This week has been a roller coaster of emotions for most of us. Yesterday was especially hard and just plain weird. But I’m finding a bit more optimism today.

It feels like this is all being blown out of proportion. I can’t help but wonder if there are ulterior motives. My suspicion is high (I am an enneagram 6 after all). It’s unsettling. But none of that changes the reality. Life as we know it is changing.

So we have a choice to make. We can complain, worry and get ourselves into a place of despair or we can embrace it and use this time to thrive and grow.

Are scary times ahead? Maybe! Trust me, I have a running list of worst case scenarios that could come from this. But we must remember who fear is from and the devastating effects living in fear can have. Satan wants us to act rashly, selfishly and he knows fear lowers our immune systems.

So instead of buying into his fear, let’s encourage one another daily (yes! We’ll need daily and hourly reminders!) of the GOOD.

Community

Friends, nothing builds community like living through similar circumstances. Maybe we won’t be building this community physically but we can still find ways to band together and support one another.

Maybe this will force you to look to the people right next door. There may be opportunities to pool resources, go for walks together or maybe just recognized that you’re surrounded by people you’ve never noticed before now.

Rest

Things are slowing down. Events canceled, schools out, travel restricted. We spend our lives hopping from one thing to another. We are busy and we’ve known we’re entirely too busy but just can’t find a way to hop off the train and slow down because that would be counterculture. Now all the cool kids are taking a break from every day life!

With more people home, we can expect the internet to slow down as well. Take a break from streaming, unplug from social media for a few hours, find something offline to do. This won’t be a bad thing!

Family time

Are your kids facing a 2-3 week school break? Does that feel overwhelming? Find yourself a homeschooling mama, she will no doubt have some tips for you!

Use this time to work through the messiness that sometimes gets swept under the rug. But I also caution you not to dwell on every little misbehavior or annoyance. Pick one thing to focus on improving. When that’s done, move on but until then, be gentle on other things. It will be really easy to focus on all the negative which is stressful for mama but can also make kiddos feel like they can’t do anything right.

Utilize the school break to fortify your family. We have allowed ourselves to be so disconnected. There’s school and work and extracurriculars. We end up being a group of people that just coexist. What would 3 weeks of lots of family time do for your family? Play games, read books, go outside! Love on each other!

Priorities

Times like this really highlight what’s important. I don’t know about you but I stocked up on food and have questioned any non-essential purchases. I don’t need a new shirt this week, my holey yoga pants will suit me fine but I am gonna buy enough stuff for 2 weeks of meals and of course there will be cinnamon rolls involved!

So many things we worried about last week seem insignificant this week. Perspective is a beautiful thing!

I’d be amiss if I didn’t suggest you use this time to reflect on your heart. This whole thing is being brought on because of a virus, one with a history of killing people and that’s scaring a lot of people. While the risk is relatively small, everyone around you is preparing. What if we gave that same level of preparation to what is to come when our lives here are over?

I don’t want to get preachy but I do encourage you to dig into the Bible. Just read it. Make it one of the books you read during your downtime. See what happens.

Pray lots. Knowing you don’t have to shoulder the burden yourself is a huge blessing. And how cool is it that we get to talk to the creator of the world?

Lots of churches are going to be broadcasting their services. Tune into one of those. (Find ours here!) Have questions, reach out! I’m happy to answer what I can or hook you up with someone who can.

Other possibilities

On a different note, here’s a few other things that might come out of this if we shift our focus to the positive.

-become a creative cook
-reorganize your house
-take daily naps
-finish a project
-learn a new skill
-comfy clothes all day long
-less laundry
-buy less gas
-December 2020 baby boom
-decide what you’re going to do with all that toilet paper when this is over

With any luck, we’ll look back on this with some fondness. We’ll have stories to tell our grandkids! And I only hope we’ll better people after this. ❤️

How are you staying positive? What are you looking forward to in the coming weeks?

See this girl?

She was eating clean foods. She was the thinnest she’d been since having kids. It was thrilling to be wearing smaller clothes and having a flatter tummy! She really thought she looked GOOD!

What you don’t see is that she was practically starving herself. Not because she had an eating disorder. But in hopes that she could avoid reactions and extreme inflammation. She had to cut out dairy, gluten, soy and nightshades. Even still, her symptoms were only slightly better.

She ate every bite of food in fear. If her food was contaminated with even a tablespoon of butter, her hands would swell before the meal was over and would continue to hurt for days later. She couldn’t even pick up her toddler normally because of the near constant hand, wrist and neck pain.

