Monday, May 21, 2018

May Update and a Special Discount!

Hi Friends!

I hope you’re having a great May! It’s hard to believe the school year is wrapping up and the crazy busy fun of summer is about to begin! This time of year is often one of transition, the end of one thing in preparation to move on to something else.

I am finding myself in this transition period in more than one way. After serving in many areas of women’s ministry at my church, I’m stepping down from most of it (I’ll still be teaching Bible study!) so that I can move on to other things God has called me to. I am working on a book and have ideas for several of my own Bible studies, so I am making time in my schedule to work on those other things. It was not easy and was a little sad, but I’m excited for what God is going to do in this new season.

I have a few other things I wanted to share with you:

Back to School Breakfast: Saturday, August 4th, 9-11 AM
I don’t know about you, but I love the back to school season! Even though I’m no longer a student, I still enjoy this time of year. It’s so fun to get my kids ready for the year ahead and I always make sure to stock up on some “school supplies” of my own.

In my opinion, it’s like a second New Year’s, an opportunity where we can reset and refocus on goals, structure and time management. As women in the busyness of life, we sometimes don’t take an intentional pause to focus on these things for ourselves because we’re so busy taking care of other people.

So I’ve created a new event, a Back to School Breakfast, where I’m going to help you do just that! We’ll talk about life balance, time management and making time for the things you love.

Tickets for this event are only $25 and they’re on sale now! Because we are e-mail and blog buddies, use the coupon code SUBSCRIBER for $3 off your ticket through June 30th. Make sure you register early, space is limited!

Perfectionist Survey
I sent out an e-mail a few weeks ago about being part of my focus group for my book about perfectionism. If you’re interested in participating, I’m going to host a meet-up on Thursday, May 31st at 7 PM. E-mail me back if you’d like to attend and I’ll send you details.

Whether or not you can attend the meet-up, I also have a survey you can help me with. As my thank you for filling it out, I’ll send you a print of my “The Perfectionist’s Manifesto” or “The Perfectionist’s MotheringManifesto” absolutely free.

Now Booking for 2018-2019
I’m now booking speaking events for Fall 2018 and beyond, so if you’d like to have me come to your next leadership event, Bible study kickoff, women’s retreat or mom’s group, send me an e-mail. You can find a list of my speaking topics here.

Are you on Instagram? Come follow me @andreafortenberry, where I’m currently participating in #the100dayproject. My project is #100daysofbiblicaltruths, where I’m writing a short post each day about truths found in the Bible. I’d love for you to follow along! (You can also find the posts on my Facebook page.)

Website Update
Within the next few weeks, my website is going to be updated! It’s hard to believe I’ve had my current site up for five years now, so it was time for a refresh. I’m so excited to see how it turns out, I’ll let you know when it’s live!

Speak Up
During the last weekend of June, I’m headed to the Speak Up Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’m really excited for the opportunity to network and further develop the craft of writing and speaking. I’d love your prayers for my time there!

I’ll still be blogging and posting on social media over the summer, so you’ll hear from me again soon. 

Thanks so much for your friendship, it means the world to me!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day!

Today I want to share a devotion from my “Notes to My Mama Friends” devotion pack. If you’re not a mom, there’s still a lesson from this story for you too, so keep reading!

