{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed. 

So here’s where we inspire you with a simple picture and a few words. 

Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Sometimes it takes an interruption that literally steps in our way to make us stop and notice what’s around us…embrace the interruption and savor the moment.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

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intentionally-making-a-difference-fed-by-bread-south-texas

Fed by Bread: Intentionally Making a Difference {One Baked Good at a Time}

There are the people that talk and the people that do.

You know what I’m referring to, right?  I’m sure you’ve met folks of both kinds.  There are the people that dream big and talk big and make big plans and have a vision but somewhere along the way, they get lost in all the details of pulling it off.

And then there are the people that dream big and they just do it.  They jump in with intention and nothing stops them.  They’re persistent and passionate and unstoppable.

Those are the people that inspire me….the people that DO.

Take for instance, Hollie.  Her delicious line of bread and baked goods does more than put food on the table for the folks that purchase it.   “A South Texas bakery nourishing African youth,” is the opening line on her website.  And while that is exactly what she does, it’s about more than just food for Hollie.  It’s about relationships.

Born and bred on an Oklahoma wheat farm, making bread is just genetically programmed into Hollie’s hands.  So after traveling internationally throughout high school and college and witnessing poverty and its effects on women and children, Hollie knew that she wanted to do something that would give the people she had met through her travels a chance to break the cycle of poverty.  When the time came and she felt a calling to reach out and help with the world food crisis, it seemed only natural that she would do what she knew how to do: bake.

In his book Start Something that Matters, a book that inspired Hollie, Blake Mycoskie says, “Love your work, work for what you love, and change the world—all at the same time.”  And that is EXACTLY what Hollie began doing in 2009.

Fed by Bread began in Hollie’s own kitchen in 2009 (when she was 7 months pregnant!).  Folks began to spread the word about this bakery with a mission and a grassroots movement was born.  After a few years of using the proceeds from her baked goods to sponsor children with companies like Compassion and World Vision, she knew it was time to form a relationship on a deeper level with a company that shared her vision.

Enter Africa New Life, a ministry that “exists to transform lives and communities through Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Acts of Compassion.”  Africa New Life focuses their ministry on Rwanda, a country forever changed in 1994 by the Rwandan ethnic genocide that killed more than 800,000 people.  Hollie crossed paths with Africa New Life in 2014 and immediately felt that this was what she had been looking for.  She began to send the bulk of her Fed by Bread proceeds to them (with a small amount reserved for the children she sponsors through Compassion and World Vision).

That same year, Hollie was able to visit the village of Kageyo in Rwanda and actually meet the people behind Africa New Life along with the children that were benefiting from her baked goods.  She was met with an overwhelming display of gratitude and her heart was full.

She knew at that moment, without a doubt, that what she set out to do was truly being accomplished.  Her intention to feed the hungry and break the cycle of poverty was being accomplished, one baked good at a time.

Today Hollie enters the commercial kitchen at Annapolis Christian Academy where she does her baking and sets about her tasks with intention.  While her hands are immersed in dough, her heart is immersed in thoughts of the children this dough will provide for.  She has started something that matters.

It’s not just a bakery, it’s Intentional nourishment with a purpose.

*You can support Hollie in her mission by ordering online and either picking up goods locally or having them shipped to your door.  While most items are intended for local pickup, she has a selection of baked goods that can be shipped.  Regardless of whether you pick-up or have it shipped, I promise her baked goods will make your breakfast table a happier place.  Plus knowing you’ve spent your money to make a difference is an intentional thought all of its own.*

**All photos are courtesy of Kristine Endsley**

 

 

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done. It’s easier imagined than executed. So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words. Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional.

It’s all too easy to stay inside until the rain is over.  Next time, step outside and don’t be afraid to get a little wet.  You never know what you will find.

Be inspired. Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention. And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us? Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}.

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

The world is so full of tiny little wonders.  Look around and notice some today.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

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Shopping Locally: An Intentional Means to Support My Community

My childhood summer memories are filled with the smell of acrylic paint and ceramic shavings.  Even now I sometimes dream of bottles of paint and electrical wiring and kilns burning hot.  My fingers still ache to clean a piece of greenware, to feel the rough texture beneath my hands.  These things permeate my memories because of the summers I spent in the beautiful City of Oaks with my grandparents.

