Friday, October 28, 2011

One of My Favorite Photo Shoots To Date

Almost two years ago, Hollie called me about taking photos of her sweet 6 month old daughter Madi. I was so nervous--it was the first time I'd taken photos of someone that wasn't family! But Hollie and Madi were great, and I've done several photos for them over the years.

A couple months ago, Hollie called me again, and showed me this photo on Pinterest that she wanted to use as inspiration for the next session:

{PS- If you aren't familiar with Pink Sugar Photography, be sure to click on the source link--AMAZING}

I don't mind at all when people show me inspiration photos that they love prior to a photo shoot, but there's always that balance as a photographer from trying to take that inspiration without copying the other photographer too closely--'cause let's face it, even if imitation is the highest form of flattery, no one likes to be copied exactly. But on the other hand, we all draw inspiration from each others' work...nearly every photographer has a "Photos I Love" board on Pinterest, right?

So, when someone brings me an inspiration photo, what I usually try to do is talk with the person to narrow down what the person loves--is it the lighting, the poses, the type of location, the outfits, etc in order to be able to capture the feel without being too literal. For Hollie, I think it was mostly the field and the warm lighting that she loved, so I decided to use my brother and sister-in-law's back property that I used for the self-portraits for Lee Jeans and go with a sunset shoot. And then, Oregon weather didn't cooperate at all, and gave us cloudy and overcast for the next two weeks. Once we had a day of sun, we jumped on it, and this is what I came up with...I think (hope--you tell me!) that it does a good job capturing the "feel" of Hollie's inspiration photo without being too literal:


BQOTD + Fall '11 Blog Bible Study Week 7

Day 42 of Beth Moore's book discusses Acts 19:1-7, wherein Paul encounters a group of believers who says they hadn't heard of the Holy Spirit, nor received it when they were baptized by John. Paul then has them re-baptized in the name of Christ, and they begin speaking in tongues. This verse is definitely divisive among Christians at times, and Beth Moore posed the question, "What do you do with those knotty doctrinal questions, ones with outspoken proponents on either side? How do you deal with things you don't understand?"

I thought this was a really interesting question that totally appealed to my nerdy inner Sociologist. I often feel like we as a society speak about "Christians" in general--and while our core beliefs are (usually) the same, there are over 38,000 different denominations of other words, there are a lot of different beliefs that all reside under the umbrella of Christianity. I tried to find a chart that compared what some of the larger denominations believe in terms of baptism, the rapture, whether or not salvation can be lost, and some other "hot button" issues just for the sake of comparison, but I had a heck of a time finding anything...

To me, the "knotty doctrinal issues" don't tend to get me super worked up. Justin and I go to a different church for Bible Study because our church didn't offer a Bible Study for young married couples at the time that we started going. The church we go to for Bible Study has different beliefs than our own in terms of communion, baptism, and some of that, but it just doesn't bother either of us, because we don't consider those things matters of salvation. Both churches believe that Jesus is the son of the triune God and that he died on the cross to pay for our sins. We both believe that it's by grace, through faith that we're saved. To Justin and I, that's the major thing, not whether a  person is dunked or sprinkled during baptism. And actually, I think it's been a good thing for us to participate in a church with a different denomination, because it's made me/us really research what the Lutheran church believes in terms of all those "hot button" issues--something I *thought* I knew, but I actually didn't.

So, for today's Burning Question of the Day, I'm curious:

BQOTD: If you identify yourself as being Christian, do you also identify with a particular denomination as well? Just for the purposes of this discussion, we'll consider "non-denominational" churches a "denomination" as well.  Do you feel like you have a good grasp of what your church believes in terms of "hot-button" issues such as baptism, communion, abortion, the rapture, etc? 

As always, I'm not asking because I have any desire to "convert" you to the Lutheran faith. You should know by now that that's not how I roll. I'm just curious how we all approach our individual faiths! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall into Fall (and bonus, a funny Justin story).

