Author Archives: Jenn

About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, having dinner guests, and elevenses. She is not afraid to lead a one woman crusade against the rampant misuse of the apostrophe. She is afraid to adopt kittens before the baby turns three.

What Bold Parenting Has Done For Me

Bold Parenting | A Simple Haven

This is day 30 & 31 in a 31 day series on Living Boldly. To read the other posts, go here. Welcome!

If you speak Myers-Briggs, I am a “J.” And a pretty strong one at that.

If you don’t speak MBTI, I’ll just say that I’m a fan of routine and having things settled and decided. I might also say I’m a recovering control freak.

So for me, it’s bold parenting to periodically drop the schedules. To keep the kids up past bedtimes, skip naps, and take them places most people with toddlers avoid.

This year, I’ve done more of this than usual. And I’ve learned that in moderation, it’s healthy for everyone. Some of my favorite family memories from 2014 are of activities done in lieu of naps.

An unexpected effect of this boldness generally turning out well is that I’m more open to small acts of boldness in the day-to-day:

spontaneous walks in the woods with my wild two year old and pregnant belly,

making gingerbread cookies just because we feel like it and eating them for lunch,

scheduling ballet class during nap-time so Bun can do it with two of her besties–and I have time to connect with their mommies.

Nothing monumental.

Just small choices made in hope of the good instead of fear of the bad.

Done often enough, it starts to turn into a habit of living boldly. Which actually does feel monumental.

What small choices feel bold to you?

P.S. You might also want to check out my blogging-friend Emily’s series, 31 Days of Gentleness for the Rest of Us. It compliments a series on boldness well :).

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Parenting Choices That Have Felt Bold

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This is day 28 & 29 in a 31 day series on Living Boldly. To read the other posts, go here. Welcome!

Let me preface all of this by reminding you of my definition of boldness:

Acting in hope, despite fears

Boldness is relative. It depends on what your hopes and fears are.

So when I tell you what bold parenting has looked like for me this year and you’re tempted to laugh because to you it’s no big deal–or think I’m crazy because why on earth would anyone ever do that?–just remember it’s all relative. 🙂

2014 Parenting Choices That Have Felt Bold

Telling people we were trying for baby #3

Telling people pretty early when we got pregnant with baby #3

Going on a 2.5 week road trip to Canada and Maine with a toddler and preschooler and a 12-week pregnant belly.

Going on a three hour whale-watching boat trip with two small children who hadn’t napped in a couple days, during lunch time, with pretty much only chips and peanuts for lunch (the nearby gas station had the worst selection ever).

Going on a whale watching trip while pregnant, given my checkered past of boat trips while pregnant.

Going on a four hour hike with small children.

Going on a two hour horse-drawn carriage ride in the woods with small children. (Noting a pattern here?)

Deciding not to put my four year old in a formal preschool program.

Deciding to teach my four year old cursive handwriting before print.

Building what I imagined to be a Waldorf-inspired wonderland but what ended up as more of a mud pit in my backyard.

For me, the lesson in all of this isn’t that boldness always yields amazing outcomes.

When my son transformed into a feral cat on our road trip, I questioned our sanity. The four hour hike had some rough patches. I’m still tweaking the mud pit scenario. And I have no idea how the cursive thing is going to fly.

But even in the worst circumstances, I’m still glad I chose boldness. Acting in hope (and hopefully also with some shred of wisdom) seems way better than acting in fear.

If things go south, there is still good to be found and lessons to be learned. And if things go well, I’m just more empowered to act boldly in the future.

What feels like bold parenting to you?

P.S. You might also want to check out my blogging-friend Emily’s series, 31 Days of Gentleness for the Rest of Us. It compliments a series on boldness well :).

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Boldness in Parenting

boldness in parenting | A Simple Haven

This is day, ahem, 24-27 in a 31 day series on Living Boldly. To read the other posts, go here. Welcome!

We’ve talked about bold homemaking, boldness in relationships, and boldness in daily life. But  parenting is honestly one of the hardest areas for me to be bold in.

Maybe because there’s just so much darn stuff to fear: loss of control (ahem. I never really had it in the first place). No sleep. Public tantrums. Fussing on road trips. Fussing on airplanes. Injuries. Loss of a child. Messing up my kids. The opinions of others.

Thankfully, there’s also much room for hope.

Hope that I will learn that grasping for control of schedules, attitudes, and outcomes is so fruitless.

Hope that God truly can bring good out of any situation (even my toddler screaming all night in a hotel room).

Hope that other people will gracious–but if not, that their opinions aren’t what matter most anyway.

Hope that the trip can be beautiful amidst the bumps.

Hope that as I do what seems best for my kids in each season of life–without worrying about what everyone else is doing–that they’ll thrive in the long run.

Hope that by God’s grace, I’ll do the best I can to raise my babies and trust that the same grace will cover all my shortcomings.

