{Celebrating Beautiful} Slowing Up by Bekah Pogue

In blogging for the last 5 years, I’ve written about many different topics, but one theme that has remained constant has been my focus of sharing about how our family is discovering the beauty in difference and choosing to celebrate the incredible beauty all around us, and how we want to encourage others to do the same. After connecting with and reading about so many amazing people and families doing so many amazing things, I started a guest blog series called Celebrating Beautiful, as it relates to beauty however it can be interpreted: parenthood, faith, your kids, an experience, home, and so much more.
 
I first met Bekah Pogue briefly at the She Speaks conference several years ago, and we connected again when our books both came out around the same time. We’ve been on very parallel publishing journeys, working with the same agent, publicist and publisher, and we’ve found such support in one another in this writing experience. Bekah is one of the most uplifting and genuine people I have connected with through writing, and her book, Choosing REAL, is a true reflection of that.
Here is Bekah Pogue on Celebrating Beautiful…

“Quick, quick, let’s go.”

“I need an answer today.”

…or the hardest for me:

“What’s been going on?” (**while eyes dart the room**)

These orders, demands and questions bring up anxiety like no other.

I feel like a robot, hurried to respond or give an urgent answer for an asphyxiated time-frame, to reply to a question where a large period looms as soon as something uninteresting exits my pie-hole.

I hate being rushed. Quickened.

You too?

I didn’t realize this until recently, when I found myself reacting in a anxious frantic whirlwind of craziness because of what I perceived to be rush.

Most of my life I’ve put myself on the tightrope of busy and go and whir and faster faster faster.

Probably because I looked around and saw quick go hurry being done well and knew not to listen to the quiet tug of slow slow slow because slow, my friends, was BOR – yawn – ING.

Slow is for people who don’t have social lives. Slow is for people who aren’t fun.

Slow is for people who have to sit on their couch because no invites or plans or people are pulling them off their precious sofa.

I’m sorry. I ignorantly believed these thoughts in my younger years.

AND HOW WRONG I WAS.

Slow is wisdom.

Slow is sitting in silence and allowing someone to add a period when they have processed.

Slow is holding air in between you and him or her and letting the uncomfortable weight be a space to learn.

Slow is grace. And assuredness.

Slow is peace and thinking through and listening first and speaking last.

Slow isn’t boring by any means.

The most fun creative inspiring people I know live slow. Live with purpose even in the hustle bustle of humanity.

They aren’t lazy or inactive or dull.

They are, in fact, bright and can easily over-extend their valuable time with many note-worthy agendas and meetings and people and things to be at but they choose to slow up.

Slowing up is a wise ramp to living full. Living purposeful and filled. With honest truth and courageous vulnerability; not fueled by rush and frantic and I don’t wanna miss ouuuuuuuut!

Slowing up is tried and true. Slowing up is my jam.

Now, when I find myself chasing a string of to do’s on an imaginary tightrope of frenzied hurriedness – whether asked or self-inflicted – I’m asking myself a few questions.

What am I experiencing inside?

Am I feeling rushed and why?

Is this a legitimate timeline or a life-long habit of quick quick quick?

Am I present?

Am I being kind or snapping at everyone in my wake (including my reflection?)

How can I go about this differently? How can I slow up?

When we pause long enough to connect our minds with our bodies and hearts and then listen, do you hear that? The tick tock of time needed for all pieces to travel different paths and merge somewhere at the triad of slow?

That’s where wisdom is birthed.

At the center of slowing up.

