For the Joy of Riding and Writing

For the last few years we have been trying to teach our Lexi how to ride a bike.  Technically, she could do it.  She’d warble down the street a bit but she had zero interest in continuing.  Interest wasn’t lacking.  She just couldn’t stand that she wasn’t proficient enough to zoom past everyone and stay at the front of the bike line. She is a bit competitive, that one.

So she just decided riding wasn’t for her.  Usually Scott would take Emma out to ride and I’d stay in with Lexi.  Or, when Emma really wanted both me and Scott to go, Lexi would whiz around on her scooter.  In Hilton Head this summer, Emma and her cousin rode their bike to the pool and she walked.

Last month, it was one of those days we were all out.  I was leaving the driveway on my bike and Lexi was standing with her scooter on the road looking further up the road as Scott and Emma had taken off.  I could see her squished face and she might have huffed.  I knew she couldn’t stand that she was being left behind. 

So I said, “Lexi, just go get your bike.”  I always encourage her to practice when we’re out but she always gives me an insistent “No!”  So it shocked me when she began marching down the driveway with some serious intent towards the garage.  Out she came with her bike and I started yelling “Scott!  Scott!”

Well, sure enough, Scott ran with her for a few seconds, let go and she just did it.  When she got off and realized she really could do it, she couldn’t wipe the smile off her face.

 

photo (3)-001 

For the next few days, all she wanted to do was go ride bikes which was just really weird hearing after years of hearing how much she hated bike riding.

Within two days, we had taught her how to take off on her own, how to stop and how to make a turn so she could keep riding at the end of the road.  And yes, as much as possible she made sure she was at the front of the line. 

I’ve been thinking about Lexi and her bike.

I realized that what kept her from starting was the fear of failure.  She wanted to be first.  We laugh, but how many times do we give up before we even start because we’re afraid to fail?  But, even more interesting, she decided to go for it when she finally realized by not even trying, she was missing out all together.

I realized this weekend at Allume, I have this same issue with blogging.  I admit it’s hard to see people that have been blogging for much less time be much more successful.  It’s not that I don’t celebrate their success–I’m so happy for them. 

But as for me and my blog, part of me just wants to give up and leave it to the folks that clearly know better what they’re doing.  But I remind myself the joy is in the doing, the writing or riding as it were, regardless of what place or rank I’m placed in.  Just as I wanted to shout at Lexi to just get up and ride because it’s FUN, I have to shout at myself, Amy, JUST WRITE. IT’S FUN, remember?!

And it is with that renewed sense of joy I came back from Allume and sit typing.  I want to reject the idea that I need to be first.  Reject that idea that sitting out is better.  I accept that I do it because success is not in numbers. It brings me joy and that’s enough.

What are you holding back from doing for fear of failure?  What do you need to just DO for the joy of it?

What I Wore Wednesday: Allume Conference Edition

I don’t know why, but part of my tears at the Allume conference were over the types of posts I post here.  I want to impart my love for God but I also really like to talk fashion and TV.  But then I post about something surface-y and I feel so entirely superficial.  Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to represent the whole me with each post and when pushed to choose, Jesus always wins. 

But that’s not being true to me either. 

After Summer of 7, I’ve looked at my clothes and makeup differently.  On the outside, I might dress the same but on the inside, I see now that I truly do it because I believe it’s an expression of the creativity that God gave me, not a vie for attention. 

Ann Voskamp said it best this weekend that “creativity is good theology”.  Sarah Markley said we separate the secular and spiritual too much.

I agree.

All good and beautiful things come from God.

When I see pretty fashion, I’m inspired to beauty and that reminds me of God’s beautiful creations, NOT the cover of Vogue. 

IMG_1179

IMG_1182

 

Source: indulgy.com via Amy on Pinterest

 

Jen, who I met at the airport on the way to Allume, had a wonderful post yesterday on (in)courage about Christian women sharing their beauty tips and it was so timely for me.  She says “We are fearfully and wonderfully made just exactly as we are, but do we convey that? Do we carry ourselves in such a way that others would believe that about us?”

 

IMG_1173

 

IMG_1178

 

Source: etoday.ru via Amy on Pinterest

 

 

My friend Dani and I have gone in circles talking about this and I’m more convinced than ever that we are free to express our creativity in our clothes.