For me, bold parenting means keeping my eyes on these hope and off of the fears.

What does bold parenting look like for you? I’m curious :).

P.S. You might also want to check out my blogging-friend Emily’s series, 31 Days of Gentleness for the Rest of Us. It compliments a series on boldness well :).

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Boldly Asking

Boldly Asking | A Simple Haven

This is day 23 in a 31 day series on Living Boldly. To read the other posts, go here. Welcome!

I was always an inquisitive kid. I like to know how things work, why they are the way the are.

My memories are peppered with people both embracing this trait and being completely frustrated by it.

When I was an atheist investigating Christianity, friends and their parents (I was in high school at the time) were so kind and patient, answering my endless questions as best they could or directing me to other resources.

My 10th grade math teacher wasn’t as receptive to my “whys.” In retrospect, algebraic principles don’t necessarily lend themselves to lengthy explanation, but her impatient responses still stung.

I know what it is to feel like you asked a dumb question. To get a harsh response. Or no response at all.

That’s why it can feel bold to ask.

It can feel bold to ask for help in a yarn store when you know nothing about knitting.

It can feel bold to ask to meet up with a blogger you’ve only connected with online.

It can feel bold to ask someone for help when you’re drowning in your circumstances.

This year, it felt bold to ask someone I admire to read (and maybe, possibly endorse…?) my little eBook.

Her blog was the first I ever read consistently and her motto changed not only the way I thought about my home, but life in general. We had already exchanged a few emails and I knew she was warm and genuine.

But it was still scary to put myself and my work out there. Asking felt vulnerable and even a little presumptuous.

It could have ended in nothing.

And that would have been fine. We all get dozens of emails a day, things slip through the cracks, life is busy. Maybe what I said wouldn’t resonate with her. Also ok–not every message is for every person.

That’s what I would have told myself if I’d never heard back from her.

Except I did.

She was kind and gracious and happy to endorse what I wrote.

Something broke inside me that day. It was a short, simple email but it felt like God was encouraging me. It felt like He was reminding me that He noticed what I was doing. That He saw my hopes about writing–and maybe even that He gave them to me in the first place.

And that all came from boldly asking.

When was the last time you asked boldly? (At the yarn store or otherwise :)) What happened?

P.S. You might also want to check out my blogging-friend Emily’s series, 31 Days of Gentleness for the Rest of Us. It compliments a series on boldness well :).

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Boldly Talking About Babies

31 Days of Living Boldly | A Simple Haven

This is day 22 in a 31 day series on Living Boldly. To read the other posts, go here. Welcome!

When it comes to talking about trying to get pregnant, I generally keep my cards pretty close. Probably out of self-preservation, because talking a lot about wanting to have a baby can feel pretty vulnerable.

What if it takes a while? What if it doesn’t happen at all?

Fertility issues are real and hard and I’ve experienced a (small) taste of waiting to conceive a baby.

So while close friends knew when we were trying to get pregnant with Bun–which I was glad for when I needed moral support for the better part of a year that it took–I wasn’t in a big hurry to tell the world when we started trying for baby #3.

Until I remembered my One Word for 2014: Bold.

And suddenly it felt so right to tell people we were hoping for, going to try for, another baby. It still felt risky to put my cards out there; the what ifs never go away.

But I decided I’d rather have people know and hoping with us. And mourning with us, if it ever came to that.

So I told you here that I’d love to have another baby this year.  Then I got pregnant. And I considered boldness again: when do we share the news?

I used to make fun of people who couldn't read pregnancy tests. This time, I needed to take three to get conclusive results. I retract my heckling.

I used to make fun of people who can’t read pregnancy tests. This time, I took three to get conclusive results. I retract my heckling.

Everyone seems to roll differently here: there’s the text everyone after you take the test approach. The wait to see the heartbeat at 9ish weeks plan. Or the no sharing until the first trimester is over.

This being our 3rd child, we did not have a clear plan. Ultimately, we did a random assortment of the first two and everyone pretty much knew before the end of the first trimester.

I know that can feel risky to some, especially those who have lost babies.

But I’ve also seen moms of multiple miscarriages share news of their pregnancy on the early side–so that friends would be able to better understand and support them if anything did happen to the baby.

Over the last year or so, I’ve seen friends miscarry at nine weeks, thirteen weeks, and sixteen weeks. I know a momma who delivered a baby and spent only a few hours with her alive. I know another momma who lost her little guy when he was four.

All of this makes me realize: Boldness is not about how much you say you want a baby or when tell people you’re pregnant. Boldness is always just about living in hope and not fear.

Fear will always be an option. Something can always happen. Children are no safer outside the womb than inside it.

But even after tragedy, hope is an option too. I’m thankful for people who are living that way and encourage others as they do.

Does talking about wanting a baby or being pregnant feel bold to you?

P.S. You might also want to check out my blogging-friend Emily’s series, 31 Days of Gentleness for the Rest of Us. It compliments a series on boldness well :).

