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New Year’s Resolutions

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Y’ALL!

 

Yes, I know it’s September and we don’t actually turn the calendar to 2018 for four more months (2018!!!! I mean, what?  When did that happen…).  But honestly, between being in school myself, teaching school, and then having kids in school, September has always felt more like the start of something new to me than January ever has.  Consequently, September has always been when the REAL New Year’s Resolutioning has happened for me.  

This year, the resolutioning feels weighty in a way it never has before.  See, we are at that point in the kid-raising where things are ramping up a notch for our family.  Cam (our older) is starting full-day Kinder, Kenzie (our younger) is starting preschool, he’s doing soccer and she’s doing dance, so all of a sudden we have one kid in REAL SCHOOL, both kids in SOME KIND OF SCHOOL, AND evening activities.  Feels like we are getting thrown into the deep end of the pool and we had very well better have our flotation devices ready or have finished swim lessons or something.

I’m self-aware enough to know that being regimented, scheduled, and super-organized is NOT among my spiritual gifts and so this is going to present a major challenge for me and for our family.  Is anyone else in that place? Puh-LEEZE tell me that I am not the only one who feels intimidated by what lies ahead of me this year.  My insecurity is envisioning everyone sitting reading this like, “Psssssh, girl what is wrong? With? You? For REAL women this is our MOMENT!”  If that is you, I’m envious of you, happy for you, and praying you can love me even though I’m over here like this at the thought of what’s to come.

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Recently (how recently I am slightly embarrassed to admit, it may or may not have been within the last 48 hours), I finally moved past the weeks of mounting dread, of fretting and Pinteresting,  of “YOU DON’T HAVE WHAT IT TAKES” panic moments and into the actually PRODUCTIVE space of praying for discernment about what I need to get in place for our family for the coming months.  Took me long enough, right? Always does.  Bless my heart, God loves me just as I am…

As I prayed about what my New Year’s Resolutions should look like, God really surprised me with what He came back with.  He didn’t talk to me about homework routines, organizing our space, making a family calendar or anything like that- although all of those are important and on His list.  What He impressed upon my heart was that what this family was going to need more than anything was for ME to get MY game right inside of me, get my heart and head in order, because nothing was going to go the way it needed to if I’m all scattered and scrambling and adrift all the time.  

Mind= Blown

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He urged me to sit and think about (and also ask HIM about) what little things in my life I needed to change or firm up in order to put myself in a place of strength.   As I mused and prayed, prayed and mused,  I realized that my real question for myself was not what things about my life needed the most fixing, what things about me were the most contraindicative to success in the coming months and therefore needed to be rectified IMMEDIATELY, the question was

What are the things in my life that, when they are in place, make me feel the most like I’ve got my you-know-what together?

