happy birthday wee spoon

spoonful 7I've missed this little space. My head was a little fuzzy with planning and dreaming. All the while, thoughts jumped out at me and I so wanted to share them but I struggled to get myself back here. I had so many thoughts, so many lessons to sift through, that I got stuck. I got stuck on where to begin.

But today is really special to me. Today the wee spoon turns one. I know that might seem really small; it might seem like nothing big. But it's huge for me.

All you mommas out there know [God bless you by the way] that so much growth and change happens in just one year. Your little one starts so helpless and sleepy, so in need of you all the time but with each day they learn to smile and reach and crawl.

They still need you but they start to form into a person apart from you – they start to grow little wings.

It’s a miracle, really.

I started this little space four days after my 26th birthday. It was a present to myself; a present to be bold and brave and try something that had been nudging and yanking at my heart.

I figured people are typically nice around your birthday. If I ever wanted to be super vulnerable and share what was on my heart there's no better time than around the day I was born, right?

I mean, no one would tell me my blog was poop on my birthday.

I had a rush of anxiety after that first post. I specifically remember driving in my car, a few days later and my hands were wet with sweat. My stomach flipped upside down. I thought I might faint.

I was having a vulnerability hangover.

It’s a phrase I’ve borrowed from an author I love and admire. It’s that moment you wonder, "Did I say too much? Did I really just share my pain and struggles and hit publish for anyone to see?”

You’re thoughts revert from “Good job, you did it lady!” to “think anyone would notice if I crawled in a hole and never came out?”

I haven't committed or stuck with hardly anything for more than a year, other than marriage of course. Though this space is different. I didn’t vow in front of God and the most important people in my life that I’d love this blank white space for better or for worse. That I’d show up – even on the days I didn’t feel like it.

I don't have anyone telling me I have to write.

I come here because I want it and need it. 

Truth is, I’ve always been more of a dreamer than a doer. I think that's what made starting this space so difficult because I knew if I dove in, my head would tell me to just give up when it felt hard, when I felt like I had nothing to say.

But my heart is stubborn and wouldn't let me turn around. My heart wouldn’t let this be a thing I did once and just let fizzle. It meant too much.

You, dear reader, mean too much. 

Because when it comes to words, I'm an all or nothing kind of gal.

I also knew when I showed up here, I had to give you my real heart, total transparency. I couldn’t just give you stories of things I’ve heard, the leftovers on my plate. I had to give you my experiences, my trials – my skinned knees and broken heart too.

And that meant not simply sitting behind a screen. It meant actually leaving this space to live with arms stretched open wide, it meant stepping outside my comfort zone and trying, verse never starting out of fear of falling.

It meant getting to know our neighbors by name and having honest talks with my husband in the thick of it instead of running to our room, closing the door and writing how I felt in my journal.

It meant getting out of bed and facing the day when I didn’t really want to.

I wish I could say the flu like symptoms subsided after writing here for a year. I still have moments of wanting to go into hiding after hitting the publish button or feeling like I just walked out my house with no clothes on.

But as quickly as those flu symptoms come so do all those good feelings too, feelings of freedom and strength and openness. Feelings of unlocking the parts of me that are begging to break through and be shared.

Feelings of connecting with a friend or stranger over our shared experience, story and struggle.

Feelings of learning that we really aren’t all that different.

We both want to be known and loved fully. We both want safe spaces to be vulnerable and share stories of shame. And we don’t want just a head nod or someone to say, “I’m sorry” we want someone to grab hold of us tight and walk with us through it.

This little space on the web has been my place to let all those thoughts and feelings rise to the surface. It's been a place to wrestle through struggles and dreams. It's been a place to connect and uplift and encourage.

It's been a place to finally recognize the parts that have been hiding.

I hope you know dear one, there is room for you here too. There is room for your voice, your ideas, and your dreams.

Don't think the mold has been voted on, we need you just as you are. Don't think the web is already crowded with voices; we need your voice too.

Don't think your story is small or insignificant. You're living a grand adventure, a beautiful romance, a story of forgiveness and getting up to try again.

Thank you for being here dear one, thanks for helping this space grow. I love you so much for it.

xoxo


p.s YOUR TURN. Tell me friend, what have you committed to lately? What have you stuck with, even on the days of doubt and uncertainty?

How has it felt to not give up? I want to hear about it.

On Sunday, November 1st at 9pm [EST] I'll pick one comment and send you a gift in the mail.

You see that journal way up top? You'll get that beauty. And even better, that journal features original artwork from a student in Kosovo.

That journal helps a woman go to college.

Check out Flora Stationary & take a peek at their bio below. I just adore what these women are doing.


