Permission and Different Voices

Have you found this yet? The Robcast…Let me tell you, it takes a confident person to stick there name in the actual podcast, like he is redefining it. Right? I love podcasts…They are one of my favorite things, for sure.  I was a little skeptical at first about this one, for the name thing mostly. I like to find small reasons to make big judgments.

BUT, let me tell you…I am so thankful for his voice and for his creative mind. I have been listening to these almost constantly…as I work or clean up the house or whenever I can find a quiet moment. And can I just say how life-giving it has been for me.

I don’t think I fit super neatly into one particular mold or box or category…I am not a super conservative Christian, I think differently than a lot peers or colleagues. I am a leader, outspoken and opinionated, I have a different temperament and gift mix than what women in ministry leadership used to be expected to have. I have gifts that sometimes people don’t know what to do with or feel intimidated by (heck, I still don’t know what to do with myself). And for a long time I thought I was wrong. Maybe made wrong or that I just didn’t seem to get what came so naturally to many people. I had questions or different thoughts about things, that few people seemed to express.

But, hearing someone eloquently and passionately talk about things that matter to me (the importance of creativity, my beef with date night, how things come in waves) is nothing short of amazing. The way his mind works is so interesting and different, and I believe his voice matters. It’s inspiring and it teaches and challenges me in a way that I don’t find very often…It’s like learning from having a really deep & honest talk with a good friend. Someone who gets you and is happy to speak about their experience, and make you feel a little less crazy. A little less alone on the journey. But not let you off the hook.

Often times it is easy to eliminate voices that we don’t resonate or agree with from our sphere. We have control and don’t have to hear voices or opinions that don’t exactly align with what we think or how we feel. When we do this we are choosing to not be challenged and instead be coddled. For many, I think Rob Bell’s voice and opinion is a challenge. For me there are several high profile Christian speakers who it is difficult to listen to, because I passionately disagree with them about some issues that feel very personal to me. But I try to. I try to choose to not be ignorant and I try give people the benefit of the doubt. And I try not to roll my eyes and talk back as I listen.

And in all of this, it gives me permission to be myself. I believe Rob is truly living his life to in the best way possible, being true to who God created him to be. Quirky and creative, he is a polarizing figure. And in doing so is giving others permission to do the same. Similar to the Nelson Mandela quote I love so much and believe wholeheartedly. And I am thankful for it for that permission. I too want to be true and the best version of who God made me, and in the process, allow others to do the same.

“ As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Nelson Mandela

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That Time I Was Writing About Flowers, But I Really Wasn’t

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I may have mentioned it before, but I have the amazing opportunity to do some writing for a FANTASTIC local wedding production company. I love it and really enjoy the work. Recently I have been doing some writing about different trends ( DIY stuff, wedding dress  trends, and floral trends). So I research what is happening in the world in regards to this stuff and then write about it. Simple, right? It usually is.

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The other day I was finishing up a piece about trends that are happening in wedding flowers and I have noticed that how many bouquets and arrangements, how they take their cue from nature, being true to how they are made- not being forced to fit a particular mold or standard (like in the 80’s…and if you don’t remember or know what I am talking about, that is not a bad thing. Google it.). Unusual flowers are used, BECAUSE they are different. There is beauty in that, in standing out and being unique. And the asymmetry of a design, doesn’t make it flawed, rather it makes it WAY more interesting and striking. Right? I don’t think I am too far off on this…

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So as I am writing this, I started to feel a little poke or something in my heart. This is what I want to believe for myself, and for my girls. Who get the constant message that beauty equals value, and that beauty is so narrowly defined and difficult to achieve. Rather than being who we are created us to be, we try to fit a mold or standard or expectation, that changes the whole thing. Making it less beautiful in so many ways. Safer, yes. But certainly not as incredible as a design that works with who we are. As I looked at these flowers I saw that they were creative and bold. Unapologetically beautiful and unique. They did not play small or back down, rather they were exactly perfect.

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As I write this, I hope that today I will model this. That imperfections and all, I will strive to see the beauty, not only in myself but in others. To wear lenses that allow for more to come through, than just the expected. More than staying within the bounds or coloring in the lines. And yes, much of the beauty comes from the eye of the beholder…So let’s be people who choose to see and make room for more beauty in this world.

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Ava + Day Camp


This week was a big week in our house. Ava is taking part in day camp for the first time. All weekend leading up to Monday morning, when we would check her in and learn all the things that parents of day-campers need to know, I would get overwhelmed with the thought that our little peanut is nearly 6.  And friends, let me tell you…that happened far too quickly. She is a third of the way to 18…a fact that makes me want to alternate between sobbing in the fetal position in my bed and wanting to cuddle and spend every last minute with that little girl that I can. I am so thankful though that she is old enough to take this step on her own. And I am so thrilled that she is doing this, bravely taking steps, and that she is thriving.

