Enneagram and Turning 30: Part 1

I am about to turn 30 soon and the Enneagram has kind of blown my mind.

I know it’s rather silly and worldly of me, but I’ve been feeling kind of down about my 30th birthday approaching. Can I be 29 forever? Can I be 29 in heaven? But, my looming 30th birthday has motivated me to some self-discovery. I have often struggled with thoughts that I am not doing enough to be fulfilled and not contributing enough to society and I compare my self-worth and my own successes to other people in my age group. ‘So-and-so wrote a book by age 30; she earned a full-time income blogging by the time she was 30.’ Fill in the blank with any “success” worthy of envy. That’s what I do. I know it is so sinful and that’s been bothering me. Why is this where my thoughts go? Don’t I see what God has blessed me with? I have a fantastic family, a husband I am proud to be married to and amazing children I have the privilege of staying home with and homeschooling. I am certainly not unhappy with any of that, in fact, when I really stop to think about it being a mother is hands down the thing in life I am most proud of. Yet still, I’ve always craved more.

Early on in my motherhood I was so consumed with diapers and breastfeeding and sleep and making sure our marriage survived a cross-country move (twice) along with having 2 kids under 2 that I honestly didn’t have time or even care to be intentional at investing in some other kinds of life goals or developing skills or pursuing my other passions. Whew, take a breath, that was a long sentence. But this has a been a sweet season for our family, one of stability and growth, and with that has come some much needed breathing room for me personally to remember who I am and who God created me to be.

So alas, with the approaching of my 30th birthday, I’ve been spending time reflecting on my life and thinking. Lots and lots of thinking. If your Enneagram savvy you can probably already guess which type I am, but I have a few more things to say before I tell you. What really motivated me to do The One Room Challenge 3 years ago? What motivated me to make more time for blogging? What motivated me to do the Junk Crush? Or create a Parody video? What motivates me to homeschool? Or to paint furniture? What motivates my random and spontaneous efforts to find an interesting paying job I can do while also being able to stay home with my kids? I’ve thought about VIPKID, doing retail part-time, I’ve applied to 3 different jobs over the last couple of years all of which have been a flop, I tried daycare for awhile, I’ve thought about going back for a Master’s degree, I’ve seriously considered becoming a Doula. What am I doing? I am all over the place!

Then, one day, after seeing so many social media posts (social media IS powerful at influencing) about the Enneagram I asked someone for a link to a test, and I also went to google and found a couple of different free ones too. I was curious. I was a Psychology major; personality tests interest me. My husband even likes personality tests especially the ones Jordan Peterson recommends, but he hadn’t heard of the Enneagram either, and we could take it online for free.

So, one random night I took a test. My result, was shocking at first, and here’s why: the description sounds awful. I thought, wow, that’s exactly how I sin and described my faults to a T…I didn’t think this test would scream “SEE HOW MUCH YOU SUCK” quite like this one.
Then, I completely put the Enneagram out of my mind for a few days. I wanted to forget all about it, because, well…the truth hurt a little bit! But then I kept wondering what insight I could potentially gain from facing these faults. Maybe the test was wrong, too. I proceeded to read all of the other types of personalities and could resonate with a couple of different ones a little bit. Then I guessed which one my husband was (p.s. I was totally 100% right about him; he took a test later too). Good old google found me another free Enneagram test, different than the first one I took. Shoot…same result. Well…I guess it is right about me. I began to accept the result and have since been pretty moved by the reading I’ve done. I haven’t done extensive reading, just reading social media posts and the descriptions on a couple of different websites.

Here’s what I’ve learned about myself as a Type 4: The Individualist. The Romantic.

