Delilah Dior Dominica
A woman's journey exploring her passion for Faith, fashion and travel.

Monday, September 29, 2014

When God Closes a Door...

A year ago today, I paid to have my dream website made. A year later, I have nothing to show for it. Well, that's not completely true; I have a deeper understanding of God's will for me and a killer mood board. Let's backtrack.

After graduating college with a sparkling degree in Fine Art I decided that my dream job would be to write, spread the gospel, create artwork and share how the Lord is working in my life. At first I was convinced the two opposing worlds of art and my faith would need to be kept separate to thrive, but after much time in prayer I realized that I am called to keep the two united. I set out with a summer game plan of choosing a catchy Brand Name and color scheme, writing a business plan and selecting a graphic designer to work their magic for my website. After plenty of research and hunting, I found my dream designer. There has never been a truer Cinderella moment (you know, the whole sliding-her-foot-into-the-glass-slipper-to-find-a-perfect-fit part) than this one- this woman was perfect for the job. She had a stunning portfolio and her own personal blog was what I had in mind all along. Halleluja! On this exact day one year ago, after much professional jibber jabber, I signed a contract and handed over my ideas, my vision and of course, my money. We set a February launch date. February came and went.

When my husband and I decided to spend a few months of the Spring in Europe I knew exactly what needed to be done from a business standpoint for the success of my plan. The website would need to launch in February so I that I would have a solid two months to grow my reader base. I started planning the trip in December, spending part of every day researching and preparing. This trip was supposed to "catapult my brand" and "increase traffic." Needless to say, when the February deadline passed, I was upset. When the March deadline passed, I was intolerant. When the "We leave for Europe tomorrow" deadline passed I was harbouring a deep darkness that shouldn't exist in anyone. The dark clouds didn't roll in because my website wasn't executed, but because my plan wasn't executed. Without going into all the messy details, I was scammed. I was strung along for months after this designer romanced me with excuses and dilemmas until one day in early May she completely disappeared.

Each day I expected to wake up to an inbox full of apologies, explanations, and the website I had worked so hard on and waited not so patiently for. When that didn't happen, I kind of lost it. Over and over again. Disappointment crept in every crevice of my being, followed swiftly by doubt, self-pity, anger and bitterness. I had been playing the tit-for-tat game so intently that I began to hurt at the success of my peers. I stopped looking at blogs and limited social media in order to guard my heart against comparison and still found a way to wallow in the fact that God would "let this happen".

You guys, when the Lord closes a door, don't claw at it. Don't pace back and forth, checking to see if the doorway has reopened all day long. And above all, do not escape  through the window. When the Lord closes a door, sit in the room and try to figure out why He has you there.  I know that being scammed by this graphic designer didn't put a padlock on the door to my dreams. Yes, I could have hired someone else to create my website in the meantime. Yes, I could have even created the website myself by now. I could have thousands of readers, a strong fan base for my artwork and some killer social media platforms. I know, however, that the Lord doesn't close doors to test our skills on whittling our own way out. He has temporarily sealed that door to say, "wait." When we start carving an opening in something the Lord has closed we enter dangerous territory- whether we are aware of it or not we are declaring that our way is better than His way. That our plans for ourselves are much more important and far greater than His plan for us. I can assure you that this is false, friends. Sure I'd love to have a beautiful website right now and a brand new blog. I still believe that one day I will, but right now I'm sitting Indian Style in the room the Lord has me in, vowing only to leave through the opening He creates. 

Can I let you in on a secret? When we stop trying to kick the door down with every ounce of our strength, sometimes we will realize we're happy it's closed. We never would have closed it ourselves, but there is a peace deep within us at the fact of not being able to walk through it. This fact hit me one day in Capri when I was sitting in an impossibly fluffy bed, eating Capri Cake and listening to the ocean hit the rocks just outside the window. Closing my eyes, I whispered to myself "I would not want to be responsible for a blog right now."

And I'm that teeny moment of honesty, I was able to step in to a deeply satisfying peace with a heart reminded of The Lords love for me.

