Authenticity + Peace

So, this has been an interesting week. A good week. But I’ve had some very strong impressions regarding my blog and what I need to share with you.

I have dozens of *sprinkles* written that I can use on my blog–after all, I’ve been working toward this  new website for over a year! When it came time to pick Sprinkle #1 for last Monday, I literally scanned down my list and in a very random way, picked one. After I posted the sprinkle about looking up Elizabeth Mitchell singing Peace Like a River, I headed out for a walk and had this thought: “I should drive down to the river and walk along the river.” I loved that thought, so I did. I walked for more than an hour along the Spokane river. After a busy week of returning from Japan and launching a website it was a much needed respite.

trail tree
river

I even snapped several pics with my iPhone (which, can I just say, I LOVE that I can take pictures with my phone?)

Anyway, as I walked along the river with the words of the song running through my mind, I thought about peace and where it comes from. I thought about how one finds peace in troubling times — especially peace that flows like a river.

I’m going to assume that if you’ve read my blog for very long, you know that I am drawn to spiritual things. I start each day with prayer and scripture reading and I contemplate things of a spiritual nature at least as often as I contemplate scrapbooking (wink.) While I am not afraid to write about things of a spiritual nature, I generally shy away from doing so on a public blog, primarily because these things are such an intimate part of me — who I am and how I think and why I choose to do the things I do. But … and here comes my “Aha” moment, if I claim authenticity and avoid blogging about something as important to me as spirituality, then I am in fact not being authentic with myself or my readers. Don’t get me wrong … I’m NOT all of a sudden going to start promoting, proselyting or defending my faith — this is not my style. I have decided however to be more open about what I believe and be more willing to share things that I read or experience that I find inspiring or insightful or just plain helpful in living   life and more specifically living life peacefully.

Have you ever gone on a walk or taken a shower or been somewhere else when thoughts and feelings flow freely and powerfully — only to return and think, “I am NOT going to do that.” Well, this is exactly what happened to me. I came home, got busy and decided to doubt the very poignant feelings I had had on my walk. I brushed them aside, with the thought, I’ll blog more about spiritual things if I get some kind of sign (careful girlfriend.) Fast forward to last Wednesday morning. I’m reading along in the Book of Mormon where the prophet Nephi is dealing with his very disobedient and obstinate brothers (Laman and Lemuel) and is trying to encourage them to remember all that the Lord has done for the children of Israel (way back to Moses and the exodus from Egypt and everything) and he writes …

And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning. (1 Nephi 19:23)

Then Nephi quotes from chapter 48 of Isaiah (as in Isaiah in the Old Testament) …

O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments—then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea. (1 Nephi 20:18 and Isaiah 48:18)

I was like WHOA! did I just read “peace as a river”? No way. Obviously the folk song was inspired by the Bible. And I’m taking this as a sign and not messing with it, so … this leaves me only one option. I am going to be more authentic with the source of my peace and happiness, here on my blog. Right now, I take Sundays off. What I think I’d like to do is try and share a scripture or a quote or a video clip or something of a spiritual nature on Sundays. If you don’t want to read spiritual things on what is otherwise a scrapbooking/busy mom blog, then you can skip Sundays.

Sound good?

So, back to my interesting week. As soon as I made my decision to plan some Sunday posts, I received an email that to me was a tender mercy letting me know that my quest for more authenticity is a good thing. Here’s the email, name withheld.

I feel emotionally weary from life right now.  I am not satisfied with who I am as a mother or as a woman.  Last night and this morning have been especially hard.  I didn’t want to hear the song I didn’t want to download it.  But I felt compelled.  Like I had to.  As it played, tears welled in my eyes.  I have not felt peace in my soul for a long time.  I so want that.  I put it on repeat and soon my family (3 of my 4 kids and my husband) were singing along.  I felt my stress lighten and hope feels possible.  Thank you so much for what you do.  There are 2 other women in my life who I really admire the spirit of.  They keep a smile through any struggle.  The face life as a blessing, no matter what.  They feel pain I know, but they have peace and are always a joy to be around.  You must be like them, I just sense that you are!  You have inspired me to paint my home in happy colors and to create a positive, happy place, and to make the small things in life special for my family.