There's this great pumpkin patch near us. We went last year with Ryan & Renee (and kiddos), and again this year with them and my parents and sister as well. I hope it becomes an annual tradition! I love me some family traditions :)

I was a bad mom/aunt this year and hardly took any photos, especially of the cousins. I don't know what happened--I guess I just plum forgot. Oh well, such is life.



Lizzy loved riding the "neigh-see". The first time, they put her on a little donkey. The second time, she told them no when they took her over to the little mini donkey, and said, "No.I want this one. Big." Don't get it twisted people, she's a big girl now.




You know what's really funny? I'm pretty positive Justin wore the exact same flannel shirt when we went last year. Hang on, let me to a photo hunt...

Yep. Same shirt. :) 

I am DYING laughing right now. It cracks me up because I know he isn't doing it on purpose, but Justin does this ALL THE TIME, with wearing the same outfit for the same event two (or more) years in a row. LOL.

4th of July 2010

4th of July 2009:

Oh wait! Aaaannnndddd Christmas Eve 2008:

Christmas Eve 2009:

Oh babe, you make me laugh!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shabby Apple Jewelry Winner...

And the winner of the Shabby Apple Through the Looking Glass necklace is:

Congrats Laura T!

BQOTD: Halloween

Growing up, we always celebrated Halloween--at least I did until I was in 4th grade and 5'8" and people told me I was "too old" to go Trick or Treating. I cried.

Traumatic childhood moments aside, I maybe had one or two friends who didn't celebrate Halloween, but none that I can really remember. The same goes for college at PLU (Pacific Lutheran)...I'm sure there were people who didn't celebrate Halloween, but I don't remember anyone specifically or any specific reasons why they didn't celebrate. Justin has told me that he's experienced essentially the same thing growing up--Halloween was always celebrated, and he didn't really know many (if any) families who didn't celebrate.

But, I've noticed quite a few blog friends make reference to the fact that they don't celebrate Halloween. I've noticed quite a few posts like {this one} taking one side or the other as to whether or not Christians should celebrate the day. I've seen some other people talk about not celebrating Halloween because they dislike the politically uncorrectness of a lot of Halloween costumes. And it has recently occurred to me that the percentage of people who choose not to celebrate Halloween (for a variety of reasons, not just religious) is probably closer to the percentage of people who do celebrate the day than I realized. And y'all know that I was a Sociology major in college, and so I'm probably more interested in hearing why people do the mundane things that they do than, for today's Burning Question of the Day, I'm curious:

Does your family celebrate Halloween? Why or why not?

*Note: Let's all please play nice and be respectful of each other and one another's beliefs. I'm just genuinely curious, and hope we can cultivate an environment where people feel comfortable enough to share why they do what they do.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just A Reminder

I've had a couple of people tell me that {this post}for my Shabby Apple Jewelry giveaway never showed up in their Google Reader. So, I thought I'd post again today in hopes that it reaches everyone--you have until tomorrow to enter!

Click on through if you want to win some beautiful jewelry from Shabby Apple!

Friday, October 21, 2011


-Sorry, no Bible Study today. I'm behind and overwhelmed, and last night I chose to go to J's softball game rather than stay home an do a week's worth of Bible Study in one night.

-I seriously feel like I spend 85% of the day cleaning lately, but yet my house is still a DISASTER. How does that happen?

-Lately, when Lizzy is mad that she's being put to bed when she doesn't want to be, she takes off all her clothes and diaper. Sometimes, she goes to the bathroom in the crib. This has happened three times in the past two days. She's gotten out of a footed sleeper, a onesie and leggings, and jeans and a shirt. I am sort of at the end of my rope here. I don't know what to do other than put duct tape over the diaper velcro when I lay her down, but I feel like that could come back to bite me in the butt somehow.

-I'm having trouble staying motivated to do Turbo Fire. It's been a month. I've been averaging 5-6 days a week. It's HARD. I just took progress pictures and literally saw no difference. But, I'm just the type of person with the type of metabolism where I'm just going to have to work out almost every day no matter what for the rest of my life. I'm kind of irritated about it though. Especially when I have a husband who can drink soda, eat candy, chips, and copious amounts of fast food, and lose weight without even trying. Must have something to do with that manual labor job, eh?

