Florida Vacay: Part 1

4F54D1F3-70B9-44B0-8CDE-A2E8BF9090BC

As of this summer, my first trip to Florida is officially in the books! What a great almost-week spent with my family. ♥ We hadn’t been all together since our group road trip to Colorado last year, so our time together was precious and long-overdue.

We stayed in this CHARMING beach house (which Dad has already said he would like to stay at again…!) that was only two blocks from the beach. My brother Corey moved to Jacksonville last Christmas for a new meteorologist position, and he worked at the station a few times while we were there. But he spent as much time with us as he could, and we filled our days with lots of fun outings, including beach trips, exploring St. Augustine, and a day at Disneyworld!

 

I really enjoyed our trolley tour of St. Augustine. Corey had taken Mom and Robyn when they visited him earlier in the year, but they both liked it so much that they decided they wanted to go back to show the rest of us. Trolleys stopped at 20+ locations across town, and you could hop on/hop off as many times as you wanted to see the sights (and get some gelato, of course).

 

EC0270ED-21B1-435E-A8E6-BC3186025467

 

 

My people.

 

One particular place my dad wanted to stop and see was the Lightner Museum, a huge historic hotel in downtown St. Augustine. It was filled to the brim with bizarre collections of antiquities – everything from crystal dishes to shaving mugs to musical instruments to pocket watches. The picture above is a cafe now, but when the building was a hotel, it was actually a giant pool!

 

Daniel, Robyn, and I explored the St. Augustine distillery, which had a very cool atmosphere. We even got to taste-test a few things and try a sip of their bourbon on National Bourbon Day.

 

We met back up with Corey and my parents at the Castillo de San Marcos – the oldest masonry fort in the continental US. Unfortunately, we were a little too late to go inside, but it was still neat to walk around the outside, and the view of the bay was gorgeous!

B9988B57-F553-411C-A0AD-503122A21389

The Shades were reunited after all these years. ;)

 

When we got back to the beach house, I decided to go take a look at the ocean for the first time on the trip. It was so nice to be so close! We spent the rest of the day cooking, playing games, and watching movies….and prepared our minds for DISNEYWORLD!

Part 2 coming soon!

Hendrickson Family Photo Shoot

Hendrickson-18

I don’t have anything to say but WOW. This was such a great morning, and although I could write for days about how fun/sweet/loud it was spending those hours with Cromer & Co., I’m just going to let the photos speak for themselves. Enjoy! ♥♥♥

 

 

I still can’t get over how cute the photos of my in-laws are – Christy captured them so well, and she even got Steve to smile with his teeth! ;)

 

Hendrickson-3

 

And just look at these babes… ♥ ♥ ♥  I love being an aunt so much!

Hendrickson-40Hendrickson-47

Thanks again to Cromer & Co. for making our session such a terrific experience! Wrangling 17 people (including three very squirmy littles) is no easy feat, and Christy was a champ. Two thumbs way, way up. You can see more of their work on their websiteFacebook, and Instagram.

Daniel’s 30th Birthday Party

C3BB89F0-E81C-44D2-8530-6A11B7EA1D76

I really might have outdone myself this time.

I know I say this about every party…(and I’ll probably never stop saying it)…but seriously, this was one of my all-time favs. I had so much fun planning it, and I did my very best to make it a party that DANIEL would like, not just a party that I wanted him to like. I owe a HUMONGOUS thank you to Les and Dara Wesberry, who graciously let me use their backyard/kitchen and went above and beyond to help me get everything ready – y’all, I could not have done this without you! I love you both! ♥

 

My inspiration for this party was Daniel’s favorite things: soft pretzels, backyard games, a bunch of his best bros, a cigar bar, and a scotch tasting.

I borrowed tables and chairs from our church, tablecloths and burlap runners (and the tree trimmings) from Dara, and started each place setting with a beer flight placemat from Target and a mini bottle of Jack tied to a bottle of Coke. I got to re-purpose my donut wall from Brianna’s baby shower for the soft pretzel bar, and desserts included chocolate cake in a jar and homemade cupcakes (chocolate whiskey and peanut butter cup).

