The Craig Family Adoption

In the midst of all of these other guest posts and contributor posts, this post speaks to me the most. I’ve always dreamed of adopting or fostering a child. Like Kayla and her husband, it has always spoken to me. Please join me in supporting her family in their adoption!


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 Every morning, I stumble out of bed, grab my Coke-bottle glasses, and shuffle my way across the hardwood floors into the kitchen. Our four-year-old waits patiently for his oatmeal, and his hand always seems to find mine as I make breakfast in the early morning hours. I pour myself coffee as our two-year-old, his bedhead just as wild as his little heart, comes hustin’ out of his room.

Motherhood, you guys. It’s chaotic and sleep-deprived and sweet and 100 kinds of awesome.

 

I became a mom in a fashion that only God could create. I was a young, twenty-something newlywed learning more about the world, and more about its creator, every day. We were stumbly and we weren’t perfect, but we couldn’t help but sense that God was leading us both down a path to parenthood that, in the world’s eyes, was a bit unconventional.

My husband and I both started to feel the tug on our hearts for children who didn’t have families. We both grew up in safe and loving two-parent homes, and we couldn’t shake the idea of little ones not growing up without the structure and nurture a family provides. We knew we couldn’t do everything, but we could be open to doing something. We prayed, and asked God to lead.

One billion “only-God” stories later, and we were getting off a plane, welcoming our incredible one-year-old son into our arms, forever. Joseph joined our family via adoption from West Africa (you can learn much more about that here), and our lives have been so radically blessed by his presence. We grieve for what he lost with his fist family, but we praise God that he writes beautiful stories from brokenness.

Fast forward two years, and we welcomed a second son into our lives, this time the old-fashioned way. Asher fits into our family perfectly, and it’s a joy to see my sons grow and learn and play and explore life together.

And now, our hearts are open to more. And we continue to believe that God will form our family once again through adoption. There are children here and abroad waiting for safe and loving homes, and it’s at the core of our heart that we might have the privilege of being a family for another little one (or ones). Due to logistics, this time our process will happen in the U.S. instead of abroad. We’re not quite sure what this adoption will look like, though we know we want to be a family for a waiting child.

Over oatmeal and apple juice in sippy cups, we talk about adding a new brother or sister to the mix. “I know, Mommy!” Joseph says, scooping in another mouthful of breakfast. “We’re going to have two sisters! And name them Mommy and Daddy!”

So, there’s a tiny glimpse into the big story God is writing. It’s a humbling, profound privilege to parent a child or children not born to me, and it’s not something I take lightly.

As we walk into the unknown and trust God that he will form our family in the ways only He can, we go through all of the paperwork and processes to ensure everything is done correctly and ethically.

We have just completed our home study, the giant 500-billion-page document written by a social worker who has poured over every detail of our lives to ensure that we are approved to be an adoptive family.

Adoption, as I’m sure you’ve probably heard, can be costly. Social workers, attorneys, agencies — each are compensated to ensure things are handled the right way. We’re a young family that has been saving for a second adoption since we completed our first. Every Christmas gift, every extra bit, has gone into a special account for “someday.” And someday is here!

My husband is a pastor who took on an extra job as a high school speech coach this year, and I’m a freelance writer/editor who has taken on extra projects to make this adoption a reality. We are also trying to think of creative ways to tackle the fees.

Here’s where the fun part comes in: We’re hosting a GIANT shop-our-closets sale this coming Monday, April 27 at 7 p.m.

  • I gathered more than 10 of my most stylish friends of all shapes and sizes, and together, we cleaned out our closets.
  • We have around 200 gently-worn items in quality brands (think J. Crew, Banana Republic, Gap, Free People, Anthropologie, Sevenly). Basically, my basement looks like an amazing women’s boutique right now. You’re going to want this stuff!
  • We’re selling it ALL (think 25+ dresses, 75+ tops, skirts, ethically-made jewelry, scarves, heels) in a HUGE Instagram auction-style fundraiser to combat adoption fees.
  • To join in on the sale: Follow us at @craigsadopt, and get those bidding fingers ready!
  • Each item will have a fairly low starting bid price, though we hope you have fun and bid generously! The sale will go on for 24 hours.
  • To bid, you must have a PayPal account. If you don’t, go sign up here!

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These shop-my-closet sales have become so popular on Instagram, and I love them! (I love scoring thrifted treasures — you can have on-point style on a budget!)