-I've been on a total book kick lately. This month, in addition to Love at First Bark I've read:
  1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  2. Food Rules by Michael Pollan
  3. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
  4. Friendship Bread by Darien Gee
  5. Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
I don't know that I'm going to write reviews for all these, but if anyone is curious about any of these, I'm happy to tell you what I think!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review: Love at First Bark

I'll never forget my first upper-division college English class. As a self-proclaimed bookworm, I had already read most of the books we covered in the intro classes, and I was thrilled to be getting into something more meaty. Within minutes of purchasing the books on the syllabus, I had already begun reading, even though our first class meeting was months away. I was THAT excited.

The first book that my professor assigned was narrated by a dog. Don't ask me what it was called, because I think I've blocked it from my memory. It was the worst book I've ever read. EVER. It was painful to finish. I absolutely hated it, and couldn't even see what redeeming qualities someone else might find in the book as I usually can.

I'm a little bit ashamed to admit it, but since that experience, I've avoided "dog-books" like the plague. I think I just figured that I clearly wasn't one of those "dog people", and I'd never understand books that revolved around them. Marley & Me? Nope, didn't read it. I may or may not have avoided The Art of Racing in the Rain simply because it had a dog on the cover. However, for BlogHer Book Club, I was recently sent Love at First Bark: How Saving A Dog Can Sometimes Help You Save Yourself by Julie Klam. Truth be told, I had almost skipped participating this round because it was a "dog book"...but I'm always telling people that one of my favorite things about BlogHer Book Club is that it encourages me to read books I might not have read otherwise. So, I bit the bullet and agreed to read and review the book.

Shortly after it arrived, I sat down with Love at First Bark as I was getting ready to rock Lizzy to sleep for her nap. And honest-to-God, I didn't get up again until I'd finished the book. For the first time, Julie Klam's book didn't feel like a "dog book"--it felt like a witty, hilarious, lovely memoir that happened to include characters who were dogs right along with the human ones.

My favorite story in the book was Morris-the-Pitbull, whom Julie and her husband Paul happened upon on the street, tied to a lightpost. Upon asking around, they discovered that this particular tagless Pitbull had been tied up for quite some time. They quickly began calling him Morris, and Julie began trying to find him a home, Paul reluctantly staying with her, probably partly to ensure that Morris didn't come home with them. But unexpectedly, Paul and Julie, who had sort of been passing through their marriage like ships in the night, reconnected in a way that they haven't in a long time. I mean, haven't we all been there in relationships? In a place where you're just not connecting like you used to? And then suddenly, you get involved in something that helps you reconnect? Gives you something to talk about again?

Now that I've read Love at First Bark, I think that my prior aversion to most "dog books" (excluding the one I read in college English, which was just BAD) was that I simply couldn't relate. While we had dogs growing up, I felt rather ambivalent about them. I didn't love them. I honestly didn't even feel affection for them--they were just those two annoying things that barked at night and woke me up. I simply haven't loved a dog like a member of my family. Although I've never personally encountered that kind of love for a dog, for the first time when reading Love at First Bark, I could see how it's possible, and hope I'm fortunate enough to experience it someday.

Disclosure Statement: This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club, but as always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Letter to Lizzy- Twenty & Twenty One Months

Dear Lizzy-Loo,


Just within the last couple of weeks, you have definitely entered into the "do self" phase. In fact, you want to pick out your own outfit almost every day (you picked the outfit in the above photo and "styled" yourself, actually), and get very upset if I misunderstand you or if you just can't wear what you have in mind. Yesterday, you threw a 25 minute temper tantrum because I could only find your dark pink headband, and you wanted the light pink one. Your dad and I are trying to find that balance between teaching you that you can't always have everything you want at the very instant you want it and also just going ahead and fixing what we know is making you mad. It's a fine line to walk sometimes baby girl!