 

My favorite part was the cigar and scotch bar. The vintage matchbooks were a unique touch, and the scotch was a Scottish Highlands brand that was new to most of the guys, but a huge hit nonetheless!

18DBCC23-A4CA-4903-92DD-18478C6E3B1E

 

 

 

I even managed to snag a picture with the birthday boy. ;)

6DF6E99A-6299-463D-9B85-30211C6029DE

But before you start thinking that this party was perfect…let me assure you that one thing went terribly, terribly wrong. And that was the beer cheese. I had found a recipe on Pinterest that looked super easy, and it was super NOT. I don’t know exactly where I went wrong, but this was a MASSIVE party fail. Just goes to show that you never know what happens behind the scenes!

If you need help planning a party, let ya girl know – I’d love to get ice cream or coffee with you sometime and talk about your vision!

Married Monday: 21 Little Ways to Love Your Husband

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, outdoor and natureNo automatic alt text available.No automatic alt text available.

Look at those babies, y’all! ♥

Daniel and I were 23 and 21, respectively, when we took these engagement photos on that cold November day, and we were absolutely crazy about each other. I remember thinking, “How could I possibly love this guy more??” I couldn’t imagine feeling any more affection for him than I already did. But as we have experienced marriage together over the last six years, I have learned that love really can deepen, and methods of showing love can change. You find out that there’s way more to romance than flowers and date nights.

According to Gary Chapman, there are five emotional love languages, or ways that people feel loved by others: physical touch, receiving gifts, acts of service, quality time, and words of affirmation. Most people like all of them to a certain degree, but there are usually one or two that stand out more than the others. A lot of times, spouses don’t have the same love language, which is why it’s so important to be aware of what they are. A husband could spend all day doing acts of service for his wife because that’s what makes him feel cared for, but the wife will just be frustrated because he didn’t spend any quality time with her. Daniel and I are that way: he is pretty evenly split between physical touch and acts of service, and I am all about words of affirmation, although gifts is a really close second. Knowing what love language speaks the loudest to your husband (and to yourself) can be life-changing for your marriage.

If you’ve never taken the quiz before, give it a whirl and ask your husband to take it too. When you get his results, check out the ideas below for ways to love him in the way that’s most meaningful to him. If you aren’t married, you could even have your family members or close friends take the quiz to find out how to best show them love too!


PHYSICAL TOUCH:

  • Give him a back rub/neck rub/foot rub. Don’t wait for him to ask – offer!
  • Grab his hand anytime you’re walking together.
  • Prioritize intimacy. Receiving affection from him coldly or going long lengths of time without being together can be devastating to a “touch” husband.
  • Sit close and cuddle on the couch when you watch a movie.
  • Always make hugs and kisses part of your hellos and goodbyes.

RECEIVING GIFTS:

  • On your weekly grocery run, pick up his favorite snack. Instead of putting it in the pantry, tie it up with a bow and put it on his side of the bed for him to find later.
  • If he has an Amazon list or something similar, keep an eye on it and buy something off of it once in a while. Not for a birthday or anniversary; just because.
  • Make a special dessert you know he loves – bonus points if it’s something he likes but you don’t.
  • If you need gift ideas, pay attention to sentences that start with “I’ve always wanted ___.” (Personally, I keep a private note on my phone to keep track of things Daniel says he would love to do or own.)

ACTS OF SERVICE:

  • This skill grows with time, but learning to anticipate your husband’s needs can be a huge gift to him. Make his coffee while he’s in the shower. Replace his toiletries or favorite snacks before he runs out. Pack or lay out outfit ideas for him to pack when you go on vacation. Make sure the clothes he wears for work are clean and ready when he needs them. Intentionally watch for little ways you can make his life easier.
  • Do a chore for him that he dreads, liking mowing the lawn or taking out the trash.
  • Pamper him: run him a bath, bring him a cold drink, give him a warm towel straight out of the dryer, rub lotion into his tired feet, etc.
  • Get his car detailed for him, or detail it yourself.

