Dear Everly’s Mom

Mothers:
Step outside your life for a moment and try to have an outside perspective.
Look at your child/children and ask yourself what you would say to their mother. What does she need to know? What would you want her to do?
I did this and wrote it down.
“Dear Everly’s Mom….”
After I had written all I could think of, I read it all fresh and was very moved by the encouragement I’d give to Everly’s mom.
We often give others much better advice than we give ourselves.
But if I may, if you do take time to think about it, please let me know what you would say to your child’s mom.



Dear Everly’s Mom,
What a beautiful, beautiful child! What a worthy devotee of your life’s work. What a blessing you have been given. Before the foundation of the world, she was appointed into your care, to nurture and raise. You have been given such a privilege. Do not waste any of your precious time with her. 
Dear Everly’s Mom,
It is not selfish to take care of yourself. Only when you are being taken care of well can you give the very best of care to Everly. Everly needs a strong, healthy, and happy mother. 
Dear Everly’s Mom,
You will make so many, many mistakes, and you already have, and that is okay. Your child needs empathy and guidance above all else, not perfection. But for the sake of your child, please show grace when you make mistakes, own up to them with strong humility. For her sake, lay aside your pride.
Dear Everly’s Mom
Someone said, “Never give up what you want most for what you want now.” You’re tired, drained, emotional, and it would be so much easier to let the rules slide, but for her sake, please don’t. For her sake, make your home a place of stability, which is for her, safety. 
Dear Everly’s Mom
Your child is safe with you. She is safer with you than anywhere, so it is with you that she will test the boundaries. This is not a testament to your failure as a mother, only to the nature of children. 
Dear Everly’s Mom,
Give her good friends. Friends are so influential. 
Dear Everly’s Mom,
It is not a waste of time to wash dishes and prepare meals. It is not a waste of money to make your home a beautiful place. Please make Everly’s home a lovely place to live, a place she will remember with nostalgia and fondness, and a place she can always come back to.
Dear Everly’s Mom,
Do not be so consumed with chores and projects that you do not enjoy her. Read to her every day. Sing and play with her. Everly will remember you more than she remembers the house. 
Dear Everly’s Mom,
Don’t try to do it alone. Find help. Nurture your friendships. 
Dear Everly’s Mom,
Foster her relationship with her father, and do not be jealous of the special bond that they share. It is beautiful. It is as it should be. Give them time to be father and daughter, without your presence being a necessity. 
Dear Everly’s Mom,
Life’s problems, while they may grow fewer in number (or may not) will grow more severe in consequence and importance. The best way to protect Everly is to make her capable. 
Dear Everly’s Mom,
Her middle name could have been Joy. 

Everly Wren

Everly Wren Boehlke was born Sept. 17th at 2:13pm. What a joy! What a responsibility!

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Birthing a baby is, without a doubt, the most amazing experience Jonny and I have had as a couple. Jonny was an amazing support person throughout the whole labor and delivery, and while I was pushing, his excitement was spilling over and giving me strength. With every push he was so excited to see her progress, and I wanted so badly to get this baby out, not just for me, but so Jonny could finally meet his daughter. What a feeling, to hold my baby for the first time! Part of my thoughts began soaring through all of the years ahead of us, marking this special moment as the beginning of it all. Part of my thoughts were fixated on this very present, tiny person who was crying in my arms.

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One week later, I’m still in awe. Such a tiny person, with a personality yet to be known and a future yet to be made. One one hand, she is a pool of possibility, and on the other hand, even if she was a baby forever, I would love her fervently forever.

everly

Not only is my love blazing hot for this baby girl, I have never loved my husband more than I do when he is holding our daughter. I’m amazed at God’s creation that He would allow us to come together to make such a beautiful being. What a divine, loving, all-knowing God! Is there a more beautifully designed system than the family, as God intended it?

everly 2

Recalling the downward spiral of my life in my early teenage years, I can only weep with gratitude that God plucked me from my sin and compelled me to follow His design for relationships, marriage, and children. I don’t mean to say we are a model family. I mean to say that without His grace and intervention in my life, I would not even have this family.

I’ve never been more excited for the next season of my life. God’s grace has blessed me this far and I know it will continue to sustain me.

 

With gratitude,

Ellie

Stop Dehumanizing Your Opposition

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   I’ve been trying to write this for weeks. I sat down a couple of times to write and came up with a dozen scattered paragraphs that didn’t coincide, so to help me collect my thoughts, I had some conversations with people I trust, and I really appreciate them taking the time to listen to me.

After engaging an atheist friend on Facebook, I began to take more notice (and Facebook kept putting into my newsfeed) the memes and tweets that they were sharing about Christianity. I was a bit put off. It seemed this person has nothing but derision for Christians, mockery and blanket statements. Each time I read their posts, I thought, “Don’t you realize that you are alienating anyone who might want to discuss this with you?”

This gave me pause and I began to consider, “Why do they share these posts anyway?”

I can tell you, it wasn’t to engage in dialogue. It wasn’t to understand the other side. It wasn’t even to be understood. It was simply to validate their position, rally to their side, and reinforce where they stood on the issue of topic.

