showing honor toward the un-honorable

I was talking with a friend the other day who was sharing with me some very painful parts of her early childhood. An only child to an abusive father, a mentally-ill, perfection-driven mother…the loneliness, the shame, the pressure…the results and consequences of living through those circumstances…some of which still linger to this day…

She was expressing the desire to somehow start processing it….maybe she could write a book…or start talking to others….not only for her own healing process, but in order to encourage others. But after she finished sharing this with me, she stopped…pausing and staring blankly down at her feet…and then said, “but I guess it’ll have to wait until both my parents die first.”

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I recently spoke with another friend who was sharing her affection for an up and coming Christian author/speaker. She shared some high points about the things that she had been learning and some areas of growth she had been challenged in by that author. But at the end she mentioned that in some ways her respect for this individual has waned as she has continued to watch this speaker/author be so outspoken about the faults in others.  From the stage she emphatically and jokingly makes cutting remarks about those who have hurt her and holds back none of the details in openly mocking people who have done her wrong.

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I spoke with a man who has recently gone through a painful divorce. His ex-wife has taken the liberty to speak incredible poorly of him to his family, children and friends, yet he refuses to do the same. He feels trapped, not wishing to gossip or slander in return, but comes alive at the thought of allowing his pain to help others in their own divorces. But he is afraid of saying too much. He stays quiet. He refrains from helping others because he fears his words will be perceived as gossip.

_______

I wrote my article about hardness of heart and what’s happened in my family and have struggled immensely with similar thoughts. How do I speak of these circumstances, and yet not be disrespectful toward those involved? How do I practically show honor and share of my own journey through these hardships without drawing unnecessary attention to my father or my mother?

These types of questions are proving to be a challenge to work through…but I’m convinced there must be an option other than to stuff it away and remain in isolation, or just resort to blasting all details from the rooftops…

_______

For me personally, more than ever I am ready to move in, through, and on from this struggle.

Although I cannot speak for anyone in my family, I feel as though healing for me from my broken family relationships has and continues to happen more and more each day.

After 2 decades of struggle, the broken shackles of my wrecked family life are finally OFF. It’s weird in some ways, but it almost feels tangible, as if my body, soul and mind now knows to live free. I know now without a doubt that I am to be who God has made me to be no matter the choices of those in my family.

I am free to speak of Jesus and my life, without the fear of others perception of me. I’m ready to speak of the brokenness, most importantly my own, in order that Christ might be made known in the midst of this sorrow. Like the apostle Paul, if I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness (2 Corinthians 11:30) not the weakness of others.

In the midst of this, although I now know that I am free, I have to admit that I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to speak poorly of others. The word is clear that we are to show honor…and just as I wrote in my marriage article, showing honor sometimes means toward people that have not been honorable.

How can we share painful parts of our lives and still honor people who have hurt us?

How can we show respect toward people who are not living respectfully?

Is there a way to talk through the trials of life that involve other people but do so in a dignified way?

Or should we all just wait to process, wait to heal, wait to help others until that person dies?

If that person is no longer living does it now make it appropriate to share openly about what he/she has done wrong?

Does that change the “rules”? Or should we all stay quiet and silent until our own graves?

This is just as much “real time” for me as it is for anyone else…but I’ll share what I’ve got so far on these issues….

  1. speak from your perspective: There is freedom to make mention of what has occurred, but make every effort to quickly move past others’ specific actions to focus more on how you are processing things instead. Avoid bad mouthing as it will only cause more damage. Focus instead on you, what you’re learning and how the Lord is leading you.
  2. keep it generic:  For example, sharing generically about the things you have learned  in the midst of your struggle, encouraging others against common struggles and how you are growing in the midst of those struggles
  3. see your heavenly father as the only perfect one: In order to heal and move forward it is crucial to know God is the only one who will never fail. This gives us the freedom to forgive and the release to not hold anyone to a standard they cannot ever meet. When those we love fail, let it be a reminder to look upward.
  4. find ways to be thankful: There is likely something, even if it’s small, to be thankful for in the person who has hurt you or caused you harm. Find those few things and if you must speak of that person take the opportunity to voice those things instead of choosing to slander. “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
  5. give grace: It’s always easier to give grace when we are aware of how much we also need it. When we forget how much we have sinned it is easier to feel that we can hold someone else in contempt. But we have been forgiven MUCH, which means we can offer grace even when, especially when, it is not deserved.
  6. create something new: Maybe you had a broken home or major “daddy issues”, maybe you struggle to find anything good at all about your childhood or about your circumstances growing up, but instead of growing bitter, use those thoughts to focus your efforts on creating something new. Make your home into the grace filled, God honoring home you’ve always desired. As you continue to let go of the “old”, allow yourself to be creative to pour into the new. “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:9
  7. serve others: Be intentional to use your words to edify and to encourage others. If you speak of painful circumstances or heartbreaking stories, find ways to encourage those listening and to build up and strengthen those who hear you. I cannot think of anything that is truly gained when we spend our time using words to tear down. Focus on building up and strengthening others instead.
  8. forgive: Forgive those who have hurt you, and after you’ve forgiven, forgive again and again and again. But be sure to define what forgiveness is: Forgiveness does not condone, excuse or permit. Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation and it does not mean you continue in a relationship…but it does give your heart freedom and allows the Lord to heal you. Forgiveness allows you to see what good the Lord can do in the midst of sorrow and takes the focus off the pain. Forgiveness comes at a high cost, but gives us hearts that are glad and hearts that are thankful. Revenge is not for us, that is not our burden to carry. “O LORD of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.” Jeremiah 20:12

respecting those who are not respectable| meg marie wallace

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top 6 BEST early parenting books

I’m no longer in a season of having tiny infants in our home, but I wanted to pass along this list of my FAVORITE books that have helped shape the mother I am (or at least the one I strive to be). These books are all different and meet different needs, but if you’re heading into a season of starting a family, are expecting a baby now, are in the throws of motherhood (like me) or know someone who is in these early stages these books are great, great resources. I hope they are a blessing to you as they have been to me!

Admittedly it took me a bit to really figure out what kind of mother I desired to be. At first I simply took notes from those who started families before me and with how long it had taken us to become pregnant, over time I had built in my mind the image of the perfect mom I was sure to be…”oh I’ll NEVER do that” or “I’ll for SURE do that!”…”Oh I cannot believe she did THAT!”….and then once I actually became a mom, I quickly realized that motherhood takes far more than a pipe dream and a snap judgment. Motherhood has a way of breaking you, of making you realize that sometimes you have absolutely nothing left. Motherhood is glorious in all of its lovely ways…but it can also crush you at the same time.

