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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A review of "Reading People" by Anne Bogel

First of all, I have to confess to being a big fan of Anne Bogel's Modern Mrs. Darcy blog. Because of her blog I was able to rekindle my love of reading fiction and re-discovered a piece of myself that I had lost in the chaos of parenting a half-dozen little ones. Now I will often say I feel most like myself when I have a good book to read. I appreciate Anne's presence on the internet so much and feel like she is a kindred spirit and an older sister. 

So when I heard that Anne was writing a new book I knew I'd read it, whatever it was about. Then I heard that the title was "Reading People" and I heard about a "what type of reader are you?" quiz and for a minute I was confused about what her book might be about. If you were confused too - let me clear it up: Anne Bogel's new book Reading People is a brief survey of her favorite personality frameworks. Like having a long conversation at your favorite coffee shop with your very smart (and slightly nerdy - in the best way possible) best friend, she shares the basics of each framework and, between stories about herself and her family, helps us understand why having a basic understanding of these personality frameworks has the potential to positively affect how we relate to people - both at home and at work,  as well as to help us function more optimally ourselves.

When my oldest was little, maybe two or three years old, we lived in a little duplex by the railroad tracks. Every morning, when she would wake up, she would ask "Can I go outside to play?" and every morning I would say "No baby, the grass is too wet to play." and every morning she would say "Can I go check?" and every morning I would get my feelings hurt by this. I would answer "No, I already told you, the grass is wet." Every morning I would get exasperated with her - did my daughter not trust me? Did she think I would lie about grass being wet? Did she think I was so stupid that I didn't understand the concept of dew?

Around this time, I borrowed a book from my MOPs mentor about personality frameworks (this one was specifically about how personality impacts education) and one of the sections dealt with the difference between the "abstract" thinker and the "concrete" thinker. I am an "abstract" thinker - I am future-oriented and can easily grasp big-picture ideas (but lose details easily). My daughter is very much a "concrete" thinker. She is detail-oriented, very literal, and she likes to be able to "touch" what she is learning; to experience it for herself, or in other words, nothing is true in the mind of the concrete learner until they have discovered it to be true for themselves. This is terrific for scientists and researchers and all kinds of innovators, but it can be hard to parent at age three. This ongoing struggle with wet grass had nothing to do with respect or trust, this was just how my daughter processed information and perceived her world.

The next morning my daughter woke up and asked "Can I go play outside?" I said "No baby, the grass is too wet." she whipped out her usual question, "Can I go check?" and this time I said "Sure." She went outside, touched the grass, came back in, and said "Yep, the grass is wet."  I don't remember having this discussion ever again.

One of the most important ways that I have grown as a parent has been trying to learn to understand my children. I have six and each one of them are unique (and constantly growing). They are each a one-of-a-kind combination of personality, preference, sensitivity and strengths. Trying to understand them is an ongoing study and every time I am able to have an "aha" moment about one or the other of my kids is a moment of achievement for me. Honestly, I don't have an enormous amount of time (or brain power) to read a lot of techincal books on personality. I wish I did, and I will occasionally check out a couple big fat ones from my local library but I usually fall asleep trying to read them. Reading People is just the kind of book to get our toes wet in the kiddie-pool area of the swimming pool of personality frameworks.

Reading People covers the topics of Introversion vs Extroversion, what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person, the Five Love Languages, Myers-Briggs Types Indicator, MBTI Cognitive Functions, Strengths Finder, and the Enneagram. Anne Bogel writes that these personality frameworks are "tools for understanding why we do the things we do, why some things come easy while others are difficult" and that they "help us understand why other people do the things they do especially when their thoughts, feelings and actions in a given situation are profoundly different from our own."  Each chapter gave me something to think about.

Anne also shares through the book about her experience with trying to understand herself better and the importance of being honest with ourselves. She writes "I made the mistake of answering the questions based on what I wanted to be like, not what I really was like... [or] I answered questions according to my learned behaviors, not according to my inborn preferences."

Understanding these personality frameworks help us with understanding what we need "to feel like [our] best selves (ideally) or a functional human being (realistically)" This is one of my favorite quotes! It is so relatable. I just turned 34 last weekend and lately I have been surprised by some of the things I have been learning about myself. I thought I was self-accepting, I thought I had come to terms with the person I see in the mirror. Turns out I consistently see myself as who I want to be or wish I were and I keep bumping into the limits of what I can and can not do and still be a "functional human being". Learning my personality has been helping me understand who I  really am and what I need to function optimally.

One of the chapters I struggled with, surprisingly enough, was the chapter on love languages. My self-image in this area is that I am a low-maintenance gal.  I don't like to admit that I have needs, wants or even preferences.  But this past weekend, as I unwrapped my husband's gift I literally burst into tears. He upgraded my phone, something that I had been wanting but was positive it was something we would not be able to afford for awhile. Not only that he made sure that my phone was backed up and had it delivered before my birthday. It meant so much to me that he'd been planning this for weeks. For my husband it was gratifying for him to see that he was able to make me so happy. I don't want to admit it - but my love language is probably gift giving. Fighting this about myself and refusing to admit that this is my love language has kept me from being able to communicate to my husband about what I need from him in order to feel loved.

