Just Because It’s What’s Done Doesn’t Mean It’s What Should Be Done: a Lesson in Poshness

Hey all! Grace here. 🙂

I hope you’re having a lovely February! Can you believe it’s almost Valentine’s Day?! Where in the world did January go? Recently, I started taking a few classes at our new community college, and time has absolutely flown. In fact, today I’d like to share with you a tale about someone I’ve encountered at a class there. Settle in with a cup of coffee, tea, or your warm beverage of choice, ’cause it’s story time with your Auntie Grace. 😉

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Does this picture look posh to you? Good. It’s supposed to. 😉

Our tale starts with a British boy who (for the purposes of this anecdote) will be named Bob. On the first day of biology lab class, I was the first one there, and was sitting at a lab table studying when Bob walked in. We exchanged “good morning”s, and he suddenly piped up,

“You know, you’re very posh.”

Well, call me Miss Platonic, but the way in which he said this didn’t come off as creepy or flirtatious. Besides, there were other people in the room at this point. I just laughed and replied that it’s really all a front—normally I’m a mess (which is true 😉 ). Admittedly, I have been embracing the cold weather as an opportunity to wear ten years’ worth of knitted and crocheted scarves, gloves, and other winter garments that have gone unworn during my life in Florida. I may be getting more matchy-matchy and fancy than usual, which I guess equates to posh. 😉 

I didn’t talk to Bob much more until a couple of weeks ago. The four people at each lab table rotate each week, and this particular week, I was sitting with three boys: one from Laos (we’ll call him Jeff), one with glasses (who I could tell was probably a former homeschooler…we’ll call him Steve), and Bob.

About ten minutes or so into the lab (which is three hours long), I realized something dismaying about Bob. He was rather outgoing and friendly, but he cussed and swore like a sailor on steroids. It wasn’t just one or two words when he dropped something—it was every. other. word.

I usually try not to judge or correct people, but the fact was that I was going to need to work with this boy for the next three hours, as well as some time next week before the tables switched again, and probably multiple times throughout the semester. We’re graded on how well we work with people—and to be completely honest, I can’t work well with someone dropping inappropriate little bombs in every sentence.

So, I took a risk.

The next time Bob let out a string of cuss words (which was about three seconds later), I said, 

“Hey, language, please!”

Bob didn’t seem mad—just surprised. He asked me why I would say that—and I desperately wanted to pull a Mary Poppins and simply reply that I “never explain anything.”

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(credit: google search)

 

I don’t actually remember exactly what I said next, but we had just been joking a few minutes earlier about how he’s 25 years old and the rest of us are 17 and 18, so he kind of laughed and said,

“Hey, I’m your elder, you’re not supposed to correct me!”

I only brought it up once more during the entire three hours. Every other time that he swore (which was, of course, a lot), he would catch himself and look at me somewhat guiltily. He poked fun at me (in a good-natured way), too, about my stiff posture, over-preparedness, and old-fashioned hobbies. We still had fun that day, but I could tell that this was probably the first time anyone had ever called attention to his swearing habit.

In fact, at one point, Bob asked the other two people at our table (Jeff and Steve, if you’ll recall) if they use swear words.

Jeff replied positively, although to be honest he’s pretty quiet and I haven’t heard him use them. Steve, on the other hand, laughed nervously and said that he doesn’t swear but he doesn’t mind when other people do.

I have a feeling that Steve is a homeschooler, y’all. I just get a feeling about fellow homeschoolers sometimes. 😉 I do know that like me, he’s dual-enrolled, and that he has many little siblings, so at least he comes from a large family and has obviously been taught not to swear. Jeff, on the other hand, has said little to nothing about his family or home life, but is a pretty quiet person overall who was just going along with what Bob said.

Therefore, at our table, we had varying degrees of compliance with the whole swearing thing: you have Jeff (who was completely willing to agree with Bob), Steve (who has apparently been taught not to cuss but can’t bring himself to say that he doesn’t like it)…and then there’s me.

In fact, I made a bar graph to help you visualize this. What? Graphs are posh. 😉

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{Graph of Poshness}

I’m not at all trying to put myself up on a pedestal as some perfect ideal of a non-swearing person (nobody’s perfect), but on that day, I encountered a rare opportunity to stick up for something I believe in: that swearing is wrong.

