Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More Issue Than Vogue

I am a people pleaser by nature. I have to fight it though, every single day.

Today, a fellow teacher came into my room and asked me a question. I just wasn’t understanding and am not sure if I agreed. As I was trying to understand, he kind of stormed out of my room quite frustrated with me. Of course, I can feel this ugly black beast of a thing start to well up inside….it says, “He is unpleased with you. He’s mad at you. He thinks you stink. Blah, blah, blah.”

I walked back to his room to smooth things over, and said, “I’m sorry if I misunderstood” and he immediately cut me off and said just drop it. Now I KNOW he’s pissed. Awesome. Happy Wednesday to me.

This is obviously not the first or last time I will make someone angry. If you are my friend, I warn you of this fact all the time. I will mess up….just wait for it. It will happen. Hopefully you will have grace for me, otherwise we won’t be friends very long.

This is also not the first time that a coworker has gotten mad at me for no real reason. It is not my issue. It is not my battle to fight. In that moment though, I have to fight every “human” cell in my being to make things better with this angry individual. But, God whispered, “Please me. Only me. It’s not about you Annie.”

I have plenty of issues, but other peoples issues are not mine to carry. As my sweet friend says, “They aren’t in my knapsack.” I don’t have to carry that for you. Mine is heavy enough!

Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant. Galatians 1:10

Happy Wednesday my dear readers. Thanks for stinking with me. Hugs, a

Monday, April 14, 2014

Thank you

Thank you.

Thank you for showing up today. I am humbled that the Holy Spirit regularly shows up for me through the writing process and that you chose to read it. Holy smokes. Thank you for taking the extra step to read it. I truly appreciate it. Thank you for reading the ramblings my brain and how God is working on me. When I started this space, it was to promote and sell my jewelry. It has obviously morphed into an entirely different animal. I’m about to close out all stores, etsy, and have a final liquidation sale. In my efforts towards “Less Hustle, More Love” jewelry just doesn’t fit in that equation for me.

An elder at our church that I immensely respect asked me this yesterday “Does your blog minister to your ministry?” That really got my little wheels a turning.

What is my ministry? Ah crap.

My broken down students was my first thought. How am I serving them in this space? I’m not.

But as I spoke with my sweet mum and friend, they informed me that numerous non-believers, people of various religions and walks read this. Ya’ll that’s straight up nuts to me. Thank you. Thank you for being open to what God has planned for you. Thank you for letting me be some sort of vessel for you.

I want to yell it from the top of the highest building how much God loves every.single.person. And, that’s what this space is for me. To reach someone in the privacy of their computer, or home and tell them how loved they are and that you aren’t alone. Ever. God can handle all of it. You are never too much. You are never to ugly inside. He can carry it. All that crap you did…you know the stuff….the stuff you never told anyone…your super ugly stuff-guess what?? God loves you anyway. That’s straight up rad guys.

I used to fear that I was too much. Too much emotion. Too much rawness. Too much crazy. God loves it and uses it. All of it. He uses my dirty mouth. He uses my past mistakes. He uses all my messiness for HIS Kingdom. That’s legit and you can bank on it.

So, thank you for sticking with me. Thanks for joining me in my weirdness. I love you for it.

P.S. I didn’t know until this morning, but that’s how God works, but I’m open to sharing this space with you dear readers. Do you want to write and share? Feel free to message me and we can chat. Hugs, a

Friday, April 11, 2014

Photodump Friday

This week was full. Full of soccer practices, tutoring, puddle jumping, bike riding, and just generally drinking life in. Our Benno was nominated as the student to receive the "Pillar of Caring." Oh how my heart is proud of this man! I might be totally biased, but he is one loving, caring little seven year old.

I'm actively trying hard to have "Less Hustle, More Love." Even though we have something after school most days....instead of running around like a chicken, I'm letting more stuff go. Laundry is more piled up, and fewer awesome meals were cooked. I'm okay with that. We aren't going hungry and still have clean underwear.

Have a beautiful weekend...we are headed to a huge neighborhood garage sale. Movie night is on in a few hours! Adult beverages here I come!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Mawwage…aka marriage from Princess Bride When I got married, I thought it was all roses. I pictured us running to each other in a field of lovely green grass. No, not really, but kind of. I figured it would be easy and simple because we love each other so much. Mr. N and I have been together for fifteen years now, and married for almost 11. When I type that out, it seems like chunk of time….but he surprises me daily. Our marriage is by no means perfect, so please know that I don’t write this to portray that. I just want to be genuine and real.

We just got back from our yearly marriage retreat. One of the topics was, “remember why you fell in love with your spouse”. As I brewed on the reasons I love Mr. N, I was reminded how much that sweet man loves me. He is my rock. But, if you know us, you would know that we are VERY different.

I’m wordy, a bit loud at times, love to dance, drink coffee, fly by the seat of my pants, partake in cocktails, have a horrible memory, don’t think before I speak, am a bad driver (or so I’ve been told), and am an emotional open book. Mr. N is none of those things. He is diligent, deliberant, and exact, can remember things I said 15 years ago, can back up a trailer in the dark, doesn’t drink anything that I do, is private and generally is very thorough and disciplined.

But, in spite of all that….he’s it for me. He’s my safe harbor. He puts up with all my craziness and loves me unconditionally. He calls me out on my illogical behavior, then takes off my shoes, and tucks me into bed for a nap.