-You can count to 10, but can't necessarily count objects (i.e. if I ask you how many strawberries are on your plate, you'll just count to whatever number you feel like counting to).
-You correctly identify pink and blue most times. You correctly identify purple, black, green, and orange maybe 70% of the time.
-You are just starting to string together sentences, with the most common one being "Mama, WATCH ME!"
-You're really interested in climbing and playing like the big kids at the playground. You do NOT want anyone to help you at all, ever.

Funny Stories This Month:
-Of course, there's the Frog/Perry the Platypus slipper story.
-Another good story was when we were in the second-hand kid store. We passed the shoe section, and you gasped and said, "Mama, I LOVE shoes!"
-You and Logan were in the car, and you were being a stinker, trying to kick him (you are still rear-facing and he is in a booster). You couldn't quite reach him to kick him, so you just started pointing your toe at him, teasing. He didn't like that, so he licked your foot...and WHOO BOY, that made you MAD.
-We don't listen to rap that often, but I was listening to it the other day in the car. Ever since then, you've been "rapping" Jesus Loves Me".
-I tried to teach you to say "Trick or Treat" the other day, but you just walk around holding your pumpkin and saying "Twinkle Twinkle!"


Things That Were Hard:
-You've really been testing boundaries these past two months. You'll sometimes be doing something that you know you're not supposed to do, and say "Look mama, NO NO!" or, when I'll ask if you're supposed to be doing something (such as hitting when you're mad), you'll respond, "I want timeout," like you KNOW it's naughty, but you've decided to do it anyway. Not gonna lie, that's HARD.
-You've been getting your molars, so you've been VERY whiny this month.

Things I Love:
-Rocking you to sleep for your naps. It's still working well, and I LOVE that snuggle time, so we're still doing it!
-How much better you're able to communicate this month.
-You're finally interested in reading books again this month!
-At bible Study yesterday, the childcare workers told me that you are a GREAT helper. You always ask to wipe off the table after snack, help clean up toys, and like to sing to the babies as well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shabby Apple Jewelry Giveaway

Y'all know Shabby Apple, right? THE go-to shop for beautiful dresses? {Their current Academia collection totally makes the not-so-secret book nerd in me swoon}. Well, they also have some pretty incredible jewelry and other accessories too...and the fine folks at Shabby Apple have offered to let me give this away to one of you lucky ducks:

Their Through the Looking Glass Necklace!

Now, here's the thing: while this necklace is beautiful just the way it is, it actually gets even better. See, it has a side clasp that allows you to slip something up to 4mm inside--like a photo, scrapbook paper, or a dried flower. Then, the glass has a fish-eye magnifying effect on whatever you've slipped inside! Cool, right? I love me a versatile piece of jewelry, and I'm jealous that y'all have the opportunity to win it!

Here's how to enter:
1. For your first entry, like Shabby Apple on Facebook. And just for kicks, I'd like to hear what you'd slip into the necklace if you were to win.
2 & 3. For your second and third entries, you can either follow Shabby Apple on Twitter, or follow their blog. You need to leave a separate comment for each action!!

Here's the fine print:
-This contest is open to US readers.
-The contest will remain open until Tuesday Oct 25th at 10am Pacific Time.
-The winner will be chosen via
-You MUST have an email attached to your profile or leave an email address where you can be contacted.
-The winner will be contacted by email on the 25th and will have 72 hours to respond in order to claim their prize. If the winner has not responded within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Potty Training Post

Look, I totally understand that not everyone (mom or not) wants to read a whole post about potty training. I get it. I do. But, the thing is that we're sort of in the thick of it over here, and I could use some advice. So, if it's not your thing, you just might want to stop reading right now and come back tomorrow instead :)

So, a couple of months ago, Lizzy started to get really interested in the bathroom. She asked to sit on the toilet often, and sometimes actually went to the bathroom, which resulted in lots of applause, cheering, and both small and large treats (okay, honestly we just really wanted ice cream that one night and the bathroom accomplishment gave us an excuse). One day, she just stopped wanting to go or sit on the toilet altogether, so we didn't push it. She was like 19 months at the time, which is honestly just really early to begin with.

