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Unity: The Heart of a Coach’s Wife

Unity: The Heart of a Coach’s Wife

Unity: The Heart of a Coach's Wife

When I saw the first video of George Floyd on the ground my stomach dropped. I couldn’t take my eyes off of George’s head. His round, bald head could hardly move as he begged for his life. Bystanders asked those sworn to protect and serve to please get off his neck, please let him breathe and please check for a pulse.

As I watched George Floyd stop fighting I finally looked up at the smug look on the Derek Chauvin’s face. That police officer knew exactly what he was doing. He even adjusted his knee at one point to make himself more comfortable. He told those advocating for George his choice to continue to choke him was to teach them a lesson. It was to show them why they shouldn’t take drugs.

Even though I knew George Floyd was already dead everything in me wanted to yell or call someone or shake the TV. I needed to stop Derek Chauvin. But of course, I was powerless to help George Floyd. So instead I ran to the next room to my husband, who is also a tall black man who shaves his head. And I tried unsuccessfully to shield him from the terror that would consume the news cycle. This was my automatic response because when we love someone we do not want to see them suffer.

These three men above mean the world to me. They are my heart, my blood, my joy. My first instinct is always to look to protect them. But I am not just a wife and a mother. I am also a coach’s wife. When I talk about my men these three are rarely the totality of who I’m praying for, worrying about, or proud of on any given occasion.

Ordell and I have been married for 19 years this month and we dated for two of his coaching seasons. For over 20 years I’ve spent part of my calendar year praying for, cooking for, laughing with, and cheering for hundreds of men on and near the sidelines of football games.

Many of those young men have been (and are) minorities. I have shared meals with Hispanic, Polynesian, Haitian, Caucasian, and African American men who came together because of football. They’ve bonded over difficult practices, amazing wins, challenging losses, and dorm craziness. These athletes started out largely as strangers. But with the love of football as a springboard, they always eventually connected through a common language of their own no one else fully understood. It’s part of what distinguishes each group as a team.

Football teams have crowded into our home through the years on a Friday morning for leadership development and returned that evening to watch Ultimate Fighting matches. Different athletes have babysat our sons for our date nights, lived in our basement, recuperated on our couch from surgeries, cared for our home while we traveled, and shared so many meals with our family in our home or the dining commons I couldn’t begin to count them. Football players were not just Ordell’s athlete’s on the football field. They have been a part of our family.

We have loved and prayed for each team before we met them because they were the athletes that would soon join our football family.

Families don’t always think the same way and there is often conflict as we flex our free will muscles. Whether that’s freedom of thought, freedom of speech, or straight out rebellion there comes a time when differing opinions will clash. It’s expected, but that doesn’t mean we enjoy the conflict.

Coaches Carry a Heavy Load

Billy Graham once said, “A coach will impact more people in one year than the average person will in an entire lifetime.” This is true, however, that impact takes a lot of work and intentionality. Coaches carry a heavy load of expectations these days. Their work on the athletic field is just the beginning. There is very little I can do other than pray, listen, and encourage. But I know that Ordell’s calling is worth every moment of stress because of his intentional investment. This is true of most coaches.

Coaches can use sport to develop future leaders but it takes time. Even the best coaches must prepare their team talks, consider themes, how to best communicate an idea, and they must do this while also watching film, preparing for practice, and everything else that goes into a day for their job description as “coach.” Athletes who make poor choices off the field can’t contribute on the field. Coaches need to work to keep their athletes academically eligible, and address players’ behavior. Additionally, coaches need to stay attentive to team conflicts and how those dynamics are impacting the team. Something that festers will poison team culture and cause lasting division.

Unity is Always My Prayer

As a coach’s wife, I understand the importance of team dynamics on a personal level. A team that can’t figure out how to work together won’t play well together. Coaches with losing records are fired. Because of this, it could seem like the only reason to teach men of different races and cultures how to work together is personally motivated.

However, coaches and coaches’ wives understand that what athletes learn on the field will translate off the field. Teammates who grind together side by side in August’s heat focusing on everyone getting better together will see growth. Growth will lead to success. If athletes focus only on themselves rather than the team everyone fails. Egocentric athletes fail every time. This principle translates to life.

  • Businessmen who say “I have black co-workers, I’m not a racist,” while staying silent when that co-worker is falsely accused of stealing because ultimately it will benefit them if the black co-worker is fired ARE racist.
  • Businessmen who prefer to engage with clients who are white or hire white workers “because they are more reliable” or “because they can afford my rates” reveal a bias.
  • Church leaders who say all are welcome here but don’t welcome minority voices to speak from the podium contradict themselves.
  • Educators who sigh and roll their eyes as a minority child acts out in class again rather than pausing to consider whether this is a cry for food from a child without the right words, keep blinders on rather than exploring the full picture of what impedes the child from learning.

When Unity Translates from the Athletic Field to Real Life; Leaders Break Down Barriers.

When athletes are true teammates who have the opportunity to connect with people from different backgrounds than their own they can humbly self-reflect on the unconscious bias they may have. As athletes shed these biases and identify different cultures as equally valuable there are opportunities to understand that every person has different strengths, skills, gifts, and talents to contribute and when everyone works together we all win.

  • Athletes who see their former teammates in the eyes of their co-workers should stand up for integrity in the workplace for all co-workers equally understand that silence is never an option.
  • Athletes who become business owners and managers will have the chance to hire workers and extend contracts for partnerships. If they have faced their previous personal biases they will be willing to individuals the interact with on their own merits rather than classifying people by race or gender. They are more likely to understand which references are offensive to other cultures and which will make their future employees comfortable in the workplace.
  • Athletes who become future church leaders and ministry leaders that are used to worshipping alongside their former teammates will work to ensure that diversity continues as they build their ministries.
  • Teachers who see their former teammate’s children in the eyes of their students will extend compassion to that fidgety child and ask a question rather than make an assumption.