These are some of my all time favorite absolutely necessary books for moms and motherhood. These books gave me perspective, hope, and the knowledge that I wasn’t alone. Obviously there are so many books in different categories of life that I can’t wait to recommend as well, but for now, this is just for the mamas!

I’ve put them in the order in which I feel they are needed due to stage of life. If you’ve read (or heard) of any of these please comment below and let me know what you think!

1. Baby Whisperer

This book was written by a woman who served as a nanny for over 1,000 babies. She was diagnosed with cancer and before she died wrote this book. It has radically changed my life. I don’t mean to sound dramatic in the least, but it honestly has. Aside from the Bible I cannot think of any other book that has so shaped me as a mother and woman. If I’m brutally honest it was actually just the prelude that did it!!! Weird right?!

Before having children I had this idea in my head that I was in control, that I could study enough or learn enough or try hard enough to create the family I wanted to have. I looked at other moms and how they were going about doing things and thought I’d be just like some of them and absolutely nothing like a few others.

This book taught me to look at my own home, what I had been give, and to view my children as humans…as in real life people with real life preferences and real life personalities. I wasn’t playing with babydolls anymore and I couldn’t mimic what I saw in others. I had to find my own way and this book gave me that encouragement. The lightbulbs came on early on with this one, and I cannot possibly recommend it enough to new mamas who are just starting a family.

**Note: The chapters on nursing is outdated. Since the author has died they cannot reprint, but there are groups online that comment on her advice concerning breastfeeding. Other than that I’d highly recommend it!

 

2. Baby Sign Language

Whoa, like whoa, holy moly! This book blew my mind. Well, not as much the book but the fact that my 8 month old started communicating with me!

I was given this book as a baby shower gift. As in the kind of gift I didn’t register for but was thankful-on-my-face for when I opened it. Signing for babies…whatever! They’re not that smart…C’mon….

Famous. Last. Words.

I haphazardly started teaching Kate when she was about 5 months old thinking it was all a joke just to get moms to look silly. It sort of became somewhat of a routine for me just for the fun of it but I had never expected much at all. Until one day…

The light bulbs in her wee little (in my mind still just an infant) brain just came on! One day she started signing back. And then by that night it was two signs…and before you know it I literally had to go out and buy a full on ASL pocket dictionary to carry in my diaper bag because she knew more than I did! She would point and ask the name of things…animals, temperatures, objects, feelings…It was beyond fascinating!!!!

Seriously, teach your baby sign language. I promise you will NOT ever ever regret it.

3. Give Them Grace

Honestly I feel like this book should be read and re-read about, oh…every year as a refresher.

I have purposely put this book next because I deeply feel that it should be read while you still have a tiny baby in your arms. The days are soon coming when you are no longer concerned about nipple confusion or getting enough sleep, but you are now trying to figure out what to do with the little devil that was once so cute and cuddly.

This book gives a great foundation on motherhood and parenting in a way that doesn’t just help us to survive our kids but gives us eyes to see beyond the immediate. We are raising individuals who will one day be adults and that end goal must be on our minds when we are still wiping poo off our shirts.

Bad habits are tough to break. If you begin with this style of parenting in mind you’ll save yourself a lot of re-do and un-do later on. Our kids need to see Jesus, not just learn to abide by the rules. And this starts sooooooo young!

 

4. Toilet Training In Less Than A Day

I found this book at a used bookstore on our way to dinner for a date night one evening. It was torn and the edges had been ripped off. It looked well used and considering the title it caught my eye.

Seriously?! Train your kid to use the potty in less than a day?!

Ya whatever. I set it down and started to walk away. I glanced back and happened to notice the price, $.50. Ahhh…what the heck…why not?! Here you go…here’s my two quarters…

Reading this book was one of the best things I’ve ever read. It taught me how to teach my kids one of life’s most important disciplines in a way that they would truly understand. They don’t even know how to pour a cup of water on their own yet, but I can teach them how to control their innards in less than a day?! Um…yes please.

If you want the cliff’s notes instead of buying the book then read my posts about potty training in a day. I’ve done this five times over and I could probably now write my own book…maybe one day….

5. Don’t Make Me Count to Three


There are a few great books concerning the theory of gospel centered parenting…but very, very few on the “okay, shoot me straight, tell me EXACTLY HOW do I do that” kind of books.

This book is just that.

Getting your feet under you with the books I’ve listed earlier is necessary, but this one will give you the wings to fly.

6. Loving The Little Years

This book is one that will totally help with perspective. It is written by a mom who is in the trenches just like the rest of us, who understands how hard it is and who literally wrote this book with a child on her lap and a few at her feet. How in the world, right???

She’ll remind you all over again that although the days sometimes feel like eternity, the years fly by fast. Cherish these days and intentionally find ways to enjoy it. Her message runs through my veins as well and I couldn’t encourage you enough to read this to help with increasing joy.

 

I’m always up for a good read! Although free time is a hot commodity these days I would LOVE suggestions as to what books you’d recommend! Leave a comment below and share the love!

chance introductions & lily jade sale

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag

lily jade | ballet | meg marie blog | diaper bag


 Diaper Bag: LILY JADE ||  Brown Puff Accessory: AMAZON


The past two weeks have been all about school! I turned off social media and laid low on the blog as I have entered into full time teacher mode!!!  Matt has continued to travel for these job interviews while the kids and I have been trudging our way through the homeschool-first-week-back-in-a-routine-fog.

Of course it’s an adjustment, but I feel FAR more prepared this year than last…maybe because now I know everything about what NOT to do your first year of homeschooling! 😉 I’m collecting all of the photos to share the events of the first day of school and will share soon about my curriculum choices and what we changed from last year to make this year more successful….

But for now a quick story…A few months ago my sister went to a blogging conference (if you follow along on my Instagram you might remember the BlogHer conference in Orlando that I had really wanted to go to but couldn’t). Anyway, my sister, Mindy, met a woman sitting next to her named Amy and as they were talking Mindy told Amy that she and I would have a LOT in common and have to get together sometime.

The next thing I know Amy was reaching out on my Twitter letting me know she’d be in town soon and hoped to get coffee. I said yes but didn’t know who Amy was, so of course I googled her to find out who in the world I’d be meeting up with! As I scanned Amy’s upcoming event page I noticed she had just recently been connected to another friend of mine, Richard, and the two of them will be hosting an event in two weeks here in Orange County! (If you’re here local you should totally come!)

Richard and I met a long time ago at the gym just 2 days after my son broke his arms. I was exhausted, walking around the weight floor pale faced, lightheaded, in a daze, and needing a breather from the stress of that horrific event. Richard came up and politely asked me how I was doing, and the thought crossed my mind to simply lie and say I was fine.

