“I used to bite my tongue & hold my breath. Scared to rock the boat & make a mess. So I stood quietly, agreed politely.”
– Katy Perry
Because part of my history is of a girl too fearful to open her mouth to speak her own words & truth, too fearful to say “No!” or this is what I want or this is what works for me or this is who I am! Because I have worked ever so hard in my adult life to overcome being silent & suppressed. Because not being honest about your feelings keeps you from growing & taking up space in the world & creating meaningful relationships. Because I have a voice right now. Because we have a sweet little Blue Egg Brown Nest community that I want to stay loving. Because we’ve grown together & have shared interests. Because I don’t know most of you, but have felt such love & support & care & friendship.
This is why I take pause.
Diana, there is no room for shame here. It is about paint & design but also community. We can talk, we can question, we can care, we can ask. At the end of it all only kindness & respect for one another matter. That is all that we have room for in this nest. Please look else ware for perfection.
You go girl! I’m proud of you for sticking up for yourself! I started reading your blog this last Fall and love it! You have inspired me to start a blog (it’s a work in progress) and to start painting furniture. Right now my blog has nothing to do with furniture, but I’m in the process of painting my first real piece. I have 4 more pieces, including a roll top desk (I’m super excited about it after reading your about them) that I purchased at a thrift store. If all goes well I plan on starting a little business. The hardest thing is coming up with a name! I love your name by the way! Praying that you will soon have pain free days!
Good for you, Christen to insist on kindness. Comments have frequently gotten out of hand on many sites. As teachers, we are working hard to develop responsive and caring classroom communities, and this needs to extend of course to online community as well. We pray always for peace in our world and for our children to grow up in a world where empathy and kindness matter. One of the tenets of many designers is having some imperfection, for it lends character to a room. Life is not perfect and we pray for strength through difficult spots. Thanks for your public insistence on kindness and caring.
Love it! Well done you – who employed a proof reader anyway……? Love Jo – A British Fan! xxx
Tammy Gillleland says
Kudoos, Christen! Agree with Barbara that comments have frequently gotten out of hand on many sites. I don’t get it. I love reading your blog and some of the others. Thank you for your postings and letting us into your live through your blog. Love the photo of the kids! There are many of us that truly appreciate you and your blog.
Tammy Gillleland says
Kudos, Christen! Agree with Barbara that comments have frequently gotten out of hand on many sites. I don’t get it. I love reading your blog and some of the others. Thank you for your postings and letting us into your live through your blog. Love the photo of the kids! There are many of us that truly appreciate you and your blog.
Stacy Rivera says
Excuse me, but Diana can kiss it!
Cheers to you Christen 🙂
I put this quote on my blog this morning because it resonated with me… and thought it would brighten your day too. It sounds like it is exactly what could bring a smile to your face today!
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
Melody Eckstrom says
Thank you Christen for being the lovely talented woman that you are and remain to be, Kindness matters!!!! Thank you for your stand…<3
andrea Rowsome says
Sending you loads of warm hugs from Ireland. Love love love your blog. Want to see your smiley face back doing tutorials really soon.
Well said and so we shall. Cute kids! Get well. Vikki aka hikchik
You said that very well!! In this big world if people would just be kind what a wonderful world it would be. Love you, hope you are felling better from the sound of it you are!!! lol.
You said that very well!! In this big world if people would just be kind what a wonderful world it would be. hope you are felling better from the sound of it you are!!! lol.
At one of my counseling sessions I asked my therapist if I was the only one who had “issues”. Her response was, “Nobody gets through life unscathed.” That has helped me through some rough times. I am not the only one with difficulties, and for this reason we all need to lift each other up. There is not a single person on this planet who is perfect and with the exception of Jesus, there never will be.
I have had several friends drop off Facebook because of the negativity. What is wrong with people??
Blessings to you Christen, and to everyone else who reads this blog!