Another thing that kept happening this weekend is that Ava would ask about camp. Trying to get a feel of what to expect…what exactly she would be doing and what would be expected of her. A big topic of conversation was if she would have to do things she was scared to do (zip-line, climbing various things of various heights and degrees of scariness). I assured her that she would not be forced to do anything she didn’t want to.

And then I get this picture Monday afternoon (thanks Jenny!)

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My girl. Trying something something new and exciting and scary. My heart just about burst.

When I picked her up, she couldn’t contain her joy- telling stories about all the fun things that she got to experience. And how she LOVES day camp. So thankful. I listened and smiled and asked questions thanking God the whole time…thanking Him for so much. For my sweet girl who is growing up before my eyes, for people who are loving her and teaching her about Him and His goodness and promises. Thankful for the opportunity to let her experience this. For her sweet personality and bravery and that she is healthy enough to do such a wonderful thing- I try not to take these things for granted.

And I think I forgot how AMAZING Spring Hill is. As a camper it is awesome, but I have a whole new appreciation of their excellence and how they minister to kids as parent. Wow. Just wow, really.

So far 2 out of the 3 days I have forgotten something and had to come back with it. I am not the best with details, especially important ones. Whatever. But, really  I don’t mind. I love being able to watch the everyday miracles that are happening…they are happening all day right there, at that school. It’s amazing. Praying for the counselors, and the eager hearts they are speaking life into and bringing such joy to. Praying for those sweet kiddos and what they get to be a part of for a few days, and the incredible impact it can make.

So, I feel like I am watching my girl grow up this week.  I remember (partially) reading a book in jr high about how time passes by, and sometimes it seems so slow and then other times it just races by…and it seems for me, this is a racing by season. There is such sweetness to it, familiarity and comfort. But there is excitement and adventure just up ahead.

Thankful in about a million different ways.

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Parenting Vs Administrating

I have recently heard of this concept and thought I would share. Often times as a mom, since I wear different hats I can slip into “administration mode,” scheduling appointments,   shuttling to different valuable experiences, buckling in and out of car seats, preparing snacks/ meals, cleaning up said snacks/meals, wiping booties…the list goes on. It is easy to get into task mode, keeping my head down and getting the next thing done.

Let me be clear, this is not a complaint, I love being a mom and I love taking care of my kids- what I AM saying is I can tend to lose the joy sometimes and instead, trade it in for duty, responsibility and fear. I can trade the joy for the “shoulds” and “oughts” and “what if we don’t?”, and for me, that is not a place I want to live. Spending the day moving from one activity to the next.  Getting a little more frustrated as the day goes on. As the fighting increases and as pandemonium gets closer and closer.

If there is one thing in life I want to do, being a great mom would be it. Creating a loving, healthy family. I think most moms feel this way. And sometimes a good thing ( the drive to do it well) can be taken too far, feel like a lot pressure and just too much.

If you are looking for resources, encouragement, or just some other voices in the world of parenting, here are a few of my favorites. Leave a comment if you have a favorite that you want to share.

  • I have talked about how much I love Glennon, her honesty, wit, and perspective. Momastery, is really popular, and for good reason. It is hard to not be inspired by her thoughtful, hilarious words.
  • Fearless Mom is relatively new to me, I was introduced to it at a women’s conference this year & really loved it. I love learning from moms who are further along the parenting journey and have lots of wisdom to share. That is this…you can explore around and turn on a talk while you are cleaning up or taking some quiet time. Love it.
  • This is a great idea. Beccy Em posts quick, creative, thoughtful 3 minute parenting videos. I have watched several of them and love her ideas. She is the real deal, and I am eager to hear her wisdom. And she has a great Australian accent, so that is a win too.

So there you are- I hope you enjoy and are encouraged & inspired. We are doing good work, and it’s far better together.

A few lessons learned on the soccer field this week.

I’m not sure if I was in an exceptionally reflective or observant or sensitive mood this week as I watched the girls play soccer, but as I was there and watching them try their best, struggle and be brave I was so proud. And I thought about some things that I can learn while watching them. This gave me some insight and a lot of encouragement.

Sometimes you get the wind knocked out of you. This week we had our first injury. Ava was getting in the middle of the action, as we have encouraged her to do, and in doing so, she took a pretty powerfully kicked ball in the chest. I saw it- I was impressed she took the hit and she kept going…then she realized she was in pain and ran off the field crying. Sweet girl. We breathed deeply together, trying to get calm. And my next focus, was to get her back out there- really for no other reason than to let her be brave. To let her show everyone (and mostly herself) that even when she gets hurt and is scared, that she will not be stopped. That she is strong, stronger than she knows. She came back in and parents and coaches on both teams were clapping for her- it was a precious moment. And she did great, maybe a little more tentative than before, but still very much a part of things. She got the wind knocked out of her, but she was not knocked down.

