny living club. All Zach’s hard work pays off and we get to move into our new (tiny) home. We don’t get any down time after that because now the clock is ticking on our new project to flip.

We work, well, Zach worked his booty off on restoring Magdalene.

We started a Youtube channel to keep up with progress and post videos of hikes or well, anything really.

Our living set up had us hooked up to the hanger/shop with our airstream. Which was super nice because Zach could wake up before us and get an hour or two of work in before the boys and I woke. We’d eat breakfast together then he would get back to work until the sun went down. It was a very busy season.

BUT, Fall rolled around and I reminded Zach while on a walk that we couldn’t keep the water on in the Airstream because the hanger wasn’t insulated, so on cold nights we had to cut the water off, which in turn would cut our water to the Airstream off. We started brainstorming on what to do. We’ve always wanted to travel, but 1. We don’t have a tow vehicle. 2. We don’t have a way for us to “make money” on the road.

Celebrated HJ’s 1st bday

Then in July we celebrated Ezra’s third birthday!

End of September/Beginning of October I heard God whisper, “What if you sold the Airstream you’re living in”

I told Zach what I heard and he said what?! No way we worked too hard on this and we just moved in. A week later we came to terms with what I heard and said “Well, if its really God’s plan lets list it for what we want and if it doesn’t sell then we’ll know it wasn’t meant to be”. We listed it on craigslist, airstream classified, and eBay. We didn’t really have any bites so I decided to list it on our IG page. Two days later someone from Houston, TX contacted us asking if they could come look at it. We were so nervous. We didn’t really think it would happen and we didn’t have the next plan for IF it sold. She came to look that weekend, and when she walked in she said I want it, I just wanted to make sure it was real and looked like your pictures. haha. We knew from the second she walked in that she was the new owner. We told her that we didn’t name the Airstream yet, because we couldn’t come up with one we liked. She said don’t worry I already have one, “DeeDee” it was my grandmother’s name. As soon as she said it Zach and I looked at each other and knew, “wow, she’s the one!” She came and picked it up the next week. I won’t lie, we both cried tears of bittersweet. That airstream taught us so much about life, each other, etc. It was apart of us. Before they took it home, they spent the night in it one night to get a feel of how everything worked and when we walked in the next morning to see them and they had all their belongings in it now, instead of ours, I just felt supernatural peace. I wasn’t sad anymore it felt like this is exactly how it was suppose to be. Watch the video if you want to see our last day in the Airstream & what our kids thought about it. Ezra still asks daily for “his airstream”.

-So now, it’s the end of October and we don’t have a “home” and we are at a loss of what to do. Zach was almost done with Magdalene, so we debated about moving into it, but we’d run into the same problem with the cold temps and water at the hanger. So through this all we both have the most amazing supportive parents anyone could ask for. We moved into my parents rent house until we finished our next project.

-Beginning of November, Zach finishes Magdalene and we tossed back and forth two ideas. Buy a tow vehicle and travel around in Magdalene OR buy a cargo van and sell Magdalene to travel. We prayed and prayed about which was right and at the end we both got that those were both good options, it just depended what we wanted.

God also put on my heart to turn this website into just my blog (which I haven’t done yet) and start a new website that featured all our projects, travels, and a blog to showcase other tiny living people and their story. -> steadystreamincashios.com

-So we’ve always wanted to do #vanlife and figured it was now or never since our kids bodies are still semi small! Zach flew to Chicago & picked up our VAN! -> Link to video

Most of November and all of December have been full work on van mode.

-And here we are the last day of the year, wow. When I look back so much has happened, but yet it flew by and I’m thankful I decided to write this all down so I can look back in the years to come. I encourage you to journal what all 2018 brought you, good or bad. Its part of your journey and it’ll be nice to look back in the future.


Biggest lesson in 2018:

Colleen- Trust God in the big and little things and everything in between. I know that sounds so easy to say, but if you trust Him on the every day small disappointments, it’s a lot easier when the big disappointments come around.

Zach-  If you’re considering a lifestyle change and are nervous, take a weekend or week to adjust and once the time period is done reflect on how you felt. Did you miss any of the items/activities/etc. that you cut out? Minimalism is very refreshing and you will notice a significant attitude change with yourself by not having to stress about so much. 

Best thing I let go in 2018:

Colleen- unrealistic expectations in motherhood, being a wife, in life.

Zach- So, this one is kind of a funny/weird let go than most people would expect to see here, but it’s what came to mind when Colleen asked me this question. Hats... yes, me the hat-hoarder is fine with letting go hats. Turns out, that when I let go of like 20 hats and downsized to about 5 I noticed I didn’t wear them as much. It could also have been that I was working much more and had no need to wear a nice hat when you’re covered in dirt, sweat, and aluminum polish! Now, that still doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t mind new hats. I eye some hats here and there, but I know I have no room for them at the moment. My hat game is on a temporary leave at the moment. 

What we are hopeful in 2019:

I can’t fully share all of our details yet, because we are currently letting God have the final edit, but I’m so excited and can’t wait to share. I will say a portion of our year will include travel in our van. Then we’d like to find somewhere to place roots in and continue our journey of renovating vintage trailers. We can’t thank you enough for loving us through this transition of life and for all the support. 2018 was hustle hustle hustle and we hope 2019 has a little bit more rest in-between the hustle. Zach and I haven’t written blogs like we wanted to, but we feel like 2018 was our year to heal and recover. We can’t wait to take time during our travels to sit still and write and share more with y’all.

How to keep up with us:

Obviously this website is where we hope to write more content to share about our journey and what all we’ve learned walking through our hard season. Sovereigndesigns.net

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/steadystreamincashios 

IG: https://www.instagram.com/steadystreamincashios/

Facebook:https://m.facebook.com/steadystreamincashios/

Other Website: https://www.steadystreamincashios.com



2018 Travels:

Branson, MO: https://youtu.be/E3kCUCmnvHs

Natchez, MS: https://youtu.be/UO8XPP0FvvQ

Mountain Home, AR: https://youtu.be/84nJKj_Zsmw

Gulf Shores, AL: https://youtu.be/4ttn9qpjeRA

Memphis, TN: https://youtu.be/4bxpDZZpyVo

Mountain View, AR: https://youtu.be/QDVraONu2-o


















My Breastfeeding Journey

Side Note: I completely understand not everything I write is for everyone. If breastfeeding isn't your cup of tea I recommend skipping this post. With that said, I'm just shinning light on my story in hopes to maybe reach that one person needing encouragement. Thanks for reading this with an open mind. -Colleen

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. My mom breastfed my sister + I and I always remember not thinking anything negative about breastfeeding. While this post is about breastfeeding, I am not putting down on any moms who decided to formula feed for whatever reason over breastfeeding. This is just my journey with it.

