Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I'll be legit when _________ (fill in the blank).

Hi, I'm Phylicia.

I am a believer in people.
I am a photographer.
I am a leader.
I am an advocate for the unnoticed.

This isn't about how great I am.
It is actually quite the opposite.

I doubt the above, all the time.

I am hard on myself.
I doubt my voice.
I don't notice my wins and I sit in my shortcomings.
I let fear win.

Today is Real Talk Tuesday and I am preaching to myself, but I hope you are encouraged.

I was listening to a podcast with Jon Acuff yesterday and he shared a conversation he had with his wife in which she called him out. After the release of his 5th book she asked, "Are you willing to call yourself a writer now?" His response was something along the lines of, "I think after 10 books it will be official."

My husband and I have regular conversations about our struggles of feeling inadequate at what we do. We're both hard on ourselves. I was having one of those nights last night. Plenty of things get in my way... Past roles and leadership challenges, insecurities, comparison, fear, new and unknown, possible failure, etc.

My smart husband said, "Success rarely takes what we thought it would and rarely feels like we think it should."
He's right.
We think:
"Once my kids are ___ age and healthy people, I'll feel like a good mom."
"Once I have ___ sales on my Etsy page, I'll really be a maker."
"Once I grow my ministry to ___ people, I'll feel good about it."
"Once I lose ___ more pounds, I'll be happy."
"Once I take pictures like ____, I'll be legit."
"Once I have a home like ____, I'll be content."
"Once my salary is ____, I'll stop striving."
"Once I have ____ followers, I'll be the real deal."
"Once I am recognized for _____, I'll know I'm enough."

What is it for you?

Are you waiting for someone to validate your role, desire, talent, ideas?

Me too.

But maybe some of these tools can help?

  • Write down your wins. Big or small, write 'em. A new inquiry for your business, a sweet moment with your defiant kiddo, a feeling of affirmation, a risk you've taken, etc.
  • Write down your goals. Big is awesome but I am a fan of real, too. Write some goals down that you can tackle now. 
  • Stop looking left & right. Set limits on social media. Reduce the amount of time you spend watching others "win" and live in your wins. I think we all felt better before we watched how "easy" everyone else has it.
  • Define your why. Write it down. Come back to it. It is yours so it shouldn't look just like theirs.

I got this!
You've got this!

So, I'd love to hear... What is a win you've experienced this week?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

MarriageMonday: "Woah, you guys _________"

We were talking marriage with an engaged friend recently. We're pretty open with our journey and life so when we mentioned out time in counseling with a friend I was surprised when he responded with, "Woah, I didn't know you went to counseling." Maybe it put us in a different category in his mind or maybe it was a sigh of relief to hear that even those you look up to have their junk.

Fill in the blank:

"Whoa, you guys:
  • fight (like call each other not so nice names kinda fight)
  • ignore each other for your phones
  • put other people/things above each other
  • have gone to counseling
  • struggle with intimacy (that doesn't just mean sex)
  • go to bed angry
  • wake up angry
  • and so on...
Often times I like to throw our messy out there. Sometimes it is because I don't want my people getting the wrong idea (that we are anything close to perfect). Social media does a good job of making people think everyone else has it good. Often it is because we work with college kids and the last thing I want is them deeming "#relationshipgoals" on us. I mean, I am flattered, but that just isn't the full story.

Have you ever watched someone you admired? They do everything right. They treat people well. They keep their home tidy. They go on adventures. They eat the right things. They parent nicely. Whatever it is. It looks glamorous, good, perfect. BUT then you get a little glimpse into the messy and you are relieved. Relieved they aren't actually perfect. Relieved you are a little more like them then you believed.

Well, be relieved here people.

Marriage isn't always pretty. Marriage isn't always exciting. Marriage isn't always easy.

What relationship is? If yours is, good for you (and good luck convincing me).

We've been to counseling. Twice. Once just after our first year of dating. Again about a year into marriage. They were for different reasons and not because we hated each other. But why isn't the point. The point is that we needed some help. We needed some unbiased support. We needed counseling.

