Power Out

Due to a power outage at my home because of the great MARCH winter storm in HOUSTON, this regularly scheduled blog post will return to you tomorrow.

When It’s Not For You

{Spoiler: Today’s post is a little esoteric.  Feel free to look at the picture and come back tomorrow for fashion :) .}

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I have several friends who had a great opportunity present itself.

It could have been an opportunity for me, too.

Except it’s not. 

I could absolutely pursue the opportunity, but it wouldn’t be what God is calling me to.  It would be what God is calling me from.

For so many women with their heads down trying to get the job done and the dinner on the table and the kids to ball practice and the waistline from thickening more and the community service project moving forward with wheels on, this whole idea of “God’s plan” or “God’s calling” seems a little nuts.  As if they might look at me and say, Girlfriend, would you plant your feet on the ground, this isn’t real world and you have day-to-day stuff you need to accomplish.  Could you pull that head out of the clouds? 

I worry sometimes that writing about God having a plan for my life doesn’t feel very “relatable.”

Especially for some of you who aren’t even sure about this whole God thing to begin with.

But can I say this?  I absolutely, 100%, entirely and completely believe that God has a plan for your life.  I believe He has a plan.  Sort of a “crazy master it all works together for a greater purpose that we’ll never really know in this lifetime” plan.

And I got pretty clear on what He is taking me toward, and away from, a couple of weeks ago.  Crystal clear.  Nonetheless, I’m an ambitious, even competitive, person whose first instinct is to throw my hat in the ring at every opportunity that might even seem ancillarily related to what I’m headed towards.

I am stopping.  Even though there is literally this physical activity going on in my heart when I feel I might be missing out on an opportunity that I can control, I am going to sit it out.  When I told God I would say yes to wherever He asked me to go, it also meant saying no to where He is asking me to not go.  Even when there is a road all paved out, it might still be the wrong road.

Wisdom isn’t just jumping at the right opportunities.  It’s passing on the wrong ones.  Even when the worldly “metrics” may shame me for not moving forward, I will rest in knowing it would have still be wrong for me.  Before we go saying yes to something, let’s make sure it’s what we’re supposed to say yes to.

When You Run Out of Words, You Borrow

I sat.

And sat.

And sat.

Still nothing came.  I have been writing for three years and I literally couldn’t find a thing in my head to write.  I have some big posts running around.  I’m just not ready to write them yet.  So after all that lead up Monday, nothing.

Stories will come, but in the meantime I thought I’d share other’s words for today.

1.  Favorite little kids lines:  The little lady is in rare form this week.  She’s making these little scrolls of art and this is her plan for them: “So I’m going to go up to their door and say ‘trick-or-treat’ and then when they give me my candy I will say thank you and give them this receipt.”  Y’all, she’s making receipts for her trick-or-treat candy…  Then, when I warned the kids on the way to school that it might rain on Halloween and we might not be able to go trick-or-treating, she replied, “Mommy, I’m a mermaid, I can get wet.”  Touche’ little bit.

2.  Favorite verse this week:  Ann Voskamp shared her life verse from John 3, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.”

3.  Favorite tip of the week: Holley Gerth is doing 31 Days to Happier and yesterday she wrote about ways you can use something as simple as citrus scents to help improve your mood.  What a great reminder.

4.  Favorite song of the week:  David Walker worship sang Hillsong’s Oceans in worship at Allume Saturday night.  So powerful.  “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me.  Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.  That my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Saviour.”

5.  Favorite prayer of the week:  From a friend this weekend who has twins the same age as the triplets, “You gave us both multiples which means that we must have needed more humbling.”  Ah, true.  So true.

Happy Three Year Blog-iversary

Today marks my third blogging anniversary.

I warily started right after the kids turned one.  A salve for my guilt about not keeping a baby book in the frenzy of our first year of triplets.  Then it turned into a journal.  And then it turned into something else entirely.

During this time, my kids have turned two, three, and now four. I celebrated my fifth, sixth, and seventh wedding anniversaries.  I changed jobs in a big way.  I wrote a book.   This little blog morphed from The Vincent Triplets on blogspot to a full-fledged website in my name (crazy!).  And I learned ever more how God’s imagination and plan for our lives, if we allow Him to move, is beyond anything we could ask or imagine.

So after celebrating my top five posts of the First Year and the Second Year, here are my favorite posts from the third year:

1.  The Cheerleader and The Misfit – I loved writing this post.  I was struggling with how to teach my little one never to become a “mean girl,” and I remembered my own profound encounter with a gracious and kind popular girl during my painful high school years.  I hope that will always resonate – we are always on the inside of something.   (A good reminder as I head off to Allume to meet a bunch of bloggers which would otherwise make me nervous!)

2.  Little Steps, Big Dreams, New Job - So much of this year has been about dreaming.  The first half of the year I served proudly on Holley Gerth’s God-sized Dream Team and will now get to be a contributor to a God-sized Dream website debuting soon.  A year recap wouldn’t be complete without looking at one of those posts.  I also wrote about some BIG decisions I had to make as part of my dream (also the week of my blog confetti party- this new site kick off).  That season was so necessary so God could lead me to this place.

3.  Infertility Anguish – Many of you have read Our Story and know the dark valley we walked through before we were blessed with triplets.  I had stopped talking about it for a while and felt drawn to discuss it again because I was encountering so many women going through that heartache.  Writing this brought our own struggle rushing back, and know I am here to pray with you if you are confronted with infertility issues.