QUALITY TIME:

  • Plan a fun day together or a date night – something he enjoys doing and something that will allow you to have comfortable conversations with each other.
  • Go for a scenic drive or take a walk and ask him these questions.
  • Ask for his advice about something and really listen to what he says. Show him that you value his input.
  • Whatever you’re doing together, put your phone away. The key word here is quality time. Don’t make him compete for your attention.

WORDS OF AFFIRMATION:

  • Write chalk love notes on the sidewalk for him to read when he gets home from work.
  • Text him throughout the day – how hot he looked when he was working out, how thankful you are to be his wife, how proud you were to see him serving in your church…the mushier, the better!
  • When he works hard on a project or does something nice for you, point it out and tell him how much you appreciate it.
  • Hide a sweet card for him to find in his sock drawer, his car, or his briefcase.

A couple of caveats for these lists:

First of all, I am NOT advocating that a wife should be the only giving/loving spouse. Marriage is supposed to be 100/100: both of you seeking to out-serve each other. Husbands should work just as hard to love their wives. But I am not a husband; I’m a wife, so I’m writing from the wife’s perspective. And although I don’t have control over what my husband does, I do have control over what I do. Therefore, I AM advocating that wives go out of their way to spoil their husbands with love. God intended wives to be their husbands’ #1 fans, after all!

Second, attitude is EVERYTHING. You might be doing something nice, but if you have a dead look on your face or act distant, bored, or inconvenienced while doing it, your actions are useless. Try to think about if the situation were reversed. If he acted that way toward you – doing kind things purely out of resigned obligation – would you feel loved by that?

Third, when marriage is hard, you won’t feel like doing these things. Love is a choice, and respect and kindness are gifts. At some point (even if it’s just for one 10-minute argument), your spouse will not deserve them. Give them anyway. They are much easier to give when they are earned, but it is much more powerful to give them when they aren’t.


I hope you find these tips helpful! I love lists almost as much as I love practical ideas for making my husband feel special. My last piece of advice today is that no matter what your husband’s primary love language is, one of the absolute best ways to love him is to pray for him. Pray scripture over him for the times when he is overwhelmed (Ps 27:1), when he feels inadequate (John 14:27), when he is overcome with worry (Eph 3:20), for his relationships with others (Luke 6:36-38), and for his relationship with you (Phil 2:1-6). I think we underestimate how powerful prayer really is, and in the fight against sin, no weapon is stronger or more effective. ♥

This post is part of a series I started in order to expose myths and lies we’ve been told about married life, celebrate moments of joy and growth, chew on hard truths and sprinkle them with grace, and remind others (and myself!) that marriage doesn’t work without Christ in it. I have lots of ideas, but I’d love your input too! What topics would you like to see covered?

Life Update: The Park + The Coffee Shop + The Woods + The Desert = The Memories

One of my favorite things to do, weirdly, is go back through all of my pictures on my phone. I always come across random things I documented that I forgot to post on social media, or funny screenshots of texts from family members, or ideas for parties that I wanted to save on Pinterest. I especially love getting to relive good memories, and this last photo purge was FULL of them!

#1: The Park. What a blessing it was to spend time with my dear friend Brittany and her cuties earlier this summer. She actually has another boy now, too – I think an east Texas road trip is in order to go meet him!

#2: The Coffee Shop. A new coffee shop opened in Durant this year, and even though I’ve only been a few times, since I’m not a coffee drinker, every visit has been spent with good friends. I love the atmosphere of the place, and I’ll definitely use it for a shower or two in the future.

