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Three Reasons Why Noonday Collection is EVERYTHING to this Mama’s Heart.

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending an evening with some of my fellow Portland-area Noonday Ambassadors and…JESSICA HONNEGER, FOUNDER AND CO-CEO OF NOONDAY COLLECTION!


Me with JESSICA HERSELF.¬†You know, know big deal. ūüėČ

I have written before about Noonday, about my journey, and about how it has caused me to grow, to stretch, to believe I could do hard things, and to give myself permission to show up to the things I feel called to be a part of, whether anyone else has invited me or not.  You can read more about that journey here, here, here, here, and here.

I was reminded that evening in a BIG WAY why Noonday Collection is pretty much everything to where my heart is at right now, another example of how God’s purpose for this Noonday journey of mine keeps unfolding.

During their talks with us, Jessica and Noonday’s VP of Sales and Ambassador Development, Allison Lime, spoke to something that is pretty much entirely all of what I’m here for right now, and that is MOMS. ¬†Jessica told stories of how Noonday has impacted the lives of families around the world. Allison asked us in the room to share our “why” for signing up with Noonday, and so many of the stories of the women in the room centered around motherhood. ¬†Here are my three biggest takeaways from listening to those stories.

  1. ¬†Noonday Collection is¬†empowering moms around the world to be able to provide for their children. ¬†Extreme poverty around the world puts moms in positions that no parent should have to be in: ¬†Considering whether she should give her child up for adoption because she can’t afford to feed her, debating whether to sell one child into slavery to afford to feed the others, leaving her¬†babies alone at night while she goes work the streets as a prostitute to earn the money her¬†family needs. ¬†I ¬†have a physical reaction to hearing these scenarios. My mama’s heart aches DEEPLY at the prospect. ¬†But these are the stories of some of the moms and dads who work for Noonday’s artisan partners around the world- moms and dads¬†who ended up NOT¬†having to take desperate¬†measures because of their dignified jobs with Noonday’s artisan partners. ¬†When we partner with Noonday Collection, either as Ambassadors, Hostesses, or Customers, the sales we generate translate directly into orders or our artisan partners, which means MORE JOBS for people who need it. ¬†Dignified employment and a sustainable income means POWER for moms to make choices out of what’s best for them and their kids, not out of desperation.
  2. Noonday is¬†enabling moms (and dads) to adopt and¬†bring kids home to their forever¬†families. ¬†Noonday Collection was founded out of Jessica’s ¬†own journey of adoption and it has maintained strong ties to adoption as it has grown over the past six years. ¬†Noonday allows hostesses to turn their trunk shows into benefits for adopting families to help offset the astronomical cost of adoption. ¬†Because of its ties to the adoption community, many of our ambassadors are also adoptive mamas. All of that combines together to make Noonday such a force of light and strength and support for adopting families. ¬†So far, I’ve been able to partner with three¬†adopting families to help raise funds to bring their kids home and I’ve cheered countless other families on through the Ambassador Community. It’s a privilege to be a part of connecting¬†kids with their forever families and mamas with the little ones their hearts are longing for¬†and to be a part of a community¬†that gives so much support to adopting families.
  3. Noonday is connecting moms around the world to PURPOSE. Sometimes as a mom, my heart aches to MATTER to someone outside of the borders of my home. ¬†I mean heck, why else would I have even started¬†this blog, right? ¬†And I know I’m not alone in that ache on my heart- we are built for connection. The desire to matter to others and to help others is innate in all of us. Noonday Collection provides Ambassadors, Hostesses, and Customers with the chance to do that. We are also providing opportunities for women around the world to step into purpose as well- and to know that they are enabling OUR purpose as well. That mutual connection, the symbiosis of Noonday Collection here in America and our artisan partners around the world just feels sacred to me. ¬†We couldn’t do what we do without them and they couldn’t do what they do without us- we all know we matter to one another, to other moms and other families, and that is beautiful and powerful stuff.

I had to leave early that night to get home to an extremely sick Kenzie. ¬†I said goodnight to Jessica, who took the time to talk to me for a minute right before I left (that woman makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room) and I ached to stay longer and chat with everyone.

But as I lay in bed that night, brushing the hair off of Kenzie’s¬†burning forehead, I¬†knew that that moment was just as important to connecting me to my purpose with Noonday as it was sitting in that room with our founder and other Ambassadors. ¬†The compulsion on a mama’s heart to provide for her children is one of the deepest things I have ever experienced. ¬†The idea that, through partnering with Noonday collection, I¬†help enable moms around the world to provide the food, shelter, and medical care that their kids need is EVERYTHING to me right now.

I’ve set a goal for myself to sell enough Noonday this Fall to earn a trip to meet some of our artisan partners this summer. ¬†So far, the going has been rough, but I am encouraged to keep fighting to reach that goal so that I can sit across from these women and thank them in person for breathing such purpose into my life. ¬†It’s such a beautiful thing when women come together to support, encourage, and enable one another to be all we can be for ourselves and our families. I’m so glad I took the risk a year ago and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

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I Am Not a Morning Person, Bless My Heart

IMG_9788Me– So my blog post this week is about me NOT being a morning person.

Me– Why? Why is this Funny?
HusbandРBecause you are SO not a morning person!
Me– JEFFREY! DUH! ¬†This is why I’m writing a blog post about me NOT being a morning person.¬†I couldn’t very well write a post about BEING a morning person, why is it funny?
Husband– *still laughing* Honey, that’s like writing a blog post about water being wet.
Me– I’ll bet people have blogged about that! ¬†And published¬†articles in scientific journals about the wetness of water. It’s in textbooks. ¬†IT’S NOT FUNNY!
Me– *glares* ¬†And just for that, I’ll be retelling this at the start of my blog post.

And now that I have made good on my threat, please enjoy the following blog post about me not being a morning person:

Picture it…my room…some random weekday morning at some ungodly hour (aka some time before 8am):


I am plucked forcibly and against my will from some blissful dream or another by the insistent shout of my two-year-old daughter echoing from down the hall. ¬†“MAAAAAAAAAAAAHMEEEEEEEE! ¬†MOMMAAAAAAAAAAAY!”

She is awake in her crib and ready for me to present myself, bright eyed, bushy tailed and at her disposal for the next eleventy billion hours that stand between now and nap time. I also hear a clattering and humming coming from my four-year-old son’s room, letting me know that I’m the only person in the house who isn’t up and at ’em. ¬†Their father has been gone for hours, he gets up at 5:30 for a first-thing date with the gym.