Bekah Jane Pogue writes, speaks and encourages with listening in mind: listening to the Father and then sharing how she’s most alive in hopes to encourage you to live out your created self. Her first book, Choosing Real: An Invitation to Celebrate When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned released December 2016. Bekah is the founder of Pasture, a local community gathering for women to come as they are for intentional conversation and curated experiences to nourish their souls. You can find her exploring their new town of Nashville, reading, baking, rearranging furniture, flea-marketing and sharing her heartbeats at bekahpogue.com. Bekah and her hubby, Bryan have been married a dozen+ years. They have two energetic boys and reside at The Wonder Home outside of Nashville, where dance parties are a regular occurrence. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

{Celebrating Beautiful} Your Child Is Already Accepted, by Teri Lynne Underwood

In blogging for the last 5 years, I’ve written about many different topics, but one theme that has remained constant has been my focus of sharing about how our family is discovering the beauty in difference and choosing to celebrate the incredible beauty all around us, and how we want to encourage others to do the same. After connecting with and reading about so many amazing people and families doing so many amazing things, I started a guest blog series called Celebrating Beautiful, as it relates to beauty however it can be interpreted: parenthood, faith, your kids, an experience, home, and so much more.
 
I got to meet Teri Lynne Underwood when we both attended the She Speaks conference in 2014 (I think I say that a lot – I made so many friends there that I still keep in touch with!) Teri Lynne was further along than me in the writing and parenting journey, and she has been a tremendous encouragement and resource to learn from. She is always quick to make time for me and share what she knows and has experienced. Teri Lynne just released her first book, Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need Most, and it is SO good! Be sure to grab a copy if you are in the middle of mothering to a daughter! 
Here is Teri Lynne Underwood on Celebrating Beautiful…

From my spot in the parking lot, I watched as students poured out from the high school as the final bell rang. I saw couples walking hand in hand, groups of boys laughing, and girls engaged in what looked like serious conversation.

As I continued to wait for my daughter to exit the building, I noticed the slumped girl with her head bowed.  She shuffled to her car, just a few spaces away from where I was parked.  My heart ached for this girl I didn’t know. Her demeanor revealed the discouragement as heavy at the book bag on her back.

I wondered what her story was, who was waiting for her at home, when she’d last been encouraged.

As my own girl climbed in the car, I asked about the girl I’d seen. “She’s a loner, Mom. She never talks, and I’ve never seen her with anyone.”

And, from there, my girl launched in her own animated description of her day, my questions already forgotten in her enthusiasm.

By the time we got home, I knew about all the antics that had taken place that day at the high school.  Casiday did her homework, and I started supper.  But the picture of that heavy-hearted girl kept surfacing.

I whispered a prayer as I finished our meal preparations.

Again, I found myself wondering what the girl’s story was.  Was anyone at her house preparing her dinner? Who would help her study for the Chemistry test? Who was there to love and accept her, just like she was?

It’s what we all want, right? To be accepted fully and lovingly.

And it’s what we want for our children as well.  We long for them to avoid the sting of rejections, the pang of loneliness. But, we know there will be days when our babies do know the heartbreak of being unaccepted.

How can we prepare them? How can we help them navigate the inevitable relationship struggles they will face?

In seventeen years of parenting, I have found the best answer is this: to remind them time and again of the acceptance they have in Christ.

Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother, the One who will never leave or forsake them, the one who has chosen and called them by name.

It’s a lesson we keep teaching, a truth we keep repeating. Because it’s the truth that can change everything. When the days come and your son or daughter aches from being left out or different, make sure you’ve laid a foundation upon which to build, a foundation of truth and hope found in Scripture.

We all crave acceptance—but the freeing truth is, we already are accepted by the One who fashioned us and created us in His own image.

Here are a few verses I love to speak over my daughter to remind her of the acceptance she has in Christ…

For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. Ephesians 1:4

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Isaiah 49:16

The Lord is near to all who call out to him, all who call out to him in integrity. Psalm 145:18

We all crave acceptance—but the freeing truth is, we already are accepted by the One who fashioned us and created us in His own image.

Teri Lynne Underwood is a pastor’s wife, ministry speaker, and Bible teacher. As the founder of www.PrayersforGirls.com and mother of a 17-year-old daughter, Teri Lynne is a cheerleader for girl moms and the author of Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need Most. Connect with Teri Lynne on  Facebook and Instagram.