Athletes Who Value Diversity Value Unity

My heart for every player is that they will leave our teams stronger, wiser, and more attuned to Jesus than when they arrived. I pray the seeds of truth our coaches plant will grow over time as our athletes encounter different life experiences. I pray that our teams will understand that unity depends on valuing diversity.

I am not naive. I fully understand that some athletes will enter Ordell’s team and stifle their opinions. They will put up a safe facade to show that they can get along with others while at the same time they will continue to cling to their opinions that they are the only ones who see things accurately. This doesn’t change my prayers. It doesn’t change who I invite into my home while they are our athletes either.

It’s not our job to force change. All we can do is present the truth and pray for God to move in the hearts and minds of men. I pray that as our athletes worship God together they will build the habit of focusing on him rather than themselves. I wholeheartedly believe that when coaches develop athletes who value diversity they will also value unity.

The Church Has Always Been Built on the Principles of Diversity and Unity

In Exodus 35 Moses is leading the people in building the Tabernacle:

Moses also told the whole congregation of Israel, “This is what the LORD has commanded: Take from among you an offering to the LORD. Let everyone whose heart is willing bring an offering to the LORD:

gold, silver, and bronze;

blue, purple, and scarlet yarn;

fine linen and goat hair;

ram skins dyed red and fine leather;a

acacia wood;

olive oil for the light;

spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense;

and onyx stones and gemstones to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.

The Skilled Craftsmen

Let every skilled craftsman among you come and make everything that the LORD has commanded:

the tabernacle with its tent and covering, its clasps and frames, its crossbars, posts, and bases;

the ark with its poles and mercy seat, and the veil to shield it;

the table with its poles, all its utensils, and the Bread of the Presence;

the lampstand for light with its accessories and lamps and oil for the light;

the altar of incense with its poles;

the anointing oil and fragrant incense;

the curtain for the doorway at the entrance to the tabernacle;

the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grate, its poles, and all its utensils;

the basin with its stand;

the curtains of the courtyard with its posts and bases, and the curtain for the gate of the courtyard;

the tent pegs for the tabernacle and for the courtyard, along with their ropes;

and the woven garments for ministering in the holy place—both the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons to serve as priests.”

The People Offer Gifts

Then the whole congregation of Israel withdrew from the presence of Moses. And everyone whose heart stirred him and whose spirit prompted him came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work on the Tent of Meeting, for all its services, and for the holy garments. So all who had willing hearts, both men and women, came and brought brooches and earrings, rings and necklaces, and all kinds of gold jewelry. And they all presented their gold as a wave offering to the LORD.

Exodus 35:4-22 (BSB)

The people of Israel were all the same race, however, they needed to learn how to work together as a team under the leadership of Moses, who had previously lived as an Egyptian and was married to a Kushite woman. When they did so they glorified God by willingly obeying the instructions Moses communicated.

Moses spoke directly to God and then to the Israelites. It was their choice to listen and respond or to go their own way. For forty years in the desert the Israelites chose of their own free will to obey or disobey. Moses communicated what God told him to say, that was his job. The same is true for Christians today.

God’s truths are always true, one of those is that when people focus on God rather than themselves they sit in the correct posture. It’s always my prayer that our football teams will understand that life is bigger than them and that their actions can impact everyone they interact with for their entire lives.

In the Old Testament the Israelites followed specific commands from God, but under the new covenant Jesus changed things.

Matthew 22:36-40 (CEB) says, “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” (emphasis mine)

My prayer is that all our athletes would learn to fully live out Jesus’ teachings. Especially these verses. And in doing so, I know that unity will be a natural outcome.

How to be a Voice for the Voiceless

How to be a Voice for the Voiceless

Proverbs 31:8 A Voice for the Voiceless

Our family is not surprised by stories of racism in America. We have a lengthy list of experiences we can contribute that include both overt and subtle situations. However, for many others, the horrors that have become public have finally been enough to uncover ears and remove blinders from eyes. For that I am thankful. For my friends and family who have taken brave steps to listen, learn, look for ways to act, and speak the truth about racism, thank you.

It has not escaped my attention that this shift in the conversation has had consequences from those who remain egocentric. I hope you have felt supported by me as I’ve tried to cheer you on by sharing resources and attempting to stop those who are trying to bully you into silence. When we’re afraid, wounded, exhausted, or angry it’s challenging to think about anyone but ourselves. Psychologists call this egocentrism.

Egocentric and self-centered behaviors include:

  • Focus on own perception and opinion
  • Lack of empathy
  • Inability to recognize needs of others
  • Excessive thoughts of how others might view them
  • Decision-making around the needs of self

One example of this is the disqualifying assumption. When someone says Black Lives Matter you can choose to say “Yes they do!” or you can choose to say “What about me? I matter!” This defensiveness often causes people to attempt to silence the voice that is attempting to remove them from the center of the story. The voice that shows compassion to someone else is somehow offensive.

Since decisions for egocentric people are only about fulfilling personal needs it’s easy to look contradictory to an outside observer. When the only consistent choice is to do what is best for SELF we may find ourselves compromising on our previously stated convictions. For example, the prolife Republican who demands his mistress gets an abortion and pays for his silence.

Egocentric People Will Continue to Divide

For years every time my husband has voiced an opinion he’s been told to shut his mouth. This week as he responded to George Floyd’s death on his social media account he was told to leave the country. I was told my multiple personal experiences while with my husband experiencing overt racism don’t “count” because they are not facts.

Not only are these statements egocentric, but they also are not aligned with the teachings of Jesus. We barely have to turn a page in the first four books of the New Testament without noting the conflict between the Jews and the Gentiles. Jesus said repeatedly all are welcome and yet even today those who call themselves followers of Christ refuse to invite the voices of their minority brothers and sisters to the table as equal.

