Interview with a Renaissance Mom – Melissa Fischer

 

fischtales3Today’s Renaissance Mom is an artist I’ve been following online since Kelli Stuart and I began writing Life Creative two years ago! This sweet lady’s pretty little squares on Instagram kept us going when we wondered if this messy blend of motherhood and creativity really held any gospel influence at all. 

Of course, the answer is a resounding, YES IT DOES! Read on. 

You are sure to love this Bible-bound artist as much as we do. And, perhaps, you’ll find yourself inspired to fit your own God-given creativity into the practical places of family life. 

God did a good job when He created you creative and then made you a mom!

 


 

Welcome Melissa Fischer! I often talk about “Creative Crushes” and you’re one of mine.

 

1) Please start by introducing yourself to us.

Absolutely. I’m Melissa Fischer, artist behind Fischtales… and Fischtale Designs. I live right outside of Memphis TN., in a little town called Oakland. My husband Scott and I have two pretty awesome kids named Ella and Elias. My little ones are now 12 and 10 – and oh how the time is flying by with them! I have been blessed from the beginning to have the opportunity to stay home with them. Its not always easy financially but I work in between school hours now giving me the chance to catch field trips, class parties, and stay home with them when they are sick. Being a stay at home mom has its challenges, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

 

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2) At Life Creative we believe that art morphs as a woman transitions from season to season. What did your creativity look before motherhood? And what shape does it take today?

I was always a creative child, but pretty shy. I clammed up in the spotlight and I think that is still true a bit today. I didn’t take any art classes until my Senior year in high school and I kind of bloomed there but never thought about going to college to major in art. My grandmother was very stern with me one day, and told me that I was going to college for art. After a small argument back and forth (mostly about how artists don’t make any money) I lost and she took me to the University of Memphis to meet with a mentor to start my degree in Graphic Design. I LOVED every minute of it!! So, I can say my grandmother was right, LOL!

I got married my senior year in college and three years later had my first baby, Ella. I stayed at home with her and struggled with finding time for me and my art, but I found little outlets here and there to create. I was one of those mother’s that created the ultimate birthdays, and my kids loved it! They still talk about them to this day. It was a way to create for them and me… it was too much fun.

Slowly I started painting again and sold hand painted canvases at art shows and online for awhile. It was a challenge but I will never forget working on orders with my children playing at my feet or coloring beside me (and a few times having to start over again because someone took a crayon to a custom canvas). Now, both of my children are in school full time and I try to find a new balance with work and family. I have more creative work time during the day but there are still challenges. My children love that I work from home, they understand that not every family gets that chance…so we know that is truly a blessing.

 

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3) In the busyness of motherhood it can be hard to find the place and the space to fit your passions within the practical places of family life. Where and when have you carved out time to create in your busy days?

The days now look different than they did a few years back. When my kids were little it was very hard to balance having a small business and finding time to create and I am sure there were many times I did it wrong. There were many melt downs and tears as I tried to fill orders some nights but I tried to find balance to make everyone happy. It can be difficult to not loose your own passions while taking care of your greatest passions in the world, your children.

Today I try to shut work down when I leave to pick up kids from school and I try not to work on the weekends. There are times that I find it creeping into family time and I try to stop and remind myself that I need to time manage my days better to change that. Don’t get me wrong, I do not have it all figured out! I have always struggled with balance, and mommy guilt. There are times it’s hard to get everything done in the day, especially when you’re a one-woman show running a business.

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4) Our creativity can be one of the many vehicles through which we respond to God’s Great Commission call on our lives. How has He given you opportunity to share His love with others through your creative gifts? In your home… your local communities… and even out into the world via the internet.

I have found a great need on social media for positive and inspirational posts. People really are longing for a positive message in a dark world. I get the chance to share my paintings and watercolors on instagram on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s paintings in my bible, other times it’s s a sketch I threw down on paper, but most of the time it is inspired by scripture or something I feel God is leading me to share with others. What a blessing to share – spreading light instead of negativity on the Internet. But it is also a big responsibility.

 

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5) We spend our days caring for “our beautiful creations” but there are other creations we long to pen, sing, paint, stitch and bake. It’s hard to embrace any other dream during this dream-come-true season of mothering. Share one of your dreams with our readers?

One day I hope to have a large studio space again to run my small business out of. I had a small studio space in our little starter home where I worked – my children had a little space to be with me and create along side of me. When we moved three years ago I gave that up to have a bigger house and yard, and now I work out of a small walk in closet. Don’t get me wrong, it works in this season… but I dream of a big beautiful studio with light flooding in. Large tables covered in art supplies and my kids running in and out! One day that will happen, but I am learning to be content and feel blessed that we had the opportunity to move in the first place.