EEA18289-76B3-4181-A41C-F8736AC5F3CC

#3. The Woods. Boy, have the Love County woods been good to us. I absolutely love going to see Daniel’s family and adventuring on their land! It’s my favorite place to take Fitz because he can run around like a maniac, we take four-wheeler rides on the trails, and we get to revisit the spot where we married 6 years ago.

B019313B-14C6-4DE8-AB20-DF3FCFF5EAFC

3CF88720-D6B1-4B4D-BC49-420DAEB7EE88

And also I get to snuggle my nephews (one of which has too much energy to actually snuggle or take pictures with me), which is always a good time. :) Also, this picture is already so out of date – Luke is HUGE now!

#4. The Desert. I had the privilege of traveling for work earlier this year – Merrill Lynch hosted us at their annual client conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. And HOLY. MOLY. I felt like a queen! The resort was beautiful, my suite was huge, and there was so much attention to detail: chocolates on the pillows, mini jars of honey for your tea, and my toiletries were even organized for me by the housekeeping staff.

One of the best parts of the trip? The “field trips” they took us on: dinner, dancing, and hot air balloon rides in the desert, and an evening at the Musical Instrument Museum.

We were so spoiled for days with delicious food, musical performances, and guest speakers, including Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank!

One of the best things that happened all summer was Mother’s Day weekend with my bestest best and her little family. After YEARS of hard work, Jennifer graduated from med school and is officially a doctor!! I am so crazy proud of her.

Few things are sweeter than getting to hold your person’s little person. ♥

74A22EB0-8517-407B-909F-98719408B19D

Finally, here’s a sneak peek at the EPIC 30th birthday party I threw for Daniel! A separate post is coming soon, don’t you worry. ;)

Thanks for reading!

A Baby Shower for Dara + Baby Berry

2D032AEF-9273-4B08-9571-BEE428B87B50

Last Sunday, I had the great privilege of throwing a baby shower for my sweet friend Dara, and it was the cutest thing, if I do say so myself! Dara and her husband Les are in my community group from church, and we were just over the moon for them when they told us she was pregnant. I knew instantly that I had to throw her a party – that was the easy part. The hard part came when it was time to pick a theme, because the Wesberrys decided to wait until the birth to find out if “Baby Berry” is a he or a she!

Soon after they told us the news, our group quickly started referring to the baby as “Baby Berry,” so I decided to carry the berry motif into the baby shower too. At first, I worried that it might be too girly, if Baby Berry is a boy, but then I thought…who cares?? The shower is kiiiiiind of for the baby, but mostly for Mama, and I definitely want a shower that the mom likes. Dara is super girly and always looks so cute, so I knew this theme would be right up her alley.

55F2308F-2A6B-4CEC-AFB5-C447CCFD2289

The menu included mini berry cheesecakes (thanks Mistie!), mini strawberry shortcakes, and “pop”corn chicken (since, ya know, she’s about to POP). Two of my favorite touches, however, were the strawberry mason jars and the balloon garland. I loved the triple-layer detail of the drinking glasses – doily, strawberry, tied with twine. And that balloon garland….whoo, y’all. Labor of love, right there! I blew all of those balloons up with my own hot air, and tied each one individually to a long piece of twine. It took hours, but it was worth it!! (I have since been told about something magical called balloon decorating strip on Amazon, which I will 100% use next time. lol)

We played a couple of games, including a hilarious round of Baby Pictionary, but my favorite activity was making a birth day banner for Dara. I bought a blank pennant banner and gave each person a piece of it to write out an encouraging note or prayer to Dara. After I strung all the pieces back together, I gave it to her to put in her “go bag” so she can hang it up at the hospital for encouragement while she’s in labor! I absolutely adore this idea, and I hope to replicate it at every baby shower I host from now on.

On the way out, guests grabbed favor baskets – berry baskets filled with a bottled drink, a ring pop, and a note encouraging them to “Pop It When She Pops” and enjoy a toast on whatever day Dara has the baby.