I went to class, I remember learning about the “breast crawl” and how babies just bob their head on your chest until they make it to the eating zone. I remember when my magical moment happened + while it was so cool both my kids did the same exact thing coming out of the womb, it was still painful. I'm so thankful I had my mom as a cheerleader because I remember crying for 5 weeks after having Ezra. Every time he would latch, it hurt so bad. But my mom kept encouraging me to push through it. Come to find out he had a lip tie which made it more difficult for him to feed. My goal was to breastfeed until Ezra was 2. This is from the World Health Organization, who recommends breast-feeding until 2 years of age + beyond. “Breast-milk is also an important source of energy and nutrients in children aged 6–23 months. It can provide half or more of a child’s energy needs between the ages of 6 and 12 months, and one third of energy needs between 12 and 24 months. Breast-milk is also a critical source of energy and nutrients during illness, and reduces mortality among children who are malnourished.”  click here

(Side note: mommas I highly recommend getting a friend or someone to take pictures of your breastfeeding journey! I remember feeling super awkward asking my good friend Liz to take these during our maternity pictures, but now I am forever grateful for them!)

I found out I was pregnant with Harvey when Ezra was 16 months old + I remember crying so hard because I’ve always heard your milk drys up once you become pregnant. I was not ready to quit breastfeeding. My doctor of course recommend I stop right away, but Im happy to report I successfully breastfed through my entire pregnancy. (Each person/pregnancy is different, always do what is best for you + recommended by a doctor or midwife) I won't lie though, it was hard. Around 18 months I weaned Ezra from night time feeding, because my nipples were so sensitive that I would have tears in my eyes each time he’d feed. During the day I could distract myself with something, but at night it would keep me up because I would be completely woken up for each feeding. Every doctor check up Harvey seemed fine in the womb so I decided after praying hard about it to keep trying until Ezra seemed not interested. Well, that day never came for Ezra. In the hospital after having Harvey I wasn’t sure how it was going to look having a newborn + a toddler. The lactation consultant told me to keep feeding Ezra especially during this transition time to help him cope with his new sibling. 

Not many, well anyone I personally know have experience with tandem breastfeeding, so I was very thankful for google! It wasn’t as hard of a transition as I expected! The lactation consultant recommended that I let Harvey eat first then let Ezra finish on that same side, so we knew HJ was getting as much as he wanted!

I thought Ezra would lose interest after his second birthday, my original goal…but that wasn’t the case! Ezra is 3 now + still asks about 4-5 times a week to breastfeed. Some times I can distract him with something else, but sometimes I can tell its just a true comfort need. People can be very judgmental to breastfeeding moms, because I think formula is just as popular of an option as breastfeeding. Breast-feeding is no walk in the park. It’s hard, painful, frustrating, time-consuming, etc., but it is so rewarding! I always encourage moms to stick it out for at least 6 weeks. The first 6 weeks are the worst, but then it normally gets easier from there! It’s really hard not to roll my eyes when I see others say comments like “she should cover up” or “doesn't she know I can see her boob”.. For real….. has anyone turned on the tv lately? Some commercials show more cleavage than a mom breastfeeding! I was so strict on myself when I had Ezra. I would retreat to the car, the bathroom, the other room, etc. But after Harvey I just became so relaxed with myself. Being at the beach last week I saw more boob than I have ever shown feeding my kids in public. 

Zach snapped this picture of an early morning feed for Ezra while on our beach trip.

Zach snapped this picture of an early morning feed for Ezra while on our beach trip.

At the end of the day we should be proud of ourselves for however long we choose to breastfeed + feel empowered by our bodies for being able to sustain life! It's a really magical gift! I know some will judge me for posting this on the internet, but my hope is it reaches that one mom struggling with everyone around her judging her! Keep your head up, feed your baby however you choose.. just feed your baby <3 

Lots of love,

Colleen Cashio

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HARVEY'S FIRST BIRTHDAY

Wow, Harvey is a year old now! I've never thought life moved fast until having kids! I am so blessed to be Harvey's mommy. Here's some pictures of our fun day celebrating HJ's birthday!

First we drove to our favorite creek in Mountain View. The boys and ourselves can spend all day here. They love to fish, play with the rocks, + hunt for tadpoles. This is our favorite family retreat because it's so relaxing + there's no cell service..aka no distractions!

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Then we came home + went to take birthday pictures of Harvey. Don't even ask how that went...everything that could have gone wrong with location, decor, etc did. Zach + I were ready to give up, but we still managed to pull it together and get a few cute shots. Next time I'm hiring my favorite photographer, Sydney. https://www.facebook.com/sydneyslighphotography/ 

 

 

Pregnancy + Harvey's Birth Story

Harvey Joseph

Let me start from the beginning, after having Ezra we decided that we were done having kids. Birth, postpartum, and the first year of Ezra’s life was HARD. We were perfectly content having one child + being done. I still worked after having Ezra, which made things even harder. In November 2016 we went on a trip to Jasper, AR + I felt car sick the whole time. I blamed it on how curvy the roads are in Jasper. When we got home I just couldn’t shake how tired I was, but blamed it on Ezra still waking every two hours to eat at night! I found a random pregnancy test in my bathroom and decided to take it. It was the cheap kind that didn’t even have a label on the side to say if it meant pregnant or not. I took it + waited. The next thing I know I saw a plus sign..I was pretty sure it was not suppose to have a plus sign. I quickly called Zach into the room freaking out + he was like no plus sign means not pregnant. We argued back and forth about it then decided the next best thing was to Google. (always) Google told me plus sign meant pregnant, but google told Zach that it meant not pregnant. So at 10pm I made Zach run to the store to get another test. I cried the whole time Zach was gone, I knew in my heart I was pregnant + I was not mentally prepared for it. Zach hurried home + I took 3 tests. They all came back pregnant. At this point Zach and I both broke down. Now, let me just state. I know that children are a blessing from God + I’ve walked with friends through infertility. So what I’m about to write next is hard + I’m sure you’re going to judge me, but I’m sharing a real season of life we went through. With that said, excitement was the last emotion on our list when we saw pregnant on the little stick. Ezra was almost 16 months old + life had finally gotten to our new normal. Work was going smoother. Ezra wasn’t crying (all the time). I had officially lost all my baby weight. Our budget for money was going smoothly. Basically life was good + we had no room to add another baby. I was still traumatized from birthing Ezra. We couldn’t afford health insurance for another baby…can I get an amen from self-employed peeps?!.. Health insurance is ridiculous folks! Our routine now was perfect. We both sat on the bathroom floor crying. Zach tried to comfort me + told me I’d be okay. I actually even texted my mom, “I know you wont believe this, but somehow I’m pregnant.” I’m pretty sure her response was.. “are you sure?” In that moment I felt so helpless. This was not planned + for this control freak it sent me over the edge. This all happened about 60 seconds after all the pregnancy tests I took. Then out of NO WHERE, Zach’s phone goes off. It made a noise we’ve never heard. A few months before Zach started an Etsy page, but he’s never had any sales. The noise that went off was a notification that Zach had just sold something on Etsy. I immediately felt God’s presence + Him say “Don't worry about money, I will come through, even if its in strange ways”. I should have felt immediate peace + started to feel joy, but I didn’t.