Think of this sale as us doing the dirty work for you — all you have to do is sit back and bid away — knowing that 100 percent of all money is going directly to our adoption account. You’ll get some crazy-awesome deals, and you’ll be entering into the work God is doing to provide waiting little ones a permanent, loving family.

We want others to know that adoption is worth it, because at the end of the journey, there’s a child who is going to feel a family’s love and there will be a family whose lives are changed by the love of a child.

Giveaway time:

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We’re giving away this gorgeous Santa Fe necklace, ethically handmade from women in Haiti through Vi Bella ($35 value). Share about the sale on Instagram with the date/time (Monday, April 27 at 7 p.m.) and tag us in the status (@craigsadopt) for an entry, and tag friends for more entries. (We’ll draw a winner Tuesday, April 28 – no purchase necessary, U.S. residents only.)

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Need reminders of the sale? Let’s connect on Facebook. Questions? Shoot me a message — I’d love to hear from you! If you feel led to give, you can make a donation to our adoption here.

Thank you for entering into our story.

10960035_841100916952_3073347325596949958_oKayla is full-time journalist turned work-at-home editor. She lives among the Iowa cornfields, where she’s hitched to a shaggy-haired pastor and they’re smitten with two wild + free boys: Joseph (4) and Asher (2). Kayla sips strong coffee, likes pretty things, and believes there’s beauty in the broken. She writes about faith, motherhood, and style at Many Sparrows, encouraging women to find worth and live a story worth sharing.

 

Dread at the Nail Salon

My husband came running into the house and stated, “You are getting your nails done!” He said it like a cheerleader might cheer at a sports event! He continued that him and his mother were already scheduled at a nearby nail salon. We could just drive the two-minute ride over! We were visiting the Seattle area for the weekend, and we would be attending a Farewell/Happy Retirement Party for dear friends that Saturday evening. I had been complaining about my nails for the last few days. But, I kept putting it off.

As I entered the nail salon, that familiar anxiety washed over me. The petite Asian owner told me to pick out my polish. I explained that I only ever request shellac for my hands; otherwise, the polish goes off in minutes of exiting the salon. I was asked to rummage through their shellac bottles of polish. I found this a little strange. Usually, you select your color from a shellac color nail chart. Suffice to say, I felt a little frustrated trying to determine the precise color from the actual bottle. Finally, I selected my color. It was a soft, baby blue. Then, I walked over to the wall of regular nail polish to find a color that closely matched my shellac color. I would have them paint my toes this blue, regular color as part of my pedicure. Once I selected my toe color and sighed a breath of relief, I turned to look behind me at my mother-in-law and hubby. They were sitting comfortably in their massage chairs getting pedicures. They looked so happy and relaxed. I was constructing nightmare scenarios in my mind’s eye.

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So, why do I have a love/hate relationship with beautifying my nails? I was born with mild Cerebral Palsy (CP). Technically, it is referred to as Spastic Hemiplegia, meaning that movement on one side of my body is affected.You would not know it by looking at me. But, the left side of my body is smaller, tighter, and weaker. As I write this, my left hand is tightening into a fist. It is also impossible for me to turn my left wrist without help. Don’t even ask to see my palm (this makes it very difficult to have an accurate palm reading by a psychic – something I always wished I could do! He/she only gets half of my life story! ). I might be able to loosen my hand and my wrist on a day where I engage in constant stretching exercises. As you can imagine, this is pretty cumbersome.

Having CP, by itself, is not my main issue. Communicating my unique problem to someone who typically only speaks English as a second language is my concern. Moreover, most nail technicians have not worked with people with disabilities. It really is the luck of the draw; some people recognize my difficulties. These people figure out a system that works in the fastest most effective way possible. Others are not so ingenious. They actually make it worse. One way or the other, I always need extra time and attention. And, I tend to feel apologetic for my situation.

Given my circumstances, the process involved in shellacking my nails makes an already complicated situation more complicated. Here is the process:

In order to put shellac on, your nail technician applies the polish; then, you put your hand under a really hot UV Lamp. After a minute or two, your nail technician applies a second coat and places your hand back under the lamp. You get two coats of polish and one top coat that seals the nails.  As you can imagine, this process runs smoothly with my right hand. It gets pretty complicated with my left hand.

