Hey, we had a busy weekend spending time in the joy or organizing our space. When we bought our current house we knew our basement would probably never be turned into another level and we have all our workout equipment and a mini home gym down there mostly for the winter workouts and a "dog run" spot to throw the ball during icy , snowy and rainy days . It was a dump all our stuff room when we had five movers unload a truck of almost 22 years of married life after moving across the country in a heartbeat. Slowly , we have walked half of that "stuff" back up the stairs and have made countless days and loads of drop offs to the local goodwill or friends houses..... WE ARE STILL NOT DONE, BUT OH SO CLOSE!! Also during this time , we've shed stories we've told ourselves, anxiety, denial, old life hobbies and habits . Every time we've climbed those stairs we've either shed sweat, or things or simply to get our steps count on our garmins. Its been fun and it hasn't been easy. Ive felt Joy, triumph , shame, gratitude, laughter, not ready to toss it, creativity, strength and honor in that basement over the past two years and its not a bad place !
There are two Marvin windows down there, the sun and light gets in, so does darkness and dreary days. Today was a designated day of "ME" , no shame , no plan on what to do creatively but simply to sit and see what comes of it. So after I worked out with Ann at Body Logic , I grabbed some food and a coffee, tossed the ball for the kids outside before the rains came and went downstairs.
I kept telling myself as I push to change old habits and the stories I keep telling myself for years . I told myself, LET THE NEW COME IN, the new lifestyle, the one your trying to figure out but keep trying to force .
I was telling myself this. "DO THINGS WITH NO THOUGHT ON THE OUTCOME OR ATTACHMENT TO THE RESULTS "
For so many years , being bought up by a STRONG , Single Mom I was raised to "remember where you put your money bag" at garage sales. "Always have your own money" "never give away your power" Those were the words I lived by and since moving across the country my whole life was turned upside down and Ive spent two years trying to unravel, give up control and listen to what life has to teach me. So today , I had three boxes of butterflies and flowers, ephemera....I'm like , I am not butterflies and flowers but they sure are cute and I can create something with them..... Old thought started to creep in "whose gonna buy this?" "How will you sell it ?" "how much will you price it?" "what if nobody likes it when you don't even like it?" And I caught my old habit, that story of self talk that we do and I kept pressing on , just being creative. Moments of not thinking about anything but how I'm gonna get all this glue off , feeling guilty just doing nothing but art. Again, reset the mind, just BE. JUST ENJOY. JUST TRUST THE JOURNEY IS UNFOLDING.
Now I'm back upstairs , got some water and some nuts, pet the doggies and being gentle with myself. Tomorrow is another day and I may or may not get any answers but I do know for certain, My Joy and Purpose is the love of telling stories that may light a fire in people and hit on human truths for us all. For 13 years I told my stories on t-shirts in hopes you would be inspired to be your best self. The next chapter is unfolding for me and this is MY time , not to tell the stories per say, they seep into the ground and the air sometimes but its my time to just enjoy things for me without having to get from point A to Point B, my time is how many days I get to wake up and love and be loved.
What are you doing with your one and only crazy life???
I realized today, I am not like anyone else. I'm probably the happiest I have ever been in my life and tomorrow I could feel exactly the opposite and that is OKAY.
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"Because we so often become what we do, we tend to question our value and merit in times of inactivity "
This women was speaking words from my very soul and image of this current new path and life!!!
We are approaching the one year mark of being Midwesty in about 2 months.
Yesterday was a very emotional and sad day for me and I didn't feel like calling one of my bestie's and rehashing why Ive been in a hole off and on during this big move. I was a little embarrassed by the fact that I was still learning and growing on this big new chapter. In October I turned 52 and felt like 18 still at times as I have struggled with a new identity and unable to hide behind one that Ive hidden behind for a good 11 years and probably another few years before that. The identity was simply "the peace within girl" or "the basketball standout " "Becky " and so with this big move I had to become , Rebecca Dryden Armstrong again , naked and all without said identity. Now I knew deep down that we are not our job titles and there is a lot in the universe that we flow around in. But this move has forced me to unbecome again to become and well Ive been having a darn hard time with it and as my mother warned me...."its like a divorce" to make this big move and go where you do not know anyone etc etc.....
