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When the Enneagram paints your marriage as volatile (for The Mudroom)
February 10, 2017 at 7:00 am 0

If Myers-Briggs put me in a lovely little box I could be proud of and present to others — “here is my amazing self, take and see” — then the Enneagram has been the first tool to tell me that maybe, just maybe, my "gift to the world" can be a bit “too much.” That my greatest strength can actually also make me obsessive and prone to navel-gazing. It's what the Enneagram is best at -- showing us the shadowside and paths for growth. Of course this is also something my husband has told me all along. When it's him who preempts my epiphanic moment, I get all ruffled. Later, we learn, lo and behold, that per the Enneagram we're a "volatile combination."

His number on the Enneagram (8, the Challenger) and mine (4, Individualist) are “inherently volatile.” The Enneagram Institute says:

Both Enneagram Fours and Eights are intense and have strong emotional responses; both seek to get a reaction from the other, and both can be dominating of their environments—Eights are socially dominant, Fours are emotionally dominant. Both types bring passion, intensity, energy, and deep (often unconscious) feelings to all aspects of the relationship. They are attracted to each other's storminess, the other's vulnerability, and the other's "hidden" qualities: neither is what they seem to be on the surface. Both types are also highly intuitive—Fours by being self-aware and knowledgeable about how they are feeling, and Eights with their intuition about external phenomena, often with an extremely accurate insight about the potentials and possibilities exhibited by others.

This is what has lead us to conclude that he builds systems and knows what needs doing to help an organization flourish, while I get my fingernails dirty in the mess of people's emotional and spiritual states. We’re yin to each other’s yang, when we’re in step with the other.

....

Read the rest over at The Mudroom -- all about how I've learned that volatility isn't a crime. It'll give you hope for your own marriage.