But there was something in me that made me really want to just tell the truth. I told him what had happened to my son, about the ER and how stinkin’ crazy scared I was. I told him that my son couldn’t even scratch his nose by himself, that his days and nights were filled with painful whimpering that absolutely broke my heart and how I hadn’t slept for 3 full days. Richard responded with such warmth, kindness and compassion that I literally went home and told Matt I thought I’d met an angel.

He had told me his name, but in my post ER brain fog I couldn’t remember, and never saw him again until a few months ago. Since then he has quickly become a dear friend/fatherly figure that continues to encourage me in my new found blogging, speaking (coming soon!) and writing adventures. He pushes me, challenges me, and makes me really think through what I’m doing and why. I love hearing his life experiences, stories about his family and his heart for raising kids.

This morning the three of us met at a resort coffee shop that overlooks the ocean. The view was unreal, with palm trees galore, a perfectly manicured golf course and sail boats in the ocean below…but the conversation is what stole my heart. Somehow God orchestrates things to come together in the least likely ways…and although it always blows my mind, I suppose it’s about time I just get used to it!

As we shared the stories with one another of similar passions, life goals and how our lives have all intersected, who all we know, and mutual relationships/friendships it was a lot of head shaking at just how every bit of this encounter seemed nothing short of God-ordained. I am so thankful for these new friends and couldn’t help but want to share them with you as well!

I hope you all are having an amazing holiday weekend and that your kids are adjusting to school schedules as well! (Who is the transition more difficult for? Parents or kids???)

By the way these Lily Jade bags are on sale this whole weekend so if you’ve been eyeing them and wanting one for awhile this is the time to get one! I’ve been a brand rep for them for quite awhile now and I honestly haven’t seen prices this low in a long time. Husbands, this might be a great buy-it-now-save-it-for-Christmas gift! 😉 hint hint!

richard watts, meg Wallace, Amy carney

Vegas 2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017


Ya know…this blog is has a number of difference facets to it…on one hand it’s a place where I can open up and share thoughts, it’s a place where I can tell stories, it’s a space where I can serve others and come alongside people who have questions, it’s a corner where I can talk about Jesus and just be real about what life looks like following Him, and it’s a spot where I can simply share the things I love, products, places or whatever is on my mind…but it’s also a space for sharing life. Just normal everyday life. This past month on our family Vegas vacation we had the best time together. We had lazy mornings eating huge homemade breakfasts, played duck duck goose around the hotel coffee table, visited the Mandalay aquarium (which I’d highly recommend), ate way too much at Steak N Shake, played in the pools for hours on end, went out to eat…and spent a ton of time going up and down escalators and swinging our kids in circles in the extremely large hotel lobbies!!! (which is SO FUN and FREE by the way!!!)

A few more of my favorite memories are man cub #4 eating too many M&M’s and throwing up…which is now the second time he has puked in a hotel room in Vegas (we are NOT off to a good start with that one….), aaaaalmost beating my brother in poker (he won it all on the last hand…but up until then I was killin’ it), late night couples date nights with my brother/sister and their spouses…with NO kids, swimming in circles for hours in the lazy river, snagging cushioned seats with umbrellas after some sweet people left and offered them to us (they paid a high dollar for those seats and then just left them for us!), learning how much my family all hates eating chicken off the bone as much as I do (except for one kid who started grunting like a caveman as he ripped the meat from the drumstick….ewwww….no utensils are given at the Excalibur show dinner/meal), Matt’s amazing facial expressions as he threw the kids in the pool, the kids facial expressions being throw into the pool, endless hours playing round after round of mini-golf, the kids drawing pictures and leaving notes for all of the extended family there with us, repeatedly running the stairs right next to the kids going up/down the escalators because I know how poorly I ate and I made working out into a game of trying to beat them up to the top, kiddo #5’s sweet snuggles when he dreamed he was being chased by a bumble bee, the princess asking me every morning to braid her hair, watching late night TV eating Oreos with all of us in one foldout hide-a-bed…

I do hope you enjoy the photos and can smile along with us at the fun memories made this summer!  I’d love to hear what everyone else did! School starts for us next week and I cannot WAIT to tell the kids about their incredible first day of school surprise…….I’ll be posting about it here too….so stay tuned!!!!! #gonnabeagoodyear

open back grey romper & family update

Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017
Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017


 ROMPER: Revolve  || BRA: Free People || BACKPACK: Nordstrom  || SHOES: Superga  ||

HAT: Cruzy & Lulu


The past few weeks have been a little bit of a whirlwind, but in a good way! Last month we closed our church plant down (that part was really sad though) and we are now praying about where God would have us go next. It’s very possible that we stay in California, but I also know that when it comes to long term planning it is tough to imagine living here. Cali is so expensive and although I would completely consider myself a California girl, and our family LOVES it here, I also am having to come to terms that it might make a lot more sense for us to move.

Last week Matt flew to Nashville to check out a church that might be wanting to hire him. While he was there I asked on my Facebook page what people thought of Nashville and there was not one negative comment. That really tugs on my heart. If I’m going to have to leave Cali, a place I love so much, then it might be a bit easier or take some of the sting off if we end up somewhere that other people love so much.

Next weekend he’ll fly to San Antonio to check out another church. Now, when I mention San Antonio to people there seems to be mixed reviews. Some think it’s amazing and others just give a blank stare….I think the jury is still out on that one, but honestly I just don’t know much about it. I’ve only been there once, and it was a LONG time ago….I have very few memories to draw from about the actual city itself. I’ll put it out there now just in case but if any of you have feedback about living in TX, more specifically the San Antonio area I’d love to hear your perspective.

This season of travel and exploring new possibilities has a lot of exciting things to it. We are taking it one thing at a time, one opportunity at a time and are enjoying talking through where Matt is at, what he sees himself doing, where he could thrive and how he might use the gifts he has in preaching, leading and serving the church.

But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t tough at times too. If I’m honest I wonder if he’ll find an amazing position somewhere that’ll be a struggle (as far as location) for me/the family to move to. Or worse still…we’ll pick a location based on where the family would love but Matt won’t thrive in the role/job/position. We are praying that one of these options will begin to rise above the others as a good fit for the whole family. Thankfully we aren’t in a hurry and we are really waiting on the Lord to direct and lead us.

On a side note, this little romper I wore in Vegas has turned out to be one of the most worn, most versatile outfits I’ve bought in a long time! I wore it on a date night with some tall wedges, to the pool as a swim coverup, here in these photos with a hat for our last day wanderings around Mandalay Bay and also in the car for our road trip back home from Vegas to CA. It’s unbelievably comfortable, doesn’t fall off my shoulders and the fit is perfect. Mine is a size XS and I’m 5’4 in case you needed help with what to order…I get that sometimes the pics online make it tough to gauge.