Jesus Spoke Against Racism

One of the most distinctive stories Jesus uses to call out the Pharisees is found in Luke 10. The Parable of the Good Samaritan begins with a question from a lawmaker in Luke 10:25. “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?'” The lawmaker was concerned about himself. He wanted to live forever.

Luke 10:26-29 says, “‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’ But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’”

It’s at this point that Jesus sets the standard for what it looks like to love our neighbor. Our neighbor isn’t ONLY the people who live in proximity to us. Our neighbors aren’t JUST the people in our small groups or the people we work with or the people we like.

Our neighbors include people who by the world’s standards we are supposed to despise. Our neighbors are those that we have different views from when it comes to religion, politics, lifestyle choice, and habits. Our neighbors are those who cannot speak for themselves.

Please take time to read the entire story. But for now, let’s focus on Luke 10:33-37:

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.'”

The Samaritan sees the injured Jewish man on the road and unlike the previous two men who ignored their fellow Jew, the Samaritan man has compassion for him.

The Samaritan Goes Further than Feeling Compassionate

Here is the most important point about loving your neighbor in this parable. The Samaritan doesn’t simply notice the Jewish man and acknowledge his wounds with a First Century AD version of thoughts and prayers. The Samaritan ACTS on behalf of the wounded man. He bandaged the injuries using his oil and wine. He continues to care for the Samaritan and then when he needs to move on with his journey he leaves financial resources with the innkeeper so the Jewish man can continue to heal.

All of these actions are choices to “speak out for the rights of the voiceless” (Proverbs 31:8). The Jewish man’s wounds took days of recovery and were expensive to care for but the Samaritan didn’t expect that he would pay for or arrange his own care. He stepped in and took care of things FOR the wounded man. Every choice was made in contrast to an egocentric life. This was a life that reflected the same sacrifice Jesus makes for us.

Jesus asks the expert in the law which of the three examples is the one that was a neighbor and the lawman says “The one who had mercy on him.” This response is followed by a simple command. “Go and do likewise.”

Let’s be clear here. Showing compassion is not agreement. The Samaritan didn’t pause to weigh whether helping the Jewish man would taint his business in some way or consider asking why he had been wounded. He simply helped him. This doesn’t mean he agreed with the actions that led up the man’s injuries. Perhaps this man was an alcoholic who beat his wife and children. Helping him does not condone the actions, but showing him compassion models the behavior he SHOULD extend his family.

Moving Forward Requires Lasting Action

Micah 6:8 (NIV) says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” We see the Samaritan model this and Jesus affirms this is how we live out The Greatest Command. This can feel intimidating, especially when you have strong, egocentric personalities to contend with, however you aren’t alone.

Today on the Church calendar is Pentecost Sunday. Acts 2:1-4 says “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

Pentecost is the day God sent the Holy Spirit to help the Apostles tell the truth of Jesus’s resurrection in multiple languages at the same time so all could hear the truth in their language. God helped those who needed to speak the truth to do so clearly.

It’s time for Body of Christ to step up and be the voice for the voiceless. It’s time for the Body of Christ to stop asking the wounded to stay silent. It’s time for the Body of Christ to start reflecting Jesus to EVERYONE.

I know the temptation is to lean on your brothers and sisters of color in these moments. The follow behind them and even justify this as your duty as you learn. I’m going to ask you to stop leaning on them for now unless they are speaking. There are thousands of resources wise minority leaders have already developed. They stepped out in faith as God led them in the hopes that someone would listen. Many have, and many more are ready now. THANK YOU.

It’s Time to Be the Voice for the Voiceless

Learning is an act of love. But then it’s time to lead. Our church says “Kingdom leaders bring Kingdom perspectives” and right now that is what’s desperately needed.

Trust that just because your friends stop posting about racism that does not mean the issue has been resolved. It simply means they understand their voices will only reach so far and they are tired of sounding like an echo chamber.

Pick up the message and move it to your extended circles of influence. More than that, do NOT LET RACISTS WIN. Don’t let the bullies shift the conversation and shut down truth. The goal is to divide. The goal is to let evil continue to reign.

Again, thank you to everyone who has reached out publicly and privately this week. Your support of our family has meant the world to us. Now it’s time to let you be the voice for the voiceless. In serving you this week there has been very little time to fully process nor serve my family. It’s time to protect the home team.

Walker Family 2018

Resources for You to Consider

A lowdown, dirty shame: Ahmaud Arbery’s murder and the unrenounced racism of white Christians (Baptist News Global)

You Can Have A Black Friend, Partner, Or Child And Still Be Racist (Scary Mommy)

Rich Villodas

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Injustice

We Have the Power (The Glorious Table)

White Supremacy Terms
Athletes Who Choose

Athletes Who Choose

athletes who choose

An educator made a comment recently as we discussed the transition to e-learning and the impact on older students. It’s one I hadn’t considered before. She said past a certain point in a child’s education teachers do not educate, students choose to learn. Her point was that a teacher can stand and give a lecture, require as many assignments as necessary for a concept to become second nature, and even if a student completes the assignments correctly that doesn’t ensure they’re learning.

We Absorb What We Want to Retain

Think about how many songs you know the lyrics to and how quickly you can recall the melody to sing along when you hear the song on the radio. Do you pause to consider the story of the lyrics? Are the words sinking in as you’re singing them? Or are you enjoying the melody? Depending on the genre of music you prefer this may not be a big deal. However, I’ll pause with me to imagine a room full of elementary age summer camp children singing the latest Justin Bieber hit Yummy. (Or can we say Yucky?)

This same principle applies to athletics. It’s always an athlete’s choice to listen. Coaches can have players watch film, repeat plays until they become second nature, run them through drills, and try to show them the bigger picture of the game plan. But if an athlete only focuses on how the play will impact them at that moment the team will find themselves in a disappointing or shall we say yucky situation.

Athletes Who Choose to Engage

Athletes who choose to engage in the process of learning the why and how will find themselves at a much greater advantage than those who simply memorize the plays, call signs, or running routes.