4.  Can’t Live Without – I love my husband.  We had a tougher year with ups and downs, but our relationship is stronger now because we survived the struggles.  This reminded me that even though I’m a hopeless romantic married to a pragmatist, the realities that he delivers in our marriage every single week are better than moonlit walks on a beach.

5.  My Little Girl -  I wrote two posts about my angst over little bit’s first ballet and tap recital.  The recital outfit shocked me.  This initial post drew numerous comments on Facebook and the blog about the issue many of us with daughters are facing.  The post that came after the actual recital was Why I’m Not A Dance Company Mom.  By way of follow-up, little bit’s new school offers weekly ballet and tap during school hours with a uncostumed recital at the end.  I’m delighted to keep her dancing, which she loves more than just about anything, without all the pageantry and sexualization I criticized last year.

I can’t wrap up without mentioning that in January I debuted Fashion Fridays.  These fashion posts generate a big audience, and it’s such a fun outlet for me.  Remarkably, the highest ranking post of the year was my Casual Fridays post from one of those Fashion Fridays.  I also wrote a series on Leadership leading up to the launch of my book – what a wonderful experience that has been!  And of course, my babies turned four.  Every year I write them a love letter.  This year was no different.  I am so crazy about those amazing children and my husband who helps raise them.

Thank you so much for being a part of this community.  As small thank you in return, I’m giving away a copy of my book, Learning to Lead, today.  Either subscribe (that little spot right over there on the right), or share any post via Facebook or Twitter and a winner will be selected at the end of the day.  It’s such a pleasure to walk with you through this crazy life.

What I’m Reading

A couple of months ago, I asked for some ideas on what to read.  I asked on the blog, I asked on Facebook, and I asked on Twitter.  I love that I have so many reading readers and reading friends.  I got a zillion ideas.  I bought about a dozen books.  In just over a month and half, I’ve read more than six of them, and I thought I’d report back.

A few provisos before I start.  I had been reading a bunch of non fiction, primarily faith and leadership stuff because of the books I’ve been writing.  But I’m a fiction girl.  Lose yourself in the story, read past midnight because you can’t put it down, fiction girl.  Also, I don’t read anything racy, and I don’t read sci-fi.  Otherwise, I’m game.  Here’s my review of what I’ve read and what I’ve got on my nightstand next – what am I missing?  (And if you want any of these books I’ve already read, leave a message in the comments or subscribe with a note.  My hubby’s going nuts because our bookcases are overflowing!)

In order of preference:

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1.  The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin – This was my hand’s down favorite thus far!  I stayed up well past midnight a couple of nights because I couldn’t put it down.  I was totally invested in Cora, the American rich girl from the 1890s whose parents wanted to marry her off to the English aristocracy.  The book is set in both America and England and is both entertaining and addictive.  I was crestfallen when it ended.  Highly recommend if you enjoy a lush period piece.

2.  Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg – I have read several of her books, including Open House, but this is my favorite.  It’s a story about girlfriends.  Four women randomly end up living in the same house with very different personalities and styles and backgrounds but become friends.  There were a few kooky things, like one of them liked doing card fortunes which annoys me, but the relationship development was interesting and felt authentic.  As a woman who loves her girlfriends, I enjoyed watching the relationships emerge.

3.  Tied for next is The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and Family Pictures by Jane Green.  Hmmm, so let me lead with the fact the underlying stories are sort of depressing in both.  Marriages collapse as a result of yucky marriage stuff.  That’s all I’ll say.  Yet the books were still good reads.  McLain’s is a fictionalized account of the first wife (of four) of Ernest Hemingway.  Since I enjoy both Paris and Hemingway, I really enjoyed the imagining of their relationship as he went from unknown to recognized.  Set in the 1920s Parisian writing community, the chapters moved, introduced memorable characters and made the central characters, Hadley and Ernest, sympathetic and sad.

Green’s story took a page out of very different, but realistic, modern-day marriages, and touched on what constitutes true love, what a leap of faith it is to trust your partner, and how you rebuild if your heart is broken.  Jane Green is no Jane Austen, but I loved her early stuff (Jemima J), and after a period of hers that felt like lazy writing and unappetizing story lines, this was a good comeback.

In complete contrast to The Paris Wife and Family Pictures is The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner and The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James, respectively.

I do not recommend either.  Weiner is a chick-lit writer in the same manner of Green and I read her early works over a decade ago.  She’s written a decent book or two, but this one was entirely lazy.  Her editor must have been in Tahiti.  I can not stand bad editing in a story.  There were so many inconsistencies and misses (changing people’s ages and story lines mid-book – I had to stop keeping the list which I had started initially to send a note to the publisher outlining how bad it was).  The story probably couldn’t have stood on its own but it was lost in the bad editing.  James attempts a fictionalized Jane Austen journal, but unlike The Paris Wife, it doesn’t feel remotely authentic.  She just steals, poorly, story lines from Austen’s more famous work like Sense and Sensibility, and attempts to make it something in Austen’s own life via first person journaling.  She also leaves annoying footnotes about certain period English words which felt self-important.

Okay, so on my night table to read now are: Fall of Giants by Ken Follet, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, and Come to the Edge by Christina Haag.  They are all so different and they got rave reviews, so I’m super excited to read them.

What are you reading?  What is a must-read or a must-miss?