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6) Share with us one of your “creative crushes.”

I adore Ruth Simons from Gracelaced on Instagram. Her heart for God is contagious when you read her posts  each day. She makes you want to strive to be a better mom and see the beautiful in every day life. She has to be my number one “creative crush”.

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7) If you had one piece of advice to leave us with, concerning this awkward dance between faith, family and the flourishing arts, what would it be?

Don’t believe there is a perfect balance. It is always a juggling act and no one has a one-size-fits-all formula. There may be some moms on social media that look like they have it all together – but no one has it completely figured out. Life as a stay at home (creative) mom is beautiful, hard and messy sometimes. But I do believe that you can love and honor your family with your time and attention, while still finding time for yourself. If you don’t… it is very easy to loose yourself. I believe my heart needs nurturing just like every other person in my family.

 

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8) Where can we find more of your work and connect with you online?

You can find me on instagram under “Fischtales” and “Fischtale Designs”

I am also on etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/ruthonesixteen

www.etsy.com/shop/fischtaledesigns

 


 

Thank you, Melissa, for taking the time to remind us that our nurturing is paramount too. There’s so much mommy-guilt when it comes to self-care, even soul-care. But you are absolutely right, we’re simply another heart within our home in need of TLC.

And thank you for taking the time to paint this inspired piece of art in the pages of our new book, Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

 

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We hope these interviews inspire you to celebrate your own Life Creative.

 

Order a copy of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom today and join our Renaissance Faire! As a special incentive, purchase Life Creative by the end of September and receive our free downloadable resource, “Five Stepss to Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Thriving Business.” Confirm purchase and receive your free gift today!

 

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Interview with a Renaissance Mom – Lee-Anne Haggett

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We are continuing our series, “Interview with a Renaissance Mom,” with one of my favorite creative mamas ever. She’s part flower-girl, but all God’s girl! The way she captures the beauty in everyday moments with her 4 little people, absolutely captures my own heart! I love her use of natural light. And the bold use of color throughout her home (both indoors and out) are the absolute best! Honestly, I dream of flying her out to my home one day to decorate my backyard with me, and then take pictures of my family frolicking around the fire pit! It sound ridiculous, but wait till you see this girl’s fun style and you’ll want her to help you frolic too!

Welcome with me, Renaissance Mom, Lee-Anne Haggett

 

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1) Please introduce yourself to us by sharing a little bit about yourself – who you are and where you live, and a bit about your kids.

My name is Lee-Anne and I am from the Ottawa area of Canada. I have been married to my best friend + high school sweetheart for 10 years this August. We met in grade 9 and have been inseparable since! We now have 4 beautiful children and yes, we were crazy and had them all within a 5.5 year span! Our oldest is 6yo and her name is Priscilla, a year and a week later our Maelle came, Malakai is almost 3yo and our little Clementine is 8 months old. They are the sweet balance of chaos + beauty every hour of the day!

 

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2) At Life Creative we believe that art morphs as a woman transitions from season to season. This is especially true of creative personalities. What did your creativity look like as a child, throughout school, or in your adult years before motherhood? And what shape does your creativity take today?

Oh goodness, my art has been all over the place! I have always been a crafty person, even as a young child. I loved painting + drawing growing up. I took art class all through high school and then decided I wanted to go into hairstyling. I went to a trendy little school in Toronto for hairstyling that I specifically chose because I would get to do runway hair. I was the head hairstylist for a few different runway shows during Toronto Fashion Week. It was such a rush and I absolutely LOVED it! I even got to be a model for one show because a model didn’t show up. It was AMAZING!

After hair school, I knew I didn’t want to be just a regular hairstylist in a salon but Ottawa didn’t have much opportunity for wild + crazy runway hair. I got a DSLR camera and started taking random photos around home. Friends loved my photos and I received an opportunity to have a payed gig photographing an anniversary party. That led to my first wedding and my husband tagged along taking photos as well. We had so much fun shooting together that we decided to make a go of it! My husband started researching you tube videos on photography and when he learned something, he would show me. Over the years we got better + better and more people wanted to hire us so we started a little business.

Once we started having children, it was the perfect business to let me stay home with the kids but still earn some money to supplement our income. That’s how Luke and Lee Photography began!