…back to the nail salon…

For some odd reason, the nail technician decided to give me a pedicure first. I already said my previous nail polish (shellac) had to be removed. I also said I was not your average customer. But, the technician did not listen to these warnings. Off I went to get my toes done. The process seemed to take longer than normal. No worries. I relaxed into a back massage and felt the warm water wash over my feet. “I’ll just go with the flow,” I thought to myself. After, what seemed like an hour, the technician was done with my pedicure. She asked me to move over to a nail station. I did. “Oh, now it begins,” I sighed inwardly. I was remembering the last time I got my hand nails done. The technician was anything but sensitive to my needs. She really did not listen or work effectively. I had an unpleasant experience. I was feeling anxious that this would just be another repeat.

I did my best to explain my situation to the technician. To her credit, she seemed to take note and do her best to accommodate me. I suggested that she work on one hand at a time. This always seemed to work the best in my past experiences. By now, the technician was heading closer to closing time. She was concerned it would take too long to follow my suggestion. (“I tried to tell you earlier, I thought.” ). I reiterated the problem. I began to sound a little frustrated. I said, “I hate this. I always have to go through this!” I regretted blurting that out. It was not her fault. I was really fighting myself – not her. She responded, “Don’t hate me, we’ll make it work. It will be okay.”  To which I responded, “It is not you, It is me and this process.”  That is when we chose to do one hand at a time. We also called hubby over to assist with my left hand. When my left hand went under the lamp, he held it down to ensure it would not curl up. We may have had only one incident where polish needed to be reapplied. I made a few more comments about my anxiety. Each time my hand went under the lamp I would say something to the effect of, “I don’t know…I hope I don’t tighten or curl up.” Each time hubby and the technician responded, “It will be okay. Look, you are doing so well!.”

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Eventually, my shellac nails were done, and I felt a sense of gratitude. I also felt a sense of humility due to all my complaining and anxiety. But, I DID get through it! And, I had awesome nails for the party that night!

In some ways, I know I brought a lot of angst upon myself. Attitude is, at least, half of the battle. A positive attitude may have really helped me out, in this case. All I can say is that I’m working on it. I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles in my life. I’ve learned to adapt and walk around a lot of roadblocks. If I enjoy this type of grooming, then I need to find a way to adapt and honor myself in this context. It does not help to feel ashamed, embarrassed, or apologetic. It does not help to get angry, frustrated, or cynical.  Every now and then, I have the thought that my physical challenges are meant to teach me some important life lesson. It is not some awful curse from a Higher Power. Somehow, I believe that my disability has helped develop  my compassion,  my purpose to serve others, my high value towards people and relationships, and my purpose to inspire through writing and sharing my story. In the end, my disability is something to honor, respect, and appreciate for how it has shaped me and create my strength of character.

College Experiences

Hair/MUA - Erika Syverson Photography/Wardrobe Stylist - RaeylnTofte Model - Abbigayle Rashae Pope

Hair/MUA – Erika Syverson
Photography/Wardrobe Stylist – RaeylnTofte
Model – Abbigayle Rashae Pope

If college has taught me one thing, it’s that it opens you to experiences you never thought could or would come to you. One such experience of mine came about a month into my first semester of college. September of 2013, a few months after I turned sixteen.

I was in the main building, working on some reading when I noticed a table set up, raising donations. I glanced over and noticed that a few students in the photography department were selling sweets. I wouldn’t have given them a second thought, but one of the guys kept throwing out hilarious one-liners, so I was glancing over every couple of minutes.

I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I got out a couple bucks from my wallet, closed my book, and somewhat stalked over to their set-up. I looked them all in the eye and said,  “I wouldn’t have come over, but I kept laughing at your comments. I don’t want a sweet, but here you go,” then handed the money to the specific man.

They told me to take a sweet anyways, so I did. As I was starting to walk off, one of the women, I later learned her name was Raelyn, stopped me. She started complimenting me and expressed that she would love to shoot me. Everyone else at the table joined in, as well. I was embarrassed, but it was really sweet. Raelyn asked if we could swap numbers and said she’d get in touch about a photo shoot for me soon.

As I went about my day, I didn’t think much of it. But later I received a text from Rae and she was sharing images about a high fashion shoot she thought I’d be perfect for. Within a few days everything was set up and I was asked to meet her in the photography building at my college.