I groggily reach over and grab my phone.  7:02 am. Seriously? That late already?  Because it sure feels like it should still be dark outside. UUUUUUUGH!

In a moment of self-indulgent denial, I open Instagram, promising myself I will extricate¬†myself from bed when I’m done catching up with what the rest of the world was up to while I was sleeping.

I immediately regret this choice.

Apparently¬†all of the Moms of Instagram have been up for hours, their coffee steaming from hand-lettered coffee mugs, reading their devotionals by the light of the sun’s first rays, blessing us¬†with a Clarendon-filtered glimpse into these¬†¬†treasured¬†first moments of the day with¬†Jesus. ¬†#blessed #earlyriser #startingthedayright¬†Meanwhile, I was over here knocking out one of the seven deadly sins before I even got out of bed. #sloth #fivemoreminutesmom #ohwaitiamthemom


So, I drag myself from bed, stagger down the hall and begin our day. I always feel three steps behind when we start our days this way (which is always), but so far that hasn’t been enough of a motivator to get me to change anything. I’ve been able to somewhat mold myself into the sleep patterns of a functional adult, but the fact remains that getting up before 8am is not my jam.

Oddly, I happen to love the early morning hours and and I desperately admire those who have the body clocks and/or self-discipline to own them. I love the way the first light of the day makes the world look, the smell and feel of the cool, dew-drenched air, the world even SOUNDS different first thing in the morning, it’s like I can hear everything just that more clearly. ¬†And yet none of that ever seems to matter in the face of the warmth and coziness of my¬†bed and the irresistible pull of five…more…minutes.

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Motherhood has made me even LESS of a morning¬†person. ¬†Life with little kids means that in every moment of my day¬†I am¬†subject to the whims of tiny humans who¬†rely on me for every little thing- I’m basically on duty for 12-14 hours a day¬†with¬†people who haven’t yet learned about grace, boundaries, or common courtesy, and whose learning process for those things involves testing, pushing, and battling in the trenches with their “safe person,” who also happens to be me.¬† Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the privilege, both of having kids in the first place and of being home with them all the time. ¬†This is exactly what I wanted, it’s fleeting, and I’m trying hard not to miss a moment or take it for granted. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy¬†and some days I’m not super anxious to wake up and get to it.

Not only is getting up in the morning to start a day of being “on duty” not the most appealing prospect,¬†going to bed at night and ending the brief stretch of “after work hours” isn’t super enticing either. ¬†Those hours after they are asleep are precious. ¬†It’s the only time I *truly* get to spend both by myself and with my husband. ¬†I¬†am LOATHE¬†to give¬†those hours up to sleep each night. ¬†I do it, and usually at a decent hour, because #adulting. But it’s never unbegrudgingly. ¬†(is that a word?)

giphy (2)

And yet still, the pull of the morning hours is there for me. ¬†I *want* to be one of those people who breathe in the quiet of the first hours each¬†day. ¬†I would love to join the Instagram moms who are up at the crack of dawn, sipping warm beverages and getting our hearts right with God before the day begins. ¬†I don’t want my morning sloth to be chuckle-inducing for my husband, I feel like I *should* be up and making the coffee while HE slumbers. But I also know that God does not deal in shame and comparison. ¬†His voice may be calling me to claim the mornings as my own, but He wouldn’t do it in¬†whispers of how the other moms’ mornings “measure up” and mine don’t. ¬†This is about Him and me, an A and B conversation, and the Insta-moms can just “C” their way out.

And fortunately, God is patient with me. ¬†He sees, He knows, and He is walking with me right through everything. ¬†So, what is the point of this blog post? Well, I don’t rightly know, other than just to throw out there that if you are not a morning person, you are not alone. And if¬†you feel a certain modicum of shame attached to your penchant for eeking out even the last second of sleep in the morning, you are also not alone.¬†Oh, and also to say that I’m planning to start getting up at six every morning here very soon. I had planned to this morning, but then my daughter woke up at 5:45 and that was before 6 and so she went back to sleep and so did I and then BOTH of my kids slept until 7:45- HALLELUJAH!!!

But I will…tomorrow…I promise ūüôā


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OLYMPICS! And Why I LOVE Gold Medalist Michelle Carter

You guys, I love the Olympics. Like, LOVE! ¬†I always do, every single time, and the magic is not wearing off at all as time marches on. ¬†¬†The Olympics are basically ¬†16 days of Disneyland at my own house every two years. The 1988 Calgary and Seoul games are the first that I really remember actively watching, and almost 30 years later I am even more in love with the whole thing as I was back then. ¬† Winter, Summer, I don’t care. ¬†I love and am here for exactly all of it.

The multitude of¬†NBC channels and the on demand availability is allowing me to pretty much completely immerse myself in the Olympics- inasmuch as my two- and four-year-olds will allow. I mean, I have to pay *SOME* attention to them as well. ¬†But I’m trying to watch at least a little bit of every single sport and make sure my kids do as well- and also that they see both men and women competing in all ¬†of the events in which both men and women compete. ¬† Basically, picture me sitting in a giant hot tub of¬†Olympics¬†with just my face showing, water bubbling around my ears, and trying my best to keep my kids in the tub with while¬†they’re desperately climbing out at the edges trying to head for the Paw Patrol Pool (PS I know hot tubs aren’t safe for kids, reality is not relevant to this metaphor). ¬†I would also like to send a big shout out to the stomach virus that has had me somewhat laid up for the past few days for giving me the chance to parent less and watch more. I’m not sure it was an even trade-off, though…just looking on the bright side.

One of the people I have “met” this past Olympic week is shot putter¬†Michelle Carter.


She is the first American Woman to win shot put gold.¬†Near as I have seen,¬†Michelle Carter has two main jobs: Professional Makeup Artist and shot putter. That’s right, she makes her living making herself and other people look beautiful and also throwing heavy objects better than any other woman in the entire world. ¬†You can find out more on her website, I personally want to hire her to do #allthethings.