Athletes who choose to stay in the weight room to encourage their teammates after their lifting session rather than hanging off or stepping out to of the room keeping their attention focused on themselves will build team connections. Relationships are built over time. Leaders establish themselves as they build teammates up rather than tearing them down.

Athletes who choose to engage in the classroom let themselves up for success. Students with higher GPAs will find college much more affordable. This extends the opportunity to continue their sport after high school.

Athletes who choose to engage will find themselves enjoying the journey. Sure, the daily grind of practice is rarely defined as fun every day. However, the people who are more than teammates, those who become brothers, they make the experience memorable.

Athletes Who Choose to Be Coachable

Athletes have the opportunity to engage with their coaches and continue to learn about their sports rather than deciding they know enough to get through the game. Coachable athletes aren’t satisfied with their technique or speed. Rather, they know that with the help of an outside perspective there are adjustments that can be made to improve their abilities.

Coaches see the big picture, they have more experience to lend to the the big picture on the field or court. They understand the physical, mental, and emotional game. They also understand the strategies necessary to compete. When athletes choose to believe their coaches voices are ones to engage with beyond absorbing the information great things happen.

Just like my educator friend explained about students, at some point an athlete must choose to continue to grow. This isn’t a decision anyone else can make. However, athletes who choose to engage will thrive.

Meet Lindsay Hufford

Meet Lindsay Hufford

I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Lindsay today for my Wives who Thrive series! Lindsay and I are in the same Mastermind group and it has been so fun to watch her flower farm business in Michigan grown from last season to this season. What I admire most about Lindsay (although the list is long) is that she strives to approach everything with intentionality. She researches, processes the information, looks at things from multiple angles, relies on the opinions of experts, and then makes the best choices she can whether it’s about her business, her homeschooling, or her life. Lindsay sees others in the world as valuable contributors to our globe and looks for ways to partner in caring for her neighbor and the earth. I love learning from Lindsay and alongside her. If you’re in the Michigan area or know someone who is I hope you’ll consider supporting this awesome small business!

Lindsay Hufford Peck and Petal

Meet Lindsay Hufford

Lindsay Hufford is a small-scale flower farmer, home educator, chicken chaser, kitchen dancer, and mediocre knitter. Her favorite things include spending time with her family, exploring the natural world, reading, eating spicy food, and singing loudly in the car (to the embarrassment of her children). Lindsay believes sharing our stories will change the world. She writes about farming, homeschooling, faith, mental health, sobriety, and living an unconventional life. You can follow her adventures at peckandpetalfarm.com.

Tell me about your career

I am a flower farmer and floral designer. I grow seasonal, specialty cut flowers for my local area. I offer a flower subscription program to the public that provides monthly and biweekly bouquets in the summer months. I also design flowers for weddings and other events.

Just like other farming work, flower farming is physically demanding. It’s common to see flower farmers holding armfuls of blooms on Instagram, but so much unglamorous work goes on behind the scenes. I am busy tending flowers from February until November. Last year, I spent several days out in the frost pulling up dahlia tubers and planting tulip bulbs. Winter is a little quieter, but beginning in January I start thousands of seeds in my basement.

Our farm is very small; I grow on less than 1/4 acre and I am the only employee. This can make for some long days in the busiest times of the year during planting and preparing the garden for winter. In the late spring months, I am often out in my fields 8 or more hours per day preparing the soil, weeding, setting up irrigation, and planting seedlings. It’s challenging, but I love being outside and watching tiny seedlings grow into towering plants full of blooms. All the hard work pays off when I get to design with beautiful and unique flowers. Whether I am handing a bride her bouquet or delivering a simple arrangement to a seasonal subscriber, I am filled with gratitude that my job brings more beauty into the world.

What part of your career are you most passionate about and why?

Flowers connect us. They are a way of showing care for others in our most joyous and most difficult moments. Weddings, funerals, graduations, illness, new births, and more are all occasions in which people give flowers as a celebration or a comfort. In a world that seems increasing concerned with productivity and efficiency, growing flowers seems like an act of resistance. Beauty is so important to our lives. When I see all the varieties and colors in the floral world, I know God designed us to desire beauty.

I get to be a bringer of beauty, joy, and connection to people’s lives. It’s truly sacred work. I remember doing my first arrangement for a funeral. My friend’s grandfather had passed and she asked me to create an arrangement for the services. Knowing these flowers would bring some beauty into a very hard time brought up lots of emotions for me. Up to that point, I just thought I provided people with flowers. Now I see it as so much more.

Why did you choose your niche?

I didn’t set out to be a flower farmer. My degrees are in education, but I stepped out of the work force 11 years ago to raise our children. My maternal grandparents were farmers, and they instilled a love of farming in me. Our family had been growing vegetables on a small scale for several years which gave me a solid foundation in responsible agriculture processes. We decided to add a few rows of annual flowers to our garden a few years ago to help attract pollinators. Soon we were swimming in flowers, and I started to share bouquets with friends. Growing flowers brought me so much joy that we decided to switch over the growing mostly flowers and selling them to our local community. Flower farming allows me to use my gifts of creativity and problem solving while working in nature.

Is there a non-profit/ministry aspect of your business? 

I’m proud to be an ambassador in the Growing Kindness Project this year. The Growing Kindness Project was started by Deanna Kitchen of Twig & Vine Farm in Washington. The mission of Growing Kindness is to empower, educate, and encourage individuals to cultivate kindness and connection in their communities by growing and giving flowers. As an ambassador, I will be giving away a portion of the flowers I grow this year and giving away dahila tubers to encourage others to grow flowers to give away as an act of kindness.

I also strive to provide funeral flowers to families at cost. Bereavement is such a challenging period of time and financial constraints can be an additional burden. By providing funeral flowers at my cost of supplies with no fees for design lessens that burden.

When you dreamed of the ideal career where your strengths, passions, gifts, and talents would connect did you think you would be doing what you are doing? How are things the same/different?