I struggled for the first half of my pregnancy with negative thoughts. I totally let the enemy steal my joy. I went to my first doctor’s appointment thinking I was 8-10 weeks pregnant. She hooked up the ultrasound machine + at this point I am still thinking maybe the test was wrong + she’ll tell me I’m not pregnant. Nope! She said “wow, this is a big baby..you’re 17 weeks pregnant!!” Do you want to know the sex?” Zach + I’s jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe I was that far along, I think God almost intended it that way so I had less time to think about things. Well now its time for me to have Harvey. I was dreading delivery. With Ezra I was 8 days late + induced. I went in the night before to have Cervadil done, which is so painful + we found out the next day it did nothing. Then the doctor broke my water + started the pitocin. I had my birth plan in my hand ready to conquer this natural labor with no epidural. HA! As soon as pitocin started I cried for an epidural. Two warnings from the doctor that I would probably need a section because my body wasn’t progressing + one round of nurses walking in scrubs handing Zach scrubs to go in for a section + I was a mess. I did not want a section at all. I cried and begged the doctor to check me one more time. I guess my body went into fight or flight seeing everyone in scrubs. She checked me one last time and said I had progressed all the way to a 9! At this point I had almost been in labor for 24 hours. Once pushing began I pushed for 3 hours. It was pure hell. Ezra’s head got to a point + had gotten stuck because it was so big. She was concerned they’d have to push him back up + section. He finally came + I tore h-o-r-r-i-b-l-y. Needless to say, my birth experience went exactly how I didn’t want it to. Oh man, I completely forgot to mention a big reason I didn’t want to be pregnant again after Ezra.. I had “PUPPS”, google it. 1% of women have it in pregnancy and it is PURE HELL- like I have seen what hell is like and I don’t want to go to that place. Basically it feels like poison ivy is all over your body + there’s nothing you can do until the baby is born. The doctors don’t know much on it and theres nothing for them to do besides steroids. And being the non medicine freak that I am, I decided to suffer through it. It is suppose to magically go away after you have the baby + mine got worse. I really contemplated asking if I could go into a medical coma until it went away. From what I've researched your liver can’t break down all the extra hormones from pregnancy making your body have the reaction to say ‘hey something is wrong'. (If you have PUPPS, msg me + I will tell you the only thing that worked for me + what I wish I would have done sooner) So maybe that's a peak into another big reason I didn’t want to be pregnant again.. + spoiler alert, I totally had PUPPS again with Harvey, but this time I started taking milk thistle to cleanse my liver as soon as the itching started and stayed on it my whole pregnancy. (Wahoo for herbal medicine, but hey i’m not a doctor.. always check with your doctor before trying anything!) 

So here I am, 9 days late from my due date with Harvey.  I told my doctor there was no way I’d be induced this time, because I couldn’t go through what happened last time. She kept checking me + said baby and I were healthy enough to stick it out. I woke up at 3:45am on June 25th with contractions. (this was my second scare with them.) I txted my mom at 5am letting her know that they were finally constant and she needed to come over. They rushed over, but now its 6am and my contractions have spread apart. I was so upset + felt awful for making them come to my house so early. They kept encouraging me to go get checked at the doctor, but I knew any false alarms she’d probably make me go to the hospital. So we decided to go grocery shopping + run some errands.  Through the day my contractions were up and down, but nothing I needed to go get checked for. My mom encouraged me to go get checked before bed since we lived an hour away. Zach wanted me to also, so we decided to drive to Conway and eat dinner. We ate at Market Place and my contractions were 9-10 min apart, but I wasn’t dying. Then we sat in the hospital parking lot debating if we should go get a hotel room or go check in the hospital to see how far I was dilated. We sat there for a good hour before we decided to go in. When they checked me in triage she said I was only at a 3, but since I was so many days late and lived an hour away they wanted me to stay. I said I would only agree if I still had the freedom to roam, because I really wanted to try to have this baby natural and not be stuck in bed laboring. They agreed + here's where the fun began. Zach + I walked the halls of the floor all night long while my contractions got harder and harder.

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The nurse told me I was lucky to do this through the night, because during the day they don’t really allow people out of their rooms. I labored all night into the morning + when they checked me in the am I was at an 8. My doctor asked to break my water at 7:30am June 26, and ya’ll if you want to go natural I do not recommend letting them break your water. Contractions were a breeze all night. I could talk through every one of them. The nurses were so impressed with my pain level and thought I was crazy for not wanting an epidural. But, once she broke my water my contractions literally went 984571948357134 times worse. I cried for an epidural!!! But the anesthesiologist was in a c-section and couldn’t get to me in time. I kept asking the nurses at what point do I start pushing and they said since I didn’t have an epidural I would just feel a push come on, and I was so confused by that. They also said you might feel like you have to poop. So, I got the nurse to check me every 5 minutes because I couldn’t tell if that was the feeling or not. Then all of a  sudden, boom! My body started to naturally push. I had no control over it, I just felt a contraction come on and it was like my body pushed on its own. The nurse told me to hold on while she got the doctor, but if you’ve ever had a baby naturally you know there is no holding on. LOL The doctor got there right in time and I only had to push for 30 minutes before our sweet little Harvey was born at 8:36am. I immediately felt as if God had redeemed my view on birthing. I felt so empowered by my body naturally pushing a baby out of me. I tore so little I didn’t even need stitches. I was up and about right after delivery. I remember telling Zach, ok if this is what birthing can be like, I can totally have more kids! If it’s God’s plan for us to have another biological baby we really want to go the midwife/home birth route. 

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After having Harvey I realized he was the missing piece to our puzzle we didn’t know was missing. God’s plan is always bigger + better than ours, even if our circumstances cloud our vision for the moment. Harvey was never in my plans, but I’m thankful God’s will always prevails. And here we are one year later. We survived mentally, physically, + financially. God has always come through, even if its the midnight hour. I hope this post encourages you to trust God’s plan even if its scary + seems impossible. 

My favorite pictures of introducing Ezra to Harvey. From left to right - "ok put him in my lap" -"omg, what was I thinking?!" -"take him away mom, take him away"

Hope you enjoy some of Harvey's birthday pictures below!