  1. Tighten up my Heavenly Connection Game–  If I attempt to walk through my days not sufficiently connected to God, I basically end up like a piñata being battered, smacked around, and ripped wide open by the fallen world around me.  It’s amazing what big things don’t even faze me when I’m rightly anchored and it’s equally as amazing what little things do get me down and set me off when I’m adrift. Truly there is no such thing as ENOUGH connection to heaven this side of eternity, but that’s part of what makes our faith journey such a refining fire- we are constantly working to get better at being closer.  For now, two of my girlfriends and I are walking through the “Enjoying Jesus” study from IF:Gathering that unpacks the spiritual disciplines and guides us toward implementing them in our lives.  I’m excited to try them out and really work on finding pieces that will strengthen my daily routines that anchor me to God and keep the lines of communication and connection open. I’m guessing I’ll be blogging about that.
  2. Commit to MY bedtime routine–  In the book Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist (I love her, do you love her?  We are besties.  Only she doesn’t know it yet) talks about making a resolution NOT to sleep in her clothes.  She decided that taking care of herself meant actually putting on jammies at the end of every day and I can relate to that on such a deep level.  At the end of my days, I am usually EXHAUSTED and just ready to be done, I will throw on jammies, quickly brush teeth, and leave #allthethings just as they are in my desire to just be done. The problem there is that I wake up in the morning to a messy floor, mascara under my eyes, and basically start the day two steps behind.  It makes A BIG DIFFERENCE to me if I taken ten minutes at the end of my day to pick up my room and bathroom, set the living room right for the morning, actually attend to my skincare routine, maybe throw some oils in the diffuser, and basically don’t neglect stuff.  I wake in the morning feeling like I’m already all over it just by waking up.
  3. Meal. Plan.-  This family runs on food.  *I* run on food.  I have discovered over the years that our entire life can be in ashambles, the house can be a mess, we can be MILES behind the 8 ball, and yet if our meals are easy and on time and locked down, it’s somehow manageable.  And for me, if I have no idea what I’m doing for breakfast/lunch/dinner, the entire day seems like so much work.  I LOATHE taking the time to meal plan. I am a Big Idea Person, I would rather be solving the problems of the world than taking my brain space to attend to painfully dull minutiae like PLANNING FRIDAY’S DINNER ON SUNDAY. But I like my life so much better when I do it.  And also, if I plan ahead I can ORDER my groceries for the week from Fred Meyer and PICK! THEM! UP! Without even setting foot in the store with two children.  So, meal planning it is.
  4. Exercise-  If you know me at all, you know that physical activity is not my jam. I didn’t play sports in high school, I dislike exerting myself, I am not super into doing long stretches of repetitive things like CARDIO and STRENGTH TRAINING REPS- It’s not my thing.  But, much like meal planning and washing my face at night, I feel better about my life when I do it. And also, I’m about to be 39 1/2. Which means in six months…well, you know what it means.  I’m about to start needing things like regular mammograms and I already know I have several risk factors for bone loss- I basically need to start taking care of my body before stuff starts falling apart, actively working to maintain my health for my family.  And if I just *happen* to look slimmer and trimmer as I put my childbearing years behind me, that also would not suck.  So, 3-4 times a week it is.  Uggggggggh…

So, there you have it.  Four small things that are actually HARD things that if I do them, will make me feel like I have my ish together enough to run the show. If I do those things, they will lay a foundation for the other things. Allllll of the other things.

So, my sisters, what would be your Big Four? The things self-care items that you feel like will help you come from the place of strength your family needs from you as the coming months march on? Share them with me!  Let’s hold each other accountable, encourage one another, commiserate when we fail, congratulate when we nail it, and be better people together.

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SUMMER BREAK!

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, Dear Readers!

In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been publishing here much lately.

ALL OF THE THINGS have been going on- good things, God things, happy things, positive things, but when your primary gig is being responsible for  two small children 24/7 ANY things that are even THINGS take up more space than is even reasonable.  Am I right?  These kids, man.

So, I’m making it official and taking a “Summer Break” from publishing here.  I’m still writing, getting posts lined up so I can start publishing weekly again come fall and not have it be a super stretch and I have some posts ready to go over on the Project Mother blog this summer as well.

But as far as AWAP goes, I’m on vacaaaaaaaay!  See you in the fall ❤ ❤ ❤

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A Moment of Silence (Memorial Day Post)

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Today, Memorial Day,  we remember and honor those who have lost their lives protecting and defending our country and our freedom.

Let’s honor them with a moment of silence.

During our time of silent prayer and contemplation in their honor, let’s think about those they held dear, those mourning them, the ones they gave their lives protecting. And let’s think about how we can honor the memory of the fallen by loving on those they loved most, those their heart ached to go home to, those who ached to see them come home.

If you know anyone who has lost a loved one in the service of our country, consider how you might reach out to them and make them feel loved in the coming days and weeks.  Anything from an open acknowledgment of their loss today to a quick text next week just checking in on their life and telling them you’re glad to have them in your life.

Mark your calendars or set reminders in your phone for a few dates in the future to do the same, to send rays of sunshine at times when they least expect it.  Lift their spirits and help them feel some love.