I’m not blind, I’ve seen this all over. But these past few weeks I’ve taken more notice and seen it so abundantly. To my discouragement, I’ve seen it scattered liberally across most Facebook accounts, Christian and non-Christian alike.

Perhaps we are all so wrapped in our bubble of like-mindedness that we don’t realize how scoffing these posts can be until we see it in an opposing worldview to ours. Perhaps we simply read posts that say so concisely what we stand for and share them without considering how someone on the other side is going to perceive it. Perhaps we are simply so drawn to what makes us feel good, we post what we like without much further thought. But we need to stop.

I’m noticing 2 main problems:

  1. Posting to validate our position

  2. Assuming the intent of the opposing side

First, what’s so wrong about posting to validate your position?

If you take a stand on objective truth, you should not need to constantly validate it.


Scoffing at the other side, drawing the applause of your friends, boosting your conviction in any area — these are not necessary if what you believe stands to scrutiny and genuine conversation. If you can’t discuss and articulate your position in an honest way, truly seeking to understand and be understood, then your position deserves to be challenged and you need to reexamine yourself.


Prove to me that you stand by what you believe by getting off of your high horse and discussing it with me. I want to understand. And I want to know that you understand me. If you are making fun of me, then my (correct) assumption is that you don’t understand where I’m coming from. And until I know that you understand me, I’ll take everything you say with a degree of doubt. Your influence on me is next to nothing.

Secondly, perhaps the saddest mindset that is prevalent on Facebook and other social media platforms: assuming the intent of your opposition.

Several times my family members have commented on my political or religious posts or articles that I’ve shared on Facebook with an opposing point of view. You can guess what happened. My (hopefully well-meaning) friends pounced to defend my point of view, villianizing my family member and assuming that a) their motive is wrong, or that b) they haven’t researched this issue or thought about it. I felt like screaming at my friends to LEAVE MY FAMILY ALONE!

Can we just do this?


Stop assuming pro-choice persons hate babies.
Stop assuming pro-life person hate women or support rape.
Stop assuming atheists persons are hateful or arrogant.
Stop assuming Christian persons are hypocritical or simply traditional.
Stop assuming persons of the Democratic party are all power-thirsty.
Stop assuming persons of the Republican party hate poor people.
Stop assuming homosexual persons are wallowing in sin and loving it.
Stop assuming persons who oppose homosexuality are judgmental.
Stop assuming homeschooling families are religious prudes.
Stop assuming public schooling families don’t care about their children’s education.
Stop assuming anti-vaccine parents are conspiracy theorists.
Stop assuming pro-vaccine parents are brainwashed conformists.
Stop assuming that white persons are racist.
Stop assuming that black persons are victims.
Stop assuming anything about someone you don’t know.

I understand that there are persons in each category that do fall under that stereotype and do a disservice to everyone else, but have the maturity of mind to know that not everyone who holds a position does so from evil motives or lack of information.

What I’m not saying:

I’m not saying it is wrong to challenge the other side or hold hypocrisy and inconsistent reasoning up to the light. But we need to do so in a way that invites civil discussion, not discourages it, challenging the ideas without demonizing the persons who believe those ideas.

I’m not saying that every side is right or true. I believe in truth, God ordained and governed. But let’s be transparent enough to admit that we don’t understand it all and need each other to challenge us and awaken us to things we would not see otherwise.

What I am saying is that we need to be lovingly open to conversation, willing to articulate our position and educated enough to do so (or willing to admit that we cannot.) We need to stop assuming that opposition is all wrong or uninformed, and we need to challenge ideas, not the people who hold those ideas.

Christians, I’m calling you out. Are you simply unaware? By sharing the tweet making fun of Islam, by posting blanket statements about homosexuality, by shutting down discussion with conviction of hatred, you are shutting out the very people God called us to minister to! Every Christian today was not once a Christian, but was once of the world. Of all people, we should have the most love for those who are blinded, the most patience for sinners, the most hatred of the sin itself. Or did you forget that we are to be known by our love. Don’t compromise your beliefs. Don’t hesitate from sharing the truth. Don’t be ashamed of the gospel. But by all means share the truth in love. Remember the forgiveness and compassion of Jesus our Savior to the women at the well. Wife of five different men, and the man she was currently with was not her husband. And yet Jesus extended an invitation of kind discussion with her, leading her to the gospel.

As Christians, we believe that the gospel of salvation is a revelation of God and a work of the Holy Spirit. Until then, spiritually, the world is blinded, but please note that doesn’t mean someone who is not Christian is not educated or a deep-thinker or even un-spiritual. We can fall into thinking that an atheist or skeptic just doesn’t have enough information. How arrogant of us to think in this way. Let us instead love and pray for this world.

As I prepare to post this, I am aware it was written with more passion than most of my posts and it is possible that I have written some inconsistencies of reasoning. I would love nothing more than a civil discussion about a post about a civil discussion. I hope we can all be more aware of the people on the other end of the screen who are reading what we put out.

