It’s Not a Competition ~ Dana

I’ll admit, with great pride, that I love Facebook. I love status updates. I love check-ins. I love pictures and videos. And I really love hashtags.

But in the past year or so, I’ve read different blogs and even heard some friends talk about how much they hate Facebook. The complaint is usually the same, that all of their friends’ Facebook lives are fake, that they only show the good, beautiful, staged moments, and that it makes them feel badly or even guilty about their own messy, imperfect lives.

To those people, those who feel inferior because their living room isn’t as clean as their friend’s, or because their Christmas tree didn’t look as pretty, or because their football-shaped Super Bowl cake came out looking like a big brown blob, I have one thing to say: Stop. Just stop.

It’s time for life to stop being a competition. And those of you who know anything about me, you know that I am a fierce competitor. If you and I play Yahtzee, you’re going down. I mean it. But our everyday lives need to stop being a competition.

When we look at our friends on Facebook with jealousy we are doing two harmful things:

1. We are devaluing our own wonderful experiences. If you can’t see the beauty in your children and proudly post their chocolaty smiles and whacked-out hair, if you haven’t noticed the stunning sunset on your drive home and revved up the colors with an Instagram filter, if you haven’t taken a selfie while you’re out somewhere fun on a date or at home with your cat, you’re missing out, friend. You’re missing out on the glorious beauty that your life has to offer.

2. We are neglecting to find joy in others’ happiness and accomplishments. I don’t know when it happened that we stopped celebrating each other. But I don’t like it. I don’t know when it became more fashionable to say, “You’re going to have the perfect wedding, aren’t you? I hate you.” (Yes, someone actually said that to me at my bridal shower.) I don’t know when friends stopped being friends and loving each other, but if you find yourself feeling that way or saying those things, I don’t think that I have room in my life for you anymore. Harsh? Yes. But so is the word hate.

I guess, too, that I am fortunate that my friends on Facebook post their fails as well as their wins. I’m part of a great group of people that has the ability to laugh at ourselves and our misguided attempts at cooking, family pictures, or bath time.

Try it sometime. It’s liberating, really, to post a picture of yourself in your volleyball camp t-shirt from the summer of 1990 and no make-up because you can’t believe how much your 9-month-old daughter just peed on you:


It’s rad to brag about your swollen feet at 33 weeks pregnant. Because it really is amazing how freaking big they are:


You’ll get a lot of good recipes if you post a picture of your failed attempt at making your own pizza dough from scratch:


And when you post a picture of your infant crying her head off at her daddy’s tenure presentation at the college…


…your friends will cheer you even more when you finally get a magical picture like this:


Oops, I mean like this:


#winnerwinnerchickendinner #boombaby #youshouldseetheother12picturesitooktogetonegoodone

Be ~ Jen

Multi-tasking is bad for us, right? Big bad. Stress-us-out-and-give-us-cancer bad.

We try to make multi-tasking into a badge of honor, but that’s crap. All it does is place our need for validation in one 90 mile an hour basket.

This used to be my life, when I was a teaching, mothering, wifeing, friending, volunteering fool. I could teach the children, answer email, shop for shoes, plan vacation, grade papers and mentor colleagues all before lunch. Then I came home and worked out, answered texts, baked cookies for the bake sale, helped the kids with homework, did the laundry and cooked dinner. My life looked like this:

graph 1

Check me out. Man, you either got on board my crazy train or got run over. C’est la vie.

Then I one day I told Shea “Sure, I’ll have another baby, if I can stay home.” He called my bluff and two years later, I was a stay at home mom with a newborn. I hadn’t quite considered all the consequences:

graph 2

Some people may see those gaps as an opportunity for rest.  But the Master Multi-Tasker has no idea what rest is. To me, those huge gaps look like wasted space. Just having a newborn was for rookies. I would have a newborn and serve on the PTL and a corporate board and turn laundry into an insane art form. I would blog and post on Facebook three times a day and monitor the weather and traffic for all my close friends and family.

Do I have to say that this level of go is not sustainable? For anyone? Something will give. In my case, two somethings before I paid attention.

I was doing too much. Way, way too much. I was trying to be all things to all people. I didn’t want to let anyone down—not my husband, not my kids, not my students, not my colleagues, not my bosses, not my neighbors, not my family, not my kid’s school, not my church, not anyone.

You think that list is crazy?

What does yours look like?

We do too much. And in order to do too much, we multi-task. That means we do none of it well, because we’re moving too fast to really have a care. There’s no time for care! We say yes to everyone on that list, and then we short change them all, because that’s the only way to do it. We train ourselves to believe that rest is sloth, and we forget how to be. Still.

Then we are diagnosed with anxiety disorders and get cancer and divorces and we turn around one day and our kids are grown and we cannot for the life of us account for the years.

What if we just didn’t. Didn’t try to be all things to all people. Didn’t say yes. Didn’t try to balance our lives so that all things are equal. Yeah, that’s right. All the things in our life are not equal. The boss does not deserve the same time and attention as the spouse or the kids.

And what if we just be. Be the one who learned to say no. Be the one who cut some things out, like team parent or coaching or that committee at work. Be the one who made room for rest who took our charts, cleared them out and made some space. And then, instead of filling the space right back up, did this:

graph 3

We can do less, but do it wider, slower, better. We can take only the things we need, the things that make our lives lovely and amazing, and fill them up and out. Maybe–probably–we would feel less hollow, guilty and not enough. Instead, we could have more space and feel more fulfilled.

The thing I loved the most about this Christmas season was the ground swell of voices talking about less and slower. We can carry that momentum into 2014 and into all parts of our lives.

Do less. Be more. Happy New Year!

Joy to the World!

Lord, in this holy season of prayer and song and laughter, we praise you for the great wonders you have sent us: for shining star and angel’s song, for infant’s cry in lowly manger. We praise you for the Word made flesh in a little Child. We behold his glory, and are bathed in its radiance.

 Be with us as we sing the ironies of Christmas, the incomprehensible comprehended, the poetry made hard fact, the helpless Babe who cracks the world asunder. We kneel before you shepherds, innkeepers, wisemen. Help us to rise bigger than we are.



After weeks of sacred waiting, the day has come. The promise is fulfilled. The Savior is born. Joy to the world!

Dana and I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas. May peace and blessings fill your Christmas season.

We’re going to take a Christmas break. We’ll probably still be popping off on Twitter and Facebook, and we’ll be back on the blog January 3. So Happy, healthy New year, too! And thanks for everything.


Dana and Jen