That weekend, I was taking some outdoor photos in my recently finished Cinderella costume, and my lovely mum reminded me of one of her favorite pieces of wisdom from the live action Cinderella movie: just because it’s what’s done doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.

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Don’t mind me, just waiting for Kit to show up. 😉

Y’all, let’s face it: swearing is “what’s done” for the majority of the world. Even though I’ve never approved of it, I don’t usually say anything about it, either—it’s just too easy to worry what people think. Sadly, we live in a society where seeming cool, trendy, or tough often causes us to compromise what we believe in, and that was what I saw in Steve that day, especially.

Am I saying that you should call out every single person you hear use a cuss word once or twice? Not at all. Personally, I feel like that can quickly put up a wall between you and the other person, and you might never get to be a light for Christ in their lives if they block you out because you were too rude or judgy at the start. Always feel out the situation first—I felt like Bob wasn’t the type to get angry at me, and I was able to say it in a nice way, so that it didn’t cut off our interaction completely.

What I am saying is that you don’t need to worry about what people think so much that you compromise your values. If the situation seems right, don’t let fear hold you back. And if you’re labeled as a goody two-shoes because of this, good for you! If people know not to say or do inappropriate things around you, I’d say that’s a great thing. Putting it on the table that you’re a clean-cut person could save you from more sticky situations down the road. After all, swearing might come first, but what worldly habit might be next? In James 4:17, the Bible says that:

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

In my situation, I felt like it would be sinful to stay silent and thereby approve of three hours’ worth (and an entire semester) of swearing. I’m by no means perfect—often, I fall into the “coolness” trap, too. It’s so easy to do, but in this particular situation it was obvious that swearing uncontrollably whilst calmly combining iodine and starch in test tubes and casually discussing chocolate (I’m serious, that’s what we were talking about) wasn’t cool.

But back to Bob…last week, I saw him again, and I noticed three things. First, he seemed a lot nicer and less cynical overall. Second, he didn’t cuss nearly as much, at least not around me. Third, he had worked really hard on his homework assignment and was proud to show me.

Of course, I have no idea if any of that was because of me—possibly not. I have no idea if my calling him out on his swearing planted a seed in his mind, or made him wonder why I don’t approve. If he ever asks me again why I don’t like cussing, I know what I’ll say, though.

Bottom line: swearing is a lose-lose. Somehow, it’s become a socially acceptable way to have a little temper tantrum, and it only serves to bring down you and those around you. Cuss words are empty—they have nothing to benefit anyone—not to mention that they all have extremely inappropriate meanings. 

So, now three boys in my biology lab probably think I’m a posh, uptight, fogey who studies too much…

 

…and I love it. Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. If they paid attention at all, they also know that I’m willing to be a listener or help with homework if I can. I’ve always got extra candy and gum in my purse if you need a pick-me-up, and I’ll always laugh at your puns, no matter how corny. I’m making the decision to embrace my “posh” label, and I don’t care one bit about being cool or trendy.

If you’re going through a situation where you’re debating whether to stand up for Biblical morals or not, I want to encourage you to stay strong. Your situation might be a lot more serious than a few kids in a biology class—and I totally get that. Just keep in mind—no matter how high the stakes are, you’re a light for Christ and you have the opportunity to blaze brightly or to fizzle out. “What’s done” could be absolutely anything, but I remind you that nothing says it’s what should be done. 

And by the way…standing up for Biblical morals is probably the poshest thing I can think of, so allow me to give you a virtual hug, my fellow posh princesses. 😉 ❤

 

XOXOXO,

Grace ❤

How Yarn Can Bring Moms and Daughters Together and Five Books to Inspire You

Hey all!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a yarn-er for life…I always have some yarn in my purse, so beware—if you leave me waiting anywhere for more than five minutes, I will start knitting or crocheting. 😉 

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Somewhere around ten years ago, my mom and I were both sick and needed something to do while recovering. We pulled up some videos on YouTube and ended up knitting the entire afternoon! Personally, I had tried learning to knit before, but it had never quite stuck. Something about doing it with my mom made all the difference, and it stayed with me so much more than when I did it alone. If we messed up, we just rewound the video and started over! 🙂 That evening, I was still knitting–I found that I couldn’t put it down, and I was itching to research the topic and do more.