I have also picked up sewing! My hubby found an old Singer at a second hand store years ago, and for about 2 years I refused to even touch it. Finally I brought it to my grandma and she showed me how to thread it, and since then I’ve been making random outfits for my kids. I am always tinkering away at a craft of some sort, whether it be something for around the home or for a gift for a friend or family member. Creativity comes in many shapes + forms around our house!

 

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3) In the busyness of motherhood it can be hard to find the place and the space to fit your passions within the practical places of family life. Where and when have you carved out the time to create in your busy days?

Oh this is SO TRUE! There are months were I look back and think, “Man, I have barely done anything creative!” and then other months where you will see me huddled at the kitchen table over my sewing machine every night or tinkering away in the darkness on something.

I keep my camera available in my dining room so when an opportunity arises throughout the day, I can quickly grab it and snap a photo. It keeps my eyes sharp and my heart soft to the beauty of the everyday when I can so easily just pass over it.

It is such a struggle but it is so life giving when you can set that time aside after the kids have snuggled up in bed or you have given them a pound of play dough to keep them busy as you work away beside them.

 

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4) I believe that God purposed our creativity to be one of the vehicles through which we respond to the Great Commission call on our lives?

It starts in our home. I think just seeing the creativity that is flowing out of my children is such an honor to the Lord. To see that they have watched me and learned from me and are now creating masterpieces on their own for their loved ones is so amazing!

Beyond the home, God has given me many different ways to use my creativity to bless others. One is decorating our church each season. I would have never thought that such a simple act would bring so much life to the body. And, of course, our photography has brought us into so many different lives, people we would have never met or spent time with otherwise. For a wedding, we get to spend a good 10 solid hours with a couple that may not ever have had a personal relationship with Jesus and we can be a light. One of the first questions most people ask when we show up at a wedding is “Is photography your full time job?” and we get to respond with, “Actually no, Luke is a pastor!”. It is pretty cool and often leads into more discussion which is totally God!

 

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5) We spend our days caring for “our most beautiful creations” but there are other creations we long to pen, sing, paint, stitch and bake. It’s hard to embrace any other dream during this dream-come-true season of mothering. Share one of your dreams with our readers?

Oh the dreams!!! lol One of my dreams is when all of my children are in school, I would LOVE to go back to school and take a fashion design course to learn how to properly make clothing and I would love to start up my own clothing line with funky clothes and bright colours. I love creating things with my sewing machine and I feel like it would be such a life giving opportunity!

 

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6) Would you share with us one of your “creative crushes” – another creative mom who inspires you and why.

One of my favourite “creative crushes” is Joy Prouty. Her simple beauty for life and the way she can make a spec of dust look beautiful behind a camera is so magical! She has a raw sense of life but in that rawness, there is so much truth and encouragement. Follow her on Instagram.

 

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7) If you had one piece of advice to leave us with, concerning this awkward dance between faith, family and the flourishing arts, what would it be?

Simplicity. Simplicity is everything in a world that is moving so fast. Do what you can and let go of the rest. This life is so busy, especially when you have little ones. Don’t pack your days so full that you give no opportunity to create or let your littles create. You will find your balance. And do not compare yourself to others. You were made to create, let God show you how in this crazy dance!

 

8) Where can we find more of your work and connect with you online?

www.facebook.com/lukeandleephotography

www.instagram.com/laughterechos

www.instagram.com/lukeandleephotography

 

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We hope these interviews inspire you to celebrate your own Life Creative.

 

Order a copy of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom today and join our Renaissance Faire! As a special incentive, purchase Life Creative by the end of September and receive our free downloadable resource, “Five Stepss to Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Thriving Business.” Confirm purchase and receive your free gift today!

 

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Interview with a Renaissance Mom – Rylie Caldwell

Interview-2Welcome to our new series INTERVIEW WITH A RENAISSANCE MOM – where I’ll be interviewing some of my favorite Renaissance Moms from around the web!

Inspired by our new book, Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom, Kelli Stuart and I hope that this series encourages you to dabble and delight in the cracks and crevices of your mothering moments. We believe that when we fit our creative passions into the practical places of motherhood, the passion fuels the practical. 

Avail yourself to the wonderful way God made you before He made you a mother.

 


 

I’m so excited to introduce y’all to this sweet mother of three, visual artist, and color enthusiast, Rylie Caldwell

 

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Please introduce yourself and your family to all of us.

Hi there! My name is Rylie and I live in Houston, Texas with my husband and our three precious daughters. They are ages three, two, and six months. It’s all bows, sprinkles and glitter around here pretty much 24/7 and I love it! I studied architecture in college but have had an interest in art my whole life. Growing up I would spend hours at my grandmother’s kitchen table learning to use watercolor paint with her and really developed a love for painting. After working in the architecture field for several years we decided I would stay home after the birth of our first baby. Since then I have spent more time developing my artwork and am really enjoying the process of constantly digger deeper into my artistic side.