I had some alone time and really thought about what I would tell my newlywed self. I would tell her, that marriage will look very different you think. That a good marriage is work sometimes. That love is not enough for marriage. You will have to fight for it. There are highs and lows….and appreciate the highs, but know that the lows will eventually come as well. In the lows, just have the faith that it will pass as well. You will have to actively choose your spouse, over and over again. Your hubbie is unlike any other. Therefore, you shouldn’t compare him to others. He is unique in his gifts and short comings. Change your thoughts, meaning don’t obsess over what he isn’t doing, rather what he IS. Ask for help if you need it, he can’t read our thoughts or deep sighs.

Every day you have to choose to connect with him. If you don’t, you will inevitably feel disconnected. You will never drift together, only apart, so you have to fight to connect. You cannot change the man you married. Don’t even try. It will go really poorly….listen to me! You can only change your reaction to him. The “D” word is off the table. Don’t mention divorce or leaving to hurt the other. It’s just mean.

Have fun together as often as you can. You will in those moments remember your old self. Especially once kids are thrown into the mix. I tell you all these things in hopes that it can possibly help someone out there in the interweb. I still have buckoos to learn, but I’ve learned a couple of things the hard way. If you can learn from me, and not have to suffer in the muck, so be it!

P.S: Mr. N, you are the best thing that ever happened to me. Thanks for putting up with my shenanigans and taking your hat off in that library….xoxox your wifey

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Carrying the Weight

This morning, I went in to wake up my babes to get ready for the day. Ben was upside down on his bed and laying next to Minnie Pearl. He said his "legs hurt". He asked if I could carry him to the sofa so he could watch his morning toon with his bro. Benno is tall and long, and getting heavier by the moment.

When I lifted him up off the bed, I carried him, as I have from his birth...chest to chest.

But now, his legs are long and can wrap around me. The weight of his body is much harder for me to carry. I sit here and cry processing this. How did this happen?? No one warned me of this heart wrecking, gut wrenching love that would abound from me and the grief of my children growing. Even if they could, you can't begin to wrap your brain around it until the moment presents itself. I fear that day, moment, realization when I can no longer carry him. It is close. Too close for comfort.

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Of course this scripture pops in my head. I will never be too much for God to carry. I am merely human and cannot do it alone. At Hope Spoken this weekend I had a small freak out moment on Mr. N. {He might disagree about the degree of my freak out.} Mr. N had my boys for the whole weekend. I would have never, ever thought that I had any "control" issues, but God most definitely convicted me of this at Hope Spoken. God went ahead and brought it out in the broad daylight and put me on blast. I couldn't get ahold of Mr. N for three hours straight and I was fit to be tied. Every horrible thought boiled up in me. I didn't know where they were, if they were okay, were they dead? did they need me? why aren't you answering your phone? are you at the hospital? did something happen? on, and on, and on....

I try to pray daily to release my children into God's hands. Sometimes I'm better at it than other days though. Let's be real. If I'm not positive that God is in control of my children, then I will be ruled only by fear. To surrender my hold is hard. Moving forward, I will try my hardest to trust God to take better care of my little ones than I can. My way is flawed, but God's is not. God's way is abundantly more. That is something to take to my knees over. Fo sho.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely MORE than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hustle and Hope

{Please excuse my grainy pictures...I didn't bring my Canon, and boy-o-boy do I wish I would have! Everything was beautiful!}

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer
Psalm 20

This weekend at Hope Spoken was awesome to say the least. I'm still processing through much of it. My heart is wrecked in the best way. I was wondering how long it would take for God to show up...and it didn't take long. Within the first ten minutes of worship-the Spirit was swelling. I found myself singing and weeping. All I could think was that I was washing myself clean. That all my crappy, ugly parts were leaving this broken body, and the spirit was refilling me. And this was only the beginning.

The decorations were gorgeous and creative. Every single detail was thought out and beautiful. The food was delish and I put on four pounds. No joke. I've never had a cake pop that amazing. The speakers were all different and profound.

Shauna Niequist was the first speaker and author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, and Bread and Wine. Her writing is spiritually and emotionally raw. In the midst of mundane story-telling she manages an shift, weaving experience into digestible pieces of very raw wisdom. Inexplicably, after almost every chapter, I found myself faced...with myself. Magical.

Her talk hit home for me. Shauna talked about being in a hurry all the time, that she was "too tired to gulp down life anymore". She was tired of the hustle. She declared that her new goal was to have MORE LOVE, LESS HUSTLE. She found herself angry and administering to her kids instead of loving them. Here are some of her "wise nuggets" that I took away.

Doing more and more will not make ME more.

The best part of me is not the tough part that can handle lots.

Tough or hard is not what I want to be.

She adopted an "Anti-Frantic" Policy. She would ask herself, "If saying yes to this, will it make me hustle more?"

The word "should" is a red flag. When I say, "I should do this or that..." Should never brings happiness.

The thing is your life and you are missing it. You are worried and upset about many things, and you are missing it. {in reference to Martha and Mary}

"Busy" is a drug and defense. Being busy keeps you numb, which then leads to exhaustion, fragile and breaking.

To be Present, Whole, and Brave. Do my best. Lay down busy. Pursue Love.

I would say that I've definitely been heading in the direction of less hustle. I barely committ to anything, not because I'm being flakey, but because I want to be PRESENT in the moment with our life. For me that means, less time running around straightening up a house, or waiting until tomorrow to empty that dishwasher. It means not going to that dinner party so I can tuck my dudes in. Being present in our life means that when the anger in me boils up for no reason, that I look at it. Really stare it down. I don't dismiss it....but try to figure out why is it there in the first place.

Ben recently wanted to sign up for soccer. Which on the surface sounds like a lovely idea. But, there are practices twice a week and a game. That's committment. But, my goal is that even though most evenings right now have something on the schedule for me to never yell at my kids, "Hurry up!" Because, this is the moment. This is my life. And I want it to be a Love Story.
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