I loved (and still love!) the idea of being productive in almost any situation—watching TV, waiting in a restaurant, etc. Instead of twiddling my thumbs, I can be twiddling my fingers, and end up with a cute garment! 😉 

One of my favorite Bible verses, Psalm 139:13, says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” If you already knit, you might have an idea of how much love and thought goes into a project. Multiply that by a million, and you’re still not even close to how much God loves us! I’m reminded of that love every time I start a new project, and it helps me a lot when I’m having self-doubt.

It takes a lot of humility to be good at learning and admit that you don’t always have all of the answers, which is something that I admittedly still struggle with. Yarn-ing in general taught me that it’s okay to be a beginner, and growth comes with time. 🙂 Although videos have definitely contributed to my growth over the years, there’s something about books that have impacted me even more. You can take a book anywhere and use it anytime—you don’t need battery life or wifi. 😉

 

If you’re looking to start knitting or crocheting with your mom or daughter, or if you already do and are looking for inspiration, I totally recommend these and other books from these authors! 

  1. Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman

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This was one of the first books that ever made me realize that I could do more with my crocheting—that I can be as funky as I want! I love this book because it combines classic crochet techniques and motifs with modern, funky stuff.

I also love the idea of moms and daughters making motifs and using them to create one gorgeous project that they made together!

2. Teach Yourself to Knit the Easy Columbia Minerva Way by Columbia Minerva

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LOOK! This book even has a mom and daughter knitting together on the front! 😉

Okay, so this is debatably a little hard to find, since it’s from the 60’s—you definitely wouldn’t find it in a Barnes and Noble or Joanne Fabrics. 😉 However, it is still on Amazon as of the writing of this article, and I scored this copy in a thrift store.

If you haven’t heard or seen the name Columbia Minerva lately, that’s because it went out of business quite a while ago and was bought by Caron (a much more well known yarn company). Although I didn’t learn to knit from this book, it did help me a lot with learning about simple structures for garments. 

It’s pretty cool to have patterns for timeless items like gloves, pullovers, and mittens that are written with no bells and whistles, all on straight needles and in stockinette stitch. I actually haven’t seen patterns online or in modern books like some of these. As I said, this book is ideal as a jumping off point for designing your own stuff.

Also, I’m a huge vintage nerd, and I love seeing these 60’s folks rocking their knitted items. 😉 Honestly, how cool is this dude in the vest?!

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3. Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman

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Elizabeth Zimmerman is without a doubt my favorite knitting celebrity/author. I know her style of writing isn’t for everyone, but I adore it! When you read a book by Elizabeth Zimmerman, you feel like she’s a close friend conversing with you about knitting.

Her directions are clear, but so friendly (did you know knitting patterns can be friendly?!) that I can’t help but enjoy every pattern in here.

I will say that I’m not sure this book is ideal for extreme beginners, but it’s awesome for more experienced knitters because it makes it easy to write patterns. The way Elizabeth writes, she gives you the basic knowledge you need to design a pullover, cardigan, skirt—you name it!

Not to mention, this book contains one of the best, most creative uses for a knitting needle I have ever heard:

“A #5 aluminum needle has been known to function as an excellent emergency shearpin for an outboard motor. It once saved us seven miles of paddling. Then I had to spend hours re-pointing the needle on rocks, having nobly, but foolishly, offered the business end instead of the knob end for sacrifice.”

Enough said. 😉

4. Knit Your Socks on Straight by Alice Curtis

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I’m always a huge fan of knitting gurus who demystify complicated techniques and projects so that anyone can do them—and this is a prime example!

Personally, I enjoy using double-pointed needles, circular needles, and other knitting-in-the-round tools, but I was still amazed when I found this book! When I was first starting out, I would have loved to know how to knit socks on straight needles.

Also, even if you can knit in the round, it’s still fun to have variety—and this book is full of adorable patterns in lots of different gauges and sizes. I’m especially a big fan of the Moccasocks pattern—I’ve made them in multiple colors and adore them!