XO, 

Colleen Cashio

Testing the Waters..

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Have you ever felt like you’re stuck in the mud? Like you keep splashing in the same puddle over + over? If you have ever been to my house after a rain you know my backyard looks like a swamp. For any mom that is a nuisance, but for a little boy it is a treat. Since the weather hasn’t been miserable we have been trying our best to enjoy as much time as we can outside. The fresh air + sunshine are my sanity during this season of sleepless nights. The other day it rained really hard + Ezra couldn’t wait to go play in the puddles. So off we went with our rain boots to splash in the puddles. Of course the first thing he grabs is his lawn mower. We joke that cutting grass will be his first business, because he is pushing his mower every chance he gets. Starting out the water was crystal clear, but as we continued to walk the same path over + over the water became a big muddy mess. It made me think of my prayer life. Sometimes I bring the same request to God over + over again. I go back + forth walking my line reasoning with Him on why I need Him to answer this request + how I want it answered. In the Bible it clearly says to always pray + always be thankful. But sometimes I think I go overboard with the same request; like God didn’t hear me the first time. As if He doesn’t know my every thought + what’s in my heart. I think God wants me to bring every request I have + lay it at the cross. Give him every worry, every fear, every trial + totally give it to Him. Walk away + trust that He has my best interest ahead. I don’t think He wants me to repeat myself a thousand times. I think He wants me to say “Lord, here is my request, thank you for listening to what I want; but more than what I want, I want your will to be done.” For control freaks like me that is really hard. Subconsciously I try to micromanage everyone around me, even God. I try to fit Him into a tiny box. When I focus on ‘my prayer request’ I miss out on the true requests I need to be lifting up to Him. I love how God speaks to me using everyday situations. Sometimes I’m too distracted with everything going on to notice His whisper. In this season of life God is realllyyy working on my control issue. He has clearly shown me I am not in control + the best way forward is to sit in the passenger seat while He drives. It is a very scary thing not knowing what tomorrow holds or trying to control what will happen tomorrow. But slowly.. And surely, I am focusing more on receiving His peace + letting the puzzle pieces fall together; even if they are coming together slower than my preference.

When Zach + I sit still and beg for a response from God every time we hear, “I will show you the next step right when your foot is about to go down on that step.”Which is super scary, because basically we are walking down the stairs waiting on the next step to come + hoping that we aren't going ahead of God + skip a step all together + fall on our faces. Because trust me that has happened too many times. I love my husband, I truly do, I love bouncing ideas off to him. I love that God has made my mind the way he has, but sometimes I think it can be my worst enemy. In hopes to speed up our next step, I will make 1001 plans from beginning to end. You know the ones where you stay up half the night thinking how each thing will play out. Get your hopes up, like wow God this has to be it. This has to be what you've been waiting to tell me. All to find out the next week that brilliant plan won't work, am I the only one who does this? Hopefully not!

Just like this week, Zach + I felt God tell us to finish the airstream and I’ll show you what is next. So not only did I give up my salon + work because he told me to become a stay at home mom, but now that means Zach has to quit his job to devote finishing the airstream. It’s not just a weekend project. If we want to finish this; it’s a full time job. IT. IS. SO. MUCH. MANUAL. LABOR.

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So, as happy as we were that we heard from God, we were also like what? No? Not possible? We can't financially afford this. We have kids, bills, responsibilities, etc. So to our human nature we said ok God, sure we will do what you say. Gosh, I could dedicate a whole post or maybe a book to all the crazy ideas/dreams we came up with of what direction to go in once the Airstream is complete. I’m sure our friends are tired of hearing us talk about life, because we always have something new! The most solid idea I will mention was Zach going to Aircraft Mechanic school. Long story short, we said YES, this must be what God meant.. finish the airstream, and we will live in it so Zach can go to school + we can conserve money. We went as far as reaching out to multiple schools, reaching out to RV parks, locations. We made our budget + found where Zach could work part time after school. We had a game plan! We had it all figured out! We were so relieved. The only downfall was my car couldn't tow the airstream, so we were still looking for a car to trade in for mine that would allow us to not have a note since we knew we couldn't afford it. We settled on a used Expedition. (just keep this in mind for later on in the story) We figured out everything- how much Zach could make after school, what connections we could use to find him a good job, etc. But then it didn't feel right. We didn't feel settled about this grand epiphany we just had. Student loans from schooling meant debt and school meant very few hours for work, which meant slim to none for family time.. Then we noticed an Aircraft Maintenance Internship. BINGO! So Zach applied and waited. He even called directly to the company trying to speak with the Supervisor explaining his resume and things of that nature. Eventually an email was sent that the position was filled. There goes that idea. So, we kept tucking it to the back burner + kept reminding ourselves what we heard from God was "Finish the Airstream + I’ll show you what’s next" (In a James Earl Jones voice, so Zach says). This was in the middle of January + now we are at the end of April. And God still has not shown us the next steps. As I write this all Zach has left on the airstream is, grouting the tile in bathroom, backsplash, + we need to make cushions for the couch. And my dad has to do one thing for the electrical, but that is it. We are pretty much done.  Now we are grasping at the end of our rope, because we don't know what is next. Travel? Redo another airstream? Flip houses? We are at such a loss + God is quiet. Our plan was to move into the airstream, but now we are questioning it. Do we sell it so we can make money to reinvest in a business of flipping RVs. Do we see about getting a line of credit or loan? Zach + I strive to not live in debt; we absolutely hate it. The thought of us going to get a loan stresses me out to the max, probably because we have always been self employed + while I love that, its also a curse because you never know exactly what you'll make that month. Another way God likes to test my reliance on Him (que the eye roll). So, as we sat + talked at the kitchen table our options were, sell the airstream to have cash or get a loan. We left it as that, because toddlers + babies don't make talking about life choices the easiest. 

Then an idea came to me. Sell my car + we will have enough money to scrape by paying our bills, buy an airstream + flip it. Side note: we have had our car for sale since January and no bites, only 1 low offer. Also we haven't found an expedition we want. (And Zach knows every expedition on the market, because he is constantly looking). So when I said to Zach, let's sell my car, use that money + share a car for the next few months, his response was heck no. He didn't want me going without a car + he didn't want us to downsize our vehicle that much. He said well it really doesn't matter, because no one has bought our car. Well, guys...We talked about this at lunchtime on a Sunday. I felt complete peace about selling my car and downsizing to one car. We checked our emails later that evening + he got an email from someone interested in my car. The price we were comfortable selling it for also. Oh, and she messaged at 1:09pm...right after our discussion. Now if that isn't ironic I really don’t know what is.. It's exactly like what God said.. Finish the Airstream + I’ll bring the next step. The couple came to pick up my car two days later. We would have never come to the conclusion to sell my car and use the money last month, because we were so stuck on getting an expedition for more room and more towing capacity. If we would have gotten a halfway decent offer on my car we would have taken it and settled for an expedition. We would have been stuck with what God didn't want. That’s why He didn't reveal our next step till it was literally in front of us. Now it all makes sense. Things don't always work out where they make sense, but this time it did. God always has perfect timing. We may try to rush it along, but all we will do is have restless nights trying to control our next step when our Creator already knows the ending of our story. 

