Monday, September 26, 2016

Hello there, friend,

At yoga Friday night, I set a new intention: carry a lightness. I said it to myself all through class and on into the weekend. I said it to myself when I walked hand-in-hand with my daughter as we shopped at the junk store. I said it when I sat at the pottery wheel and couldn't figure out why my hands weren't cooperating. I said it as I walked through the woods with my husband and kids. I said it when we went to a family party.

I laughed more this weekend than I had in a long time, grabbing each laugh and wringing it out. Sometimes it was almost to the point of tears, but almost every one came from deep in my belly. Laugh. Carry a lightness. Enjoy your life. By the end of the weekend, I was tired but not worn out. I sat on the couch and tipped my head back, closed my eyes and felt it all at once: gratitude.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Get to Know Angie Warren

Hello there, friends,

We are both so excited for today's post with Angie Warren! Angie is a constant source of inspiration in both her fervor (she's always into something new!) and her transparency. She has a sweet and honest spirit that comes through in everything she does. Today you get a chance to see some of that sweetness in her words and her beautiful photographs!

L (+b)


Angie Warren is a wife + homeschooling mama of three living in North California. She is a writer & artist, often times with her hands deep in more projects than she can keep track of. She is a coffee addict, and considers a good day one that includes both good music and good people. Losing her mother to cancer in the fall of 2013 has changed the way Angie sees life, and it is her goal to document her family properly, with both words and photos. She is currently working on a memoir, but also writes of love and life and loss on both her Facebook page and Instagram account @angiewarren.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My day begins between 6:30-7:00 as the sun urges me awake. With winter coming, I foresee that changing some, and I am okay with that! This year we’ve brought our children home to educate them here, so our mornings really are like night and day compared to how they looked when the kids were in traditional school!

Ideally, I make my way downstairs for some tea and quiet time. My oldest, now 11, is an early bird and often times he joins me. The other two (ages 8 and 4) like their sleep and slowly make their way down a bit later. I can’t tell you how much joy it has brought me to allow the morning to unfold like this. Fighting sleepy children for early wake up times was one of my least favorite parts of the day!

Our school days are very relaxed and quite honestly, really enjoyable. We read a lot. Books are a huge part of our learning! We are hands on, digging into whatever we’re learning with as much ferocity as we possibly can. In fact, today everyone built igloos out of sugar cubes, and as soon as our brown kraft paper arrives (thanks Amazon prime!), we’ll work on telling stories using Native American symbols.

There is a lot of coffee, more messes than I can count, and a whole lot of noise, but I absolutely love our days home.

After lunch the kids have free time and that’s when I sit down to work on whatever project I currently have to tackle. Right now I’m finishing up a new product for The Peaceful Preschool, so I’m cutting, laminating, and photographing the cards to share with our families! It helps to have a cute preschool subject on hand!

My husband arrives home and graciously cooks dinner most days (love him!) and our evenings are filled with family movie time, walks, fishing, or the general chaos of having three young kids.

I’d like to say that in between it all I keep a clean home and have all my ducks in a row -- but that’s just not the case. This phase in life is just simply so busy. I’m blessed to have an amazing husband that cares very little, if at all, about the state of the laundry or our home. Still, I’d like to do better at it. There’s always tomorrow!

What does gratitude mean to you and how do you incorporate it into your everyday life?

Early in the year I began reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It has quite literally, changed my life. She talks about finding thankfulness in the smallest of things, and it has opened my eyes to all the pieces of my day that I have to be grateful for: the smell of my youngest after a bath, the air of a far off campfire, the glow of an early morning sunrise, the soft gentle breeze through my window -- even the sound of my husband’s boots as they hit the floor. I’ve begun to list my own 1,000 gifts, and it brings me such joy to look back on it and remember each of them.

How do you stay connected to those you love?

My mom passed away three years ago, and it changed the way I see things. It changed me, if we’re being honest. As far as family and friends who are out of town, I try my best to connect with phone calls -- it is so easy nowadays to wish a happy birthday on Facebook, or reply to an Instagram post. Those aren’t real connections, in my opinion! It’s so important to hear their voice, to see a hand-written card come through the mail, to remember how we used to connect before technology (though I love it!) came into our lives as it has.

The other day my four year-old sat on my lap and said to me, “When you hug me mama, that’s how I know you love me.” And my heart swelled. Human connection is so important -- touch, being near one another, connecting on that level. How very right she is!

What’s inspiring you right now?

I am very emotional and I feel things intensely! Ah! My poor husband! For me, smells (fall candles, yum!) and music (Morning Accoustic on Spotify) give me all the feels. Because of this, I am sure to always have a few of my favorite candles on hand and really they’re lit quite often. If the TV isn’t on, my Spotify is on. I love to cook to it, edit photos to it, write with it even. In fact, I’ve recently decided to take up the ukulele so I can make my OWN music. Never too old to try something new, right?