If you’re reading this and you lost someone close to you in the service of our country, thank you.  Your loss is beyond comprehension.  The bravery of your loved one, your friend, the one you served alongside, it is breathtaking.  You are in my thoughts and my prayers today. I’m going to hug my babies, kiss my husband, walk in safety and freedom, and know that every bit of it is made possible by the hard work and sacrifice of your loved one- and yours as well.

God bless you.

 

 

 

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“You’re trying, and it matters,” -God

Today, I loaded my kids in the car and we went for a walk at a nearby nature park.

That doesn’t sound like a particularly momentous thing for a mom with two littles to do, but for this particular mom on this particular day, it required A LOT OF sucking it up and putting on of the proverbial big girl britches.

It has been a rough few weeks over here for various reasons, lots of growing pains for all of us combined with a cold virus that has packed a powerful punch of fatigue.  I didn’t feel like doing anything but throwing a movie on for the kids and laying on the couch wallowing, but we had already done that EVERY OTHER DAY THIS WEEK, so it felt like a change of pace was the grown-up thing to do.  And we all know that being a grown-up is severely overrated at times.

When we got there, the kids took off running. They got sick before I did and so of course are feeling better before I am with all of the energy and enthusiasm that I lack, bless all of our hearts.

First, they started noticing that someone had put brightly-painted rocks along the path and the kids were SO EXCITED ABOUT finding all of them.

 

Then we stumbled on a path we hadn’t taken before and Cam declared that we would be embarking on “The Mystewy of the Mystewious Path!” (be sure to read that in your most spooky voice to get the full effect)

I mean, there I was surrounded by the bright beauty of a brand new spring with happy, excited kids who were being delightful and hilarious and my heart just would. Not. Lift. I didn’t feel good in either body or spirit and I couldn’t get myself to the place I felt like I should be, to the place that I felt like would have been honoring to God in light of the blessings of that moment.

I decided that as long as I was there with nothing else to do, I might as well pray. I couldn’t muster much, so I went simple and lifted a few short prayers for those around me who are DEFINITELY in the middle of some very heavy seasons that make mine look like a day at the beach: My friend with the daughter who’s having seizures, the friend with breast cancer, another friend who just lost a cousin to an overdose, my friends in the throes of divorce, someone near to me with an upcoming surgery.

It felt like a dismal, paltry offering and I was almost ready to throw in the towel when of a sudden, God spoke into my mess with words of glittering, glowing grace:

“You’re trying,” He told me.  “And it matters.”

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That was a counterintuitive message for me in that moment. When the going gets tough, when the path is dark and difficult and our footsteps stumble, we are quick to chide ourselves, to deepen our despair with a recounting of our failures. Not to mention that the enemy of our souls loves to capitalize on the moments when we are down, whispering that we aren’t enough, that our prayers aren’t enough, so why even try?

But that isn’t God’s way.  He just happens to be the best parent that this world and the next have ever seen and He sees our circumstances and struggles for what they are and loves us right through them.

Kind of like Mister Cameron learning to ride a bike without training wheels.   We see it, we know how hard it is, and when his attempts fail and the tears start, his Daddy whispers to him, “It’s hard, buddy. But you’re trying and that’s what matters.”

Miss Kendall is probably 3/4 of the way potty trained now, but the first few days were rough. She would have accidents and break down in tears, but I would help her change, clean up the mess and say, “Accidents happen, honey.  Learning to use the potty is hard, but you’re trying and that’s what matters.”

There are also moments when we say to our kids, “I know you can do better than this,” moments where we don’t back down from expecting their best because it’s our job to push them to step up and grow.  But, if we are on our parenting game, those are NOT the moments when they are tired, not feeling good, having a rough day, or facing a task that is really difficult for them.

And my sisters, God is ALWAYS on His parenting game. He can read our hearts even better than we can because He knit them together in our mother’s wombs and He has numbered our steps.  He has also walked on this earth and lived among us humans in the person of Jesus. He gets it, He knows, and His vision isn’t clouded, even when ours is.

