Blog Posts

Summer is coming…

Summer is coming! It has been feeling more and more like summer here in central PA. The weather is getting hotter, and we are all usually pouring sweat after our 3 soccer games filling our Saturdays. As we are looking ahead to summer, I am already feeling overwhelmed with adding a 4 year old girl to our family through foster care and thinking of ways to occupy our time.

Here are my personal summer goals:

  1. Finish and send out book proposal- this is something I have worked on forever, and it is time to just get it done!
  2. Keep up laundry- wow I get so behind. The kids are now in charge for their own laundry, except for the 4 year old. We shall see how this goes.
  3. Keep up on my Bible reading- I started working through the New Testament in 90 days. It is fun to read through the Gospels again, and I have enjoyed this. I just have to keep myself on track!

As far as the kids go…here’s a list of things I’m working through to decide what the summer should look like. Screen time is saved for a break from each other for everyone, but we will also spend our afternoons at the pool most likely. Here’s a list of ideas I have for us:

  • pool days
  • happy hour slushies at Taco Bell!
  • lego building contests
  • sidewalk chalk
  • craft days at the library
  • weekly library visits
  • 20 minute reading block every day
  • few trips to the in-laws
  • camping
  • park days
  • read aloud time
  • hiking (although a 4 year old could make this tricky!)
  • game nights
  • STEM building projects

What are your thoughts for summer? Do you have any great ideas for ways to spend those long and sometimes glorious summer days? Tell me in the comments- I would love to hear!

Enneagram and Friendships

The enneagram can be very helpful in friendships. I have actually figured out in recent months that I am friends with many enneagram 3’s! The funny thing about this is that as a 9, I go toward the positive characteristics of a 3 when I am in a healthy place, so I guess it makes sense that I like being around 3’s! Go figure!

    It helps to know how your friends operate. When I know that I am with a 3, I am able to understand, they have a need to achieve. I have a need to be liked, so sometimes it works out that I can help a friend accomplish an achievement. When I am with a 7, I know that I am going to have a lot of fun. When I am around a 5, it’s helpful to remember, sometimes they just like their own space and quiet.

   When you know who your friends are through their enneagram number, it seems to help with empathy. I am able to see how a friend could feel a certain way through the lens of the enneagram. A friend that is a three likes to achieve, while a friend who is an 8 will want to be in charge. Seeing a person through the lens of the enneagram is a gift. 

   The enneagram has helped me see why a person may be acting a certain way. And with that, I’m able to give a person grace in the midst of the way they may be acting. It helps to see that we are all created differently, but so uniquely! 

Enneagram and Marriage

I have been married for 11 years, 12 in August. Writing that makes me feel so old! And sometimes, it seems like it has just flown by. I discovered a few years ago that I am an enneagram 9, and after reading many books on the subject, I deduced that my husband is an 8.

Jeremy is truly one of a kind. I love him so much, but wow, we are certainly different. He finds it easy to start hard conversations. I run from them at ALL costs. Jeremy is very decisive and can come across as aggressive. I am always trying to make people happy. In fact, making others happy is probably the biggest thing I focus on in a given day. Jeremy doesn’t really care what other people think of him. He has his opinions and ideas, he is very confident in them, and if you don’t like them, well, that’s your problem.

I think 8’s as an enneagram can often be perceived the wrong way. 8’s are definitely confident, aggressive, dominating, and often cannot see that others are sometimes hurt by their abrupt nature. However, 8’s have a fiercely loyal side. I have often been very surprised at things that Jeremy will stand up for me on. 8’s have the highest energy level on the enneagram, so 8’s can easily figure out how to do a project and get it done quickly and efficiently. 8’s want things to be done correctly, but also in a timely fashion. We have a very old Victorian home we are remodeling while living in it, and Jeremy has done an excellent job keeping up with all the work it requires. I always stand amazed at how much he is able to get done.

With all this said, 8’s and 9’s are very different people. Jeremy has the highest level of energy on the enneagram, and I have the lowest. We often disagree on what we should be doing. Jeremy has no problem stating his thought and opinions, and I really struggle with knowing what I truly want. Jeremy can make quick decisions, and it takes me a long time to make a decision.

I write all this to say: knowing the enneagram has helped me so much in my marriage. 8’s are not trusting people, so sometimes I can understand Jeremy is putting up a wall around new people to avoid betrayal. It is so much easier now to see that when Jeremy is doing something, I do not always have to be doing the same thing. It’s easier for me to see that Jeremy wants things done, and it helps motivate me to follow through, just for the simple reason that he likes things done. I have learned that it really stresses me out to be in any type of meeting with him, so I avoid sitting in on meetings. When we are in conflict, it is so much easier now to see that I am viewing things in a peacemaking way, and he is viewing things in a problem solving way. No way is right or wrong, they are just different.