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What I’ll Yell At You When I See You at Target: A Letter to the Mamas
May 5, 2016 at 2:07 pm 2
An unasked-for, yet totally needed note to the young mamas out there:  IMG_1658 Dear Mama, We live our lives connected through pretty smiles and cute workout clothes. We wear leggings and drink our wine, or we work too many jobs to discuss soccer schedules and PTA meetings. Some of us have more children than we would have planned for, others find their arms empty for too long. But women: we are all mothers. And pardon my language (if you're offended by such things), but even on the shitty days, you are doing a damn good job. I decided when my kids are grown, I'm going to be that mama in the grocery store that tells the frazzled young mom that I've been there and they're doing a damn good job, just showing up day in and day out. There's no vacation from motherhood. I'll be the older mom offering you to go ahead of me in the check out line when I see your hands are full and your kids are melting down. I'll be the mama that shouts out to you across Target when you have one kid refusing to leave while you're carrying your second like a football to high-tail it out of the store before it gets even more crazy. "You're a great mom!" I'll shout. Because she is and so are you and so am I. I'll tell the mama with the pile of kids what a blessing each of her kids are. That her hands and heart are full to the brim. Mamas, it's time we sit back and realize something: our children are not accessories. They are not stepping stones that we can use to get us from one place to another. They are not ladders we can climb to prove we are real, we are capable of being seen. We're all gloriously and painfully human. We all hurt. We all inflict and receive pain. We all are doing the best job we can. We all think everyone else has it all together. We don't. Some moms go to the gym. Some moms are excellent room moms. Some moms work long, hard jobs for their kids. Some moms are losing it. Some moms feel entirely fulfilled by their children. Some women wish they were moms. It's time we stop seeing each other for what we are not: not baby wearing, not breastfeeding, not formula-feeding, not co-sleeping, not cry-it-out, not organic, not processed, not baby-lead weaning, not weaning at a year, not spanking, not gentle disciplining, not private school, not public school, not name brands, or vacations, or privilege, or grades or sports, or any other created thing we use to climb a ladder and beg it to tell us we are worth something. It's time we see each other for what we are: humans. Women entrusted with the care of other humans to nurture, love and protect and one day (all too soon), they'll leave. But they'll still be humans and that is always our job: to love other humans. So mama, you needn't cling to every last baby bootie, and small handprint as if it decried a death knell. No, we are in the business of raising and seeing humans. That is all. When we erect walls and make this motherhood thing about how we can do it correctly, we lose the ability to nurture because our children's behavior is what justifies. When we judge the workout mom when we're the hot mess, we fail to recognize her gifts that she is offering to her children. And we never, ever know anyone else's full story. We do not know what goes on in heads, hearts and behind doors. So let's get about our work -- to love, cherish and protect our children. But let us hold them all loosely because they are humans after all, not some sort of machine that we input all the good and assume that only good will flow out of it. For we are all such a compilation of dark and light, and we do not even know our own hearts at their depth. Let us simply be about the business of seeing one another. That, I think, would be the most lovely of Mother's Day gifts. So mamas, as you prepare for Mother's Day, and as it may bring much pain, hurt, confusion or just plain exhaustion -- know you're doing a damn good job. I'll yell that to you in Target when I see you. And I'll buy your latte. Love, Ashley   // Sign up for my newsletter and free story therapy here. Really. It's awesome. And it's free.
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The Story of Missing Sisterhood (for SheLoves Magazine)
April 16, 2016 at 5:00 am 0
I think there's a lot more I have to write about this. This month, SheLoves Magazine's theme was on sisterhood and I just couldn't stop thinking about all my dreams of a missing sister. Right now, I'm smack in the middle of the crazy of a large writing conference, Festival of Faith & Writing, and I have to say, I'm finding a whole new kind of sisterhood. Ashley Hales -- Missing Sister for SheLoves // I grew up in a bright orange coulotte shorts and a matching t-shirt set at the edge of sun and sand in southern California. It was supposed to be paradise. I spent my childhood playing with neighborhood children, and more often, getting lost in books. After being born 3 months before my due date and spending months in the NICU, my parents were exhausted, holding anxiously to their daughter who was supposed to fill up all the empty dreams and empty bedrooms. But in the end, it was just me. I am an only child. And I think I’ve always been searching for a missing sister. I hoped that an imaginary sister would show me how to be a girl, how to play dolls. She’d show me the ropes about crushes, and what it means to be a woman and birth babies. She’d be a guide. Ever the idealist, I turned to sister-replacements. Those silver best friend heart necklaces, where each girl would wear one, were like a sacrament to me. I thought that if I could just hold on to one other young girl who would share my heart, I’d be complete. But after friends moved on to newer, more exciting best friends, or we stopped going to the same school or church, I found myself without a surrogate sister. I was an “only” once again. And no best friend necklace could replace a missing sister. ... Read the rest over at SheLoves Magazine. And while you're at it, have a look around. It's a gorgeous community. 
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When All You Have Left at the End of the Day is Carrot Peelings (for The Mudroom)
March 7, 2016 at 5:00 am 0
When All You Have Left at the End of the Day is Carrot Peelings -- Ashley Hales Sometimes in all the To Do lists and all the carpooling of children and all the chores that never are completed, it feels like you're used up. You have nothing left to offer and you wonder: What did I do anyway today? What did I accomplish? You look around at a house that's messier than it started out, at a sink full of carrot peelings, and it's hard to see where the time went or how you made a difference. No one tells you what a great job you're doing and it just feels a bit lonely. I want you to know that your offering of presence is actually what your people need. Your offering can be small, paltry, and feel unseen. That does not mean that showing up and doing the next thing is inconsequential. It's actually a pretty radical thing to do. The other day instead of running and hiding from it all, I left my house and trudged up a pathway in the middle of suburbia with my two littlest in a double stroller. And what I saw at the top helped reorient my perspective on this life of daily offering. I hope you'll go on over to The Mudroom and read what happened at the top of the hill. I hope it encourages you! // Don't forget, I want to help you with YOUR story and I'm offering free 20-minute story therapy sessions. Find out more here  
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Join us and linkup for Literacy Musing Monday!
February 28, 2016 at 9:03 pm 1

We have a guest writer today who illuminates Scripture and how God uses His true stories to enrich us all. She also shares a special resource. I hope you enjoy this special post for the #LMMLinkup.