ASHLEE NEWTON says
Martin Luther King Jr.” I have decided to stick with love, hate us too big of a burden to bear:)”
Keep it up Cristin! You have inspired me to paint again. I got sick and had to stop until I was feeling better. After three years of feeling awful , I am back and have so much creativity to unleash. About 7 years ago I painted my kitchen cabinets black and distressed them, they are still great but I am really thinking of doing an old white over them! You’ve inspired me and provided so much information . Bless you and thank you!
Brenda Bijak says
Well said. Does this person have anything to do with “bows?” lol
Melinda Bennett says
I thought you might need to read this now in your healing process. It was written by David Brooks and appeared in the NY Times: “The Art of Presence”
Tragedy has twice visited the Woodiwiss family. In 2008, Anna Woodiwiss, then 27, was working for a service organization in Afghanistan. On April 1, she went horseback riding and was thrown, dying from her injuries. In 2013, her younger sister Catherine, then 26, was biking to work from her home in Washington. She was hit by a car and her face was severely smashed up. She has endured and will continue to endure a series of operations. For a time, she breathed and ate through a tube, unable to speak. The recovery is slow.
The victims of trauma, she writes in a remarkable blog post for Sojourners, experience days “when you feel like a quivering, cowardly shell of yourself, when despair yawns as a terrible chasm, when fear paralyzes any chance for pleasure. This is just a fight that has to be won, over and over and over again.”
Her mother, Mary, talks about the deep organic grief that a parent feels when they have lost one child and seen another badly injured, a pain felt in bones and fiber.
But suffering is a teacher. And, among other things, the Woodiwisses drew a few lessons, which at least apply to their own experience, about how those of us outside the zone of trauma might better communicate with those inside the zone. There are no uniformly right responses, but their collective wisdom, some of it contained in Catherine’s Sojourners piece, is quite useful:
Do be there. Some people think that those who experience trauma need space to sort things through. Assume the opposite. Most people need presence. The Woodiwisses say they were awed after each tragedy by the number of people, many of whom had been mere acquaintances, who showed up and offered love, from across the nation and the continents. They were also disoriented by a number of close friends who simply weren’t there, who were afraid or too busy.
Anna and Catherine’s father, Ashley, says he could detect no pattern to help predict who would step up and provide the ministry of presence and who would fumble. Neither age, experience nor personal belief correlated with sensitivity and love.
Don’t compare, ever. Don’t say, “I understand what it’s like to lose a child. My dog died, and that was hard, too.” Even if the comparison seems more germane, don’t make it. Each trauma should be respected in its uniqueness. Each story should be heard attentively as its own thing. “From the inside,” Catherine writes, comparisons “sting as clueless, careless, or just plain false.”
Do bring soup. The non-verbal expressions of love are as healing as eloquence. When Mary was living with Catherine during her recovery, some young friend noticed she didn’t have a bathmat. He went to Target and got a bathmat. Mary says she will never forget that.
Do not say “you’ll get over it.” “There is no such thing as ‘getting over it,’ ” Catherine writes, “A major disruption leaves a new normal in its wake. There is no ‘back to the old me.’ ”
Do be a builder. The Woodiwisses distinguish between firefighters and builders. Firefighters drop everything and arrive at the moment of crisis. Builders are there for years and years, walking alongside as the victims live out in the world. Very few people are capable of performing both roles.
Don’t say it’s all for the best or try to make sense out of what has happened. Catherine and her parents speak with astonishing gentleness and quiet thoughtfulness, but it’s pretty obvious that these tragedies have stripped away their tolerance for pretense and unrooted optimism.
Ashley also warned against those who would overinterpret, and try to make sense of the inexplicable. Even devout Christians, as the Woodiwisses are, should worry about taking theology beyond its limits. Theology is a grounding in ultimate hope, not a formula book to explain away each individual event.