In those tough moments, when the best we can muster is going through the motions and saying the words even if our hearts don’t seem to follow, He will meet us where we are. He sees us trying and CHOOSING HIM, even if we aren’t that great at it in the moment, and it MATTERS.

So be brave, my sisters, and try. Whatever you’re facing, whatever your battle or dark season looks like, choose to do the right thing, put one foot in front of the other, and approach Him with whatever strength you’ve got.

Because He looks on us with eyes of a Father, can reach down and meet us in our struggles and fog, and can Himself fill in that gap between earth and heaven.

Your trying matters, Mama.  So keep it up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Am Not a Morning Person, Bless My Heart

IMG_9788Me– So my blog post this week is about me NOT being a morning person.
Husband– BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Me– Why? Why is this Funny?
Husband– HEE HEE HEE HEEEEEEE!
Me– JEFFREY!  WHY? WHY IS THIS FUNNY?!?!?
Husband– Because you are SO not a morning person!
Me– JEFFREY! DUH!  This is why I’m writing a blog post about me NOT being a morning person. I couldn’t very well write a post about BEING a morning person, why is it funny?
Husband– *still laughing* Honey, that’s like writing a blog post about water being wet.
Me– I’ll bet people have blogged about that!  And published articles in scientific journals about the wetness of water. It’s in textbooks.  IT’S NOT FUNNY!
Husband– BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAAHAHAAH!!!
Me– *glares*  And just for that, I’ll be retelling this at the start of my blog post.

And now that I have made good on my threat, please enjoy the following blog post about me not being a morning person:

Picture it…my room…some random weekday morning at some ungodly hour (aka some time before 8am):

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I am plucked forcibly and against my will from some blissful dream or another by the insistent shout of my two-year-old daughter echoing from down the hall.  “MAAAAAAAAAAAAHMEEEEEEEE!  MOMMAAAAAAAAAAAY!”

She is awake in her crib and ready for me to present myself, bright eyed, bushy tailed and at her disposal for the next eleventy billion hours that stand between now and nap time. I also hear a clattering and humming coming from my four-year-old son’s room, letting me know that I’m the only person in the house who isn’t up and at ’em.  Their father has been gone for hours, he gets up at 5:30 for a first-thing date with the gym.

I groggily reach over and grab my phone.  7:02 am. Seriously? That late already?  Because it sure feels like it should still be dark outside. UUUUUUUGH!

In a moment of self-indulgent denial, I open Instagram, promising myself I will extricate myself from bed when I’m done catching up with what the rest of the world was up to while I was sleeping.

I immediately regret this choice.

Apparently all of the Moms of Instagram have been up for hours, their coffee steaming from hand-lettered coffee mugs, reading their devotionals by the light of the sun’s first rays, blessing us with a Clarendon-filtered glimpse into these  treasured first moments of the day with Jesus.  #blessed #earlyriser #startingthedayright Meanwhile, I was over here knocking out one of the seven deadly sins before I even got out of bed. #sloth #fivemoreminutesmom #ohwaitiamthemom

“MOMMAAAAAAAAY!  I HUNGREEEEEEEEEEE!  I HAVE A TINKY BOTTAAAAAAAAAAAAM!”  My daughter shouts again.

So, I drag myself from bed, stagger down the hall and begin our day. I always feel three steps behind when we start our days this way (which is always), but so far that hasn’t been enough of a motivator to get me to change anything. I’ve been able to somewhat mold myself into the sleep patterns of a functional adult, but the fact remains that getting up before 8am is not my jam.

Oddly, I happen to love the early morning hours and and I desperately admire those who have the body clocks and/or self-discipline to own them. I love the way the first light of the day makes the world look, the smell and feel of the cool, dew-drenched air, the world even SOUNDS different first thing in the morning, it’s like I can hear everything just that more clearly.  And yet none of that ever seems to matter in the face of the warmth and coziness of my bed and the irresistible pull of five…more…minutes.