We fight, a lot. I am stubborn, often right (so I think), easy worked up, hangry (this has really caused fights) and so on. We communicate differently. We miss each other. We get short with each other when we are busy, exhausted and stressed.

Our first year was filled with big decisions we didn't know how to make together. We disagreed a lot. We fought a lot. It sucked a lot.

So what do you do when you feel like you've got more junk than you'd like?
Of course, it depends, but here's some guidelines we've valued:
  1. Choose each other. Sure, your person isn't perfect. But you committed for a reason (well, reasons). Remember that. Choosing takes discipline. Choosing helps adjust your attitude. Choosing values your person above temporary feelings. 
  2. Share. Please don't keep it in. Communicate with your person. Let your feelings be heard. Hear theirs. Learn to speak each others language.  
  3. Enlist the support of your tribe. Who are your people? Who do you trust? Who will tell you the truth (not just what you want to hear)? Who will lift you (and your spouse) up? Call/text/enjoy a glass of wine/spend time with that person. We're not always rational when we're heated or defeated. The perspective of those we trust can be pivotal. 
  4. Have Fun. Make time for fun. Have date nights. Plan getaways (quarterly, yearly). Be engaged as you ask about your persons day. Pursue the things you enjoy together (or the things your person enjoys). This isn't easy when life is heavy but it is so valuable to keep the connection and intimacy alive. 
  5. Spend time in God's word/praying. For me it is often journaling or taking a walk. I put this one last. Not because it should be but because often that is how I (maybe we) function. I go through my list of options/resources and my last thought is, "Hey, I should stop and pray about this." Lame indeed. But I am human. And I struggle with this. But I also know how valuable this time and discipline it. 
I like this picture of us from a recent trip because it isn't perfect. It isn't well posed or planned and my hair is weird, but it is us. 

Less focus on how cool other people look.
Less focus on the way other people live.
Less focus on what they have or don't have.
More focus on what you've got and making it the best.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Defeat, Parting Ways and Faith in the Gap.

This is about a crappy day, a season of memories and a glimpse into what God might be doing.

Yesterday sucked. 
It started a few days ago. Less than adequate sleep (we both just couldn't - probably stress related).
Then my husbands charger got stolen from a local coffee shop. His computer died and he couldn't finish the talk he was working on for our Wednesday night young adult ministry Summer kick off.

Let me back up. We do 3 big kick offs for our ministry: Fall, Winter, Summer. 
Just about every time something heavy comes up in our personal life that seems like quite the attack... the tool of the enemy. Defeat, distraction, discouragement.
Here is the replay for 3 of the 4 of our last kick off events:
1: One of the worst days at work, getting a call on the way to the storage unit to pick up free Ben & Jerry's for everyone that the unit closed early, my car completely overheating and me sweating to death (ok, not really but I have a low heat tolerance and I had to blast the heater while driving). 
2: We have a tradition of bringing "The Taco Man" for free tacos. Just as I started my meal something felt weird. My capped front tooth fell off (never happened before) and I had to rush out embarassed.
3: Our taco man didn't show up. We mailed flyers, invited, promoted "free tacos" and they straight up messed up. This led to me running around (my phone said 5 miles) trying to find a way to feed 150+ people in the next 30 minutes. 

This might all sound dumb but I have worked hard to be back in a place where I am investing myself well. I spent a lot of time doing things I pretty much hated and it took a lot of work to be available and present for what I love. All these challenges felt like defeat. They took me down and I ended up so discouraged. I just wanted to be present and engaged in the role I was meant for; available for what God wanted to do. 

Alright, back to yesterday. 
I had to be up at 6am to work. My husband couldn't sleep again and at 6 he was still awake on the couch. I felt so bad for him knowing the long day we had ahead and how much still needed done. He visited me at work around 12 and looked so defeated. Exhausted. Stressed. Not ready. Discouraged.

I am not the best at actually stopping and praying but I did. I got in my car and prayed for him. I didn't want this to be another kick off day that that sucked. My phone rang and I was surprised he was already calling me. Maybe he needed something he forgot? Nope. He was just in an accident. Most likely totaled his car. Super defeated. Feeling attacked.

