The day I let my kids in on my dream

ready to fly Today I sat down with my kids to have a little chat with them over a cherry smoothie and those veggie snacks that taste like greasy air (oh, is it just me? my kids love them, but ew.)

I don't always sit down with them to eat during the day because I'm usually doing like five other things while eating or drinking. But today, I sat. I think they all knew we were going to talk about something because they looked at me expectantly.

"What do you think I wanted to be when I grew up when I was a little girl?" I asked them. They were a bit dumbfounded by this question actually and I had to help them out a bit.

"Do you think I wanted to be a mommy?" They nodded enthusiastically. "Yep, I did. Do you think I wanted to be anything else along with that?"

They  mumbled a few answers (I think Gigi mentioned teacher, which was a pretty good guess, and I think Brody mentioned cowgirl. Okay then.) and then Hallee, 3.5, said, "Work? Like on your computer?"

I smiled. "Do you know what I do on my computer?"

Gigi knew this answer. "Blogging?"

"And what is blogging?" I asked her.

"Talking to people? And writing stuff?" I think she gets the basic gist. ;) But I tried explaining it a bit more, and then I went on to tell them that, guess what! Mommy actually always had a dream of writing something else... books! So when I blog, I do it both to encourage people (hopefully) and also to practice writing so that I can someday (hopefully) achieve that dream of writing books.

letting the kids in on my dreaming

And then I went on to share a little more of my heart with them. It went something like this.

I'm trying to work on being more present with you during our days together. To really focus on you guys and be there when you need me or when you want to show me something or talk about something. I want to do my best to really be with you when I'm with you, ya know? {Nods around the table.}

We do lots of fun things together, right? The beach, the park, school, playing outside, reading books, having playdates etc, etc, etc. But sometimes I need you to occupy yourselves, right? Be creative, read a book, play with toy, stuff like that.

And since I'm trying to be more intentional about this, I'm also going to ask that you give me some time to work on my writing dreams too. When do you think I do this? Yep, early in the morning, during quiet play time, and sometimes (when I'm not too tired) after you're in bed. So when I ask you to occupy yourselves for some afternoon play time after we've done lots of fun things together all morning, does that seem fair?

They nodded again and answered affirmatively. It was a good conversation.

I'm hoping that laying this foundation will help them see that as a mom it's okay to have dreams still and to work towards those. I'm also hoping that during this season of Lent I can die to myself a little more in my parenting.

I didn't give something up for Lent, but instead I'm digging in here, trying to be more intentional and more available in my mothering. Be all there, and then not feel guilty when I take some time for myself as well.

During the season of Lent, we try to give things up to train our raw fingers to let go of old ways. But to reconcile with God and to breathe in the springtime, we have to do more than just let go. We have to replace our icy vices with the good, warm things of God...

This lenten season, let’s do more than suspend our vices—let’s run to Christ. Let’s be brave, come out of hiding, and be reconciled to Him. ~SheReadsTruth's Lent study, Day 3

The day I let my kids in on my dream

I scratched out this post on February 19th and since then I've gotten into a good groove of intentionally leaning in with my kids while also carving out time to work on my own writing. I don't feel like I've "arrived," but I do feel like the days go smoother when I intentionally decide whether I'm focusing on the kids or my own work (whether that's writing, housework, communication with other adults, or whatever) for the time being, rather than always trying to multitask.

Last week I submitted my first short story for a writing contest, and it was really cool to be able to share with my kids this little milestone and know that they are along for the ride on this dream journey of mine. 

Leaving auto for manual: thoughts on stepping out

Leaving auto for manual and other thoughts on stepping out My friend Kacy has a phrase she has used a lot-- leaving comfort for courage-- that has always stuck with me. Isn't that just how we are to live? Outside our comfort zone, being courageous in the face of what may come, being bold, and strong in grace and in the gospel.

from auto to manual-1

It might be a stretch to make this analogy, but bear with me here. I recently started shooting photos on manual. This month's 10 on 10 was my first all-manual set. On Sunday, we spent a family day at the beach for my birthday (it was a gloriously lovely simple day).

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The fog rolled in thick and low, while the brightness of the sun still fought to shine through, making the lighting incredibly tricky.

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For quite a while now I've been shooting on A which means that I adjust the shutter speed but my trusty camera figures out the rest for me. It was a good stepping stone, but I've been standing there perched for far too long. (Professional photography is not my goal; I just want to learn how to use my camera better and get the most out of my photos.)

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I decided it was time to jump off that step and just start doing my best to set the camera right (armed with a couple of ebooks on photography and a skilled brother as references).

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I made a lot of mistakes and had to reset the camera with almost every shot. It was challenging and yet the photos that came out spark a lot of joy in me, knowing that I had to work at achieving the correct lighting.