There have been so many aha moments as I've been reading Reading People. Especially while reading the chapter on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Cognitive Functions. I know it is a mouthful, and it did make my brain hurt a little bit, but this chapter is brilliant and it helped me discover more clearly what my Myers-Briggs Type is and even more than the what of my type I feel like I am starting to understand clearly the why of my type. This chapter also clarified why I feel the way I do about my Enneagram type. That is a whole other post for a whole other day.

So there you go. I highly recommend this book. Unless you are super well-read in personality frameworks, then this might seem too basic for you - or maybe you will enjoy comparing notes? I don't know. I will be reading this book again for sure, especially as my youngest kids get older (I have no idea what personality type my youngest has. Is there a practically perfect in every way type? Oh that's right no. Every personality has it's strengths and it's weaknesses.) If you are a fan of the Myers-Briggs this might help you understand some of the psychology it is based on and help you understand your type a little bit better. If you don't know your MB personality type I think this book would definitely help you figure it out. Or if you kinda hate personality types (she addresses pretty much everything that made me once hate this particular type-sorter) there is still something to be learned in here and it is such an enjoyable read that I think you'll agree that whether you jump on the personality framework band-wagon or not you at least now know enough to engage in some small-talk on the topic.

To learn more about the pre-order gifts available click here.

I am thrilled to have been a part of Anne's Launch Team! This review is based on the electronic advanced reader copy that I received for the purpose of review. Some of the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links, thank you for supporting my blog!  Honestly though, whether you request the books I review from your local library or borrow it from your friend I hope that I can help you find a good book. Because I don't know about you but I feel most like myself when I have a good book to read. 

If you are visiting from the Launch Team please let me know! Either in a comment below or on my Instagram, Facebook or Twitter pages. I am getting ready to publish my first book! If you'd like to learn more about it please click here.

Want to chat more about personality type and how you can apply it to you day to day life? Check out my coaching page and request a free 30 minute call.

Monday, August 28, 2017

What is my measure of failure?


I am the kind of person who has a steady running monologue in their head.  Sometimes I am more aware of this than at other times. Sometimes this inner voice is like my "talker" kids, it just rambles on about nothing at all. But sometimes, like this morning, it comes in pounding hard and loud like a two year old in full-on meltdown and I hear it clearly.

This morning I was just changing the baby's diaper and I heard it loud and clear, the wail between my ears crying I am failing at everything!!!! 

Most days I agree with the voice in my head. I say to her ugh, yes! You are SO right. Can you believe how badly I responded to that kid, and how far from my ideal the kitchen is right now? Why can't you get your act together girl? It's not really that hard.

Today was a little different though. I surprised even myself and I contradicted this voice of accusation. I asked myself - define failure. I looked around and I thought - yes, I agree that I am not going to get a 100 in any area of my life right now. But I'm also not getting a zero in any area of my life either. So define failure. Is failure a 70? Is failure less than 50? 

I grew up with a perfectionist dad. Being a perfectionist is awesome when you are a computer programmer like my dad was -  a single character our out of place can ruin the whole day. You have to be critical and you have to quickly spot errors. It is a brilliant quality for problem solvers but it can be a double-edged sword, because the quality that makes you successful as a worker can make you be less-successful as a dad. Nobody likes to be constantly criticized or told that they could do better, especially a child. Especially when that child really did try but the only things that gets noticed is the errors.

I've been reading Jen Hatmaker's book Of Mess and Moxie (and posting about it on Instagram constantly) and she very humorously comments on her lack of perfection throughout the book. She fully recognizes and she accepts that she is not perfect. She writes that usually she is failing somewhere around 30% of the time and she accepts it, laughs about it even and she celebrates the part that she is getting right.

Today I hear the words of accusation that I'm failing at everything and asking myself to back up a second and remember that just because I'm struggling or all-out failing at something some of the time, does that mean that I am a complete failure? Does that mean that I am "failing at everything".

Today what I really meant was that I'm feeling stressed out and lacked direction for the day. Once Eli and I got started with school and we got caught up for the week and I watched him laugh through his dictation and watched him try to write his spelling words with zero push-back I was doing a happy dance on the inside.  And instead of automatically accepting the fact that I am failing because I'm struggling at keeping up with my son's (cyber) homeschool lessons on just the 2nd week of school I am celebrating the fact that he knew every single one of the sight words in both his basic card pack and the advanced pack. So I'm not doing everything wrong.

I  am not failing.
I am not perfect.
I accept my imperfection
and move on.

How do you practice accepting your imperfections? Lave a comment below or let me know on my Instagram, Facebook or Twitter pages. Want to chat more about perfectionism and embracing your imperfections? Check out my coaching page and request a free 30 minute call.

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Monday, August 21, 2017


Here is my confession: Last week I was struggling - big time. I sat on the front seat of that struggle bus and rode it all the way home. I struggled to do basic things like take showers and eat. Almost every night I found myself scrolling Facebook mindlessly at 1am. By Friday I was in full-on zombie mode, and by Sunday I was having a meltdown.