And these shoes. I’d never heard of Superga before oh my word I love them! I normally live in running shoes (or flip flops) but sometimes an outfit like this needs something a little less clunky. I added my own insoles in the bottom and they were perfect for how much we walked around that day. Not one blister!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! And if you have any info/feedback on the San Antonio area and whether or not you feel our family would enjoy living there please let me know!

xo MM Meg Marie initials

P.S. Homeschooling mamas….if you’re out there and you happen to read this…I’ve got books on the way and extra curriculars all planned out…but I’m curious if you all have tips for giving kids their lessons each day? I’ve got some planners that I purchased for each child, but how far out do you give them their lesson plans? Meaning, should I set them up each night for the following day or plan out a week in advance? Any further than that and I’m afraid it’ll all be messed up when we have a day that doesn’t go as planned. Would love your thoughts. This year has to go better than last year!!! 😉

 

what forgiveness is…and what it isn't

My recent post about hardness of heart in marriage and the difficult work of marriage has raised a lot of questions on the issue of forgiveness.

What exactly is forgiveness?

I spent a number of years defining “forgiveness” incorrectly, and it had some fierce ramifications on relationships in my life.

I once thought forgiveness was:

-overlooking, minimizing or tolerating…

-mustering up the strength to say it wasn’t a “big deal.”

-the willingness to never talk about “it” again.

-the expectation I’d just “get over it.”

-only for people who asked for it…in a really sweet way and with the correct wording.

At least that was what I was taught anyway…

…and oh how terribly wrong that was…

But here’s the thing, forgiveness is not just a hot topic for husbands and wives to wrestle through. Forgiveness impacts every single relationship we have: friendships, siblings, extended family, parents, children, coworkers, neighbors, church family.

Relationships across the board are challenging and conflict is commonplace, which means it is crucial for us to understand what forgiveness is…and possibly more important…what it isn’t.

So what does forgiveness really mean?

Forgiveness is: 

-one sided. You can forgive whether or not someone asks you to forgive.

-an act of the will. Choosing to forgive is an act, a decision, an event…it’s taking on the mindset that you will extend forgiveness, freeing your heart from the trap of bitterness and wrath.

-sometimes a repetitive process. Similar to the process of grief, we lack control over whether or not an area of forgiveness will come up again. It is common for the pain, emotions, memories, heartache or grief to bubble back up. There’s nothing wrong with that. Yet you can choose to continue to “walk in forgiveness,” sorting through those emotions/thoughts/feelings as they come with the backdrop that you will continue to be forgiving.

-not deflecting or minimizing. It’s not saying, “It’s no big deal” or “It’s not that bad.” Forgiveness names what was wrong, yet chooses to move out of it. That process can be quick and painless, or deep and time consuming. Forgiveness costs something, and the cost is often pain and heartache.

-absorbing the offense. Picture a dry sponge soaking in water. Absorbing means taking on the heartache, processing it, learning to live with it, and grow out of it. Absorbing simultaneously means letting go of the right to be resentful, bitter, and cold-hearted.

-not becoming the martyr. While forgiveness is costly and painful, it should never be an excuse to play the victim. The process of “walking in forgiveness” ultimately brings a sober response of joy.

-not an opportunity for gossip. When you share your story with others, guard your heart against using that as an opportunity to bash someone else. “I’ve forgiven ______, but you’ll never believe what they did to me…”

-not letting the offender off the hook. Holding someone accountable for their actions (or lack of actions) is responsible and loving. Just “moving on” is not the same as forgiveness.

-not tolerating abuse. Forgiveness does not mean staying in a harmful situation or tolerating abuse. You can draw firm boundaries while also walking in complete forgiveness. Forgiveness is about your hearts response to an offender, but you can (and should) still seek help, get out, call the police, press charges…whatever may apply.

-trusting God with justice. God tells us that “vengeance is mine.” When you forgive, you transfer power over to the One who will determine the consequence. You give up control to punish or get revenge.

-not a decision someone else can make for you. People in your life may make you feel obligated or hurried. It can be tempting to forgive just so others will still like us, accept us, or not think badly of us. Saying you forgive to avoid rejection is not genuine forgiveness. Likewise, people in your life may tell you not to forgive when you feel you should. The act of forgiveness should not be motivated solely by the opinions of others.

-NOT the same as reconciliation. There’s a huge difference between the two…and this just might be the turning point…a key to understanding forgiveness and the role it plays.

Reconciliation is:

-two sided. Reconciliation means both the offender and the offended are willing to move toward one another with soft, humble hearts…both having a genuine desire to be re-united, to be at peace with one another. You can choose to forgive even if it is not asked of you, which frees your heart, but unless the offender chooses to repent and ask for your forgiveness reconciliation may not be possible.

-a linear process. Soft-hearts lead to Brokenness followed by Confession, Repentance, and Restitution. Forgiveness can happen anywhere in that process, but the point here is that forgiveness is a part of reconciling but it is not the same as reconciling.

-a humbling, beautiful, sometimes painful experience that points the offender and the offended to Jesus.

Forgiveness is ultimately about Jesus

Focusing less on the person who has offended and more on the Person who offered up His life for you (and me) is the heart of true forgiveness. When we set our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, we learn what it means to forgive as we have been forgiven. Jesus is our example, as he chose to forgive and love us while we were His enemies, while we hated him. The more we realize our own need for forgiveness the more we are compelled to extend it.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to walk in forgiveness, gives us the ability to extend grace, strengthens our faith, gifts us with inexplainable joy, and creates in us a heart of compassion for others.

Forgiveness is opportunity to encourage others to look past us, our hurt, our pain and our suffering to see Jesus more clearly. He paid the ultimate price for your sin and mine. Each time we speak of our stories and share of forgiveness, both what we have offered and what we have received, we have an opportunity to boast in the greatest act of forgiveness when Jesus gave up His life for our sake.

People may wonder where your hope comes from, how you have joy and strength to forgive and it is one of the sweetest opportunities to speak of the grace of God…choosing, even in your hardship, to boast in Him.

Will you choose to forgive? Will you use this, yes, even this, to boast in Jesus who resonates with your suffering, is near to you in your heartache, and empowers you to walk faithfully through it?

Sweet friend, I promise, His grace is more than sufficient. He sees you, He knows every hair on your head and every detail of your life…and He loves you. You can trust Him with your heart…

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Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. 

Ephesians 4:31-32

keep it simple mama: our kids only need two things

keep it simple: our kids need two things |meg marie Wallace blog | parenting

I’ve never been good at gardening. Taking care of plants does not come naturally to me. What I really want is someone who understands the love language of nature to teach me what to do to keep my plants and flowers not just alive, but flourishing.

