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iNSPiRE | Support + Celebrate :: The Fringe Hours Book

Tuesday, September 22

The other day I was reading from The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner and I was deep into the section about comparison and how toxic it can be...if you allow it.

I felt moved to share my thoughts with you about this subject and I hope you'll weigh in on the topic because I'd love your feedback!!

This concept of falling prey to comparison isn't new to me, in fact, after discovering how profound of an impact playing the comparison game can have on my own life, I'd like to say I do a pretty good job at keeping myself benched. *wink*

With that said, we are all broken. We are all imperfect. And we can all easily find ourselves behind the wheel of what I call the Comparison Clunker.

There are the "Pinterest Potholes" that leave us feeling deflated, the social media traffic jams filled with all things shiny + faster + better that leave us feeling out of gas and then there's the "race to the finish" mindset of our society that causes us to grip the steering wheel so tightly that we often spin out of control and end up finding ourselves wrecked on the side of the road...helplessly watching the rest of the world speed by.

It can really feel that way...IF we let it.

Here are some paraphrased excerpts that really drive home this point from the The Fringe Hours book:
• Comparison is doing just as much damage as guilt can often do to a woman.
• Comparison can eat away at us, distract us from our blessings and our need for self-care.
• We see others who seem to be doing it all and have it all with what looks like little effort, so we think that is what our lives should look like as well.
• On social media, comparison is a catalyst for nagging feelings of disappointment, discontentment, frustration, and self-doubt. 
• Pinterest cannot be your yardstick for who you are as a woman, what you should love, how you should cook, or what you should prioritize. It cannot be your yardstick for good parenting, thoughtfulness, or really anything in life.

That's good stuff right there!! Am I right?!

So how do we kick the Comparison Clunker to the curb?
The first thing Jessica N. Turner suggests is eliminating judgment....

She asks:
"Have you ever looked at another woman and judged something about her? Maybe it was the fact that she brought a store-bought dessert to the church potluck while everyone else brought homemade. Or maybe you judged a woman because you didn't feel like she was dressed appropriately. Or because you disagreed with the way she parented her children."

For me, I've come to the conclusion that judgment is often the act of deflecting our own ridiculous expectations + standards onto unsuspecting, innocent bystanders. 

I shamefully admit I am guilty of this - not 100% of the time but most certainly more often than I care to admit. 

Some of Turner's suggestions for overcoming judgment is:

1. Finding and recognizing the root of your judgment.

Once you've been able to determine the true emotion, (envy, dissastifaction, etc.), behind the judgment you are more likely to take a step back, turn the initial judgment into something different...something positive and perhaps be inspired to take the time to get to know the person and their story...which will lead to acceptance...and ultimately love.

2. Trading judgment for celebration. 

I have to tell you, I immediately thought..."Oh I can do that...I already do that." And there are plently of women out there I know who do it as well. But then I took a minute, from a personal perspective, to dive deeper into what "celebrating others" should really LOOK like and more importantly what it should FEEL like.

Ask yourself this the next time someone you know, admire or follow on social media posts or shares something exciting about something they've accomplished and are proud of.
• Do you jump right up and offer them praise and support?  Or do you pause?
• Do you "like" their post immediately and leave an encouraging comment?
  Or do you scroll past and then scroll back up after the guilt sets in?

"Liking" or "commenting" can LOOK as though you are celebrating that person...BUT are you really?

Are you actually applauding her success from a place of judgment? For instance, are you happy she's successful but are you quietly reveling in the regrets you think and perhaps even hope she'll have eventually because she must surely be sacrificing one aspect of her life, in one way or another, to be as successful as she is. (her family, her children, her health, her identity, her authenticity),

Do you look like her cheerleader but then find yourself judging her creativity, styling, home decor picks, baking, handwriting, art, parental decisions, hair style, weight, shoes, clothing, etc.?

The way you FEEL - what's coming from your heart - and the driving force behind your celebration of another person's successes are even more important than the act of you celebrating with that person.

Will you be superficial?
Or will you be sincere?

I have to tell you, from personal experience, I have been on both sides of the coin.
I have had superficial support from people I thought were my friends - & that feels pretty crappy.
I've also had sincere support - which  feels WAY better and feels noticeably different.

I think we all know when we are GETTING superficial and when we are GIVING it too.

With all of this weighing heavy on my mind...I've decided to really make this "Support + Celebrate - with sincerity" something I'm doing and thinking about on a more consistent basis.
If I feel judgment more than I feel genuine...I plan to correct that...immediately.

I'd love to hear what you think about the subject of comparison and your own experience with it.

I'm loving The Fringe Hours book and highly recommend it.
It's been very thought-provoking and inspiring.

"The Fringe Hours is not a book about doing's a book about empowering women to do more for themselves so they can BE more...more creative, more fulfilled, more alive." - Jessica Turner

xoxo -  my sweet friends!!

This post was written and has been sitting for over 2 weeks.
Various projects, life and some challenges have kept me away from the blog.
I'm so glad I came back to it today because I needed to hear this all over again.
I feel so inspired...I hope you do too!!

FREE | Living the Sweet Life Art Print :: The Cake Blog

Wednesday, September 9

The FREE art print for September is up on The Cake blog!!
There's the colorful version you see up above as well as the option below with the wording all in black!!

