Start With a “Yes” to the Little Things
May 23, 2013 01:20 am | Jennifer Schmidt
After spending a few days at Disney, I can’t help but sing “Dreams really do come true.” With princesses twirling and characters dancing, evil is destroyed at every turn.
Little boys and girls can’t help but be mesmerized by Mickey’s encouragement that if we only just believe, dreams can become a reality.
Yet when I take away the sprinkle of Cinderella’s fairy dust, what does that really mean for me?
How can I weave God’s calling through the fabric of my every day life without feeling overwhelmed?
The discussions on “Dreaming Big Dreams” have permeated many posts and discussions lately, and as a “Reach for the Stars” kind of girl myself, there’s nothing I appreciate more than surrounding myself with others who dream big dreams, yet often, I’m conflicted with my thoughts on the topic.
For me, whenever I wear my Dream God Sized Dreams bracelet it’s my reminder to embrace the Little Things.
Just recently, I re-read one of my very first Balancing Beauty and Bedlam posts entitled The Little Things. It’s been a theme on my blog for years, and the post began,
“For those who read my blog, you know that one of my passions is CHOOSING JOY.
I love to celebrate the simple things, and stimulate the senses. It is by taking your everyday rituals, and turning them into something meaningful, so that your house becomes a true haven – a sanctuary.
It’s about turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, and that extraordinary is often so simple.
I often get asked, “What is your dream?”
I honestly reply, “I am living it.”
I penned that nearly five years ago. Those are my roots. That’s where I need to return.
Contentment in the midst of simplicity.
Our God Sized dreams vary based on our own personal journey and life stage, and last month on (in)courage, I shared my imaginary conversation. The one where I felt as if I couldn’t keep up amidst this amazing group of women.
The bottom line? I don’t have too. My journey is very different. I don’t share the same dreams, yet that doesn’t make one more important than the next.
Again, I glance at my bracelet, and I’m reminded that my big, crazy, God size realized Dream began by saying “Yes” to the little things which ARE the Big things, and quite often, the most important things.
How did I start to realize my dreams and choose joy on a day to day basis?
I began by saying YES to the little things and not worrying about bigger things.
I said “Yes” to:
Picking blueberries in the pouring rain
Choosing Spontaneous Hospitality (for the non-perfectionist) again and again
Being a Crazy “Yes” Mom whenever I got the chance, since so often I had to say “no.”
Jumping in a mud puddle, even when I didn’t want more laundry to do
Eating frozen chocolate chip cookies dough
Sharing a “backwards night” in which I served ice cream as our main course and encouraged the family to “save” room for our special treat: peas for dessert
Eating dinner under the table with candles and china
Buying a Starbucks treat for a stranger in line, even when I wouldn’t buy that treat for myself
As I started saying “Yes” to spontaneous acts of intentional living, my soul was freed up to tip toe into other areas.
Organizing Kitchen Sisters Clubs (meal swapping groups)
Sharing Money Saving Ideas
Serving as a Director for women on their home school journey
Can you see how this slowly evolved?
I didn’t make a chart. I didn’t create a “to do” list. I didn’t have some big “life goals” sheet (shh, I know that goes against all leadership principles).
I allowed my day to day “yeses” to percolate passions that I didn’t even know were imprinted on my heart 20 years ago.
The crazy thing?
From those simple, country girl passions, the desire to become more creative, purposeful and frugal, came a God Sized Dream realized.
It all started with saying “Yes” to the little things.
My co-host and I desired an affordable weekend of encouragement and inspiration for our readers; a place to bring the hands-on topics of our blogs to real life.
I packed up my family room furniture (literally), set it up on the stage and welcomed women from all walks of life to become more intentional with the day to day.
We shared life.
We shared ideas on meal planning, furniture painting, home decor, family traditions, frugal fashion, photography, Trash to Treasure and more.
Honestly, I chuckle because it’s one of my best kept secrets, and I really don’t talk about it much. I guess because this Becoming Conference feels as if I’m just welcoming you all into my home for the weekend, and when you do that, you don’t talk on and on about what an inspiring weekend it is.