 

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What did your art look like before you had children, and how did that art morph and change after children?

Before I had children my artwork was more literal than I am currently exploring. Since having children I have become much more interested in the abstract realm. I am not sure why that is exactly but it may have something to do with feeling more freedom to create!

 

Where and when have you carved out time to create in your busy mothering days?

I try to make time to create while my girls nap in the afternoon. I also invite them to come into the studio with me and enjoy that space with their mom. Sometimes it doesn’t last for very long with them in there but we give it a good try! After they go to bed I usually pick it back up and squeeze in a bit more time. My studio is just the study of our home so it’s all right here in our house and super convenient to stop and go with it throughout the day.

 

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Motherhood doesn’t have to be the death of dreaming – in fact, it shouldn’t be! We continue to dream even with little ones by our side. What are some of your hopes and dreams in regards to your creativity?

I have so many! My ultimate dream would be to travel the world with my family and then come back to my studio and create collections of work based on each trip. Maybe 4 collections a year…what a life that would be!

 

If you had one piece of advice to offer a mother who may be struggling with the messy blend of motherhood and art, what would you say?

First of all, go easy on yourself! There is so much pressure to be all things to all people and it can be overwhelming. You are doing a great job! Second, make time to create because it will feed your soul and reconnect you with yourself and the ultimate Creator. Third, dream big and share your work! Don’t be afraid to show people what your fabulous hands have made! Fourth, have a plan and set up your space so that when you get a little down time you can sneak in a bit of creative nourishment. Even if you only get in an hour a day, if you do it every day at the end of the week that’s 7 whole hours!

 

Finally, how can we follow along and see more of your Life Creative?

You can find me at:
FB: Rylie Caldwell Art
Insta: @ryliecaldwellart
Email: ryliecaldwell@gmail.com
Website: http://www.ryliecaldwell.com

I’d love to stay in touch!

 

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Thank you Rylie, for living this inspired life so transparently. I’ve loved following you on Instagram and look forward to watching all four of you girls grow!

-Wen

 

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We hope these interviews inspire you to celebrate your own creative design. Order a copy of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom today and join our Renaissance Faire! As a special incentive, purchase Life Creative by the end of September and receive our free downloadable resource, “Five Stepss to Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Thriving Business.” Confirm purchase and receive your free gift today!

 

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Why Creative Women Need God’s Word

Confession:

Sometimes I sit down to read the Bible and get so inspired by the first four words in the very first verse, I set it aside and start writing a blog post or a book proposal; or I plan a party to encourage women because that sliver of scripture inspired me so; or I open up my sketch book and start hand lettering those four God-breathed words. Four Words.

 

Being a creative woman is never boring!

 

There are always a dozen windows open on my desktop – recipes to try, succulent gardens to plant, blog posts  to write, portraits of my children to capture, invitations to send… you get me. And yes, in case you were wondering, it’s exhausting. I’m flitting and floating, and sometime lose my footing.

 

Recently I was at a gathering for other creative women where I had the privilege of chatting with Bible study author, Denise Hughes. She slipped me a gift, a copy of the first book in her new series, Word Writers, and my eyes got all big and round because, of course, I was ready to dive right in. Right then and there. I bubbled over, “I can’t wait to read this, Denise, I haven’t been consistent with a Bible Study these past nine months. I’ve been so busy with all the book writing and speaking and… and… and…

 

It was then that Denise quieted me with her gentle hand upon my arm: “I love creative women.  They’re a lot like helium balloons, always bobbing here and there. But a balloon needs to be tied down or it can get lost.  God’s Word is the string holding each of us in place.” 

 

 

I’m pleased to say that the Philippians study Denise slipped into my hands is, indeed, working like a tether to ground me in the Lord again. I’m reminded of the lyrics to this old hymns:

 

“Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.” (Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

 

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If you’re a creative woman, or really any woman, always striving, always going, always bobbing… on the fringe of being too far gone – onging for the days when you simply sat in God’s Word, fettered, tethered, and bound and determined to never stray, Word Writers  – Philippians  is a wonderful study to bring you back into a regular time with the Lord again.