Cute little mama with her mama. :) I swear, I have the prettiest friends, and I know she’ll have the prettiest baby – boy or girl! Can’t wait to cuddle that little one!! ♥

If you need help planning a party, let ya girl know – I’d love to get ice cream or coffee with you sometime and talk about your vision!

Questions I Don’t Have the Answers For

80B5E5AA-5B5F-491A-9EA3-920DA3641AB0

Why is it that bras for little boobs are pretty and cute and come in 41+ different colors, and bras for big boobs are boring and sad and come in nude and slightly darker nude?

How is it possible to detest everything in my closet, but when I start to get rid of something, I develop a deeply sentimental relationship with it?

What’s the deal with fun-size candy? What’s so fun about getting LESS candy??

How long will women keep getting offended about being told they should be in the kitchen before they realize that the kitchen is freaking awesome because the kitchen has food?

Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? (I’ve seriously wondered this since I was a kid)

Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, “I think I’ll squeeze these things and drink whatever comes out”?

How do you find the perfect balance between complete laziness and glorifying busyness?

Why is it that when you fix your hair and put some makeup on, you don’t see anybody, but when you go out in public looking like a homeless ghost, you run into literally everyone you know?

How is it possible to be COMPLETELY full of green beans and yet always have room for dessert?

Why are carbs so hypnotizingly delicious??

If you’re a vegan who ran a marathon and got your dogs from a shelter, how do you decide which one to bring up first?

Are narwhals nars or whals?

Why is pasta so hard to measure unless you’re cooking for 37 people?

Why is it so easy for some people to get pregnant and so difficult for others?

How will we ever know if a color shade is consistent? Like, we can agree that the sky is blue…but what if we’re seeing two totally different shades of blue??

Why, when someone says “30 years ago”, does my brain still automatically go to the 70’s?

What on earth is the difference between fancy ketchup and regular ketchup?

Why do dentists always ask you two dozen questions when their hands are in your mouth?

How long will we continue to fool ourselves into thinking that gossip is a good way to bond with someone?

Why does nail polish on your fingernails chip within the first 2 hours, but nail polish on your toes lasts like 10 million years?

How does losing weight actually work? Like…where does it go?

When do babies maturing into young children stop getting away with chunky fat rolls, big bellies, and leg dimples being cute?

What are neighborhood dogs saying when they bark at each other every morning?

For that last one, I’m 99.7% convinced that my dog Fitz is part of the totally-real communication chain from 101 Dalmatians. Or he has a girlfriend that he didn’t get to bark at all night since we keep him in the house until we leave for work. Or he’s sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. We’ll never know for sure. 

 

The Epic Hendrickson Weekend

E7F23854-FF29-4CB4-9BE9-31DF033EE6228D92C206-5A5E-41E9-AF82-F2C0B757E70F80B5E5AA-5B5F-491A-9EA3-920DA3641AB0833F0309-7F2F-4EE8-99F4-2FB9C162B26CD8F05C0E-C6CC-4823-9449-6A6EC7EED6D604D5EA0D-0EC6-41CD-9CBE-C0BCB629919CA93C82D1-863D-49C1-B44A-4994A386A155

We just got home from the most divine extended family weekend! It’s been almost a year and half since ALL of the Hendricksons have been together, and we spent the last three days eating, swimming, making the babies laugh, riding 4-wheelers, chasing the dogs around, playing games, and more eating. It was so hard to come home!

One of the best parts of the weekend, though, was taking updated family photos. Christy and Cody of Cromer & Co. were SO fun to work with, and Christy was a total champ at wrangling our crazy family early in the morning, especially the kiddos. She sent us this sneak peak on Saturday and I’ve already looked at the pictures roughly 37 times – I can’t wait to see the rest!