So late yesterday as I struggled in my office and tried to come up with some new art, it just wasn't bearing any fruit and I started to feel anxiety setting in....my heart started racing a bit and so I got up and went to the puzzle table and felt guilty about sitting at home playing with a puzzle and not figuring anything out or where I was going to go next and certainly the universe wasn't going to teach me anything when I was closing off all the good messages.....
So I put in a facetime to my beloved mother in law...Thank God she was available and the waterworks started to fall....not a trickle but a huge wave and my glasses started to fog up and the snots started to drip....and my dog was trying to console me by yanking on my sleeve.... I called her because she knows my husband the best since that is her first born.
My husband too moved from his beloved pacific northwest and he too is trying to establish himself in his new work surroundings and all and the stress of work has him lost in another planet...the planet where you eat together at the dinner table and you look across at your beloved and you have to knock on the door.....hello over there !! are you there ?? can you hear me ???? So i started to tell him about my day and finally blurted it out....I'm lonely ....I see you everyday and our marriage is amazing and I know we are both on the same journey right now but I NEED SOME OF YOUR ATTENTION !! There it was , I pulled the vulnerable , more snots card in fear that he was going to roll his eyes....but he met me with his loving eyes and said ," You know I love you right ???" and I said yes," but we are not connected right now and so I'm hurting a little and just need your attention and then ill be good another few months.... "
So what is the moral of all this ? Well Im growing some more and I want to share with you my story... I am not good at this , going low with the person you love the most but I have never like confrontation and isn't it silly that its easy to have confrontation with aquaintences etc and not with your spouse?? I asked for what I needed and even though I was vulnerable and feeling like crap I was actually taking care of me and my self worth.... and the way I asked it was in a calm sad state but I respected myself enough to ask ! and as much as our loved once dislike the hard conversations or the ones in where we are less confident, they see our strength and find us way more attractive when we are confident and taking care of ourselves.
Back to this whole new chapter. I have been a way better wife and have been filling his needs but what about mine ?? and there has been so much in balance etc because I wasn't taking care of any of my needs and so it was and does come across as needy and low self esteem etc....
Fast forward to today....... This morning I woke up and was done with my workout before 8 am,I'm feeling on top of the world, loved, confident, happy and I'm giving myself more credit. I did my weekly chat with my bestie on facetime and she told me how proud she was that I voiced what I needed for ME. I informed my mother in law that it all went well. We worked out together this am and I feel connected again and moving forward ......will it come up again ? yes ....Will it still be hard navigating this chapter?? Yes....will I keep getting my mojo back and out of the rabbit hole ? Damn straight !!!!
So after my workout I made my coffee and did my reading and of course the universe gave me some more insight and lessons knowing I was wide open to receive.
Ive written before about this and have talked about the importance before with my peace within line....No expectations...meet people where they are at... It has been irking me for some time now when I touched on a few months back about people drawing a line in the sand about who they were going to include in their life and who to toss or get rid of . I was irked by people on facebook saying they were going to leave it all together and really they were just dying for attention and wanting to be drawn back....WELL...its totally okay because we all want to be heard and we all need attention so lets discuss this a little further here before I say adieu...
BOUNDARIES : we have to have them in order to really live . That is my next chapter and sister.....I'm not talking about getting rid of anyone or only surrounding yourself with...blah blah blah........I'm talking about YOU the person who doesn't have boundaries to change the way you move and word your story....the story you keep telling yourself.... It about putting boundaries for yourself...not getting rid of things or people Us ladies who want to be liked or get to a stage where they gave up on people pleasing and still have no boundaries ... We can be more compassionate with ourselves and with others when we keep ourselves out of resentment.
"Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to , and when they say yes, they mean it. They're compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment"
So where I'm going here is I picked up her book , "Rising Strong" because I felt like I'm digging myself out of the rumble and that is what the book is about. Ive read so many of hers but I missed this one.
