#womenaremorethan | MICHAL ANN

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 4.18.38 PMMichal Ann is the woman who started #womenaremorethan, which should be enough to put her in this series (she’s thoughtful, innovative, and good with words).  But she’s so much more than that.  She’s a world traveler who has participated in archeological digs in Alaska, Greece, Dubai, and Ireland.  She’s a blogger who writes passionately and articulately about theological feminism.  She’s a survivor – she has the confidence of a woman who has never experienced hardship, but she’s honest about the ways life has gone very hard for her.  She’s written a children’s book, she’s spent a month driving around Iceland, and she is so damn cool.

She’s one of my best friends.  I admire her drive and ambition, her ferocious beliefs, and the way that she lets herself fall apart when necessary.  She is my favorite person to travel with, she encourages my creativity and inspires me to do more, and she lets me be as awful as I need to be without ever condemning me.

Michal Ann is a powerhouse of a woman, and I am grateful to know her.  She’s already changing the world, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like when she’s done.

#womenaremorethan | LINDSAY

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 1.27.08 PMIs it cheating to write about my best friend?  Well, no, I don’t think so!  I wouldn’t be best friends with anyone other than someone who deserves the label #womenaremorethan!

Lindsay is one of those people who have so many talents, you’d want to punch them in the face if they weren’t so darn NICE, too.  She currently runs two small businesses (Mary Kay and Country Feed and Supplies) while also volunteering at her church AND mothering two small children.  She loves to travel, she’s passionate about sharing her life authentically (check out her blog, which covers everything from devastating emotional losses to choosing cute clothes), and she is insanely creative.

A quick story to demonstrate how amazing Lindsay is, both as a human being and as a friend.  When I was fundraising to move to Greece, she got on board 100%.  Her family didn’t have a lot of money to donate, but she has more to offer the world (and me) than money.  She organized an amazing event: she got a local coffee shop to host us, got a friend to set up her clothing store with a percentage of proceedings going to me, arranged book donations so that we could sell them, AND put together a raffle of baskets and luxury items.  At the end of the night, she had raised $700 for me…which was EXACTLY what I needed to meet my goal and officially buy tickets to move to Greece.

She’s a superhero, basically.  She loves deeply, and from that love she serves with everything she has.  Ah!  And she’s a really talented graphic designer, too!  She has so many talents I’m forgetting some!  Lindsay is so much #morethan, and I’m so grateful to have her in my life as my encourager and inspiration.

#womenaremorethan | LIBBY

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.17.48 PMI want to talk about Libby. She was one of my best friends in Dallas, and she constantly amazed me with how intentionally she addressed problems whenever she saw them, whether that was dealing with her past, befriending and caring for her neighbors, or making sure our connection group was loved and unified. She’s crazy smart, and she can see to the heart of a problem before anyone else. She is one of the most hospitable people I know, and I felt so loved every time she let me borrow pajama pants and hang out with her family. I will always cherish the time she told me, “Sounds like you’re trying to earn a gift” and with a single sentence taught me what grace is all about.

She is strong like no one’s business.  While pregnant with her third child, her house burned down, and she and her family had to relocate and start over.  She did this without going insane, which is just about the most impressive thing in the universe.

On top of all that, she is an amazing mother AND a successful entrepreneur. She has two adorable boys and a new baby girl! She started a business all on her own reselling used high-end clothes, purses, and jewelry. She’s a creative businesswoman, a fantastic photographer, and a wonderful friend.

She is definitely #morethan, and I’m so grateful I got to spend three years with her.

Share your own stories about amazing women in your life with the hashtag #womenaremorethan!

How to Avoid Fame-Seeking Behaviors While Running a Blog

At HD, we are starting our Formation of Servants meetings every Wednesday.  It’s pretty much exactly the 12 Steps used by Alcoholics Anonymous, but more explicitly Christian (aka we use more Bible verses).  I am SO EXCITED to be starting this, because I crave this kind of intimacy with co-workers.  There is nothing more comforting than knowing that the people you spend most of your time with know you deeply and still want to spend time with you.

The first step is all about admitting you are powerless, and part of the lesson was three pages of recovery topics we might want to focus on.  Here’s what stood out to me:

  • approval dependency
  • confrontation
  • criticism
  • family
  • fear
  • forgiveness
  • humility
  • jealousy
  • loneliness
  • looking good
  • perfectionism
  • reconciliation

I immediately noticed a running theme of “I want everyone to love me and I will do anything necessary to appear loveable!”

Since I spend so much of my time blogging, I wondered how much this blog contributes to my problem.  I definitely try to appear smart and funny and interesting here.  I want people to like my content.  I get upset when people don’t.  Sometimes I don’t post stories or thoughts because I think people might disagree with me or chastise me.

My first thought was: I will quit my blog!  That way I won’t be contributing to the messiness of fame and attention-seeking that it involves.

But this all-or-nothing reaction is unhealthy, I think.  I tend to think in dichotomy and All Right or All Wrong.  I like easy answers.  This is not the first time I have thought this, and a couple years ago, I actually DID quit blogging for several months.  It was awful.  I don’t think it helped me be any less self-centered, and it took away my biggest creative outlet.

It also ignores all the GREAT things about blogging.  Writing is truly one of the things I think I’m gifted at, and blogging is the easiest way to use that gift.  I almost never have a problem creating content every day, because my brain never shuts up, and I need an outlet. And in my most honest moments, I share things that are hard or ugly, and those are the posts that always connect me to people – usually through email or secret Facebook messages, but I LOVE those moments when people write to me and say, “You said what I’ve always felt unsafe to say – THANK YOU.”  I don’t want to lose the amazing role of being a truth-speaker (or at least honesty-speaker).

So I have both of these thoughts in my head:  Quit Everything! and also Maybe I Am Overreacting!  And since I’ve learned this in recent years, I tried to think of ways in which I could find a balance.  I don’t want my blog to be all about me, but I also don’t want to give it up.  What is my middle option?

Well, you may be surprised to find out that this has all been a lead up to….a new blog series!!  A couple months ago on Facebook I joined the #womenaremorethan movement, but then forgot about it.  I’m going to move that here (and add #menaremorethan, because I’m a feminist and that means valuing equality), and every week, I will put the focus on someone amazing from my life.

If you want to write about #womenaremorethan and #menaremorethan, PLEASE DO.  The world can always use more encouraging messages.  And hopefully, but using my creative outlet to bolster others instead of myself, I can find that balance between attention-seeking and humility.

Come back next week for my first #womenaremorethan post!