I certainly like the word “Romantic” as a title more than “Individualist”. The individualist sounds so self-absorbed. I do not want to be self-absorbed. Yuck. I’ll summarize the biggest takeaways for me: I long to express myself creatively and crave to be authentic. It pains me to have to do ANYTHING I do not have any passion about (like dishes, or a 9-5 desk job, or budgeting, lol). What I do have passion about I must do with purity and authenticity. For example, in this blogosphere I have written posts that are deeply personal, meaningful, and raw and those are the posts that seem to have the biggest impact (which makes my soul sing). Then, I have also written posts about more random things just to keep up the habit of blogging (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) and they aren’t particularly interesting or unique and those blog posts I am sometimes embarrassed exist. I have since learned that it is better for my soul to only write about the things I am deeply passionate about, even if it means sacrificing the ideal I have of making an income online. It’s worth the sacrifice to me to remain authentic. And in case you haven’t noticed, I am not blogging as often since realizing this.

Yet, I still have a bit of a drive to make money. I know money doesn’t buy happiness but it can pay off loans and buy vacations and enables more generosity, which I want, so making money isn’t a bad thing. This is where I believe I might have a touch of a 3 wing at times (even though one test said I was a 4w5 which I also think is true). I want to be successful at what I do and most of the time people get to earn money when they are successful. However, for a moody artist it is unlikely I will ever make any significant money doing the things I love. But I think maybe this is why over the last 3 years I have attempted so many different things to achieve that type of success. So I can sometimes be a chameleon who, instead of persisting and sticking with one thing, likes to try out many different creative outlets or avenues to success (like changing my mind about doing just blogs and being more active on instagram, or youtube, or expressing myself creatively through furniture painting to sell, writing stories, poetry or blogs).

Now I am seeing how I am self-absorbed because this entire post is all about me *facepalm*. See? The truth hurts.

I felt a little relief from discovering my Enneagram type because it helped me understand why I do the things I do and it helped give me clarity when striving to overcome my faults (like moodiness, sensitivity, not finishing what I start, to name a few). It helps put words to our unique bent towards sin. We are all sinful and will struggle with sin all life-long this side of heaven, but how we sin and how we cope with sin can vary. So you could rename the Enneagram to be “In what way do you sin the most?”. And since most of us sinners usually struggle with perceiving our own sin, having it shown to us through a personality test can, indeed, be a helpful tool in our walk towards holiness.

Anyway, I do have a point in sharing all of this. I want to be more honest with myself and with all of you about what kind of content I aim to create online. I do not want to let the shrouds of envy and comparison discourage me from trying for some ‘success’ (whatever that really means). What does success mean to you? No…we won’t go there now, we’ll save that for another post. I aim to embrace my creativity, because for the first time in years, I have a bit of freedom to let that out. Yes, I’m busy homeschooling and trying to take care of our house and family etc… but I can find time to read, to invest in self care, to reflect on where God might be leading me, and to work in my various creative outlets. I just keep wondering why God would make me with such a craving for creative expression and not ever really have an opportunity to use it for His glory.

So right now, I am trying to discover what that means for me at this particular life stage. I have more to say, and more to share, but this post is long… so come back for Part 2. I have some exciting things to share, and I want you to share in my journey and keep me accountable. I believe that God has a purpose in all of this and I know that turning 30 really has very little to do with it. After all, the famous painter “Grandma Moses” began her artwork at age 80. I also want to talk about some critiques and concerns I have about the Enneagram too, and I think it is well worth the time to explore that with you too. Thank for your reading the awkward inner workings of my brain and being there for me to process. I love blogging for you and always want to be real. When we can be real, we can grow. Looking forward to sharing Part 2 with you soon.

Check out my last post, too: Why I am Taking a Social Media Break

Why You and Your Spouse Should Plan a Vacation Without Kids

I get to share an extra blog post with you this week! Stay tuned for my regular blog post coming out on Thursday. But today, you get to check out why I think you should go on vacation with your spouse and why you should leave your kids at home, if you can.

