Let’s Stop Photoshopping Our Lives

Let's stop photoshopping our lives

“If most of us stopped to examine the expectations we set for ourselves, we would discover that our concept of perfection is so unrealistic that it can’t exist in one person. Instead, its a combination of pieces or snippets of what’s perceived as perfect. We don’t just want to be good at what we do, we want to be perfect–we want to edit together all the best clips of what we see to form our lives.”

Brene Brown, page 174, I Thought It Was Just Me But It Wasn’t

Last week, I brought you all into our home for the Clean Your Home for Christmas Challenge. I showed you my messy drawers, my unpacked suitcases, my untidy closets, and gave you a peek into real-life here.

Truthfully, I wasn’t sure how those posts would be taken. It’s always a little intimidating to press publish on posts that are far from perfect.

You know you’re going to disappoint some people. And as a recovering people-pleaser, that’s hard for me to voluntarily do.

Let's Stop Photo Shopping Our Lives

But can I be really honest with you? Letting you into our home — to see the underbelly, as it were, of our lives — was so freeing for me.

Again and again, women commented and said, “Thank you for being real. It’s so good to know I’m not alone.”

You’re Not Alone

The messes, the fact that I don’t hit all my goals, the unkempt closets, the suitcases that don’t get unpacked for months… they all bear witness to the fact that I’m a work in progress just like you.

I hope that it encourages you to know that I don’t have my ducks in an alphabetical row. Far from it. I deal with have stuff bombs and dust bunnies and bad hair days, just like you.

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In this online world beaming with Pinterest-staged pictures, it’s easy to start feeling like we’re the only one who has laundry piles, unwashed dishes, and sticky countertops.

We can be tempted to try to photoshop out the messes, slap on plastic smiles, and pretend we don’t have some ugly, messy, or struggles in our life and home.

But that’s not real life.

We All Have Struggles

I tried being a people-pleaser for years. And let me tell you this: not only is it completely exhausting, it’s lonely.

I’ve discovered it’s so much better to let people get to know me for exactly who I am — messes and struggles and all — than to wear myself out putting on an act in an effort to please someone.

Let's Stop Photo Shopping Our Lives

Real, authentic relationships only happen when we’re willing to stop pretending and start being honest about our struggles.

No one — no matter how put together they may seem — is exempt from hard things.

We all have struggles. We all have burdens. We all have areas where we fall short. We all have literal and metaphorical “junk drawers” in our homes and lives.

Let’s stop photoshopping our lives and instead welcome people in right where we’re at. It won’t always be pretty, put-together, or Pinterest-worthy, but it will certainly be much more fulfilling and freeing!

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5 Books I’ve Read Recently + 3 Books I Hope to Finish This Week

Books Read This Week

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a post about the books I’m reading. In all honesty, that was because I was so focused on finishing my own manuscript I didn’t have much extra time to read other people’s books.

And oh how I’ve missed it! It’s been so good to get back to regular reading the past two weeks!

Books I’ve Finished Recently:

Undone: A Story of Making Peace With an Unexpected Life — Ya’ll. Do yourself a massive favor and go pre-order this book. It is SO good. Michele is one of the best communicators I’ve ever known. The way she paints pictures with words moves and inspires me as a writer. But her book is much more than beautiful word pictures; it’s the story of a woman finding hope and peace in the middle of messes, heartaches, and unexpected difficulties in life. Highly recommended.

Addicted to Busy — This wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read on white space and margin, and I sort of struggled through parts of it because it sort of felt like it was dragging on a little slowly (maybe that’s an indication that I’m addicted to busy? That I have a short attention span?? ;)), but overall, it made me think and examine my own life. Some of my thoughts on S-P-A-C-E were the result of things I mulled over after reading this book.

You and Me Forever — I thought this book had some valuable information in it, but honestly, I found it a little scattered in how it was laid out. While I’m not opposed at all to self-publishing a book (as this one was), I felt like it could have benefited from having some more editing for clarity, flow, and to further develop and strengthen the bones of the book. I still feel it’s really worth reading — especially if you want to have your mindset challenged on what constitutes a “Godly marriage”.

Me Before You — This was one of the most heart-breaking, compelling, and thought-provoking books I’ve read in a long time. I thought it was very well-written and found it hard to put down. In fact, I read the entire book in one day! Caveat: This book is not written from a Christian perspective, has quite a bit of language, and the plot line deals with suicide in a very raw form. I didn’t agree with the outcome of the book, but it made me dig deep and think hard… and books that do that are ones I feel are very worth my time.