A few weeks ago, a friend gave us a bag of hand-me-downs, which included some training underwear (the thick ones) and other potty training stuff. Since seeing those, Lizzy has asked repeatedly to wear underwear. We had the whole talk about how when we wear underwear, we have to go potty on the toilet and such. We checked out the library books, and all that good stuff, and then as I mentioned last week, we decided to give it a shot.

We put her in the thick underwear to start. Although she had just sat on the toilet for like 15 minutes, literally minutes after we put on the underwear, she pooped. We talked about telling me before she goes to the bathroom, put the poop in the toilet, etc. Sat her on the toilet for a few minutes, got her down, put on a new pair of thick undies, and within three minutes, she had peed. Again, I told her it was okay, and I asked what she should do next time she felt like she might have to go potty, and she responded, "Tell mommy FORE"  and then, "I want potty treat!"

Okay. This time, we put her in thin underwear, and I set the timer for 5 minutes, telling her that when it went off, it was time to sit on the potty. Timer went off. Sat her on the potty, she went pee. Big celebration, she got her small treat, and we were off to play again. I set the timer for half an hour this time. When the timer went off, Lizzy refused to sit on the potty. I figured she just didn't have to go, so I didn't push it, and set it for 10 more minutes. A few minutes later, she was dancing around, so I said, "Let's go sit on the potty!" she flipped out, and would NOT sit on the potty, and promptly peed in her underwear, and then laughed and said, "Lizzy no-no!"

At that point, we were out of underwear, so I told Lizzy that she'd have to wear a diaper until I washed her underwear, and she flipped out. And that's basically where we're at now--Lizzy wants to wear underwear, flips out if she has to wear a diaper, but also absolutely refuses to sit on the toilet, and seems to think nothing of going to the bathroom in her underwear. The same thing happened this morning--Lizzy asked to wear underwear, so we did that, but again, she refused to sit on the toilet, and went to the bathroom in her underwear like it was no big deal, and was LIVID when I finally told her that she had to wear a diaper because she wasn't telling me when she had to go potty.

If she's not ready, I'm fine with that. I don't need to potty train her now...I just thought that she seemed to be showing most of the signs that indicate they're "ready", and most of my friends have told me that if she's that excited about wearing underwear, she's ready. But seriously, if she's "ready", how in the world do I go about it from here?

Any advice? What do you think? Should we cool it for awhile? Should we capitalize on the interest in underwear? Do you have any tips?

Friday, October 14, 2011

BQOTD + Fall '11 Blog Bible Study Week 5

This morning, Beth Moore got me thinking a bit about Bible Study in general. I think one of the questions she asked is a really interesting one, and so today, instead of yammering on and on about what I've learned this week, I want to pose the question that Beth Moore asked to y'all as a Burning Question of the Day:

She asked, "What are some of your most effective ways of digesting the Word? What have you found to be the best ways to keep it alive in your heart and fresh on your mind?" (p. 162)

In other words, how do you do this thing called Bible Study? Do you carve out a special time every morning? Is it something that you want to do more often, but struggle finding time for? Do you participate with a group? Do you tend to use guided studies, or just crack open the Bible and read? Do you have any books or resources that you've found particularly helpful in study? I'd love to hear from you!


If you're new today, the Fall '11 Blog Bible study is a blog-based Bible-Study/Devotional designed for those of us who would like to take the amazing community of women bloggers online, and extend it to encouraging each other in faith. Right now, we'll be working through Paul: 90 Days on His Journey of Faith by Beth Moore. Each day has a short 1-2 page reading and a few reflection questions. Then, at the end of the week, I'll post some of my own thoughts/reflections, as well as a link-up. If you feel so inclined, I'd love for you to link up with your thoughts as well! If you'd like to join, but are just coming across this post now, it's not too late--just start whenever. And if you fall behind, no worries, and no guilt...we're all just doing the best we can, and none of us are perfect :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random Snippets

-I've been on a book reading kick lately. I've seriously been devouring books left and right, and I'm totally bummed that I wasn't quick enough to make the cut for the next two BlogHer Book Club selections! Also, I was super excited that you can now check out library books on the Kindle...except that the entire state of Oregon shares the digital collection, and it's just like the regular library--they have one or two copies of each book, and only one person can have it checked out at a time. I must have looked up 50 books on my list yesterday, and all of them had a wait list, most of them were over 100 people long. What a bummer!