It's Monday morning here at my house as I start Back to School Week 2. This morning I stumbled around the kitchen thinking what in the world am I supposed to be doing? I am really not a morning person. Thankfully I finally remembered that Monday = packing Josiah's lunch, dragging Eli out of bed and getting ourselves into carline.

Josiah just started back to going to a brick and mortar school after a year and a half at home with me doing cyber-shcool/homeschool. Hopefully this is going to be a wonderful experience for him but it requires me to do the whole car line thing every day - there's no bus option available at his school. So we're doing car line, something I haven't had to do since Josiah was about two years old. He's in 4th grade now. So to all my other car line mammas - solidarity.

There were some things I did well this week - I got Josiah to school and picked him up on time every day, despite my fear that I would zone-out and end up at the Starbucks drive-thru. Also I got all of Eli's assignments for cyber-school checked off. So this week wasn't a total loss.

If I could be sorted into the Divergent faction system I would be Abnegation. Every time. I grew up in a religious community that valued the forgetting of self and consequently the term "self-care" has always been a bit cringy to me. The problem with this - with not paying attention to self-care - is that it makes it hard for me to communicate with others, or even recognize within myself, when things are starting to go off the rails.

You might call self-care "self-knowledge put into action". This spring when I was chatting with my life coach about this I called it "optimized operation" because just like a piece of machinery has it's conditions in which it operates well and then the conditions in which it will become glitchy - I need to be aware of the conditions in which I start becoming glitchy and turn into a momzilla.

This week: I'm re-organizing myself and re-prioritizing what goes done in a day. It turns out taking a shower most days is more important to me than I realized and (duh) spending too much time on social media messes with my mood. I'm reminding myself that I need to make sure that I do the things that turn me towards optimum performance, which means saying no to the yummy 99cent coffee at car-line because no matter how much I enjoy it in the moment I don't enjoy the 1am jittery sleeplessness that results from said treat. I'm putting priority in spending a little time with girlfriends because a whole week without any adult female face-to-face time is just too long.

How do you practice self-care? Lave a comment below or let me know on my Instagram, Facebook or Twitter pages. Want to talk about what self-care changes you might need to make as you move into a new season? Check out my coaching page.

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

So what is up with this whole blogging thing?

A post shared by faith raider (@faithraider) on

So I wrote the other day about this blogging webinar I sat through... and I wanted to share a few thoughts I had about blogging and life as a busy mama. So as it this webinar was coming up I walked outside with Grayson and we took a few deep breaths, and laughed in the sunshine as he jumped on our trampoline. And I thought about blogging and what I hoped to get out of this webinar.

It seems like if you are a blogger you can not open Facebook without seeing about a million and a half ads telling you they they can increase your traffic, help you launch that successful course, host that webinar, build that list. And y'all it is just so overwhelming and exhausting to me.

And as I was standing out there in the sunshine I had this realization: having a huge blog that pays all of the bills around here is not what God has called me to do.

Now I realize that a blog and an email list is part of the business of publishing a book. But you can have a successful book launch without a massively popular blog. I'm not saying I don't want to write a blog - I do. I am just saying that I finally realize that it's just a means to an end. Not the end in and of itself.

What God has called me to do is this: love people.
First my family - my hubs and these awesome six little (and not so little anymore) people. Then the small circle of people who are my real-life friends. These are the friends I love with words but mostly with listening, and speaking and hugging and texting.

Then I love with words. Mostly in a file on my computer at the moment, but one day with books. And the point of the books is still to love people. The point of this blog is simply to love one word and picture at a time: to shine light, to display beauty, to be authentic and vulnerable. To share what I'm learning at the moment as best as I can.

Blogging is a beast. It can chew you up and spit you out in a minute. Blogging can be insanely frustrating and disappointing and all that plus a little. It can be tempting and can warp your self-image in a hot-minute.

Writing is my calling. I didn't ask God to make my a writerly soul - but he did. With my own unique perspective and experience and place in this journey and my own little splinter of His image - and I want to display His beauty as bravely as I possibly can.

So in case you were wondering, and I know you probably weren't but I'm writing it here anyway, this is why I'm blogging.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Blog Inspiration

Today I sat for about an hour listening to one of those FREE webinars. sigh. Yes they pitched their course at the end. I didn't hang around to hear how much money that I don't have right now they want me to fork over so that I can make a "full-time income with my blog". I have some more thoughts on all of this which I plan to share after the weekend. However, the up side to all of this is input is that it has turned my creativity into high gear. I even started a Pinterest board with blog inspiration! Like a style board maybe? But for my blog. Who am I even?  Okay. So anyway the pins on this board are just way too cute to keep to myself so I'm sharing a couple bunch of my favorites here, for no particular reason. I'm not even going to give any commentary on why I included them in my inspiration board I'm just going to leave it here for you and hopefully these will brighten up your day.


Dear Friend blog

via: Aliza Latta's blog


Andrea Hanki Photography

Amelia Lyon Photography