A Greenhouse with Dirt: Where Things Grow

Last Friday afternoon, I texted my husband.

There needs to be two of me: one to play with and work with the children and one to take care of the laundry and food and the house. 

That doesn’t even take into account which one would care for homeschooling the boys or prepping notes for podcast episodes or preparing to lead a Bible study.

It’s a common feeling, among humans with responsibilities and families and a desire to live for eternity, that there is always more work to do than time to do it. I text with friends about it. I moan over prioritizing my own demands. And over the weekend, a woman asked me how I balanced mothering four kids and taking care of the life stuff: the house, the laundry, etc.

How To Be Consistent

Sometimes people ask me how I manage to blog when we have four small children and I usually smile and shrug because they don’t really want to know the answer. They want to pretend that I’m a super-person doing things that they could never do because then they don’t have to change. Then they aren’t challenged. But that’s not true; I am an ordinary woman, just like every other woman.

Am I saying they need to blog? Nope. Do I mean that they could? Absolutely! Just like they could get to church with their small children or start painting or start studying their Bible.

I have learned a few things about being consistent, about sticking it out with one activity even when life is busy and there are other things to do. Think about that one thing that you would like to do. Picture it in your mind and apply these ideas to that one thing.

Having the Guts to Share: A Reader Question

I think we all, sometime in life, feel a draw, or even a calling, to do something that we feel unqualified to do. I’m talking specifically about writing here but if God calls you to do something you need to be more concerned about obedience than how that obedience makes you feel.

A reader emailed me to ask this question:

 “How do you have the guts to share your writing if you feel like you aren’t really wise enough yet to say anything that would be helpful to other people? Have you ever struggled with that?”

Please know that if you email me about a struggle, there’s a good chance I struggle with it too. My first response was to wonder if perhaps she has been listening to conversations with my husband or a few friends. I think we are all innately aware of our own shortcomings. We know how far we have to go and we know that there are wiser people that surround us. But perhaps we have that itch to write and we can’t kill it. Or we don’t want to. Or we don’t believe we should no matter how strong the urge is. Here are a few ideas I’ve picked up that might help.

Grace + Grit in Goal Setting

I spent the last weekend of February looking back and looking forward: looking back at how life is happening and looking forward to where God is leading us. I don’t want goals to only be a New Year’s topic in my life. This is the only life I have and I want to spend my energy on what God has given me to do. I want my hands in the work God has given me and goals help me shape our rhythms and days.

Maybe we all need a little of that in March and not just in January so I’m going to share some goal-setting ideas and updates throughout the year so that I don’t forget and so you don’t think it’s the wrong time of the year for goals.

9 Project Ideas

Lately I’ve gotten quite a few questions about project ideas and how I fit in time to do projects. This post won’t address both of those topics but I’m going to tackle a list of project ideas if you are looking for some inspiration for March. Or April or May or- you get the idea.

(However my number one tip on accomplishing projects? Start small with something you know you can manage and let it grow if it blossoms. Commit to 20 minutes once a week and see where it takes you.)

The one thing I would challenge you to do when you start any project is to document your work. Whether you take pictures for yourself (maybe on a private Instagram account so you can make a photo book later) or share them in a public spot on the internet or take notes on what you are learning, you will get more out of the work if you can see what you’ve accomplished when you’re done. Does this mean all the work will be good? Of course not. But that’s not why you are doing it.

How to Grow into Your Style

Recently I’ve realized that I’m growing into my decorating style. I’m also growing into a clothing style and I’m growing into a lot of things that I’ve been working on: things like what I like to draw and how, handlettering, even crafty things. I’m never going to arrive. The nice (and frustrating) thing about life is that we should always be growing, tweaking, changing.

We have more natural talent in some things. We have an idea of what looks good or is appealing. We don’t know why something works but we just know that it does. But even those natural skills need sharpened. There’s that famous Ira Glass quote about the gap that you have when you first start doing things. You’re just not quite there.

I’m still not there but I’ve seen my style evolved as the years have passed and I’ve realized part of it has been giving it time. But not just blank time. You can’t sit around staring at the wall and grow.

2017 Goals + Word of the Year

I didn’t actually decide on a word for 2017 until New Year’s Eve and I was starting to get nervous because I had considered and tossed out a lot of ideas. But after voxing Phylicia with my concerns over not having a word, I was listening to a podcast and decided that my word is MAKE. I want to actually make things, not pinboards and castles in the sky, actual work in my home and in my life. I’m going to make breakfast and dinner. I’m going to make a home. I’m going to make memories and art and stories. I’m going to make music and lesson plans. I’m going to make space for other people and time for things that really matter. I want my hands in the work that God has given me.  

This is the first year that I’ve tried to be respectful of my season when I was setting goals. I actually took a good look at where I am and what this season requires of me before I decided what I could work on or what I needed to work on.

This is key to goal-setting. The best sounding goals in the world will do nothing for you if they aren’t rooted in your reality. If you aren’t evaluating where God has put you and what He has given you to do, you are setting yourself up for frustration. Goals really aren’t about making a better you; they are about stewarding well what God has given you. (Thank you, Lara Casey, for that tidbit.)