Have you ever gone through life thinking where in the HECK am I going? What am I doing? Who am I becoming? Mhmm been there and I’m probably there now. Am I wasting God’s potential because I put my gift of hair on the side to raise kids? Am I even doing my kids justice as a mom? Because at the end of most days they have worn me out to the max. Zach and I are in a crossroads of what to do next?! It feels like we have been walking the wilderness into the deep deep woods for the past four years of marriage. But, maybe that’s exactly where God wants us. He wants us to lose everything to find Him and His purpose for us in life.

I’m letting you in on these parts of our life, because I think it’s best to not stuff them in a box, on the top shelf in my closet. I want them out in my living room for our guests to see. So they can see there is hope when you feel like giving up. To understand how to not take life so seriously; no one gets out alive anyway. I encourage you to write down what success means for you. Are you and your family heading in the direction you want to go? In the direction God wants you to go? It’s never too late to do a 180 and turn things around. Maybe God has had you in the wilderness like us. Don't give up hope, wait on Him!

XO Colleen Cashio

(PS, that's not dirt on Zach's upper lip...it's a mustache he tested out.. Next time you see him, ask him why! + Please look at HJ's face!)

(PS, that's not dirt on Zach's upper lip...it's a mustache he tested out.. Next time you see him, ask him why! + Please look at HJ's face!)

 

* This is our life update some think we’re crazy, we think God has a sense of humor.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God. And at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
— 1 Peter 5:6-7
“O my people, trust him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.”
— Pslams 62:8
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all cirumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Begin the Search

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Do you crave adventure or do you seek thrill? Ever wanted to hop in the car and take a drive to places you’ve never been before or places not listed on a map? Towns that are still stuck in the “slow-times” era? {think back to the movie Cars} Finding hip coffee shops, craft beer breweries, or some quirky, off the wall shop? Places where the road is less traveled? Dirt roads that look like they lead to nowhere? I cant wait to share with you this book I found from Roger W. Thompson, “We Stood Upon The Stars.” 

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Because “You have to take the dirt road when you can. Someday it will be a multilane highway”. (pg 22) Where peace and serenity will swallow you up among the freshness of the outdoors.. I crave that adventure in myself. I want to be able to take my family on trips like that badly. Find a nice spot to park the Airstream and unplug from reality. With only the sights and sounds of the wilderness. And probably kids crying and screaming and maybe Colleen saying there’s too many mosquitoes or bugs…lol. But doesn’t that sound like a fairy tale?! Well it doesn’t have to be! We weren’t created for working our butts off to spend our money paying bills and accumulating crap that sits in our garage or storage buildings that we rent. Stop saying “Well when we have enough money saved up my family and I will take that trip” or “buy that RV we have talked about”. YOU WILL NEVER HAVE “ENOUGH” MONEY!! “Work always wants more of your time. It always demands more attention”. (pg149) Quit making excuses as to why you cannot take a trip now. “There’s a long list of justifications. We’re trying to get ahead”. (pg149) Every time you choose an excuse over an adventure you are losing precious family memories. We were created to explore and have adventure. I’m talking about true adventure. Loading up the car/RV/van/bus whatever you have and go searching for a spot to unwind. Those are the places where you can soak up all the beauty that God created for us to enjoy. “We are not meant to be tourists in this life. We are all travelers, like those before and those after… We know we’ve been somewhere special because we are forever different as a result of it”. (pg142) “This land and time are gifts. If we stop long enough, we might hear in the wind the voice of the Creator. We don’t have to search for it…We just have to listen long enough to remember the language”. (pg 143) These National forests and desserts and streams were not made to be labeled on a map. They were made for you to use them. For you to hike them. To fish. To camp. To explore. To make memories. There are so many places that I want to visit. And I hope one day soon my family and I can experience them. These places are where I think we could best get to know, sense, and hear our Creator. After all, He did CREATE them. And He created you, to enjoy them. The sun wasn’t created for just giving us light to work during the day, nor the moon to make it dark so we can sleep. The sun was made so we can venture and explore and see things we have never seen before. The moon- made for seeing constellations and shooting stars and hearing strange animal noises that make you get uncomfy(then realizing it’s your stomach because you forgot to pack extra food while you’re “off the grid”). I have always had these cravings of adventure. I have always wanted to visit every state and see what each has to offer. And of course, I have always wanted to visit every MLB stadium (especially now that I have 2 boys). But just recently I came across a Bible plan on my YouVersion app that caught my attention. It was titled “We Stood Upon Stars”. The photo with a VW van in a remote scenic highway caught my eye. And I am glad I started the plan. Because that eventually led me to buy the book “We Stood Upon Stars: Finding God in Lost Places”. This book hit home with me. I couldn’t put it down. Roger W. Thompson hits the nail on the head when it comes to adventure. He knows how to have a good time. And I can’t help but agree when he says “A campfire is like truth serum”. I can remember telling stories to friends that I would have never told to anyone else, and it was because something about that fire makes you want to open up. It might have dealt with one too many cold ones also, but don’t get off topic. It’s also where I met my wife. Men are made for thrills. Roger has obviously been through one or two in his lifetime. From white-water rafting in a Costco special canoe to the ole Vanagon breaking down here and there. But he also knows how to be close to our Father. I can only imagine what it feels like to be that close with God in a setting as vast as snow-capped mountains overlooking a steady flowing stream. “The Wild is God’s scent. The deeper we travel into it, the more we’ll smell his presence”. (pg211) I know that just being in nature here in Arkansas takes my breath away and I can experience God. My family and I are searching (and hoping) on where our first big adventure will be. “We are all searching for something.. Some searches are only about the search. They reveal something about who we are or who we are meant to be.. We are not made for the cages we’ve erected around ourselves. We are meant for freedom. Where trees and mountaintops point to the stars and where the canyons echo and waters cool and where wind is scrubbed clean by prairie grass. Those are the lost places where we go to find God”. (pg220-221)

Are you searching in the right places?