I was terrified when I pulled up; I had no idea what I was getting into. Raelyn was ridiculously sweet and made me feel very comfortable. She introduced me to some of her photography friends, showed me the clothes I’d be wearing, all of which came from her very own closet, and had a friend drop in to do my hair and makeup for the shoot.

I’ve always been interested in modeling, so this was a great learning experience for me. I was in crazy high heels, the most comfortable of which was the pair of Jeffrey Campbell’s with a wedge cut out of the heel. Some of the poses were very hard for me to do, but Raelyn, who’s done a lot of modeling herself, told me “If you’re not uncomfortable you’re doing it wrong.” Everyone in the studio was laughing, but I think that sentiment is true, at least to an extent.

We only got to shoot three of the four outfits planned, but it was a wonderful time regardless. I got the finished photos back quickly and they were all beautiful. They didn’t go into print, it was for a project at the college. I ended up doing another shoot with her a month or so later.

Through my choice to go over to that photography table I met wonderful people, got beautiful photographs and memories I’ll never forget. It helped me mature and break out of my shell.  I encourage all you ladies (and gents!) to get outside your comfort zones to try something new. Regardless of what happens, you will learn from your experience and it will guide you through life.

Bumpdate: Week 27

I’m late to the game again with another bumpdate. Truth be told, I’m late to the game for a lot of things lately. Being pregnant really takes my brain cells away. I hate feeling like that is an excuse but it really is the only reason I have been MIA.

Last week I worked another 50+ hour week and, normally that wouldn’t completely kill me when it comes to blogging. But of course, I’ve got a baby hanging out in my belly dictating what I do with my free time and she doesn’t seem to be a big advocate of thoughtful blog posts, at the moment.

So, really today’s bumpdate is also a life lately post. I’ve been trying to steal moments of relaxing and QT with friends and family. I’ve had a few full days off, and let me tell you, those are so welcome!!

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Photo: Jessica Keller

 

Baby

How far along?
27 weeks!

Gender?
a baby warrior queen :)

How big are they?
She’s supposed to be around the size of a cauliflower head. I believe she moved positions within the last week!

Changing Momma

Have you started to show yet?
YOU GUYS, my students finally noticed!!!

Weight gain?
probably around 25

Maternity Clothes?
almost constantly!!

Stretch Marks?
last week was a false alarm, still no stretch marks!

Belly Button In or Out?
poking out! (Which means it’s time for me to do a giveaway for Bump Bows! Check out my insta)

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Photo: Jessica Keller

 

 

Momma’s Feeling

Cravings:
None, unless you mention something to me.

Anything making you queasy or sick?
No, heartburn up the wazoo no matter what I eat though

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?
happy, happy, happy! But how could I be moody with our one year wedding anniversary in 6 days!

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Photo: Jessica Keller

Movement

Sleep:
I am discovering a pattern of “can’t sleep. sleep all night. can’t sleep. sleep all night”

What I Miss:
I sound like an alcoholic but seriously, alcohol!!

Other Symptoms:
Rib and back pain, thanks to someone’s cute little toes

Highlights and Coming Soon

Best Moment of the Week:
Every time she moves a ton, I yell for Iman to come and feel her go crazy.

Looking Forward To:
Asking questions at our next appointment!

What else have we been up to?

Iman and I were able to take my grandmother out for Easter dinner last week. We had a blast eating steak (her favorite) and talking baseball. This past weekend she spent some time in the hospital because of low sodium and low iron. I am so happy we were able to steal that bit of time!

We also went to that baseball game that I posted pictures of in my last bumpdate. So much fun!! Friday morning I had my glucose test and then pampered my mom with a mani/pedi. I completely forgot to shave my legs though…since it’s getting pretty hard to even see those bad boys. OOPS!

Saturday, I went to the beach for a little while with Jess and some friends. It was so weird to have my belly out in public like that!! Yesterday, we were able to have dinner at our officiant’s house. She is so sweet! I may not have shared the story with you last year, but our officiant is actually the president of the Ohio State Alumni Association in Orange County.

I met Susan when I was applying to OSU. My mom and I drove to her house for a scholarship interview. I was the last interviewee of the day and they had pretty much decided who was getting the money already. Then I blew in like I’ve been known to do, and they did some reallocating to be able to include me!!

Not only did she give me such an amazing scholarship, but she kept in contact with me throughout my years at OSU, coming home from OSU and since then. She was such a wonderful officiant and we are seriously so grateful to have had her!!