I also want to take a sec to honor the fact that she is a strong, successful, radiant black woman who is breaking ground and shining bright in a season where things have seemed particularly dim for people of color in our country AND she is showing that women can be beautiful and strong at any size.  Also, she posts stuff like this on her Instagram:




But the reason she is so near and dear to my heart is because I see reflected in her so much of my sweet Miss Kenzie. ¬†Yesterday, watching track and field had Ms. K running around the house at top two-year-old speed. “I WUNNING! FAST!” She declared. ¬†“Are you Tori Bowie, sweetie?” I asked, “Are you Brianne Theisen-Eaton?” ¬†“NOOOOO!” She indignantly declared, “I PWINCESS SOFIA!” ¬†and took off running like a shot. ¬†I cackled out loud, but then I stepped back for a minute and realized that to this child, there is nothing ¬†mutually exclusive about being a “pwincess” and running fast. To us adults who have spent the past several decades being conditioned to certain ways of thought there might be, but not to my fast and fancy Princess Sprintsalot.

On her birthday weekend, we¬†attended her Uncle Kyle’s birthday party on Saturday where she ran in the dirt with her brother and her her cousin, climbed all over the todder-sized construction machines, and needed about five showers when she got home. The next day, she couldn’t WAIT to wear her pink dress for her own party and lost her ever-loving mind over the new clothes from Grandma and Grandpa (which Grandpa had picked out, by the way, SO CUTE!) and the dress-up trunk from Nana and Granddad. ¬†She saw exactly zero conflict of interest there.

That¬†space that she’s living in right now, a place where she can be both strong and fancy, dirt-covered and beautiful, a princess and a superhero at the same time- and guess what? When you think about it, that space is TRUTH, y’all. All of these boxes we try to put women in, the one-or-the-other mentalities, the need to make sure that women aren’t too complex or confusingly muti-faceted, that is something that happens along the way. God did not say unto us, “And I shall make thee, women, into two kingdoms, ¬†the¬†Pretty and Fancy and the Strong and Capable.” ¬†Nope, He made men AND women in His own image, women are His image-bearers and that means that we can represent any and all of the things in His nature that He calls us to and to Him, none of them are mutually exclusive.

That is where Michelle Carter lives in her life and she occupied it on the grandest stage this week. Engaging beast-mode in a way that would probably make Marshawn Lynch himself have a seat in deference, while wearing a fierce red lip and some perfectly crafted lashes. Head to her website to hire her to throw shot put and do your make-up. She is the strong and the fancy, the beautiful and the beast-mode. She’s showing my daughter that yes, she CAN BE¬†and ALREADY IS everything that her little two-year-old mind believes that she¬†was created to be. ¬†I mean, if she JUST wants to be the president of the fashion club or¬†decides that she’s all about being a construction worker and make-up is like, eew, then that’s just fine. She gets to discover for herself what God put in her and I’ll be over here cheering her on. ¬†But women like Michelle Carter, women who are strongly living into all of who they were created to be, they show Kenzie that she can also be ALL of who she was created to be, all at the same time, in the same space, and she can SHINE.

THIS may just be why I love the Olympics so goshdarned much. I get to “meet” people like Michelle Carter who remind me of some of the many things that still right in the world and are even, dare I say it, getting better. ¬†And didn’t we need this right now? ¬†Didn’t we need some RIGHT and GOOD to come together around? I know I did. I feel reminded that the world is still an amazing place with goodness still awaiting my son and daughter as they grow. ¬†Thank you, Lord, for the Olympics. ¬†And there’s still a week left!!!!

OK, I gotta go. I’m missing synchronized swimming and pommel horse! And there’s handball later. I’m not even sure I knew that was a thin…

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Meet the Raskals, 7 Years In



(Woot Woooooooooot!!!)

And since I’ve been blogging here for almost a year (OK, on and off for almost a year) and haven’t really formally introduced Jeff and the kids to you, it seems like today is the perfect day to give an introduction- and also use it as a bit of a tribute to this dude I’m married to, the life we are building, and the God who has just so totally heaped the blessings on me and on us with so much boundless love and unearned grace that I swear it oozes out the doors and windows of our house sometimes. ¬†So here goes:

13912802_10208923448822000_6029081899118018346_nJeff and I were married on August 1, 2009. ¬†I was 31 and he was 29. ¬† I had spent my 20’s¬† waiting and wishing and hoping and praying and not really getting past a second date with any of the dudes I met, nobody came even close to seeming right. There was one point at about 29 when I actually turned my heart over to the idea that maybe marriage and a family weren’t for me, maybe my charge was to go forward and love on the children of the world as if they were my own. ¬†But late in the summer of 2007, I turned my heart¬†back over to God and said, “I want this and I will wait for it.” ¬†About six weeks later, I met Jeffrey Daniel Rask. ¬†Y’all, this life with him is so much more than ever could have prayed for. HE is so much more than I ever could have even known to pray for. Let me tell you about us.


Jeff works in footwear development at a rather large footwear and sportswear company that is located here where we live in Beaverton. ¬†I’m not gonna name any names, but if you want to “Just Do It,” I’ll bet you can figure it out yourself.¬†¬†He loves ALLTHESPORTS, in particular basketball and golf, although he watches and keeps track of LITERALLY ALLTHESPORTS. ¬†This is especially apparent during the Olympics when he actually knows the names of the curlers, the archers, the ping pong dudes- I haven’t met a sport yet that he doesn’t know something about.

He also greatly enjoys all forms of science nerdery and we both have rather large pockets of geeky fandom:  Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Superheroes, and of course the sacred and holy volumes penned by JRR Tolkien, may we sing praises to his name.  The man has also done about 90% of the work we have done remodeling our house.  He can do pretty much anything, I think.

You know the song, “Crash my Party” by Luke Bryan? Every time I hear that song I get misty and think of Jeff. ¬†That’s how he is about me, about the kids, about anyone he loves- it is a drop everything kind of thing when anyone he cares about needs something- especially me.

There is truly nothing more I could ask for from this guy¬†and it still takes my breath away. We laugh, we love, we laugh some more, we dream, we bing-watch on Netflix, we laugh some more, we have so many things we enjoy doing together, we wrestle with the big questions of both this world and the next together, we know each other’s hearts and what to bring home to make the other one smile (hint: his is steak and beer, mine is ALLTHECHOCOLATE and tea)- it’s good, y’all. God is good and this dude is good. ¬†And then there’s the babies…


Mister Cameron was born on March 12, 2012.

He made us parents.

This little dude was the dream come true of both of our hearts. ¬†When he was born, the doctor placed him on my chest and there he lay, his eyes wide and curious, leaning up against me and just taking in the world around him. ¬†As soon as he could use his hands, he has had a compulsive need to to touch ALLTHETHINGS¬†and learn every single thing about what they¬†can do- both what they are¬†supposed to do and what unintended purposes he can find for them ¬†This means that constant vigilance (and sometimes physical restraint) is required in stores, museums, and the¬†dentist’s office, but it also means that I haven’t had to operate any electronics for him in months, he has them all figured out.¬†His strength and determination have meant that parenting him is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced, you’ll read plenty about that in this here blog. But¬†it also means that when I send him out into the world, I can trust in¬†his strength of conviction and¬†inherent sense of justice to protect both himself and others.