I never imagined I would be doing this work! I had planned to re-enter academic life after the birth of our second child. Some complications after birth for our daughter changed our plans. Soon after that, we decided our family would give homeschooling a try, and we haven’t looked back. Homeschooling has been a tremendous joy for our family, but it greatly limited my ability to work a typical nine to five job. I value work and tried a few different work from home options that weren’t quite the right fit. Flower farming is seasonal and I tend to be busiest in the summer when our homeschooling is slower. I love getting to flex my creative muscles with each bouquet I make. Time in nature is crucial for me and I am so thankful my job forces me to get outside in all weather. While I never dreamed I would be a flower farmer, I am so glad God opened this door.

What is your best advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in your field?

Buy some seeds and start! You don’t have to break the bank to get started in flower farming. American grown flowers are seeing a resurgence in popularity (most flowers you get from the florist are still grown overseas) and locally grown flowers leave a smaller carbon footprint. Annual flower seeds are very inexpensive. If you have a small area of yard, seeds, and a good work ethic, you can have a small business that brings beauty and joy into people’s lives.

Do you have any tips to share about balancing work and the rest of life? 

Set clear boundaries from the start. I grow without season extension equipment (i.e. greenhouses) so naturally after our first frost my flower season is over. When working from home, it’s important to set your own hours if you can and stick by them. I tend to work for a few hours in the morning and a few more in the evening. I work around our homeschool schedule because my role as teacher is more important than my role as farmer. Without these strict boundaries in place, there is the possibility for lots of frustration and disappointment for myself, my family, and my customers. As Brene Brown says, “clear is kind.” Set clear, firm boundaries and everything will run a little bit smoother.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Stay curious. If I never would have thought about adding some flowers to our veggie garden, I wouldn’t have this career today. Be open to what God has for you and embrace new adventures with wonder and joy.

Stay in Touch with Lindsay

Website www.peckandpetalfarm.com

Instagram @PeckandPetalFarm

Facebook Peck & Petal Farm

Are you interested in being featured?

Are you interested in having a featured post on Wives Who Thrive? Fill out the linked Google Doc for a chance to have a feature on this monthly post. Interested in learning more about this monthly spotlight? Check out this invitation post.

wives who thrive
Share Four Somethings May 2020

Share Four Somethings May 2020

share four somethings

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of May and we’re still dealing with quarantine rules in Illinois. While hopeful news trickles out randomly, it’s challenging to keep the days straight. Regardless there are some great things to reflect on this month for May 2020 Share Four Somethings.

Something Loved

In May I loved getting out and enjoying the fresh air. I was able to use my new camera lens for the first time and took some nature photos. Even though the lens is for football games I need to start practicing some time! Fingers crossed I’ll be out of the field in a few months snapping pictures of my favorite team in orange and black.

Something Read

For work we’re reading Seth Godin’s book This is Marketing. I adore Seth’s perspective on marketing. It’s about serving your ideal buyer to the best of your ability rather than hustling or selling. Here’s an excerpt:

No matter what your product or service, this book will help you reframe how it’s presented to the world, in order to meaningfully connect with people who want it. Seth employs his signature blend of insight, observation, and memorable examples to teach you:

* How to build trust and permission with your target market.
* The art of positioning–deciding not only who it’s for, but who it’s not for.
* Why the best way to achieve your goals is to help others become who they want to be.
* Why the old approaches to advertising and branding no longer work.  
* The surprising role of tension in any decision to buy (or not).
* How marketing is at its core about the stories we tell ourselves about our social status.

You can do work that matters for people who care. This book shows you the way.

If you have a business or side hustle of any size this is a must read.

Something Treasured

We celebrated our son’s 15th birthday this month. It’s hard to believe it’s already been 15 years, that is until I stand next to him and he towers over me. While it wasn’t the birthday I’d hoped to celebrate with him, I’m thankful he’s healthy. It’s amazing to reflect on the past fifteen years and think about all the funny moments we’ve had together.

Something Ahead

Early in May I submitted my first manuscript for publication! I’m so excited to finally move forward with this project that I’ve worked on for over two years. If it wasn’t for my monthly Mastermind meetings as well as some amazing support from friends and family this dream would still be floating in abyss.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll reveal my book cover, announce my preorder giveaways (which are awesome), and share a lot more about this book that has been one of the most difficult things I’ve completed. Because of that, I’m so proud of the final product and I can’t wait to put the finishing touches on it!

What are you up to this month? I’m linking up with Heather Gerwing for another month of Share Four Somethings. Join us over on her blog!

Are You Engaging an Active Faith?

Are You Engaging an Active Faith?

I’m writing over at The Glorious Table today. Here’s a Preview:

The disciples spent three years with Jesus watching him preach, heal people, and interact with the Pharisees. They also observed many memorable encounters, like the healing of the blind man.

John 9:1-7 says, “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means ‘Sent’). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing” (NIV).

It’s okay to acknowledge that this is weird. Jesus was powerful enough to heal the man with a word, but he smears mud on the blind man’s eyes and tells him to walk to the Pool of Siloam to wash.

We don’t know how far the group was standing from the pool, but archeologists recently uncovered the pool, discovering steep stairs to enter the water.

Photograph ©Bible Places with permission

I admit this image didn’t match the picture in my mind. The steps are steep and narrow. Even someone with clear vision could easily slip on the rocks.

I think there are as few reasons Jesus engaged the man as an active participant in his healing.

First, consider how John 9 begins. The disciples notice the blind man and ask Jesus who had sinned and thereby caused his blindness. This man had likely spent his entire life hearing people debate his sin status. Was he the sinner, his parents, or someone else in their family tree? The belief that an ailment such as blindness was a result of sin was justified through Scriptures such as Exodus 20:5 and Ezekiel 18:20.