They were hardworking, self-employed folks who rose long before the sun came up.  Grandpa loaded his produce truck and drove off into the sunrise while Grandma headed down in the dark to her workshop.  She’d spend the first few hours pouring slip into molds and preparing her ceramics.  I’d stumble down hours after she’d awakened and joined her in her shop where she’d put me to work cleaning and painting all the ceramics I’d chosen to work on that summer.  Sometimes Grandpa would pop in during the afternoon to wire the lamps and make the music boxes sing beautiful songs.

I have beautiful memories of those summers.  Her shop was busy, her till was full, her ceramics were beautiful, her art and classes were therapeutic.

Now Grandma’s shop isn’t the bustling place it once was.  It could be said that Grandma aged and worked less, but that isn’t true.  Even at 86, she still gets up before the sun rises and heads to her workshop.  No, sadly, it isn’t the bustling place it used to be because of a number of reasons.

Maybe I could argue that ceramics are a dying art.  Or at least doing ceramics from start to finish the way she does, is a dying art.

Or maybe her shop is failing because of the giant shift to a bigger America from the small-town America it used to be.

Now we have the world at our fingertips.  Why go pop in to a local shop when I can just as easily order the same thing online (and probably for a cheaper price)? Or why shop small business when I can go into Mega-Mart and buy a cheaply made version of whatever it is I’m looking for?

Why indeed?

When we travel an hour and a half from home and visit Goliad, we are greeted as if we’re old friends, despite the fact that no one knows us there.  We pop into the local sandwich shop and in the fifteen minutes it takes for them to prepare my order, I listen to the lady behind the register chatting away with all of her customers on a PERSONAL level.  She calls out to the young people leaving, “Hey, tell both of your mamas I said hey,” and to the customer that just walked in, “Hey sweetie, how’s your granny feeling these days?”  The next guy walks in and she asks, “The usual? How’s life out at the Presidio today?”  Everyone is a friend and everyone is welcome.  They bake their bread fresh and take pride in their sandwiches.  I suppose I could chalk it up to amazing customer service, but the truth is, it is the EXACT same in every store we go into there.  There are eclectic shops filled to the brim with quaint, unique items.  No mass-produced China made products lingering about.  There’s salve made by a local herbalist using local plants.  There’s salsa made by a local mom who is able to stay home with her kids because of her sales.  There are clothes made by a talented, local seamstress.  There’s even a cookbook boasting of local recipes, gathered together by the people there.  And those are the products that are the first to be recommended.  There’s a sense of community.

It used to be that this city of mine boasted of a few locally owned book shops.  Now they’ve been run off by corporate America. So I grab my Starbucks and get lost between tall organized shelves of books at Barnes & Noble.  The booksellers don’t recognize me in the sea of faces that frequent their stores.  The employee turnover rate is high.  There’s no personal connection with the people there.  I miss the charming armchair shrouded with piles of books at the locally owned shop.  I miss the personalized recommendations.  I miss the community.  I miss the deeper purpose to all this buying and selling.

But that’s what happens when we stop supporting local.  Big business moves in.  Small business gets crowded out.

So why indeed?  Why shop local when the world is at our fingertips?  Why frequent the places close to our homes and get to know the folks behind the products, the goods and the services?  Why make a connection with the folks behind the register at the bank and the grocery store and all the other places we frequent?

Because people matter.

I miss the community.  I miss the idea that shopping and browsing are less about what I’m buying and more about who I’m buying from.

Aside from the necessity of food, most of our purchases are superfluous.  We have a choice about what to shop for and where to shop for those wanted items.

That’s why I first try to shop small business local.  I openly admit I don’t do it all the time.  I don’t have a bank vault with coins to swim in at my disposal and so I do have my budget and my bottom line to consider.  You’ll still see me grab my cart at our big chain grocery store and do some price comparison shopping.  And sadly, I have been known to haunt the aisles at some of the mega-stores in our area in an effort to buy cheap.  But when I can, I prefer to shop with the folks who are the backbone of this community of mine.

I think of my Grandma and her dwindling business and I want to support the folks like her who put themselves out there and try their best to do what they love.