The first time we left our kids for a full week was scary and hard, but very rewarding. After going through a tough, sleep deprived phase of parenting littles it was so refreshing to get a break and remember that I am an individual with needs too. It also helped us remember that our marriage needs care and attention.
One reason I value these marriage getaways is that we are setting an example for our kids that our relationship is incredibly valuable and deserves this. It doesn’t have to be a week long cruise. It can be whatever you want it to be: a weekend at a cabin, an overnight at a hotel, even just evening date nights and spending alone time with your spouse on a regular basis. We’ve taken advantage of my husband’s work-related conferences a couple of times as well, where I have gone with him to attend a conference. It’s not exactly a romantic getaway but we still get to travel and get out of our normal routine. A week-long vacation without your kids isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. But if you have total trust in your childcare providers (for us it’s grandparents) it can be a fun memory for everyone!
But a word of caution here.
What if I told you that it doesn’t take a great vacation to make a great marriage, it actually takes a great marriage to make a vacation great?

Rochester MN Moms Blog

Head on over to Rochester MN Moms Blog to read the rest!

Why I Am Taking A Creative Hiatus From My PHONE

On March 1st I will be uninstalling Facebook and Instagram from my phone. I am on these apps more than I care to admit and I just feel very strongly that I am at a pivotal point right now where I need all the extra focus, time, and energy I can get. Let me explain why.

First, I do plan on re-installing and re-using these apps in the future because I do see the benefits and the blessings of it. But right now I find myself comparing myself more than is healthy and feeling disappointed in what I put out there.

This is an unhealthy pattern I have recognized in myself and instead of just being internally pouty and unhappy with myself and sucked into watching other people’s lives I have decided to cut it out for the month. I will still access facebook on my laptop but not having it on my phone will be different for a change. Remember life before facebook or instagram? Weird to think about, I know.

Anyway: what is my purpose in this break? My purpose is to regain some mental focus and clarity on the things that truly matter in my everyday life. Things like being fully present with my kids, becoming more productive with my time, and less distracted. When I am not constantly bombarding myself with social media content I have more space in my brain for the here and now, what’s right in front of me (not on my screen). I have noticed too that when I am not watching TV or not scrolling mindlessly I tend to be more creative.

I’m going to be talking a lot about creativity in the month of March and I have at least 2 more blog posts planned and almost finished so please subscribe so you get the next blog! Lately, I’ve been relaxing a little bit and letting my creative juices flow. I’ve been exploring some possible writing projects (and not just blog-writing either) and music projects to be a little more specific. But I’m not ready to give it all away yet. So, this month for me, in spending less time on my phone, is so that I can spend more time with Jesus and in prayer about what kinds of creative things I can do and be able to do well for His glory.

Aside from trying to discover my creative potential and stop comparing myself to other people, I also want to plan for some direction for the upcoming school year and do some investigating into how I can best educate my children and meet their unique needs. I will be focusing more on that stuff in April too as I get ready to attend another Homeschooling Conference.

But to some it all up, I am dying to create things and am wrestling with God a little bit right now asking him WHY do I feel this unshakeable urge to be creative. How can I channel this desire I have and what can I do to bring more glory to Him and to His Kingdom? This is at the heart of my March social media fast.

So, if you want to stay in touch with me, sign up for my email newsletter and you will get all my blogs in your email (THANK YOU SO MUCH to those of you who already are! I am elated to have you). I will not be on instagram at all in March. I will be on facebook if you know me personally. But if we are not facebook friends and you are reading this, subscribing is the best way to stay updated. With the potential projects I have in the works, I am going to need YOU! Thank you.

Looking forward to the things coming up and hope you all are doing well!

What to Wear on a Caribbean Cruise (bonus packing tips)

A little bit of a fun post for you. I am not a fashion expert, but I do enjoy fashion and putting in some effort to what I wear. 90% of the time I am home in loungewear, so being on a cruise without kids meant I could enjoy taking a little extra time to plan out my looks and it was so fun.

Here’s what I packed outfit-wise for our trip plus some bonus packing tips at the end of this post for anyone new to traveling or new to cruising!