But Jesus said the blind man wasn’t a sinner. His life had purpose, and his blindness was present “so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

The second reason I think Jesus had the blind man actively participate in his own healing is because he didn’t know who Jesus was before their encounter.

Read the rest over at The Glorious Table

Book Review: The Enneagram Collection

Book Review: The Enneagram Collection

Book Reviews

Ah the Enneagram! The new (but not new at all) personality test. The thing is, the Enneagram is much more than a fun personality quiz.

As Ian Cron explains, The Enneagram is an ancient personality type system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how God has wired human beings both positively and negatively. By challenging us to explore who we are, the Enneagram helps us recognize and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior and to become our most authentic selves. Bravely exploring how God has created us requires much more work than many realize.

Identifying our number, wing, or subtype is just the beginning of our Enneagram journey. There are many books out there that will present a broad overview of the Enneagram, there aren’t many books that help you go deeper into learning about your specific type. That’s what sets The Enneagram Collection by Beth McCord apart.

“The real power of the Enneagram comes when we surrender to the Holy Spirit, and depend solely on Him to do the transforming work inside us and the people we love. When we press on toward growth, it allows us to walk with the Spirit and trust him in new and dynamic ways moment by moment, day by day.”

Beth McCord

Each of these journals is divided into 21 entries that include further education about the Enneagram, specific information about your type with the context of that subject, and reflection questions. The journal entries are designed to help you dig deeper into how you view yourself, God, and the world.

There isn’t a specific pace you need to go abide by, and for some numbers you will likely find that some entries take a few days to dissect as you reflect on the questions. What I found interesting is the charts are very number specific. As I did a side by side comparison of charts about strengths, weaknesses, and worldview it was clear that each book is written to the number. If you get the 8 you will read a book for Type 8s.

I learned a lot of information from these books I haven’t found anywhere else. If you’re looking to learn more about your number this is a great next step in your Enneagram journey.

One caution though. It’s easy to mistype yourself and these books are specifically written to one type. Spend time on the page listening to each audio clip. And if you’re still having trouble nailing down your type reach out to a coach. Megan Hall, founder of Dauntless Grace Ministries is a great one I can personally recommend!

Authentically Coaching Gen Z

Authentically Coaching Gen Z

Authentically Coaching Gen Z

According to Business Insider Generation Z is the youngest, largest, and most ethnically-diverse, generation in American history. They currently comprise 27% of the US population. Pew Research defines Gen Z as anyone born after 1997. Gen Z grew up with access to technology, the internet, and social media, which has earned them the stereotypes of tech-addicted, anti-social, or “social justice warriors.”

Just like every generation, we can’t summarize Gen Z with one label or box them into a summary that’s a few sentences long. In many ways, their preferences are as diverse as their racial makeup. This makes understanding how to rally this generation around a common cause challenging at times in particular team sports.

Who Is Gen-Z?

  • 88% of Gen-Z is optimistic about their personal future. – Vision Critical
  • 42% of Gen-Z says they are happy. – Vision Critical
  • Gen-Z is expected to make up 30% of the U.S. workforce by 2030. – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • The average Gen-Z attention span is eight seconds, four seconds less than Millennials. – Vision Critical

What Matters To Gen-Z?

Winning and feedback rank first on the list of 10 things a 16-year-old thinks everyone believes adults need to know about Generation Z. Josh Miller explains that the generation of elite sports with stereotypical bleacher parents yelling at refs in the stands carries their competitive nature to their debate and robotics competitions as well. Josh says:

“We carry the mindset that we are not necessarily at school just to learn but to get good grades that will secure our place in the best colleges. Generation Z has been thrown into perhaps the most competitive educational environment in history. Right or wrong, we sometimes view someone else’s success as our own failure or failure as our success.

We are also accustomed to getting immediate feedback. A great example is the online grading portals where we can get frequent updates on our academic performance. In the past, students sometimes had to wait weeks or longer to receive a test grade. Now, we get frustrated if we can’t access our scores within hours of finishing an exam—and sometimes our parents do, too.”

Why this Matters in Athletics:

The country watched Operation Varsity Blues play out with fake athletic scholarships funding collegiate programs and in some cases, college coaches savings accounts. The parents who yell at referees during elite sports are going to also yell at the refs during high school athletic events. Parents and athletes who express frustration, when feedback isn’t immediate, is something coaches will need to manage or consider how to preemptive strike.

Players who are used to feedback will expect that to continue, however that doesn’t mean that coaches should make up inaccurate details about an athlete’s performance to appease them. Coaches must figure out ways to accurately communicate where players stand performance-wise and how to motivate them to keep working. While Josh feels that Generation Z brings competition to every aspect of their lives, the reality is, they aren’t great at self-assessing their performance against other athletes. Very few hold the skill to accurately self-assess, it takes maturity and life experience to hone this discernment.

Here are a few other things that matter to Gen Z:

  • 66% of Gen-Z says that product quality matters most to them when making a purchase. – IBM Institute for Business Value
  • 65% of Gen-Z sees value in discounts and rewards programs. – IBM Institute for Business Value
  • 71% of Gen-Z wants to see more diversity in advertising. – Facebook IQ
  • 68% of Gen-Z expects brands to contribute to society. – Facebook IQ
  • 61% of Gen-Z is willing to pay more for products that are produced ethically and sustainably. – Facebook IQ
  • 77% of Gen-Z feels more positive about brands that promote gender equality on social media. – Facebook IQ

Gen Z is Cell Phone Addicted

  • 55% of Gen-Z uses their smartphones for five or more hours a day. – Pew Research Center
  • 26% of Gen-Z uses their smartphones for 10 or more hours a day. – Pew Research Center
  • 73% of Gen-Z uses internet-connected devices to communicate with friends and family, followed by entertainment (59%) and gaming (58%). – IBM Institute for Business Value
  • 61% of Gen-Z has purchased a product via mobile in the last month. – Global Web Index

The Connected Generation

  • 74% of Gen-Z spends its free time online. – IBM Institute for Business Value
  • 66% of Gen-Z uses more than one internet-connected device at a time. – IBM Institute for Business Value
  • Gen-Z streams an average of 23 hours of video each week. – Criteo

The Power Of Influencers

Generation Z wants to be influencers just as much as they are swayed by them. Josh Miller says, “Given how socially aware and concerned its members are, Generation Z seeks jobs that provide opportunities to contribute, create, lead and learn.” 