What REALLY sets Cam apart from the pack, though, is his heart. It is deep and tender, he loves HARD and FULLY and that heart of his is wrapped TIGHT around those he loves and it won’t let go. ¬†He loves his family and aaaaaaall babies. He just loves to gaze adoringly at them and stroke their heads. This has especially applied to his sister. Oh, how he loves her. He also chases her around the house and basically bugs her for fun. ¬†But if she doesn’t feel good or if she’s scared or if the blessed event occurs that she would deign to ask him to rock and read to her, he will come running at full speed, all thoughts of himself completely cast aside. God gave this little man the vision, the strength, and the heart to tenderly but firmly lead those who need him in future years. ¬†In the meantime, our job is to help him learn to harness his powers for good- and also to steal all the snuggles he still so readily gives at ever chance we get!


Miss Kendall was born on July 20, 2014.

She made us a family.


This little¬†lady is the light and the life that we didn’t even know was missing. ¬†We hadn’t yet completely decided whether or not a second kid was even the right choice for us when we found out she was coming,¬†yet the minute she was born¬†it was like there had been this Kenzie-shaped hole in our lives that was finally filled. ¬†She came into the world voicing her opinion and has not stopped. ¬†She figured out early that language was how she could let the world know about her thoughts, feelings, needs, and ideas¬†and she has run relentlessly in the direction of mastering it ever since. ¬†At her two year checkup, her doctor told us that he COULD see her again at 30 months for another checkup, but that is usually just to check on language and so we could skip that appointment if we wanted to, he’d seen all he needed to see there.

As challenging as it is to parent an opinionated and determined two-year-old with ALLTHEWORDS at her disposal, the struggles pale in comparison to the relief Jeff and I feel in knowing we have an inherently strong woman on our hands. In a world where docile women seem to be magnets for the wrong sorts of people, we are raising daughter who will be a living breathing repellant to anyone who would seek to control her.  She seems to have confidence in how worthy, loved and deserving she is woven into the very depths of her soul- undoubtedly by the God to whom she is every one of those things.  As we raise her, our job is to help her hold fast to those beliefs in a world that will try to take them from her- but also teach her that perhaps we should take down the volume every once in awhile.  Because, #ouchmyearshurt.


So, that’s us. ¬†Seven years in since we married, almost nine since we met. ¬†Thank you for joining me on this part of our journey as a family. ¬†Time to step away from the computer and go buy some steak and beer (or maybe not…he just had his birthday and we did steak and beer then…so maybe salmon…wait, our grill is broken. Take-out Buffalo Wild Wings it is.)


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Time to Plug In

The need for connection to the Father who created me is never fully silent, but lately I’ve been feeling the tug on my heart¬†even more strongly. ¬†The distance between heaven and earth has felt more palpable¬†to me lately and I’ve had an¬†ache in my heart to close the gap. When one is busy being a wife and a mom, sometimes it feels like even communion with God¬†Himself needs to take a number behind the dishes, laundry, “Mommy, UP PWEEZE” and “MOMMY! YOH NOT LISTENING TO ME!!!”¬†Moms are notorious for¬†having a hard time prioritizing self-care and for me, devoting the time to dig into connection with God has been among the many casualties.

This weekend, I read something on Instagram that really encouraged me to go ahead and follow God down this rabbit hole I’ve heard Him whispering to my heart about. ¬†Stephanie “Honey” Holden¬†and her husband,¬†Pastor Nick Holden, are¬†among a growing collection¬†of people who I probably never would have heard of if it weren’t for¬†what¬†basically amounts to Six Degrees of Noonday Collection. Stephanie¬†is a big Noonday Collection supporter who a lot of Ambassadors follow in Instagram (and some know personally, although I’m not among their number) and¬†¬†#HoneyandThePreacher,¬†as the Holdens¬†have hashtagged themselves, have invited their Instagram followers into their marriage and family in the most warm, sparkly, and fun way and¬†once you¬†follow them on Instagram, your feed will get just a little bit brighter.

And shining brightly was exactly what Pastor Nick was talking about in this post that was totally a kick in the britches for me.

The Lord of glory and grace placed us where we are for a reason. The key now ‚ÄĘ is to stay plugged in to Him ‚ÄĘ that we may SHINE.


There is so much wonderfulness wrapped up in those words. ¬†The reminder that, in this season where my life’s original to-do list is behind me (college, teaching, marriage, kids) and I stand with the path before me still shrouded in the morning fog (James 4:13-17) for which this blog is named, that I am standing where I am for a reason. That God is already at work, His plan is already in action, and my next steps will flow from where I am.¬†There is also the promise that as long as I stay plugged into Him, I will shine just as He needs me to, ¬†I never need to wonder if I’ll have what it takes.

But sandwiched in between those two¬†is the key for me, another reminder- permission, really- to step into what God has been whispering to my heart about lately. “..stay plugged in to Him.” ¬†¬†And the metaphor just keeps on giving, because SHINE is what we are all called to do. To shine brightly like a city on a hill, to not hide our light, to show our Father in Heaven to those around us- and all lights’ve gotta be connected to their source in one way or another (in this day of cordless and solar charged, the “plugged in” metaphor doesn’t *entirely* play, but everything has to get its power from some source that must be replenished somehow).

So¬†in the weeks to come, I’m giving myself permission to prioritize digging in to connecting with God- pursuing the connection itself and also seeking¬†a rhythm and a framework that enables me to tap more readily into that connection on a daily basis, something to¬†keep me soldiering on through the desert seasons and grounded on the mountaintops. If we are being totally honest, it wasn’t anything I was ever super great at in my pre-kid days either- but “You’ve never been very good at it anyway, why start now?” sounds an awful lot like something enemy of my soul might whisper to me to keep me in chains, so I’m having exactly none of that.¬†I¬†have some ideas…some plans…some things that already work and some things I’m committed to trying. But mostly, I want to follow GOD HIMSELF into this. ¬†He knows me better than I do, not only did He create me in the first place and knows my innermost being, ¬†He created me specifically for this connection with Him. He has a road map, a game plan for how He and I can meet and spend time together in just our very own way, unique to the two of us and to the particular season of¬†life He has crafted for me and led me into.