 

IMG_1183

Source: google.com via Amy on Pinterest

 

 

HOWEVER, I still desire to be responsible with my money. 

Dani was amazing and offered pieces of her wardrobe for me to borrow and wear for the conference.  Dani and her very creative self helped me put these outfits together using many of her clothes so I didn’t spend hundreds of dollars on new clothes just for the conference.  Isn’t she awesome?  Thank you, friend!

 

IMG_1151

 

IMG_1167

 

Source: danweinrich.com via Amy on Pinterest

 

 

So with all that in mind, I share these outfits from Allume WITH the inspiration it evokes in me.  I really do come to appreciate God’s creations when I see fashion expressed with color and pattern in the same way.

 

IMG_1172 

Source: google.com via Amy on Pinterest

 

I can’t think of a better way than to end the 31 Days of Wisdom with these verses from our final chapter in Proverbs. 

When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

 

Be sure to check out the SmileBooth photos over on the Facebook page.  Kicking myself for not taking more!

This post is part of The Nester’s 31 Days Series

pleated poppy

This post is linked to WIWW

Wisdom of Allume 2012 and How it Made Me Cry

On Saturday afternoon at 4, you would have found me sitting on a piano bench against a conference hall wall with my face in my hands crying to a friend.

This conference newbie had officially become overwhelmed.

I was worried going into Allume that I may miss out on a session and while I did miss many wonderful sessions, at 4pm on Saturday it was clear the speakers God had led me to had struck a chord.

IMG_1069

On Thursday night Phil Vischer made us laugh and cry with his story about Big Idea Productions and reminded us to love God more than any dream we have.

Sarah Mae reminded us to keep our life more than any blog. 

IMG_1080

On Friday morning, Sarah Markley inspired me, reminding me to find God in the every day.  She taught me how to tether truth with story and made us cry when she read her story of how she found God in a fish.

 

IMG_1089

Darren Rowse humbly presented lessons he’d learned in the past 10 years of blogging.  What a blessing for him to share.  He gave me a laundry list of to-do items including knowing our audience.  But in the midst, I couldn’t help but feel a wee bit small knowing I started this blog 6 months before he started his first.  Or knowing his eBook sold $70,000 in 7 days and mine, well, didn’t.

IMG_1091

Friday afternoon Trina Holden was just what I needed.  She encouraged us to find our kingdom-driven why of blogging.  She reminded us smaller bloggers that it was a gift we had that we could interact so intimately with our current readers and that’s just what we should do.  Making even a 1% difference in 1 life is impact.

The Nester inspired by teaching us about how to find our purpose and helping us to say no when it’s needed. 

On Saturday Darren captured the crowd with his story of blogging. And the one person I had compared myself to reminded me I should only compare me to me.  Celebrate the growth that’s there.  He reinforced Trina’s comments to care for the readers I already have.  He challenged us to take small actions even if the big picture was daunting.  And most of all, he encouraged us to feast on the Lord.

Stephanie Bryant was a treasure of insight on creating and managing your online brand.

Tsh Oxenreider encouraged us once again to find our purpose in blogging, work smart and be real.  She inspired us to think outside the box and think about eBooks, training or podcasts.  She encouraged us to get an editorial calendar and delegate what we could.

And finally, Kat Lee burned with a passion as she spoke about knowing our audience and having a passion for their needs.  She talked about the body of Christ marching into the darkness and letting God shine.

It was then I walked out, managed to get some coffee with a friend, and then sat on a piano bench in a hall with her and cried.

The speakers were so full of wisdom.  I’ve spent nearly an entire month here posting about its benefits and I so wanted to soak it all up and do every single bit.  What is my purpose?  Who are my readers?  eBooks?  Training? Auto-responders?  Online brand?  I was overwhelmed with wanting to serve you well for the Kingdom’s sake that there was no clear starting point.  

I’m just a girl with a blog that loves Jesus and wants to share life with people she loves.

After the tears and the big breaths, I escaped to my room but managed to come out for dinner and the closing session.

Ann Voskamp closed with an absolutely beautiful, timely message.  I scratched on my notebook quickly every few sentences feeling as if I were scribing another chapter of Proverbs—you know, that one about blogging.  Most of all, she reminded me to turn my ear towards Christ.  Lean on the Guide not the guidebook.  If indeed I do have a place in blogging, He will guide me.