 

flora stationaryFlora Stationery started in mid-2014 after one of the founders, Ashley VanBuskirk, travelled to Kosovo to work and study abroad. After meeting an inspiring young woman who was struggling to pay for a college education, Ashley and her sister, Victoria decided to start Flora Stationery. The goal of Flora is to create a sustainable scholarship fund for young women in developing countries who would otherwise not have the option to attend college. Since launching the organization, nearly 20 women have been supported on full-tuition college scholarships. 

Mission statement: Flora Stationery does not rescue women from poverty. Rather, we empower them with an education while enabling the consumer to be apart of this inspiring process of funding futures.  

 

 

on fences

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I didn't want a white picket fence.

Let me give you a scenario. There's a girl [me] whose just returned from living on a farm in rural Nicaragua. Showers happened when it rained enough, electricity was powered by the sun, and numbers 1 & 2 were done outside. She was also sleeping under a mosquito net, in a bed made of bamboo.

There's a guy who emailed this girl every two weeks and is seeing her for the first time, in a long time, on New Year's Eve.

Any bit of romance was shot with my ranting about what I had done and seen and been exposed too. Nothing says "let's kiss at midnight" than the words - compost toilet. I was completely out of sorts and confused and figured this guy wouldn't understand.

And I figured he was the kind of guy who wanted a pretty house with a well manicured lawn, surrounded by a white picket fence. And at this moment in time, that landscape and lifestyle made me so angry and upset.

I wish I could say I didn't yell, though I think I did. I totally yelled when he said he needed to go the bathroom and I couldn't understand why he wouldn't just go outside beside the tree.

I mean, that's what I had done for the past 2 months.

"It's freezing cold, Maeve. And, there is a bathroom inside."

Mmmm. Yes. You are right.

Though for a girl who had been exposed to a developing country for the first time, my world was flipped upside down and inside out. Nothing felt the same. I cried on my Dad's shoulder when a friend asked if I wanted to get a pedicure.

Travel changes us. I believe that with all my heart. But as time goes on, as we remain "home', it gets easier to settle back in. Suddenly, you don't have a nervous break down in a grocery store. Suddenly, a hot a shower and toilet and pedicure seem pretty nice.

But it's the fences. And here's the deal, I don't dislike fences. I actually find a white picket fence surrounding a garden or patio really beautiful. We currently have a fence.

It's the feeling of comfort, of convenience, of standing still.

Because lately I've prayed a big prayer. I've prayed to be used up, I've prayed for God to hijack my day. I've prayed that He'll make it about Him completely.

But sometimes I pray with hands clenched tight.

I pray to be used up, yes, but in a way that I see fit. My plan's the best plan, right?

I pray for God to hijack my day. But please Lord, don't inconvenience or change my schedule too much. I've got things to do and people to see.

I'll pray for God to use us, on our street and in this world. And yet I see my neighbors sitting on their front stoop; the little girl with curls blowing bubbles. What if I walked over with some chalk and drew a picture with that little girl and talked with her mom?

There is power in the small acts of love y'all. So much power.

I pray to be ripped of my comforts - a hot shower and warm bed. But God, I really love gathering folks in my home, so having enough space to do that would be helpful.

Do you see what's happening here friend? Clenched fists. An inability to truly surrender. A "me" focus.

I hold so tightly to things - a home for gathering, quiet mornings, a busy schedule that I have control of. I set up boundaries without even realizing it.

Be vulnerable but not too vulnerable.

Be available but only when it works for me.

And boundaries are needed, yes. They are good. We can't give to every single person on this planet. We can't meet every need.

But what happens when our boundaries become a fortress? What happens when we've built a fence around our heart and folks can't find a place to come sit and stay a while?

Truth is, this prayer is messy and uncomfortable.

It calls us to conversations that may leave us tired in the morning. It calls us to introduce ourselves to the woman next door with hardened eyes and thick skin. It calls us to get rid of our stuff and spend money on people who may never pay us back.

It calls us to quit our jobs, sell our stuff, say no when we really want to say yes.

And that can be a scary prayer. But in all the mess and awkward moments, it seems worth it too. It's seems worth it to relinquish control, to give until it hurts, to surround ourselves with people in need of community.

I want to challenge us [me included] to step outside the fence. To see what lies on the other side. I think it might be better. I think it might be worth it.

And what if we encouraged each other when we do it? What if we cheered each other on?

So here's my request: Can you share your small act of love in the comment section below? And if you don't want to toot your own horn [though, I think you should] toot somebody else's.

In one week I'm going to pick one person. That person will receive a small gift from me in the mail. Who doesn't love mail?

Share below dear ones. Small acts of love y'all - that's all it takes.

xoxo