1 Corinthians 7:23-  “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”

Of course while reading this book I continued to be hard on myself for living in the town of Heber Springs, AR where we have some of the finest fly-fishing around, on the Little Red River, and not learning how to fly-fish in my 5 years being here. But Roger has ignited a new fire inside me to learn the art and teach my boys. This blog could have gone so many different ways. I could have easily focused on parenting and raising boys, or what men need to feel like they’ve “made it in life”, or how your past shames only makeup who you are right now. Roger goes into detail on many of topics. I encourage each of you to get your hands on the book soon. You won’t regret it!

Cheers,

Zach

A Purposeful Nudge...

Hey Guys, I am so excited that Zach is publishing his first blog on Sovereign Designs!! He knows I’ve wanted him to do this, but I totally let it be on his timing + when he was ready! Because, if you know Zach + I, you know this is not in our comfort zone what-so-ever! All these words below are his, I just added them to our page + added the pictures, video, etc. He doesn’t want to learn that part of the blog, so I'll take what I can get! Also today is a special day because it’s his birthday! Make sure to tell him happy b-day!

XO Colleen Cashio


Your life’s work is done for a bigger purpose, to fulfill a calling or a dream. And when you manage to find that work- that’s when it starts feeling like play.
— Chip Gaines, Capital Gaines page 128

Ever felt like you’re in a rut in life and nothing will ever change? Your job, issues, finances, etc? Yea.. So have Colleen and I. But lately things have been slowly coming together- or so we think. It seems that every time we turn around we are having a new crazy dream about what we could do in life. Which place to move to or which opportunity to pursue. And each time we end up focusing on this one certain idea that has been lingering in our minds. Each time we focus on this idea I think about a devotional I read recently. It stated that each couple in marriage has a God-given calling. Meaning, each couple is called by God to do His will together. Whether that is serving in a marriage ministry, kids ministry, preparing food, business, etc. I think about how cool it would be for Colleen and I to work together each and every day. Sure, she can get on my nerves at times. But that’s why I love her, right?!? I know God has given each marriage that special calling, but not every partner is comfortable pursuing that calling. Because they either have a great career already or believe the saying “don’t mix business with pleasure” all too well. God says you can mix business and pleasure. And when I think about a couple that mixes business and pleasure I instantly think about Chip and Joanna Gaines. You know, from HGTV. And recently I have been reading Chip’s book “Capital Gaines”. It is such a great read and I encourage all of you to read it. You will not only get a hurting in your side from Chip and his jokes and his life stories, but you will also get a jolt in you to go chase after your passions and dreams. Like Chip says, too many people focus on climbing the corporate ladder too much and when they get to the end most ask themselves this one question, ‘Who did my life have an impact on?’. And when I hear that it makes me not only want to pursue my passions and goals, but to help others in life. You best believe that he and Joanna know what chasing your passions and goals are like. At the end of the book Chip has you write down your passions. Once you do that he asks you to write why these passions move you and what you are going to do to further pursue them. Reading this book could not have come at a better time for a Colleen and I because we were in the middle of a rut (which has lasted for quite some time now). I started this book and read it slowly and even stopped all together and started a new book. But something deep inside (more than likely a nudging from God) made me pick it back up and finish it. And after that week of reading I could not have been happier. Through all of this I hope that you too can get a nudging to chase after your passions and dreams and find your calling from God. 

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Perhaps you can’t quit your day job, and I understand that. But never, ever quit your day dream.
— Chip, Capital Gaines page 128

What God kept telling Colleen and I through this time was the word ‘Complacency’ or ‘Complacent’. We took it as He was not wanting us to conform and grow complacent in our daily lives. He has much bigger plans for us in life than to go about our daily lives the same way- same routine. Wake up, work, sleep. God didn’t design man nor woman to live to work. He gave us abilities and skills to help his Kingdom. We were all created to work for the Lord. And I don’t think that necessarily has to be directly working with a church or an organization. It just means actively showing and displaying God’s greatness through your work and through you. And when I think of using my God-given abilities to find my purpose the song “Lift You Up” from Ryan Stevenson comes to mind. The lyrics say that he has always been a dreamer and a soul seeker. He always felt like his life was meant for something much deeper- something that he could have possibly never imagined. God has plans to make your life mean so much more. He lays out plans for all of us. But some of us- including me- fail to follow or see them. But fortunately there are other plans for all of us that will still make an impact for His kingdom. We just have to be willing to follow. So will you?

Cheers,

Zach

PS. If you’re wondering why I am reading Chip’s book on Lake Waco stay tuned for my next blog post!

…a dreamer- a soul seeker, I knew my life was meant for something deeper..
— Lift You Up, by Ryan Stevenson
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Zachary Cashio

Bearded man, who has a beautiful wife, 2 rambunctious little boys, and one furry spoiled girl. He loves spending time with family whether that be hiking, fishing, playing baseball, or whatever else can be done outdoors. He spends most of his time renovating their 1972 Airstream. He dreams with his wife of traveling in the Airstream and exploring the unseen places that God has created for us to see!

New Year New You, Right?

How many times at the end of each year have you seen this exact statement, “New year, New you”, posted? How do you wake up one morning and say, “ok today is the new me”? Our world try's to sell us on get rich quick schemes, fad diets, & magic pills. At some point we all fall into one of those traps. 

I wish it were as simple as, in the morning I'm going to wake up with a killer bod or wake up with a million bucks. Life just doesn't work that way. 

It is hard work to change. 

It is a daily struggle. 

It is making the right choices minute after minute. 

As we all know there is no magic pill to have a great body. Sure there are some pills & some extreme diets that will get you the result you want. But guess what? After you stop that extreme diet, you gain that weight back plus some. At least that's how it always worked for me. I successfully spent my late teen years wrecking my metabolism trying to have my cake + eat it too.

Change doesn't work unless we evolve it into our lifestyle. 

Just like skincare. If you want amazing skin, but treat your face like crap and don't take your makeup off at night + don't use a good moisturizer, you will pay for it with wrinkles later on. I could go on + on. Keeping in mind I have been in every one of those scenarios. Everything I've touched on is part of our superficial being. The same goes for my spiritual life though. 

The more good I put in, the more good I see come out.

If I want a relationship with Jesus I have to put in the work + show up. He's always there waiting on me. I just tend to get lazy + get in the "do it myself" mentality. Which for me personally never pans out. I always regret going ahead of Jesus + not letting him work. The key to change is a relationship with Jesus.

Our self will + determination is nothing compared to God’s. Our determination will work for the time being, but if you are seeking true forever change you need help. We cannot do it alone. We can't stay on track living a healthy lifestyle, living with a pure mind, or finding joy in every situation by ourselves. We need help. We need a Savior. 