The enneagram has drastically changed how I view my marriage. It has allowed me to give grace in times that I have often gotten so frustrated before. I hope that you might find the freedom I have found in viewing your spouse through the lens of the enneagram.

 

-Brooke

Enneagram Series

As you’ve read already, I just love the enneagram. It is an excellent personality typing system that shows people both strengths and weaknesses. I have related so much to others from just learning their enneagram type. I find myself trying to figure out a person’s enneagram number when talking to them. It has helped me in my marriage, my motherhood, and relationships in general. I also feel that knowing the enneagram types has helped me as a pastor’s wife. While I certainly do not support using your enneagram number to excuse bad behavior, it does help to realize when a person is defaulting to a behavior because it is so engrained in who they are!

In this 4 part series, I want to show you how the enneagram has helped me in different areas of my personal journey. The first part I want to share with you is actually a guest post I did for another blogger like myself who loves the enneagram. Clarity with Charity has compiled a series of blog posts from all enneagram types on how the enneagram has affected their mothering journey. You will find my piece on the enneagram and mothering at the end of this article:

http://claritywithcharity.com/?p=3283

I hope you find the enneagram as helpful as I have! Tomorrow’s post will be on the enneagram, specifically as an enneagram 9, and how it has affected my marriage. See you soon!

 

-Brooke

Vacation

My husband suggested that I take a trip to the sunshine. So I went down to his parents in central Florida for a week! I read 2 1/2 books, and I got to experience sunshine again! I think that it is good for moms to get away for a few days every once in a while. I came back feeling refreshed and energized. I also felt a new appreciation for my boys and how unique they are. I’m back in Pennsylvania now, but the weather has finally started to get a little warmer! What a blessing!

Teaching Online

Hello there! Teacher Brooke here!

Some of you may already know I teach for VIPKid, and online company that hires native English speakers to teach kids in China how to speak English. Before I get any further, I would like to clarify that I do not know any Mandarin. I have no prior knowledge of how to speak anything involving Chinese characters or words. I stumbled upon this company, and I thought it might be fun to give it a try. The worst that could happen is they say no, you would be a horrible teacher, right?

Somehow, I passed the initial interviews and was hired! This occurred in January 2018, and I’m still going strong a year later. VIPKid’s platform is all online, and I open slots for I’m available to teach. Parents can then see the slots and book me. The classes are 25 minutes long, and slots are every 30 minutes, so I get a 5 minute break in between classes. I teach some beginner students, and then I have some students who can speak English very fluently. The material is all provided by VIPKid, and I just review it, and teach it.

I use a lot of TPR, which stands for Total Physical Response. I use my hands and props to teach new words. I use readers to show the students they did a great job. After being with the company for a while, you start to develop a core group of students that continue to book you each week!

At this point, I have been with VIPKid 405 days, I have taught 402 students, I have taught 1374 classes, which is a total of 34,350 minutes. Wow! I don’t think this is the perfect job, and it is definitely not for everyone, but it very rewarding. It is neat to see students starting to speak a new language.

If you have any interest in trying VIPKid, send me a message! Here’s a link to go to discover more about VIPKid!

https://t.vipkid.com.cn/mkt/landing/personal?referralToken=bc984e1ab2d323f0d511ef12c1711973&refereeId=12086290

Enneagram 9

If you have never heard of the enneagram, you should definitely check it out! It has been amazing to learn my enneagram number and see how it affects my daily life. There are nine enneagram numbers, and each person falls under one little more heavily than all the others. Here’s a summary of the types:

Type 1- the Perfectionist, they have a consistent “inner critic” always criticizing, and they always feel the need to be perfect.

Type 2- the Helper, they are always looking for ways to please others.

Type 3- the Achiever, they are image conscious and look for ways to excel in life.

Type 4- the Individualist, they march to the beat of their own drum. They are dramatic and expressive.

Type 5- the Investigator, they are drawn to deeper study, they can be seen as secretive and withdrawn.

Type 6- The Loyalist, they are committed and loyal to the ones they love, but can be very anxious and long for security.

Type 7- the Dreamer- they are always looking to have fun. They can be scattered and spontaneous.

Type 8- the Challenger- they are confrontational, and like a good conflict. They can be bold and aggressive

Type 9- the Peacemaker, the avoid conflict at all costs, and they are agreeable and easy going.

