Thursday, April 25, 2013

Are Our Experiences Really That Different?

You've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times, pregnancy and motherhood is different for every woman. 

I think that's true, until it's not. 

I feel like most women tailgate their mothering advice with, "but it's different for everyone." Like it's some sort of caveat they know is false, but they don't want to pressure you into having the same experiences they did. 

I've noticed a tricky trend where women talk about the horrors of dirty diapers and midnight feedings, but their eyes don't scream HORROR. With every detail of the "Flu-venge of 2011" there's a memory tape that plays as they tell the story. And their reactions? Well, they're not horrified. They're comical. Endearing. It's like those memories come married to the cuddle sessions and "Mommy I wuv you's" that followed. 

I started reading Melanie Shankle's new memoir, Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn. (Buy the book!) A friend got it for me as a gift and to be honest, it's a book I totally forgot I wanted to read! (You have those too right?)

But not only is Melanie freaking hilarious in her deliberations of pregnancy, preconceived notions, and motherhood, she loves everything about being a mother. It's as if I'm sitting in her living room, with coffee brewing, and she's spilling her guts about the good, the bad, and the ugly. I feel like every page of her pregnancy stories I'm cracking up and silently screaming, "Dude!!! ME TOO!" But her delivery? It's all good. It's all beautiful. 

Many of you know this way more than I do, that mothering is going to be the best thing I've experienced in my life so far. And there's a reason we scream, "Me too!" And I love it. I love it all. But just know I'm on to you ;)

I think we're all more alike that we think we are. 

Until of course, we're not. 

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The Girl that Sings blog isn't a mommy blog, but I do post updates, stories and topics of motherhood I'm discovering and others I'm wrestling through once a week on Thursdays if you care to enjoy and join the convo.

Friday, April 19, 2013

How I Prep for a Speaking Engagement | Women's Retreats

I love speaking to a room full of women. Throw men in there and I freeze up like your tongue on a frozen swing set. (You know the one I'm talking about.) It's not them necessarily that intimidates me, but it's that I feel more free speaking to women because there are no reserves. You can recall the weird details about any situation and they all chuckle and shake their heads because they know! It's a sweet camaraderie.

A room full of women who are there to learn and hear and experience God contains to potential for something magical to happen.

The days and weeks leading up to an event, I try to do a variety of things to prepare.

  • PRAY - super spiritual right?

This one isn't a ritual and I don't do it because I have to, but rather because I have to! These moments of prayer aren't a focus time or even a meditation time for me and God. They are a begging, pleading and frantic one sided counseling session. Minus the leather couch.

When speaking to women strangers, the need to hear from God is of utmost importance to me because I don't know them like He does. In fact, I don't know most of them at all. But He sees their lives right now, He knows their needs right now, and He knows what He's fashioning in them, right now. I don't want to derail or weaken that.

I want to enforce it. So I pray.

  • OBSERVE - the circumstances of my own life.

I made a pact with God when I first began speaking publicly, that He could prepare me for upcoming events by giving me illustrations and teaching moments within my own life. Dangerous, but effective.

So the weeks leading up to an event, I journal and take mental notes of everything going on. What am I feeling? What arguments are Ty and I picking? Is disaster striking at an opportune time? (This may or may not be a ploy to keep buying these journals.)

Sometimes it means nothing. But occasionally, when it does, it's more powerful than any story I could have just imagined up.

  • READ - the theme verse, passage, or story.

Some retreat or conferences will give their speakers a theme to base talks off of. Some are vague and open-ended and other are more specific. Either way, I like to read it over and over and over and over and over again to get the Scripture so engrained in my brain and heart. I try to read it in different versions and write post-its for my purse, wallet and car to remind me to have it on the forefront of my mind.

  • STUDY - with Bible, commentaries, internet and notebook in hand. 

