Saturday, November 14, 2015

Party Time: Win Things and Do Good!

Adam and I have been talking a lot about thankfulness and cultivating thankfulness in our children, and in our own hearts. I actually have some more thoughts on this, which might come to the blog when I finally get a minute without crying babies/whining children around (whom I'm obviously always oh-so-thankful for). Would you believe that Adam let me escape to go write in a coffee shop and horror-of-horrors there's a screaming child next to me. I like to be sympathetic because, hello, I know what it's like to be the owner of a screaming baby; but I really just want some peace and quiet, please and thank-you.

#Blueprint58Thankful from Becca Stanley on Vimeo.
All that to say, we've decided to give you the chance to win a free one-hour photoshoot with me (which is normally $350 -- and you can see my photography work here)! To enter, all you have to do is upload a video or picture to social media (you can enter on Facebook, instagram, or twitter) recognizing the person (or people) who have poured into your life and played significant roles in shaping who you are. It can be anyone: mentors, parents, sisters/brothers, neighbors, or friends. 

To participate:
1️⃣ Upload video to Facebook or instagram (or you can use a picture and caption)
2️⃣ Tag @blueprint58atl and the person you're honoring (if they're on social media - or someone else you think should participate if they're not)
3️⃣ Include hashtag ‪#‎blueprint58thankful‬

Everyone who enters and includes the hashtag (which is how we will find your videos/pictures), will be entered to win a one-hour photoshoot (with me). For those of you who aren't local to Atlanta to take advantage of a photoshoot, you will get a fine-art print of your choice (of one of my photos) with a custom frame made by Adam.

On completely other note, but still in the vein of celebrating the holidays and giving back:
I am not all that stylish, really, but the thing I get complimented on the most (by far) is always my jewelry. And probably 95% of the jewelry I wear comes from Noonday. I puffy-heart love it. Seriously. Not to mention that Noonday partners with artisans in developing countries around the world through fair trade practices, creating dignified and sustainable business opportunities for people in vulnerable communities.

And since the holidays are just around the corner (what?!), I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to host my first-ever Noonday trunk show! Friday, December 4th from 7:00 - 9:00pm at the Stanley Casa (email me if you need the address). It's Open House style, so come by for a few minutes or stay the whole time (ps - things like this are my favorite chance to miss bedtime completely). Because I promise that Noonday accessories are absolutely the best Christmas gifts around. Which is why, also, I have special wish lists you can fill out and we will get to your loved one so they know exactly what you actually want for Christmas!
For anyone who is nearby-ish, this would be the perfect time to make a little trip to downtown ATL for some good food and fun, not to mention the raddest jewelry around. If you can't make it in person, you can still shop online here!

Just be sure to RSVP by emailing me at Becca1612 at so I know how much amazing food to have Adam make. Poor Adam, I'm always signing him up for these sorts of things.On that note, I'm working on cooking up some fun door prizes, and also a delicious menu including sangria because it's currently my favorite. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Walking in Memphis

Tomorrow Isaiah will be three months old. And last night he slept through the night. It's the kind of thing I don't really want to write down, because inevitably it will mean it never happens again. Besides, tomorrow morning we leave for CCDA in Memphis, and we all know how disrupting a baby's schedule helps get them on track with sleeping through the night (sarcasm font).

Last week, I went back to work after maternity leave. And today was full of early morning feeding, fighting traffic, pumping, shooting, editing, helping boys with college stuff, arguing with my kids to eat their spaghetti, the nightly game of whack-a-mole to get them into bed, driving boys home, doing laundry, wondering if we even have a suitcase we can use tomorrow, and pondering packing before sitting down to return some emails and finish up a little work instead. Sigh. I'm tired just thinking about it, especially because Isaiah sleeping through the night means nothing apparently for ME sleeping through the night. Instead, I toss and turn and take forever to fall asleep, and then keep waking up to check if he is breathing and to relieve the pressure by pumping.
Life twirls faster than it should, mostly. You're so busy, people say. And I agree wholeheartedly, trying desperately to figure out what to cut out and how. Jayci has fallen into an abyss of terrible behavior and emotional breakdowns, and I am completely at a loss as to how to handle it. Sympathy? Tough love? Consequences? Deep talks? My brain feels addled from sleep deprivation and the best I can come up with is: I thought we already had a baby in the family. #fail. And then apologies and prayers because, modeling my desperate need for grace is a good thing, right?
Needless to say, I'm looking forward to a few days away from the hustle and bustle of our normal life. It's been a doozy of a few weeks between health diagnoses for loved ones, church stuff, exhaustion, and meltdowns (particularly from the women in our household - namely, Jayci and I). I have some fun announcements and even a giveaway which I'll hopefully get up here even while I'm in Memphis! I'm also, as a side note, I'm pretty pumped about seeing one of my favorite ladies in person again while we're there.