Look #1: It was a bit chilly in Ft. Lauderdale at first for a complete summer-time outfit so that is why this light white sweater worked perfectly with these shorts. I wanted to add a little Old Hollywood glam with an animal print neck scarf. The shorts here are from Grace & Lace and I like them! On my feet are Vionic flip flops*. I have a history of plantar fasciitis and I lived in these flip flops most of the week and did not have any foot problems!
For 15% off your first Grace & Lace Order click here 🙂

Look #2: You don’t have to go crazy spending money on new things just for a vacation. This floral maxi dress (WHICH HAS POCKETS) I scored at a thrift store for 6 bucks. The blue cardigan was something I found on Zulily a couple of years ago. I recommend having a maxi dress for a cruise vacation because you can wear it to dinner and also wear it all day long. When it was time for dinner I added a sparkly necklace and the ‘comfy/casual-ness’ of the dress was not noticeable.

Look #3: Daytime casual. Here are three examples of a daytime casual outfit. Swimsuits could be worn underneath if needed. I love having a large sun hat along in case I want to give my face a break from the intense rays. The far left image I am wearing my Grace & Lace shorts with a light polyester halter tie-back from Forever 21. In the middle picture I am wearing brown Style & Co. shorts (link is to a diff size and color)* I bought from Macys YEARS ago (which I still love) along with a white ruffle tank from Ann Taylor LOFT and a jean jacket from Forever 21 (found at a thrift store). The jean jacket was nice to have along for the rainy days and times when we spent time inside the ship. The picture on the right I am wearing a blousy tank from Target that totally gave me 1950s vibes and I am wearing high waisted shorts from ModCloth. I also scored a nice pair of white bermuda Jag Shorts on Amazon* for $11! Definitely worth looking for sales and sometimes it is the random sizes that are on sale. I’m also wearing my trusty Vionics and a pair of cute Chacos*.

Look 4: Swimwear. I brought 3 swimsuits with me. I did wear each of them once but I probably would have been fine just having 2. It’s nice having multiple in case one or two are wet and still drying or if you want to vary what kind of tan lines you’re going to get. In this picture I am wearing a thrifted bikini top and swim shorts from Amazon*. I LOVE these swim shorts. I am wearing a bikini bottom underneath them but the shorts I like because they are high waisted and give me the kind of booty coverage that makes me feel comfortable and confident. 2 pieces are nice too because it is easy to go to the bathroom!

Look 5: Swimwear part two. This is a one-piece swimsuit from Modcloth (and the shorts are Modcloth as well, but cannot find a link to that style). This swimsuit actually has straps for a halter but for some reason the fit on me was weird. I actually took the straps and tied them around my back and I felt more comfortable and it seemed more flattering that way. My other suit I packed was a black one-piece swim dress also found at a thrift store! The black one was my most modest choice and I don’t actually have a picture of it, but it had a 1950s Audrey Hepburn vibe to it. This red polka dot one is also super retro and I love it.

Look 6: Swimsuit coverups. I did have a black swim cover I wore often but this was my go-to outfit to put on top of my two-piece swimsuit. The high waisted ModCloth shorts are perfect over swim bottoms and on top I wore a loose-fit, flowy crop top from Forever 21.

Look 7: Dinner time attire. When going to the dining room on the ship or any of the specialty restaurants you must dress nice. I would stay away from shorts, jeans, and anything ultra casual. This adorable polyester dress from Express was a great option to have for dinner time. (Oh, thanks sis for this hand-me-down. Or is it a hand-me-up?)

Look 8: Formal night. Double check to make sure you know how many formal nights you will have on your cruise. For our last two cruises we screwed this up twice and I have no idea how. First we only planned for one formal night and there were two. Then, we planned for two formal nights and there was actually only one. Oops.
My husband rented a tux from the cruise line which saved him the hassle of packing a suit and he looked GREAT in that tux, so that was fun. Our friends pictured here brought a nice suit and a stunning black floor-length dress.
For formal night you really get an array of dressiness so I just like to make it as fancy as I want it to be. Some women will wear cocktail dresses or other knee-length dresses while other women (most probably) have a floor-length gown. We went with floor-length gowns, because it’s fun and when else do I get the chance to dress up like that?