“One of the best ways I have seen leaders engage with Gen Z is to ask them how they would build a product or service or design a process,” Carney says. “Gen Z has some amazing abilities to bring together information, process it and take action. When we do allow them to share ideas, great things happen.”

Contribute, lead, take action; these are all excellent descriptors of team players. The types of athletes coaches can depend on to step up and rally teams. But the players most eager to lead aren’t always the ones who other players are willing to follow. Coaches may need to help players develop discernment around leadership communication.

Consider these stats about Gen Z and Influencers:

  • 4 in 10 Gen-Z-ers say they are easily swayed by other people’s opinions. – Global Web Index
  • 54% of Gen-Z says social media influences them more than any other marketing channel. – CMO Council
  • 52% of Gen-Z trusts social media influencers for product or brand advice. – McKinsey & Company
  • 82% of Gen-Z trusts their family and friends for advice on products more than any other source. – McKinsey & Company
  • One in three Gen-Z-ers follows brands on social media they are thinking of buying from. – Global Web Index
  • 76% of Gen-Z follows an influencer on social media. – Morning Consult
  • 45% of Gen-Z follows more than 10 social media influencers. – The Center for Generational Kinetics
  • 73% of Gen Z-ers use their internet-connected devices primarily for texting and chatting. (Source: IBM)
  • 71% of Gen Z-ers watch more than three hours of online videos every day.
  • 75% of Gen Z-ers don’t consider college the only path to a strong education.
  • 89% of them also say that they aren’t keen on taking on debt to cover the costs of higher education. (Source: Forbes)
  • 77% of Gen Z-ers say a company’s diversity would be a deciding factor when they look for jobs. (Source: Forbes)

Authenticity

Above all Generation Z values authenticity. Kudos says, “Gen Z workers value authenticity over aesthetics. They respect companies that steer clear of gimmicks. Instead, they appreciate those that provide unpretentious and thoughtfully designed physical spaces.”

Authenticity applies to the products they buy and the people they listen to for advice. The best way to authentically coach Generation Z is by striving for authenticity.

How does this translate onto the athletic field? Coaches must have a consistent message and be willing to practice what they preach. For example, if a coach insists the team shouldn’t swear then the coach shouldn’t use any swear words. If the coach demands players are on time for practice and games then they should also be on time.

These small examples are just two of thousands of ways that coaches can portray authenticity.

Eight Weeks Sheltering in Place

Eight Weeks Sheltering in Place

eight weeks sheltering in place

On March 12 David Brooks published a column in the New York Times titled Pandemics Kill Compassion Too, You may not like who you’re about to become. I have a lot of respect for David Brooks. He’s spent a lot more time studying character than I have and his book The Road to Character is well worth your time. Brooks warned “Fear drives people in these moments, but so does shame, caused by the brutal things that have to be done to slow the spread of the disease. In all pandemics people are forced to make the decisions that doctors in Italy are now forced to make — withholding care from some of those who are suffering and leaving them to their fate.”

In the weeks since that column Americans have proven David Brooks’s prediction right and wrong. Immediately the distinction between selfLESS and selfish leadership has stood out at local, state, and federal levels. I’m deeply thankful for the way our church has stepped up to partner with a city wide initiative locally called CU Better Together. I cannot think of a better example of living out what Jesus defined as the greatest commandments.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40 NIV

On the selfISH side, the repercussions of teaching a generation the rules don’t apply to them had a deadly impact on thousands. Spring breakers in Ft. Lauderdale spread the virus across the country while shelter in place orders where extended in cities with rapidly rising numbers. In the weeks since our death total in the US has passed 50,000 and millions of people are out of work. Certainly not all because of Spring Break, but most definitely because of the thinking behind the privilege surrounding similar choices.

This privilege, along with years of the divisive “fake news” narrative also combined to give people like the woman in this photo the courage to scream “Go back to China” at medical workers rather than complying with her state’s stay at home orders. It also prolonged the requirement for the country to quarantine by weeks. But don’t worry, Senators like Richard Burr are still very rich because when they were briefed about this deadly virus they sold their stocks, warned their richest donors, and then wrote op-eds telling the country it was perfectly safe to be out and about.

I’ve never assumed I know the full story after reading an op-ed however another thing 8 weeks sheltering in place has shined a spotlight on is that I need to listen to experts and work harder to educate myself rather than trusting a narrative. While the most recent example may be Lysol and Clorox having to release statements begging people not to swallow or inject themselves with dangerous chemicals after a Presidental news conference I think Judy Woodruff said it best.

The news media, while trying to tell people what they need to hear, must compete for ears, eyes, and clicks, and so are also forced to ask them what they’d like to hear.

And even if we manage to avoid the intellectual saboteurs of the Internet, we’re still all too likely to get our news and views from social media, where a silly meme from your aunt Rose in Schenectady competes for your attention with actual information.

We need to find our way back from this ego-driven wilderness. Historically, people return to valuing expert views in times of trouble or distress. We’re all willing to argue with our doctors until our fever is out of control.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. But that’s where we’re headed. And unless we start accepting the limitations of our own knowledge, then each of us is failing in our obligation to participate in our democracy as involved, but informed citizens.

Judy Woodruff

Conspiracy Theories

For work required reading these days includes Seth Godin’s book This is Marketing. The timing has been helpful for work, but one section has been incredibly insightful regarding the pandemic. Seth writes about conspiracy theorists. I share this because it’s made me more compassionate and less frustrated with the hurtful posts I constantly see these days.