5. The Big Acorn Race by Jennifer Olivarez

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I have a huge soft spot in my heart for this book, because I got to help test the patterns for it! It’s the first crafting book I’ve ever been mentioned in! 🙂

Not to mention…this entire book just radiates cuteness!! The characters of Hodge, Podge, and Eric absolutely rock, and the incredible detail in all the photos is insanely mind-blowing!

I love the concept of having a book that is part storybook and part pattern book—because you can read the story to the child in your life, then crochet them their own version of it! As a future auntie, I can’t wait to make my niece or nephew their own squirrel buddies!

To close, I’d like to mention that we live in an age where online free patterns and tutorials abound (seriously, just take a gander at Pinterest!), but where the concept of working with your hands is sometimes overlooked. While spending quality time together, moms and daughters can also preserve an art form. There’s something so special about taking a ball of string and turning it into something beautiful that didn’t exist before. 😉

I hope this top five round-up was interesting and helpful, and feel free to let me know in the comments what books have helped you with learning a hobby!

The Christmas Grocery Store Misadventures of Queen Elsa

Hey all! Grace here! 🙂

Unfortunately, the Christmas season is over–but I’ll be honest, I’m kinda still basking in its glory. 😉 At our new home in NC, it’s still freezing cold and we’re getting our fair share of sleet, hail, and snow warnings, so I may or may not be playing some Christmas tunes. 🙂

This week, here on the blog, we’re going to be doing something a little different, which is telling a (hopefully) entertaining story about one of my experiences as a princess performer, which takes place on Christmas Eve in a Publix grocery store, and what I learned from it. Yep, I sound crazy already. 😉 

Okay, so a little backstory…in 2015, I started making costumes and entertaining at kids’ parties and events. Mainly, I do Disney Princesses and the occasional superhero, but let’s be honest here: 90% of what I do is Queen Elsa from Frozen. 😉 Typically at a birthday party, I play Let it Go on my flute (‘cause I definitely can’t sing it 😉 ), read a story to the kids, and present a gift to the birthday girl. It’s always a wonderful, lovely experience, and these events have guided me towards a career path of (Lord willing) pediatric nursing.Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, tree, outdoor and nature

However, I’ve also done over the years a few different events. By different, I mean that not all of them involve Elsa simply coming for an hour and leaving. Back in 2015, I worked a few times on special occasions at my local Publix as a door greeter. It was really cool…there were lots of employees giving samples, balloons, and the like with music playing—and yours truly, Elsa, was right there in the middle of it. 😉 It was actually a little reminiscent of the incredible Publix Christmas parties they used to have back in the day (anyone remember those?).

The only slight disadvantage was that these special events went on throughout the day—I think the longest one I ever did was about eight hours.

Eight. Hours. In. Ice. High. Heels.

I’m slightly kidding, of course…it wasn’t that bad. 😉 The kids were adorable, the other employees were wonderful, and these events were overall great experiences.

So, when I was asked to come for only four hours on Christmas Eve  morning, from 8 am to noon, I was more than willing and excited. I even have a picture from the car ride there—I look totally happy and healthy, right? 😉

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Well, something went wrong. I’m not sure exactly what, but I suspect it was a combination of lack of water, nervousness, and the snug ice bodice part of the costume, but I ended up feeling sick as a dog the entire time. It wasn’t enough to be serious (just a headache and stomach ache), but it was enough to make this snow queen a train wreck.

It was okay, however…I wasn’t running a marathon, after all. Thankfully, I got to stay pretty still, staying near the door, greeting kids, and taking pictures with them. On Christmas Eve morning, you better believe there were loads of kids, and I was thrilled to see them.

So I powered through the nauseous, swimmy-headed feelings, and actually started to feel better towards the end. Overall, the event had gone well.

Until.

About thirty minutes before noon (when I would clock out), a scruffy-looking man with a garbage sack over his shoulder approached me (Elsa), and said,

“Oh, hi! Are you my elf today?”

Well.

Needless to say, I let out a confused, nervous “um, no…?” before immediately striding off as gracefully as I could (which wasn’t very graceful at all) towards some kids who hadn’t met Elsa yet at the other entrance. I had never known what to do in a case like that, and while I didn’t want to make a scene (after all, he hadn’t been that creepy-sounding, just odd), I didn’t want to stick around, either.