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Encouragment Toward Living Boldly

This is day 21 in a 31 day series on Living Boldly. To read the other posts, go here. Welcome!

In light of yesterday’s post in which I regaled you with the unsightly side effects of pregnancy–and living boldly in the midst of them—here are a few other examples of folks who have chosen hope over fear.

Spoiler alert: Everything ended well for them. Hence, encouragement toward living boldly :).

Folks Who Are Living Boldly

SpringGreenCollage

Spring Green: on depression, being an “older” mom, and going gray (or what I’m doing instead of getting a tattoo) :: K. Elizabeth Fleck

I love Kara’s honesty. And her green hair. I had aspirations of a blue streak in college but it never came to be. Kara makes me want to reconsider.

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The Gray Hair, It’s Growing on Me :: Art of Simple

I’ve never dyed my hair and have just started to tweeze out gray strands here and there. I’m not sure what I’ll do when the gray totally takes over, but I like Tsh’s perspective on keeping her gray: “It’s helping me delight in a more uninhibited version of myself.”

I Couldn’t Have Known :: Allison Vesterfelt for Prodigal Magazine

This is one of my favorite stories of boldness and what unexpected blessings it can lead to. It reminds me of how I first met one of my close friends through blog comments, which turned into emails, then Skype, then phone calls, then visits and family hangouts.

Have you heard any fun stories of boldness lately? Please share!

P.S. You might also want to check out my blogging-friend Emily’s series, 31 Days of Gentleness for the Rest of Us. It compliments a series on boldness well :).

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Boldness in the Face of Insecurity

Boldness and Insecurity | A Simple Haven

This is day 20 in a 31 day series on Living Boldly. To read the other posts, go here. Welcome!

Dum-da-dum. Insecurity. No one’s favorite topic.

But in a series on Living Boldly, I couldn’t leave this one alone.  Because it is insecurities that can stop us from being bold, from living in hope.

I’m no expert, but it seems to me that insecurities stem from fears.

We fear people’s opinions of us (or our homemaking/decorating/cooking abilities), so we feel insecure about inviting folks over. We fear disappointment/hurt/betrayal in relationships so we feel insecure about opening up. We fear not being physically attractive, so we work to hide our perceived flaws.

Let’s camp out on that last one for a minute.

I am 30ish weeks pregnant with baby #3 (still taking name suggestions). Pregnancy, while amazing and miraculous and beautiful, also comes with its pitfalls. I’ll spare you tales of the gorier ones.

However, I will say that I apparently posses a perfect storm of bad genes, small veins, and extra sensitivity to hormonal changes. So for the second time, I’m dealing with a pretty gnarly display of spider and varicose veins.

FYI, it’s not attractive. It’s also rather painful. The support stockings help. (Not attractive either).

And since the pain is relatively manageable, I’m really just left to wallow in the reality that at 32 I have the legs of an 80 year old woman.

Yes, it will probably get a little better after I birth this kid. Yes, there are procedures that can help if I really want to go down that road. Yes, it’s a small price to pay for the privilege of carrying this little life. Yes, I know that my worth and true beauty does not rest my physical appearance.

But no, I did not embrace shorts-season this year. At least not at first.

At first, I held onto capris and leggings as long as possible. I felt safer and less exposed. Come June, I also started to feel hot.

So I decided to practice what I was preaching to myself about living boldly in 2014 and wear those darn leg-revealing clothes.

And you know what happened? Absolutely nothing.

No one made horrified remarks and hid their eyes. My husband didn’t love me any less or think I was any less attractive. My friends probably didn’t even notice or didn’t say anything if they did. 

Bottom line? People who truly love me aren’t going to treat me differently because of physical flaws. And I don’t have to fixate on things that aren’t essential to who I am.

Pretty basic truths but ones I needed reminding of this year.

For me, boldness in the face of insecurities looks like hoping in what God says is true of me despite fears about what other people will think.

What does boldness in the face of insecurity look like for you?

P.S. You might also want to check out my blogging-friend Emily’s series, 31 Days of Gentleness for the Rest of Us. It compliments a series on boldness well :).

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On being safe

This is day 18 & 19 of a 31 day series on Living Boldly. To read the other posts, go here. Welcome!

So far, we’ve talked about bold homemaking and boldness in relationships. As I start to consider other aspects of living boldly, one of my favorite quotes comes to mind:

31 Days of Living Boldly | A Simple Haven

Yes, it’s safer to say no to boldness, to not hope quite so much. To avoid potential awkwardness, discomfort, even failure.

But in my brief experience with greater boldness, it seems like playing it safe isn’t what we were meant for.

Hope your weekend has been full of what you were meant for.

P.S. You might also want to check out my blogging-friend Emily’s series, 31 Days of Gentleness for the Rest of Us. It compliments a series on boldness well :).

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