See, Before I even laid eyes on those two pink lines on an Italian pregnancy test stick my heart had shifted. The responsibilities of generating enough content for a blog began to suffocate me. I wanted to experience things just for the experience- not for comments or page visits. I found myself leaving my camera behind, which is something so uncharacteristic of me. (My husband would lug it around and snap photos, assuring me that one day I'd want to be able to look back on our days on snow capped mountains in Switzerland and nights walking through Florence with gelato.  I'm so thankful for that guy.) I didn't want to have to set up a photo or style the moment and was, instead, fully content just to be living it. I became very protective of our experiences and uninterested in the outside world. This alien behavior finally made sense to both us once I found out I was pregnant. Believe it or not, this baby changed my heart even before it changed my cup size.

So here I am, website-less. Every time I'm asked where someone can buy my artwork or when I'll have a website, I smile to myself. The answer is truly one that only God knows and I finally find perfect peace in that answer. One day I will be styling my food before I eat it again, painting beautiful dresses and photographing outfits I didn't really wear that day. Until then, I will enjoy knowing I am so far from my own plan and yet right in the middle of His. And the verse that keeps rolling around in my head has given me the truest perspective time and time again when my plan doesn't quite work out: Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

Decorate the room you're in, learn to love it and understand just why He has you there. Before you know it, one day you might look to your left and see an open door. For now, give your feet a rest. Stop trying to break down a door the Lord has closed. Instead, trust Him when He says

 "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
 “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
 so my ways are higher than your ways
 and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
 Isaiah 55:8-9

A full post on Capri is coming soon, but here are some photos behind the reason I decided that taking a blogging break to fully be present in each moment wouldn't be so bad after all.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

21 Week Update

Hi, friends! I just crossed over the halfway mark and the other day my husband looked at me and said, "do you realize you have more days behind you than ahead of you in this pregnancy?" I can say I feel as though I've been pregnant for both a million years and ten minutes, though that's how all of life's greatest joys tend to be.

I decided I'd like to do this little questionnaire and take photos (in the same dress) once every season. Though there are already fallen leaves on our walking path, this will be my Summer post!

How far along: 21 Weeks

Total weight gain: 15 pounds! That was a scary weigh in...

Maternity clothes: I don't technically need them yet, but I have snuck a few maternity jeans into the wardrobe as my skinny jeans are becoming less and less friendly. Being in my late second and third trimester in the winter months will certainly be a styling challenge.

Sleep: Much better since I switched to the side of the bed closer to the bathroom. Somehow taking five less steps each time has made all the difference. (Plus, I always crept over to his side of the bed anyway.)

Currently Missing: My full appetite-especially sweets. I've been living off of the same meals for months now due to a very limited appetite. Sweets have been complete turn off, but my eyes want a doughnut and s'mores!

Movement: All. day. long. I feel like I have a little secret buddy with me all the time, dancing up a storm in there. Last week my husband was able to feel the baby kicking and moving for the first time and that has been so special. We spend great parts of the day singing and talking to this belly, waiting for them to kick his hand.

Cravings: None currently. Well, I mentally crave s'mores 24/7 but my stomach wants nothing to do with them.

Symptoms: Round ligament pain. If I weren't pregnant I would swear I've pulled every muscle that exists between my shoulders and hips. Phew.

Looking forward to: Two of my sisters sneaking in a visit before the baby shower in a couple months!

Exercise: Prenatal yoga once a week, walking nearly every day and doing the Tracey Anderson Pregnancy Project DVD two or three times a week.

Favorite moments this week: Getting everything in place to start our mini kitchen renovation and buying the crib and changing table! The more together the house feels, the calmer I am about bringing this angel into it.

Next time you see this dress, these trees will be bright red. Autumn, I'm ready for you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Easy Tips for a Fit Pregnancy

Fitness has always been a large part of my life. It wasn't necessarily a passion at first, but a necessity. I played a different sport every season for most of my childhood and stuck with volleyball through my college years. I had always dreamed of having thin, gangly limbs and a slender frame but God had other plans for this frame of mine. Thanks to my dad, I am built more like She-Hulk than the damsel in distress. My body craves muscle, and without it things tend to go south.