It is easy to think that motherhood is like caring for a garden and simply making sure our kids have what they need to stay healthy, clean, and fed. We exhaust ourselves meal planning, scheduling, homework helping, carpooling, cleaning and making sure we won’t run out of diapers before our next grocery run. We have lists and to-do’s and need-to’s and sometimes it can feel like just keeping our kids alive is overwhelming enough!

But how can we create a family that doesn’t just survive, but flourish?

Let me break it down as simply as I can.

Our children have two basic needs: milk and honey.

The “milk” refers to the basic needs of a child: food, drink, general hygiene, clothes, rest.
The “honey” refers to the sweetness of life, the treasured things that make life enjoyable, meaningful and special. The honey is the seed of oneness that when planted blooms into something altogether lovely. The honey is what memories are made of and where bonding begins.

keep it simple: our kids need two things |meg marie Wallace blog | parenting

Just like a garden…oneness, togetherness, bonding and relationship in a family doesn’t just happen, it is cultivated. It takes intention, pursuit, effort and patience.

I want to pass along some ideas for how to not just focus on the “milk” but how to make “honey” and create sweetness in your home.

  1. One On One Time: We have a large family, so this may matter much more to me than to those of you who currently have one child. Regardless of family size, the idea is the same. Spending 5-10 minutes of intentional one-on-one time with just one child can lift the most downcast spirit, restore the most broken relationship, and can soften the most angry heart.
    Ex: take a short walk, sit on a curb in front of your house, take just one to the grocery store with you, pick some flowers together, put the other children to bed and keep one up a little bit later.    
  2. Don’t GOSSIP!: Be careful to hold your tongue on the negative, and be sure to let it loose often with the positive. As parents we must never ever speak poorly about our children. You can crush not only a spirit but kill the relationship with criticism, sarcasm, and ridicule. I know it’s easy to call it “relating,” or label it as “asking for help,” but may we never speak of our children in a damaging or belittling way. Guard your words carefully. Guard how you tell stories to other people. Instead, choose ways to speak well of them, not only outside of the home but inside as well.  Speak in a way that if overheard they would feel a sense of encouragement, pride, trust, love, and affection.
    Ex: If someone else tells a story and asks if you can relate with your own kids, respond in a way that keeps the focus on you, rather than exposing your child.”Yes, I can relate to that, but I know that when my kids behave that way I can really overreact.” or “Kate, that is so kind of you! Thank you for loving your brothers like that.” or “Corban is the BEST sharer! It melts my heart to see how generous he can be with his toys.”
  3. Get Silly!:  Don’t be afraid to put on some music and have a few dance parties. My kids love when I get on the floor and play “puppies” with them. Games like hide and seek or twister that get everyone involved can be so much fun! Letting them see you loosen up will be memories they’ll remember and talk about for a very, very long time! 🙂 Trust me! 🙂
  4. Let Them Help: I love to build, paint, and craft. Bringing my kids into those things that I love does slow it down for me, but it is so worth it. My two year old even knows how to bang real nails with a real hammer into a real piece of wood! He also knows how to empty the dishwasher and switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer. Letting (notice I didn’t say making) them help is a joy for them. Including them in a task or a project and taking the time to slowly teach creates amazing memories AND a helpful member of the family! 🙂
  5. Storytelling: Make up fairy tales and let them choose their own adventure. Did anyone else read “Choose Your Own Adventure” books as a kid? My family LOVED those! Begin with a description of that particular child and give them a pretend setting. And then let them choose their own adventure. When they stop talking, pick up where they left off and take the story to the next part of the plot. Stop when you think they could carry it again…and keep the adventures going!
    Ex: “There once was a little blonde haired girl who had blue eyes, a button nose, and loved unicorns. One day she decided to put on her best fairy princess dress to go out to hunt for a unicorn…”
  6. Speak Softly: Your tone matters and, yes, the volume does too. But when I say “softly” I am not talking about refraining from being firm or requiring obedience. What I do mean is speak to them in ways that you would desire to be spoken to. Speak to your kids in a way that is loving, gentle, and kind. Be mindful that your tone does not give the impression that they are in your way or that you could be doing something more important.
  7. Read To Them Often: Yes, reading books like Curious George or Winnie the Poo are great. Reading any book to your child is a win. But when talking about the “honey” of life, make an effort to pick books that are of good quality, that are written well, that really allow the kids’ minds to run rampant with imagination, that allow them to dive head on into the story as if they know the characters themselves.
    ****I’ll put together a list of recommended books that are age appropriate soon! Reading together as a family creates a oneness through shared experiences and shared characters.
  8. Create Nicknames: I once heard someone say that we only create nicknames for people that we love or people that we hate. And I think it’s true! I have a nickname for each one of my kids and it’s because they are my favorite people on the planet. Coming up with a special name, letting the child know the meaning behind it, and using it often can be such a meaningful thing. I find that when I call their nickname rather than their real name the response is not only quicker, but often times much more open to what I have to say.
  9. Enjoy The Frivolous: Create opportunities to get out the nice tea set or the fine china. Look for ways to spoil and enjoy. Create opportunities for the extraordinary. Ex: Decorating the house in a special way, or get dressed up and going on a family date together, plan a big trip or an unexpected trip to the toy store.
  10. Say Yes Instead Of No: I know, as parents we have to say “no” a lot. But look for opportunities to say “yes” as well. Whether it be an extra snack, or that toy they went crazy for at Target, or a picnic in the living room, or a later bedtime for tonight, surprise them with a “yes” every now and then!
  11. Enjoy The Ordinary: Let’s admit it, most of the time as mothers our days look the exact same. The majority is the mundane. The routine is the normal. Make the “regular” become the “honey” as you enjoy the little things and create fun from the simple.
    Ex: the tickle monster is going to grab their legs before they can get into their car seat, pretend to sit on them when they’re in a chair, accidentally bump into them just to be able to steal a hug…
  12. Give Grace: Yes to the kids, but let’s start with ourselves on this one. Sweet momma, sometimes we need to set aside the “milk” in order to give our kids the “honey.” The laundry can wait another day. Our kids need the “honey,” but…let’s be honest…we do too!!!! ♥

keep it simple: our kids need two things

 

 

an open letter to a critic & 9 reasons I responded

9 reasons I responded : an open letter to a critic | meg marie wallace

Last night, just after folding the last few loads of laundry and putting the last kiddo to bed, I set my phone down to plug it in and noticed I had received an email. My blog alerts me each time I receive a comment and, although it was late at night and I shouldn’t have been anywhere but asleep, I decided to read it. As I scanned through the words, I immediately could feel my face getting hot and my hands begin to tremble…embarrassment, fear, anger, sadness…right away the lump in my throat was there.