About five minutes later, I shifted back over to the other entrance, where I found the manager of the store (the one who hired me) talking to this man. I caught a snatch of their conversation, which went something like this.

“…so you start at noon, once Elsa leaves.”

“Okay. I have my suit in the sack. Where should I change?”

Then it hit me.

Santa.

This was Santa.

I had been told that Santa would be coming later in the day to take over, but I hadn’t thought he would look like this (this man was not exactly a jolly, bowlful of jelly), and I certainly hadn’t expected a line like “are you my elf today?”

So, now I definitely had to apologize to Santa. I fumbled out what I tried to make a sincere apology and although he was fairly gracious, I think I definitely caught a jealous side eye from him as I left, since all of the little girls present were maybe a little bit more excited to see Elsa than Santa. 😉

Moral of the story?

Number 1: It’ll be okay.

The Lord sustained me through my work shift, and by His grace, Elsa didn’t faint, throw up, or anything of the sort.

Sure, I had to conceal my feelings and put on a smile the whole time (quite fitting for Elsa, if you’ve seen the movie 😉 ), but it turned out just fine. It was only for a few hours, and a lot of good came of it. It was only temporary, and temporary discomfort was okay. Being a trooper and sticking it out made a much better impression on the manager than if I had fizzled out in the first ten minutes.

(The note here, however, is that if I were feeling extremely sick, I would have of course told a manager and clocked out. You should always take note of your health and notify others if you believe it to be contagious or dangerous. Okay…end of Grace’s PSA. 😉 )

Number 2: Everyone Makes Mistakes

Even billion-dollar-grossing Disney princesses. 😉 I’m by no means a professional at Elsa-ing (or any character, for that matter), but I always thought I did pretty well at saying the right things, posing for pictures, etc.

Until I accidentally insulted Santa, I had never had anything go wrong before, and you can bet that I beat myself up over it for a while afterward…

…that is, until my older brothers, who were both home for Christmas, started cracking up over the experience. Truly, I had to laugh, too—it was an Elf-worthy moment reminiscent of the “you sit on a throne of lies” scene. 😉

Everyone makes mistakes, but the only thing you can do is learn from them, hopefully, find room to laugh about them, and don’t take yourself too seriously.

In the words of the ever-wise Queen Elsa, “let it go.” 😉

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XOXO,

Grace

My Life as an Overachieving Try Hard: Why Achieving Excellence is Okay

Hello, all! It’s Grace! 🙂

I hope all of you are having a lovely New Year! First things first, we have a big announcement in regards to Her Heritage…the incredibly awesome Cynthia and Ashley, founders of Her Heritage, have made the decision to step away from it, and although we are going to miss them so, so much, I am so excited for what the future holds. I am definitely not perfect and I have a lot to learn, but I’m extremely honored to have the opportunity to work on Her Heritage more, and to meet more of you lovely readers! Cynthia and Ashley, feel free to drop by any time–you will be greatly missed! ❤

This time of year, people are all about making and hopefully keeping New Years Resolutions, and I thought it would be fun to discuss a topic near and dear to my heart: achieving excellence. But first–a little story.

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Our story opens in a college music appreciation class, near the end of the 2017 fall semester.

My teacher was explaining our final project and showing examples of past projects. The assignment was to create some sort of creative item showcasing certain composers and what we had learned about them.

She showed various scrapbooks, flashcards, and posters that students had made in past. She held up one such scrapbook, which was adorned with artfully arranged portraits of composers, photos of their homelands, and sheet music. This one, she explained, was made by an art student who was very excited about the assignment.

“Ugh!” one girl in the class suddenly interrupted. “That is so try hard.”

“Yeah,” her friend agreed in disgust. “That is try hard.”

“Excuse me?” the teacher raised an eyebrow.

“You know, try hard,” the second girl helpfully defined. “It’s when you go the extra mile for no reason.”

“Well, it got an A,” my teacher said. “That was the reason.”

This scene may sound like something out of a Disney Channel movie, but it happens more often than you may think, both in and out of the academic world.

My mom read a beauty magazine in a waiting room recently, in which a beauty guru explained her method for getting the perfect messy, wavy hair. You don’t want to look too try hard, she explained, so simply don’t wash your hair for over a week.