Sincerely,
Ellie

Compare Yourself to Yourself (summary of chapter 4 of “12 Rules for Life” by Dr. Peterson)

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“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.”
~ Dr. Jordan B Peterson

My blog is on its way to becoming a commentary of my life as it has been affected by Jordan Peterson. His understanding of human nature hits life’s problems right on the head. His solutions are so helpful and his reasoning and wisdom go far deeper than any general self-help book.

In his book, “12 Rules for Life: an antidote to chaos” Peterson writes the above quote and dedicates an entire chapter to it. Of the 12 Rules that Peterson covers (each one full of wisdom and necessity), this is one that has impacted me the most.

Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.

Your life, your situation, is unique among the billions of people on the planet, and the trillions of lives that have been lived through history. Comparing yourself to others is not only unhelpful, it is simply unreasonable. It is unreasonable, not only because your situation is unique, but because there are so many playing fields, and while someone might surpass you in a few of those playing fields, the probability that they triumph in all playing fields is close to nil.

I’ve joked to myself that there are 3 kinds of people in the world.

a. People I admire and want to be like
b. People I admire in some specific aspects
c. and people that I like, but don’t wish to be like

(I guess it’s funny to me because I like people, and liking every stranger on a regular day is my normal, and that’s funny to me.)

I’m finding that more and more of the people that I had previously placed in category a have been moved to category b, because as I grew to know them better, I learned that not every aspect of their life was admirable or desirable. It’s amazing how almost everyone has weaknesses! And I’ve found that many people who I had placed in category b, with specific aspects that I admire, perhaps fitness or attractiveness, I have now seen what was sacrificed in other areas of their life, things I cannot or will not sacrifice, and so they are now in category c. I like them, but I don’t wish to be like them.

More productive than comparing myself to others is comparing myself to who I was yesterday. I want to be growing. I don’t believe anyone is truly stagnant. If you aren’t growing in character and maturity, you are still growing in age, and that means you are sinking in character as compared to your age and experiences. I always want to be growing in proportion to my age. I want to be a little better than who I was yesterday.

Peterson recommends 3 questions to ask every day.

1. What bothers me about my life? (Or, what needs to change?)
2. Could I do something about that?
3. Would I honestly do something about that?

We are not our own slaves. We must negotiate with ourselves as if we were valued employees; we must make it worth it to ourselves to do said task. If we set too large of a goal — it won’t get done. What can you do today, and what will you do today? What would make it worth it to you to do that? For me, just sitting on Pinterest with a cup of coffee is a great reward. If I reward myself well, pay myself for the work I put in, I’m more likely to keep working. Think: valued employee, not servant.

If the answer is “no” to any of the 3 questions, aim smaller. Once you’ve done this thing, reward yourself whatever you promised yourself. Don’t punish yourself by making yourself do more work.

As you improve, just a little every day, you will inevitably aim higher and higher. By starting small and gaining momentum, you set yourself up for success in greater things.

Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.

 

With love,
Ellie

Conversations About Life Podcast: featuring Me and Jonny

My father has started a podcast called “Conversations About Life.” As his first guest, I feel very honored!

I think the podcast is off to a great start and I had an enjoyable time talking about my courtship along with Jonny.

Click the signature to go to the podcast, or the link is below.

https://willjackson.com/a-newly-married-couple-discuss-their-courtship/

Days that Drag

Did you know that adults who have prescribed medications, of those who get their medications filled, 70-75 percent admit to not taking them as prescribed, meaning they skip doses, take less than the recommended amount, or stop taking them sooner than instructed. We are better at giving our dogs constant medication than we are ourselves. The main problem is that we aren’t taking care of ourselves because a lot of people don’t really like who they are.

Jordan Peterson, (my mentor and inspiration in a lot of ways,) pointed this out with the encouragement to treat ourselves and negotiate with ourselves as we would with a dear friend. Because the slave driver mentality isn’t working. We aren’t our own slaves, we have to be encouraged and negotiated with.

I have a lot of days, more than I’d like to admit, when I simply get out started on the wrong foot, days when I’ve spent too much time watching a video or playing a game and find myself rushed, disorganized, frustrated, and most of all lazy.

I used to hate myself on these days. I used to despair thinking that a productive life-style wasn’t in me, and that I was lazy forever.

But since hearing Jordan Peterson, I decided it was only fair to myself to give myself the advice I would give to my best friend, the person I care most about, because that is probably the advice most helpful.

If your friend had just had the day you had, what would you say to them?

“Yeah, today sucked, but the rest of your week has been great, and you can finish strong. You were lazy all day, but you can use the rest you got today to get things done tomorrow. Besides having this bad day, this week has been better than last week, and that’s your goal. Just make every week better than your last.

“Just be growing. If you aren’t growing as fast as you want, don’t be discouraged, none of us are who we want to be. But as long as you’re growing, you’re okay.”

“Tomorrow, don’t start like you did today. Don’t get your phone, because you know you don’t really want to start like that. Start by taking a moment to thank God for the day and for your life, and that will set you up for the day you want and the mindset you need to have.”

 

Sincerely,
Ellie