IMG_1139

I flew home yesterday, eager to get to my family realizing this was a lesson for all of us.  Life is overwhelming but God is in control.  We never know where to start or what to pick to do or what people think of us but if we’d just turn our ear towards Him, He has the answer.

The fear of human opinion disables;
trusting in God protects you from that. Proverbs 29:25

———————————————————————————————————————————-

I was an obsessive note-taker at Allume. Could I serve you by typing them and sharing as a PDF?  Please let me know and I will be happy to and share on our Facebook page. UPDATE: Doc is posted to the Facebook page!  Enjoy!

Thank you for reading, my dear readers.  Please know you were thought of intensely all weekend.

31 Days: God’s Purpose Prevails Over a Person’s Plans

31dayswisdomlong

 

Next week at this time I’ll be in the midst of my first blogging conference, Allume.  I simply cannot wait to be around hundreds of women that get this whole blogging deal.

In the meantime, planning has abounded as the time draws closer.

People are already packing (I’ll probably still be doing laundry Thursday morning!).

We’re updating spreadsheets for our name tags.

We’re paying for tickets for head shots and morning tea.

We’re signing up for group meetings.

We’re picking out ballet flats and scarves.

We’re choosing which sessions to attend. (3pm Friday. Help?)

We’re planning gifts.

Some are even organized enough to put an entire notebook together (I’m totally jealous of your organizational skills!)

We have all these plans.

Proverbs 19:21 reminds us the wise realize the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

We have to be open to our plans falling apart. 

Maybe we spill something on our new shirt at dinner so we go back to our room and find an overwhelmed roommate needing a friend. 

Maybe we oversleep and miss tea but the Lord knows we need extra sleep for an emotionally exhausting day. 

Heck, maybe we miss our entire flight and end up not going and never really understand why.

All sorts of interruptions to our plans are possible.

God has his own plans about what Allume is supposed to look like for each one of us. Yes, let’s prepare and enter spreadsheets and choose our scarves, but let’s also be open in those often frustrating moments to remember God’s purposes are prevailing. 

Challenge: What interruptions in your life could be God’s purposes prevailing?  Give thanks to Him for caring enough to interrupt.

This post is part of The Nester’s 31 Days Series

Allume 2012 Conference Newbies

Allume Community

 

Hello visiting Allume attendees!  We are just 17 days away from seeing each other in person at Allume 2012!  Today’s post is especially for the newbies.  We put out a call on Friday for you guys to link-up and now it’s time to get busy linking!

Because I want as many newbies included in the link-up I’m leaving the form of your post up to you but here’s a few prompts to consider:

  • Do a general intro post—the elevator pitch about you and your blog.
  • List the Top 5 things you’re hoping to gain from Allume.
  • List the Top 5 things you’re freaking out about and maybe we’ll get some alumni helping us out in your comments.

Still don’t think you can write a post?  Just link to your main site!  We want to be able to meet you.

As I mentioned before, feel free to join the Facebook Group for Allume Newbies. There’s some great conversation happening!

 

Since I’m a newbie too I thought I’d post the top 5 things I’m freaking out about:

  1. I didn’t want to but I’m freaking out a little about my outfits.  Ugh, I know it’s so lame.  I just want to be comfortable, warm and cute but since it’s my first time, I’m not sure how many outfits I need and how dressy they need to be.  Plus, I’m flying and I don’t want to have to check a bag but they keep saying leave room for swag and oh my goodness, I can’t do both without it costing a fortune!
  2. What if I don’t attend the right break-out session?  There are so many great speakers and I’m already having a hard time picking which one I’ll attend.  What if I miss the best Allume session ever??  Which sessions are on your list?
  3. I am really good at sticking my foot in my mouth and being socially awkward.  I just really hope I’m able to not look like a dork in front of all of you!
  4. While I’m SUPER excited to meet so many of you, I’m really hoping to walk away with some knowledge and clarity.  I’m just praying that I have my eyes and ears open enough to receive that.
  5. While the Allume organizers have been amazing about dietary restrictions, I am a tad nervous about being gluten-free at a conference.  Any other GF folks making back-up plans?

Any newbies sharing the same concerns?  Any alumni want to share some advice?

 

Ok, enough about me, let’s meet each other!  Link up below!