More Like Me February Kickoff- Let’s Talk About Sex(uality) Baby #1

and i'm yours(To Join the More Like Me Facebook Community, Click Here!)

So as we kick off this month on sexuality, I want to say something right off the bat: WE are doing this together and I AM not an expert. Every one of these monthly topics was chosen because I need it too, I need to unlearn some lies and grow into the truth.

And this month has me nervous, because sexuality is so deep and nuanced and full of passion, it can bring up deep pain when misused through abuse and also release us to be wild and free and fully alive.

So here we go, a month of learning about Sexuality. It is February 1st and my prayer is that neither you nor I will be the same when the calendar reads February 29. It is a leap year guys, I checked.

Overview
Sexuality is not just who we are in bed, it is a foundational part of who we are that is not to be ignored. It is spiritual, physical and psychological. There is not an aspect of our lives which in which it does not hold sway. This is not to say that one gender is above another. On the contrary this series will be written from an Egalitarian perspective as I believe that “Masculinity and femininity are fluid, relative, and difficult to pin down. And, contrary to what many of these leaders seem to be suggesting, one is not preferable to the other, in the Church or in worship.” ~Rachel Held Evans

Be Vulnerable
(deep breath because… it’s getting real) I am not the most sexually confident person you know online, or in real life. I am a little bit uptight and I have, in my marriage and in general, had a hard time being comfortable with my sexuality. I have struggled transitioning sex from the taboo, True Love Waits thing it was in my adolescence, to the “all good to go” thing it is supposed to be now that I am married. This is why this topic landed on my list of “more like me” in the first place. I want too… de-prude-ify myself a bit, have a healthier marriage, more confidence and a better ability to relax and understand what I was created for. Continue reading

The Point Of January- More Like Me Post #3

Hey guys, before I dive in to what I want to say this morning, I wanted to apologize for being flighty this month. Can I claim personality type there? No… 

I have been sick and sad over the passing of my aunt and our basement flooded leading to clean up and general feelings of “oh screw it.”

So now, on to the point of January, wrapping up month one of More Like Me 2016.

The reason I chose “Know Yourself” for January is because it is so foundational for the success of the rest of the year.

Often we look at the success of others around us and try to imitate their approaches. When we come up short, we blame ourselves for sucking.

New Year's EveWhy am I so bad at this when they are so good?

Here is a struggle I deal with: two of my closest friends are very strong J-types on the Meyer’s Briggs scale. Everything has a place, they don’t have “junk drawers” and their idea of a messy house is a couple of abandoned library books and a coffee cup on the counter.

My house is clean but lived in and fairly well organized, but my washi tape and pens do not live in glass apothecary jars and the shakers in my spice cupboard do not match, theirs do. They also keep label makers in their kitchens.

I have several junk drawers and even my organized drawers are like… mostly measuring cups and spoons but I think the meat thermometer also lives in there… and maybe spare bottle pieces and ooh a quarter! Score!  Continue reading

In Finite Sadness

If I ever had a post go viral, it was this one. I still get traffic and comments on it, because people hate clichés, they hurt. No one wants their deepest pain to be dismissed, over generalized, or completely misunderstood.

Death is unbearable and it deserves all the, confused, hurt, angry expletives you want to throw at it. Go ahead, I won’t judge.

My Aunt Sue passed away in her sleep earlier this week. A month or so ago she fell down the stairs, broke many bones, fought her way through surgery and rehab and a lot of pain.

We were so thankful to have her back. She was home for five days before dying in her sleep and we have no idea what happened. We are in shock,

It doesn’t make any sense, I have a few expletives.

Her sister, my other aunt, said this in a recent email: “How much sadness can there be in the world?”

I was thinking over that question this morning while cleaning up the breakfast dishes. Dishes, in my house feel infinite.

3

Then I ran downstairs and rotated laundry. If ever there was infinity on earth it is laundry with kids.

With laundry going, I ran upstairs to wipe down the highchair. Highchair-cleaning to me seems infinite, there is banana goo everywhere …no matter what I do.

Clara toddled around after me as I made my way through my “after the kids are off to school” routine.

As I caught her toothy, wild-haired grin behind me I realized… her toddling is not infinite. In that moment it felt ever so temporary.

And for that highchair won’t be here for long either, soon she will be on the farmhouse bench next to her brother and sister, joining the chorus of nitpicking any dinner that isn’t pizza or tacos.

