Thursday, July 25

Grace at Home No. 343

Welcome, welcome, welcome! After a mid-summer hiatus, I'm happy to be back online today to host the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Want to know where I was last week? I hope to write more about this, but here's a peek:

I was in Corpus Christi, Texas, at the Naval Air Station, where my oldest son was awarded his wings of gold as a naval aviator. We were so proud! Sorry that there's an official photographer in the foreground of this snapshot, but in the background you can see me pinning the wings on my son's uniform while his wife and his father look on.

But I know you've been busy, and I hope you'll share the ways you've been working to make your home a place of grace. Here at the Grace at Home party, I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Tuesday, July 16

Real life, midsummer edition

We knew in advance that the summer of 2019 was going to be a busy time for our family. Our family calendar included so many red-letter events, we ran out of red ink. We knew it was coming. We tried to prepare ourselves.

But wow.

How do you prepare yourself for so many things happening all at once?

Over the course of the last few weeks, every one of our sons has experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event. Here's photographic evidence.

One wedding:

One college graduation:

One master's degree graduation:

Sandwiched in there somewhere, my husband and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. (34 years! Can you believe that?)

And in the middle of these big events, several other notable things took place, too:

The funeral of my beloved aunt (in Kentucky).

The high school graduation of my precious niece (in Mississippi).

 A charity gala (in Washington, DC).

The annual Renovaré Ministry Team Retreat (in Colorado).

An author photo shoot to prepare for the October release of my book, Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison (which is available now for pre-order!).

And boom! Just like that, it's the middle of July!

That's a lot of pictures of me, huh? Some of these I posted on social media. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have seen some of them.  But even this many pictures don't tell the whole story of the past few weeks.

I strive to be utterly authentic on social media, but I've only posted a few times over these past weeks. I've hit some highlights, and that's about it.

When I was writing Mythical Me, I studied social media. I discovered that peer-reviewed studies have now confirmed what many of us have long suspected to be true: social media posts share mostly "best-foot-forward" moments. This is one of the reasons that comparing ourselves to what we see of others' lives on social media is so dangerous. As one author put it, we're "comparing our behind-the-scenes to others' highlight reels."

There have been so many behind-the-scenes moments in my life over the past few weeks, you'd hardly believe it. In fact, we're living in a protracted behind-the-scenes time right now. One of my sons has been seriously ill for the past three weeks, and he's been living at home so that I can care for him. We're praying for healing and hoping for the best, but these weeks have been tough–the sickest I've ever seen him.

I just realized that I haven't posted anything on social media since my son got sick. It's not that I'm trying to hide the messy details of my life. It's more that I've been too busy to attend to Instagram or Facebook.

But if you were looking at me strictly from my social media presence over the past few weeks, you might think my life is practically perfect.

Nope. Far from it.

Here's the truth: my life is deeply blessed. I have a precious family, dear friends, a great church home, meaningful work to do. In addition to that, I have the stability and security of a loving marriage, a good job for my husband, a lovely home, health insurance, money to pay our bills. So my life is not only blessed but also highly privileged in many ways.

But perfect? No.

No one has a perfect life, no matter how their lives may look from afar. But as my friend Myquillyn likes to say, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."

We all have blessings, and we all have struggles. My life is a mixture of both, and I know yours is, too. God give us the grace to be thankful for our messy, beautiful, real lives.

Tell me: what has your summer been like? I'd love to hear!