 

No answers

She was running herself ragged going to acupuncture, craniosacral and chiropractic appointments. Everyone was baffled. She was doing everything right. But the pain continued and she still woke up with reflux every day. Not only was she always stressed about eating, she was also terrified that the unresolved digestive issues were going to cause cancer, a disease that stole her dad from her earlier that year.

Because there was no diagnosis for this storm raging in her body, she often suffered in silence because she didn’t feel like she had a legitimate illness. And when people did know what was going on, she wondered if they thought she was just doing this for attention. Mentally and emotionally she was not in a good place. She wasn’t happy.

 

 

Now see that girl?

She wakes up every day in dread of choosing what outfit she will wear because her body has changed. She’s gained 20 pounds after her last child was born. Her body is  s t r e t c h e d out and soft. Her thighs and butt are larger and lumpier than ever. Sometimes when she passes a mirror, she wonders whose body is really in the reflection.

But what you don’t see is a woman who is working hard to love her body in whatever state it’s in! She’s living in a body that still delights her husband. It’s given life to 7 babies and grew and birthed 3 of those. It’s fed those babies for almost 9 years! The saggy skin and stretch marks were earned and are testimony of just how great this body really is whatever shape it is.

Another thing you don’t see, is that she can now eat almost anything she wants without any pain. Why? Who knows! But she gets to enjoy ice cream again on long summer nights, pizza on lazy Fridays and no longer has to ask for the allergy menu any time she eats out!

 

A change

This didn’t come easy though. Not because she had to heal her body. But because she had to change how she viewed food.

Diet culture plus her own experience of food hating her, left deep scars. It vilified that ice cream and made pizza evil. For the longest time she had guilt for harming her body for these indulgences. She felt like a kid stealing cookies from the jar. She sneakily ate each bite just hoping her body wouldn’t notice the toxins she was feeding it.

Then it dawned on her. Food isn’t evil! And eating isn’t always just about the food. It’s about the family time. The memories.  The freedom to just love life!

Not now

Would she like to drop 20-30 pounds? Absolutely! But she’s not willing to sacrifice the life she has right now to get there.

She’s not going to alter her diet because the memories of being restricted are still too fresh. For once in her adult life she isn’t dealing with daily discomfort so she isn’t going to work out because she knows it will cause pain (even if it’s temporary)!

Things may change in the future but right now she is just rejoicing that her body has energy and ability to truly live! She can easily pick up her newest toddler, take her big kids to play with friends and cultivate a life that she can look back on and think, “I’ve really lived.

She truly loves who she is right now and that’s about the most anyone can hope for in life!


What about you? Do you need to live and love more? Or are you under the bondage of diet culture? Have you had your own struggles with your health? I’d love to hear where you are right now!

 

Introverted. Quiet. Shy. Hermit. Wallflower. Observer. Silent. Anti-social.

These are all words that describe me. They are also easy to say and use as labels for myself.

Since 4th grade, I’ve been quiet. I was told I was precious a few too many times and decided to shut up and lock up the other parts that made me, me. No one could say I was precious or cute or funny if I didn’t talk and show them.  I talked so little, kids referred to as the “girl of many faces”.

Since then, I have navigated school, college, friends and my career being the quiet girl. The one most people didn’t even notice. I was so and so’s friend, often without a name and certainly never remembered.

In my mind, if I could achieve ultimate anonymity, I didn’t have to live up to any other standard than my reputation as being the quiet one. I could dodge confrontation and responsibility because I was lurking in the shadows.

Lesson Learned

Hiding from others behind this silent facade, has also allowed me to hide from myself. I have been in denial of who I am and have believed the lies that “things don’t happen to me” and “I’m not that person”. I’ve given myself a pass on achieving anything more than daily survival.

It’s affected everything from the way I dress, to the guys I dated, to the way I don’t speak up about my ideals and principles. I’ve believed I’m a nobody and that nobody is interested in anything about me.

I believe this is what’s called Impostor Syndrome. Perhaps not an actual syndrome in my case but the sentiment is the same. Imagine my own surprise when I felt this undeniable tug to start blog and build an Instagram following. I want to be a world changer, or at the very least, change my own little world and leave a legacy for my kids. But why me? Why would people care a thing about who I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going?

I have interests, hobbies and qualifications but I struggle to see them as anything more than self-claimed and therefore illegitimate. I see other influencers and their success and confidence and think, “that’ll never be me because I lack the credentials and personality”.

It Changes Now!

Today I’m going to own who I am! These are the things that make me who I am and with any luck, there will be a few things that intrigue you enough to keep you coming back for more!

 

 

 

I am:

A believer and a Christian

My parents took me to church regularly and taught me Christian values. I’ve had my weak times but I am finding my way and making my beliefs my own. There’s still a long way to go but can’t thank God enough for His patience with me.