And the dishes, they are numbered as well, they aren’t really infinite. There is a set number of dishes I will wash before I die, I don’t want to know what that number is as it would surely cause weeping and gnashing of teeth, but dishes too… finite.

And the sadness? The seemingly infinite sadness? That too will not last forever… will it? Continue reading

I Took the Meyer’s Briggs Test- Now What?

Hey guys, going strong in week 1 of the More Like Me, month by month challenge. I guess we will call it a challenge?

We do have a Facebook group now and we are currently 23 members strong!

If you want to join click here and I will approve you. Easy Peasy.

Monday’s assignment and post (go here if you need to catch up) was about getting to know yourself better by taking the Meyer’s Briggs personality type test at 16 personalities. If you still need to take the test, go. do it.

I want to say again that I am not an expert on Meyers Briggs or anything that we are focusing on this year, I am doing this with you and trying to stay just a few steps ahead so I can bring valuable information to the table.

I Took The Meyer's Briggs Continue reading

More Like Me January Kickoff, “What’s True About You?”

Hello all, sorry I didn’t come through on the Friday deadline, but here I am now, eh? (Side note with accompanying excuse, it was Caedmon’s birthday (5!) and we had company which was AWESOME but you know… busy.)

traveler

So we are kicking off our More Like Me- Month by Month 2016 series today. First I am going to provide you with a list of topics we will be covering, based on the survey results that you guys TOOK! And some stuff that the Spirit has been laying on my own heart. And, for January we are covering one that is NOT on the list, which is “Know Yourself.”

So here’s the year plan.

How can You participate?
1) Check in on Facebook- The more you do, the more it will pop up in your newsfeed. You can even change your settings so you are informed at the top of your feed when the page updates. If there is enough interest I think I will start a Facebook group.
2) Read & Resources– For every challenge I will provide you with books, articles, podcasts and other resources that center around the focus for each month.
3) Printables & Action Items– I will also link you to printables and assign action items that we can do together to center and draw closer to our created selves- which is what this is all about… not becoming BETTER, just more YOU, the you were made to be.

Monthly Challenges

January- Know Yourself
February- Sexuality
March- Prayer
April- Authenticity
May- Friendship
June- Sabbath
July- Health & Wellness
August- Meditation
September- Home
October- Screen Time
November- Courage
December- Scripture Continue reading

More Like Me, Month by Month- A New Series Introduction

Hello and happy New Year from me and all the other Pennys, including the cat, who is very festive.

I love the new year, every year it feels like a blank canvas, a fresh white beginning on which to paint something new, maybe even different.

I’m not talking about trying to become a thinner, a more super-hero you, just a truer version of yourself stripped from the coping mechanisms you use to distract yourself from how beautifully-hard it all it.

Or at least reign them in?

Does this make sense?

Okay I will come clean with you here, I feel like I drink too much wine, I’m not even going public with how much is too much, but it’s too much for me.

And I spend too much time on my phone, for my own comfort.

And I feel pinchy about the fact that God calls me to sabbath, and pray… but I don’t.

And I don’t feel sexy in my own skin, but I want to.

So I want to become more myself in 2016, month by month. I want to read about, think about, and intentionally pray about specific topics…. do you want to do this with me?

More Like Me, Month by Month.

That’s catchy, right? It has 4 Ms so it sort of has the alliteration factor.

Next Monday I will be launching this series, and posting about it at least every Monday. I will try to bring in experts and book recommendations on each month’s subject.

I will show up and curate help and support on my Facebook page.

Do you want in? If you don’t that is okay, I’m really doing this because I feel called to, yet the spirit in me has also called me to throw the invitation out there, so here I go.

I have at least half of the categories set up already, but I have some open for voting on this here survey.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/333NPTF

I will be announcing the results on Friday and we will get started on Monday. So, here we go.

Are you in? #morelikeme

 

Pages, Pictures And The Telling Of The Story.

4711713185_f5cdc96f92_z

For each of my kid’s birthdays and at the end of every year, I sit with my laptop and comb through photos. For every birthday, I make a slideshow to play in the background of their party and for every Christmas I make a year in review photo book.

This is my favorite part of each celebration, because it ground me like no other tradition can. When I sit with these books or drag and drop the photos into a cohesive slideshow it reminds me of the story we are telling with our lives.