-This morning, we're actually home with no place to go for the first time in weeks. So, we're giving underwear a shot for Lizzy. She's wanted to go potty here and there for the past month or so, and has had some success, but nothing consistent. So, we're giving it a shot.

-That said, I'm hoping that I'm not setting us up for failure here, because I also wanted to do some major house cleaning this morning, and I don't want to get distracted and miss any cues that she might need to go. Maybe I just need to let the house disaster go this morning and try and tackle it once she's down for her nap...along with all the other things I want to get done like working out, taking a shower, all that good stuff heh!

-I'm officially a month into Turbofire. I took before pictures, so I really should take some in-progress ones now, but I'm scared to, lol!

- I think we may be done with the crib here soon. I've watched Lizzy try to climb IN it a few times recently, but I've never seen her try to climb out. Still, I think it will probably be sooner rather than later. We're still trying to decide whether to convert it to a toddler bed, or just pick up a twin somewhere and keep the crib as a crib for any future bambinos.

-I've had a few photography shoots lately, which is awesome. But, the bummer is that I've noticed that I haven't been taking photos at home all that often recently, which is really sad. I don't want photography to ever feel like "work".

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Events...

Oh y'all. The most hilarious-while-simultaneously-embarassing thing happened to me yesterday at Wal-Mart (ps- why does this kind of thing always happen in Wal-Mart?!) Here's some background:

Lizzy and Justin often watch Phineas & Ferb, which has a character named Perry-the-Platypus. Recently, Lizzy has taken to calling Perry by the last syllable of his name, "Pus".

Also, Lizzy's current pronunciation of "frog" sounds exactly like a particular four-letter word that starts with f and ends with k.

So, today we were at Wal-Mart, passing by the shoe section. The endcap had a whole bunch of fuzzy slippers, which Lizzy spotted immediately. 

"Elmo!" she happily yelled. 

"CAR!" she screamed as we continued on our way. 

And then, we came across the most unfortunate slipper display that could ever exist in my universe--a HUGE rack of Perry-the-Platypus slippers right next to a HUGE rack of Kermit-the-Frog slippers. 

So my sweet Lizzy, so excited that she knew the words for both types of slippers, begins yelling "PUS! F#@K! PUS! F#@K!" at the top of her lungs in the middle of Wal-Mart. 

I kid you not. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Obviously, most people around us didn't immediately recognize as "Platypus! Frog!", but rather what she was quite literally saying. Oh, if only you could have seen the looks we received...and she was so excited, that I couldn't for the life of me get her to stop. 

And that, my friends, is how a series of unfortunate events resulted in me becoming the mama with the swearing toddler in the Super Wal-Mart. 

It's okay, go ahead and laugh. I did :) 

Monday, October 10, 2011

BQOTD: Coffee

I think I may have already asked this once for the Burning Question of the Day, but if I have, it's been awhile...and so I'm going to ask it again!

Today, I'm curious--are you a coffee drinker? Do you brew it at home, or buy it somewhere? What's your drink of choice?

I used to buy it out a LOT while I was working (there was a coffee place next door),  but now I usually make it at home. We go through coffee so fast that we usually just buy Folgers, but every once in awhile my sister will bring me coffee from Caribou, which is a real treat since we don't have Caribou out here! I'm a recent convert to real-dairy creamer, so I usually add that and I'm good to go.