 

And as a message of encouragement to you creative women, remember, your greatest strength is often your greatest weakness. though you tend to bounce around sometimes, the fact you are continually inspired is part of your “in His image” design. Before God created the heavens and the earth, He was, Himself, inspired – imaging each glorious facet of His creation. And the crowning accomplishment of all He made was you and me, all of us, embodying his Creative likeness. What a privilege, what an honor. So let yourself bob like a balloon on the winds of inspiration, but don’t forget to stay grounded to the One who inspires!

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Denise Hughes has a great big heart for creative women, in fact, she was one of the first  to endorse Kelli Stuart and my new book, Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom:

Mothers carry deep within them an innate desire to create beauty —whether it’s with shape or color, words or song. In Life Creative, Wendy and Kelli come alongside the artistic soul inside us all with wisdom and insight on how to care for our families while also caring for the artist within. …an absolute must-read for creative moms.”

— Denise J. Hughes | Author of the Bible study series, Word Writers and the book On Becoming a Writer. Editorial Coordinator for (in)courage, and Founder of Deeper Waters Ministry

 

 

 

What to do with parenting stress – Triggers Study Guide

Perhaps your summer was hectic, running back and forth between their sun-soaked sprinkler play and afternoon bike rides, the umpteenth reapplication of sunscreen and popsicle parties, followed by last minute barbecues and late night movies on the couch! But now there’s school and packing lunches and matching socks, sorting through newsletters and keeping track of class parties, making it to soccer practice on time, keeping the baby from falling asleep in the car, and helping with homework… not to mention fitting dinner into the evening routine.

It’s a different sort of stress. But there’s aways stress. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a work at home mom, a traditional working mom, a single mom, or a married mom. There’s always stress.

As far as my stress levels are concerned, I’ve been under the gun these past few weeks, with a crazy twitchy trigger finger.

Why? You may ask. Well, it’s had a lot to do with the launch of the new Triggers Study Guide – which released today!

(insert confetti)

(insert sweeping confetti up quickly, because sometimes a mess can make me stressed. It’s one of my triggers.)

Speaking of my own personal triggers… as Amber Lia and I wrote the triggers study guide we discovered that there’s lots of stress bound up in the writing of a book and sharing it with our people online. What with all of our little people (seven boys between our two families!) continually wanting our attention, adamant that they’re hungry… and out of clean underwear… in need of another glass of water before bed.

(insert scream)

(insert cool water to the face)

In case you didn’t know it… writing Triggers was a great big trigger for me!

Seriously!

(I’m not a good multi-tasker)

(see chapter 27)

But I digress. Here’s what I think: Chasing any dream beyond the dream-come-true of motherhood can bring on crazy amounts of stress – even when it’s ministry! Especially when it’s ministry related! After all, we’ve got an enemy who would love to rip all of us ministering mamas apart with stress, so that our stressed out nerves come undone and we blow like a left-over 4th of July bottle-rocket, one week into the school year! Nothing makes us feel less qualified as a mom than getting inappropriately angry with our kids.

Can I get an Amen?

Remember the ole adage, “The devil made me do it.”

But you and I both know, as sure as we have an enemy up to no good, we have an advocate who can see us straight through the stress!

 

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That quote above, ^^^ that there’s my most favorite quote from the brand new Triggers Study Guide! I speak it over myself regularly, believing it’s true.

 

 

Yes. He. Will. It’s a promise.

 

“When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 118:5-6, NIV)

 

Sweet friends, His ongoing, saving presence is promised to every man, woman, boy, and girl who puts their faith in His redeeming right arm! If you are a believing mama who is so used to fighting stress you start fighting your loved ones… God wants to see you through your stress better.

Though Satan loves to keep us distracted, toy with our feelings, and stir up the stress and the strife with his twisted little finger, God says, “This one’s mine.”

So we keep our eyes on Him, and He leads us safely through.

No matter the trigger. No matter the stress.

 

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Hey, I have an idea!

What do you say we go through the new Triggers Study Guide together?

(insert more confetti)

(quickly clean it up)

 

Starting Tuesday, September 6th, Amber and I are going to be leading a private Facebook group through all 31 triggers. JOIN US for the MOB Society Sponsored Book Club! We’ll be using the new study guide along with Triggers (which is on sale this week only for $9.99) to take us deep into God’s Word as we seek His counsel on the external things our kids do (like ignoring instruction and talking back) to the internal things about us (depression, exhaustion, and ALL THE MESS!) that cause us to explode at our loved ones.

JOIN US by signing up here!

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Wendy Speake — Welcome To My Living Room

It's an odd modern age, when we meet together in digital Living Rooms, delving deep over a virtual cup of tea. So let me invite you in, as I would at my open front door, and say: “You are welcome here."

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