A wife

After 11 years you’d think this one would have sunk in but sometimes I still feel like we’re just playing house instead of building a meaningful marriage. But whoa, 11 years is a pretty big deal!

A mother to 3

Yes, I birthed them and spend almost every waking hour with them but I still don’t always feel like a mom who is responsible for the physical, emotional and spiritual upbringing of these three little people.

A home school educator

Our son is going to a charter school this year, but prior to that, I’ve schooled our children at home. It hit me recently how I have never owned that! Perhaps it’s because my approach is “life is our school” but even still, I have never felt like a home schooling mom. I’ve definitely felt like a fake which has no doubt caused some missed opportunities.

(Shew this is getting harder….)

A friend

I’ve recognized a pattern in myself, eventually with friendships I start doubting my worth to the other person and I simply walk away before they have a chance to reject me. Why would anyone want to be my friend??? I see this now and am fighting hard to keep showing up for the women in my life.

A trusted adviser

I was accepted into a psychology program the same day I got a design job offer. I took the job. But the desire to help people never went away. I regularly get calls and texts from friends and family asking for my thoughts on relationships, parenting, health and what they should hang on their walls. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it!

An interior designer

I’ve neglected my own home and haven’t pursued a design career but the $26K I’ve spent the last 15 years paying off, gives me every right to claim this one! Yet I’ve spent years denying that this title belongs to me. But watch out world, or at least family because this house is about to get glammed up!

A graphic designer

Okay, this one feels like a stretch. I haven’t been professionally trained but rather self taught. Welcome to the school of Google and YouTube, right?!?! I’ve designed multiple logos as well as advertisements and other business graphics. So I’m going to own this, at least so far as being a “budding designer”.

A blogger

This one is hard to claim. I’ve been dreaming this dream for years but assumed people would think, “who does she think she is? She’s not a blogger!” But I have a website, I’ve written blogs and I have to start somewhere! So I guess I’m a blogger! Eek!

Valuable

I’m unique and was created to fulfill a need in this world. I may not always know what that is, but I know God thought enough to make me and make me who I am. Mine is a story to tell and it may not be filled with major plot twists and excitement but I guarantee it’s a story that will resonate with more than a few people! I’m on a mission to find those people!

I am ME!

Do you have trouble owning who you are? How has it changed the direction of your life? Will you comment below with some of the things that make you uniquely you?

 

 

When I was a teenager, I lived for the silly quizzes in teen magazines. I remember one of them even had a whole issue of quizzes! It was the best thing ever! See, I was a teen before the internet completely took off and before Buzzfeed was a thing. I had to rely on magazines to tell me what summer trend was perfect for me or what kind of best friend I was.

As an adult, these silly quizzes were replaced with personality tests. Oh, yeah! Am I an introvert or an extrovert? What’s my color or my gemstone? What animal am I? All. The. Tests! (For the record, I am an introverted, yellow-green, pearl horse.)

I feel like the problem with many of these tests is that some circles assign a hierarchy of types. One is ideal and if that’s not you, YOU ARE flawed. And as you can see, I’m definitely not what many would consider ideal.

Ennea….what??

When I first heard about the Enneagram it was totally over my head. Sometimes I decide I have enough info in my brain and there is no room to learn anything new. For months, I proclaimed how much I hated the Enneagram! I wanted to love it, but I couldn’t.

I had taken the tests, even paid for a test! They were inconclusive. I tested exactly equally a 6 and 9 with 5 right behind them. Everyone else knew their number (and their wing! What?) without a doubt and I was waffling and confused!

I don’t remember exactly what changed it for me, but I know I was giving it another stab and reading through some descriptions, which now I know is really how you should type yourself anyway, and it hit me, I was a 6! I. was. a. SIX!!! Finally!

Every single description resonated with me. I felt like someone had walked into my life and found out my inner feelings, thoughts and….no, get out! It was too real but it was then that I fell hard in love with the Enneagram.

No excuses!

I have long said that I felt like personality tests were just a way to excuse your poor behavior. But the Enneagram is not that way! It tells you what your type looks like when you’re healthy and doing well and also when you’re stressed. So your behavior is understood but not excused and you have a path to follow for growth.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this has changed my life! I had validation for my feelings but also a direction to move to improve. As a 6, I know that I want nothing more than to be safe and secure (which is something I identified a few years ago even before knowing my number!). I also know that when I am doing well I will have some qualities that healthy 9’s have. My anxiety will be moved aside and replaced with being at peace. And I know when I’m stressed I’ll take that anxiety and multiply it by an unhealthy 3’s feelings of worthlessness.