An unnamed critic had decided to let me know what they thought of me…and it wasn’t good. What do I do? Do I respond? How do I respond? Do I ignore it? Do I listen to this person? Do I take their advice? Which parts of this are true? Am I able to sleep with this on my mind? After talking it through and spending some time praying, I decided to write back…

And here’s 9 reasons why…

  1. For my own sanity. The man last week who sent an email full of curse words calling me a satanist was easy to blow off. But it’s the comments like this with half-truths that pull on my heart strings and press up against my own longstanding insecurities. These are issues I’ve spent countless hours/days/weeks/months/years fretting over…am I able to be “me”? Will people just stand back and judge? I know how far I’ve come and how He has grown me…and writing it out sure does help keep me grounded. Help me, Lord, to walk in the freedom you say is mine. Help me to walk carefully…help me to refrain from doing what I do – and NOT doing what I don’t do – simply to please others.
  2. To keep my flesh in check. The knee jerk reaction is to blow it off, get angry, or just take it personally and cry. But forcing myself to really think through a response helps me to be of sound mind and to work through how I feel in order to write out a loving response.
  3. To encourage my own heart. When I think of who I would be apart from Jesus, it is someone who would never in a million years put herself “out there” for others to see. I’m far too scared of what people think and would call myself a recovering “people pleaser.” But praise God, there is so much freedom now! As I learn more of who He is, and who I am in Him, I am continually humbled and rejoice in the freedom to be brave and be who I am made to be, enjoying how He has created me. Learning how to respond to people who miss who I am and what I’m trying to do reminds me of what I’m doing in the first place. Responding is a chance to re-focus once more on who I truly am in Him.
  4. To encourage others. I can think of four very close friends of mine who have recently expressed a strong desire to begin speaking more boldly, using their words and lives to proclaim Jesus. One has a love of food and want to use her skills in the kitchen to also speak of Jesus. Another has a keen eye for home decor and wants to use decorating homes as another way to speak of Jesus. Another is amazing at studying the Word…and wants to teach others, specifically women how to study on their own and how to enjoy it.
    Yet when I ask these friends about the hesitation they have each has responded with fear of what other’s might think. “I really want to but what if people don’t like this…or that…” And to you I would say, “go for it!” There will always be people who miss your heart and miss what you’re aiming at…but let them only sharpen you, humble you and help you again realize that your true identity is rooted in Jesus.
  5. Because this is a real person. Sure there will always be trolls out there who only wish to cut down and cause harm, but behind each word, email or comment there is also a soul. Although I am saddened by the negativity, I do still wish to treat people with kindness. Having soft hearts as I describe in marriage actually applies to other relationships too…even ones like this.
  6. My response matters, and yours does too. Responding may have far less to do with whoever actually receives my words…my responses to things like this likely has far more to do with my own heart learning to love those who are difficult to love. Learning to walk in grace and by faith pulls me toward Jesus, which only builds character. After showing this comment to a few friends the resounding response was to not give this person the time of day…but I know that how I respond to these things helps me grow stronger and is yet again another opportunity to speak of Jesus.
  7. In case anyone else out there is struggling with my blog in the same way. As mentioned below there are quite a few articles having to do with image, photography and what we put our hope in…but I’ll use this as another chance to say it once more. Apart from Jesus there is NO hope…apart from Him there is no good whatsoever in my life. Yet God is a good Father and He gives us all good things to enjoy, which includes photography, fashion, style and clothing…when put in they’re rightful place.
  8. I will not carry the ‘grenade’. Sometimes receiving critical comments feels like someone just dropped a bomb in your lap. And sometimes that bomb is meant to be picked up, examined and absorbed…as sometimes the things people say are right. Sometimes there is truth wrapped up in hurtful words and it would be beneficial to look past the sting and hear them. But sometimes that bomb is meant to be lovingly handed back to the one who dropped it. Sometimes what a person says is not true and that grenade that’s now sitting in your lap isn’t meant to stay in your lap. Praying through it, seeking wise counsel, and moving out of it means there’s no need to remain holding on to that grenade…don’t carry what isn’t yours to carry.
  9. To extend grace. Grace is undeserved merit or favor. Grace is giving when you know the other will only take. Grace is loving like Jesus does, who gave up His very life for our sake while were His enemies, and there’s nothing I want to learn more in life than to love like Him.

Below is the comment I am referring to. And under that is my response. My greatest hope is that in reading it you would be strengthened, firm and steadfast in your identity in Jesus. My prayer is that you would be free to live beautifully however you have been created, using whatever gifts, skills, talents, interests, or passions you possess for His glory and for the good of others.

May we not walk in fear of people’s opinions…you and me both. For those of you who are on the fence with a strong desire to step out in faith and use your life to speak boldly of Jesus, I cannot encourage you enough to please do so!!!! There is no fear and no condemnation in Christ Jesus!!! Be brave, sweet sister! Be brave in Him.

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Comment: “Do you ever get tired of posing? I’ve never seen anyone blog who posts more pictures of themselves than you do…why can’t you let your words be the focus? It’s hard to take you seriously, I think you have some great words and valuable things to say but you are constantly putting your face and body and “beautiful life” as the front and center. I can’t ever work past the vanity to truly appreciate what you are offering as I feel you are using your platform to promote yourself. I always wonder if you just pay someone to walk around following you as you pose everyday for a new photo shop…it completely cheapens who I think you really might be and who you want to be. Stop.”

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Hello stranger,

I see I have clearly touched a nerve within you to have warranted such a response. I do apologize that you dislike my content but feel your lack of softness makes your own message a bit blurry to hear. I was unsure as to whether or not I should respond to you because it would seem you are not desiring to begin an actual conversation, or help, as much as you desire to just put me in my place and make your opinion known. I do genuinely care for you as a reader, even without knowing your name, so I’ll give this an honest attempt.

To answer your first question, no, I don’t get tired of posing. I’m actually, within the past year, just beginning to be okay with pictures being taken of me at all. My nerves are slowly easing up and each time I’m becoming a bit more “me” in front of the lens. I’ve hidden on the other side of the camera for a long time and have finally realized that there is joy in allowing myself to be okay with photography and fashion.

Why can’t my words be the focus? Well, with all due respect they are. At many points along my blogging journey I have desired to simply be a fashion blogger. Some of the girls I follow are insanely successful just posting about what they wear and styles they love. It’s very tempting, for many reasons, to join in with them…but seeing as how clothes, style and the way I fix my hair are meaningless in comparison to the Truth and hope we have in Jesus my heart just can’t allow it to be solely that.

Yet, I would ask…does it mean there ought to be no place at all for such things? Does it mean there is no room whatsoever to enjoy photography, clothes and style? I have wrestled for a long, long time on this issue. Does loving photography, fashion and style automatically equal vanity?