At the end of every December, in the midst of each page, stories are ending and stories are beginning. The year is coming to a close and this practice forces me to sit and reflect.

For my children, their stories are new and uncertain, who knows where they will go? Their gap-toothed, awkward smiles are full of possibility and they beg to be reflected upon years from now after many more chapters have been written.

We are living out a story, for better or for worse, and our story is a small portion of the larger story that is being told throughout the world. The plot line that we play a part in moving forward.

And what was the story this year for our world? For your family? For your soul?

Some days it feels like one of hate and we wonder what sort of world we are leaving behind for our children.

Other mornings dawn bright and hopeful and our souls wake buoyant and light.

These days, these years, these pages are all part of a bigger story. It is easy, painfully easy, to get completely immersed in the mess of the here and now to believe that surely, truly this is all there is.

But when we scale back or look to the sky, we are reminded of the size of the universe and the sheer volume of the story.

So whatever blend of stories and emotions 2015 is leaving you with, remember that these are but pages in a book that is yet unwritten. Feel hopeful as you cling to the real truth that God is in the business of redemption and restoration and the telling of a good story.

The book is a beautiful mess that is moving toward something and we all influence the plot line and play a role in the character development of our friends and neighbors.

So, from me to you: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Thank you for being a part of my story and allowing me, in a small way, to be a part of yours. May we continue to write and grow together as we welcome a sparkly new year.

~Leanne.

Photo Source

 

MY PERFECT, UNPINNABLE, REVOLUTIONARY CHRISTMAS

Here’s a post a wrote for my dear friend Abby’s Sane For The Holidays Series. I love her and her brave, honest writing. If you don’t follow her in all the places you truly wouldn’t regret doing so. 

My Christmas tree is perfect, absolutely perfect.. and completely un-pinnable. I am writing this blog post in it’s light as it stands all fat and wedged in the corner between our entertainment stand and fireplace.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we loaded up our high-mileage mini-van and headed to a local tree farm, to meet Santa, drink cocoa and cut down The 2015 Penny Family Christmas Tree.

When we arrived, we got the low-down, grabbed a saw and looked over the price list/ tree farm map. The average tree on the lot ran from $30- $85 dollars, which is a lot of money for something we’ll to kick to the curb in 5 weeks. So, off we went, on the hunt for a cheap, scotch pine, sure to cover my house in needles while saving my budget.

We soon realized that we were not the only ones with this mentality and that most of the cheap trees were utter crap. It was at this moment that our 4 year old son fell in love with a Frasier Fir, a tree of the $85 variety.

 

He plopped down next to it, proud that he was able to spot THE PERFECT tree for his mama. When we suggested another tree his lip came out and he promptly burst into tears. So, like good parents who don’t cater to their kids… we promptly wrote a check for $85 and strapped his dream tree to the top of the mini-van.

Hey, you pick your battles, right?

Behold the holidays in all their glory.

Behold the holidays in all their glory.

So we get the Gucci Tree home and prop it up in the tree stand. I logged onto Pinterest to see what they have to say about stringing lights and garland, maybe I’ve been doing it wrong.

Then I realized something, rather profound. 2015 is not going to be the year of the Pinnable christmas tree.

In fact, I don’t know that any Christmas ever will be.

Head on over to accidental devotional to finish it up and see a wicked awesome picture of my kids in front of the Christmas Tree that is crazy unpinnable as well.

***********************************************************************************************

If you like this, there’s more words in store, to keep up easily use the box below to have new posts from this blog delivered to your inbox.

Enter your email address:Delivered by FeedBurnerAnd when share with your friends, well that makes me pretty happy. 

You can also find me on twitter,  Facebook and Instagram as well. Join the conversation on all fronts, that’s my recommendation…

What I’m Into, November 2015 Edition

Time for another round of This is what I’m into, hosted by Leigh Kramer.

Bonus Halloween Picture, this was obviously, technically a few hours before November started.

Bonus Halloween Picture, this was obviously, technically a few hours before November started.

Hey guys, no I am not dead, yes life is still good here in Southwestern Michigan. I have actually been doing a lot of writing and typing, but it’s been the sort I get paid for, which has led to ludicrous blog neglect. Sorry about that.