So here goes! I’m about to put down this computer and pick up a Bible Study, y’all. Have a blessed week!



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Mom-Empathy > Mom-Shame

A few weeks ago, we were in the throes of a pretty hard core behavioral struggle with Cam (4) and I was feeling pretty desperate.¬† Cam is byenlarge a pretty well-adjusted, cooperative, happy kiddo, we just got his end of the year report from preschool and it was absolutely glowing. But ever since he was 18 months old, when he has reached the end of his rope, he would hit Jeff and me. ¬†¬†By this time he was¬†four years old (still is at press time, although no longer hitting- for now) and¬†we STILL had not found a formula that helped him move past it. I had spent the past two and a half years trying everything my ten years of teaching had taught me, I had reached out to my friends who had backgrounds in child development, I had read books, blogs, and articles- and we would get relief for a time.¬† I had thought we FINALLY had the hitting licked about a dozen times, but it always came back and I had to admit that I was out of my depth. I went to my beloved Facebook Mommy Page¬†and I laid it out to them.¬† I had gone there with bits and pieces of it before, but this time, I gave all the gory details, including the fact that he was currently locked in his room because he had kicked me when I had tried to help him calm down and I didn’t know what else to do,¬†and¬†tried to prepare¬†myself for what I would get back.

These ladies are pretty awesome, I was pretty sure I could count on not being mom-shamed or told I was a horrible mom so I felt somewhat safe.  And their answers were gentle, affirming, and helpful, just as I was expecting. But there was a surprise for me buried in their responses, something I was NOT expecting- and that was MY OWN emotional response to them.  When I wrote the post, I thought I was looking for answers and solutions, shreds of practical advice that would lift my spirit by giving me hope that we could finally kick this problem forever out the door.   As it turns out, what ministered to my soul and lifted my spirit the most were not the suggestions and recommendations and links to articles, but the ways in which those wonderful women used their words to let me know I wasn’t alone.

‚ÄúIt’s definitely the age. You’re doing a great job.‚ÄĚ

‚Äú_____ is in a similar stage‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúTori, I don’t know what to tell you and I wish I did because we are going through much of the same thing with _____ at school.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúNo advice sorry but I can say that you are doing amazing‚ÄĚ

“I feel you are parenting my child.”

“This is my life with _____”

“I’ve had this conversation so many times with my youngest son.”

Even my friend who is an actual professor of early childhood stuff at an actual university (a major one, you‚Äôve heard of it) gave her feedback with shimmering threads of, ‚ÄúIt is so hard, you‚Äôre doing a great job, we struggle so much with this‚Ķ‚ÄĚ

I didn’t expect to be as touched as I was by the solidarity.  The fact that the empathy felt more valuable to my heart than the actual advice made me realize how much shame I had been experiencing about the whole thing.  I mean, it’s hard enough when you find yourself struggling as a mom in the face of the constant parade of social media highlight reels, Pinterest boards, and parenting advice articles.  Add to the mix that before I had kids of my own I was a TEACHER and a fair amount of my self-identity, sense of self-efficacy, and an embarrassing amount of my pride is tied up in my ability to get kids to listen to me and you’ve got a recipe for shame.

Brene Brown  (who I am reading and quoting like mad right now) says that shame can’t survive empathy and I experienced that in full force as I read the words of my sister-moms on that post. Their empathy, compassion, and solidarity ministered to a wound I didn’t even realize I had and lifted me up out of a pit on to the solid ground I desperately needed to be on as I fought this battle.

I started my last blog post with a quote from Buddhist nun Pema Chodron on empathy,

‚ÄúCompassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. ¬†It‚Äôs a relationship between equals.‚Ä̬† I felt the warm glow of that very truth as these women sat with me in my struggle not as superiors who knew all the answers, but as equals who felt my pain and had been there as well.

It’s a truth we also see illustrated throughout the Bible.  The authors of scripture frequently address their readers as their brothers and sisters, this theme is particularly prevalent in Paul’s letters.  Even our Savior Himself did not set to his task of saving our souls before he had lived among us, as one of us, as an equal- even though he is the greatest of us all.

If shame can’t survive empathy, even when the shame isn’t fully recognized as it wasn’t in my case, what would happen if we all set about the task of perfecting empathy and compassion as a weapon in the war against shame, particularly when it comes to other moms?  In her TED talk about shame, cyberbullying, and the tradable commodity of other people’s dignity, Monica Lewinsky touches on this idea, that we can use empathy and compassion to fight shame.   You can watch that here.

What if we all spent the next few days looking at the moms around us and just sitting with them in their struggles.  Even if we have no advice, just knowing that they are not alone can minister to them and loosen the shackles of shame that may be weighing them down.  Telling her she’s a great mom, recognizing good things we see her doing in the midst of her struggles- it may heal her in ways she doesn’t even know she needs.

So to my Mommy Page Girls, I say thank you. Nicole, Erin, Emily, Amy, Chelsea, Rachel, , Kristina, Jessica, Jaimie, Victoria‚Ķy‚Äôall have no idea how much I needed exactly what you said to me that day, even I didn‚Äôt know. I hope I can return the favor some day. Matter of fact, I’ll be on the lookout for opportunities to do it for you and to pay it forward. ¬†That’s a promise. <3

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On Doing Compassion in the Wake of Tragedy


“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. ¬†It’s a relationship between equals. ¬†Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. ¬†Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

-Pema Chodron

You know how sometimes you read something that is so incredibly timely that it just stops you dead in your tracks and takes your breath away? ¬†Like, “I’m reading THIS particular thing right NOW at THIS particular place in time? ¬†How uncanny is that?” Well, that happened to me this weekend while reading¬†The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. ¬†I picked up the book where I had last left off, at the beginning of¬†a section in which¬†she talks about compassion and our responses to other people’s suffering.

This past week has seen a lot of suffering in the news, specifically coming out of Orlando, Florida, site of both¬†the deadly and cowardly massacre at Pulse Nightclub and the¬†alligator death of the toddler at a Disney resort. ¬†The internet has been full of people’s responses to other people’s suffering. Some have been beautiful, but some have been more than a little disheartening. ¬†There are some who¬†have been quick to blame and shame the parents of the child who was killed. ¬†I heard a friend say that people within her own family were discussing what they would have done if they were at Pulse Nightclub, how they could have stopped it or at least protected themselves, that it never would have happened to them on their watch.