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Motherhood has made me even LESS of a morning person.  Life with little kids means that in every moment of my day I am subject to the whims of tiny humans who rely on me for every little thing- I’m basically on duty for 12-14 hours a day with people who haven’t yet learned about grace, boundaries, or common courtesy, and whose learning process for those things involves testing, pushing, and battling in the trenches with their “safe person,” who also happens to be me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the privilege, both of having kids in the first place and of being home with them all the time.  This is exactly what I wanted, it’s fleeting, and I’m trying hard not to miss a moment or take it for granted. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy and some days I’m not super anxious to wake up and get to it.

Not only is getting up in the morning to start a day of being “on duty” not the most appealing prospect, going to bed at night and ending the brief stretch of “after work hours” isn’t super enticing either.  Those hours after they are asleep are precious.  It’s the only time I *truly* get to spend both by myself and with my husband.  I am LOATHE to give those hours up to sleep each night.  I do it, and usually at a decent hour, because #adulting. But it’s never unbegrudgingly.  (is that a word?)

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And yet still, the pull of the morning hours is there for me.  I *want* to be one of those people who breathe in the quiet of the first hours each day.  I would love to join the Instagram moms who are up at the crack of dawn, sipping warm beverages and getting our hearts right with God before the day begins.  I don’t want my morning sloth to be chuckle-inducing for my husband, I feel like I *should* be up and making the coffee while HE slumbers. But I also know that God does not deal in shame and comparison.  His voice may be calling me to claim the mornings as my own, but He wouldn’t do it in whispers of how the other moms’ mornings “measure up” and mine don’t.  This is about Him and me, an A and B conversation, and the Insta-moms can just “C” their way out.

And fortunately, God is patient with me.  He sees, He knows, and He is walking with me right through everything.  So, what is the point of this blog post? Well, I don’t rightly know, other than just to throw out there that if you are not a morning person, you are not alone. And if you feel a certain modicum of shame attached to your penchant for eeking out even the last second of sleep in the morning, you are also not alone. Oh, and also to say that I’m planning to start getting up at six every morning here very soon. I had planned to this morning, but then my daughter woke up at 5:45 and that was before 6 and so she went back to sleep and so did I and then BOTH of my kids slept until 7:45- HALLELUJAH!!!

But I will…tomorrow…I promise 🙂

 

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OLYMPICS! And Why I LOVE Gold Medalist Michelle Carter

You guys, I love the Olympics. Like, LOVE!  I always do, every single time, and the magic is not wearing off at all as time marches on.   The Olympics are basically  16 days of Disneyland at my own house every two years. The 1988 Calgary and Seoul games are the first that I really remember actively watching, and almost 30 years later I am even more in love with the whole thing as I was back then.   Winter, Summer, I don’t care.  I love and am here for exactly all of it.

The multitude of NBC channels and the on demand availability is allowing me to pretty much completely immerse myself in the Olympics- inasmuch as my two- and four-year-olds will allow. I mean, I have to pay *SOME* attention to them as well.  But I’m trying to watch at least a little bit of every single sport and make sure my kids do as well- and also that they see both men and women competing in all  of the events in which both men and women compete.   Basically, picture me sitting in a giant hot tub of Olympics with just my face showing, water bubbling around my ears, and trying my best to keep my kids in the tub with while they’re desperately climbing out at the edges trying to head for the Paw Patrol Pool (PS I know hot tubs aren’t safe for kids, reality is not relevant to this metaphor).  I would also like to send a big shout out to the stomach virus that has had me somewhat laid up for the past few days for giving me the chance to parent less and watch more. I’m not sure it was an even trade-off, though…just looking on the bright side.

One of the people I have “met” this past Olympic week is shot putter Michelle Carter.

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She is the first American Woman to win shot put gold. Near as I have seen, Michelle Carter has two main jobs: Professional Makeup Artist and shot putter. That’s right, she makes her living making herself and other people look beautiful and also throwing heavy objects better than any other woman in the entire world.  You can find out more on her website, I personally want to hire her to do #allthethings.