Although the term “try hard” has come into popularity in recent times, the favored word of years past was “overachiever.” I’ve heard it used to describe academics, fashion, hair, makeup, hobbies, and sports, to name a few. “Overachiever” is one of those passive-aggressive terms that seems nice, but really implies that whatever great thing you did was unnecessary at best, and obnoxious at worst.

Well, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Grace, and I’m an overachieving try hard through and through.

My very presence in that music appreciation classroom was a statement of overachievement—since I’m not actually a college student yet. At the time, I was entering my third year of dual enrollment/early college, and my first semester taking a full load of college classes. I’m not telling you this to brag, but only to let you know that I probably represented the very thing those girls despised: going the extra mile for no apparent reason.

Except—to a small minority of people (of which I hope you are a part), there is a reason, and it’s called achieving excellence.

Excellence is that little spark inside that tells you staying up late to finish an essay or to put the finishing touches on that hobby project is worth it. Excellence is that pricking feeling you get when something is done halfway that says it could have been done better.

One of my all time favorite books, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, is a Newberry award-winning fictionalized biography of one of the most influential mathematicians in history—and it also happens to be one of my biggest sources of inspiration when it comes to achieving excellence. 

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This book tells the story of Nathanial Bowditch, a budding young student who is making straight A’s and doing math years above his grade level when his world is turned upside down. Suddenly, he has to become an indentured servant for the sake of his poverty-stricken family, and he finds himself ripped away from academics and thrown into the trade of ships and sea life.

Stuck in a profession that he certainly wouldn’t have chosen for himself, Nat makes the decision to achieve excellence anyway. During the day, he fills notebook after notebook with information about running and navigating a ship, and at night he works tirelessly at learning Latin and math.

Eventually, Nat finishes his indenture and works his way up to captain of a ship, teaching others along the way and thus allowing them to advance through the ranks—because he was willing to share his knowledge of navigation and mathematics. Even lowly sailors who could only count on their fingers were able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become first mates and captains, all because Nat cared enough to achieve excellence in his own work and pass it on to others.

Nat went on to write a book called the American Practical Navigator that is still kept and used on ships today, and although it has been updated for modern times and technology, it still bears the name “Nathanial Bowditch.” As an aside, I 100% recommend Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. It makes me smile, laugh, and cry, and it contains countless charming moments. The fact that the protagonist was a real person is just icing on the cake!

Back to the issue at hand…what can we learn about achieving excellence from Nat and his story? Well, I’m sure that even in his day (the late 1700’s), there were students like the ones I encountered in my music appreciation class—students who didn’t want to do too well, for fear of being labeled a suck-up or teacher’s pet. However, I think it’s safe to say that Nat would have traded anything to be in school like those other kids his age, instead of stuck in an indenture contract. In his eyes, those kids were living like kings—to have nothing to do all day but learn and study.

Nat did his academic learning late at night, after putting in a full day of work. It’s important to recognize that he didn’t have to do that. He probably would have been perfectly justified to say he was tired and go to bed each night without doing any extra work.

A common saying in our home, coined by my wonderful dad, says the following:

“You don’t have to do this, you get to do this.”

I didn’t have to be in that college class…but I got to do it. 

A common complaint I hear about achieving excellence is that it is self-centered or selfish somehow. However, I say that doing your best and trying hard prepares you to better serve others and give back. Nat’s story is a prime example of this—he changed literally millions of lives by teaching others and writing a book that made it safer to sail on a ship.

I think it’s also important to note that achieving excellence is not the same thing as being a perfectionist. I’ve known perfectionists over the years who made themselves miserable because things didn’t go precisely the way they wanted. I still know kids who beat themselves up like crazy just because they don’t win first place in every single thing they do. I’m stating the obvious here, but that’s a pretty miserable way to live.

Achieving excellence doesn’t mean that you have to be the best at everything—it only means that you care enough to try. To try hard.

One of my favorite Bible verses, Ecclesiastes 9:10 (a) says, “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”, and that verse is what has gotten me through my life up to this point. There were so many times that I wanted to do things halfway or quit for fear of what other people would think–but truly, who breaks records when they’re worried about what other people think?