Inviting Story in Scripture

by Ronne Rock

children I’ve often explained my writing to audiences as “word painting.” As a woman who describes moods by their color and fragrances by moments, I find such joy in allowing words to mold and shape and take on new meaning on the page. Whether I’m writing about the holy hush that happens at the moment day meets night in a sunset or the holy ground redemption discovered in hands digging through trash in a dump in Guatemala, eternity is written in the words. But it wasn’t always that way. My husband and his friends are a deep-diving sort of souls when it comes to the Bible. I remember being fascinated with his knowledge of scripture and the library of concordances and dictionaries and theological writings. For years, studying scripture was something I did with the help of someone else – a devotional by Kay Arthur or a book by Beth Moore. I knew the Bible was rich in wisdom and full of stories. But the idea of simply opening the pages of the Bible and savoring the words inside – save for perhaps the Psalms or select verses from John or one of the Epistles – seemed incomplete and a little dangerous in a world filled with rules about appropriate translations and doctrinal statements and how to memorize verses properly. Scripture being more than a book of instruction was what I longed for. And the use of a simple, free online tool called examen.me provided me with a list of five things to invite God to breathe His creative story into scripture. computer
  • Pray as you approach.
  • Listen. Meditate. And then write.
  • Share what’s being emphasized to your heart.
  • Turn what’s being spoken to you into a prayer.
  • Share how what you’ve learned will impact your actions.
The first days were clumsy as I fought through the fear of truly believing that invitation would be accepted. It was. In fact, I do believe God smiled. (more…)
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Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup & a giveaway coming up!
February 7, 2016 at 11:18 pm 0
Hi, welcome back to Literacy Musing Mondays.

Why It's Important to Read in Community

By Tina Chen

For many of us, reading can be a very solitary experience. Unless you do a lot of reading aloud with others, reading is something you probably do alone. You may be in the same room with your family, all reading different books so you're together, but in some ways, you're still alone. You are experiencing a whole different world on your own. And it's so much fun! I personally wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Littlenificent reading on the bed with her daddy I love to lose myself in a whole new world! And one of my favorite things to do when I read is look for evidence of God's imprint on humanity. I love reading Christian fiction where the authors intentionally include God's workings in their stories, but I also love reading secular books and hunting for little glimmers of glory and analogies of redemption. And when I find them in any genre, I feel desperate to share them with someone! I have been known to call or email several trusted reading buddies with the request/demand :) that they read a book I'm in the middle of or have just finished as soon as possible before I explode for the lack of someone to discuss it with! Have you ever had this experience? Two books that immediately come to mind that this happened with are Blue by Lou Aronica, a secular novel, and Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay, a piece of Christian fiction. I highly recommend both of these books, and if you need someone to talk about them with, I'm willing to read them again just for you. :) I think it's so important to have people you can talk about books with. Not only so you yourself don't explode but so that you can see things from different perspectives. Even though I'm always on the hunt for glimmers of Truth, I miss them quite often. And I love it when a friend is able to point them out to me! I always want to run straight to the book and read it immediately, even if I've already read it! This is one of the main reasons I take part in linky parties like Literacy Musing Mondays, and why I started my own weekly book linky party - Booknificent Thursdays on Mommynificent.com. I wanted to create and be a part of a community where people who love books can talk about them with other book-lovers. I have learned so much from reading the thoughts of other book bloggers about the books they are reading. So thank you for writing about what you read, and thank you for listening to me talk about what I read. You are such an important part of my journey. And please consider yourself invited to Booknificent Thursday this week and every week! We'd love to have you! Tina Chen Profile Picture Tina Chen is an island-loving mom of five fun kids. She currently lives near a beach in Malaysia but has also called Bali and the Cayman Islands home since leaving her land-locked hometown of Kansas City. Her greatest passions are learning with her husband how to live and love like Jesus and teaching others to do the same. She particularly enjoys teaching kids to worship and pray fervently and creatively. She loves music, cooking, and reading, and is a complete sucker for a good redemptive analogy! Tina blogs at mommynificent.com and desperatehomeschoolers.com about living and homeschooling in Southeast Asia. (Tina's post contains affiliate links).
  Our community has grown so much in the almost 15 months since we started the link up. We want to continue to grow our community and encourage even more interaction. That is why we are going to start honoring the person who comments on other people's posts the most each week with a special feature across all our social media channels. To participate, you just need to email Mary the number and name of blog posts that you commented on each week by midnight on Fridays. We are going to have a special contest the week of February 15 for a copy of If I Run and a $10 Amazon gift card. Stay tuned for more info! This week will be a practice run; so start commenting and keeping track of where you commented and email your report to marykatbpcsc45 @ gmail (d0t) com by Friday at midnight.
Now on to our linkup. First let's Meet Your Hosts
Ashley @Circling the Story
Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram
Leslie@Forever Joyful
Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Mary @Maryandering Creatively
Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/ Instagram/Google+
Tami @ThisMomsDelight
Blog/Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram/Google Plus
 