Almost immediately as I started reading Dr. Brown’s thoughts on compassion, she launched into an explanation of the concept of compassion that knocked the breath right out of me. ¬†It spoke directly to the heart of the blame game types of responses. She writes:

“If we take a closer look at the origin of the word¬†compassion…we see why compassion is not typically our first response to suffering. The word¬†compassion is derived from the Latin words¬†pati and¬†cum, meaning “to suffer with.” ¬†I don’t believe that compassion is our default response. I think our first response to pain- ours or someone else’s- is to self-protect. We protect ourselves by looking for someone or something to blame. ¬†Or sometimes we shield ourselves by turning to judgment or by immediately going into fix-it mode.”

And there you have it. It makes perfect sense. The¬†blame game is self-defense. ¬†If we can make ourselves believe that the death of that sweet baby was due to some egregious lapse on the part of the parents, we don’t have to let in the realization that IT COULD HAVE BEEN OUR VERY OWN BABY. ¬†If we can make ourselves believe that the hateful massacre at Pulse could have been thwarted if someone had just been smarter, or worse that it was somehow deserved due to the lifestyle and love of the people there, we don’t have to let in the realization that¬†IT COULD HAVE BEEN US OR OUR FRIENDS OR FAMILY OR CHILDREN OR SPOUSES OR ¬†PARTNERS. ¬†The absence of compassion is an act of self-defense, plain and simple.

Dr. Brown also quotes American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron when it comes to the bravery of the opposite of the blame game response, which is compassion:

“When we practice generating compassion, we can expect to experience the fear of our pain. Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allow ourselves to move gently toward what scares us.”

That is the place from which I have seen those in my tribe operating this week.  They have bravely moved into the daring practice of compassion.  They have allowed themselves to confront the frightening reality that IT COULD HAVE BEEN OUR BABY ON THAT BEACH, IT COULD HAVE BEEN US OR OUR LOVED ONES IN THAT CLUB.  They have stood shoulder to shoulder, both in person and in thought and prayer, with those who are grieving and it has been beautiful to witness. But there is pain and fear and rawness in those places and it makes everything just a little harder on the heart.  Which is probably why the blame game responses are so hard to take.  We are a raw nerve, those of us who are living with the realities generated by compassion, and so we have little space or tolerance for the opposite response.

But if there is one thing that the events of this past week have taught us, it’s that tolerance, compassion, empathy and unity are desperately needed on all fronts. ¬†When you really think about it, compassion and connection were just as much the targets in that nightclub shooting as were the people the shooter gunned down. ¬†He wanted not only to take lives, but to rip a hole in the fabric of love and divide us as a people even more. Fear and hate were the goal.

So in honor of those who lost their lives, let’s ALL see if we can’t¬†dig a little deeper into compassion in order to love one another better. If I’m¬†someone who finds myself jumping to the blame game response, maybe I can bravely take a look at my¬†heart,¬†and see if maybe I can walk into the fear just a little in order to find some compassion. If I’m¬†someone who does the hard work of compassion,¬†maybe I can extend a little of that compassion to the blame gamers as well, knowing that their response comes from the same fear I feel in my own heart, and respond with empathy rather than a pointing finger. We will nudge others¬†to compassion more effectively with love than we will with hate.

But above all, let’s¬†honor the Pulse victims and their families and the parents of that sweet baby by coming out of this stronger and able to love and understand one another just a little bit better than we went in. ¬†Let’s respond to hate and fear with love and compassion. ¬†Let’s give ourselves and one another grace and space in our fear and pain, but also challenge ourselves to dig deeper and love better in the midst of it.

Compassion. Empathy. ¬†Acknowledgment of our shared humanity and how we are all far more alike than we are different. ¬†Let’s do it, people. Go, team humans!



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Choosing Ethical Fashion: A Guide for the Beginner (by a Beginner)

Fun Fact: ¬†my Noonday Collection Starter Collection was just about my first-ever on-purpose Fair Trade/ethically manufactured purchase. ¬†I know I bought things here and there over the years that fit those criteria, my love of 7 For All Mankind¬†jeans¬†in my 20’s¬†means that I shelled out large chunks of my measly teacher’s salary on an ethical brand, but I pretty much had no idea at the time what I was doing.¬†It¬†wasn’t that I didn’t KNOW or didn’t CARE about the people who made my clothing and accessories, au¬†contraire, I definitely cared. The issue for me was that “Ethical Fashion” seemed out of reach and intimidating to me, like it required worldliness and savvy that I just didn’t see myself having. ¬†Plus the words “Fair Trade” conjured up images for me of baja hoodies, broomstick skirts (grossly misplaced images, but you get my drift), and other things that just weren’t my style.

As I waded into the Noonday Ambassador Community, slowly but surely things started to change for me. ¬†It wasn’t that I felt any more convicted or convinced, it was that I was starting to develop relationships with people who were shopping this way. People who were like me in many ways were shopping consciously and ethically and wearing clothes that I would totally wear, which made it seem more approachable and less intimidating to me. I heard someone say recently that relationships are far more effective in changing people’s minds and behavior than a convincing argument could ever be and I can totally see from this experience why that’s true.

I’m still just getting started and I have very little expertise to offer on the subject in general- with the exception of one area: I am an EXPERT on being a beginner at it and what it feels like to just be getting started. ¬†So that’s what I’m going to write about today. I’m going to offer a beginner’s perspective, just the basics to get one’s legs under one’s self and¬†also share a few resources and point you in the direction of few more experienced and knowledgable voices. I’m going to start by doing that LITERALLY and pointing you in the direction of a¬†podcast¬†by¬†my actual real life friend, Andee Zomerman, who is a blogger and an author and a speaker. ¬†In this podcast, she interviews the amazing Bethany Tran, founder of The Root Collective, an ethical footwear company. ¬† In this interview, Bethany talks about how her company works, how it makes a difference, and toward the end she talks about how she got started and¬†give a bit of a perspective on life as an ethical shopper. So I HIGHLY recommend giving that a listen.

For my part, I’m going to stick to the basics: What, Who, Why, and How. ¬†So let’s go:

The “WHAT”:

At its most basic, when someone says that something was manufactured ethically, they are saying, “NO HUMAN BEINGS WERE HARMED DURING THE MAKING OF THIS THINGIE RIGHT HERE.” A lot of¬†ethical fashion brands also take it a step further and are also doing other really, REALLY¬†good things with their companies. Some are focused on environmentally responsible and sustainable manufacturing, some are concentrating on providing economic opportunity in impoverished communities and/or to underserved demographics, some are fighting human trafficking by providing dignified and consistent employment to¬†people at risk for being trafficked or to survivors of human trafficking- and some even check two or more of those boxes (NOONDAY!). But the underlying commonality is the¬†promise that everyone involved in the making of those clothes was paid and treated fairly.

