Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Show Your Real: Ruth

Do I need to tell you all about how much I love Instagram? Nah. You know. I love it tons. Plus a little bit more. Don't get me wrong, I still love blogs, and I love to blog, but it's not always easy to find time to write...or even time to read. So Instagram has become my instablog. I can put things out much closer to real time (or make up for my tardiness with a #latergram or #tbt) and outside of the captions, I can let the pictures do most of the talking. I still love to read through my Feedly subscriptions, but I have to admit, I'm much more likely to scroll through my Insta-feed, catching up on my friends' (and internet friends') update snippets in square form. I still try to read in long form when I can...I don't take it for granted that anyone spends their time here, so I do love to make the effort to read the work of others. Blogging is a labor of love, and I view reading faithfully, and at least occasionally commenting as a form of respect for those that pour their hearts and minds onto the internet page for anyone and everyone to see. 

But enough of my soapbox rambling on the value of blogging. My point was Instagram. I love it, and for me, it's been a huge source of inspiration and community for the last couple of years. I started out following my real life family and friends, but it's grown over time, and now includes fellow bloggers, brands, and friends of friends. I'm now following over 500 people, and sometimes I can't even remember who's who, or how I found them. 

And Ruth is one of those such mystery friends. I can't tell you how I first got to her profile, or even what initially hooked me. But somehow I found her, and immediately I loved what she was sharing. She's a blogger, and an artist, and an all around inspiration of love, and style, and...well...grace. And though I truly didn't know her from a hole in the wall, I knew she'd be a perfect fit for this series, so I was delighted when she not only read my email, but even agreed to share here. Isn't the internet grand?!

(with Ruth's permission I poached all the below pics from her instagram. Go follow her...well..stick around here for a minute, and then go follow her. And while you're on insta, maybe risk a little and post a #showyourreal of your own.)


How does the idea of "Show Your Real" resonate with you..why did you want to participate and share?
In a time when everyone micromanages what is truly seen and known about their lives through pictures and words, I think it's so valuable to have authentic voices speak out about the real joys and pains of life, behind the scenes. No one does "it all" and no one formula works for everyone. It's a blessing to share our stories, that others might find encouragement.

What misconceptions might people have about about your life at first glance?

I think people could potentially imagine that my kids never fight, my house is always clean, or that I do everything they see me post about...every day, which is not true.

What are some of your patterns and routines for a “typical” day?
My top three daytime patterns and routines are: prayer/time in the word (even if just on audio Bible via phone app), make my bed and clear off the kitchen island, and always pause to speak to my kids with my full attention (or to ask them to wait.) Other than that, I'm striving to find a better routine for regular exercise, laundry (which is pretty much every day), and meal planning (I tend to cook with whatever is on sale.) Our whole family has a bedtime routine in the boys' bunk room. The nightly routine of exchanging back rubs, talking, and quieting our hearts is a wonderful time we now look forward to nightly.
    What does the balance/mix of work/chores/family time/rest/etc look like in your home?
    Because I have such a wide range of ages in my children, with so many different needs, I choose not to do much work, blog-wise or with the shoppe, until either nap time or when the boys are off to bed. I often paint with the boys at the kitchen table, and include them in my artwork. Troy and I serve on the board of a classical school we co-founded, and at six years old, it continues to be a very large time commitment and labor of love. Troy is the headmaster of the school, and our kids attend there, where the students do school from home every other day. Because of the schedule with our choice of education and ministry, we've come to prioritize time as a family and intentionally being together. Sometimes that time is spent cleaning house together, and sometimes we go on fun outings, but regardless, the goal is to maximize time together as significant relational time. We tend to be a routine, vs. schedule, kind of family. I choose not to "reward" my kids with traditional incentives, and we currently do not use chore charts and schedules, though I'm sure those helpful with many families. At this current time, we've employed an all-hands-on-deck approach, driving partnership and teamwork between brothers, and teaching them to pursue a goal of finishing chores TOGETHER, that they might experience the blessing of BEING TOGETHER with a job well-done. Surprisingly, this has been a greater blessing for them and us, as we've seen a greater sense of teamwork and deepening bonds as they learn to rely on each other and motivate one another in responsibility and pursuit of excellence...even in chores.

    What things have become “your real” now that the you from the past would be surprised about?
    For one thing, I never planned on having all boys, let alone six of them! I often say that I'm an unlikely mom, as I truly didn't prepare well for the job. The reality of my life that surprises me daily, is that I LOVE being a mom of boys. That I love having six of them. That I am grateful for the family God's given me

    What are the hardest parts of your current season of life? And the best parts?
    In this current season, we are struggling to know the steps to take with outgrowing our home and being limited in what we are able to purchase for our large family that desires to live a little more land. We are bursting at the seams here, and storage is a challenge. These are not truly difficult trials, but do affect our daily family life as we seek to steward all things well: home, family, school, worship, business. And while there are struggles in this, and other demands we feel in our current season of life, we also recognize that the other side to each of the difficulties is a blessing we don't deserve: six wonderful young boys, a comfortable home, a loving family, the privilege of starting school, a solid church family, and the opportunity to share my art with the world...these are every day blessings, but significantly unique ones as well. Cultivating gratitude and praise to the Lord in all seasons and for all things is such protection I've learned to lean on. As much as I want to think of life as a series of obstacles to overcome, goals to attain, and dreams to pursue, it simply isn't truly about those things...it's simply not about me. Every ordinary thing that consumes my time, challenges my faith, or burdens my heart are lovingly designed for me by a Father who is jealous for my whole heart and my utter dependance on him alone. That is the most "Real" thing I've been learning year by year, day by day: My real identity is wrapped up in who he is and not what I do. There's nothing more freeing and more motivating in the realties of life, than to hide yourself in Christ.


    Show Your Real is a series of guest posts centered around the concept of authenticity. The goal is to encourage each other to expose the reality of our lives- good and bad- and to foster a sense of community that goes beyond the often suface-cy interactions of social media. We invite all of you to participate! Please comment, link, and hashtag to spread the showyourreal love. If you would like to contribute a guest post in this series, please email me! 


    1. love this! i'm a total instablogger at the moment too, and i love the idea of showing our real so that we break down the false ideas people get of us with our pretty pictures.

    2. Thank you, Ruth, for sharing your heart and your beautiful talent. I've pinned the peonies print (they're my fave) and I've told my husband about it ;-) Many blessings to you and your beautiful family.

    3. Wow, what an incredible, humble, faith-filled child of God! It humbles me just to read it. God bless Ruth and her family. Thank you for sharing your life with us.