So as the spinning top keeps spinning, I'm praying for a few days to slow down and think about why we are doing what we do, how we're doing it, and what new (or old) directions we are being led into.
I'm asking myself again what my soul needs, what our family needs, and how God wants to use our community and lives to deepen and strengthen our faith and dependence on Him. Thanks, as always, for the ways you carry and encourage and support us through it all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

All the Emotions

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love halloween in our neighborhood. I mean, where else can you get candy from a biker gang doing epic wheelies in creepy clown masks?

I decided a while back that the whole family-costume-thing was going to be #offthebeam (a la Jen Hatmaker in For the Love). Unfortunately, even when I offered to buy my children whatever costume they wanted from Target, they were set on going as the emotions. Not even Elsa could melt their frozen hearts in this matter. So I gave in (setting firm limits = not my strong suit), and here we are: all the emotions from Inside Out. The most common reaction to our costumes was: what are y'all? So I feel like all my effort was totally worth it.
Our little sadness (with a turtleneck made from a legwarmer, obviously), was just the cutest thing. He was very cheerful and sleepy though, rather than sad. 
Caden's anger face was cracking me up. 
Also, Adam's fear face.
Our friends went as legos, which was absolutely amazing and their costumes were so impressive. Although 95% of the time no one would wear their hats.
I love Halloween because it really just comes down to throwing open our doors to whoever knocks. To building community in small and big ways by walking down streets together, meeting new people, and embracing even the teenagers who aren't wearing costumes.
Now, a few days later, our kids haul out their buckets every time someone knocks on the door and offer them treats. Because there is abundance and goodness and plenty to go around. And I am grateful for the reminder.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We are not martyrs

We are not martyrs.

I want to make that very clear. Sometimes the work we do is hard, sure. I try to be honest when we're feeling discouraged or frustrated, because too often social media, and particularly Christians, present the face that all-things-are-perfect. We answer how are you doing? with fine, regardless of how far from fine we might actually be feeling. And I don't want anyone to feel less-than. To worry that because parenting or ministry is hard, they are doing something wrong. Being a mom and helping others is just hard because it's hard, especially when you're doing it right.

But let me assure you that we are not dying on the cross of ministry in misery. We actually truly love our neighborhood dearly. I genuinely enjoy friendships with my neighbors. We delight in spending time with hilarious teenage boys and lovely small ones who tumble underfoot. I cannot stop the grin that spreads across my face when I answer a knock on the door to find a kid who I haven't seen in years. Pulling him close, I exclaim over how big he's gotten, and we reminisce about that one time he stole a golf cart at summer camp when he was seven.

We are not extraordinary, and we certainly don't have very many (any!) right answers for all the questions. We simply make ourselves available. We decided, over nine years ago, that Jesus wanted our "yes," and that He cared about the marginalized. So we moved towards the margins and stayed.

But none of this can be about us, about Adam and Becca. We don't really have a larger growth strategy. We don't have solutions to problems, necessarily, because we simply love people and people are never problems. We take joy in what we do simply because it's fun. Living life poured out, alongside the often brokenhearted, we find ourselves closer to Jesus than we thought possible. With less certainty about theology, and more faith in Jesus.

I wonder, sometimes, what if something happens to us? Where will the kids go in the middle of the night? Who will they call for a ride, or for help finding a job? Where will they live when they have nowhere else to turn?

And this, as it turns out, is why we care about mentoring. Not as a strategy or a solution, exactly. Nor as anything except for a way to move more hearts to a place of availability, so all our kiddos have someone they can call. Because perhaps the people who have benefitted most richly from us opening our home are not the kids we have let stay with us, or the ones we have bailed out, or the ones we feed dinner; instead, it is us.

We do not give people dignity or worth or a voice. We simply affirm what they already possess. We hear them and see them, and then stand alongside them until they believe it for and in themselves. And we enjoy it. It's fun and it's beautiful, but that doesn't mean it's not also hard and brutal (brutiful as momastery says). It's BOTH/AND.

And the most important work we do mostly gets done in the dark. The quiet unassuming tasks of forgiveness, of choosing beauty, of finding truth. Of practicing compassion and forgiveness on the one person who is conveniently always around: myself.

I spent a few days last week on a soulcare retreat (again, more on this later), and on the first night all of the amazing women shared their stories. I cant stop thinking about them. About how beautiful and brave and just stunning they all are. Each and everyone one of them had a moment in their story, a still point in a turning world, where they met Jesus face-to-face and realized: this is it. But that moment, that "it," was something different for every single one of them (of us). And thank goodness that the Lord uses and multiplies all the quiet work we do in the dark, scattering it in different soil all across His wide world. Together, we listen and wait for His Kingdom come, thankful for every small and large way we get to play a part in bringing it forth. 


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