You just live life together, embracing both the beauty and bedlam of every day life.
My encouragement to you is to just start.
Tip toe forward and say “Yes” to those little things. My whole Becoming weekend began as a spontaneous idea of mine built on that exact premise.
The theme of “It’s the little things that are the big things” will be sprinkled throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains during the weekend of August 9 -10, 2013
I invited others along for the journey and they said “Yes.”
Won’t you join me too? (Literally and figuratively)
What’s “Yeses” can you declare today?
Our God Sized Dreams begin by tip toeing towards just one new “Yes.”
(And I highly recommend dancing spontaneously in the rain.)
Shared by: Jen Schmidt, Balancer of Beauty and Bedlam, maker of 10 Minute Dinners and co-host of the Becoming Conference.
The One Thing To Do When You Are Wrecked
May 23, 2013 01:10 am | Julie Sunne
I didn’t want to write this post. There were many sunnier topics I had considered sharing. But this is the one I felt needed to be written because…
…I’m wrecked—torn up inside. And I’m struggling with what to do about it. Maybe you are, too.
You see, our third-world brothers and sisters are scavenging for the last vestiges of anything edible, and I’m living in the lap of luxury. (Yes, middle class America is the lap of luxury.) While they wonder where their next meal will come from, I’m searching for the next best deal.
And I’m finally letting it bug me!
Avoidance Isn’t the Answer
I’ve been stung by the plight of others less fortunate before. But I’ve never allowed it to take hold of me like now.
In the past, I’ve always managed to “manage” my compassion. I’d give a little something and then shake it off—to prevent it from digging deep into my heart and hanging on. But for the past year I’ve been largely unsuccessful.
I’m driven to read desperate accounts of life in Haiti, like this one from Ann Voskamp, or stirring narratives of the difficult conditions in Peru by Angie Smith, and I’m broken all over again.
As much as I’d like to stay away from such uncomfortable topics, I can’t. Something draws me to consider those who live a world apart, those I will likely never meet—and beckons me to be undone.
…what and how?
What do we do with starving orphans, whole communities of diseased and dying families, and the discarded disabled?
How are we to respond to true desperation when we have refrigerators and freezers filled to the brim, cupboards overflowing with produce, and closets bursting with clothes?
Do we join them on the streets? Do we sell all we have and live like paupers?
Should we feel guilty for living in the United States?
Do we offer a token gesture, a pat on the head, to make us feel better? Or do we turn a blind eye and pretend they don’t exist?
The questions have whirled in my mind. And I’ve finally settled on the only answer I can right now.
I must move. We all must move.
We must take a step toward the needy.
Each of us must embrace being undone and take action. One step at a time.
The body of believers cannot “do” nothing when some of God’s children are suffering. As tempting as it may be, we cannot avoid the harsh reality of poverty and persecution because it makes us uncomfortable. We cannot ignore it or forget about it because it is inconvenient. We cannot write off the sadness and suffering as someone else’s concern.
We all must take a first step.
My first one step is this post. To acknowledge the plight of the poor and persecuted. To accept the call to do something.
And I’ll be praying for the next step … and the one after that. Because each step needs to be followed by another—a series of small steps to make a big difference.
Different One Steps
I’m certain we’re all called to move for the poor, to let ourselves be undone. Because God didn’t plop some of us in developed countries merely to live a life of relative ease. He placed us here to demonstrate His heart of compassion, to be His hands and feet.
But I’m equally certain, we aren’t all called to make the same step.
So maybe our job—mine and yours—is to figure out what that move looks like in each of our lives.
This first step may be the hardest.
But being wrecked is not about ease; it is about the broken serving the broken.
Ultimately, being wrecked is about love.
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 1 John 3:17
Q4U: What might your first/next one step be to serve those in need?
Yours in grace,
*Author and speaker Jeff Goins wrote a challenging and inspiring book entitled “Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life.” Check it out. It will make you think deep and reach far.