Queue the tears. DANG IT. I couldn't really handle another one of these days. This time it was more on him and it was so hard to watch him work so hard and struggle even harder. Yes, we're both hard on ourselves and probably more stressed than we needed to be but come on! This season of ministry has held such new victories and this was an exciting opportunity to invite new people to our space. A chance to really welcome them. A chance to maybe share God's love in a way they have never experienced. The crappy icing on the sucky cake of a day.

We said what were most likely our good-byes to Rudy (who I liked to annoy my husband and call Ruby since it was ruby red) during an already draining day. Rudy was his 4runner which he loved. We met while he had that car and I loved that little detail since I previously owned a similar 4runner that I missed. He slept in Rudy so he could visit me when we dated long distance. We left our wedding in that car. We traveled all over in Rudy. He loves Rudy! Rudy has almost 300k miles and still ran great.

Here is our cars the weekend we met. Don't they look good together?

OK.. Back story and sad rant over.  Moving forward.

So,  we cried a bit and kicked yesterday into gear. We were defeated but weren't going to stay that way. Exhausted but going to push through.

The Kick Off was great. I mean, I knew it would be. Details were in place. Our team is phenomenal and so grace giving and I knew God was bigger than all this junk.

A lot of people came. A lot of new people from local college campuses came. People had great conversations, made new friends, had fun and successfully ate the free taco dinner that showed up.

But more than the cool energy and exciting numbers was the encouragement I felt from what God was doing. I am so proud of my husband for giving the night all his energy and commitment. He didn't pout or give up. He showed up and did his best. I don't know what his message would have looked like if our day was smooth but I heard what he shared. I heard something super raw and fresh. I heard honest struggle. I heard discouragement. BUT I also heard hope. I heard truth of who God is and who we are in Him. I heard an imperfect journey that pointed to a perfect God.

I don't really know what God is doing or did but I can imagine that at least a few people experienced something they needed last night. They experienced comradery in pain. They heard an honest struggle. They heard a bold hope in how we seek God in the midst of junk. Maybe they didn't need a well practice smooth sermon with good points but rather a little rough around the edges talk that pointed significantly towards Jesus despite the fresh struggle.

I think defeat can be good when it pushes us to admit our struggle and invite others in.
I think God draws me towards Him when I am forced to take a deep breath and remember He is bigger. He is bigger. He is bigger.
I think I don't really know why another kick off day had to suck but I choose to remember what I know is true.

"He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completley calm. He said to his disciples, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?'"
Mark 4:39-40

Last night Charles asked, "Are we faithful with what He has given us?" and I couldn't help but think that I must be faithful with the abundance and with the struggle. For me, part of that is sharing it.

 I am just so thankful that my husband is safe.

Bye, Rudy. We'll miss you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

From me to you: Save $75 on your session

Here is the final part of my launch...

I am grateful for each of you who have supported me, dreamed with me, followed this journey and have joined me recently! So, this is for you...

$75 off your photo session

Maybe you've been debating scheduling a photo session.
Maybe you have a special occasion coming.
Maybe you want to capture the significant moments in this season.

There's always life to preserve and I'd be honored to capture moments in yours!


Ready for the full details? 

 How does it work?
  1. Send an email letting me know you'd like to jump on this special deal. 
  2. I'll send you a contract and link to pay the deposit ($80) to reserve your session. 
  3. We'll work together to create your session.
  4. Pay the session remainder ($240) 1 week prior to your session.
  5. Have fun at your session!
What is included?
  • Up to 1 hour of photography at the location of your choice
  • Professional editing of images
  • Digital files with full print rights (approx. 150+ images)
  • Online album with digital files

The Fine Print:
  • Reserve your session by July 15th (email & pay deposit) 
  • Schedule your session to take place by November 1, 2016
  • Deposit can be transferred to a full price session if not redeemed by November 1, 2016
  • Session to take place within 15 miles of 92832 or further with additional travel fee

Any questions? Just let me know. I hope to capture something special with you!