And here is where I land…I believe God is a loving Father who has given us all good things to enjoy…for our good and for His glory. My face, my body, what I put on my body AND my words are all intended to be used for His glory. However, life is ultimately not about any of those things. Our clothing will rot, as will our bodies…they will fold up like tents and will fade away into dust one day.

Yet between now and then there is grace to enjoy all He has given. I’ll care for this tent as best as I am able, and I’ll use this tent to share truth and I’ll enjoy what I get to put on, and in, this tent. I do love fashion, I love hair, and I love being healthy and strong…and I love writing…but I love Jesus most. My plan for this blog is to take whatever I have been given, combine ALL the things I love and put them into a little space I call my blog.

To answer your next question about paying someone to take my photos…the answer is a resounding no. We don’t have the money for that…and even if I did I would loathe the idea of someone following us around all the time. My children have absolutely loved learning how to use a camera…one we’ve had for over 12 years but somehow still works decently. The 7 and 8 year olds have told me they’d like to be photographers someday and they argue over who gets to take the pictures each time. Sure, some of the pics are blurry, but I absolutely love the fact that they have learned a skill they will use for the rest of their lives…and more than that I adore that my blog is filled with photos taken by their sweet hands.

My amazing husband also takes my photos. He has encouraged me to be more bold and to be more brave in taking more pictures of myself as he knows the blogs I am most drawn to are the ones that have real photos of the writers. I love blogs with big pictures, colorful ones that fill up the whole screen, real ones of the actual author, not ones that have been purchased from someone else’s site. I dreamt for a long time of creating content similar to what I admired in others…and it’s taken far too long for me to be okay with creating that myself. Photography and style are two loves of mine…a creative outlet, an art form, something I celebrate…but in it’s rightful place.

I fully believe those peripheral things in life are not evil. Pictures of myself, or of me with my kids or of our outings/vacations together as a family are not wrong and I celebrate that my blog is something like an ongoing scrapbook made with and by the little people God has entrusted to me. I grieve that you feel my freedoms in being creative cheapen my words, but I would ask for you to read carefully the words I write when it comes to fashion, images of “perfection” and what true beauty really is. There is a dying world out there…one where people feel that great pictures, the “perfect” life and upholding their “image” is all that is worth pursuing. I desire to engage with that world and share a different story…a better ending…true life that can only be found in Jesus.

From the bottom of my heart I thank you for your perspective. It’s good to know how to pray, for you and for others, and how to continue to write. But at the same time I do plan to still use creativity, photography and fashion in this space. I would like to take the opportunity to encourage you to use your gifts and your passions in life fully as well, without fear of others opinions and without reservation…for your own joy, the good of others, and for His glory. Making much of yourself or myself is meaningless, but using your passions, talents, and gifts to point others to Him is surely something to celebrate. I would urge you to make life beautiful in your own unique way that others might see Jesus more clearly in all that you create and all that you enjoy.

I would also love to encourage you in the future to be slower to speak and to use your words to build and lift others up instead of tear down. When you have a grievance with someone it’s always best to begin a conversation by introducing yourself and speaking in a way that is helpful and welcomes a response. It isn’t loving when you simply assume you understand someone and let out your opinion without the plan for relationship. the Bible would refer to that as a “noisy gong.”

I’d also like to encourage you to ask more questions about people’s hearts/motives instead of assuming you see the whole picture. Humbling yourself to seek to get to know someone better might give you some clarity or perspective that you wouldn’t otherwise have had, or it very well may confirm what it is you feel you already believed to be true. Either way, the fact that you made a loving attempt to hear someone out will give you a much clearer voice to the person you wish to correct.

And lastly, if you do love Jesus, and if we are siblings in Him, then I would urge you to treat people as you would want to be treated. Treat them as you would your own family, because in Him we are family, and to do so with kindness and compassion.

Grace to you,
Meg

vegas | blue denim ruffle dress

Vegas | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace


letter M logo   Last week I flew to Houston, TX for the Lee Labrada Classic and then drove to Austin for a massive jam-packed photo shoot with Jamie Eason and the two other Lean Body For Her teammates. We were pampered and spoiled and over the course of 4 days wore no less than 100 different outfits! I never in my life would have dreamed I could have been a model for anything.  I’m only 5’4 and I kept pinching myself the entire weekend that I was even there! The Lean Body team wants to promote fitness with class…meaning not the normal kind of booty showin’, bare bodied, sex appeal that most fitness companies do. I’ve been a part of the Lean Body team for 2 years now and have picked up on some of the values here and there…but being there, meeting everyone face to face and hearing the goals and the heart of the company in person was absolutely amazing. I’m sure I’ll be sharing a ton more as the weeks and months go on…but I just wanted to say I’m so honored to be a part of the Labrada family.

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After Austin I flew to Vegas and met up with my fam for a vacation. Matt drove ALL of the kids from Cali to Vegas by himself! I couldn’t believe he offered to do that but he really wanted me to get to be in TX. He and the kids so great! My mom booked a time share and my sister & her husband and my brother & his fam all joined us. I loved getting to sleep in the same place with sleeping bags on the floor and stuffed animals everywhere…seriously, I think we had about 50 stuffed animals with us!

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Our kids are notorious for losing their swim goggles, which meant everyone was sharing and a few of the boys ended up wearing pink goggles and borrowing adult goggles that were far too big for their faces. Crew finally feels more comfortable with swimming and seeing him jump in and literally scream his head off with excitement had us all giggling.

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Matt and I went to a night club for a date night out. As in a legit night club. When we first got married he told me he hated dancing, so we really just never did, aside from our wedding dance that is. But for whatever reason (maybe making the solo drive to Vegas gave him an added boost of bravery) he actually agreed to go with me and my brother/sister in law to this club. It was probably the most unlikely place you would have guessed we would be in…but once we got on the packed dance floor it was as if no one else was there. We had the best time and keep talking about how thankful we are that we are married and don’t have to date anymore! It was so obvious that every single person was on the prowl…and we loved being reminded that we don’t have to question who it is we want to spend our lives with. We were also joking that if this club only knew I was a pastor’s wife, mom of five, homeschooler, Christian blogger that they’d never have let us in! 🙂 But thanks to “Romeo” who got us all on the guest list and never asked any of those questions.

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We took the kids to the Excalibur for the Medieval Times show. We sat in the Austria section and they served the food during the show. But to keep with the “theme” they serve food without any utensils. One kiddo, out of the five, really got into it and ate his chicken right off the bone while grunting like caveman. 🙂 But the others just looked at me funny and refused to touch it…and it was then that I knew we’d be giving them cereal for dinner after the show was over! The show was amazing though! The sword fights and horses, the explosions, and the lights! The kids loved it all! Especially when a horse pooped right in front of the kids and they spent the remainder of the show trying to guess which performer was going to accidentally step in it.