 

Know thyself

The Enneagram focuses on your motivations more than just your actions. This has helped me really understand myself. Rather than focus on my fears and anxiety on any given thing, I now recognize that I am just searching to feel safe and secure. I don’t have to beat myself up when fear stops me in my tracks, instead, I can identify what would help me feel safer, do that and then move forward tackling whatever is scaring me! I also know that being a 6 means I want input from those I love. This explains why I spend a lot of time asking for advice and running ideas past people before I jump (I want to feel good and safe, see?). That’s also why as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m gonna send it to by bestie before I hit publish!

Gone are the feelings of being weird and alone. Instead, I just feel like a 6 and I know there are lots of other people out there feeling just like I do! I also don’t feel like being a 6 is any better or worse than any other number. Being a six comes with gifts and struggles just like every other number.

It Takes Us ALL!

And here’s the big secret, it takes ALL of us to make this world work! The Enneagram illustration itself shows us how interconnected we all are! What would the world be like if there weren’t people like me questioning every decision, thinking through every possible scenario and making sure everyone is safe? Or what would happen if we didn’t have 2’s to make sure we’re all taken care of and happy? Or 7’s to keep us spontaneous and loving life? It takes ALL of us!

So if you hang around here long, you’re likely to hear more about the Enneagram. I’m not an expert yet but we can learn together!

Can I have your number?

Do you know your number? If not, I do still suggest taking a test, this free one will do! Then once you have 2 or 3 top ones, read about them a lot. One day, it will hit you square in the eyes! You will feel exposed and vulnerable but then you will feel exhilarated and understood! Really!

Tell me below what your number is or if you don’t know, let’s chat and see if we can figure it out so your life can be changed too!

 

As I sip my afternoon cup of coffee, I glance around to see my living room in all its messy glory. There’s leftover snacks on the end table. A doll car at my feet. My husband’s shoes are in the same place they landed when he kicked them off last night.  The sofa is for once, surprisingly, not covered in last week’s art projects but I don’t even want to think about the “trail mix” that’s under it! This scene is probably expected considering that I’m a mother.

 

Perfectionist

But what if I told you I was a perfectionist? Would you believe me? Or would you laugh in my face because after all, a true perfectionist would have a spotless home despite of her three children.

 

I can’t believe I’m sharing this!

But believe me. I’m a perfectionist. You see, I had the luxury of growing up alone and getting to do things MY way. This let me cultivate some pretty strong perfectionism qualities. Need more proof? Somewhere buried deep in the depths of my mother’s basement there are pictures in which ever strand of hair in my bangs are equally spaced and sprayed in place. You could also probably find evidence of my graduating college Summa Cum Laude. My childhood toys still have lots of life left in them and any that are broken, met their fate at the hands of my children (little savages!).

 

Plot Twist!

But as with any good story, this one has a plot twist. In my case, his name is Marshall and I stole his last name. He’s far from perfect but somehow has perfectly taught me the beauty in letting go, loosening up and going with the flow. Because of him, I, now, consider myself a recovering perfectionist. I’m learning to embrace this crazy unplanned adventure we’re living together and am beyond thankful this man came into my life!

 

Still though, in my dreams, my house is spotless. My kids wear perfectly coordinated clothes and never get dirty. I never yell, I read to my kids all day and plan elaborate craft projects. And I always cook delicious, organic meals that everyone eats and loves every last bite. I’m a size 8 and have a well toned body that doesn’t even hint to its history of growing three humans. I have lots of friends and we all take turns planning perfect parties in our perfectly maintained gardens.  I also enjoy every moment I spend with my husband and can’t wait until he retires so we can spend every moment of every day together.

WAKE UP!

This is not reality! And if you are still living in the world of trying to be a perfectionist, you’re only setting yourself up for a life of disappointment and self-loathing. Perfectionism is not about your success in doing things perfectly. It’s about equating your self-worth with your failure to live up to your own ridiculous standards. Oh, mama, you are so much more than your success and failures.

We live in a world of social media. Our world is bigger. We have more people to compare ourselves to and people have more opportunity to white wash their own realities. Even outside of social media, we tend to only show the world our best selves. This hypocritical existence leads to judgement, unhappiness and sometimes down right cattiness among other moms who are walking this same journey as we are.

Revolution

I say we do something crazy and start a revolution! Let’s start being real with each other. How about we support each other instead of tear each other down? What if you started owning who you are, that perfectly imperfect woman that you are? Free yourself from your own ridiculous standards because I promise you, the rest of us truly don’t care about the beautiful mess that is you, my dear. Stand tall, sweet sister, take my hand and let’s be recovering perfectionists together!