These descriptions are very brief. If you have any interest in learning more about the enneagram I would encourage you to look up yourenneagramcoach.com, and look for the book, That Road Back to You, by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. Both of these resources have helped me figure out more about myself and others around me.

I’m an enneagram nine. Along with that comes a peacemaking easy going girl, who struggles with complacency, apathy, and feeling at a loss to herself. I’m often lost inside my own thoughts, trying to figure out if what I’m thinking would make sense to anyone else or not.

A pastor once said, “Be a voice, not an echo.” I can often feel stuck reflecting everyone around me, but losing myself in the process. God calls us out. He calls us to step out and shine light in a dark world. He calls us to be bold with our faith. Let’s be our own voice, not just a person echoing someone else.

Growing Up

I’m not sure what it was today, but as I looked at my oldest son today, I was struck by the awareness of how fleeting time is and how quickly he is growing up. I’ve wanted to be a mom as long as I can remember, but there were times especially in the earliest days of motherhood, that it was really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Cayson is only either years old now, but he is developing such a helpful personality. He loves to teach his little brothers things, and he has been so fun to watch getting so excited in learning wrestling this year.

There’s a huge part of watching kids grow up that seems like it is happening so fast. But there is another part that is so exciting to watch unfold. Seeing kids develop personalities and talents is amazing. I am loving seeing who God has created them to be!

Favorite Reads of 2018

Hello there!

One of the best things in the world is reading! Am I right? I’ve loved reading since I first learned to do it. I read 60 books in 2018, and I would love to share a few of my favorites with you!I should mention that I will read anything. I love to read Christian fiction, mystery, historical fiction, memoir, non fiction, and self help. Here are some great ones from this year:

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Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

What an excellent book! Here’s a few of the many great quotes:
“Daring leaders who love into their values are never silent about hard things.”

“When we have the courage to walk into our story and own it, we get to write the ending. And when we don’t own our stories of failures, set back, and hurt, they own us.”

“Courage is contagious.”

She also mentions that intense, in the moment discomfort only lasts eight seconds.
I think we can all survive 8 seconds. This book is great for any leader in any capacity!

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Becoming a Welcoming Church by Thom Rainer

This book was very simple and short, but so practical! Them Rainer talks about viewing your church through the lens of a first time guest. It was so eye opening to think through what would I see at church that would scare me off or make me feel like I belong? Definitely worth reading!

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The Lucky Few by Heather Avis

This book was the story of a couple that struggled with infertility for a long time and finally decided to look into adoption. When the adoption for a Down Syndrome child opened up, they felt convicted to pursue it, and built a family of children that some people in society might frown upon. I found myself crying and cheering all within the pages of this book. Moving and thought provoking!

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5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit by Nicki Koziarz

Some day I will write about the enneagram, and how much that has impacted my life. I say that to say that this book is INCREDIBLE for an enneagram 9! An enneagram 9, which is me, can often just decide to quit things or not even start things that seem too hard. This book talks about how we just need to get up and do things despite how we feel. This book  helped spur my decision to change for last into “BOLD.” Let’s be people who don’t quit!

There were many other good books last year. I do not recall reading any books that i did not enjoy. My goal for 2019 is 75 books! Here’s to a great year of book reading!

Enough

   Every year I pick a word to focus on and work toward during the year. The year we made the decision to start looking for churches to plant, our word was purpose, and I felt like that was the year we really solidified that we wanted to plant a church. Last year, I changed the word I had from Renew to Bold. I truly felt that I was being pushed to grow in so many ways I’ve shied away from for so long. And it was an incredible year!

   I started looking at words to think about for next year a few weeks ago. I was thinking the word would be Flourish or Grow or Courage or something to keep pushing me forward as I try to be bolder and not just behind fear. But for some reason the word “Enough” kept popping up in my head. I looked up synonyms and found sufficient and competent were synonyms. I looked up the definition for sufficient, and it said “enough for a particular purpose.”

I’ve struggled forever with feeling like I’m enough. But I feel like for this next year, I want to focus on what God has given me to do, and be ok with who I am. God has called me to be a mom, and I’m nowhere near the perfect mom, but I am the right mom for my children. God has called me to be a pastors wife, and while there’s so many other women out there more cut out for it, God gave this particular role and church to me, and I’m going to do the very best I can. And who I am and what I give is enough for this particular purpose. I’m ok with focusing on what God has given me this year to focus on. And that’s enough. I don’t have to be all things to all people. I’m letting God do that. And I’m ok with being enough for where I’m at now.

And that’s enough.

 

 

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