November was busy and unexpectedly warm, Clara turned one despite my deep protests. My baby is one… I can’t even. I participated in Hollywood Housewife’s #onedayhh again, documenting a day of my life and then a few days later I hopped on a plane to Oklahoma to visit some much loved people in my former hometown. Then home again, a blur of thanksgiving with family and a trip to the tree farm for a freshly cut and overpriced Frasier fir tree.

CaedmonTree

Caedmon crying next to the tree he found at the though of us choosing another one… and then his excitement over it all fancied up.

The month I started work with a new project, it’s a movie, I can’t say much yet because I have a bunch of questions myself. But here is a sneak peek… and here’s another one. Like that page, it’ll come in handy later.

I have felt introverted this month, I’ve been huddled inside, still doing some hiding with laundry but I’m getting there. I think I need to watch less TV… this seems obvious but it’s been a major moving stress/new baby crutch for me lately. I at least need to watch less dark tv, Criminal Minds may be messing with me. Again, this seems obvious as I type it out.

Podcasts / In my earbuds– This month I started and finished Mystery Show, which I loved. I dearly need Starlee Kines to be my new best friend. I kept up with Sorta Awesome as well, and I got to hang out with my dear friend Megan Tietz in person.

I also have a few favorite playlists on my Spotify account, Peaceful Christmas, Exhale and “A New Thing” which I created to whisper truth to me when I lose it…

Reading– This month was almost a reading wash, but I did manage to listen to Orange is the New Black, which I picked up from the Library. I also read a 1/3 of All the Light We Cannot See before I had to finally return it to the library. I think I’m the only one who couldn’t get into it. I may go to Literary hell for this guys.

Nightly routine....

Nightly routine….

On the Small Screen- Well, I finished off the Good Wife, so much drama in those last two seasons. The weepy, crazy kind. Still a good watch, I haven’t started in on the new season because I don’t feel like paying CBS to do so and we don’t have DVR.

Master Chef Jr- The kids and I have been wicked into this show and it has Caedmon pulling a chair to “help me” (serious quotations here friends) in the kitchen. He really is learning and it feels like a show we can all enjoy and even get something out of.

Criminal Minds- This show is such a back and forth, I love it, the crime, the drama! But Oh it’s so so dark and some nights I swear it leaves me depressed with weird dreams.

Scandal- Can I be honest, the winter Finale (this is apparently a thing now) really left me disappointed on many levels. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone and I get what Shonda was trying to do but I think I may be done with Scandal now. It jumped the shark for me last week.

In the Kitchen- As always I made my famous squash casserole for thanksgiving, Dear God I adore this recipe so. You should make it, just make it and eat the whole thing by yourself on the couch. It’s squash! What’s the worst that could happen? Then I also did this green bean casserole, but I used this recipe for the onions and I will never go back.

I know these are cliché holiday dishes but you will be shocked at what happens when you fix them from scratch.

12243485_550985619377_260984925102858626_n

Travelling girls

Favorite Moments of November-
Clara’s reaction to everyone singing happy birthday to her…

Eating Quiche with Megan, a dear friend from the Blog world whom I wasn’t sure I’d actually clap eyes on again.

Chasing one of my best friends, Joely, around target and wondering how she gets those little legs moving so fast.

Sipping wine and Lacroix with old friends on Joely’s couch.

Church at H2O in Ada, walking away feeling whole and fed.

Dressing Clara in Hanna Anderson PJs. You guys, I never thought $40 PJs would be worth it, (they were a gift) but wow… that’s all I want forever and ever amen.

The sight of Caedmon camped out next to his favorite Christmas tree, poutiest lip you ever have seen.

The nostalgia of pulling each ornament out of it’s wrapping and remembering before the kids ran up and took it to the tree.

Actually talking about Jesus with a child at church this past weekend, in the most organic way possible.

Yogurt, I just really loved yogurt this month. I like Greek Gods the most, although I need to splurge on Noosa.

Mulled wine, this is my favorite.

12208532_10156277748965650_2851872734613999909_n

Instagram of the Month (follow me on Insta here… Or don’t… whatever.)

You guys voted for Sleeping Clara, Clara always wins Insta.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 2.44.22 PM

But in case you missed future blogger Clara, here you are.

12265896_551068937407_5512599051089535561_o

Things I’m looking forward to

Students as teachers night at Caedmon’s Montessori school.