The “Who”:

There are all kinds of companies doing great, great things.¬†Some of them have certifications that guarantee that they are keepin’ it between the lines with their manufacturing practices, examples include Fair Trade Certification and being a Certified B Corp.¬† Some companies are simply based in countries where there are labor practices in place that guarantee the working conditions for their employees, including the USA. ¬†To learn more about what to look for in choosing ethical companies, I refer you to another real life friend of mine (well…we are online friends, but we’ve been that way for a couple of years now and we have met in person), the amazing Molly Stillman. ¬†Check out 5 and 6 on her list of tips for purchasing with purpose here.

Additionally, here is a list Molly has collected in the years she has been at this. The brands are alphabetized and links are included:

Also,¬†here’s The Ethical List from The Root Collective. You can browse that right here!


The “Why”:

If you’ve listened to the podcast I’ve linked above, Bethany sums up a lot of the reasons that ethical shopping is important. Many people cite seeing the documentary “The True Cost” or ¬†hearing the news of the factory collapse in Bangladesh as the catalyst for their change in shopping habits. Other people are motivated by the stories behind of the workers who are making their pieces, some appreciate the environmental responsibility of the manufacturers…and for me, it’s probably a big old melting pot of ALLTHETHINGS that provides the foundation for the importance or ethical shopping for me.

The¬†one big, special reason that shopping ethically¬†and consciously has become important to me is that it’s giving me a chance to make a statement with my dollars, to cast a vote for the kind of world I want to live in. It makes shopping feel like an actual investment in the future of this world rather than just throwing away money on something that will have its season and then move on.

The “How”:

This was the big one for me, the main reason I didn’t get started earlier: I didn’t know how. ¬†I think that’s probably going to look different for everyone, but I’m just going to outline what it looks like for me- keep in mind that Im painfully practical.

-I’m starting¬†slowly, piece by piece. I’m approaching it the same way I always have: when I land on an idea for something that would enhance my wardrobe, I go seek it out- but rather than heading to my previous go-to’s, I hop on over to Bethany and Molly’s directories and see if I can find a good place to find it there.

-Another go-to place to shop for me is The Flourish Market. ¬†The owner, Emily Sexton (who, incidentally, models for The Root Collective and is the gorgeous ginger on the cover of The Ethical List document you see above), is a Noonday Ambassador who I’ve also met in person (although she may not remember). She’s done an awesome job of collecting pieces from various ethical fashion brands that are on trend and have wide appeal- or they appeal to me for sure, who knows if that’s “wide” or not. Her stuff is simple, on-trend, and it’s a great way to get a sampling of stuff by different manufacturers all in the same place.

-Bethany says in her interview with Andee above (you listened to it, right?) that her closet has shrunk considerably since she has started shopping ethically- and that’s just fine with me. I’ve always been a small closet girl, my practical nature has never allowed me to become a particularly prolific shopper, so that’s not going to be a big compromise for me. I am going to start focusing on the capsule wardrobe concept, but trying to source the pieces ethically. If you’ve never heard of a capsule wardrobe, here’s a post from the Noonday Collection Flourish Blog, written by my friend Jennifer Frey (again, met online and have met in person.) It talks about a capsule wardrobe for Fall 2015, but she explains the concept well and I’m sure a quick google search can find you specifics for whatever season you’re targeting.

And that’s about all I have so far. As I make additional purchases, I will share them with you. ¬†You can watch me slowly (very slowly) overhaul my wardrobe. ¬†And I’m also not promising that I will be able to source everything ethically. ¬†Jeans, man. Those things are expensive, I’ll have to work back up to dropping a couple of Benji’s on one pair of jeans. But the thing is that it’s not about perfection, it’s about knowing that every purchase matters and that every little bit makes a difference.

So who’s with me? Who wants to try their hand at making a difference with their shopping dollars? Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to add that Noonday Collection is a FINE example of a company that Fair Trade, ethical, and is making a difference. Any Noonday purchases you make through your girl here totally count toward ethical shopping. Here’s the link.

Now go forth and change the world, one killer outfit at a time.



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I’m Exactly the Right Mom for My Kids: A Reminder for Myself

Mood music for this post:

I am exactly the right mom for my kids, I am exactly the right mom for my kids, I am exactly the right mom for my kids.  I’m telling myself that over and over right now because Mister Cameron, who just turned four, had a screaming fit in the locker room of our gym yesterday after swimming because I wouldn’t get him dressed.  He had a screaming and crying fit IN! PUBLIC! because I was busy so scrambling to dress myself that I couldn’t do something for him that a couple of months ago he would get furious with me for even attempting to help him with.  And what’s even harder for me is that I couldn’t reach him once he got himself going.  Nothing I tried worked until I had to give in and dress him myself and then walk him out of the locker room screaming.  The older woman walking out ahead of us was so startled by him that she gasped and took the good Lord’s name in vain while looking daggers over her shoulder.  In her defense, I don’t think she realized that this was a child whose poor mother was doing the best she could, I think she heard a yell and assumed he was unsupervised- because it’s only logical that a supervised child would not scream like that.  Of course, one could argue that he WAS unsupervised because there certainly was nobody present whose authority and direction he was responding to.

Before I had kids, I was a teacher for ten years and behavior management and reaching difficult kids was absolutely my jam.¬† I thought FOR SURE that when I had children of my own that I would be able to find ways to reach them like I had with my students. I didn‚Äôt expect that they would never tantrum or melt down or rebel, but I did expect that in those moments they would respond to me. ¬†I learned almost immediately that that is most certainly NOT how it was going to go down with this boy child of mine.¬† Even as a newborn, he presented challenges to our breastfeeding relationship (he wouldn‚Äôt open his mouth wide to latch on) that it took even our experienced lactation consultant six weeks to help me figure out.¬† ¬†A few months later, he had a FOUR MONTH LONG sleep regression and defied every method of sleep training we threw at him. And don‚Äôt even get me started on trying get him on a nap schedule, the little stinker would vary the length of his naps so no matter how consistent I tried to be, the curve balls he threw upset the apple cart daily. As a toddler and preschooler, the stubborn tenacity with which he holds on to his pet vices, even in the face of frequent redirection and consistently-enforced consequences, is infuriatingly impressive.¬† I have to tip my hat to the kid, I have never confronted the equal of his strength of conviction, not even in his father. ūüėČ

As you can imagine, the level of self-doubt that this triggers in the already vulnerable heart of a first-time mom is considerable- particularly in one who has experience in reaching kids and believed kids to be inherently reachable- as long as the adults have their act together.  In my hardest moments, I have been haunted and taunted by the nagging feeling that another mom could have gotten him to latch right, someone more organized and tenacious could have gotten him to sleep, or that he would have settled down in that locker room for someone he likes better or loves more.

