Authentic hospitality prep {31 days of The Life Poetic, day 23}

don't stress about hospitality As I documented one day in our life I stumbled upon a lesson I hadn't really realized that I had learned.

From Instagram:

I've learned not to stress about getting ready for community group. I like to be authentic, and all-put-together-and-tidy is not me. These people are like family anyway... But no one likes to step on crumbs so a little pass with the vacuum is nice. Also, Hallee is having a ball and trying not to smile here. Brody is patiently waiting his turn. ;)

I read somewhere the difference between hospitality and entertaining-- entertaining is all about me and what I have to show/offer, whereas hospitality is all about serving others.

There's a bit of beauty in the pile of books in the basket and the stack of mail on the corner of an unused counter, because it's a glimpse into real life, and it lets the authenticity of who we are as a family shine through. Turning on music (or baseball) and lighting a candle aren't just nice touches; they too are expressions of who we are as a family.

I do try to clear off all the surfaces we'll be using with our guests, but I'm not going to put on a facade that in our family every surface is clear and nothing personal is left out. Simply because that's not us.

And also, I'm better able to serve my guests and welcome them wholeheartedly when I'm not stressing to the max right before they come over.

the life poetic

This is Day 23 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

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Finding our people {31 Days of the Life Poetic: Day 2}

finding our people We just entered our third year at the charter school Gigi attends part-time. We've connected with families here and there but for some reason, the ones we've connected the most with have decided to move on and do something else for school unfortunately. This has been hard on Gigi.

She's an extreme extrovert who thrives on social interaction and is a fiercely loyal friend. Once you are a dear friend of Gigi, she will not forget you for a long time to come. I'm realizing that she still is shy in groups though. She tends to latch on to one or two close friends and has a hard time breaking in to already-established groups. I think she's actually a lot like me.

As her close friends have left our school one by one, she has seemed a bit lost at times when it comes to really gelling with the kids at school. We are with many of them three days a week now, with the new awesome social studies co-op that just started, and I'm really sensing this feeling of finding our people there.

I have community all around me-- the neighborhood crew, which overlaps a bit with our lovely community group, our larger church family (especially fellow leaders),  my CBS ladies, our extended family, my online community-- I'm blessed beyond measure by these hearts and the people in my life.

It's been hard for me to mesh in with the school families, mostly because of feeling overwhelmed by always having two little ones in tow (with a mostly older crowd) and being so connected elsewhere. I think for a while now, I've seen our kids interact, and seen glimspes of their passions which seem to line up with many of mine, and I've sensed that these other moms could be really great friends.

The last couple of weeks, after a couple hours of intense studies at the co-op, we have all retreated to the beach for a few hours. And it's been pure joy to get to know these families more amidst studying and surfing and sun and sand digging.

the life poeticThe more I sense this growing sense of connection with our school community the more right it feels, like this is exactly where God wants us for this time.

In each sphere of our lives we have to find our people, and it's fun and beautiful to feel those relationships finally starting to take shape in this particular corner of our life.

This is Day 2 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

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Photo by my friend Milly :)

On food, community, and kids

alice waters on education  

Sometimes raising a child can seem so complicated.

There are different styles, and priorities, and methods, and... sometimes it's nice to just stop and take a simpler look.

When we look at life skills we want our kids to learn by the time they leave the house, I think this quote by Alice Waters really sums things up pretty succinctly: “Teaching kids how to feed themselves and how to live in a community responsibly is the center of an education.”

Even Jesus lived out these two priorities; just look John 6: 1-15 when He feeds the five thousand. Feeding Himself (and His disciples) and serving (and feeding) the community are at the center of this story.

kids in the kitchen

If we can give our kids the skills to feed themselves, and instill in them a sense of community, then they will be generously equipped to serve and love others as they live out their lives. 

I have to remind myself of the value of these moments when I'm in the kitchen and my littlest one drags in a chair, as she always does. It's easy to get caught up in the tasks, and shoo her away, but then what am I teaching her?

Welcoming my kids into my cramped, cluttered kitchen so they can observe, learn and soak in the skills and the kitchen culture is one of the best ways I can prepare them for the rest of their lives.

And letting them help me feed others-- whether it's cookies for the local firefighters, a meal for a new mom, or friends joining us for dinner-- is one of our family's favorite way to live out this education.

What are ways that you teach your kids to be able to "feed themselves" and "live in a community responsibility?'"

Embracing Self Care: Finding & making time for rest

We've come to the last week of our Embracing Self-Care series, and I must say this has been one of the best series I've taken the time to think through and write, as I've really had to take a good, hard look at my life and figure out if I'm putting myself in a place to be the best wife, mom and friend that I can. ESC_GGH I've seen areas where I'm doing pretty well, but I've also seen areas where I need to make some changes. Following through with a series in and of itself feels like a pretty good accomplishment for me as well.

I probably would have fizzled it out if it weren't for the friends who have been working through these topics with me. It really has been a community project as we've encouraged each other in the comments and been inspired by each other's visions for taking care of ourselves so we can better take care of others.

finding and making time for rest: part of the Embracing Self-Care series

This week, we're tackling the last topic of the series, which is all about rest and relaxation. Do those words sound more like figments of the imagination to you?

