Celebrate returning to faith, hope, culture and life with community.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

What Our Children Teach Us About Asking for Help

Nine months into his precious little life, Johnny discovered a new game.

It's called Cry For Toys. More accurately, Cry For Toys, Get Mom to Pick Them Up, Throw Them on the Ground and Cry Again.

We're both getting really good at it. Maybe they'll offer scholarships for it by the time he's ready for college.

We're not strangers to this game at all. Anyone who's ever watched a baby for more than 30 seconds knows the routine. They're discovering gravity, exploring their world, and learning that they can't do certain things without enlisting help from their Big People who love them dearly.

Johnny has this little orange ball that he loves. And last night, when we were sitting on the couch he dropped it onto the floor.

He made this adorable little helpless face (I know all Moms think their kids are adorable, but mine seriously takes the cake). He looked so distraught as he peered over the edge of the couch. That orange ball may as well have rolled halfway to China, because there was no way he was going to reach it.

Not on his own.

Without thinking, I plucked it from the carpet and handed it to him. He resumed inspecting it closely, as usual, not realizing he'd solidified a lesson I'm learning as I approach my 30s: accepting help when I need it most.

Because we all drop the ball in some way or another.

I don't know what it is about me - maybe it's because I'm the oldest of three, or maybe it's a defense mechanism of sorts, but somewhere along the way of three decades on this planet, I learned to go at it alone.

I hated group projects. I hated doing anything, really, in a team. I had to do it all, or I was a failure. Relinquishing tasks off of my to-do list - even today - is not as simple as a letting-go gesture that gets more stuff done in the grand scheme of things.

It's an admission of weakness. It's a submission to the fact that I'm a human, not a robot. And that someone...somewhere...may have a better idea or be more talented than me. 

Sisters, the struggle is so real.

I don't look down on my son for not being able to spring off our red, pseudo velvet couch and scramble for his toys. What kind of mother would I be if I did?

In the same sort of way, I'm learning that asking for help, for not depending on solely myself to do ALL THE THINGS is okay. Healthy, even. 

Somewhere along the way I learned that doing things like putting pans in the dishwasher, listening to audio books, or even scrubbing the shower while I was taking a shower was cheating somehow. That asking my mom to bring me wrapping paper for a bridal shower gift meant that I couldn't handle it all on my own.

Here's the rub, though: life is a whole lot more pleasant when you learn that you actually can't handle it all on your own. Admitting you're human and don't have time for it all isn't the same thing as admitting you're weak.

Some of the strongest women I know hire cleaners, babysitters, buy baked goods for the office birthday party from the local grocery store` and purchase gifts on Amazon Prime. God bless that two-day shipping.

Doing it all is great. But when you have moments where something flutters to the floor, like a busy house of cards, it's nice to know that there are people in my life I can count on.

Who I can look at square in the face. Distraught. Confused. Tired. Have my eyes ask for help all on their own.

And without thinking, they pick up the ball. Without judgment. Without even thinking twice.

Because, what kind of friend would they be if they did?

Is it hard for you to ask help? What would your life look like if you gave up trying to do it all on your own?


Monday, February 19, 2018

5 Authentic Bloggers and Podcasters You Need in Your Life Right Now

Last week, I wrote a post dedicated to the women who seem to have it all together. It was a call to live more authentically. Lately, I've been craving true relationships, especially as a new mom. When you find those people, those who will be truly genuine around you for better or for worse, hang on to them.

I feel that way about the following authors. I've somehow stumbled into a goldmine of inspirational authors and podcasters who I love with my whole heart. If you don't have these women's voices in your earbuds or have any iteration of their books (I'm a big fan of audio books lately), you are seriously missing out.

And what kind of friend would I be to you all if I kept them close to my heart?

So, here you have it. Authentic authors and podcasters who you need in your life pronto:

Rachel Hollis

I adore content making machines. I was introduced to Rachel's podcast a few days ago and - what luck! - she had a brand-new book release just last week. She's hysterical, and Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be has been a complete delight so far.

