my week in review: 3/28-4/17//2014

Sharing my phone's pictures, telling the stories behind them.

I've been an InstaFriday slacker. 
Here's what I've been up to the last 3 weeks:

I started part 2 of the Gifts of Imperfection class with Brene Brown. 
The first assignment was to give myself permission slips. 
I thought it was pretty ironic that I messed up on the title of the class about imperfection. 

The focus of our first week was being creative. 
Our assignment was to do a self portrait using crayons, 
then make an Author page for our journal with three things we believe in. 
There are so many things I believe in that could have written, 
I just put down the first three that came to mind. 

The girls and I went over to my sisters and we did our nails. 
I never do my nails, 
except that it's kind of a bonding activity with my girls so I've been doing it lately. 
It's evidently a "thing" to paint one nail differently than the others. 
Good thing I have a middle school daughter to help keep me in the loop with all the "things."

 We celebrated my dad's birthday. 
I found this coffee mug for him to help him make decisions when the grandkids are over. 
It's perfect.

 For my dad's birthday meal I made his specialty, Daddy's Tubesteak Delight
He invented it and made it for us all the time when we were kids. 
He didn't ever write down the recipe, but it's basically German potato salad with hot dogs.
I asked him about the story behind Daddy's Tubesteak Delight.
He said that one time he made German potato salad and us kids didn't like it.
So the next time he added hot dogs and called it something different.
He is a really smart man.
We didn't like German potato salad but we loved Daddy's Tubesteak Delight.

I have a ton of hot dogs left over from the baseball team cook out. 
We're pretty much having hot dogs in everything until they're gone. 

 One day at work I got a text from my dear InstaFriend Jessica asking me if I wanted to have lunch.
She was going to be driving through the town I work in, around lunch time, so it worked out well.
It was such a nice treat! 
We didn't get an InstaPicture of our meet up, 
but I did get a pic of these treats from Trader Joe's she brought for me. 

I'd never had the cookie butter before.
I feel like I wasn't truly living before I tasted the cookie butter.

 Sarah was with me when this new cookie butter world was opened to me. 
She and I agreed to keep it a secret and hide the delicious stuff in a secret place. 
When JD discovered it, we told him that it was gross and he probably wouldn't like it. 
He believed us until he tried it. 
It is Ah-may-zing.
It's a really bad thing that it is so good.

 John had his first game of his high school career.
Sarah and I drove to Winona to watch him.
Mapquest did us wrong, but we eventually found the field that the JV was playing on.
I love watching baseball.

Somewhere in the last three weeks I managed to post my first heartfelt blog post in a while.
I was inspired by Glennon Melton to share about my messy, beautiful life.
I am so messy.
Not just cleaning, but I am messed up.
And I think it's important to let each other know how messed up we are because that is real.
And real is beautiful.

 The day after National Siblings Day I posted this picture of me and my siblings.
Because who on earth knows that it's National Siblings Day unless everyone on social media 
posts pictures of their siblings to inform you of such a day.

I think we should start a National Clown Nose Day and see how many people post pictures of themselves
in clown noses.

This girl, always taking selfies.
I like to bomb them. 
She lets me.

She and I got our hair colored together sometime during these last three weeks. 
But we never took before and after pictures. 
We are both now darker and redder than we were before.
I think she looks fantastic!
I'm almost used to my color. 
I do like it though.

Another lunch meet up with Jessica within a three week span! 
How lucky am I?
This time we made sure to get an InstaPicture.

Did I mention we met through this InstaFriday linkup with Life Rearranged?
Sometimes the internet is cool like that.

I'm @annebickle, linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

life rearranged


thank you for not vacuuming the stairs - my messy beautiful

"Messy and beautiful are Like Laverne and Shirley or Joy and Pain or Love and Loss or peas and carrots or Family Picture Day and Nervous Breakdowns….THEY GO TOGETHER. Messy and beautiful are inseparable." 

A gesture drawing done by Rembrandt.
The first time I remember being confronted by the idea that messy could be beautiful was in an art class I took at a junior college the summer after ninth grade. For the first lesson of the class, our instructor took us to the park and told us to draw gestures of the people we saw walking across the street or sitting on a bench. Gesture drawings are a lot like scribbles with purpose. They are meant to capture the essence of the subject, not to be a perfect representation of it.

Gestures gave me constipation.

They weren't perfect. They were messy. My perfectionist protested as I struggled to scribble on purpose.

I didn't embrace the beauty of messy gestures right away. I wanted everything to be beautiful and perfect, which by definition is not messy. If I couldn't do it perfectly, I would avoid doing it so that I didn't have to fail. Dr. Kevin Leman would tell you that I am a discouraged perfectionist.

After skeptically reading The Birth Order Book by Leman I looked at my husband and told him I thought I might be a first-born perfectionist after all. He looked at me like I was crazy.

Because I'm not perfect, I'm messy. In so many ways, I'm Messy.

There is a blogger who I have grown to love, Glennon Melton. She is Messy too. Not only that, but she is totally okay with being Messy, which is refreshing. She embraces her Messy because she knows that I am Messy and that you are Messy too. Because it's a universal thing, this Messiness.

She recently wrote a book, Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life. I signed up to be a part of her Messy, Beautiful Warriors project and committed to write a post about my messy, beautiful life because I think that the thought that messy and beautiful go hand in hand is encouraging.

When I told my daughter Kaitlin that I was going to write a post about how my life is messy and beautiful, I asked her for some ideas, some ways that she could see that my life is messy and beautiful.

"Well, you are really messy!," she said and then paused to think of what to say next. "...and you are really beautiful!"