It’ll be awhile before we’re all together again, so for now, I’m cherishing these sweet photos and counting down the days until we’re in the same zip code. ♥

Thanks again to Cromer & Co. for making our session such a great experience! You can see more of their work on their website, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

For the Skeptics: My Top 5 Reasons for Staying in a Social Marketing Business

image

“That’s a lot for a pair of leggings.”
“I’ll just grab the wax melts from Walmart.”
“That much for a wrap?? I’ve got Saran wrap and lotion.”
“Gummy vitamins work just fine.”
“Who pays that kind of money for mascara?”
“I heard you can drink apple cider vinegar to lose weight.”
“I can find affordable jewelry at TJ Maxx.”
“Pink drink? I take gummy vitamins, I’m good!”
“I don’t need fancy cookware, I just buy the cheap stuff.”
“People are crazy for spending that much on shampoo.”
“Skincare is skincare. Whatever works!”

I’ve heard all of those things. Heck, I’ve said all of those things. I will be the first to admit: I absolutely never, ever, EVER thought I would be part of a social marketing company. I made fun of people in them and thought they were naive and annoying. If you read the first post I wrote when I started with my company, you know that already. But I wanted to share a little bit more about what I do, because I think people need to know why my perspective on this industry changed. I’ve spent too much time worrying what others think, and I’ve finally decided to quit worrying and just do my thing.

For years, I have watched people do all kinds of things to provide for their families. White-collar jobs, blue-collar jobs, chopping firewood, selling produce, flipping houses, trading guns, breeding dogs, selling handmade goods on Etsy, baking desserts, opening boutiques, taking photos, running salons, freelance writing, blogging, cleaning houses – the list goes on and on and on. And the most amazing thing is, friends of these entrepreneurs can’t wait to show their support. They share their social media posts, visit their businesses often, spend money on their products or services, and encourage others to do the same. It’s beautiful!

But what if that same person decided to to join a social marketing company?

Few likes.
No shares.
Little to no support.
Snarky comments, eye rolling, smirking, and pity.

Whyyyyyy??? 

This seems like a total double standard to me. Why are we so quick to cheer for our friend opening a new brick-and-mortar clothing store, but when another friend joins a social marketing company and chooses to start sharing the clothes she already wears and loves, we unfollow her on Facebook and start avoiding conversations with her? Where is the disconnect??

I know what part of the problem is. It’s *those* people. You know the ones – the ones who stalk you. The ones who make every conversation about their products or business opportunity. The ones who, although you are complete strangers, add you to their groups without asking first and send you awkward, pushy messages about why you should join their team or buy product from them.

Listen, I GET IT. Those people are the worst. I know, because I’ve been one of those people. I made so many mistakes in the beginning of my own social marketing journey, and if you are one of the people who I offended or frustrated, I am so incredibly sorry. People like that represent the industry poorly, and that’s exactly why I had such a bad taste in my mouth about it for such a long time. But now, after being part of one for a few years, I finally understand that not everybody is like that. Not everybody sees you as nothing more than another prospect. And it’s silly to villainize an entire industry just because a few people aren’t doing it right.

Here’s why I’ve stayed WITH MONAT.

1. I got to start my own “business” without going bankrupt. I’ve always had a tiny entrepreneurial streak, but the thought of starting a business from the ground up was intimidating. When I became part of MONAT, literally everything was done for me. Marketing, my own website, a Customer Support team, training materials, manufacturing, shipping, samples, full-size products – everything I needed was right at my fingertips, and I didn’t have to create any of it myself. It would take tens of thousands of dollars to do all of that if I was starting my own business elsewhere, and it would take a long time to start actually seeing a profit. With MONAT, I made my startup cost back, plus more, in less than two months. I don’t have to keep inventory; I don’t have to make anything by hand; I don’t have to package and ship anything; I don’t have to pay employees. Nearly all of my work takes place online or on the phone. It’s honestly perfect.

