UPLIFT // APRIL THEME

I’m trying something new around here…I want to try writing on a theme each month or two (since I’m starting this in March), which will help make the blog more cohesive, I hope! Since I’m a multipassionate person, I know at times the blog probably looks scattered and maybe even confusing, but I’d love to show how all my passions tie together. So for the rest of March, and all of April, I’ll be posting with the theme uplift!

Why “uplift”?

Well, mostly I just need some happy spring feels over here, and I thought you might too! After a cold winter and starting to long for warmth and summer, I’m ready for all things uplifting and energizing!

 

What’s coming this month?

I’ve already posted a great list of my favorite uplifting diffuser blends, and I always try to post uplifting quotes around here, so there is more of that coming! I’ll be posting some of my favorite treats, favorite summer wardrobe additions, some great self-care options, a giveaway (eeeep! super excited about this!), and a couple of guest posts lined up! I’ll be throwing in a lot about my new Whole30/Paleo lifestyle, and lots of yoga and essential oils too.

 

What do you want to see?

Am I missing anything? What do you want to see here? Do you have a great idea for a guest post? (Email me here if you do!) Let me know in the comments because I’d love to hear from you, and I’d love to post about what you’d like to read!

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BLOOM WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED

It’s such a cliche phrase, but it’s been a recurring theme in my life for the past 10 years. I struggle with being content. With thriving where I’ve been placed. Not just on a philosophical level, but on a real, physical, tangible level. In other words, I’ve struggled with this brown, dry, drab place that I’ve been given as a home, especially as a creative who craves beauty and life and visual inspiration.

 

But not being content where I am? That’s me, throwing what God has given me back into His face.

 

I’ve said over the years that I love California, but I hate the desert. My poor husband has heard me say that more than once, and babe, I’m honestly so sorry. I’ve spent a long time, preaching this lesson to myself, learning to come to terms with the drab color, the dry hot heat. I’ve cried, prayed, asked to  be shown why it is that I’ve been placed here. I’ve been more and more okay with it as time has gone by, but then a change did happen pretty quickly and pretty recently for me. It’s going to sound totally silly and completely unrelated to being a creative, living where you don’t naturally draw inspiration, but hear me out.

 

What changed?

It got cold.

 

I’ve been the first one complaining about the overabundance of 100+ degree days. The one begging for winter to come back. The one laughing at the native Californians in Uggs as soon as the temperature goes below 70. But this winter, it got colder than I ever remember it being here. I bought my own pair of Uggs. I bundled up in sweatshirts in the middle of the day, and using multiple blankets at night. Who knew all it would take is me longing for the mild California winters, for it to be warm enough to go to the beach, to completely change my attitude about this place? Why that? Honestly, I don’t know, other than it was God showing me I’ve been blessed beyond measure.

I’m blessed by the (usually) warm winters, that let you go to the beach whenever. And while it has been cold here in the desert, I’m only about 3 hours from literally my favorite place on planet earth, the San Diego area, and year-round 60ish degree weather. We typically don’t have to run much heat in the winter. And in the sweltering days of summer, you can stay in the shade and there’s almost always a breeze blowing, and since it’s so dry here, we can use swamp coolers, which chill the air so efficiently we grab our sweatshirts.

 

I’m here for a reason.

I’ve been placed here for a reason. My kids are supposed to grow up here for a reason. I’m supposed to use my talents here and grow my businesses here, and live here, for a reason. I used to think I could never be inspired here. Or that I could never grow a business (yet alone two) here because I know so few people. But people have built businesses from every remote corner of the world. I see people living in what I’d consider a paradise, wishing they lived somewhere else more inspiring to them. My paradise is someone else’s dry desert.

The other thing that helped transform my mindset is from an art perspective. The greatest artists use whatever materials they have in whatever situation they are in to make great art. Matisse was losing mobility so he started cutting up paper and pinning it to walls instead of painting. He didn’t say “oh well, I can’t paint anymore so I guess that’s it then.” No, he carried on. I don’t need to go anywhere to make art. I can be inspired from here in the brown desert. And while that means I’ll google a lot of pictures of the ocean when I’m craving inspiration, I don’t need to up and leave where I am.

 

Hard is good.

Hard things are good for us. When we fall into a routine and life of easy, I think it’s actually a detriment to our creativity. You need push and challenge yourself, both physically and mentally. When it’s hard to create, that’s the best time to push yourself to create. Think about why you have been given a drive to create, why God put that spark in you, and why you can’t just ignore it. Look for inspiration in unexpected places. You can praise God when you find it, and cling to Him when it’s lacking.