I just found it so powerful on her chapter on people and how they do the best they can and its so similar to my message of meeting people where they are at and no expectations.... BUT I'm so loving the interpretation of how we don't need to make these dramatic changes that are based in FEAR....we just need the boundaries because they lead to and make one open the jar of self worth and all the ways we sabotage ourselves in our relationships with even the people we love the most and if your married to a good one like mine, its hard for him to see me at my weakest because that is not who he married ....I'm the only one that can get back to my best self though...he can and does love me through it but he or the universe cant love me or move me or inspire me if I don't ask for it .
"How can we expect people to put value on our work when we don't value ourselves enough to set and hold uncomfortable boundaries ??"
In closing ,"boundaries are a function of self respect and love" Dang it shes so good, that Brene .. Be good to yourselves and if you are needing to be heard today....I hear you girlfriends , be vulnerable and ask for what you need and never look back. AND...I'm coming back!! I'm rising out of this hole and im coming for ya !!
July 30th marked the first six months of living our next chapter in Wisconsin. Where do I begin? Things are changing and I am trying to take it all in. Jeff and I have no regrets of the move but we have both been in and out of depression at times as we navigate this new life and cut the cord to our Idaho life. Its the only way to not look back and compare because there is so much more beauty to see and life to live.
Let me tell you, beauty is not lacking here !! Ive felt and seen so much nostalgia to be hearts content and watched so many sunsets in six months than my first 51 years of life here on earth!. I’m used to sunsets so grand with the smoke from the PNW fires and here they are grand with no fires. Ive sat on peoples docks or in kayaks or simply driving and jaunting up a hill to catch the fall of the sun as it drops behind the landscape so I guess you would call me a chaser now. I found a walking buddy and weve stayed committed to three days a week at 8:30 am and its almost always a shore path walk and we always shoot for 3 miles or more these mornings. We have missed some for vacations and appointments but I have kept them up with the dogs or Jeff in the evenings as we try and figure out a new plan for him also. For 16 years he has worked from home and was able to take a break in the middle of the day and get a walk in but now he dresses up everyday and drives 36 min to work and comes home around6-6:30 so he is trying to find balance too.
Weve had a handful of visitors or family and friends and a 75% finished house. We will do a few projects to finish out some things but it will take more time. I still have some empty wall space as i search for the perfect paintings or art work. We love our home!! Weve walked to dinner, farmers markets, festivals, coffee, ice cream , sunsets and backyard parties. Its one of my most favorite things here to be in the center of it all and still have a nice, quiet , peaceful yard.
Now to the heavy stuff……..IT IS NOT EASY…….I LOVE IT AND WE HAVE NO REGRETS…but its NOT EASY. Ive struggled with starting over in relationships and especially in my peace within business. Ive met fear again and “what is my purpose” again and Ive broken down and gotten back up and Im still trying to figure it all out . Ive learned so much and am trying to get back to my big energy and big smiling self…I am not complaining at all. On the flip side, I feel so lucky that we get a clean slate and new adventures and possibilities… IT really is the next chapter in so many ways and it makes one wonder and think so much that my sleep has been non existent for 6 months. I cannot express enough the power of timing in life and how things really work the way they are gonna work and we really don't have much say in it. You can have a vision and be positive and put it out there in the universe but ultimatley its something else that decides when we are ready for the next lesson.
Part of the struggle of adjusting is for me , is having some structure again and making time to work. Currently I am trying to get my goods into stores again and I have had to make some changes out of my comfort zone. Peace within has been around for 11 years and I have never raised my prices and have mostly broke even. Part of change is at some point you have to stop serving others and serving yourself. So I have just been getting it out in the open again and I raised my prices so that I can get ahead and be able to keep doing this thing called life and sharing my story. Part of cutting the cord and moving forward was not wanting to lose old customers like you. I have loved you for so long but I need to love myself also and we have no control of how people will react but those who respect you and relate will still follow.
I still have a long ways to go but wanted to share some words with you and hope that you understand and follow the journey of peace within.
Have a great week. xoxo
Wisconsin bound, another chapter of this great life of ours.
So long Coeur d Alene...until we meet again
“I didn’t see my own accomplishment; I saw my Fathers reaction to my accomplishment”
“The only people who get upset when you set boundaries are the ones who benefited from you having none.”
"It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry about."