And yes, my friend and I planned that we would both have gold sequin dresses and it was a blast. I tried for a 1920s vibe and my friend went with Old Hollywood glam. We felt awesome. My dress was purchased at Macys and my friends dress was actually a unique find on Walmart.com! Did you know Walmart carries formal dresses online? Because before this trip I did not know that. I also got the adorable feathered headpiece off amazon! For the second formal night (which wasn’t actually a formal night, but we dressed up with what we packed anyway) I wore a metallic and lavender gown I found on ThredUp.com.

My husband also did a little pre-cruise shopping and has found a new spark of joy with these athletic water shoes*. He wears them at home for working out and he loves the comfort, versatility, and breathability.

Ready for my bonus/free to you packing tips?

  1. On top of regular sunscreen I like to purchase a special ‘face only’ moisturizing sunscreen that can be used as a makeup primer. I just hate the feeling and smell of regular sunscreen on my face.
  2. Use travel sized bottles and bring Aloe (don’t skip this!), lotion, body wash, and whatever else you like to travel with.
  3. Bring appropriate footwear. I lived in my Vionic flip flops. I also was thankful I had good tennis shoes* and a few options for dress shoes.
  4. Roll your outfits together in small bundles (think Marie Kondo) and you’ll be able to fit more and keep things neat and less wrinkled.
  5. Bring a few extra trash/plastic shopping bags for your soiled laundry or wet things when returning home.
  6. A good hat, sunglasses, and a book or two are also a must.

 If you want to know about what other things we packed or brought, or if you would like anymore details please let me know in the comments!

*This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Meaning if you click and make a purchase I will make a commission on the sale. Everything in this post I bought with my own money and was not asked to advertise. I genuinely enjoy sharing what products and merchandise I love and use in real life.*

The RollerCoaster of Discipling Young Kids

One minute your sweet preschooler is praying “God thank you for my family. Help us love each other well so we can love you better. Help us not get in any fights. Thank you for the Bible so we can learn about you”. Your heart melts and you are so excited. They are learning things, they are picking things up (positive things!) that you inadvertently taught them and you feel so encouraged.

Then, the next minute you are having to discipline the kids for fighting over a toy. You tell them to sit on the floor together, facing each other, in time-out until they can reach a solution, choose kindness, forgiveness, and move on. Unfortunately, they sit there with hard hearts much much longer than you were hoping they would.

This was me today. I felt so encouraged at hearing my kids sweet prayers during our family Bible time. One of my kids even said that they were so excited to actually read the Bible, so they “could know what it actually says!” and not just be reading a ‘Bible story book’ written for kids.

But then, when I’m not looking, for just a second, chaos seems to takeover and their naturally selfish dispositions rule over them. It is those moments I have to fight my own battle to be persistent, to be patient, and to correct with love hoping that in this moment they can learn something good and grow from it.

But man that’s hard. Because their naturally selfish dispositions I mentioned? I have that too. Sometimes I would rather just separate them, take the toys away, yell and let my own anger get the best of me, turn on the TV so they are quiet. Wouldn’t that be easier? But those selfish moments in parenting don’t lead to peace. They don’t learn the skill of love or of sacrifice if they are not made to work through the situation.

So, by God’s grace, we worked through the situation. I encouraged them to face each other, talk to each other, put away their anger and to be soft. Then I prayed for them, that they would chose to sacrificially love their sibling so the other person could be happy.

I don’t know how much of that stuck, but they’re out of time out and playing together again as if nothing happened. So I will trust that that moment was a small step in the right direction and I will pray that God will keep moving me to handle those difficult moments with grace and that I will be ready for the next one.

Happy Valentine’s Day

How are you planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? My husband and I just got back from a Caribbean Cruise so we’re not planning a date night. Instead, I’m actually going to have some young ladies from our church over for a girls only dinner and I am really excited about it. I hope that I can pass on the same memory I cherish so personally when I did something similar with a group of girls in college.

To read more about my alternative ideas to Valentine’s Day and some of my favorite Valentine’s memories head over to the RMMB more my latest post.