Have you made a list for 2018 with every intention of checking it off? I started to, but then I feared I would slack and not finish checking off my list. Which in return would make me feel like a failure + put me in a rut. As I walked away from the list, I decided to return to it and at the end of each bullet-point put (with the help of Jesus).

I challenge you to make a list for 2018 + at the end of each sentence write..[With the help of Jesus.]

If you're having a hard time coming up with a list here's an example, mine are in the () : 

Area of growth you want to see in your marriage, with the help of Jesus

(Putting each other first before kids)

Area of growth you want to see in you as a mom, with the help of Jesus

(Always finding thankfulness in the days you want to pull out your hair)

•Area of growth you want to see in friendships around you, with the help of Jesus 

(Meeting + be present in the good + bad times)

Area of growth you want to see as a family, with the help of Jesus.

(Family game night + consistent family bible time)

•Area of growth you want to see in the health department

(Homemaking more + less chemicals)

•Area of growth you want to see in your service of others

(Baking cookies for local organizations + delivering them with the kids.)

Area of growth you want to see in yourself spiritually

(Being more intentional about praying scripture out loud over my kids + husband

At the end of the year reflect on what you wrote. You'll be amazed at what came to fruition + what didn't. I bet you'll have disappointments along the way.

Times where you come up short

Where you don't know how you'll finish

I've learned too many times I can't live on my own. But with Jesus, all things are possible. If something doesn't pan out the way I intended it to, I know it's because I am not seeing the whole picture. I'm not seeing what God is protecting me from. I'm not seeing what He is holding back now, so he can set me up for something far better than what I picked out. If you believe God works out all things for good, you'll have the faith that his "yes" "no" or "not right now" is for a reason. And you'll be thankful if you stick around to find out His ending.

During my quiet time the word "Restoration" came to mind. God started speaking to me telling me that this was my word for 2018. I wrote some stuff down in my journal thinking what that word could mean for me + my family, but I can't wait to find out what God intends it to mean.

XO Colleen Cashio

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them" Romans 8:28 NLT

"Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible." Matthew 19:26 NLT

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"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them" Romans 8:28 NLT

"Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible." Matthew 19:26 NLT

Hello, World!

How 15 minutes saved our marriage...

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Marriage isn’t easy. As you may already know. Zach + I went through a rough season of marriage, the kind where it’s broken + dry. Maybe you’ve been there, you are there, or think you’ll never be there. I was 20 when we married + thought those dry seasons were only for “older married people”... Boy was I wrong! By nature, I am a lazy person. If I want something I have to work for it. It normally doesn’t just come naturally. I was so use to Zach + I’s relationship that I became lazy + comfortable. For our six-month wedding anniversary we found out I was pregnant. Before then we were involved in a marriage life group + working on our marriage. But honestly, what is there to work on being 6 months into something that you plan to be in for 60 plus years? Even though we dated 2 years prior to being married + had gone through pre-marriage counseling, we still didn’t have a great foundation for marriage. We were both naïve, immature + brought some past baggage into our relationship. We thought we had it all figured out + even though we learned great things going through marriage ministry life groups, we never diligently applied them to our lives. That’s a huge thing I’ve learned so far in this journey. You can learn everything under the moon, but if you don’t apply the principles it’s just wasted knowledge. Just an example I remember learning about, but thought, “yea, ok whatever”. A women once told us, “always take care of yourself for your spouse, never stop trying to impress your spouse”, “care how you look, don’t always be in super comfy clothes”. Back to my laziness; I was so comfortable with Zach that I was always in “comfy” clothes, no makeup, + buns. And this was before I had the “mom” excuse. LOL. Now don’t get me wrong, you want to feel 110% comfortable in your skin + your spouse should always love you on your ugliest days. But ladies, its nice to dress up for your man + feel good about yourself. Staying home now can be a struggle for me, because it’s always easy to just stay in lounge outfits. Which, if you see me 7 out of 10 times I am in workout clothes (even though I didn’t workout ha). But I am chasing around a toddler + a baby, so I need stretchy clothes. On the days I spend 5 minutes throwing on basic makeup I feel best about myself.

So we got caught in the day-to-day routine + put our marriage on the back burner. We let our to-do lists grow bigger than our marriage. Work, small kids, + lack of sleep will do that to anyone. Until Ezra was 17-18 months he woke every 1-2 hours to nurse. Not kidding at all! Not because the kid was hungry.. Just for comfort. So glad that season is behind me because it was a draining season. By the time Ezra was 2 we had left him maybe 4 different times ranging in 30 min – 3 hours. I’m that mom that doesn’t like to be away from her babies! Once our marriage went through a break it or make it moment, we had to regroup + figure something out. We realized we got so involved with the day-to-day hustle we really never had alone time. Kids wake up early + by the time bedtime came we all passed out at the same time. So we decided to implement a new routine in our day.

No matter how tired we were, after our kids went to sleep we would sneak out of bed + spend at least 15 minutes alone with each other.

Another thing for Zach + I is that both kids are in bed with us. While that is highly controversial for some, it works for us. When some say they don’t know how you have a sexual relationship with your spouse – our answer is; “Somehow Harvey got here unplanned”. We love them being in our bed and wouldn’t trade it for the world. They are only so little so long, but I totally understand it doesn’t work for everyone. Before kids I said I wasn’t going to be ‘one of those weird people who let their kids sleep with them’. Ha! Now look at me, I ate my words. Our downfall wasn’t so much that our kids are in our bed, but it's that Ezra takes 30 minutes in bed tossing + turning before going asleep. Before we knew it we fell asleep from exhaustion. Once we got into habit of making ourselves stay awake until they fell asleep, it came natural. We snuck out of bed + went to the living room. At first we set a 15-minute timer on our phone because we were so tired. We pushed through because we knew how this would play a key part into getting our marriage back on track.

It is vital to connect with your spouse!

Yes, that means husbands totally connect with your wife, engage in what she’s talking to you about. Ask questions! And wives, stop + pay attention to your spouse. Give him all of you not 25%.

Stop thinking about everything that happened today or didn’t happen.

Stop making your to-do list for tomorrow.

Stop thinking about the dirty dishes or piles of laundry.

If all else fails + you’re too tired to function, just cuddle. Touch speaks as loud as words sometimes. I soon realized that not having your kids Velcro-ed to you + spending true alone time was nice. REALLY nice! If you’re having a hard time coming up with stuff to talk about, make it fun… Pull out a board game, Google the newlywed game + pick questions to ask each other. We noticed we went from having a hard time filling those 15 minutes to making ourselves go to bed after 2 hours because we would be zombies the next day. You’ll be amazed at how energized you feel after you connect with your spouse.