If I happen to buy coffee, I usually buy from a local drive-through chain, and order a non-fat caramel latte...but as soon as they start rolling out the Peppermint Mochas for the holidays, I switch over to those!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall '11 Blog Bible Study: Week 4

If you're new today, the Fall '11 Blog Bible study is a blog-based Bible-Study/Devotional designed for those of us who would like to take the amazing community of women bloggers online, and extend it to encouraging each other in faith. Right now, we'll be working through Paul: 90 Days on His Journey of Faith by Beth Moore. Each day has a short 1-2 page reading and a few reflection questions. Then, at the end of the week, I'll post some of my own thoughts/reflections, as well as a link-up. If you feel so inclined, I'd love for you to link up with your thoughts as well! If you'd like to join, but are just coming across this post now, it's not too late--just start whenever. And if you fall behind, no worries, and no guilt...we're all just doing the best we can, and none of us are perfect :)

It should come as no surprise that I'm behind. Again. Which is especially funny, since I gave myself a week's head-start just to hopefully avoid this very situation. But, here I am, trudging along--so obviously, if you're feeling guilty because you're behind, stop stressing. You're definitely not going to hear any admonishment from me--'cause I'm right there with you!

I'm doing another Bible Study with a bunch of the moms from Mom's Group (I've been so blessed to become involved in the past year!), and for that study, we're doing Sheila Walsh's Shelter of God's Promises (which is fantastic, btw). This past week, the promise that we were studying was The Promise of Confidence, with Romans 8:28 as the corresponding verse for the week.

Thinking about that verse, I couldn't help think about Esther--and the idea that perhaps she had been made queen "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14). The idea that God had been working behind the scenes in her life for years to bring her to the very place that she was supposed to be. I don't believe that God caused the trouble and persecution that she was facing, but I absolutely believe that he can and did use that situation for good.

I see the same thing in Paul--that even in his youth, Saul experienced in Gamaliel a rare teacher who tempered the law with grace. As Saul grew older and began actively persecuting followers of Christ, God was still there, working behind the scenes on Saul's heart, so that if Saul would be willing to become Paul, Paul would be ready "for such a time as this". As Sheila Walsh commented in the last session I saw, "Even the acts that Satan uses to destroy us can be used by God for good." We can all be used "for such a time as this."

And for the first time this past week, I reflected on my own life, and how everything has worked together to bring me right where I am today. Looking back, reflecting, I can see how even some of the things that I've been really upset about in my life have ultimately worked out exactly as they needed to in order to bring me where I am today. I wonder, if even I may be here "for such a time as this"--for a purpose. I don't know what exactly that purpose is, but I hope that when the time comes, I'll be able to get out of the way and let God use me in the way HE intends, and not just the way that I expect.

Anybody still with me? What did you think this week? If you have a post to link up, let me know and I'll add the linky!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Feminism. WOHM. SAHM. Oh my!

I was going to wait until tomorrow morning to post this, but it's been on my mind all day, and I just can't. This morning, I posted what I thought was a completely innocuous post. I was pretty surprised to receive the following comment:

I responded as neutrally as I could in the comments section of that post, because I think that a lot of it was just simply misdirected (i.e. that I do all the housework or that I order and prioritize my status as a wife and mother) but I've been thinking about it  all day, and I have more to say. I apologize in advance if this is a bit of a ramble, but I hope y'all will take just a few minutes to read it--it's from the heart.


Linda Hirshman wrote a book in 2006 called Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World that is essentially summed up by the comment from "Concerned Feminist" above--that women who choose to stay at home rather than work are making equality more difficult for everyone else. Hirshman has also said that she doesn't buy into anecdotes from stay-at-home mothers and homemakers that it's the most fulfilling thing they could imagine doing, saying, "I would like to see a description of their daily lives that substantiates that position...One of the things I've done working on my book is to read a lot of the diaries online, and their description of their lives does not sound particularly interesting or fulfilling for a complicated person, for a complicated, educated person." 

Now, I disagree with Hirshman for a plethora of reasons, the least of which being the air of entitlement and class-ism that she seems to espouse (i.e. those of us with educations shouldn't stay at home, but it's okay for us to pay the poor uneducated people to raise our children, because those people aren't very important or smart anyway), but this is nothing new--we all hear similar (albeit less judgmental) sentiments from both sides of the coin often, don't we? Stay-at-home moms tell their mom friends who work outside the home, "I just couldn't imagine letting anyone else raise my children." On the other hand, moms who work outside the home tell their stay-at-home mom friends, "I just don't know what you do with yourself all day while your son is at school! I'd be so bored!