My stairs, halfway to being vacuum-free.
My ability to not clean well is the subject of many conversations in our house. It has tested my husband's Type A personality. He grew up in a home that looked like a museum because it was so clean. I grew up in a home that looked, like, extremely lived in because it was so... lived in.

I've tried to meet in the middle and so has my husband, bless his soul. We once bought a vacuum from a door to door salesman because he told us that our carpets would be cleaner. That sounded hopeful to us. Evidently owning the vacuum does not make them cleaner, it's the actual act of vacuuming that does it.

Vacuuming the floor is like going to the dentist. I know I should do it, but I put it off. Vacuuming the stairs is like getting your impacted wisdom teeth pulled without Novacaine. You just don't do it if you don't have to. True story: I pulled up the carpet on our stairs because I would rather live with ugly stairs than to have to vacuum them.

The first time I realized how messy I was was when we invited my husband's family for a barbecue to celebrate the purchase of our first home. One of our guests got down on her hands and knees to clean my kitchen floor.

I am not proud of my messy house. Growing up I had no solid career aspirations, but I aspired to be a good homemaker and a good mom. I imagined that my home would be clean and my kids would smile appreciatively at me as they ate their homemade after-school snacks.

But somehow it seemed a lot easier in my imagination. Forget about the deep cleaning, these days I'm just happy if I get the laundry done so that my husband doesn't have to go commando. I wish I were a good homemaker and housekeeper, a good example of these things to my kids.

I try to be.

That's why it struck a nerve deep in the very center of me when someone told me, while visiting their home, that I wasn't a good mom when I left my drink on the bed stand to be finished later. No wonder your kids don't pick up after themselves! Not only that, but I don't deep clean the house well enough. Your kids could get sick! I felt pretty awful about myself after that visit.

A different time I visited a different house. It was just a quick visit to pick up my daughter from a sleepover at her friend's. As I stood in the entry visiting with the mom as I waited for Kaitlin to get her things, I noticed the dog fur on the carpeted stairs. The mom must have followed my gaze. She waved her hand in the air, dismissing the dirty stairs. "We live a busy life," she said.

"I think they are wonderful!" I said. "Actually I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with dog-furry stairs. So, thank you for not vacuuming the stairs!" Her messy was beautiful to me.

And that's the thing about embracing our messy lives and being real with others about our struggles and imperfections: it's beautiful when others realize they're not alone. It's beautiful when you dare to be vulnerable and realize you are not alone. You might be messy, but you are okay.

I think that sentence might have just given my husband constipation. I'm not necessarily saying that messy houses are the goal here, I'm just saying that it's not the worst thing in the world to have a messy house when someone stops by. I'm saying that I am not good at housecleaning, but I am a good mom with good kids. And I have good relationships with them.

More importantly, I'm saying that Messy is more than just about housecleaning. It's about taking off our masks. It's letting go of pretenses. Messy is being Real, warts and all. It's not what should be, it's what is. Admitting we are sometimes Messy is being wholehearted, and that's beautiful.

A while back I went to a women's get together at church. We were told to go around the room and share which Fruit of the Spirit we most needed. Do I have to pick just one? I wondered. I need them all! I need a Fruit of the Spirit Salad!

It became clear as we went around the room that Patience and Love were the Fruits of choice. Who can't use more patience or love when dealing with the imperfect people in our lives?

One of the women broke form and said she wanted Peace, then mentioned her struggle with depression. I didn't know her, but I was impressed by her boldness because I know from experience that depression isn't always something that Christians understand very well. It's messy and a lot of church-going people don't like messy.

I once had a debate with a bible study leader who claimed that you weren't abiding in Christ if you were discouraged and being discouraged is a sin. I disagree. Discouragement is an emotion, just like anger is. To be discouraged or angry is not a sin. I believe that God gave us these emotions as indicators to help us know what's going on inside of us. Kind of like a smoke alarm going off is an indicator that something is wrong, so are our emotions. The subsequent action taken based on those indicators, that is what the sin is, the result of not abiding in Christ. The action is the sin, not the emotion. To feel discouraged is not a sin.

I'm not sure about this, but I'd be willing to bet that some of my depression originated under the weight of legalism. I wonder how many Christians are depressed because they don't believe they can be Messy if they are abiding in Christ?

The next time I saw The Woman Who Chose Peace in church I passed by her then decided to double back and tell her that I appreciated her sharing about her struggle with depression, that I struggled with it too and if she ever needed to talk to someone who understood, she could talk to me.

What followed has been a beautiful friendship. Her vulnerability to share about her need for Peace in the midst of a bunch of Patience people, and my vulnerability to reach out to a stranger about my own struggle with depression-- it felt Messy, but it was beautiful!

Messy and beautiful go wonderfully together. 

Brene Brown writes "Here's what is truly at the heart of wholeheartedness: Worthy now, not if, not when, we're worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is."

As is. 

Messy. Beautiful. Wholehearted. 

This culture wants us to gloss over the Messy. The message is that if we don't acknowledge the Messy, or if we somehow control the Messy, then we can have Beautiful. And, maybe that's true if you're idea of beautiful is the artificial airbrushed unrealistic supermodels or highly staged snapshots of decorated living rooms on magazine covers. I prefer to think that authenticity and wholeheartedness is beautiful. 

It's not either/or, it's both/and. Both Messy and Beautiful. When we decide to embrace our Messy Beautiful, when we decide to be vulnerable and authentic, we are warriors in this fight for wholeheartedness. It's worth the fight.

Carry On, Warrior. Embrace your messy, beautiful life.

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

** edit: I forgot to make a "pinnable image" so


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...