I like knowing the process that my end product has gone through.  Whether it’s coffee beans or bread or lotion, I like knowing where the ingredients came from.  I like the idea that I’m supporting the American dream of entrepreneurship. I like supporting small-businesses with real people.  I like knowing the products were made ethically and sometimes even with a far reaching benefit.  I like knowing that I’m supporting that stay-at-home mom in her business or that my dollar goes to support that family I hold dear.  I like knowing that the product I hold in my hand is a labor of love.

The truth is, there are times I’d rather pay more and buy less because I like knowing the people I’m buying from.

I’d rather buy locally made than name brand.  I’d rather buy products with local ingredients than ingredients shipped from halfway across the globe.  I’d rather buy from the folks right here who exhibit talent and love in the form of stuff.  I’m rather proud of this country, even this city, of mine and I like knowing my dollars support that pride.

If I can’t shop small business local, I make an effort to chat in all the local places I visit.  I pick the same HEB every week and the same checkout clerk and now I know all about Maxine and her husband and his wretched fight with cancer.  I know all about RJ, my bagger, and his homeschooling family that he supports with this extra job.  I don’t drive to the next big city seeking fancy stores or better places because these people and these places…they are my community.  They are my people.

There is value in supporting what we believe in.  I believe in community and people and relationships so I intentionally shop to support those beliefs.  The farmer’s market, the local artisan, the coffee bean roaster hobbyist turned professional, the baker.

Sometimes money has more value than just it’s face value.  Spending intentionally helps me remember that.

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed. 

So here’s where we inspire you with a simple picture and a few words. 

Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

Sometimes it’s noticing where our feet actually are, and delighting in what’s right in front of us, rather than always looking to where we’re walking.

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Voting Twice – Spending Money Intentionally

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I love elections.  I love clicking the button to “cast my vote.”  It’s as if I have a say in all the things around me.  As if my thoughts could actually affect the culture of society around me and the future of my children.  I truly believe, as I’ve said before, that voting is a moral obligation but sometimes it feels like voting once every four years (or even every two years) isn’t enough to make my voice heard.

The good news is you and I don’t have to wait for a major election to roll around every four years to cast our vote. It’s so simple, the way we can make a difference, yet it’s something we don’t think about.  Something that doesn’t always land on our intentional radar.

It really is simple to make your voice heard often.  You probably do it weekly, maybe even daily.  You may do it out in town or possibly you do it while still in your pajamas, tucked in bed.  Maybe you do it with friends or you’re the brave sort that does it with your kids or maybe you use it as a way to get a little alone time.  Maybe you do it intentionally, with a list and a budget, or maybe you’re a bit more spontaneous.

However you do it, you do it.  It’s buying…aka shopping.  Yep, shopping.

Where we cast our dollars, we cast our voice.

Think of it as a second vote.  A chance to voice your opinion daily.  The companies you choose to spend your money with and the items you choose to buy become a reflection of your own thoughts.  You preach about ethical work conditions and American made products, yet chances are you’ve bought plastic China made toys and clothing made who knows where in what conditions and you haven’t thought twice about it.  Or, maybe, you have thought about it but then decided that saving a few dollars made it worth sacrificing your principles.  Is it really?  Because each of those little choices influences our culture on a much wider scale over time.  It’s like your financial professor told you, “every penny counts,” except here it’s not about counting every penny to build a nest egg, it’s about making your pennies count toward something much bigger.  A cultural tidal wave always starts small.

It really comes down to being intentional.  It’s about knowing your principles, deciding what you believe is important and then intentionally putting your money where your mouth is.

Maybe you gripe about the job market in America.  Maybe you gripe about customer service.  Maybe you gripe about ethical work conditions.  Maybe you gripe about not having a downtown filled with cute boutiques.  Maybe you gripe about not knowing the people you’re buying from.  Maybe you gripe about the quality of the products you bring home.

Stop griping.  Do something about it.  Be intentional.

Visit your local farmer’s market.  Shop locally.  If you tend to be conservative about major issues, visit 2nd Vote and shop accordingly.  If you’re fed up with customer service, then stop shopping there.  It’s that simple.  If you aren’t satisfied with the quality of the products you’re buying, maybe you need to consider who’s making them and where they’re coming from.