It’s a darned good thing that I know my Heavenly Father because He is the only assurance I can take seriously when it comes to my ability to properly mother these babes.¬† In my better moments, I push aside the panic and the fury (oh, the FURY!¬† The kid makes me so mad, too, because my pride and my authority are on the line) and cry out to God for guidance and my Heavenly Father gives me a talking to of my own-¬† am I SERIOUSLY questioning whether or not HE gave this kid the right mom? Child, puh-LEEZE!¬† Both my relationship with Him and His Holy Word¬†are filled with promises that He does not mess around with anything, least of all how He created us.

Psalm 139:13-16 hits me right in the feels in those moments when I’m doubting whether or not I’m the right woman for the job when it comes to my kids:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

When I think of the ‚ÄúI‚ÄĚ and the ‚Äúme‚ÄĚ and the ‚Äúmy‚ÄĚ in that verse as meaning each one of my babies, that is as true for the two of them as it is for me, I am reassured that God fearfully and wonderfully knit them together and has written their days in His book- and that includes me.¬† When He made those babies, He gave them me on purpose because for whatever reason, how He made me is exactly what He had in mind for how He made them.

That right there is at the same time the most comforting and the most convicting revelation I can ever remember having.  Because nobody knows how imperfect I am better than I do- well, except maybe God but His infinite grace for me is bigger than my struggles and so far, my grace for myself is not that large.  If I truly accept that God believes that I am these babies best option, then I need to rise to the challenge and I know to the depths of my being that I can only do that through the God who made me just as He made my babies.

So maybe God gave Mister Cameron to me because He knew that He could count on me to fight for our breastfeeding relationship when Cam struggled.  He knew that I had Jeff in my corner to help me through the sleep regression and what a beautiful, closely knit father-son relationship those two would develop through those late night moments when Cam and Mommy had had enough of one another and only Daddy would do.  And He must know that I’ve got something that He put in me that makes me uniquely equipped for what this kid is throwing at me right now, although bless my precious heart I have no clue what it is. But I do know that is FROM God and OF God and it is only THROUGH God, through total dependence on Him, that I’m going to be able to be what this child needs right now.

So will you pray for me in this season?  Pray that God will be ever-present, turning my mind to Him in those rough moments. That my ears and heart will be open to His leading on what this little stinker- I mean PRECIOUS LITTLE CHILD OF GOD needs from his parents right now. And let’s also lift our hands in praise that we have a God who loves us so much and whose perfect plan for us always calls us to dependence on  and an infinitely beautiful relationship with Him.  He’s certainly exactly the right parent for us, isn’t He?

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The Post in Which I Admit Out Loud What I Want to be When I Grow Up

Mood music for this post:

Have you ever had¬†a dream, something that you want to do more than life itself, and¬†the¬†idea of admitting it out loud is terrifying?¬†I can honestly say that has never happened to me in my life until now. ¬†When I have big dreams and big ideas and I’m excited about them, normally you can’t get me to shut up about them, bless my heart. ¬†But this dream I have right now, this dream I’m about to put out there¬†with¬†this post, ¬†I find myself SCARED of speaking it out loud.

But I have to talk about it. I need to admit to it, give voice to it, and put it out there. ¬†First of all, because speaking it gives me something to chase and it gives my journey shape. ¬†Also because i’m going to need other people on this journey, people to¬†get behind me,¬†people to lead me and HOPEFULLY at some point in the future, people to give me opportunities and nobody is going to know I need or want any of those things if I’m sitting on the sidelines with my hands quietly folded in my lap, trying not to stare or look too interested.

So here it is, my big dream:  What I want more than anything else on this planet is to have a platform to encourage and empower other moms.  

There. I said it. Out loud. Or at least wrote it down. I want to encourage and empower other moms. ¬†And I’m not just talking about your quintessential minivan-driving American soccer mom, I am talking about ALL! KINDS! OF! MOMS!

Being a mom is a uniquely and universally heart-riving experience. ¬†That is NOT a typo, I promise. “Riving,” or the verb “to rive,” is an actual thing. I have mostly heard it in dramatic, old-fashioned writing…, “And the stone was riven in two under the weight of Mjolnir, the¬†mighty hammer of Thor”¬†type of thing. It means to splinter, split open, crack- and that’s exactly what motherhood does to our hearts, doesn’t it? Cracks the suckers wide open AND LEAVES THEM THAT WAY! I mean, it comes and goes and some moments are more vulnerable than others, but they are ALWAYS cracked wide open. It leaves each of us¬†so vulnerable to things we encounter. For those of us in middle class America, that¬†can¬†mean¬†being criticized for our parenting choices, ostracized by mean girl moms, lying awake at night worrying that our perceived shortcomings are somehow going to ruin our kids’ lives. ¬†For moms in other parts of the world (and some here at home), though, that means worrying whether or not you will be able to feed your kids or even keep them with you. ¬†But it’s all just uniquely heavy on a heart split wide open. And it’s those hearts I want to minister to.

So what does that look like?  Heck if I know.  Right now it means writing to other moms here on my blog and selling the crap out of some Noonday Collection to ensure that the mamas who are connected with our artisan partners can keep food on the table for their kids, keep those kids at home with them, and that our artisan partners can broaden their reach and affect the lives of even more mommies and daddies and kiddos.

My hope and my prayer is that going forward, it will mean much, much more. when I say that I want a PLATFORM, I mean that I want a PLATFORM. Which means I’m going to need readership and followers and people who will partner with me and believe in me and share what they are doing with me so that I can get behind them. ¬†Because I want to do this. I cannot even TELL you how much I want to do this. I want to make the lives of other moms better so that they can make their kids’ lives better and together, we can make the world just a¬†little bit easier of a place to¬†walk around with¬†your heart cracked wide open.

That is all.