Our Strengths Define Us

Before I get started….I am going to tell you some good things about me. I am fun….and I am funny. I am super creative and I love to be happy. I am a fiercely loyal and protective wife and mother and I would go to the ends of the earth to make sure that my family knows what they mean to me, and that they have everything they need. I am a pretty darn good sister and I am a super fun aunt. I am friends with most of the people I grew up with, to this day….and I make as much time as I can for my friends, old and new. I can play 5 chords on the guitar…..I care deeply about other people and I try really hard to help out whenever I can….I am a REALLY HARD WORKER…I love to laugh…

having fun

Now, let’s talk about the flip-side. I am insanely unorganized. I forget things…a lot. I can’t stop eating cookie dough if it is in front of me. I don’t listen to my phone messages very often. I have 36,000 emails in my inbox that need to be organized (that is not an exaggeration, I hate throwing things away)……some of them even still need to be read. I can go 6 months without talking so someone and forget that we didn’t talk just yesterday. I AM HORRIBLE AT MOST THINGS DOMESTIC (unless they are artsy)  I have no concept of time. I get into deep creative zones where I can not hear or see anything that is going on around me. I need to exercise more. I am addicted to drinks at Sonic.

do not let your weaknesses define you

This week I came blow to blow….face to face with the reality of lots of my personal limitations, my weaknesses and my frailties. I hate that….I don’t just hate it…I freakin’ hate it. I really really really really really don’t like having weaknesses, frailties and limitations. I don’t like not being able to do all of the things that I want to do, when I want to do them. But, the ingredients for a little storm all brewed together and there I was……all alone to face ‘em. (again)

First…..Mr. Ross went out of town. I know I have said it a million times, if you have read my personal blog for the last 4 years…but Mr. Ross is my rock…and he is half of my brain, and he keeps me together and he keeps things rolling in our household, and he reminds me of all the places that I am strong when I am weak. But he was gone, the kind of in-the-wilderness gone when you can’t even talk on the phone. I will illustrate for you the difference between Mr. Ross and myself….and how things get done when he is here, and how things suffer when he is gone:

Mr. Ross’s closet:


And now….parts of my closet:


Then, I got the flu. And it lasted….and lasted…and lasted. And I had deadlines, and laundry….and 5 kids….and no husband.

And then, to throw in the big stuff…. a few heartbreaking situations came to the surface with great intensity….and I realized that no matter HOW HARD I TRY. No matter WHAT I DO, that in some situations, I will never ever ever be able to do things the way they need to be done. That my best will never be good enough. Combining all of the above mentioned situations……..I had to do some serious thinking how about I was gonna move forward. I had to turn back to the TRUTHS that I teach everyone at Brave Girl Camp to guide their lives by……..because all sorts of mean lies were screaming in my head about how much I just am rotten at the whole LIFE thing…..

if you are doing your best, you are doing enough

What I know, without a doubt in my mind…is that every single one of us is born with strengths that are unique to us…things that we don’t have to try very hard to be good at, and things that we can help others with because we are so gifted in certain areas. We are also born with the ability to work really hard to get good at other things that we are not born good at….and then, we are also born with things that are big huge weaknesses….things that we will struggle with all of our lives….things that will probably always be difficult for us, and will teach us patience, perseverance and help us to know about unconditional love……because there will be so many people in life who will love us even in the weakest parts of our weaknesses.

Remember I told you about the art journal I did 2 years ago that I just found? This is the journal that started me on the road to writing the curriculum for Brave Girl Camp. One of my pages in my YES journal was saying yes to being loved exactly as I am. Let me tell you something…….I wish I was organized. I wish my mind worked in a linear, systematic way. I wish I didn’t completely overcommit to things and never factor in any time to rest, or time for stuff like the flu…I wish I was better at follow-up and follow-through and all that kinda stuff. I wish I was good with numbers. I have tried and tried and tried and tried to be good at left-brain stuff. The mercy of it all is that I am married to someone who is…and somehow, I have been surrounded by people who are…….and the people who make my heart grow SO BIG are the people who see my strengths, and let me see theirs…and then see that if we combined them, we can do amazing things together….people who NEVER ask me to change, and remind me that they don’t WANT me to change, that see my value and understand that I am always doing my very best…and when I fall short, it is not for lack of trying my bootie off.


I had a long talk with Mr. Ross when he returned from his trip. He kissed me on the head about 100 times while I talked…I loved that. He reminded me of all of the things that I am good at. I loved that too. He told me that it hasn’t bothered him for 20 years that I am a free-spirited wild-minded scatter-brained artist, and it’s not going to start bothering him now. He reminded me that exactly the right people were in my life to make up for my weaknesses…and that my strengths made up for MANY of THEIR weaknesses…….and he reminded me how much my strengths helped him every day.

He reminded me that I need to stay out of situations where there’s no way that I could ever be successful, even if I tried my hardest….because it always beats up my soul. He said after you’ve given it your very best, and it’s still beating you up every day…and it’s never going to get any better….it’s time to move on. …it’s time to go where your best is just exactly right…..where it’s seen and needed and valued and matched with someone else’s weaknesses and strengths.

I have INCREDIBLE people in my life. My daughter does all of the grocery shopping and cooking…..my husband runs a tight ship with a chore chart. Sometimes it makes me feel bad instead of thankful (my mother and mother-in-law are both perfect homemakers…gardeners, seamstresses, canners, etc. etc. etc.)………I wish I was the one who was good at that stuff…but I’m not…

chore chart

I guess the most important thing I learned this week as I revisited this old issues….having to work through them again…is how important it is to protect my soul from the yucky lies that accompany that kind of brain space that you get into…..when you just focus on everything that you are NOT good at, and not anything that you’ve been gifted with. To work hard at getting better and better and better at stuff whenever you can, but really to use your strengths in the places where they are needed to the most…..and staying away from situations, people, etc. that want or need you to change into something that you can never, ever be……no matter how hard you try. Know what I mean?


I have 5 kids who all have different strengths and weaknesses. I think often about report card day….and all of the different grades that walk through the door at the end of the day. I get about the WIDEST range you could probably get…from completely intellectual, disciplined A+ students…..all the way over to just being happy for a passing grade. The conversation goes the same way, every time…….”Did you do your best? Your very very best?” Sometimes the answer is no, usually it is yes………and when the answer is yes….what more can you say? How else can you feel?




Be kind to yourself….be honest with yourself. Where are  you weak, and where are you strong? Are you in places where your strengths are not seen or utilized or valued and instead stuck in a place where your weaknesses are exploited or magnified or criticized constantly? Is it the right place?

If you were born a daisy….you will never ever ever be able to be a daffodil…EVER, no matter how hard you try. You might be a rose or a lilac or a lily or an orchid. But…you are what you are…and THANK HEAVENS there are so many different kinds of us…what a boring world it would be if there was only one kind of flower. Don’t ever do yourself the unkindness of trying to be a rose when you are a daisy. Own your daisy-ness and be the best wild and crazy daisy that ever lived.

BE YOU, friend…JUST BE YOU. I am gonna work hard on it too. That’s all I can be, that’s all you can be…..we are awesome at it! We were born to be awesome at it! Let’s get to work, let’s do it…..let’s be the best at just being exactly who we are…..and surround ourselves with others who see the miracle of that.



  1. Thank You !!! xoxoxo

  2. astrid says:

    Oh I love it!! That is just so totally perfect and it’s so so TRUE!! I wish everyone in the world could read that because it’s beautiful.

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