Everyone has their own study methods that work best for them, so I won't go into detail on what mine are. But the basics are to figure out what message (topic sentence) I want them to get by the end of my ramblings. I start from the end and work my way back to the beginning.

Thanks to Ty and Andrew (my pastor), I have bookshelves of commentaries and author insights into the various passages I'm studying.

*SideNote: If you have someone in your life whose expertise is Biblical Studies, use them! They are willing, able, and honored to help you. Seriously. 

  • RECORD - intros and outros.

This coming event will be my first time trying this. I voice recorded my intros for the purpose of not getting sidetracked. I know how long it's going to take to get from introductions to the text and again from the text to the end of the message. I'm hoping it keeps everything nice and packaged, minimizing the rabbit trails we all know are going to happen. We'll see if it worked.

  • REVIEW - to affirm what counts and discard what doesn't. 

I try to be done studying, researching, and writing within 7 days of an event so I have time to work through delivery and take out any nonsense I wrote while eating my medium cheese pizza. It happens. It's the clean up process.

  • THANK YOU NOTES - for the people in my life who taught me to love God.

This time, it was for my Momma. She taught me to love God and teach people about Him. Thanks Momma!

As a result of these basic steps, my organization and prep time has been more effective and the outcome more free to be powerful.

Do you have tricks or tips you use to prepare for a speaking engagement? 

"In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." --Dwight D. Eisenhower  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

No I Did Not Eat a Medium (Super Thin Crust) Pizza By Myself

Seriously, the crust is barely there. At least that's my alibi and I'm sticking to it.

It's my favorite pizza place. Ty was out of town. Baby Girl Mo was practically begging for it. What would you have done huh? #commensejudging #orcompassion

Eating for two has slowed down a bit, thank goodness.

The first trimester, I ate double of everything. Oh not because I was supposed to, but because if food wasn't in my body, someone was going to die.

The second trimester, I got a hold of my adult self and tried to limit the intake to breakfast and lunch. Midnight bathroom trips are overrated.

The third trimester, well, I feel like a human being again. But only in this aspect. Everything else is still amazingly and beautifully weird.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Your turn: Did you over, under, craving eat your way through pregnancy? 

The Girl that Sings blog isn't a mommy blog, but I do post updates, stories and topics of motherhood I'm discovering and others I'm wrestling through once a week on Thursdays.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Closing Instagram to Dignify Someone

You know that moment, when you're walking down the street, there's someone walking towards you and you do a quick assessment in your head about whether you have enough time to open Instagram and look busy or whether you're now in that awkward phase where you should probably acknowledge their existence?

Just me? Okay.

I have this moment almost everyday. More so since moving to LA. Sometimes it's easy to choose the smile or nod or even squeak out a hello. But more times than not, how much easier is it to just keep walking?

We think things like, You'll never see them again. They look busy too, right? They don't look friendly or like they want to be greeted. Yada yada yada. 

And sometimes, maybe those are true. But when they're not, and we do smile or wave or squeak out our hellos, we send the message that we see them.

In the craziness of life, we can often feel invisible, unheard or unseen, but when you and I acknowledge one another's existence, we dignify each other. 

Resist the urge to tap open Facebook or Instagram and dignify someone today.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Life is Meant to be Celebrated & Death is Meant to be Mourned

In the same week, I've been excitedly waiting with a friend whose baby girl is over due and mourning with another whose baby will never walk this earth. 

Emotions are jumping back and forth, and it seems like it should feel wrong, going from gladness to sadness. But each circumstance is tragically separate and beautifully united. 

Life is life. And short or long, each life is meant to be celebrated and the loss of it is meant to be mourned. 

Just as there are no words to describe the overwhelm of childbirth, there are no words to describe the depth of pain and sorrow in the loss of a child. 

No two births are the same, yet they are equally beautiful.
No two miscarriages are either, yet they are equally tragic. 

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15

^^^Opinions, two-cents, questions and ramblings are welcome. And go above. Go ahead. Try it.

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