Posted in Momming, World Changing

THE OLYMPICS ARE COMING #watchallthesports

You guys.
YOU GUYS!!!
YOU!!! GUYS!!!!!!

This is not a drill. It’s almost time for THE OLYMPICS!!!!!!

Let’s take a moment to prepare our hearts, with the help of your friend and mine, Mr. John Williams:

 

I absolutely love the Olympics and I’m not even the teensiest bit ashamed. I love the events, I love the pageantry, I love the human interest stories, the sportsmanship, the culture, the national pride, and the way the world (and our divided country) all comes together for two weeks. It is absolutely my jam.  And for the winter Olympics, I love that I get to see snow.  I love watching the ski racers careening down the slopes amid falling flakes.  I was seriously disappointed by the balmy temps in Sochi four years ago, I pouted.

In our house, as you know, we #watchallthesports.  It is what we do. And when it comes to the Olympics, we do not discriminate. We are not the “Oh, I’ll watch skiing and maybe some figure skating” people. We watch the curling and the ski jumping and the ice dancing and that crazy thing where they cross country ski and then shoot targets.  We also do it in the summer, when there are a lot more events.  That’s just more to love for us!

This year, we are super excited to share it with the kids.  Cam is almost six and Kendall is three and a half and they are starting to enjoy watching #allthesports with us.  Kendall has added an extra element for us because she is super-aware of when it is GIRLS who are playing the sports and doing the things.  She was only two and a half when we were watching softball and her eyes got big and she said, “Mom!  Is dat a she? Doze are GIRLS wif da bats!” So making sure that we watch the women’s events as well as the men’s is a HUGE priority for us.

I’ve made this handy dandy little checklist to hang on our wall to keep track of all the sports we’ve seen and make sure we don’t miss any.  Click here to download the PDF.

They aren’t exhaustive, there are far more divisions of some of those events than I included, but I tried to focus on the ones where my kids could SEE the differences, like the heights of the ski jump hills, the number of people in the bobsleds, and how many gates the skiers are trying to hit as they come down the hills.

Also, when you see N/A in the women’s column, it means that event doesn’t exist for women (four-man bobsled, doubles luge, and ski jumping). When you see it in the men’s column, it means that it’s a mixed team event (ice dancing, pairs figure skating, and the luge relay).

SO LET THE GAMES BEGIN!  If you need me in the next two weeks, you’ll know where to find me.

Posted in World Changing

That’s My Girl- Cheering on My Sisters in 2017

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It’s been awhile since I’ve written over on my very own blog. I’ve been blogging twice a month for the Mother Manifesto blog and helping to manage their FB Community, workin’ my Noonday business, and trying to keep my kids alive and my house in a condition in which one can walk in a straight line safely and cook a meal without contracting food poisoning. Plus also HOLIDAYS.

But I wanted to hop on over here for New Year’s Post to talk about something that is heavy on my heart right now- heavy in a GOOD, GOOD way. I feel a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL burden as the new year emerges, and it all centers around one thing: My. Girls.

It’s been awhile since I’ve added any mood music to a blog post, but I think this calls for one:

Y’all, God has blessed with some amazing women in my life. I’ve got ‘em comin’ at me from truly every aspect of my life:  my family (my mother and aunt are the kind of women that make the devil say, “Oh snap! She’s awake!” each and every morning), my friends from childhood and college, my Sister Moms, my Noonday Ambassador Sisters, my Church Girls- I’m not even lying when I say that my world is a smorgasbord of Female Ass-Kicking Talent (and they all either cuss a little or love me even though I do, so I feel like I can safely say that without shocking any of them).

My beautiful and exciting burden in the new year is to cheer. them. on. Because you guys, they are doing the Lord’s work, each and every one of them, whether they know it or not.

The Bible tells us that we were all created in the image of God and my relationship with God has made that feel so very really real for me. There are things about me that I know I couldn’t have mustered myself and when I see His reflection in others, it is BLINDINGLY beautiful in ways that nothing else is. It’s a real, REAL thing.