I learned that all this SAFETY and shields from our fears are actually nets we throw over our heads
Maybe all this unbecoming stuff is also full circle moments in which your past relationships or stories bear fruit to teach you how far you have come. Or maybe they translate into a kind of love you can only see when your eyes are open. - Rebecca Armstrong
Over the years and all those shows and events Ive been repeatedly asked, "Is this a brand?" or "Is this your brand?" and every time I got caught off guard as to what would be the most professional answer. Even when not feeling professional. It all kinda irked me and today I was just thinking....Why does it irk me? The truth is , there seems to be some slight tinge of stupidity and or a little insecurity on my part and the person in question. Kinda being a little judgy wudgy here but YES its my BRAND and YES its a part of me but the way you are asking it has got me thinking, there is more to me than just a BRAND. First thing that comes to mind is a mental picture of a cow on a farm and a cowboy slapping its butt wit a hot stick and hes yelping in pain at the unexpectedness, the BRANDING. Yes, the cowboy was cute in my mental picture with his wranglers and plaid shirt, and that six pack! Okay, back to task here.
Recently on one of my many coffee shop chats with an old friend we were talking shop about my future camp . Her, being a small business owner also, was sharing some story and I cant remember the story line but I do remember her saying or talking about something along the lines of , "YES!! its personal" "and don't tell me to not take it personal because its PERSONAL" This friend has a local business and a family. Her family is now being extended with cute little nuggets of grandchildren and she has an amazing husband and shop. They travel, workout, meet with friends, take adventures and love dogs and other things. They are small business owners with a "BRAND" or a "BABY" or a "HOBBY" or simply a means to express herself and make a living.
"Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how your leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark."
She is just like me, another great woman making a life for herself while supplementing her family and being a model for her children and grandchildren. What I'm trying to convey here is that SHE is all of us. No matter what title you give yourself or how you portray yourself in the world and outside your home is your Brand. Doesn't mean you have to have a storefront or a website or do shows and events. It means, if you do have a small business , it is your BRAND and how you do your business represents who you are or who you would like to be. Even though you are more than a BRAND, so much more, you are putting your hopes and dreams for the world to see and bygone! its personal !
Now.....this doesn't mean we take all things personal. There are people who are gonna not like your stuff or what you represent. Everyone has different tastes and different incomes or they simply are not buying or looking. This year has been a year of big change for me and some events have been less than spectacular in sales . I have had some really scary changes and realities. The weather has played a huge part. Ive experienced doubt for the first time ever after nine years and sometimes a burnout as caused some depression but always , always there has been that special note written, a sweet text sent or a sign from the universe to keep on going. This is life and it doesn't have anything to do with my brand but it has everything to do with ME, its personal.....
You have to not be afraid, sometimes easier said than done. That afraidness (I'm gonna make it a word) is FEAR of the unknown. Your brand may be changing into a different form, you may be unbecoming who you really are. You may be in a "lesson" that life has to teach you and you may , just maybe onto something bigger and better.
How will you present your BRAND ? and what will you say to that next person who irks you?
Is it possible the uneasiness you feel or I sometimes feel is just an insecurity that you didn't know you still had? What if your life lessons have put you in a place to share with others your story so that they might feel more ready to present themselves ?
So as I sit here with my thoughts all over the place, I hope I'm making a bit sense. Time to walk the dog, Happy Saturday and the last few days before 2018. Go out there and be who you want to be but please don't hide. You have so much to present to this world , more than you'll ever know. When someone ask you about your work or how you spend your days....Kindly respond, YES ! DAMN STRAIGHT !! This is me!
You don't get happy from getting , you get happy from BEING authentic!! This I know is true!