2. I would use the products even if I didn’t sell them. I wish so badly that I had taken more “before” pictures. But truthfully, no picture can tell you how healthy my hair is now. It is as shiny as a new penny, it feels weightless and luxuriously soft, and there are so many hair woes that I don’t have to deal with anymore, like dandruff, acne on my hairline, split ends, getting oily quickly, and frizz. I’ve gone back and used multiple other brands several times, including expensive salon brands, just to make sure I hadn’t talked myself into liking MONAT more because I sold it. But every single time, my old hair problems started to come back, and I felt like my hair was coated with product and weighed down by it. After the third or fourth time, I finally decided it’s just not worth trying anything else, because nothing else works as well.

3. My income has paid for some seriously epic stuff. Because of MONAT, Daniel and I got to fly one of our wedding photographers to meet us at Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska and take anniversary pictures. I mean….seriously?? We never could have done that if not for my extra income, and I will cherish those pictures forever. I’ve also been able to randomly treat myself and buy things I would normally feel guilty spending money on, like Steve Madden boots. I got to take one of my best friends on a little shopping spree, just because. And I even earned a free trip to Las Vegas and got to take Daniel with me!

4. I love the flexibility. With any other business, if you’re not open, you’re not earning. But with MONAT, it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing or not doing; I am literally always earning residual income. Shampoo and conditioner are consumable products, which means you eventually run out and need more, which means I earn income from my client base every month because someone always needs more. The other great thing is that this gig can be as big or as small as I want it to be. I know people who joined simply to have the product discount, and I know other people who have quit their own full-time jobs AND retired their husbands because of how much income they are bringing in.

5. The “before and after” stories are one of the best parts. Getting texts from friends with before-and-after pictures and excited messages about how good their hair feels is SO special to me. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear their stories, and to see the results other people have had on social media. Hair is such a huge part of our self-esteem, for women and men alike, and it is an honor to have helped so many people fall in love with their hair again. Hands down, it’s one of the best parts about what I do!


I still forget sometimes that I’m in social marketing. And honestly, I think it’s because I don’t feel like a salesman. Seriously, I don’t. Sharing shampoo is exactly the same as telling a friend about your new favorite restaurant or the great movie you saw last weekend. People recommend good things every single day. The only difference is that some of us actually get paid for it.

Social marketing was never for me until I found MY company, until I found something that became a permanent life change. At the end of the day, everyone you know – including someone in a social marketing business – is just trying to do the best they can for themselves, their families, and their futures. That’s all. People choose all kinds of ways to make and save money. And maybe, just maybe, social marketing might be for you too!

image

Shout out to my friend Cassidy for inspiring this post! ♥

Adulting: Not What I Expected

338820_3430631611636_1085936805_o

Adulthood is different than I thought it would be.

I don’t know where I got this idea, but I think I assumed for a long time that, the older you get, the less mistakes you make. The less awkward you are. The less times you need to apologize and make things right again. Less fighting. Less soul-searching. Less anxiety. Less, less, less.

I guess that kind of thinking would make sense to a kid: more years of experience should naturally lead to you becoming better at *fill in the blank* over time, right? And yet time and time again, I find myself in some of the same places I was as a teenager:

Overwhelmed.
Unsure.
Embarrassed.
Indecisive.
Emotional.
Self-conscious.
Making the same mistakes over and over.

I have a theory, though.

I’m discovering that growing up doesn’t necessarily mean making less mistakes or feeling confident all the time. Maybe genuine maturity is marked more by your reaction time to whatever is happening. And the proof is all over the place.

Example #1: Marriage will teach you really quickly how awful of a person you are and how much you have to learn about true reconciliation. In 6 years of married life, it’s not that we’ve gotten better at not sinning – we’re still really good at sinning. We’ve just gotten quicker at apologizing and forgiving.

Example #2: I used to sit and stew for hours (or even days) if I made an embarrassing public mistake or had one of those moments where you say something dumb and instantly regret it. But now, I give myself a few pity minutes, chalk it up to being an imperfect human and not a robot, apologize if necessary, and move on with my life.