The problem is that we live in a culture that seems to be more focused on what it wants from women rather than on what God wants to show forth through them. The World has taken Glorious Image-Bearers of Our Almighty Creator and attempted to condense us in to easy-to-digest, bite-sized morsels of easily consumable “femininity,” a product whittled away to the sum of our uses.  It is so easy for us to get so distracted by pursuing what The World seems to want from us that we lose touch with the still small voice that is whispering to us of who we really are.

When women bravely step into and run after the call they feel on their hearts, it deals a powerful blow to the current order in this world- and to the enemy of our souls. When a woman steps into her purpose, first of all, she is giving one of the greatest gifts imaginable to everyone in her life and in the world at large. God created us each of us unique and different, with gifts and talents that only we have- and He did this ON! PURPOSE! The Eternal I Am knows exactly what His creation needed, needs, and will need and He put gifts in each of us to fill those needs as only we can.  When we pursue the fulfillment of that, we are building His kingdom and everything that is and and is to come benefits from that.

Second of all, when a woman bravely steps up and steps out, she is basically taking a metaphorical sledgehammer and dealing out a crushing blow that leaves a CRACK in the walls that have been built around women.  Because not only is she doing it, OTHERS ARE SEEING HER DO IT.   Her family is watching her, her friends are watching her, other women, men, CHILDREN- everyone is watching and y’all, that changes the status quo. When any woman looks at the things that are holding her back and holding her down and says ENOUGH, she is creating space for other women to do the same.

So in 2017, I’ll be spending the year cheering my little arss off for the women in my life as they do the brave and hard things

And my Sisters, let us be very clear that what constitutes the brave and hard and important and necessary things that need doing in your lives will differ from woman to woman, from girl to girl. Just as we and our lives are distinctly different from one another, so are the things that need doing in order to fulfill who God created us to be.

One person may feel called to start her own business or pursue a career she’s always felt called to and another to leave her job to stay home with her kids.

One may decide to fight for her marriage and one may decide she’s fought long enough and it’s time to break free.

One may be bravely pursuing the dream of motherhood amid obstacles she never even imagined and yet another might be struggling to create an identity for herself distinct from her children.

One may be fighting slavery, poverty, trafficking and injustice all across the globe while another is focused on changing hearts and minds in her own family and circles.

One may need to leave behind toxic relationships and another might bravely pursue friendship and connection in the face of crippling social anxiety.

One may decide that this is the year she finally sheds pounds and changes habits to get healthier while another decides to finally stop striving and love her body just as it is (although, we should ALL love our bodies, whether we are called to change them or not).

There may be a woman out there deciding that 2020 is the year that she will be elected the first woman President of the United States while another may be deciding that this week she will leave her house and walk to her mailbox despite fears that seem larger than life- and both of those women are doing brave and hard things that are shifting the atmosphere and making room for ALL of us to live into everything we were created to be.

And y’all- each of those women need their sisters cheering for them because they’re not just doing for themselves, they are doing it for all of us.

So please excuse me if I embarrass the heck out of you by being basically being the Sister Mom version of THAT MOM in the stands at the basketball game who’s all, “THAT’S MY BABY! YOU MAKE THAT BASKET, SWEETHEART!” That’s basically gonna be me shouting, “THAT’S MY GIRL! YOU GET IT, SISTER!!!! I KNOW HER!  SHE’S MY GIRL!!!!”

Run, Sister. I’m cheering you on. Will you do the same for me? Let’s do this.

#thatsmygirl

Posted in Styling, World Changing

Three Reasons Why Noonday Collection is EVERYTHING to this Mama’s Heart.

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending an evening with some of my fellow Portland-area Noonday Ambassadors and…JESSICA HONNEGER, FOUNDER AND CO-CEO OF NOONDAY COLLECTION!

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Me with JESSICA HERSELF. You know, know big deal. 😉

I have written before about Noonday, about my journey, and about how it has caused me to grow, to stretch, to believe I could do hard things, and to give myself permission to show up to the things I feel called to be a part of, whether anyone else has invited me or not.  You can read more about that journey herehere, here, here, and here.