What is on your bedside table?

Lavender essential oil, lip balm, box of Kleenex, phone charger, and whatever book I am reading (currently Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie, and an assortment of Outlander books!).


Angie will be taking over the hello there, friend instagram feed on Monday to share more with us and respond to your comments. We hope you take the opportunity to check in and say hello to her!

Thanks so much, Angie, for sharing with us today! We're so grateful for you! xo.

Friday, September 23, 2016

hello there, friend,

just yesterday my daughter was struggling with her calculus homework. she came to me full of frustration and worry, feeling the pressure of too many assignments, not enough sleep, and a scattered mind. we talked for a while about the many feelings one can have at the same time and how that sometimes seems overwhelming, but is completely normal.

i had to remind myself more than once that my job wasn't to fix anything for her, or to offer her solutions, but to be her sounding board, a safe place for her to say what she was thinking and how she was feeling without any judgement and with empathy and compassion.

i glanced down at my wrist as we talked where i have a bracelet that reads, 'only love today'. i can't tell you how many times i've read that message in the last week and felt it's importance. whether it reminds me to act or respond in love to those in my own house or those i work with, it's a reminder to love myself as well... my own love note.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hello there, friend,

I sat in church the other day and listened to the pastor talk about leaning into difficult relationships. Instead of shirking away from those relationships and those people, we should press in, hang on, live the gospel. I turned to my husband and said, "But what if most of your relationships are difficult ones? What then?"

Later, when we had a chance to talk, I brought it up again. "You're looking at this from your perspective, one where you've been hurt and continue to be hurt by people close to you," he said. "He wasn't talking to you. He was talking to someone like me, where just a relationship or two is hard, not all of them."

When we talk about being enough, it's true. We are enough, just as we are. What we're doing is enough, even if we could do more. Who we're loving is enough, even if we make mistakes. Just being is enough. I tell myself all of this often and try to believe it with all of my heart. But then there are those difficult relationships, lots of them -- ones I've tried fixing, ones that have blindsided me, ones that have left gaping holes in my life. I'm enough, but this part of my life is not. It leaves me feeling broken.

I live in a house with three people I love, living a life I chose, making strides every day to live my life differently than what I ever knew. I choose every day to look around and find one thing, even just one, that is beautiful and lovely and fills me with gratitude. I write myself love notes; I take photos that my heart sing. And I tuck this enough-ness into my pocket, carry it around with me even when I don't feel it. Because I often don't and I have to believe anyway.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

hello there, friend,

years ago when i first came across the phrase, "i am enough" i didn't get it. it sounded full of self importance to me. it reminded me of the typical independent american, who says, "i can do it all by myself." the underlying message being, "i don't need help."

it wasn't until i came across brene brown that i started to understand this in a completely different way. this phrase is a reminder that we live in a world that is sending us messages all the time about not being enough. not being organized enough, thin enough, pretty enough, creative enough. that our home isn't clean enough, that our children aren't perfect enough, our life isn't pinterest or instagram worthy enough. the underlying message is that we will never be good enough.

no wonder we need this message. no wonder it's hard for us to wrap our minds around the fact that we are each created uniquely, each worthy of love and belonging and enough. you are enough. i am enough. now, i get it.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hello there, friend,

The last few days have been a struggle. I've been feeling disconnected from myself, struggling to understand why the same issues keep coming up. Why can't I get a grip? Things feel light one minute and heavy the next; easy now and stressful later. I wonder if this is normal. I remind myself about our conversation about practice. Nothing helps.

I spent some time journaling about all of this, searching for what's at the heart of it. What I came to was one word: authenticity. It's a word that's been in my vocabulary for years, one that's become part of the official party line: Be authentic, be honest, be real. I wrote the word out in big block letters, then drew an arrow and wrote self-acceptance, self-love. Because that's what's missing for me, that's my stumbling block. Not accepting myself, not loving myself.

And so these days have been a teeter-totter. I'm constantly trying to fix it. But I think I might finally be onto something, something that might ground me and give me a bit of clarity about where to go from here. I hope.


Monday, September 19, 2016

hello there, friend,

i thought a lot about our letters from last week over the weekend. what i loved most about your letter on friday was the idea that in some ways our life's work is to practice what we are learning. we learn something, we have a chance to practice it, we process and reflect, an opportunity arises and we have a chance to practice again. like sitting in discomfort or pain, we get better at doing this by doing it. there's no other way. and some days it will be easier to do this than others.

in the process of understanding myself more fully, i have found that i'm better able to understand my kids... their struggles, their emotions, and their pain. instead of reacting to them, i can sit alongside them. i can reassure them that they are normal, that it's ok.

i know as i move into this week, there will be some discomfort and there will be some joy (and probably a whole range of things in between) and my job is to feel every bit of it. i have to remind myself that this allows me to live and love more fully.