In whatever spare time I’ve had, I’ve mostly been zoning out, napping and watching Sons of Anarchy because my obsession is real. I’m actually pretty mad at the Season 3 Premiere, mostly because I know how the series ends. Is anyone else obsessed like me?

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Why You Should Volunteer

 

Next weekend I will be receiving an award from my local library for two years of volunteer service.

It’s funny, I never even realized how much time had gone by since I first applied to become a special events volunteer, I was just having so much fun attending events, taking photographs, writing content for their website and helping with their community art projects.

Aside from it being fun, volunteering has a lot of benefits.

In the past two years I have done some pretty amazing things through the library: I did my work placement for school with them, attended multiple gallery exhibitions, met professionals in my career field of choice, made friends, contributed to big community art projects and learned a lot about my community and the many events and services available through the library.

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4 Reasons to Volunteer

  1. New skills and work experience
    Having volunteer experience looks great on your resume because it shows you’re a kind and selfless person, but it also helps you gain new skills. While volunteering at Idea Exchange I did a variety of tasks that helped me learn a lot of new skills, but the biggest one for me was continuing to grow my communication skills both verbally and written.
  2. Network
    No matter where you decide to volunteer you’re going to meet some awesome people, including business associates, that will help you network. Because I was a volunteer at Idea Exchange I was able to do my work placement for school with them and that eventually lead to a job interview. Even though I didn’t get the job, I’m still in contact and the amazing employees have helped point me in the direction of other opportunities. Speaking of meeting new people, when you volunteer you’re likely to make new friends and acquaintances, which is always a plus!

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  3. Community
    Volunteering helps to support your community and make it a better place. It also strengthens your ties with your community and introduces you to new events, activities and resources you may not have known about before. While volunteering with the library I was introduced to all kinds of events: festivals, gallery exhibitions, movie screenings, courses and classes and family-friendly events that I love taking my daughter to.
  4. It feels good
    It feels good to volunteer. When you selflessly give your time, energy and skills to help an organization or another person, and do a good job at it, you feel good about yourself and it boosts your self-confidence.In the spring of 2013 I was extremely depressed. I had just applied for college, couldn’t find a part-time job and had moved to a new area of town. I didn’t have any money to spend and couldn’t afford to do a lot of things. All of my free time was spent walking around my new neighborhood with my daughter and I felt as if I were going nowhere in life. Someone recommended I try volunteering until school started up for something to do and because I was already spending so much time at the library I decided to apply there. I never thought I would still be volunteering there two years later, but I simply love it.

Volunteering at the library introduced me to a bunch of free events and activities that I could enjoy with my daughter. It also gave me the confidence boost I needed when entering college for the first time.

If there is anything I can recommend to make someone feel better about themselves, it’s to volunteer.

Have you ever volunteered? What was your experience like?

Get Through the Tough Times

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By Llinos

I have no medical training, this post is written from my own experience.

We all know the feeling. We’re having a bad day, or maybe even a bad week or month. Whether you’re stressed at work, going through a breakup or a long term health issue, here are my tips for getting through.

Allow yourself to feel the pain
Let’s be real here. This sucks and you don’t want to hide it. Let yourself cry. Have that lie-in. Enjoy that movie marathon. The sorrow or stress you’re feeling inside; acknowledge it. I don’t think of this as moping or feeling sorry for yourself. Being in touch with your pain is a powerful part of being mindful, and can also help you to realise that in this moment, you’re okay.

Do what you love
Now is the time to put yourself first. Even when I am at my lowest, there are a few things that always make me happy. Grab that book which has gone unread for weeks but which you were really enjoying. Pick up a paintbrush or put together a photo album of your family snaps. Connecting with what you love is a confidence booster and a sure fire way to happy.

Go outside
Sometimes going out for a walk is difficult. When motivation leaves you, it can be tough to just get out through that door. But I have never regretted going for a walk when I’m actually out there. Once you are in the fresh air, breathe deeply and be mindful of your steps and your surroundings. Take a friend, or a camera, and appreciate being outside.

Reach out
During the difficult times of our lives, we can feel alone. However, it’s important that you reach out to those who love you. Maybe talking is too much, but they can hug you and sit with you, even if it’s just to watch a movie. They will want to support you, so let them. Tell them what they can do. You may need medical assistance, so please try not to be afraid of going to see your doctor. Seeking medical help really turned things around for me when I felt like life was against me.