Keep Going

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
James 1:2–5 NIV

When I have a hard time being a mom, I’ll put myself in “Mommy Time-Out.” I escape to a mother’s sanctuary—the bathroom—and lock the door.
One particular day I went to my time-out sobbing, because I didn’t know what else to do. My three-year-old daughter had blatantly disobeyed me all morning. Her one-year-old brother had made messes in every room of the house. I was on the last week of breastfeeding him, which didn’t help matters, because my hormones were all over the place. I was mentally tired and my patience waned. I put him in the crib and fled to the bathroom.
Behind the locked door my tears would not stop. In the midst of weeping, I cried out, “God, being a mom is so hard. I’m such a failure. How can I do this?”
A short while later my daughter found my hiding place and knocked on the door.
“Mommy, I have a sticker for you,” she announced.
“Okay, honey. I’ll be out in a minute,” I said, trying to shoo her away.
But she persisted and the conversation repeated a few more times. Bothered, I eventually opened the door and saw that she had placed the sticker on my bathroom mirror.
As I approached it, I noticed she had found the box of stickers I had purchased when she was potty training. They had stars with sayings like, “You’re Number 1!” or “Go for it!”
The sticker she had chosen for me said, “Keep Going!” Of all the sayings in the box, she unknowingly picked the one I needed the most.
I broke out into tears again. What an answer to prayer that sticker represented! It reminded me that I don’t have to know all the answers in this motherhood journey. I just have to keep going, one day at a time, one moment at a time. I scooped her up in my arms and held her tight, grateful for the prayer she helped to answer.
When I find myself in that place again, wondering how to get through the day with the demands of raising children, I remember that sticker. I pause, take a deep breath, and I keep going.

God sees and knows it all, friends. He knows the hardships you face at work, at home and in your relationships. He knows how tired you are and when you feel discouraged. You don’t have to know all the answers on how to get through the tough things of life, you just need to cling to Him and keep going.

I hope you have a wonderful day honoring your mom and for many of you, also celebrating your role as a mother.

Moms, know that you are doing a great job! We often doubt ourselves and focus on all the ways we struggle. We don’t give ourselves credit for the many things we do get right. Today, rest in this truth: there’s no way to be a perfect mom, but there are so many ways to be a good mom. Keep going, Mama Friends, you’re amazing!

If you’re interested in purchasing a “Notes to My Mama Friends” devotion pack, you can find it here.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Show Up and Listen (Plus a Special Invitation!)

Yesterday I went and had lunch with my kids at school. Occasionally they ask me to do this and sometimes I am running around so much that I don’t make it as often as they’d like.

My son asked me a few days ago when I could come, and I told him Friday. Although he forgot about it and was surprised when I saw him in the lunchroom. True mom confession: for a moment, I secretly thought of “forgetting,” but I wanted to keep my word. Especially because one of my biggest moms fails ever was about being there at lunch. You can hear all about it here.

So Friday, I showed up. And I’m so glad I did.

It reminded me there’s such value in being present and listening. I picked up things about my kids and their friends while being in the lunchroom and on the playground.

When I arrived, one of my daughter’s classmates said, “How nice that you come to lunch. I want to spend time with my parents, but they’re too busy.” I talked to her about how sometimes we parents do get busy, but that even when we’re busy, we love our kids. It reminded me about the importance of spending time with my kids.

I also noticed she didn’t have a lunch. I asked her about it and she gave a few reasons for why she wasn’t eating: all they had at home was leftovers, which she didn’t like; and that with five kids in her family, they didn’t buy cafeteria lunches. I don’t know if today was a fluke or if it happens every day, but I’m glad I was there to notice she didn’t have a lunch. I e-mailed her teacher to follow up and see.  

I left the school encouraged to keep showing up and listening. Not just with my kids and their friends, but in other places too. With my friends and neighbors. With my church family. With people in my life who are sometimes difficult to love.

You never know what you’ll observe and who you can help. 

Speaking of which, I want to show up and listen to you. Some of you know that I’ve been speaking and writing a lot about perfectionism these days. I’m working on a book and I’d love to gather a group of ladies who struggle with perfectionism. I want us to talk about its roots, how and why we became perfectionists and how it affects us in our day-to-day lives. I want to listen to your stories.

I’m going to host a luncheon for eight people on Tuesday, May 1st at 12:30 PM in the East Valley. If you’d like to come, e-mail me and I’ll send you further details. Don’t delay, there’s only eight spots!

(If you can’t make it, I plan to host another, so stay tuned for details. I’ll also be creating an online survey you can help me with as well.)

I’d love to see you there!