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Sometimes you get pushed around. This was a weird week for me and I have been doing a lot a self examination and processing.  When I saw Bell getting pushed around by a boy who didn’t know what he was doing, I immediately felt for her. She was frustrated immediately and wanted to come off the field. She wanted to give up…all because of this kid. And what he was doing was pretty much only because he didn’t know how to do it better. It stinks when you are caught in that, certainly, but as I witnessed, sometimes our hurts are because others are not sure how to do better. And the pain isn’t, necessarily, a reflection of us doing something wrong. And again- it doesn’t mean we should automatically give up.

A three-year-old’s “fast break” is to celebrated. Bell scored a goal today, she may have stolen the ball from her own teammate so it was a little bittersweet, but hey- it was a goal. And we celebrated (and exchanged smiles with the kid’s parents from whom she stole the ball). I’m not sure if you have seen a “fast break” at a little kid’s soccer game lately, but let me tell you- there was nothing fast about it. But for everything it lacked in speed it was sweet and it was hard-fought. Every step was full of concentration and effort. It’s the best she can do right now, and that’s all we can ask or expect. And when it happens, we are thrilled to encourage and celebrate.

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The score really doesn’t matter all that much. We say this a lot, lately and I really mean it. There are so many more important things I would like to celebrate and remember about a soccer game than the score. It is easy to get in a funk or out of joint because the game is going how we don’t want it to. This is the time to dig deep, not walk off the field and give up, a time to come together as a team rather than blaming. These are the times our character is built, when things are not easy. Winning is great, and really fun, and being super-skilled is awesome, but what I care about more as a mom is how they respond when things don’t go their way and they have to work for it. And as person I know how it feels when things don’t go my way and I want to storm off and cry, but I know the value in trying my best, regardless of what the scoreboard says.

So maybe you are feeling pushed around or like the wind has been knocked out of you. That’s ok…As I so beautifully witnessed this weekend that is not the end of the story.

I’m back.

So, it has been a while since I have paid attention to this poor, neglected little blog. Oops.  Busy-ness and pregnancy (yep, I’m going to play that card) will do that to you. Being tired and trying to piece together coherent, meaningful, interesting thoughts have been a challenge as of late. And kids, man…they are so demanding…wanting to be fed and paid attention to, very time consuming, this parenting thing. Also, I have been tired…did I mention that??

Also I have had an opportunity to do some writing for a local company that specializes in wedding services that has been really fun and rewarding. I have totally enjoyed stepping back into the world of wedding planning and all that goes into it. So any spare time, that I have has generally gone into that, and it’s been a pleasure to do. I can’t say enough good things!

I think I there is a slight break in the clouds- my energy has been picking up and I seem to have a little more margin to think so hopefully I will be able to do a little more writing here and looking forward to doing so. This has been a growing season in so many ways and I am so thankful for what I think God is teaching me- and I am happy to share it. I know that our stories are some of the best gifts we can give.

So that’s that. And here we are. Looking at summer and thankful for the sunshine and even the rain.

What I am in to right now.

I always enjoy seeing how people really live their lives- what products they use (and love) and how it makes their lives easier/simpler/ etc. In that spirit, here is a list of a few things I am into right now, that I thought I would share. I will do this occasionally, because if there is something I can freely offer- it is my advice and opinions (spoken like a true oldest child). I think I will do this time to time…enjoy!

Ok, here we go:

Bouqs I really like to send flowers, especially beautiful ones. Bouqs is relatively new and offers really unique, beautiful arrangements. Shipping is covered (unless is it a rush) and the quality has been great so far. Compared to the competition I see a clear difference and really like what they have to offer. And you get 15% off your first order.

Honest Company We have been switching over to try and eliminate a lot of the common toxins found in households, so far I haven’t been disappointed. I just placed an order after we ran out of sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner and bubble bath…Also the diapers are really cute and the wipes are great. I also love the hand sanitizer spray- total mom purchase, but whatever, I’m cool with it. Their selection keeps growing and they are continuously working to improve their overall product quality. Customer service has been really great too- once or twice something was shipped to me that I didn’t mean to send (it takes me a while to figure out how things like the internet work) and they took it right back.

6pm My sister-in- law works at Zappos and living in LV gave me a front row seat to this company. I never really got into 6pm though, I thought it was going to be a little picked over or a little off as far as what was offered (6pm is the sale site for Zappos). Let me tell you..I was mistaken. You can find really great stuff for a reasonable price. I found a dress for me to wear to a wedding for around $30…not bad, and it was cute & I felt comfortable all night. Shipping is free- I think you have to pay for return shipping. Happy shopping, I can spend way too long on there…It’s not just shoes friends, clothes, accessories…all kinds of good finds.

ChatBooks I just ordered this today, so I can’t personally speak to the quality, but I am excited to get them. Chatbooks takes you Instagram pics and turns them into a photo book with 60 pictures/pages for $6. I am really excited about this, Instagram is a lot like our family photo album anyway, so now it will be nice to have them on hand and again, the price is pretty great.

Ok so how about you- anything you want to share? Anything you are loving or newly in to?