Last Week’s Top Clicked Post!

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Literacy Musing Monday & Traci’s perks of blogging
January 24, 2016 at 11:39 pm 0
We have a treat for our Literacy Musing Monday followers this week. Traci Rhoades has written a post for us detailing resources for free books for bloggers. Have you ever wondered how to get books to review if you blog? Traci has outlined some great resources in her guest post today.  

I’m A Blogger And I Get To Read Books For Free

My Free Book Resources

by Traci Rhoades

I started blogging so I could share the beautiful faith stories I see happening all around me, personally and in the life of others. Writing online has formed a whole new community for me. More and more stories about how we serve a mighty God and He is good. All the time.

What I didn’t realize is that blogging has all these side perks. One of my absolute favorites feeds this little addiction I have called reading. Since you’ve stopped by Literacy Musing Monday, I’m thinking you might have this condition too! Well, now as a blogger, I often get to read books for free. I know! I just can’t believe it. Today, I thought I’d share with you a few of the ways bloggers get their hands on free books. Publishers seek you out - Publishing companies may contact bloggers after reading other reviews on their site (I have a specific category on my page so they’re easy to locate). They usually have a book similar to one that’s been reviewed and would like the blogger to consider reading their book. Often, they’ll offer a book or two to give away as well. Authors ask for help promoting their latest book - This can happen in several different ways. If a relationship has been established, the author might contact the blogger directly. I’ve also participated in some book launches, where you’re one of many bloggers/reviewers who have an opportunity to read a book before it’s published. In exchange for this privilege, you’re often asked to promote the book on your social media accounts and write a review closer to the book’s release date. It’s all about generating interest! Websites dedicated to offering books to review - There are specific sites that partner with publishers to make books available to librarians, book reviewers, bloggers, etc. I’ve used Netgalley and Blogging for Books. A blogger receives a book with the understanding that she’ll read it and provide an honest review. These sites house hundreds, if not thousands of books and I can request the particular ones I’d like to read. I review primarily nonfiction Christian books. Publishers can find specific reviewers from the user profiles found on these sites as well. Bookstores and other companies - I work with Family Christian in particular to promote various events, products and books they offer. I am in a Facebook community where different opportunities are made available to bloggers. If you’re interested in something they mention, perhaps a particular book they are asking for reviews on, you enter your email address on that FB post. Bloggers who have expressed interest are usually randomly selected. It’s a win-win because as a blogger, you promote some great upcoming events and products (often with giveaways) and Family Christian gets lots of online feedback. I’ve gotten books all of these ways. Now, I have to be careful when considering books because, as I’ve said, I have a little bit of a reading problem! Before I know it, I’ve agreed to review 20 or more books at a time. Usually when you agree to review a book, they expect you to do so in a few weeks or perhaps months. That’s an awful lot of reading in a short amount of time. I’m still learning the ropes, but I have loved this unforeseen benefit of blogging!