I also want to take a sec to honor the fact that she is a strong, successful, radiant black woman who is breaking ground and shining bright in a season where things have seemed particularly dim for people of color in our country AND she is showing that women can be beautiful and strong at any size.  Also, she posts stuff like this on her Instagram:

 

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But the reason she is so near and dear to my heart is because I see reflected in her so much of my sweet Miss Kenzie.  Yesterday, watching track and field had Ms. K running around the house at top two-year-old speed. “I WUNNING! FAST!” She declared.  “Are you Tori Bowie, sweetie?” I asked, “Are you Brianne Theisen-Eaton?”  “NOOOOO!” She indignantly declared, “I PWINCESS SOFIA!”  and took off running like a shot.  I cackled out loud, but then I stepped back for a minute and realized that to this child, there is nothing  mutually exclusive about being a “pwincess” and running fast. To us adults who have spent the past several decades being conditioned to certain ways of thought there might be, but not to my fast and fancy Princess Sprintsalot.

On her birthday weekend, we attended her Uncle Kyle’s birthday party on Saturday where she ran in the dirt with her brother and her her cousin, climbed all over the todder-sized construction machines, and needed about five showers when she got home. The next day, she couldn’t WAIT to wear her pink dress for her own party and lost her ever-loving mind over the new clothes from Grandma and Grandpa (which Grandpa had picked out, by the way, SO CUTE!) and the dress-up trunk from Nana and Granddad.  She saw exactly zero conflict of interest there.

That space that she’s living in right now, a place where she can be both strong and fancy, dirt-covered and beautiful, a princess and a superhero at the same time- and guess what? When you think about it, that space is TRUTH, y’all. All of these boxes we try to put women in, the one-or-the-other mentalities, the need to make sure that women aren’t too complex or confusingly muti-faceted, that is something that happens along the way. God did not say unto us, “And I shall make thee, women, into two kingdoms,  the Pretty and Fancy and the Strong and Capable.”  Nope, He made men AND women in His own image, women are His image-bearers and that means that we can represent any and all of the things in His nature that He calls us to and to Him, none of them are mutually exclusive.

That is where Michelle Carter lives in her life and she occupied it on the grandest stage this week. Engaging beast-mode in a way that would probably make Marshawn Lynch himself have a seat in deference, while wearing a fierce red lip and some perfectly crafted lashes. Head to her website to hire her to throw shot put and do your make-up. She is the strong and the fancy, the beautiful and the beast-mode. She’s showing my daughter that yes, she CAN BE and ALREADY IS everything that her little two-year-old mind believes that she was created to be.  I mean, if she JUST wants to be the president of the fashion club or decides that she’s all about being a construction worker and make-up is like, eew, then that’s just fine. She gets to discover for herself what God put in her and I’ll be over here cheering her on.  But women like Michelle Carter, women who are strongly living into all of who they were created to be, they show Kenzie that she can also be ALL of who she was created to be, all at the same time, in the same space, and she can SHINE.

THIS may just be why I love the Olympics so goshdarned much. I get to “meet” people like Michelle Carter who remind me of some of the many things that still right in the world and are even, dare I say it, getting better.  And didn’t we need this right now?  Didn’t we need some RIGHT and GOOD to come together around? I know I did. I feel reminded that the world is still an amazing place with goodness still awaiting my son and daughter as they grow.  Thank you, Lord, for the Olympics.  And there’s still a week left!!!!

OK, I gotta go. I’m missing synchronized swimming and pommel horse! And there’s handball later. I’m not even sure I knew that was a thin…

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My Noonday Journey: One Year In

Happy Nooniversary to me, y’all! WOOT WOOT!!!! I’m publishing on Tuesday instead of Monday this week because TODAY MARKS ONE YEAR SINCE I SIGNED UP TO BE A NOONDAY COLLECTION AMBASSADOR!   I think. I’m not sure.  But August 9 sticks out in my head and so that’s what I’m going with.