I just splurged and bought a Day Designer planner, in the gold stripe Flagship edition. I can’t wait for it to arrive.

Delving into Advent and really quieting myself as I feel this season in ways that don’t have a list or budget.

Sending out Christmas cards and using my new address stamp from Etsy.

Reading more this month.

Finally fitting into my pre-Clara jeans? Maybe in January… February… whatever.

Putting on my Christmas sweater Jamberry nail wraps.

12241598_10156282580085650_6160971363568844530_n

***********************************************************************************************

If you like this, there’s more words in store, to keep up easily use the box below to have new posts from this blog delivered to your inbox.

Enter your email address:Delivered by FeedBurnerAnd when share with your friends, well that makes me pretty happy. 

You can also find me on twitter,  Facebook and Instagram as well. Join the conversation on all fronts, that’s my recommendation…

Why Victoria’s Secret Lost My Business (A Post About Boobs)

SOURCE. I love this shot, although I don't recommend nursing in a stream because... slippery.

SOURCE. I love this shot, although I don’t recommend nursing in a stream because… slippery.

I am nearing the end of my third year of breastfeeding. That’s right, I am going to talk about boobs today, so you know, if you don’t want to read about that, go somewhere else, it’s all good… no judgies. This is for us girls, or I guess supportive Dads too who want to huzzah on our behalf.

Three years of nursing has left my boobs a bit saggy, inches below where they were on my wedding day. And that’s okay, because I am amazing and my body is amazing. It has done for my children what God created it to do, and it has been a hard, tear-filled, beautiful growing experience for me.

It started off rocky with latching issues and tears but now I am pretty much a pro, if I do say so myself…

Nursing has taught me things about motherhood that it would have taken years for me to learn otherwise. (I am not judging anyone with this post, I am just talking about me and my unique journey, cool?)

So anyway, this morning I stepped out of the shower and shimmied on my trusty Target brand nursing cami, dreaming of the day when I could return to a life of under wire and perkiness…. and shopping at Victoria’s Secret.

The sweet mecca for those of us who love an under-wire bra that lasts…

Then it hit me. 

Why doesn’t Victoria’s Secret sell nursing bras and attire?

Their whole business is boobs and although breasts are generally referenced as a flashy asset, what they are really for… is feeding the tiny humans of this world.

At least primarily… I’m fine with their secondary purposes and hoisting them up to feel good about your body. I fully intend to so do when my nursing journey comes to an end.

I raced to my computer to ask the Google, surely I am wrong. Would a women’s underwear store really sell to women who aren’t using their boobs for babies?

But a sea of results confirmed it. Victoria doesn’t have anything for the nursing mamas.

But…. they are in the breast business, this is what they DO and yet for women who are using their breasts for their intended purpose, they offer nothing? Not even a few non-fun flesh colored bras with snaps for their loyal customers in need?

They literally, in every sense of the word, do not support nursing women.

This is similar to an auto parts store only selling wax and air fresheners when what you really need is a spark plug.

Dear God, I have no business using automobile references.

They could do so much for us if only they applied their fun patterns and styles to help out the leaky mamas who want to feel sexy AND feed a baby.

But, alas… at some point they made a decision not to…. I mean surely it crossed a VS executive mind at some point.

And so, Vickie used to have all my under attire business. She was there for me in college, on my wedding day, and every day in-between. I was a huge fan of the 5 for $25 underwear deal, although in the past few years I have felt like if my booty wasn’t on it’s way to a frat party, it didn’t fit Vickie’s offerings.

I am not an angel, I am not a runway model… and sadly, at the end of the day, Victoria’s Secret has proved to be a fair weather friend.

And so I say farewell to the striped pink bags, fragrant shelves of perfume, free panty coupons and the cute blondes in black suits with measure tapes around their necks.

I cannot give you my business, because it has become clear to me that you are not interested in providing products for real women, or at least not for me.

So, I guess I am in search of a new retailer with whom to entrust my … assets.

I hear Soma is good, I think I will check them out.

I am open to suggestions…

************************************************************************************************

If you like this, there’s more words in store, to keep up easily use the box below to have new posts from this blog delivered to your inbox.

Enter your email address:Delivered by FeedBurnerAnd when share with your friends, well that makes me pretty happy. 

You can also find me on twitter,  Facebook and Instagram as well. Join the conversation on all fronts, that’s my recommendation…