Where do I start ? Where do I begin ? My heart is still soaring and my mind still reminiscing on an incredible weekend that I am very proud of. I was taken to many emotions and a little bit of nervousness as I started Friday night welcoming 17 women to a weekend in the Mountains of Coeur d Alene , Idaho. After decorating the day before with Gladys we were spent but felt a great sense of accomplishment when the rooms came together and our meeting place came to life and comfort. We were ready to see what the weekend would unfold. Before we set out a few little trinkets and last minute touches, I stood on a bench and looked out at our beautiful lake and took a few breaths. After months of stress and planning and a lot of meetings at Barnes and Noble with Gladys, I knew we were ready but wasn't sure how I was gonna feel about doing another one. Fear kicked in a little as the unknown tried to peak into my mind. The first camper arrived and it was a long time friend, it gave me some trust to see her face and her smile. One by one campers were pulling up and had big smiles with a trace of the unknown themselves. There was a little bit of risk for both parties because they didn"t know what to expect but the most amazing thing was that 90% of the ladies took a leap of faith and courage as they emailed me to say, "I'm coming alone, I"m doing this for myself" . We settled in with some bloody mary's and wine and cheese. Those that came with friends stayed together and those that came alone introduced themselves and checked out the view. The night then progressed to dinner and a art session with Elaine. Having had very little sleep the night before I headed to bed to attempt a fresh start for Saturday morning and my speech, Changing your story. I skipped breakfast, I needed to prepare so I asked Gladys to lead the breakfast and have the campers grab journals for the first event of the day. I said to myself before I started, "your going to rock this" I kinda did, but my heart was sad to learn of the ladies fears and some with low self esteem. Each women had a story and each of them had beautiful souls. I looked to some of the elders for wisdom and everyone started to interact. I started to feel proud of myself as the speech came to an end, not for the speech, I have more fine tuning to do. I was proud I did something to connect women and followed a dream blindly. It has taken me years to be proud of myself and really feel it. I started to let my guard down and breathed a sigh of relief as the hardest part was coming to an end. As we embarked on the hike and was in nature I felt more confidence and my soul started to swell as we were surrounded by beauty and a light snowfall. Everyone was ready for some outdoor love and exercise.
As the afternoon progressed there was more workshops and insight to health by Brittany and a short nap before Dinner and a live concert with Robby. As the music started to flow and we all snuggled close to listen, I was filled with an overwhelming amount of GRATITUDE. I thought of my Dad who gave me the gift of song and music. I was overcome with emotion of the songs and the passion of the guitar player, I cried tears of love and I knew I had done it, my very first camp was a success. I couldn't stop smiling but the night wasn't over. Games and pajama party and Gladys smores bar closed out the night. Tons of gut and belly laughs presumed and the bond of the women was ten fold, I love everyone of them!! It was amazing how perfect each one was and how life works to bring us together. All of us will take what we got out of the weekend with them. Some of us had to face tough times going home and some had to contemplate life a little. I hope I inspired and instilled a little in each person. We burned the sadness and the insecurities into the fireplace. We said goodbye to low self worth and fear. As each person tossed their piece into the fireplace, I felt a sense of hope that we would all move forward. Onward to the next one, never let anyone dim your light! Everyone has something to offer and together we are much stronger than just one.
Today I decided to share a little bit of the peace within "change your story " logo. Our stories that we tell separate us from all the people we meet on a daily basis and all the people that have been in our lives. It doesn't mean we are different than each other or we can put ourselves in a category that is superior or inferior to how we are feeling at this moment in time, they are simply the story we keep telling ourselves but they are not US. This story we tell is just where we are at in this exact moment. You see my friend, you've got to understand that your story is not your identity of who you are its just what you keep telling yourself. That self talk that is sabotaging you and keeping you safe in that little bubble you enslave yourself in. You stay in safety and not deal with your fears or you break away from your story because you have realized that you no longer have a reason to keep wanting this or that your no longer searching for ways to be happy. You've broken the bubble you spent so many years in . You see , the wanting more and the searching for ways and the fixing you've wasted so much time on are simply little decoys of staying in the safety of your bubble story. Stepping outside of your story/identity and revealing who you really are is trust me, its called Happiness. Its not what you thought it would look like, a new job, a new spouse , car , vacation ....it's changing your thinking to the story you've told all your adult life thus far. For some it started in childhood and just kept getting bigger and bigger. Trying for example, "giving FB a break" or not surrounding yourself with bad people, avoiding all things you consider bad for yourself....Its all Fear and Safety and has nothing to do with the people,things, social media you blamed for it, it has to do with YOU and your story.