Rochester MN Moms Blog

The Declutter Anthem: At Last Parody

If you’ve been like me, this month has been full of decluttering, organizing, purging, and spending lots of time in the Declutter like a mother official facebook group talking about all of Allie’s tips and Marie Kondo methods.

Then one night the idea came and this parody video was born.

Now, this is super out of my comfort zone and something I’ve never done before! But I love music and have always enjoyed singing and I just figured why not try this out. The audio isn’t the best but it’s what I can do with the equipment I have. #samsunggalaxys9+

It was a lot of fun putting this together and is different than anything I’ve done before creatively speaking so I hope you enjoy it and can find some humor in your own decluttering journey!

What’s going on with me, lately?

It has been quite a while since I have written a blog post on here. So let me just update you on what I’ve been up to, how my Holiday was, and where I am going from here.

Lately, I have been preparing for a cruise vacation I am taking with my husband. After the craziness of the Holidays had died down it seemed like it took a while to get back into the swing of things: homeschool routine, getting the house in order, etc… and now we will have to go through that adjustment period again once our vacation is over!

This entire month I have been participating in the #declutterlikeamother challenge. If you don’t know what that is, I will provide a link at the end of this post where you can learn more about it. Basically, it is a month-long decluttering challenge hosted by Allie Casazza. I have been on my own personal decluttering journey for a while now and while it’s going slow I found a lot of value in applying some more minimalist ideas to my life this month. I have been sharing more about what this has looked like for me over on my personal instagram account! I would love to have you follow me there if you don’t already.

I shared over on instagram last night how I’ve been processing our Christmas week experience. We stayed at a hotel/resort in the Twin Cities and while we had a ton of fun and made great memories there were a few moments that were very high stress and chaotic. For my introverted, home-body self it was a bit exhausting. However, whatever craziness I had to endure with the kids (and there was quite a bit) I would still say it was worth it to come away with the memories we created.

I’ve spent a good amount of time reflecting on my life, my year, my future, and learning more about myself. I took the Enneagram personality test which was both interesting and insightful. I’ll share more about that in the future. But I’ve been playing around with a few different creative outlets: like making youtube videos, taking pictures, and I as soon as warmer weather hits I fully plan to get my hands on some more home interior projects and furniture painting.

Two of my personal goals for the year is to read more and be more self-disciplined. Self discipline is always a struggle for me… I just want to follow my feelings and it is hard to push myself to do certain things “when I don’t feel like it”. So, I have two very interesting and popular books to read on our cruise vacation and plan to work on a thorough review and compare/contrast the two books. If you are on Instagram you know what these books are already. 😉
The other areas I want to be more self-disciplined in is Scripture reading and exercise. I am trying to follow a ‘read the bible in a year’ plan (which I haven’t done in a LONG time and have never been successful at). I also want to strengthen my body and get more physically healthy. I am turning 30 in about 4 months and I don’t like the fact that I am aging. I have never been very physically disciplined and as a result (and also having 3 pregnancies close together) my physical strength is severely lacking. I’ve developed some foot problems and I know that strengthening my core and flexibility will help. But it is HARD to stick with this, for me anyway. I’ve never enjoyed working out, but to be healthy I need to learn to enjoy it.

One thing I have determined is that I crave to express myself creatively. This is why I love writing, I love taking pictures (though I am no photographer), I love music and singing, I love painting and art. I’ve never really pursued any of these things to become anything more than a hobby. Eventually it would be cool if something could be more than a hobby, but for now I am content with that. My “job” is to homeschool our kids which I LOVE doing. It is challenging for sure but this is my greatest calling right now. Even still, my “hobbies” are still a part of who I am and I have some FUN and different things coming up that I will share with you soon!

I want to keep blogging but would like to narrow my niche, whatever that is. I still feel like I am in an experimenting/discovery phase if I am being totally honest. Thank you for bearing with me and sticking around if you have.

Here’s the link to Allie Casazza’s website.

And here is the link to my Instagram!

Here is my Youtube Channel (subscribe because something really fun and different and TOTALLY out of my comfort zone is going live on TUESDAY. I don’t want you to miss it…or do I?)