Granted, I'm a newbie to her podcast. But if it's anything like her book, I know you'll be in for a treat!

Knox and Jamie

It doesn't get any more real than these two. Their podcast, the Popcast, is a show "dedicated to delightful idiocy." Their Bachelor recaps are pull-the-car-because-you're-laughing-so-hard-worthy.

They're also releasing a new show called the Bible Binge. And let me just say: this sassy duo is going to take the...shall we say..."less interesting" bits of the Old Testament and turn them into comedic (albeit, slightly blasphemous???) gold.

Emily P. Freeman

This woman has my whole heart. Not only is her voice - like her actual speaking voice - calm and reassuring, her message is the same.

Her podcast, the Next Right Thing, is for those of us who carry a little extra anxiety in our pockets through our day-to-day. Her words of encouragement give her listeners room for grace and intentional living. I look forward to Tuesday mornings to glean from this woman's genuine wisdom.

The Lazy Genius

This woman helps you be a "genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don't." If you're anyone who's felt caught in the race of needing to measure up. For so long I thought "working smarter not harder" was the credo of the lazy, or that it was cheating somehow. 

But through her dazzling insight on the Lazy Genius Podcast, I've learned to accept help when it's offered, that letting my husband fold the towels (even if he doesn't do it the way that I would do it) and put them away, makes time for what's actually important to me.

And being a good, well-rounded person is so much more important to me than having an organized linen closet.

Lara Casey

Why this woman doesn't have a podcast yet, I'll never know. (Lara, if you're reading, we want moooooore!).

This woman is a vibrant creator and is the brain behind Powersheets (a goal-setting agenda you likely saw lots of people Instagram toward the beginning of the year.) Her latest book, Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life, is an absolute delight and a perfect book for a new mama's small group.

Monday, February 12, 2018

An Open Letter to the Woman Who Has it All Together

I'm currently competing in the Winter Olympics:

I'm measuring my day-to-day with the polished version of another woman's life. And I'm losing. Terribly. Bronze medal at best.

How do I know?

It's pretty easy to tell these days. Her Instagram feed is filled with pictures of her beautiful home. It's rare to find her without a smile on her face. I'm almost certain she's never once had a last-minute panic to find the match to a sock as she stumbles out the door each morning.

I've never seen her mad. Never heard a word of gossip escape from her lips. And has a distinct stiff-upper-lipness about her – like she doesn't wrestle with the jungle drums of panic and anxiety. All of her outfits certainly were not cobbled together by disjointed trips to Ross outlets. She volunteers in her free time, despite her rather large family, and daunting business responsibilities.

Her fun personality and talents leave me in a wake of self-conciousness I haven't felt since middle school. Back when I had wide, green-rimmed glasses and wore the same pair of overalls before capsule wardrobes were cool.

We all have that one person in our lives, don't we?

That person who's 30 pounds thinner than us, has hair that a Pantene model would die for, and in any other world where competition and distrust doesn't exist: you and she would probably be best friends.

She's the 2.0 version of us – the celebrity who would play you in the movie version of your life. Except she's the one living out the movie you wish your life could be to begin with.


The thing is, I know this woman isn't real.

We all do.

Because for all of the perfection she portrays, I know it's a mirage. A mixture of what I believe is true and what she knows is reality.

I know that somewhere down the line she probably spats with her husband or loses her temper with her kids. spats with her husband, or has a bad relationship with her family.

But on days when the dry shampoo flows like a river and the laundry stacks high...I just want her to show me how to be a better woman.

We've all heard about the power of vulnerability and how important it is.

We very rarely talk about what it means for others.

Last week, I wrote down some thoughts about success and failure. How successes only help ourselves, but our failures have a way of being tools we can all learn from.

I admire with my full heart women who are open about their shortcomings, women who admit to not having it all together, women who lead the charge and are honest about how hard it was to get to the top. How much of a struggle it is to put on the having-it-all-together mask.