It truly is amazing when you step out of the story you are hanging on to and identifying yourself with, it truly is amazing the person you become without the fear and shelter you have put yourself in . People have gone so far, including myself,wasting a LOT of time trying to FIX and CHANGE all the bad things you say and do to yourself when really its just that, WASTED time. Life and all the pain we have experienced or may experience is part of what makes you who you are. When you realize that those pains and stories you have told or become are just stepping stones of a POSITIVE direction if only and ONLY when you see it. If you keep adding it as a negative ingredient in your life then it stays as the story you keep adding to. It goes to the crap portion of your ingredient of your story and back to your own safety net. When you figure out its just YOU adding the ingredient and playing victim to your own story, you will then begin to CHANGE YOUR STORY which hence is the message I am here to share. Not because I havn't experienced it myself but because I did and I changed my story. So what I'm saying is , change the ingredients of your story and whip up something less painful and look at it as YOUR LIFE and not your past or your identity. Its the only way that things will "taste" good and you will then feel like you are in your own shoes, made for you at birth. Youll find you are living the life that you want without all the safety and fear ingredients you have stored while telling your same story. If you would like to explore this further I will be opening this up once more in February at my first camp. I have no title of life coach or motivational speaker, I am just telling my peace within story on a t shirt or at a fun weekend getaway :)
The Photo above is of a dear friend Paula sporting our change your story sweatshirt that will be available again soon
Sign up for camp if you wish ,
In November of 2016 at the crack of dawn, I headed out for Seattle, WA for yet another Holiday show. Not being much of a morning person, this was new for me to leave at o' dark and watch the beautiful sunrise. It became more therapeutic than I had envisioned but just like 9 years ago, I had another epiphany. I came up with the idea to start a camp, an overnight camp with the first one being winter camp in order to have a possible snowshoe and get out a little and help others to be inspired by nature and of course a new way of sharing the peace within story.
My main goal for Camp on February 24-26th is simply to gather women for a FUN weekend ! A weekend getaway from the day to day life of being stressed and busy...too busy doing things you have to do instead of things you want to do. The weekend is designed of many different workshops. Not your typical retreat you read about, not all crafty and not all serious. My vision is that we be open to a little health workshop, a couple creative workshops where you are simply doing something with your hands and you are completely relaxed. Learn the importance of having hobbies and a feeling of belonging with other women who are either like-minded or just open to new things.
New Years resolutions and all the stress of bettering ourselves is usually short lived and never planned with conviction, and frankly they usually die after a month or two. All these promises we make to ourselves and the promises we never keep are usually based on Fear or failure.
Camp peace within will start with a bloody Mary or simply a big ol smile and excitement. Saturday night will be live music/Sing along, to let you loose and remind you of all those camps Mom and Dad may or may not have shipped you off to. All the events will simply happen to get you to thinking and spending time with yourself surrounded by others in the same quest as you! To take better care of ourselves and simply make a decision to come to camp is telling yourself that you ARE WORTHY and YOU SHOULD DO SOMETHING outside the box you usually lock yourself into !
I hope by sharing my story this weekend along with some other guest speakers that you will then want to change yours because
"nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know"
Camp will be rustic but clean, no makeup required and simply only warm comfortable clothing. You should bring your favorite jeans and that favorite hat and just BE YOU with no strings attached!!
To sign up for Camp while spaces are available click link below
We are so excited to participate in some new events as well as our Favorites ! We love spreading peace within all over the United States one person or dog at a time :)
MAY 13TH, FOUND VINTAGE @Icicle Ridge Winery, Leavenworth , WA
May 27th CDA Marathon packet pickup, Cda Resort Shops
June 3-4The Farm Chicks- Spokane Country Fairgrounds
July 7-8 Missoula Marathon, Caras Park MIssoula, Montana
July 21-22 Pinspiration Market, Spokane County Fairgrounds
July 26th Wine. Women. and Shoes Coeur d Alene, Idaho Resort
August 4,5,6th Coeur d Alene Street Fair, Sherman AVE.
August 18 and 19 Pickin on the Prairie, Joe Albi Stadium, Spokane, WA.
September 22-23 Madhatters Vintage Market, FIve Mile, Spokane
October 27-28 Autumn Craft Market, WSU Beasley Auditorium