Spend time with animals
Pets are great at boosting your mood. Stroking an animal, playing with them, chatting with them… it’s a natural shot of happiness. If you don’t have a pet yourself, ask to walk a neighbour’s dog, or offer to pet sit for a friend who is going away for the weekend. Caring for an animal can also give you a sense of purpose when you feel life is running away from you. They need you and that sense of being relied upon can be reassuring.

What are your tips for getting through a tough time?

Bumpdate: Week 26

Another late bumdate because I didn’t take a chalkboard picture this week! My usual photographer is in Australia for two weeks, and Iman likes to pretend to hate to take my bumpdates. It may be because I’m really bossy. (I’m sorry, Lauren, for making you take a million so that I don’t have a double chin).

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Baby

How far along?
26 weeks!

Gender?
a baby warrior queen :)

How big are they?
She’s the size of an eggplant! Also, we discovered that she lays across my belly, instead of up and down and that’s why my belly is wider rather than sticking out.

Changing Momma

Have you started to show yet?
Yes!!!

Weight gain?
probably around 20

Maternity Clothes?
yes! I got myself a couple of new things from Aerie that I’m waiting to get in the mail. I also got the dress that I plan on wearing for our baby shower(s)

Stretch Marks?
I might be seeing the beginning of one, or my skin is just indented.

Belly Button In or Out?
It’s basically flush with my skin, so I would say out.

Momma’s Feeling

Cravings:
None!

Anything making you queasy or sick?
Doing the dishes

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?
Happy!! Except for Thursday night when we were at the Dodger game and I started crying because I was tired

angelsdodgers

Movement

Sleep:
barely slept last week, caught up on it over the weekend. CRAZY dream last night

What I Miss:
Dodger Dogs!!

Other Symptoms:
Waddle, Swelling, Shortness of Breath

Highlights and Coming Soon

Best Moment of the Week:
The 3D Ultrasound! Even though little miss hid her face, it was still very entertaining to see her grooving along in there!!

Looking Forward To:
Or Not looking forward to: Glucose test on Friday!

raewyn

WQ Charity: Casual 4 a Cause

I am so, so very excited to finally showcase this brand that gives back to society!

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The girls at Casual 4 a Cause have been working hard for the past year planning, creating and designing a beautiful clothing brand that focuses on empowering women. I’m going to let you hear it from these wonderfully empowering ladies!

I first met Jenny on Instagram after she sent me a message asking if she could send my mom a chemo beanie. I had never met her before and this girl with such a big heart was sending my mom such a thoughtful gift as she was going through chemotherapy.

Of course, the email got buried and our busy schedules led us apart until a blogging meet up in December brought us back together. As we introduced ourselves, she said, “Oh, I’m Jenny, I sent your mom the chemo beanie!” Pretty sure I hugged that girl really tight in gratitude.

We spent a wonderful afternoon talking blogs and business and I grew more and more excited for their brand. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on these beautiful (yet casual) clothes! That’s basically my style. I love cute clothes, but make ‘em comfortable!

I can’t wait to purchase their Rock this Life and Heart Logo t-shirts. But for now, I’m rocking my Make Bold Moves shirt – custom designed on canvas by Soul Made Goods!!

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Isn’t he the best little bother? Pretending to be pregnant like me

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If you’d like to support these amazing women (and the women who will be awarded the micro-grant) here’s their Kickstarter. You can also check out their website, Insta, Twitter and Facebook!!

Come on, Warrior Queens, let’s help them reach their goal!

raewyn

WQ Breakdown: Be Strong

I accidentally dropped the ball on my WQ Breakdown series thanks to a few technical difficulties. But I’m back now, to break down the warrior queen definition some more. If you’ve been feeling confused about the meaning of warrior queen or how to be a warrior queen, please feel free to read the overview on the movement.

I’d love for you to follow along with the weekly breakdown! Here is a schedule:

whatiswq

March 4, 2015: Be the Best of You
April 1, 2015: Be Strong
April 8, 2015: Embrace Heartbreak
April 15, 2015: Don’t Restrict Yourself
April 22, 2015: Make Your Own Decisions
May 6, 2015: Never Regret
May 13, 2015: Show Your Emotions
May 20, 2015: Fall in Love
June 3, 2015: Do What’s Best For You
June 10, 2015: Never Intentionally Hurt Another
June 17, 2015: Change is Necessary
July 1, 2015: With Grace
July 8, 2015: Never Feel Inferior
July 15, 2015: See the Good
July 22, 2015: Do Good
August 5, 2015: Love With Every Ounce
August 12, 2015: Stand Up For Your Beliefs

The dates may change (especially if little miss comes early, or I am not prepared before she comes), but I will try to keep this list as up to date as possible!