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You know what holds me back and has me switching back to A or even to Auto in a dicey light situation? It's fear. Fear that I'll miss out on the perfect shot because I had the settings wrong.

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But the wonderful thing about digital photography is that we can take a virtually endless amount of photos (depending on media card size, of course). We just keep shooting and shooting and adjusting as we go, and checking to see if we get it right. Eventually, I think I'll get the hang of it (or I'll at least remember which way to dial the f/stops). It won't be so touch-and-go, and I'll be more confident.

from auto to manual-8

Any time we try something new, it's this similar learning curve.

from auto to manual-9

It feels like it takes this enormous amount of boldness to step out into the unknown or into a new direction, but the truth is that when we step out where God is calling us, we're stepping out onto the path that has already been prepared for us.

from auto to manual-10

We don't actually have to bolster up all this faith, all this courage, all this boldness on our own. He actually provides it for us as we go. We just have to ask for it! God's pretty great like that.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 4:14-21

A fresh start for 2015: from Gidget Goes Home to Nicole V. Bennett

Welcome to my new online home! Same me, same content; new, fresh, exciting look (and name). going boldly into 2015, one blog post at a time

It's a bit hard to believe I've been blogging for six and half years (that's gotta be like 20 in interweb years). A few months ago, I was starting to feel the spark of change barely starting to smolder.

It's like that itch I feel when I really really want to move the furniture around right now. Maybe this was inevitable since my house is too small for changing the configuration. It had to bleed over somewhere...

This time, I didn't scratch that itch right away though. I pondered a bit, prayed about my calling and direction, talked to friends and mentors, did some research, and looked for inspiration.

(Leaving my old online moniker behind is a bit scary. That name and identity were comfortable. Change is exciting, but it's also intimidating.)

It didn't take too much deliberating, because this new direction was pulling me strongly. And I already owned the domain. So I did it. What the heck! Here goes nothing! I took the plunge.

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I hired a very talented and sweet artist, who hand-lettered/painted my pretty logo. Don't you love it?

I'm been feverishly working to get this new blog up and running and I'll be honest, it's given me a renewed passion for blogging, taking me back to the hours I spent getting Gidget Goes Home up and running in my early online days. I've been fiddling with widgets and code and let's just say it's a bit out of my comfort zone and every time I click "save" I cross my fingers that I don't break the blog. :)

The biggest message that this re-branding says to me, to my own heart, is that I'm stepping out, making a bold statement, that I am actually pursuing this writing thing in a more intentional way.

I'm looking at myself as a writer who blogs, rather than a blogger who writes (which for me, is scarier, because the word writer feels so much more official, like it has to be earned or something).

So here I am. I'm a writer. Always have been.

A bit about the blog

I hope you like the new design-- my goal was that it was really user-friendly and that you'd be able to find your way around easier here.

You can see all my categories laid out up top in drop-down menus, and a highlighted post in each main category over on the sidebar. Down at the bottom of the page, you'll excerpts from me around social media. I even started a new Facebook page.

Maybe most exciting of all, is my updated newsletter. I've renamed it The Scoop and hope to use it a bit more this year to connect with my subscribers with special content and notes. If you haven't already, I hope you'll subscribe.

A little look back

As I say goodbye to Gidget Goes Home, I thought it'd be fun to take one last look back at some of the different styles she's worn over the years.

2008 (um, yes, that's Gigi, my seven-and-a-half-year old)

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2009

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2010

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2011

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2012

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2013

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Thanks for being here, reading along, whether it's since the beginning, or just recently. I'm grateful for each one of you, for the ministry God's given me here, and for His calling on my life to use this blog for fun and for His glory.

xoxo,

nicole :)

P.S. I appreciate your patience as I iron out the kinks. Please feel free to email me if you see any broken links or anything looking wonky.

Friends, taquitos, & sombreros {31 Days of The Life Poetic: Days 11/12}

For years, David has been half-jokingly been talking about celebrating his 33rd birthday with a Three Amigos-themed party (anyone know why this had to be the year?).

Three Amigos Party-1-2

This year, things got real, and we decided to make it happen, complete with a singing bush, sombreros, Mexican food, and a cantina that only serves tequila (okay, margaritas). We had a jolly good time.

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Besides celebrating with friends (and parents who returned from a two-month journey!) the best part was probably how the theme and the costumes came together(we had El Guapo and El Guapito and even a few Germans!).

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It was a laid back party-- but I had a lot of fun making tissue paper flowers and stringing them on crepe streamers and patio lights.

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Seeing people we love crowd into our tiny house and onto our lit-up patio really warms my heart. Plus, I love my husband and it was fun to bless him with a special night. Double win!

the life poetic

This is Day 11/12 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

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