I’d say that what these experiences call for is a sort of passive activism. We have a tendency, especially in an achievement-oriented culture, to want to solve problems and repair brokenness — to propose, plan, fix, interpret, explain and solve. But what seems to be needed here is the art of presence — to perform tasks without trying to control or alter the elemental situation. Allow nature to take its course. Grant the sufferers the dignity of their own process. Let them define meaning. Sit simply through moments of pain and uncomfortable darkness. Be practical, mundane, simple and direct.
Ashley and Mary went to Afghanistan a few months after Anna’s death. They remember that as a time out of time. They wept together with Afghan villagers and felt touched by grace. “That period changed me and opened my imagination,” Ashley recalls. “This thing called presence and love is more available than I had thought. It is more ready to be let loose than I ever imagined.”
christina larsen says
Love that Katy Perry song!!! It is my theme song at times. People will be negative that is why they are people. You have to stand up for yourself and I think you did it just fine. Life is too short to get hung up with other peoples’ flaws. I have my own to worry about on a daily basis, thank you very much! 🙂
Christen, I couldn’t agree more with yout idea of a brown nest community where questions may be asked in a polite and friendly way and everyone can expect some kind reply, instead of hatred and bitter words … I think we all are tired of this internet disadvantage that people – instead of having a feeling of a shared interest in something they like – choose to throw some negative comments, swearings, etc. I am proud of you to attempt to stop it on your blog.
Best regards from a Polish fan! 🙂 God bless you, Christen!
Such wisdom, that Katy Perry. 🙂 So well said, Christen! Adore the photo of your kids; your son’s bedhead is the BEST part!
This post resonates with me more than you know. Thanks so much for sharing. I too, am trying desperately to overcome my tendency to be compliant and remain oppressed. To give in to the wants of others, only out of fear of confrontation or disapproval. I’m not quite ready to roar, but I sure am getting louder and louder as the days go by. 🙂 I absolutely LOVE your blog. I subscribe to many blogs, but yours is one of the few that I open up and read word for word every time it comes to my inbox. I love that you have incorporated your real life experiences along with your design and painting expertise. Please keep it up!! xoxo
Well said! I was always taught if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Don’t understand why people think it is okay to be rude and say hurtful things. Afraid that is what is wrong in our schools today, and all the bullying, being KIND is not being taught at home.
Love, love the picture of your kids!!
Prayers for your healing and God bless!
Debra Hunter says
And, now…not only am I learning from THE BEST of what and how and what and how of painting with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I am reminded from you how important it is to stand up and be strong! And speak your heart. Your heart is kind and gracious, and cannot be trampled on.
Love and Hugs!
I am currently looking for work after resigning from a position I loved but for reasons beyond my control I had to leave. The holidays were rough….until I found your blog and began watching your videos on chalk paint. I was inspired! I had found something I could do to keep my mind busy while trying to get through the holidays and onto the new year when companies would again be looking for new talent. Thank you for helping me through a very rough time. You are incredible, your videos make me feel like I know you, and I hope you are healing and will feel like your old self soon. I like how genuine you are in everything, your blog, your videos, everything. Keep being you!
Sue Gladstone says
I LOVE your blog and am glad you found the courage to ROAR! Congratulations!
I LOVE your blog too!!!! I feel as if I know you, as if you are my next door neighbor, even though you’re 4 or 5 states away. I love how real you are to those of us that are your cheering section. There is so much anger and criticism out in the world, it’s a shame it has to creep into every corner of our lives. Don’t get discouraged….you have followers who love your work, enjoy your tutorials and enjoy hearing what you have to say each day….that’s why we keep coming back! Even though it’s hard, we all have to let the negative slide past us. LOVE the picture of your little ones!! Praying for the Lord to heal you! God Bless!
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. We all live in glass houses. None of us is perfect. For some of us it is spelling or a poor sense of fashion or limited culinary abilities or . . . . We are not the sum of our shortcomings. So, maybe you won’t be a spelling bee champ, Christen, but you are kind, creative, generous, dedicated. brave and an overall good egg. I have always be so impressed with what you accomplish. Post, tumble, I am in awe of you. Don’t stop!
digital time waster says
Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images
on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s
the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.