Be Strong: Don’t let people walk all over you, but be strong enough to let your guard down to those that matter.

Please raise your hand if you’ve ever confused emotional strength and apathy? *raises hand*

I know it’s not just me. I see it all the time perpetuated in media portrayals of characters. In order for you to be “strong” you have to be apathetic and you most definitely cannot, under any circumstances, let another person in.

They like to use this idea when it comes to romance in the media we watch. You can always see the motif – strong girl who has been hurt in the past, won’t let any man in…until she find the man of her dreams and she fights letting him in but he gets in anyway and then she turns to mush.

Okay, hi, I’m a girl and I’ve got more dimension than that. You see, I’ve got emotions, man. We all do. Emotions that, regardless of how “strong” i.e. stone-cold we try to be, they’re still going to be there. If we try to push them under the rug or “be apathetic” all we are doing is letting them build up to burst in unhealthy ways.

wqbestrong

Does anyone watch Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Iman loves it and in one of the latest episodes, Skye tries to internalize her new powers (brought on by emotions) whenever she feels a surge coming. In the end, she bursts a ton of capillaries and breaks bones because she was internalizing her emotions.

The same thing happens to us – panic attacks, heart attacks, strokes, cancer cells can all be brought on my stress and cortisone and those are brought on by internalizing our emotions.

It’s okay to turn someone down because you’re trying to be strong, but it’s also okay to let someone in. Sometimes, letting someone into all of that chaos that’s in your brain, is the stronger (albeit scarier) decision!

When are your favorite moments of strength? 

raewyn

Transparency and Becoming Viral

Hi guys! I’ve got Paulina here with her crazy SEO skills to teach us all about becoming viral. You can find me over at The Rachael Way today guest posting. Make sure you read to the bottom of this post for a great surprise!

Transparency and Becoming Viral

Did you know the key to a blog post becoming viral can be as simple as transparency?

As many writers and bloggers out there are looking for traffic they wonder how do these other women and men do it? How do they reach those thousands of shares within minutes? How do they become so viral that buzzfeed is looking to interview you?

That answer most of the time is transparency. How is that related? All viewers and readers want to know you as well as their family members. It gives them this sense of connection to you that they want to share.

There are many ways to achieve this, but a great way to get that at first is with being transparent. Connections today are a hard thing with new things and people popping up with just a click of a button. Making grabbing their attention hard.

Take the most recent viral topic of a blogger no longer wearing leggings due to it gives other men lustful thoughts about her body. This post has not only been shared over a hundred thousand times, but if you google, “why I don’t wear leggings.” Almost every link on the first two pages are all about this blogger and her post of why she no longer wears leggings.

The reason this became such a huge viral hit practically over night is due to her transparency in her post. She let down her walls and bared it all.

Now I am not saying that each time you are transparent on your blog CBS news will be knocking on your door to interview you. However you will see an increase of traffic.

 Think of it this way. When you are nervous to get advice on something or when you what to know if you are not alone on a topic. What do you do? Well you Google it of course. Google is an amazing tool and can be used to your advantage. Don’t worry I have a post that can tell you how to take advantage of it —-> click here

Still not sure? I can tell you this in my own blogging career as well as Raewyn’s (since I totally stalk her dashboard when I bored) both have experienced a raise in traffic when being more transparent. As another example a few weeks ago Raewyn talk about about her crap together. Her numbers jumped up high with that post. I remember her texting me that day. Asking me to help her share since she didn’t think it would do well. To only get an “OMG” a few hours later on the response she was getting.

This happened for many reasons, but one of them was her being transparent. Sure she didn’t have a chance to go viral, but I know she will get there. I just need to bug her more about listening to me when I tell her the importance of SEO.


Are you looking for a great cause that will also benefit you?? Allie at Sincerely Bugs is running a fundraiser through her advertising until April 6th! For every ad purchased, she will not only donate the amount to Adopting N, an orphan in Eastern Europe, but she will double the donation! So if you purchase a $5 ad, she will donate $10! What a great way to give this boy a forever home (and to make a family eternally happy). Check out more here.