I asked for permission to share this with you and the reason is because life is extremely challenging and we ALL have times when we are emotionally weary and dissatisfied with ourselves. In spite of all that, life is good and there is peace to be had. Simply put, true peace comes from knowing God and knowing that he is our loving, kind and accessible father in heaven. When you accept that you are a child of God (with all the wonderful things that implies) then you can through prayer and scripture reading come to know him and his son, Jesus Christ. As your faith grows, your ability to draw strength from this faith grows. You begin to see yourself as you really are — a person of infinite worth with unlimited potential — an imperfect person, but a person that can change and grow. A person that can be at peace with her present self and still anxious to discover a better version of that self.

This is the source of my peace (like a river.)

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Comments

  1. miki thompson says:

    Thank you for taking the time to inspire others to be better people inside and out. This is my second experience in less than 24 hours of someone having total peace and happiness. It must be a sign to re-evaluate myself and my life a bit. There is a lot missing that I have total control over and to be frank, I am simply going to start with a walk (and maybe paint my dining room wall).

  2. I totally applaud you for standing by what you believe in! I myself am not a “religious” kind of person, in other words I am not a churchgoer, but I do appreciate faith, love, peace and those philosophies. So blog away and on what better day than Sunday to share your inspirational and often times motivational look at life. Thanks Stacy for being real. :)

  3. Thank you, Stacy! I have been absent from church on and off all summer. I felt I needed some time away; to ponder, sleep in, and to make excuses!!! Today, my children and I went to Sunday School and church! Let me tell you that it felt very good to be at HOME with our loving Father and in the WORD. I felt at peace and very happy!!! We started the new Max Lucado book; “Fearless.” I really knew in my heart that I was being carried today. It brought me to tears; for the times that I ran away and the times; like today that I needed to to to church to hear the message and study the word. And, to know that I love the Lord with all my heart and soul and I need HIM! All, I need to do is to reach out to Him; alone, no others, to listen, to pray and wait upon His answers!!! Thank you for being authenic and giving us peace on Sundays; I like that!!

  4. Stacy, I logged on today to read the week, assuming there would be no blog for Sunday, as for those since I found you here. I knew by reading between the lines and within the journaling of various layouts in the past that you are a woman of Faith (note the capitol F) and I am so touched that you have chosen to share that, as you say, “intimate”, part of yourself and your life. I am not a Sister, however I share your love of our Lord. Unfortunately, I live in an area where the words, “Jesus Christ” are used more often in vain than in praise. The religious climate here is decidedly apathetic toward the Christian faith and I have to admit I have been less than authentic in the representation of my own Faith for a very long time. Reading today’s blog has inspired me and my tiny cross will be coming out of my jewelry box today for good. Thank you for showing this “closet Christian” the way to authenticity. May God Bless you and yours.

  5. Stacy, I’ve enjoyed your blog since I first started reading it. I loved your scrapbooking work even before that. Thanks for sharing your beliefs and your spirituality. Thank you for sharing the email from your reader.

    Have a great week, and I’m looking forward to reading your words any time you post!

  6. Christine H says:

    I can’t imagine anyone who has read your blog for any amount of time didn’t get that you are a woman of faith. However, it is something else to speak it out loud in no uncertain terms. Thanks for making that leap. Mormon, Catholic, Lutheran….whatever….we need to live that faith out loud. You just never know who might be listening that day.

  7. Stacy, I for one won’t miss a day. And possibly Sunday will be a favorite for me. I’m inspired by you in so many ways. You are able to admit you are human yet accomplish so many things. Through the work of God we can accomplish great things. Share on, I’ll be hear to read and listen.

  8. Stacy, I am not a religious person, but I do appreciate your authenticity and the beauty of your posts. This is your blog – publish whatever makes you happy! I’m here either way.

  9. Ginny Ritenour says:

    Stacy, I know that I will be lost in a sea of comments (as you have so many fans), but I’m compelled to write anyway.
    While I feel that I’m definitely a spiritual person, I can say that I am not a “religious” person in that organized religion doesn’t feel right to me. My personal beliefs are to treat others fairly and with kindness, tolerance and understanding and to make sure that those that I love actually RECEIVE love from me in words and actions. This is why I’ve been drawn to you since the first editorial letter I read in SS. You personify expression of passion, energy, and kindness.
    All this being said, my stepfather and now my mother (and added extended family) are LDS. I admire the way his family has embraced and welcomed my mother (and our entire family for that matter) and over the years she has made many dear, loving girlfriends, the likes of which she never had when I was living at home.
    You have made a significant difference in my life, both through scrapbooking articles and classes (LOM alum here!) and simply through the example that you live.
    My point is, NOT being a religious person, I look forward to your spirituality-based posts as they are a continued reflection of the “real” you and I’m sure will have an influence on me as all the rest of your posts do and will be cause for continued personal introspection.
    Thank you for all you do, from the bottom of my heart :-)