It’s absurd to think you can’t create where you are. That you can’t use the talents God has also given you in the place He has positioned you. If you truly believe you were made by God to create, then that’s it! You were, and you must!

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GRACE GONE WILD

 

A common Christian “mommy blog” topic is grace. “Give yourself grace,” they all say, whether it’s about potty training or cleaning or screen time. But all too often, I find, this “grace” has turned into a nice, convenient way of relieving themselves of the guilt of laziness that comes with sitting on the couch and watching Netflix all day. (Guilty, and I’m preaching to myself as much as the next girl.) It’s a way to ignore the calling God has given us as wives and mothers, wrapped up in a bow of apparent piety.

First, let’s take a look at the statement these blogs make, to see if there’s any truth to be found. Merriam-Webster defines grace as “a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace;” also as “a temporary exemption.” Grace is forgiveness and sanctification, even though we don’t merit it at all. There’s a partial truth found in there, then; God isn’t going to disown you for not having your dishes done. Which is a really good thing, because mine aren’t. God gives us grace daily and constantly for the myriad of sins we commit every day of our entire lives.

The issue I have with this seemingly innocuous statement is that it’s simply an excuse. A reason to ignore and shirk the responsibility God has given us. We are not made to sit around in our pajamas all day, doing nothing. This isn’t a life goal to have. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says,

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. [All Bible quotes from the ESV.]

But why did we swing so far away from what actual grace is? How did “grace gone wild” come about? Every sin has its overly pious counterpart. There’s another whole batch of mommy bloggers – you know, the ones with their postcard perfect lives, the moms who devote every waking hour to their children, and would never deign to feed them goldfish crackers. These moms, out of a misplaced self-righteous martyr spirit, have gotten so wrapped up in their Martha – Stewart and Bible – that they’ve forgotten to be Mary.

So what is the alternative? Obviously we aren’t supposed to throw grace out the window entirely, just as we aren’t supposed to throw out self-sacrifice either. Let’s keep the baby, and get rid of the dirty bath water.

Just as any Christian, we need to look at what we’re called to do. Motherhood, I regret to inform you, isn’t glamorous. Most days are spent with cranky toddlers and a noticeable lack of adult, rational conversation, with an insane amount of dishes. (Seriously, where do all the dishes come from?!) But this is where we have been placed to best serve the kingdom of God! Did you realize as you’re changing diaper number 2,386 at 2 am, you’re serving God just as much as a missionary in a remote African village? We are all called to work, and this is the work we’ve been given. But don’t think for a second that working means we can’t lead fulfilling lives, that we are somehow worth less because we are called to be wives and mothers. Rebekah Merkle puts this beautifully in her book Eve in Exile:

 He’s the God who created the tiger. The eagle. The sun. The palm tree. Why on earth, when He got to mankind, would He suddenly decide that He wanted to top it all off with a creature that’s not allowed to live up to its full potential and has to sputter along at 10 percent output, never allowed to get out of first gear? I think we’re safe on that front. I’m pretty sure that we’ll find that what God has created us for is far more breathtaking, crazy, scary, and glorious than we have wanted to assume, and I don’t think any of us, if we throw ourselves into the roles that He sets for us, will find ourselves bored. [pg. 100]

Furthermore, as Christians, we’re not only supposed to work, but to hold it against God’s excellent standard as we do it. To make it the best we can. Life isn’t all sunshine and unicorns, and your laundry might not always be caught up. Doing a job well requires work, and doesn’t require you to act like a martyr – I’m talking about the “woe is me I have to do laundry again” attitude. You don’t get any extra credit in heaven for being the most miserable. But I’d be willing to bet that doing the job well and to God’s glory might merit some.

Falling back on false “grace,” however, isn’t glorifying at all! You’re intentionally throwing away the blessing of work God has given to you, to sit on the couch. You’re discarding glory for lethargy. Are we to sin more (i.e. shirk our God-given responsibilities) that grace may abound? [Romans 6:1] Not a chance.

Let’s start a new trend. One with moms who know that life is work and work is hard. But also moms that know we were created for this beautiful work – who know its glory and honor. Having kids and raising them and keeping up with the million dishes and diapers that go with them is exhausting and yes, it’s the hardest thing we will ever do in our lives. We will end our days collapsing into bed, but we will be satisfied. We can sit down to Netflix and a glass of wine on our couch without a twinge of guilt, for we have filled our day with doing what God has created us to do.

You can still wear your pajamas all day. But get up and do the work.

 

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