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Parenting Choices That Have Felt Bold

hike

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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What I’ve Read Lately {August/Summer Twitterature}

Twitterature with Modern Mrs. Darcy

This summer, survival mode has meant that I’ve been reading less. Until this past month.

This month, I’ve been voraciously consuming old favorites and new finds in search of inspiration for the upcoming school year (we’re doing a little more structured pre-K at home this year–and by a little, I mean a little).

And I’ve been frantically downloading sequels on my Kindle at crazy hours of the day/night so I can just. find. out. what. happens. next.

I’ve read more this summer than is listed below, but these are the ones sticking out in my 20-weeks-pregnant-brain right now. (PS, it’s a boy! :))

What I’ve Read Lately

A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L’Engle

A Circle of Quiet

Oh, Madeline. You were a fascinating lady. I’m not sure how to categorize A Circle of Quiet (Memoir? Writing/motherhood/spiritual manifesto?), but while I expected to enjoy it, I didn’t expect to gain so much food for thought on writing, juggling work and motherhood, and living in community.

Some parts made me go “huh?,” others I hurriedly transcribed in my journal, and others left me in tears.

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

death comes to pemberley

I told you here that I was afraid to pick this one up (after all, Elizabeth and Darcy’s story is sacred ground). But I’m so glad I did. The story clipped along, the characters were true to Austen’s original–lady Catherine’s lines were my fav–and the ending was satisfying.

Now to figure out how to watch the BBC adaptation.

Emily of New Moon (+ Emily Climbs and Emily’s Quest by L.M. Montgomery)

Emily of New Moon

Anne and Tsh talked about Emily of New Moon here, which prompted me to check it out.

It was the last book in the world I would have expected to not be able to put down. I mean, it’s about a nine year old girl, right? But I seriously could not put it down.

Then I downloaded the next two in the series and finished them all in three days. I’ve never met a fictional character I identified with so closely and I’ve rarely wanted to highlight in a fiction book so much (I couldn’t; it was the library’s).

Also? L.M. Montgomery is now solidly one of my favorite authors and people I would invite to a dinner party. (Do you have a famous people dinner party list? Mine is growing).

The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer

Hidden Art of Homemaking

The bottom line? Start using your art/gifts/talents. Your skills may never be considered “great” in the eyes of the world, but you’ve got gifts and you should use them, even if it’s simply to enrich your life and the lives of people around you.

It’s a great message, but it could have been said in about half the pages. Ex: I didn’t need the three pages on what you can create with scrap leather.

Also? Maybe I missed something, but I don’t feel like it was the anti-feminist treatise that some have called it.

The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal

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While I’ve mostly enjoyed the other books in this series, MacNeal’s fourth book felt a little meh. It’s well-researched and the history teacher in me liked the insights into Pearl Harbor and FDR and Churchill’s relationship. But as a mystery/action novel, it fell flat for me.

What have you been reading lately?

And, hop over to Modern Mrs. Darcy to check out what the other lovely folks are reading!

*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting ASH!

 

Invite Them Into The Mess {Loving and Sharing the Home You Have}

invite them into the mess | a simple haven

To celebrate the release of my (FREE!) eBook, I am so happy to continue the Loving and Sharing the Home You Have series with a post by my friend Jacey.

Jacey is passionate about living intentionally in the face of real demands, the unexpected, and human nature itself. Her eBook on this topic, Escaping Reaction; Embracing Intention, recently released (and it’s fantastic!)

She writes about relationships, faith, and personal growth at The Balanced Wife. She lives in Charleston, SC with her husband, Mike, and golden retriever, Jack.

jacey

We live in an old, poorly maintained apartment building with a noisy, creepy elevator. Until I got used to it, stepping in felt like stepping into a horror movie.

When people visit for the first time, they get lost trying to find our building, tucked away in the back of a somewhat intimidating college campus.  No central air conditioning makes it too hot in the summer, even with the window AC units blasting.

The walls are sparser than I’d like and unless we’ve just swept, tumbleweeds of dog hair settle on the wood floors.  I’d rather no one ever see my tiny, perpetually cluttered kitchen, but that’s exactly where people gravitate and linger.