More about Traci Rhoades

Book reviewer and writer

Book reviewer and writer

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What if Presence is the Only Revelation You need? (For the Mudroom)
January 12, 2016 at 5:00 am 1
Dear friends, I'm sitting in a swirl of new schedules and new sports for my oldest two sons after the Christmas break. I'm trying to hold all the details in my head and miserably failing at it. I always think if I just had a new system, or if I could just get a bit better at putting my clothes away, or if I could meal plan better... then life would feel a bit less crazy, a bit less out of control. I'm realizing though, that that's unlikely to happen and I'll never have it all figured out. And that's okay. It's okay to let go of all the spinning plates. Even if they come crashing down, the world isn't. I'm also learning that most things -- even the good, hard, worthwhile things -- don't often come easily and instantly. (Aside from maybe boxed mac 'n cheese which my children think is the epitome of goodness). No -- most good and worthy things grow like sedimented layers of dirt. They grow year by year until there are rings and fossils buried amidst the layers and when you get a bird's eye view, you can see the big, glorious picture. Revelation is like that I think. It's less blinding light of angels singing and more plodding slowly to see the baby king, step-by-step, following the star. I'm over at The Mudroom sharing all about revelation -- and about summer camp crafts and crazy family dance parties. I hope you'll join me there.  harrietbeach Here's a little bit to get you thinking: I thought revelation came through emotional faith experiences. I thought revelation always came from the mountaintop. Sometimes it does, but this is not the whole of the story. Sometimes–usually, perhaps—revelation is born right from the dirt of ordinary. But we have to have eyes to see. // Read the rest here. 
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Giveaways and Literacy Musing Linkup
November 16, 2015 at 9:23 pm 0
Welcome back to Literacy Musing Mondays. We have a busy linkup today with lots of great stuff and important giveaway reminders! So with out further ado, introducing today's guest hosts who are sharing their best tips for growing readers!  

Tip for Growing a Reader and a Delightful Dad Read

Pat-and-Candy-headshot Today I'm honored to be guest-hosting for Literacy Musings, and I’m SO excited! I’ve been busting at the seams for an opportunity to share this really funny video – and this is the best place to do just that! It’s not a secret that both Candy and I love books. Actually, we love words. Love to write, love geeky grammar jokes, we’re allured to alliteration, and up-to-date on the correct usage of the Oxford comma (even tho’ I’ve been knows to misuse it time and again). And therefore it’s not a surprise, either, that our kids are readers. Up until high school, they’ve participated in our homeschool association’s “Reading Olympics”, where they score for pages-read during the school year, and even with the addition of screens via computers and video games and iPods, they still enjoy the written word. Makes a momma real happy :-) When they were young, we read aloud to them almost religiously…at bedtime, in the afternoons, on rainy days, or for no “reason” at all. As a matter of fact, when they were still in cribs, I would often toss a board book or two into the crib and encourage them to “read” while I took a shower and dressed in the morning! I never told them they couldn’t read…subsequent reading lessons in school were no big deal: just another part of our school day. Of course, even though I read to them during the day, it was much more fun when daddy read in the evenings or on weekends! He “became” the characters, and loved to almost act out the parts. Also a lover of words, Paul’s favorite books to read were those written by Dr. Seuss and Richard Scarry and Shel Silverstein. Those authors, among others, had such a fun and skillful use of the language! One day our oldest daughter Lauren was home from college and “caught” daddy reading “Runny Babbit” to our younger kids. If you’re not familiar with that book, you HAVE to check it out of the library, or better yet, purchase your own copy. He writes a series of (very) short stories about a Bunny Rabbit using spoonerisms…it’s an uproarious tongue-twister! So here’s the aforementioned video, for your literary enjoyment:     Which, of course, leads me to my “tip” for growing a reader at home ~