Pick your favorite and download it to print... it to your desktop, iPhone or iPad by downloading the digital wallpaper.

It's a cute reminder...for me especially...
that although there are struggles, disappointments, failures, roadblocks, down days or just what I call the "blech" we encounter...we really are living "the sweet life". 

Hope you love it, download ituse it and SHARE it!!!
Pass it on to a friend who could use the reminder too!


I can't lie...
I'm ready for the "blech" my family and I seem to have been plagued with over the last few months to be gone! Poof! Just like that. "Believe and it will be"....right?

INSPIRE | Worry pretends to be necessary

Thursday, September 3

I couldn't have said it better myself, Eckhart Tolle, and I couldn't agree with this more.
However, I've also learned it's much easier to roll in the worry and soften it a bit when you aren't in a situation that is worrisome.

My such situation was last week when I had a routine checkup on Tuesday that ended up sending me for an unexpected ultrasound. (this was the same week as the Christmas Brunch that almost didn't happen). Yeah. Crazy week for sure.

Well today...I'm celebrating.
A phone call today confirming negative test results have brought me much relief + gratitude to say the least.

For those of you who were already aware of the situation when I posted a little something about it on my Instagram feed and have been sending cyber hugs, love, support + prayers...THANK YOU!!

If you are going through a similar situation or know someone who is...
I thought you might enjoy this reminder.

Here's a link to the FREE "Worry Pretends to Be Necessary" Art Print...
formatted to print onto an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper or card stock.

And here's a fun creative idea!
Run it through your Heidi Swapp MINC machine and gold foil it for an extra "wow" factor!!
I've already got my eyes on the MINC mini for smaller projects...SO cute!!

J was never worried...not even for a second.
And that's why he's my rock.
And how did I celebrate today?
I stopped and treated myself to cupcakes.
...which J would highly disapprove of. *wink*

LIFE | The Christmas Brunch that almost didn't happen...

Tuesday, September 1

Giving you a little peek into the styled Christmas Brunch that almost didn't happen.

I've been working behind-the-scenes on this special project for the December issue of Romantic Homes Magazine. I had just put the finishing touches on the Christmas brunch last Thursday, (baked goods, beverages and food items all out on display), and was JUST getting ready to photograph the entire thing when minutes later, I found myself dialing 911 for my 16 year old daughter.

Ema had been home sick all week and missed the first day of school.
She had been diagnosed on Monday with a terrible virus and we expected her to be feeling better by Wednesday or Thursday. Well...Thursday came and just before noon she was rushed to the ER, by ambulance no less, after multiple episodes of passing out.

Clara, my oldest daughter, rushed home from work when she found out what was going on and helped me frantically throw plastic wrap on the perishables and get refrigerated items back in the fridge before we headed up to the hospital. (I actually would've just left everything out because who REALLY cares at that point but I was able to keep my head on straight long enough to realize the potential catastrophe I could come home to if I left it out with Hamilton, our Jack Russell, there all by himself.

Besides my worries about Hamilton eating the food, I have to confess I was overwhelmed at the thought of having to re-bake things because the task had been so laborious in the first place. We still don't have an oven from the lightning strike back in June, right? So...I cooked a Quiche Lorraine and two loaves of Cranberry-Orange Bread in a toaster oven on Wednesday night - of course, not at the same time. Desperate times call for desperate measures...and it actually worked pretty good. Ha!!

The baking saga continued early Thursday morning.
After dropping Ella off to school I rushed over to my mom's to bake some mini loaves and mini doughnuts at her house since those particular pans wouldn't fit in the toaster oven. I ended up trashing the doughnuts but the mini loaves turned out delicious!! (see below)


Anyway, I returned from my mom's Thursday morning, checked on Ema, who was still not feeling well but was sleeping, and I finished getting everything baked and prepped and styled. I had timed things just right to take advantage of the gorgeous morning light spilling in on the Christmas brunch set up and I was about to begin photographing everything.
BUT...Ema had different plans for me that day. *wink*

My Emalyn is doing better and attempted to go to school yesterday for the first time.

As for the Christmas brunch...
I managed to set everything back up the next day, stale bread and all, and I'm happy to tell you the photos turned out beautiful.

By the way...
Did you notice I like a little bread with my icing drizzle? *wink*

Yesterday, the original conclusion of this blog post read: "Besides being able to photograph everything and have it turn out so well despite the obstacles...I'm most happy Ema is starting to feel better."

BUT...minutes before finishing the blog post I had to leave to pick her up from school...because she really wasn't feeling all that better afterall. *insert tears*

So yeah...we were back at the doctor's office again today and they are testing her for mono. (even though we had her tested at the ER because her older sister came down with it about a month ago). Grrrrr!! Apparently it will produce a negative result if it's tested during the first week of the illness? Really? 

Anyway, Ema will be out for another week of school and potentially longer so I'll keep you posted on how she's doing.

In the meantime, you can find me in bed with my head buried in the covers until I'm fully recovered emotionally and physically from living in nutsville over here for the last week.
Ha! I'm only kidding...I intentionally included that because I know J reads my blog and I figured I'd jerk his chain a little. *wink*
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