Before getting pregnant I had a great low body fat percentage, was working out five days week and gained all my nutrients from a gluten free, nearly carbohydrate free diet. I was made up of protein, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats. That's it. Fast forward to the first trimester and all this stomach of mine could keep down was crackers, extra fizzy ginger ale and bread (thankfully we were in Europe where bread is practically currency!) Soon after my appetite left, my energy followed. On the days I could actually get out of bed, my husband and I would take a short walk around our hotel or apartment and back to bed I went. My muscle mass begun to fade and my new pregnancy body- widened rib cage, expanded hips, water retention everywhere- set in.

I am thrilled to say that today, at 19 weeks pregnant, I have never loved my body more. Sure I can say that being rock solid with curves in the right places feels wonderful, and hormones plus human nature can create a self-image storm at times, but there is something about this belly and this soft frame that reminds me my body is not my own. Everything I eat, every time I rest, every choice of activity over inactivity is to nurture this little life inside me.

Since I have had my energy slowly returning, less food aversions and more control over my appetite, I have found a method of staying healthy while pregnant that is golden for me. Of course, every pregnancy is different. Our fitness levels at the start of pregnancy greatly determines our exercising while pregnant. Some women are nauseous (I'm so sorry!) for their entire 40 weeks. Some women are able to continue exercising and eating whatever they like with little change right from the first trimester on (If that was you, don't tell me. We can't be friends). But these are the things that have worked for me and I hope they bring a joy to your pregnancy that they have brought to mine.

Drink water with tons of ice in it.  For whatever reason, in these past few months water has become kind of gross for the first time in my life. I am typically a water guzzler, but drinking a full glass was enough to make me gag sometimes. I have found that the ice helps me to drink as much water as I should be to care for this little bean. Also, nearly frozen Gatorade during a walk or workout keeps my energy up.

Aim to go for a walk every day. Walking around the neighborhood is a little ritual my husband and I have always enjoyed, but designating our daily walks as one on one time to talk about baby or anything on our minds has become the best part of the day. The walk doesn't have to be long (it usually revolves around how much water I've had and how quickly I'll have to rush home for the restroom) but just getting a bit of movement in really helps so much with my energy and mood.

forcing my nauseous self to get out of bed in Switzerland to go for a walk
Try Prenatal Yoga. I am not a yoga person. My husband is some sort of yoga ninja and absolutely loves it while I, however, am not patient enough to hold poses like that by choice. I decided to give Prenatal Yoga a try after reading about just how much the stretches and poses help with child birth. The actual yoga part of it still isn't my very favorite, but being in a room surrounded by women at different stages of their pregnancy is so special. Once or twice a week is more than enough for me.

Embrace the smoothie. I have had a hard time lately getting in as much green food as I'd like. Unless it's a pickle. Or a grape. Pickles and grapes do not a strong, healthy baby make. Throwing everything I lacked that day in the Vitamix lets me know I've done my best to nourish myself without to torture of forkfuls of spinach. (Tip: Pregnancy can be tough enough on digestion as it is. I learned the hard way: enjoy your smoothie in the morning, not the evening.)

Find a workout that doesn't require a gym. I still make it to the gym a couple times a week for cardio and weight training, but I have all but completely lost interest in that place. The smells and the whole environment is just off-putting these days. I have found that the Tracy Anderson Pregnancy Project DVD series is exactly what I'm looking for in a workout and I'm able to do it at home. This means two things: I don't have to put real clothes on and I don't have to leave the house. Yes, she wears a less than full-coverage unitard and a full face of red carpet makeup. Yes the dance moves can be a little awkward, but I assure you…this workout is no joke. I feel every area that needs attention being targeted. (I'm talking to you, upper arms.)

Give yourself grace. A couple months ago, my girlfriend and I were talking about the changing body in pregnancy. This woman is a professional volleyball player, a phenomenal woman of God and was eight months pregnant with her first child. (Her son was born a few ago!) She told me something that has helped me tremendously in this time. She said "Jill, of course it's hard to see a body you work so hard for grow and stretch in ways you couldn't imagine, but I meditated on the fact that this is the child I prayed for. God has given me the grace to carry this baby and it is my joy to do it." That changed everything for me.

I'd love to hear any advice on how you ladies stay fit during pregnancy and motherhood!