I’ve pulled out a section and linked the original work Seth writes:

Professor Roland Imhoff of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, wanted to understand what makes some people choose their beliefs. In particular, he’s been studying a particular kind of outlier: the conspiracy theorist. Since we know that conspiracy theories aren’t factual, why are they so appealing to some people? And which people? In one study he cited, it was found that many people who believe that Lady Diana is still alive, having faked her own death, also believe that she was murdered.

And in a similar study, people who believe that Osama bin Laden was dead before the Navy Seals arrived at his compound are also likely to report that he’s still alive. The facts aren’t at issue here; they can’t be. What’s happening is that these theorists are taking comfort in their standing as outliers and they’re searching for a feeling, not a logical truth. Imhoff writes, “Adherence to conspiracy theory might not always be the result of some perceived lack of control, but rather a deep-seated need for uniqueness.” In Imhoff’s study, he presented American conspiracy theorists with made-up “facts” about a conspiracy regarding smoke detectors in Germany.

When he told this group that 81 percent of the German population believed the theory of the conspiracy, they weren’t nearly as interested or enthusiastic as when they heard that only 19 percent of the population supported the theory. By rooting for the overlooked underdog, the conspiracy theorist engages with his desired emotion, that of feeling unique, a brave truth-teller, the outsider. This group doesn’t see themselves as kooks. Each member doesn’t have a unique theory, all alone in a field. Instead, they seek to be part of a small group, a minority group, an outspoken group that can take solace in each other while the outside world ignores them. They can find this feeling every time they hang out with the other reptile-spotters.

Things I Want to Continue

Sabbath

John Mark Comer says, “The goal of Sabbath is to become a restful person who lives day to day in awareness of and connection to God’s presence and year over year becoming a more joyful, loving, and peaceful person.”

Prioritizing Loving My Neighbors

I’m really thankful for the opportunities we’ve had to chat with our neighbors over the last several weeks. Our block is unique and we’ve hit the jackpot with kind and thoughtful people surrounding our home. One day when cleaning the gutters Ordell looked up to see 2 neighbors running over with tools to make his job easier. We’ve had surprise cookies delivered multiple times. And everyone is eager to chat and get to know us better. We’re happy to reciprocate as well. The young kids have kept us entertained on nice days and we’re thankful for kind conversation to break up the monotony.

Self-Care

I can’t wait to get out for a hair cut, a pedicure, and a nice long walk in nature without the concern of whether I need to wear a mask! At the same time, I’m going to continue to work to prioritize my schedule in a way that leaves space for self-care including intentional time with God, exercise, meal prep, and time to rest without anytime to do. I think we forget that we don’t need to fill our moments.

Some Good News

While there are certainly terrible leadership examples out there, some amazing things have come out of this horrible time. John Krasinski launched Some Good News on YouTube and has us all laughing and smiling weekly. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get through an episode without tears either.

Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman are nuts with their public feud but it’s great that everything they do raises money for charities.

Jimmy Fallon is doing an awesome job of showing what real life a work-at-home dad looks like these days. His daughters are terribly uninterested in his job but at the same time want to be around him while he’s trying to film. It’s great to see his wife on camera occasionally too. His song about starting to crack summarized my feelings perfectly the same day I was starting to crack.

What I’m Excited to Have Back

Date Night – I’m ready for time with my favorite coach where neither of us has to cook or clean up!

Corporate Worship – I really miss worshiping with our church in person.

Coffee Shops – I’m ready to meet up with my girlfriends for coffee to chat about the latest things our kids did, how we’re getting through the weeks, and the books we’re reading. I’m thankful for phones and video conferencing, but nothing replaces in-person communication.

Reading Hours – I know I haven’t said much yet, but I just sent in my manuscript yesterday! This has been a consuming project for over two years and now it’s with my publisher. I’m so excited to have the hours that I’ve spent on this project writing and editing reallocated to other things!!

Life continues even when it seems like we’re frozen in time. That’s the biggest lesson about 8 weeks sheltering in place, isn’t it? But there are so many other things that are important to remember from this difficult season. What are you learning?

Happy 15th Birthday Elijah

Happy 15th Birthday Elijah

Oh kid, this is not what fifteen was supposed to look like. I had high hopes we’d be able to celebrate you with some sort of restaurant excursion and movie in the theater. But instead, we’ll shelter in place, order food from your restaurant of choice, and reserve your birthday shopping spree (your request) for later this year.

You’ve handled the recent changes with so much maturity. I know you’ve missed youth group. I know you were disappointed that Alpha was canceled as well as your summer trip to Kansas City for year two of leadership training. You’re accepting each disappointment with calm understanding, looking to the future for the times when things will be different. You aren’t wallowing, rather you’re focused on finishing the school year well. Elijah, I’m proud of your resilience.

Before the chaos of this season started we wrapped up the 3rd quarter with parent/teacher conferences. Your teachers made a point to speak about your character. They spoke about how thoughtful you are when you offer input with classmates as well as assignments. Your speech teacher mentioned how impressed she has been with your willingness to share your faith openly in class and how attentive the other students were each time you gave a presentation.

Your creativity continues to impress us and it’s great to see you take the time to focus on developing your interests. You’ve invested in music, saving allowance, and gifts to purchase equipment and software which reveals your dedication. You’re spending time learning how to use everything now and it’s fun to see your previous discipline with saving to buy the right tools and current hard work pay off as your creativity expands.

Your interests go beyond music. You’re also exploring theology and apologetics. You don’t shy away from hard conversations with your friends and your willingness to listen and speak respectfully as they express their thoughts earns you the right to be heard in each discussion.

In one year you’ll be eligible to drive. In three years you’ll graduate from high school. As you race toward adulthood, we pray you will continue to press into your faith. You’re uniquely designed by God and we’re cheering you on as you pursue your calling. We’re so proud of you Elijah. Not just today, but every day. Happy 15th Birthday!