  10. Staci Garrison says:

    Stacy,

    I have been a big fan of yours for a long time (I started scrapbooking just before Simple Scrapbooks came out and you authographed my premiere edition!). I’ve attended many of your classes, especially when you are home in Bothell and at Lasting Memories (my LSS). Everytime I hear you, read your blog, etc. I ALWAYS see your spirituality shine through as the core of who you are. So, while you may not have blatantly blogged about it or feel like you share outright, I just want to tell you that you are an obvious witness just in who you are and how you come across in the world. For that, I have always been grateful because it’s not just your scrapbooking or cool mom ideas that inspire me, it’s your sheer being the awesome person that we all wish we could have as one of our really good friends.

    Thank you for all you share, all you do, and most of all, all you are – a light in my life and many others.

  11. Oh thank you – I was hoping you would do this. You are a such an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing and taking the time for this.

  12. Thank you for sharing from your heart and letting yourself be transparent to your readers…you and your heart for God always shine through in your blog posts. You are a sprinkle in many of my gloomy days. Thank you for your brave reader…I read her thoughts several times, wondering if it was mine. I struggle with depression, have 4 kids, and a wonderful husband. Some days are really tough for me, but your blog, and several others (lolabboutique and megduerksen) are three of my favorites….for women who are moms and are real and inspiring daily. I’m not on meds….I’ve chosen to be present, give myself some breaks, run by the river nearly every day (where I feel such peace and joy), give to others, and create something with my hands that brings some happiness to our home. Thank you for this beautiful version of a favorite tune. Another great version is from Audio Adrenaline….”when peace like a river, attendeth my ways, and sorrow …” It’s an old hymn remade. Thanks to for your playlists. My kids and I have been dancing and singing to them all week long. Thank you for all you do!!

  13. Ahh, Stacy .. . . you know I went and downloaded that song on Tuesday, and my kids have thoroughly enjoyed it as much as I have. On Wednesday, my (step) mom (and my only mom since my mom passed away in 97) called to say that her dad (and she was always a daddy’s girl) had passed away on Monday. This song (and Three Little Birds, which I also downloaded after spending some time on iTunes that day) helped keep me sane when speaking to her. I had peace knowing she got to see her dad one last time before he passed away Monday morning; that she said she wouldn’t have gone if she knew it was to say goodbye, but yet, I’ve been there to encourage her that it happened that way for a reason . . . she needed to say goodbye, he needed to see her one last time, and now she knows that it was peaceful and he was in a good place instead of always wondering. Breaking the news to my daughter was pretty hard too as this guy was a giant teddy bear . . . anyhow, I love that you’re going to devote Sundays to a little spirituality. It’s one of the things I love about you.

    Whoops, sorry for the tangent . . . I never did report back on the “sprinkle” with what I did . . . but the peace we have gotten from listening to that song and remembering what we’re here for has been nothing but more appropriate for us . . . quite a big blessing indeed.

  14. Kary in Colorado says:

    Thanks, Stacy, that was beautiful. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and have to tell you that I teach a couple of Institute classes and we were discussing 1 Nephi 19-22 Wednesday–I noticed “peace as a river” too! Love the language of Isaiah (not to mention Nephi!).

  15. This is what I felt all those years ago. And look at all these comments. This is what you are here to do (along with mother those cute kids and bless those of us who know you in real life). Thanks for letting “your light shine forth to all men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven”.

    This is going to be so so good.

  16. I have long admired you and your work and your belief in living and working intentionally. I am sorry to see this post.

    I find that there aren’t many in the scrapbooking world to whom I can relate as an atheist, and that’s unfortunate. This is especially true in scrapbooking “leadership,” for lack of a better word: the people who publish magazines and books, put on classes, and so on. I can and do skip over the many, many references to faith, pages about religion and spirituality, etc., or take from them just what relates to me (e.g. a cool layout or an idea about scrapbooking something important to me). It is one of the most challenging parts of being involved in “scrapbooking community” for me, whether it’s buying and reading books and magazines, finding local scrappers, or other areas where I would and do enjoy learning from people who share this passion.