Grace is Free: One Woman’s Journey from Fundamentalism, to Failure, to Faith — As someone who was deeply involved in what many would term “the fundamentalist movement” for a number of years of my life, I found this book’s title intriguing. One of our elder’s wives from our church in Kansas recommended it to me and I found it insightful, thought-provoking, and encouraging as I’m on a journey to walk by faith and live a live steeped in grace instead of being a performer, perfectionist, and people-pleaser.

Books I Hope to Finish This Week

I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) — I’m really digging into this right now after setting it aside for a few weeks. Such thought-provoking stuff in it!

A Proper Pursuit — I finally started reading this one! It’s been on my to-read stack what feels like forever! I’m about eight chapters in and enjoying it.

The Best Yes — I’m working through this as part of my morning devotions and really finding it helpful as I think through my priorities and goals for 2014.

And maybe I’ll read a few others, too. We’ll see!

What have you read recently? What are you planning to read this week? Any good book recommendations for me?

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Reader Tip: How I Got Two Free Photo Calendars Shipped From Shutterfly!

calendar-shutterfly

Rachel emailed in this reader tip:

Last night I ordered two 8 x 11 photo calendars from Shutterfly for Christmas gifts for Grandparents. The cost was $42.97 including shipping. However, I had received a code from my Kelloggs rewards account in my email for a free calendar from Shutterfly.

I then checked my Pampers rewards account. They have two systems there–the one where you use points to get gifts and the “grow on” program where if you enter a diapers or wipes code at least once a month for so many months in a row you are given a free gift. My free gift was a Shutterfly calendar. They also gave me a free shipping code with that calendar!

Between the two calendar codes and the shipping code, my order was absolutely free!!!!

I thought some people may need to be reminded to check their rewards accounts before purchasing gifts. Even if you have at least 800 points in your Pampers Gifts to Grow account you can get a calendar for free and just pay shipping. Yay! -Rachel

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How to Stop Being a Grumpy Mom

How to Stop Being a Grumpy Mom

I was feeling frazzled and impatient this morning — ready to throw in the towel and lose my temper. Kind of ironic because I just wrote a post about finding more S-P-A-C-E yesterday, I know.

But I’m just keepin’ it real here. And it was one of those days.

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We had a long day yesterday and were gone most of the day.

When we got home last night, we went pretty much straight to bed instead of staying up and going through the all mail and packages that had arrived (it was a pretty massive pile yesterday!), finishing cleaning up the kitchen, working on the laundry, or unloading the car that we’d spent a lot of time in yesterday while driving to various locations all over Nashville for different things.

This meant that I woke up feeling behind. Plus, for some reason, my alarm clock didn’t go off this morning and I overslept, too. Which didn’t help me feel any more calm.

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To add to that, there were some attitude issues that flared right off the bat this morning and some little people who didn’t want to help or focus or do what they were asked to do.

This morning, of all mornings, of course. I said to myself in frustration.

Being a Fun Mom Always Wins

By about 11:15 a.m., I had had it. It felt like nothing was going right, my anxiety level was rising, and I knew if I didn’t do something quickly, it was going to go from bad to worse really, really quickly.

I went out into the garage and called Jesse. He listened to me rattle on about how frustrated I was feeling. He encouraged me and by the end of the phone call, I was feeling somewhat better.

But I knew I needed to do something more, something tangible, to help turn the mood around in our home. Well, and mostly, to help turn around my mood. :)

So I called the kids into the living room, apologized for how I’d acted stressed this morning, and then told them we were going to pull out the puzzle we’d gotten at a White Elephant gift exchange the night before and we were going to stop what we were doing, set the timer, and work on the puzzle together until the timer went off.

How to Stop Being a Grumpy Mom

They were all thrilled with this idea — especially because it involved mom working with them on something that they love to do.

And I was amazed, because within 5 minutes, not only did I feel so much calmer, but I was actually really enjoying being down on the floor working on the puzzle with them.

Being a fun mom instead of a grumpy mom always wins! :)

Related post: How I Stopped Yelling At My Kids

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Protein-Packed Bacon Omelet Bites

Protein Packed Omelet Bites

Looking for a really hearty breakfast that’s also easy to grab and eat quickly? You’ll want to try these Bacon Omelet Bites.

They are filling, packed with great nutrition, and so delicious!

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Jesse made them for the first time last week and they are a winner recipe. I know we’ll be making them over and over again. Best of all, these are gluten-free and Trim-Healthy-Mama friendly!

You could leave out the chicken or bacon to cut down the recipe costs by quite a bit. You could also add other veggies — like spinach or broccoli. These would also be yummy with some shredded cheese mixed in or sprinkled on top.

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What are some of your family’s favorite filling breakfasts?

 

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