I was reminded that evening in a BIG WAY why Noonday Collection is pretty much everything to where my heart is at right now, another example of how God’s purpose for this Noonday journey of mine keeps unfolding.

During their talks with us, Jessica and Noonday’s VP of Sales and Ambassador Development, Allison Lime, spoke to something that is pretty much entirely all of what I’m here for right now, and that is MOMS.  Jessica told stories of how Noonday has impacted the lives of families around the world. Allison asked us in the room to share our “why” for signing up with Noonday, and so many of the stories of the women in the room centered around motherhood.  Here are my three biggest takeaways from listening to those stories.

  1.  Noonday Collection is empowering moms around the world to be able to provide for their children.  Extreme poverty around the world puts moms in positions that no parent should have to be in:  Considering whether she should give her child up for adoption because she can’t afford to feed her, debating whether to sell one child into slavery to afford to feed the others, leaving her babies alone at night while she goes work the streets as a prostitute to earn the money her family needs.  I  have a physical reaction to hearing these scenarios. My mama’s heart aches DEEPLY at the prospect.  But these are the stories of some of the moms and dads who work for Noonday’s artisan partners around the world- moms and dads who ended up NOT having to take desperate measures because of their dignified jobs with Noonday’s artisan partners.  When we partner with Noonday Collection, either as Ambassadors, Hostesses, or Customers, the sales we generate translate directly into orders or our artisan partners, which means MORE JOBS for people who need it.  Dignified employment and a sustainable income means POWER for moms to make choices out of what’s best for them and their kids, not out of desperation.
  2. Noonday is enabling moms (and dads) to adopt and bring kids home to their forever families.  Noonday Collection was founded out of Jessica’s  own journey of adoption and it has maintained strong ties to adoption as it has grown over the past six years.  Noonday allows hostesses to turn their trunk shows into benefits for adopting families to help offset the astronomical cost of adoption.  Because of its ties to the adoption community, many of our ambassadors are also adoptive mamas. All of that combines together to make Noonday such a force of light and strength and support for adopting families.  So far, I’ve been able to partner with three adopting families to help raise funds to bring their kids home and I’ve cheered countless other families on through the Ambassador Community. It’s a privilege to be a part of connecting kids with their forever families and mamas with the little ones their hearts are longing for and to be a part of a community that gives so much support to adopting families.
  3. Noonday is connecting moms around the world to PURPOSE. Sometimes as a mom, my heart aches to MATTER to someone outside of the borders of my home.  I mean heck, why else would I have even started this blog, right?  And I know I’m not alone in that ache on my heart- we are built for connection. The desire to matter to others and to help others is innate in all of us. Noonday Collection provides Ambassadors, Hostesses, and Customers with the chance to do that. We are also providing opportunities for women around the world to step into purpose as well- and to know that they are enabling OUR purpose as well. That mutual connection, the symbiosis of Noonday Collection here in America and our artisan partners around the world just feels sacred to me.  We couldn’t do what we do without them and they couldn’t do what they do without us- we all know we matter to one another, to other moms and other families, and that is beautiful and powerful stuff.

I had to leave early that night to get home to an extremely sick Kenzie.  I said goodnight to Jessica, who took the time to talk to me for a minute right before I left (that woman makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room) and I ached to stay longer and chat with everyone.

But as I lay in bed that night, brushing the hair off of Kenzie’s burning forehead, I knew that that moment was just as important to connecting me to my purpose with Noonday as it was sitting in that room with our founder and other Ambassadors.  The compulsion on a mama’s heart to provide for her children is one of the deepest things I have ever experienced.  The idea that, through partnering with Noonday collection, I help enable moms around the world to provide the food, shelter, and medical care that their kids need is EVERYTHING to me right now.

I’ve set a goal for myself to sell enough Noonday this Fall to earn a trip to meet some of our artisan partners this summer.  So far, the going has been rough, but I am encouraged to keep fighting to reach that goal so that I can sit across from these women and thank them in person for breathing such purpose into my life.  It’s such a beautiful thing when women come together to support, encourage, and enable one another to be all we can be for ourselves and our families. I’m so glad I took the risk a year ago and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!