    It is honestly hard for me that this hobby I love that has brought together many of the things important to me in life (photography, story-telling, family & family history, genealogy) is so heavily populated by people whose published works (writing, pages, and so on) feel like proselytizing – either actively or bordering on it. Of course, it is those people’s lives and genuine feelings and it’s just the way it is. But it does often lead to me feeling like I’m in the wrong place with the wrong people, as nice and as helpful and as talented as they are.

    I just recently discovered your blog (or rediscovered it, after not reading blogs for a long time), and I’m honestly saddened that you feel called to share The Word here more openly, more often, and as more of a focus. I expect I will go back to using your (happily secular) books for inspiration and find other venues that are not as “in my face” about religion. I don’t need to be regularly encouraged to “join in” as if there was something wrong or lacking my life because I do not believe as others do.

    I already see this in your post today. :-( You said: “Don’t get me wrong … I’m NOT all of a sudden going to start promoting, proselyting or defending my faith — this is not my style.”

    But then below:

    “Simply put, true peace comes from knowing God and knowing that he is our loving, kind and accessible father in heaven.” That, Stacy, is actually actively proselytizing. I don’t see being authentic as necessarily meaning sharing everything about our selves in every forum. There are many places where expounding about one’s faith and beliefs are completely suitable and appropriate, but a scrapbooking blog…? I guess that’s no longer what you want to provide, which is your choice absolutely. But it unfortunately leaves out a chunk of your followers (maybe not many of us, but we’re here!)

    You will have many, many fans here still, though, since scrapbooking is primarily done by those who are religious (at least so it seems), so I’m sure you won’t miss one little atheist ! Maybe you actually prefer it that way. I will miss your blog, though. :-( I wish you well, and if you decide at some point to reach out to a broader audience again, I will welcome the opportunity to read your work again.

    I wish you the best,
    –S

    • S,

      Thank you for being honest and for sharing your perspective. I really respect that. It must be difficult to be an atheist and have so much of the published work in magazines and on blogs make reference to faith and God. I love however that you pointed out there is much in common among scrapbookers — a love for photography, story-telling, family, family-history etc … clearly, we have far more in common than not. I invite you to continue reading my blog during the week, to enjoy the sprinkles and color inspiration sections and to leave comments sharing your feelings and views at any time — scrapbooking is and will continue to be the primary focus of what I do here and I would hate for you to miss out on those topics that we share a passion for.

      Perhaps by extending tolerance to one another, we could be one example of the goodwill our world so desperately needs.

      I’m in.

  17. Heather C says:

    Beautiful — looking foward to next week’s post. Please do not be discouraged by those who do not share your views.

  18. Thanks Stacy for being real and living out your faith. My faith is what gets me through each day – thanks for sharing yours. May you be an encouragement to all – the Lord speaks through many venues.

  19. You are an inspiration, Stacy, because of who you are and what you believe. That light shines through to your readers and followers and has ever since I noticed you way back with your first book. I am grateful that you will be sharing more in this direction.

  20. Stacy thank you so much for today’s comments.
    I am saddened by the comments above from an atheist friend, please don’t go away, stay for awhile, please.
    One of these days I would love to share a story with you that I know you will understand. Until that time just know that what you say and do is appreciated.

  21. Thank you for sharing more of your authentic self with us, Stacy. We’re ready! :)

  22. Stacy-

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    It is a wonderful thing to have your blog to read. Your spirit and realness is infectious.
    I love the comments that you made several days back about a teacher conference about your son, I love your Sprinkle section and I love this new Sunday post.

    In a world that is so much about gossip and sin, stacyjulian.com brings me a lots of happiness when I read it.

    God Bless You.

  23. It takes a lot of courage to share your beliefs, I admire you so much for doing so. Also, it couldn’t be more clear that you accept and love others even if their beliefs do not align with yours. But, it is impossible to please everyone, and I too believe that true peace comes from pleasing God. I hope that peace will transcend any negative comments you may receive. I’ll look forward to your Sunday posts!

  24. Stacy, thank you! It was always obvious to me that you are a woman of faith, and I wll look forward with joy to reading your Sunday posts. I have long been convinced that daily prayer and bible study are essential to my health and happiness and I know my peace suffers when I miss a day (or more). Many thanks for the happiness you spread. Keep on sprinkling.