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We made so many memories playing 14 rounds of mini golf, trying sodas from all over the world, playing family games until 2 am, eating far too much at Steak ‘n Shake, the lazy river at Mandalay, the frequent Starbucks runs to keep us going, playing duck duck goose every morning around the breakfast table, seeing the sharks at the aquarium and riding escalators a gazillion times over in every hotel! (more pics of all our adventures coming later this week!) signature xo meg

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This dress I have on was from Marshalls. The name on the tag is Style Envy and it’s a size S. I’ve tried to find it for you online but I haven’t been able to yet.  I’ll update here if I do come across the exact one, but I’ve also linked a few super cute similar options below as well.

what "marriage is work" really means

what "marriage is work" really means | meg marie Wallace
When Matt and I were engaged I absolutely hated the idea that marriage would be “work”. Work had such a negative connotation with it and it totally made me itchy (that’s just my word for uncomfortable) to think about one another in that way. We were SO in love, right?

Then this thing called life happened.

Struggles, hardships, and trials came. Job changes, infertility, sickness, pregnancies, travel, difficulties with extended family, moving, home improvement projects, work, busyness, school, infants, toddlers, more moving, more babies, church drama, finances, losing friends, this thing called ministry, challenging relationships, more babies, health…

Just like any couple we’ve certainly had our ups and downs. But I can say that I feel we are stronger now than we’ve ever been. We just celebrated our 14 year anniversary this past April and I wanted to share a few thoughts on marriage so far:

  1. Marriage IS work: Matt was totally right. My pipe dream of “happily ever after” was not reality. And no, work is not always fun. Work is sometimes grueling. Work is sometimes the very last thing either one of us feel like doing. There have been plenty of times we have both wanted to walk out. But the intentional, meaningful work put into growing, cultivating, learning, and staying together has never come back void.
  2. Primary Satisfaction In Jesus: If we look to one another to fill our deepest desires for oneness, for approval, for encouragement, for joy, for peace (and the list could go on forever…) then we will always end up despairing. Unlike what the movies will tell us marriage was never intended to make us “complete.” Finding our identity in the finished work of Jesus is our ultimate freedom. We then can love recklessly without demanding and give generously without expectations.
  3. Marriage Changes: What “worked” for our marriage in year one is completely different than what works for us in year 14. The needs change, life changes, our preferences change, we change. If we stay stuck in what worked in the beginning we miss out on what is true for today. We can’t ever stop learning about one another.
  4. Never Hide: We have both been tempted in many, many ways to keep little things, and sometimes big things, from one another. We fear opening up about what is scary, wrong or vulnerable will bring distance and disunity. Living in darkness will never bring oneness. Conversations might be brutally difficult but there is always a deeper unity that follows walking openly and truthfully with one another.
  5. Get Good At Arguing: We are two people with different preferences, different opinions, different viewpoints, different pasts that have come together for life. The reality is disagreements happen. Fights happen. But fighting CAN be healthy and edifying rather than something that separates or brings destruction. Getting through those kinds of conversations are what sharpen us.
  6. Be Respectful: We must remain respectful and honoring toward one another…as in ALWAYS. We are continually learning to speak up for ourselves, but to still give deference. Sharing opinions must be combined with listening to one another well.
  7. Fight FOR One Another, Not Just WITH One Another: When we look at marriage as ‘me against him’ or ‘him against me’ there isn’t oneness. When we look at our issues and our struggles as things we are fighting for together it massively changes the perspective, the process and the outcome.
  8. Feelings Matter: Just because one of us doesn’t INTEND to hurt the other, doesn’t mean that hurt doesn’t happen. Learn to accept that and then move toward forgiveness and restoration.
  9. Listen Deeper: Listen not just to the words the other is saying, but to the pain, need, offense, fear or hurt behind it. Learning to look for what is under the surface is like a magic key in marriage. Also, things like stress, sickness, lack of sleep, hunger, loneliness, sadness, confusion etc… can play a huge role in how we relate and communicate to one another. Finding those root issues bring a deep connection.
  10. Have Thick Skin: Not taking things too personal is huge. Learning to roll with it and laugh things off goes a long way in a healthy marriage. Having a sense of humor, being able to make fun of ourselves and not getting offended by the little stuff is a skill to always be growing in.
  11. Apologize Well: A good apology is very specific and very sincere. Making eye contact, naming the offense, and truly engaging is crucial. We can’t be haphazard or flippant. Broad generalizations like “I’m sorry for anything I’ve ever done” is NOT a genuine apology. Using the word ‘but’ as an add-on never ever helps.  Blame shifting or taking the focus away from ourselves isn’t right. Facing what we’ve done, calling it what it was, and owning it fully is what brings restoration.
  12. We Are NOT Telepathic: We have been married for so long that we can often finish each others sentences, but we cannot let ourselves be fooled into thinking we know exactly what is going on in the other person’s mind. We must always keep asking questions. Always keep learning. Always keep talking. Always keep sharing.
  13. Soften: A kind answer turns away wrath. It only takes one to crack the ice. Learning to humble ourselves, to reach out, and to pursue one another even in the worst of times has had significant impacts on our marriage. Marriages don’t end because of big issues like adultery or addiction or arguments. Marriages end because of a hardness of heart. When one or both stay hardened distance and contempt will always bring ruin.
  14. Give More Than Take: If we approach marriage with the 50/50 mentality we will always, always, always be frustrated.  Marriage is 100/100. I give it my all even when I feel like he’s is giving 0%…and he does the same…because learning to love well is far more important than learning to demand more.
  15. Marriage Doesn’t Serve Me: Marriage was never intended to simply make us happy, rather it is first given to make us holy. The truth is I don’t deserve anything. And neither does my husband. We are two broken, imperfect, sinful people who have been given a gift in one another. There is no room for entitlement.
  16. Right Doesn’t Always Mean Righteous:  Many marriages have completely disintegrated because one or both people believe they are “right”. To be righteous means having a willingness to lay down the claim to be right in order to draw near to one another.
  17. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive: And just when we think we’re done forgiving, forgive again.
  18. Combining Weakness And Strength: Rather than letting our differences cause division we are learning to lean on one another, help one another, sharpen one another, and grow from one another. Maybe the two of us combined equals one kinda cool person! 🙂
  19. Give Grace: God’s loving kindness manifested in Jesus on the Cross canceled our eternal debt and granted us redemption and life everlasting.  Because we have been given so much we are now free to give grace to one another. Grace is unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor. Give it. Give a LOT of it. Throw grace around like confetti!what "marriage is work" really means | meg marie Wallace

 

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what "marriage is work" really means | meg marie Wallace