As we enter the new year, I hope you remember there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing things to the best of your ability–never let anyone tell you that it isn’t cool to do the best you can or to go after a dream.

Feel free to leave a comment below telling us about a time in your life when you achieved excellence! 🙂

XOXO,

Grace

Fall Blogs: Teamwork and Tap Shoes

Teamwork and Tap Shoes

Hey, y’all!

This week we have a super fun video on the Her Heritage channel: Fall in Florida! Be sure to tune in!

During the fall months, my schedule is always packed with a lot of clogging! Here in Florida, we have loads of fall festivals, and even though it never quite feels like fall (80 degrees and up), and there are no fall leaves, there are plenty of pumpkins, entertainment, and fair foods to get everyone in the mood. 😉 I thought it would be fun this week on the blog to elaborate a little on my clogging experience and the life lessons it has taught me over the past ten years (wow, I feel old). 😉 

First things first, what exactly is clogging? In short, it’s sort of a combination of Irish dance and tap dance, done traditionally to country music. However, you can clog to almost any kind of music, which my group fully embraces. 🙂

Let’s head back in time to 2009, and eight-year-old Grace, who wanted to join 4-H. My mom found a 4-H club that sounded promising—the Clogging Clovers. I didn’t even know what clogging was, but I was nervously excited to give it a try. 

Turns out, I was the only kid there at the first practice, and the teacher was amazing! She gave me lots of one-on-one time, and although I liked her a lot, I came home crying that week because I was so scared of what would happen once other kids joined. How would I keep up with them? Well, my parents nudged me into going back one more time, and after that second practice, I never looked back. Now, I’m not saying I was a dance prodigy—far from it. 😉 I messed up my steps like crazy, and I still do that often—it’s whatcha call learning. 🙂

However, once we got some dances down pat and our group started performing, I realized what this group was giving me: a team. Clogging may not be a team sport in the traditional sense of the word, but in my opinion, it gives kids a lot of the same values. These values of a work ethic and a willingness to make sacrifices when necessary come in handy in so many areas of life—especially when it comes to being a parent or child!

I realized quickly that the more you put into your performance, the more you get out of it. Sure, it might make your cheeks hurt, but smiling the entire time that you’re dancing, and picking your feet up energetically directly transfers to making the audience happy. This is not something you can do alone. Out of a group of twenty dancers, if only one is smiling, it doesn’t do a lot of good. However, if even a couple more people pick up on the idea, the audience starts to notice—and that’s what you call a team effort. There’s something about dancing with a group as opposed to on your own in a solo that gives every single person more energy and stamina, and it’s something I’ve been experiencing firsthand for a decade.

There are a few clogging memories that are seared into my brain forever, and one of them is a Christmas practice we had that lasted until nearly midnight, only a couple of days before we had to perform. We were hardly forming comprehensive sentences, but we were getting the dance down, and nobody was complaining—because we were taking one for the team. In that way, clogging is pretty similar to any other team sport or activity. 

For me, the real difference that separates clogging from other team activities emerges when you perform in front of a crowd. My favorite performances we do are on the street, not a stage, and we’re only about six or seven feet from the audience. At these kinds of shows, I let myself really cut loose with smiling and winking and generally acting goofy with the audience. That’s not to say that performing isn’t hard—because it is. When you need water and a bathroom break and you’re exhausted and at the end of your rope, it seems impossible sometimes to pick up your feet and grin at a five-year-old girl watching. But it’s worth it—because it’s for the team…and truly, you never know how much you will positively affect people with your performance.

Over the years, I’ve done some solos, and sure, they were fun. Truly, however, nothing compares to the feeling of waiting for music to start while standing beside your best friends in the world who’ve sweated, bled, and cried with you—ready to make people happy with tap shoes and teamwork. 

So, to all the moms reading—if you ever get the chance to sign up your daughter for a team activity, I totally recommend it. Teamwork is one of those virtues that simply can’t be learned from a textbook, and in my humble opinion, performing in some respect is a great way to learn about it.

Thank you all for reading, and be sure to leave a comment telling us what you or your daughter’s favorite team activity is! Better yet, share with us a time that you and your mom or daughter worked as a team!

XOXO,

Grace