Nobody controls your wallet except you.  No one is going to force you to hand over those precious earned dollars (with the exception of the IRS).  You get to choose where those dollars are spent.  Choose to be intentional.

 

 

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

The simple observation of all the beautiful things around you.  Stop and literally smell the flowers.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

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finish-the-race

Living with Intention: Choosing to Finish the Race

I was a loser in high school.

No, literally.  A loser.

Track.  Golf.  Every sport required in PE.  I lost them all.  I was clearly NOT athletically inclined.

My sophomore year I ran on the track team (I’m pretty sure there were no try-outs).  I started out running the 800.  And I lost.  Then somehow I got thrown into hurdles which my school didn’t even have so my only practice was at the track meet itself.  I lost all of those meets, too.

But one thing I never did was quit.

At the beginning of the season, my dad had pulled me aside for a heart to heart right before my first meet.  And here’s what he said…

“Hey kid, good luck.  Just remember it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose.  All that matters is you do your best and you finish the race.”

Apparently I took him seriously.

And I lost every meet that season.  But I never quit.  Not once.  And I never gave it anything less than my best.  Not once.

Then we moved to Texas and I harbored no false illusions that I should run track again.  I still ran, but it was just for me.  Unfortunately, I did need one more p.e. credit so I signed up for golf.  And I was awful.  I mean really, really awful.  (My school even arranged for a private coach to come out and give me lessons for a few weeks.)  But my dad’s words echoed in my head and no matter how awful I was, I never quit.  I kept swinging with all my might.

These days I run purely for exercise and I NEVER pick up a golf club, but I still find myself in the midst of a race.  Every day.

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Mothering.

And there are days I want to quit.

Days I want to let everyone pass me by while I sit on the sidelines.

Days I want to throw in the towel and just give up.  On my own kids.  On my own mothering style.  On my own ideals and expectations.  On homeschooling and whole-food meals and patience.

There are days when I want to give less than my best.  Days when I wonder if it really matters if I put my all into school lessons and meal planning.  Days when I think I can’t possibly deal with one more issue or listen to one more complaint.

Weeks go by and I get lost in the forest and can no longer see the trees.  You know those weeks.  The ones where the one kid disrespects you every chance he gets, another complains wildly about the most insignificant things, everyone complains that they hate school (which you’ve poured your heart lovingly into preparing), no meal is complete without a dozen disgruntled comments, and you spend every free moment toting the ungrateful little people from one extra-curricular to the next.

And the thought to quit is so appealing.

I could just toss them all into school and sign them up for after-school care and every sport and extra-curricular known to man and spend my waking hours basking in well, whatever I feel like basking in.  Shoot, to make the dream complete, maybe I could even hire a personal chef and a maid so that no complaint ever directly involves me.  Yep, that plan crosses my mind often.

But then I remember Dad’s advice.

And I know he was right.  All that matters is I give it my best and I finish the race.

It’s that intention, to give it my best and not to give up, that drives me every day.  Every day that I want to pull the covers over my head and ignore the chaos.  Every day that I am assaulted with whining and complaining and snotty noses.

Those are the days I have to take a deep breath and remember that finishing a race is a choice.  And it is a choice meant to be made with intention. 

We don’t start a race intending to quit.  We start with the intention of finishing.  Sometimes we lose sight of that intention as we focus on winning (ie. being the most admired mom out there [“how does she do it?”] or maybe being the mom with the most well-behaved kids at the weekly playdate [“those kids are so amazing”] or just being the mom that has it all together [“her house is perfect, her kids are perfect, her life is perfect”]), but the reality is we forget that finishing, with our best effort, is really all that matters.

So tomorrow I’ll try again.  I’ll get up and I’ll give it my best.  And it might be a good day or it might be a rotten day, but I’ll be able to sleep peacefully knowing that I gave it my all and I didn’t quit.

It’s a long run, this mothering race, but I am quite sure that finishing this race might just be one of the most intentional things I ever do in my life.

 

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{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Delighting in simplicity.  Taking a moment to intentionally be delighted.  Finding joy in an ordinary moment.  This is living with every intention.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

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