  25. Thanks for helping me feel the Spirit more on a Monday morning than I did yesterday in 3 hours of church (thanks to 3 rambunctious little boys)… I truly appreciate your attitude and inspiration :)

  26. Stacy,
    I love that we are part of a community of scrapbookers, color lovers and motherhood. Most importantly I love that we can share our Faith as well. Connecting with people is honey to the soul for some people and when we can find yet another common bond, it seems all the more special. So, thank you.

    Stacy, when we begin to share about oursleves and let people see the real “me” we are really putting ourselves and our families out their for scrutiny and yet acceptance at the same time. I commend you for doing this in such a public manner – your blog and website. You have been equpped to do a specific job. And you are doing that job well!

    Keep pressing on, Stacy!

    P.S. You inspire me!

  27. You have inspired me again. Reminded me that peace and true happiness are not found in what we do or how well we do it but lie within our relationship with the Father. You reminded me that when I do fall short of my expectations (or someone else’s) to pick myself up and carry on toward the goal and that we each have our own purpose in this life. I am looking forward to your Sunday posts!!

  28. Wow, Stacy! You are awesome. So brave. It seems that in today’s world it’s not popular to stand up for the LDS faith. Way to put your neck out. It is very cool. I don’t think we, as scrapbookers, have to all be alike, whether it’s religion or having small children at home or any other number of things. It’s ok to embrace differences and be tolerant of each other—in whatever capacity that entails. You are quite a gal. I am very impressed. I look forward to reading your thoughts on Sundays.

  29. Hiya Stacy! Well I am not a Mormon and I don’t even consider myself a Christian (though I am far from an atheist). That doesn’t mean I am ignorant, as I do have a BA in religious studies and anthropology and I focused on Biblical theology and early formations of Christianity in my religion major. I always knew you were a very devout LDS member and that is a big part of who you are because you have shared habits and preferences and pages that have shown that. But i really like that you don’t seem to feel the need to “save” people except in the realm of scrapbooking. :-)

    As “S” shared above I also frequently feel “left out” of scrapbooking especially when you add in that I do not have children or a husband to scrap about. I appreciate that you have “scheduled” more faith-based posts on Sundays specifically and have invited all of us to skip that day if it will bother us. That is very considerate, especially since this is your blog and your website and you can do what you like! I cannot imagine that you would restrict mentioning your children and family life to one day a week for fear of offending people like me :-)

    You are really the nicest person, Stacy. Also I read your post and I thought it was lovely even if there was a sentence or two that may not have resonated with me specifically. I loved the photos a lot. I may just skim over the sentences that don’t resonate with me personally. Have a great one!

    • Margot/NZ says:

      That pretty much sums it up for me too, so rather than rewrite what ~M~ has put, I’ll just say “hear, hear”. Thanks Stacy for all you do, and don’t hesitate to follow your heart.

  30. Val from Down Under says:

    I love that you have faith
    I love that you are sharing it
    I love that God has spoken to you
    I love that you responded to that “inner” voice
    I love God and what he has done in my life
    I love what God is doing in the lives of my non-believing family
    Love is God
    God is love

    Thanks Stacy

  31. WoW! That was a beautiful post and I welcome your future Sunday postings. Thank you for your thoughts. I LOVE that you can discuss topics like this and maybe I will be inspired to write more about my faith too. Truly a blessing.

  32. I love this blog post, it simply beautiful! Great job!

  33. I love it! I have been struggling with my faith, maybe faith in general for a number of years, I believe there is a God, I know I am inspired by different religions. I was raised Catholic but found it very difficult to remain one. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am looking for my faith and I will be read your posts every Sunday as they are simple, honest, inspiring and hopefully I will be able to start re-evaluating and also start “learning” again. Thank you Stacy. From the “Yours, Mine and Ours” gal (2 kids 6 stepkids, 10 (going on 12) grandchildren and my husband :)

  34. thank you for this post Stacy – I appreciate your honesty and I LOVE your scrap sense and creativity – it’s nice to learn about the *whole* person you are – I’m discovering more and more about myself as a whole person (body/mind/soul etc) and it’s all a part of this wonderful journey that we call LIFE :-)

  35. Loved your post, love to hear your heart and to see your courage to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, even though you know others may not want to hear it. Thank you!

  36. hello,

    Thank you for the great quality of your blog, each time i come here, i’m amazed.

    black hattitude.

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