Starting Early and Often…Make Reading Fun

And if you can get dad, or another enthusiastic adult, to add a little excitement or twist of their own…all the better! A different voice, a different approach, a different presentation of books helps children realize the breadth and depth or words, and the potential and possibility they hold… Needing a bit of parenting encouragement today? Hop on over to PatAndCandy where we’re featuring a review of Anita Mellot’s devotional “Home is Where The School Is”… Thanks again, Mary, for the opportunity to guest host and "head up" the party today! Keep reading, everyone :-) Pat-headshot (Square) Pat Fenner is mom to 5, and has been homeschooling for almost 20 years. A lover-of-words from way back, she encourages others in parenting and home educating with her pal and co-devotee, Candy Reid, over at PatAndCandy.com. Connect with them on Social sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter.
Cherished Magazine November 2015 - A Christian Woman MagazineIn other news, we still have two great giveaways on going. First the Cherished Magazine subscription giveaway continues til Sunday, November 22! Remember, we will have two Giveaway winners.  
WorthyMiracle3c-194x300 Plus there is still time to enter Mary's giveaway of the book by Linda Kuhar, Worthy of a Miracle, which ends on Friday, November 27th. Remember, Linda provided me with a free, signed copy to giveaway to one of my readers! You can read my review here.   (more…)
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Literacy Monday Musing Linkup
October 11, 2015 at 6:00 pm 0

Welcome back to Literacy Musing Mondays, your linkup for all things about literacy, learning, reading, and writing. We are growing as a community; so much so, that our posts are honest and real. We share our setbacks and our successes in our posts. We share the lessons we are learning or teaching. We share our current favorite reads and our struggles with reading. I love this community because at our heart is supporting one another and uplifting each other.

We have a special guest poster this week. She lifts her struggles to write and read for all to see. We have all been where she is at, and we all struggle with finding time to read and write and making them priority in life. Have you been where she is at? Read to learn more and than share your experiences in the comment area.

Lisa A. Listwa

Lisa is a wife, mother, and self-employed recovering high school English teacher. She works as a freelance writer, editor, and tutor and lives with her husband, her daughter, and three Rotten Cats. She spends her time stacking the pile of books to read ever higher, wondering if she should have been a chef, and trying to figure out where she last left her cell phone. Lisa writes about life and all its fascinations and banalities at her blog, the The Meaning of Me. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.  

Finding Time for Words

  Lately, I find that words fail me. The desire to write exists, but when I sit down and attempt to get to it…nothing happens. Blog posts, my personal works-in-progress, letters, e-mails, even something as simple as the weekly to-do list or an errand reminder – all seem too hard. And it’s so easy to blame outside forces, isn’t it? There’s too much to do. There’s not enough time to write. There’s nothing to write about. But those statements could – and perhaps should – be turned very personal. I’m busy. I’m too tired. I’m not inspired by anything right now. Eventually, in the moments when I’m honest with myself, I realize that the inability to write comes only from me. I have always believed that if you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader, and that is so very true. In grading student essays and homework, those who struggle to write often struggle to read. I don’t necessarily mean that they can’t read (although it’s always true that many do), but rather that they don’t or won’t read, for whatever reason. If we don’t read, we don’t get to experience how other writers use words and language. We don’t get to learn what conventions work – or don’t. We don’t see writing in action and so cannot put it into action our selves, at least not very well. Think about it: if a child never hears people speak, how will she learn to speak herself? We need examples and models to teach us what we need to know. And there’s where it hit me. .... If you want to read more of her post, head on over to her blog. Be sure to leave a comment. ;)
What Lisa writes is so true. Reading and learning yields such great dividends. I love reading books, blog posts, magazine articles. I also love sharing my writing through my blog. One day, I hope to share in book form. What are your goals with your personal writing and reading? Share in the comments form below. Now on to our weekly linkup. ;) Meet Your Hosts
Ashley @Circling the Story
Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram
Leslie@Forever Joyful
Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Mary @Maryandering Creatively
Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/ Instagram/Google+
Tami @ThisMomsDelight
Blog/Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram/Google Plus
 

Last Week’s Top Clicked Post!

Kate Motaung's

books on my wishlist & what i’m reading now

book 3

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