Most of our furniture is from IKEA, originally purchased for my husband’s bachelor condo but not in our budget to replace.

All these “flaws” come up before me at the thought of inviting people into my home.

I’d like to think the anxiety would diminish if we lived somewhere “nicer,” but I know better.  As Shauna Niequist so sharply points out in Bread and Wine, women feel more shame and insecurity around their bodies and their homes than anything else.

I’ve talked to friends with homes that I admire and they are equally sweaty and nervous at the thought of dinner guests. (Well, maybe not equally: I may be sweatier than most.)  Even those who love hosting, as I do, face some level of anxiety or burden.

Inviting people into our homes is scary because it makes us vulnerable. I’m afraid to show people the messes in my life, dog hair and insecurities alike.

Reading Bread and Wine last year changed the way I think about inviting people here. Shauna, who I refer to by first name because I want us to be friends, began to set me free from my erring, unhealthy thoughts about it:

“You’ll miss the richest moments in life—the sacred moments when we feel God’s grace and presence through the actual faces and hands of the people we love—if you’re too scared or too ashamed to open the door.”

Inviting people in can be scary because on some level, it feels like I’m revealing who I really am.

But it’s a fear worth overcoming because don’t we all share the human desire to know and to be known?

Deep relationships aren’t built on who we wish we were. They are built right in the midst of our brokenness and mistakes, swirled together with the messiness and unpainted baseboards and piles of dog hair.

If you wait to invite people over until you have the perfect home, you never will.

Since it’s too good not to share, I’ll end with another quote from Bread and Wine:

“What people are craving isn’t perfection. People aren’t longing to be impressed; they’re longing to feel like they’re home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they’ll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd.”

 Does the thought of inviting people over, especially new friends, make you sweat?

*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting ASH!

What I’m Reading {Feburary Twitterature}

Twitterature with Modern Mrs. Darcy

Thanks to my “books to read in 2014-ish” Pinterest board, the last month was full of purposefully chosen reads. With Hubs back in classes, I’ve been spending many evenings by the fire with Dorothy Sayers,  Agatha Christie, and more recently, J.K. Rowling.

I’m pretty sure my life is the better for it.

My latest reading epiphany is that unless the subject matter is completely gripping, I should read non-fiction during the day (when I’m at my sharpest) and save fiction for evenings (when I’m completely exhausted).

I’ve tabled so many headier non-fiction books because I tried to start them at 9pm. On the other hand, a novel feels much better to unwind with at the end of a long day.

So my new routine is a bit of Zinsser at Mommy-break time and fiction after the babies are in bed.  Unless I’m reading Harry Potter, apparently.  Then it’s all Hogwarts, all the time.

February Reading

miss marple

Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie

Continue reading

Joyful Inspiration and a Giveaway!

I
recently began contributing over at day2day joys, a blog that focuses on faith, family and health. Rachel started day2day joys and her heart is for it to be a place where mothers and women can connect, can talk about their experiences, their hurts, their joys, and still focus on faith, family and health.

I love her heart to encourage other women, especially since pursuing the “natural” part of homemaking can often feel overwhelming!  I recently shared there about the joys of traveling with kids 🙂 and including them in growing our first garden.


She’s “relaunching” the blog with a new design and a new, broader tagline that will encompass the blog’s tune more eloquently.

The hope of all the writers is that what we write will encourage you and will help you to be a better homemaker, mom, wife/mother-in-the-making, and woman–joyfully.

I’m so happy to be part of this team of writers!

And, in honor of Rachel’s relaunch, she is hosting a fantastic GIVEAWAY.

She is giving away one $75 gift card to Amazon to one lucky reader!

*Note: this is not a sponsored giveaway, she paid for this prize and hopes it blesses one of you tremendously! Must be 18 or older to enter. 

All you have to do is click the Rafflecopter link below and earn more entries by completing more of the options!

A Rafflecopter giveaway

Note from Rachel: Thanks for being a part of day2dayjoys.com whether you’re new here or have been around for a while!!! You should see the full site over the next few days so don’t be surprised if you hop on to the website and it looks totally different.