I'll be honest, I can make changes left and right to try to take care of myself, but I'm not going to get to being my "best self" if I'm still exhausted. The deeper I get into motherhood, the more value I see in making sure to give myself time outs to rest and rejuvenate.

Scheduling in rest

A little while back, I read on a friend's blog that she schedules in an hour of reading time for herself every afternoon. Reading really does revive me, so since then, I've made it a point to take a bit of time, even just 20-30 minutes during the day to read.

Reading is something that I really value, so I need to make it a priority to not let it get pushed to the edges of my day when I'm too tired to enjoy  more than a paragraph or two.

The more I think about it, I realize that if I don't intentionally plan to rest and try to relax (turning off the mental to-do list is hard, but it can be done with enough distraction), it simply will not get squeezed into my day. Problems arise, messes get made, play dates go long, etc., etc.  I'm not a napper, but relaxing with a book can have the effect of a power nap on me, so it's become a vital part of my rhythm.

Embracing Self-Care: Spiritual & physical health

This week's topic for the Embracing Self-Care series is sort of a biggie. It's probably the biggest, in fact. If we're not taking care of ourselves spiritually and physically, there literally is nothing left in us to care for others. It's also the most constant work-in-progress category for me. IMG_7562

Physical health

I'm very casual about exercising-- maybe too casual. I was an athlete growing up and (thankfully) I still have the general physique of an athlete (although an athlete who's birthed and nursed two babies), so when I do work out there's a lot of muscle memory that helps me out.

By and large, my exercising has consisted of carrying and chasing babies/toddlers/kids for the last seven years. I've gone through seasons where I did regular gym workouts, CrossFit classes, gone surfing, and/or taken long walks, but nothing super consistent.  Now that I'm done having babies and am thirty-three, it's probably time to get some kind of regular routine going. ;)

As for diet, I'm a primal-ish eater, although the emphasis on the ish has gotten stronger in the last few months. I could stand to be a little more disciplined with my eating again. Sleep is something that I'm working on as well. My goal is to go to sleep at 10:30 and wake up at 5:30-- I'm getting closer to that, but it's really hard for me to get to bed on time, especially because David is a major night owl.

Plan of action for self-care:

I really do want to take care of this vessel that God has given me. I want to be energetic enough to take care of and play with my kids, and even if I end up with some random health problem eventually, I want to know that I did what I could to keep myself as healthy as possible. I also want to set a good example for my kids of taking care of my own body.

My springtime goal is to workout at least three times a week: ideally I would do a park workout once a week and do this really cool (free!) workout tailored especially for (but not limited to) getting in shape for surfing called WaveShape two evenings a week. I also want to start doing squats or push-ups or sit-ups throughout the day. When summer hits, I'll have to re-evaluate since I'll hopefully be surfing and walking more.

Spiritual Health

There are a few disciplines that really help me feel like I'm tracking well with the Lord. These are areas where I constantly need to be mindful of or they will easily slip away from me.

First, is my morning time with the Lord. This is a vital part of my spiritual healthy. I wrote a little bit of detail about this part of my life a few years ago, and that post is still relevant and descriptive of how I basically like to do things.

If you're feeling the pull to waking up early but needing help and encouragement, I can't recommend enough the free eBook Maximize Your Mornings by Kat Lee and the HelloMornings community that grew out of that eBook.

Speaking of community, I also can't say enough about the benefits of being immersed in encouraging, inspiring, authentic community. I see a direct correlation to my being connected to the body of Christ and my feeling spiritually healthy. A couple of resources that may encourage you in this area are my 31 days of intentional community series and my PDF prayer calendar for praying for those around you (free for newsletter subscribers).

embracing self-care: physical and spiritual health

Here's where I need to grow: prayer

I've been feeling the Lord imprinting on my heart that prayer is a discipline I need to focus on more and spend more time doing. The season of life I'm in is a challenging one and I need to be really leaning on Him being more intentional about praying, specifically for my own heart in parenting, and also for my kids' hearts to be softened and for their growth and development.

Time in creation

Being outside, especially at the beach switches on a big wave of peace in my heart and really tunes my heart to sing His praise. Prioritizing time at or near the beach doesn't feel indulgent to me anymore because I know that it refreshes me spiritually, and oddly enough makes me a better mom. I encourage you to figure out what you can do or where you can go for that feeling of refreshment, the place where you take a big sigh and go, "ah, my happy place."

It's been such a good exercise to take a good, hard look at the physical and spiritual aspects of my health and determine where I need to be more disciplined and how I can best take care of myself. Remembering to do this regularly can only help me to be a better mom, wife, and friend.

How's your health? Where do you need more discipline or growth? What disciplines come easy to you and which take more effort?

You can visit the other Embracing Self-Care hosts today, too!

Their individual posts for today’s topic will be linked up in the linky, or you can view their whole series by clicking the links below.

Beth at Red & Honey

Emily at Live Renewed

Krissa at More Than Mundane

Mindy at This Crazy Wonderful Life

Stacy at The Delightful Home

Leigh Ann from Intentional Grace

Park workout playdates: win-win for everyone

park workouts: kids play, moms workout It can be really hard for me to fit in exercise time. I'm not a runner, and now that my kids are a bit older and less inclined to stroller rides, long walks by the beach aren't as practical. I did CrossFit for a while, and I really loved it, but it's expensive and challenging to get to classes because of family scheduling.

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