I get that we've already made the decision that we think is best for our family, and so it's hard to imagine doing anything to the contrary. But as in anything, there is no universal best--there's no "best" pair of jeans, no "best" meal, no "best" way to parent, no "best" decision in terms of staying home or continuing to work--there's only the right decision for us and for our families. What works for me might not work for you, but that doesn't mean that what I've chosen is wrong either. 

I've been blogging since 2004, and during that time, I've had the privilege of getting to know some incredible and amazing men and women online. 

I've gotten to know Molly, who has two beautiful boys and works out of the home full time. Guess what? She's doing the right thing, and she's a great mom. 

I've gotten to know Leah, who also has two beautiful boys, and works out of the home right now in order that she'll be able to stay at home with her boys in the long-term. Guess what? She's doing the right thing, and she's a great mom. 

I've gotten to know Emily, who has one little guy, and works part-time. Guess what? She's doing the right thing, and she's a great mom. 

I've gotten to know Katie, who has a sweet little girl, and works part-time(?) from home. Guess what? She's doing the right thing, and she's a great mom. 

And then there's me, who has a degree, used to work full-time, and now I'm staying home with Lizzy, and doing photography on the side. Guess what? I'm doing the right thing, and I'm a great mom too. 

We're all doing the right thing, because we're all making the best decisions that we can for our families with the resources we have available to work with. I know, it sounds corny, but it's true. Whether we work full-time, part-time, out-of-the-home, in the home, or even consider staying-at-home work at all, we're doing what we think is right for our families, right now. Period. That's the best any of us can do.

Let's knock off pretending like we know how to best run each others lives, and focus on running our own, eh?

Balance Beam.

Yesterday, I had Dr. Drew's TV show Lifechangers on in the background while I was doing some cleaning and getting ready to get Lizzy and I out the door. They were talking about moms, and how sometimes we have a tendency to think of ourselves as either doing it perfectly, or failing. For a lot of us, there's no middle ground. Then, one of the experts said something to the effect of, "Sometimes, I feel like moms are competing with each other about whose to-do list is longer, but that's not what being a mom is about--it's relational."

Yeah, I'm totally aware of that. Heh. I think most of us moms get that--we need to talk to our kids, and read to our kids, and play with them. I know that, and I can do that.  I want to do that. I'm cool with building blanket forts and coloring all day long, actually. For me, the issue is about how do we balance that relational aspect with the other aspect of having a household where things just need to get done as well? I feel like the cycle for me is that I spend a couple of weeks playing and having fun with Lizzy all day, and then I spend a week spending 85% of the day "catching up" and cleaning the house, and not playing with Lizzy very much. And then I'm irritated, because I *hate* cleaning, but I also need the house to be clean in order to be able to relax. And I know that people are all like, "Oh, you never get these moments back, don't worry about the house, you can fold laundry later." But the thing is, that we still need to have clean dishes to eat off of, and clean underwear crumpled up in the drawer.We all still have to do both.

There are seasons of my life where I feel like I'm doing it a little bit better. There are seasons in my life where I feel like I'm balancing. Juggling. Multi-tasking. And then there are seasons where I feel like, "Who IS this woman who forgets to go get her allergy shots, and can't even return a simple email in a timely manner?" Like I have a million things on my to-do list every day, but I'm only accomplishing half of them, and of those that I actually accomplish, I'm only doing half of them well. LOL.

And sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed, all I want to do is curl up on the couch during Lizzy's naptime and watch Parenthood. But then, when will I do the 100 other things that need to be done during that time?

What about you all? What do you think? Any tips for keeping that balance? 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

BQOTD: Fall Love/Hate

Today's Burning Question of the Day is actually a two-fer: What's your favorite part of fall? 

And, what's your least favorite part?
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