One year ago, I responded to a nudge from God that I did NOT see coming. I wasn’t looking for something to sign up for, I didn’t identify as a “jewelry person,” I didn’t host or even attend “jewelry parties,” and yet here came God, whispering into my heart.  Then speaking. Then shouting.  And I knew better than to ignore Him.

ALMOST NOTHING about the Ambassador Opportunity felt like it played to my strengths. It didn’t make a single bit of sense to me that I, a teacher-turned-SAHM who was feeling more frumpy than ever, would be called to this. I thought I knew who I was, what I did, and what things were “for me.” This wasn’t something that looked to me like it belonged in the story of my life. But God told me in a rather indignant tone that reminded me slightly of my grandmother that FOR PITY’S SAKE this wasn’t about *ME* and what *I* thought I could or should do.  So bless my heart, I went from, “Oh, isn’t that nice what they’re doing over there at Noonday” to clicking “choose your starter kit” in, like, a week.  Here’s the story of how that all went down if you haven’t read it.

It’s pretty amazing to look back on that post now because those early weeks turned out to be a pretty accurate reflection of what this whole year has been like. It has been a year of struggling and working hard, but it has also been a year of chains breaking and the glass box I had built around my life shattering. I’ve had to work HARD at this Ambassador thing, but it has also shown me that I can do hard things. To be honest, this was probably the first brave and “out of the box” thing I had ever REALLY done in my life. I had done things that were perhaps bigger and more challenging:  college, masters degree, moving out of state for a job, buying my own house and car as a single woman, summer jobs in other locations, getting married, having a family, leaving my career of ten years (and my income!) to stay home with my babies…those are all BIG things, but all of them made sense and fit with what I thought The Plan was for my life. To step into something that I felt God calling me to that didn’t fit with what my perception of The Plan was- that is what makes this the bravest thing I’ve ever done.

Noonday has disrupted my expectations for my life and put a definite crack in the glass box that I had put around God and me and my assumptions about who I thought He had made me to be and what He had planned for me.  I’m still struggling with this Noonday thing, a year later, I still feel like a first year teacher at it.  I still feel like the bottom could drop out, people could stop booking shows and buying the stuff, and this could be a spectacular failure.  But there is so much bravery in DOING IT ANYWAY, and that isn’t something I understood before. To me, bravery was folly. If it didn’t make sense, if it didn’t seem like something I should do, then to do it would be irresponsible and I mustn’t.  I don’t think I realized until this year what a perfectionist I was with regard to my life choices and how while I thought I was honoring God with my prudency, I was really limiting His power to work in my life by putting my own limits and expectations of what *I* thought was acceptable.

So while I still feel like I’m vigorously treading water business-wise, I’m on a whole new level in terms of self-confidence and believing that I can spread my wings and run after God into bigger things than I could ever ask or imagine.  Because of Noonday, I am starting to believe that I can do big, hard, important things that a year ago I would have thought were for others, not for me.  I’ve started this blog, I’ve applied to be a blog contributor for a mommy blog AND WAS ACCEPTED, I’ve tried stepping more into leading worship at my church- I’m open to all kinds of things that are outside of the box I built for myself, because I have realized that God doesn’t do boxes, at least not mine. He may have a box, but it looks way different and better than anything I could have asked or imagined.

So bring on year 2! And I as I march forward, I have taken on a new challenge: I am going to try to qualify for a trip next summer to meet some of Noonday’s artisan partners, men and woman who have also believed that they can do big and brave things and whose bravery and trust is going out in ripples of goodness in their communities- and in lives around the world like mine!  I have to sell almost as much as I ahve sold this entire first year in order to do it and right now, my business doesn’t have the capacity to do that. My sales pattern will have to change hugely and I’m not sure how to do that, I’ve already been giving it all I’ve got.

But I believe now that I can do big, brave, out of reach things and that even if I fail, I will be better for having tried. So here goes!  Bring on year, 2! Let’s do this, God. I’m following You to have absolutely no idea where. It’s Your show, God.  Equip me to be ready!