--Unmarried readers, stop here –

Another thing you can put on the list is making love. Yes, I said it. That is a great way to connect with your spouse. Who cares if you know its planned + not spontaneous all the time. Most women plan the days they wash their hair, so why can’t we plan on making love? Life gets chaotic and if you get stuck in the motion sex will be on the back burner. As this is true for most women, it isn’t for men. God created this amazing gift for marriage, now go enjoy!

This is what truly has saved our marriage. Stopping the day-to-day cycle + enjoying each other’s company. It’s not rocket science + we aren’t the first to discover this, but its amazing what will happen when you start planting seeds in your marriage. It’s easy to get into a rut. It’s not how long you stay in it, it’s all about how you recover + rebuild afterwards. You need your spouse + your spouse needs you. We look forward to ending our day together now, no matter how tired we may be. And lets face it the grass is never greener on the other side, its greener where you water it.

XO Colleen Cashio

“This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Mark 10:7-9 NLT

"So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33 NLT

 "In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation." 1 Peter 5:10 NLT

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Oh, Christmas Tree

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Our Christmas tree this year is unlike any we've had before. Our family tradition is to go to this cute little farm + have one cut down. But this year after Thanksgiving we decided to go into the woods and let Ezra pick one for us. He picked this small, cute, round ‘Charlie Brown’ cedar. It was so small we thought it would be perfect for his playroom. When we got home + put it in our living room we knew it was going to be our main tree. When Zach and I were engaged + newly married we always got 9 foot trees. Then last year we decided to get a smaller one around 6 feet and realized that was our new favorite height. As I look at our 3’ tree the word humble comes to mind. This past year God has humbled us. For the best; He has stripped things from our life + shown us what life really means. We have been pressed on all sides of our life, but we have persevered. We have had some really high mountaintops + really low valleys.

I was talking to a friend a while ago and I was explaining how I feel like God is taking everything out of my life that I put over him or rely on more than Him. I am a visual learner. I have to act things out to learn; sometimes I think this can be a downfall for me. Just some examples of things that have been removed to help God mold me into the person He wants me to be. Keep in mind this is for me, not everyone. I do not think I am better than anyone because I am trying to remove these from my life. This is just something I was putting in a higher place than God. Each person may have something different than me. My sins might not be a sin for you. Coffee; I rely on that hot liquid gold to wake me up and help me make it through the day. Wine; I rely on this cold liquid goodness to help me some evenings when I am stressed out or my anxiety is through the roof. I have a glass and things level out. I think it is just for a season, but who knows maybe God’s plan is for me to give it up for a couple of seasons. I was relying on those things instead of relying on God to give me strength to get through my day. Maybe that's part of the refining process though. Being stripped bare to be made beautiful again. I have never felt like I was a lonely person, but Zach and I are going through a transition stage in marriage right now. While I know there is light at the end of the tunnel, it still has left me feeling lonely. It would be very easy for me to turn to things of this world to try to fill those voids in my life. But luckily I have friends + family around me that help me stay grounded in Jesus + not this world. I bought Lysa TerKeurst’s book 'Uninvited' + let me just say this by far is one of my favorite books of hers. I wanted to share this part with you about an olive tree. I had no idea there was so much involved with making an olive edible. How she compares it to us is so beautifully written I had to share.

 ‘“The final thing I want to consider about the olive is the best way to preserve it for the long run. It must be crushed in order to extract the oil. The same is true for us. The biblical way to be preserved is to be pressed. And being pressed can certainly feel like being crushed.

But what about 2 Corinthians 4:8, where it says, “we are…pressed…but not crushed’? Lets read verses 8 and 9 in the King James Version: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in a despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

This was one of the biggest aha moments for me while standing in the shadow of the olive tree: crushing isn’t the olives end. Crushing, rather, is the way of preservation. Its also the way to get whats most valuable, the oil, our of the olive. Keeping this perspective is how we can be troubled on every side yet not distressed… pressed to the point of being crushed but not crushed and destroyed.

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The olive tree is such a beautiful reminder that this isn’t how its going to be forever. On the other side of the process of being broken and waiting is a useful heart free of bitterness. On the other side of being pressed and crushed is oil…the most valuable part of me set free to emerge.

On the other side of every hardship is a resurrection.

We must believe that what God has said He will do will be done. Don’t focus on the problems. Instead, have the resurrection mind-set that holds fast to Gods promises. Good is coming!”” pages 200&201 Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

 

Then sometimes it's not God taking things away from you it's the broken world we live in. Porn/sports/hunting stealing the husband away, comparison/busyness/rejection stealing the mom away, or hard times stealing the joy away. Every relationship has a story. There are good + bad parts to everything in life. We are always a work in progress. Someone once told me this statement, which hit me to my core…

marriage isn’t about being happy it’s about being holy.”

I probably would never come to that conclusion on my own. The past couple of months Zach + I have been working really hard on being intentional in our marriage. We are praying how/when we can share some of our walk with you soon.

 

Maybe feeling lonely is exactly where God wants me. He wants me all alone…with Him. He wants me to turn to no one or thing, but Him. My husband, kids, friends, family, nor anyone will be able to fill the voids in my life. If I try to shove them in each of my holes that only God was intended to fill they will fall out. They might stay around for a while and everything looks great on the outside; but they're like a volcano waiting to explode. People + things will fail you at some time or another. I have failed many people in my life so how can I not expect someone to fail me? God is the only person who will never fail me. He is the only person who will stick around on my worst day + pick me back up. He is the only one to walk beside me in the hard seasons of life, so why do I push him aside and try to use others around me to fill those voids. God’s love is perfect. If I wake up everyday and decide “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalms 118:24 NLT), do you know how much better my days would be if I carry His joy with me throughout the entire day? If every time I feel rejected + lonely I turn to him to build my spirit up I will be in a much better place. 

Even on our worst days there is always something to be thankful for. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what God is not doing in my life I miss everything He IS doing. I have to be so intentional about focusing on what He is doing. If we focus on everything we are thankful for, our joy will spill over to everyone around us. The day we went to find our Christmas tree I was thankful for a healthy little boy who was able to run around and pick out his tree, who could see the vibrant fall colors in the woods, and one who helped his daddy chop down the tree he picked out. (Don’t worry his hatchet had the sheath on it, but shhh don’t tell him)

 

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Looking at our humble tree now gives me hope. I know God is working on our family + we will be in a much better place than where we first started. My eyes have been opened to so many things around me that I would have totally missed before. So many lessons God was trying to teach me, but my heart was not prepared or able to understand it before. Going through a lesson is never fun. But my prayer is I will always have a teachable heart, not a callused heart from the world. If anything bad has happened to you, I promise God can use it for good. We just have to have open hearts to let Him work.

XO Colleen Cashio

 

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know Gods will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” Romans 12:2 NLT

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:7 NLT

 

 

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