Example #3: When I was in high school and even into my college years, I was the queen of self-condemnation when it came to my spiritual life. If I went a week without spending time in the Word, I felt like I had to read 7 times as much to “catch up” to where I was “supposed to be.” You know what’s great though? God just wants us to know Him. Yes, reading the Bible and talking with Him daily should be more than a goal; it’s essential. But He isn’t standing there with a clipboard giving us demerits for falling asleep in the middle of reading Proverbs. I’m learning not to beat myself over the head with guilt, because I know that God isn’t.

Maybe adulthood is just owning it. Owning all of it – the good and the bad decisions and outcomes. It means finally learning to truly like yourself. It means allowing yourself to feel a healthy sense of pride and joy in a big accomplishment, rather than being self-deprecating and minimizing your hard work. It means being content in your current season of life, rather than spending all your time wishing you were in another one. It means you stop always shifting blame to other people and playing the victim. It means you take responsibility when you are a terrible human being, admit it and confess it to the Lord, and move forward in His forgiveness. It means that when bad things happen to you, in or out of your control, you spend less time complaining and more time praying.

But mostly? I think adulthood means becoming okay with being imperfect.

You see, we know in our minds that we will never be perfect. We know that. We’ve heard it and said it a thousand times, to others and to ourselves. But deep down, we still expect to be. And we HATE being reminded that we aren’t. Every flaw, every slip-up, every lapse in judgement is followed by the snide, mocking voice of our enemy whispering “Failure” in our desperately weary ears.

Why are we so hard on ourselves?

BECAUSE BEING AN ADULT IS HARD.

Even if you’ve been one for decades and you’ve settled into a routine, that doesn’t make it any less hard. You’re just used to it being hard. But for newbies, it’s overwhelming.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to be/look/feel a certain way already, and then, on top of our own self-doubt and self-hate, we get 500 pounds of cultural expectations dumped on us too. You’re supposed to be able to cook, clean, deep condition your hair, keep plants alive, be a sexy beast but not act overly proud about it, budget, eat organic, go to doctor’s appointments, drink enough water, keep up with laundry, give to the needy, actually put dishes in the dishwasher instead of letting them “soak,” read for pleasure, vote, get rid of your cellulite, call your parents, spend time with Jesus, say no to french fries drugs, take care of your skin, keep track of all the chemicals in your house that are killing you, be a good friend, eat other veggies besides potatoes, remember birthdays and anniversaries, take your vitamins, shave your legs, figure out how to fold fitted sheets, and give 110% at work AND home AND church AND the gym AND your high school reunions. And that’s not even counting all the stuff you have to add when you have children. There are countless, constant reminders of how much we fall short.

But there’s some good news, friend.

As followers of Jesus, we are made NEW. Meaning, we will be aware that we fall short, but we don’t have to hold on to that fact. We can accept it and let it go. We weren’t made new so that we could turn around and keep beating ourselves up about our failures every day for the rest of our lives. Do you realize that every mistake you make is literally in the past the second it’s over? When we accept the Gospel’s glorious good news, we are washed clean! We don’t have to try to be perfect anymore and keep it all together. When we are saved by Jesus, we don’t have to try to be holy; we ARE holy. Spiritual maturity is peacefully and willingly accepting imperfection on Earth, knowing that Jesus was perfect for us.

It doesn’t happen overnight, of course. But the more you focus on what God has done for you and the less you focus on yourself and all the ways you aren’t measuring up, slowly but surely, you’ll see the scale start tipping away from anxious inadequacy and toward calm acceptance. You can feel alllllll of those awkward, insecure teenager feelings as an adult sometimes and still tip the scale. I am! I’m starting to feel more comfortable in this season of life and in my own skin than I ever have before. (Apparently that happens when you get closer to your 30’s?) I’m learning to make peace with myself the way I am and find the balance between self-condemnation and apathy. I genuinely like where I am right now, in marriage, at work, and in our church community. And that feels really, really good. ♥