So, to the woman who has it all together, I'd ask that you let the rest of us in.

Yes, you. With the six-pack abs and the thriving freelance business. Yes you, with the smile and pep during seasons that were such a struggle for the rest of us.

This is in no way a shaming of those who are more organized, physically fit or a decree for those around us to live less fabulously. We should all live fabulously, no?

This is simply a petition for us as women, as wives, as mothers, as singles, as business owners, to be open with one another. To let our mistakes be a front-and-center part of our stories.

After all, strong women lift other women up. Our stories make us strong. And they help others along the way.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

4 Permission Slips for Your Every Day Adulting

Want to help a sister out? Answer this 9-question survey. You could have an impact on the future of the Prodigal Sister blog (and win a free copy of my e-book, too!)

Last week I turned down a really good opportunity.

I won't get into the specifics, but I will say there were a million little good reasons to take this leap. It was consistent, and it just sort of fell into my lap.

What a blessing. What an honor...

Taking it would've meant setting aside a little extra income for my family. It would've meant taking a smaller step toward a larger goal, and I felt this external buzzing in my head: the "should beehive."

You might not ever get this opportunity again...

It will be good for you...

If you don't do this, you're lazy and not willing to hustle for what you really want...

But there was another thing: I just felt spent.

I talked over taking the opportunity with my husband. We were pushing our son in our stroller around the crooked sidewalks of Norfolk. I rattled off the pros and cons out loud as we scooted along.

"I know it would be a good idea, but I just really don't want to do it," I said.

After listening to me go back and forth Gordon said, "It sounds like you're asking permission to not do this." 

And I really was.

As an avid member of People Pleasers Not-So-Anonymous, sometimes I fall off the wagon. I'm tempted to think that I'm The Only One who can fulfill a role. That someone else's problem is automatically mine to take ownership of and fix.

But it's really just an opportunity for someone else.se.

I forget that I don't need permission to say no to something. Even if it's a good fit. Even if it's "on brand" with my goals for the future.

If you're like me, maybe you need the back-and-forth. Maybe you need compassion for yourself. And to give yourself a reminder that you have the following permission slips for your every day adulting:

Permission to Say No (or Yes!)

Good opportunities have a way of guilt tripping us if we're not careful. If something doesn't quite feel right and your hesitation isn't born out of a lack of a healthy self-confidence or lame excuses (you know what they are), maybe this is something to consider.

But if a good opportunity is causing stress, anxiety, or you just can't stand the idea of adding another thing to your schedule...

If you find yourself saying, "I can do it...I just need to try harder, I need to do better, then I can make it work..."

Permission granted to say no to something good.

Permission to Fail

Repeat after me: it is okay to fail, it is okay to fail, it is okay to fail.

So many of our stories are stacked with successes. We build them up like sand castles. We lay them at the top of our baskets – con-artists that we are – hoping no one will notice what's underneath.

But failure is a commodity: we can learn from our own mistakes and the mistakes of others. If we're not forthright about our own shortcomings, we lose the chance to teach, mentor and thereby protect.

So fail with dignity.

Permission to Unfollow

With this lack of being up front with our failures, we're also lacking a clear picture of other people's deep realities.
Some of us paint a prettier picture than others. On social media, some of us are better liars than others. 

And some people really do just get pedicures, jet off to Tahiti, have a farmhouse sink installed by BFF Joanna Gaines herself (with the accompanying shiplap) and are sponsored by Target, Starbucks and Lululemon.

The truth is, we don't have to follow these people if they pluck our harp strings of jealousy. We have control of our feeds. We don't have to engage with these folks via Istagram stories before we've even had our first sip of coffee in the mornings.

Unfollow. Unsubscribe.

They'll likely never notice. (They're too busy curating their perfect lives).

Permission to Be Okay

Finally, it's okay to be okay. It's okay to be confident in who you are, even if you're self-aware of your shortcomings.

You can enjoy the goodness in yoHur life without guilt. You can be thankful. You can be honest. You can be okay.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig