Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Just 5 Things: Tara Lowry.

  Ok, this series is officially the best thing I've ever done for this blog. If for no other reason than how much I'm learning and being encouraged myself! If you haven't yet, go back and read the others in this series. So many amazing, real life women sharing real and simple bits of wisdom. 
  This month we're hearing from different creatives, and I knew I wanted to ask Tara to join in. Tara, along with her husband, create really truly beautiful wooden signs. I have been loving them for years, and after a really generous giftcard from friends this fall, I finally snagged this one for Tyler's nursery. It means a lot to me and is a piece of art that our family will have forever. Actually, I have been following Tara's blog since I was a newlywed 7 years ago- I think before she even opened her handmade sign shop, Between You & Me Signs. Whether she was writing about parenting or marriage or recipes or decorating her home, I love how rooted in Christ she was (still is!). And after reading her answers to the question, I'm thinking of all the ways I can end up in Georgia just to schedule a coffee date with her. Tara, I can't thank you enough for joining in this series! As a mom of littles and still in the earlier years of marriage, I'm tucking away every bit of your encouragement and honesty. Hearing from women like you a few steps ahead of me in life is something to be thankful for!

{note her answer to number three! I'm seeing a trend on this one...}

Just 5 Things

1. Give us your elevator speech. What's your go-to way to introduce yourself?

This elevator ride is gonna be long{ish}.

I'm a child of God. It sounds a little Christianese, but it took me too many years to realize that this role in my life makes all of my other roles possible. Apart from Him, I am nothing! John 15:5

I'm Andy's wife. We met in college one spring afternoon, and he's been my jam ever since.  We'll celebrate 20 years this coming summer, and I'm telling you, it gets better and better and better. Hang in there! Do the hard work! Fight for oneness! Go to counseling! Forgive often! Believe the best for your spouse and your marriage!  Go on dates! Go away for just one night, as often as you can! Do whatever you have to do to have the most amazing marriage you can have.  You'll never regret it.  The oneness is truly out of this world.

I'm mama to three. Two teen boys (Luke, 16 and Seth 13) and one daughter (Lydia, 9).  Parenting has turned me inside out. It's been one of my greatest teachers.  As I am raising them, they are raising me.  When they were little, I had so many goals for them.  Now, I want them to leave our home knowing just a few things:
+ I want them to know that the love of Jesus is free and cannot be earned. 
+ I want them to know that our love is forever, no matter what.  Their sin should never surprise us, and God works in all things.  
+ I want them to know themselves because people who have self-awareness are easier to live with.
+ I want them to want to come home for visits when they leave. I want HOME to always represent love, joy, peace, and belonging.

I'm a business owner.  It still surprises me to say it.  Six years ago, I made a wooden sign for our home and it turned into a successful online business.  I've always been a words girl--recognizing that words have the power to bless and bring life.  

I'm a student. Two years ago, I decided to start on my master's degree in professional counseling.  It's my passion. I've always wanted to pursue this, and the timing finally worked.  I am set to graduate next May, and I can't wait to DANCE across that stage.  It feels good to have almost accomplished this huge task!  

2. What has surprised you the most about having your own creative business?

So many things have surprised me!  It surprises me that a DIY sign that we made for our home and posted to my blog turned into a business.  It surprises me, in the best possible way, that God would use something that means so much to me (WORDS of LIFE!) and create a thriving business out of it.  It surprises me that God has taken all of my strengths and all of my husband's strengths and allowed us to creatively work together. The whole thing--all of it---surprises me!  

3. What is one thing you say 'no' to (or hire out!) in order to say 'yes' to better things?

I've become gifted at saying NO over the past 5 or 6 years, in order to say YES to better things, like my husband and my kids and my sanity!  But, I'd have to say the biggest thing that I've done---that took me WAY too long to do, because apparently, I'm an overachieving crazy woman--- was FINALLY hire housecleaners to come in one time per month.  

It's the very best day of every single month, when those two precious, amazing, life-saving women show up to clean my house.  Our whole family gets giddy on housecleaning day!

For years, I got my druthers from keeping my house tidy and organized, but, with older kids and a thriving business and my husband's full time job at our church and me deciding to start my graduate program, it was time to let something go!  I wish I had done it sooner!!

4. What would you tell your 10 year younger self?

Ten years ago, I was 32.  I had been married for 10 years.  We had two boys, 4 & 6.  We were in the middle of an international adoption to China, for our little girl.  Our house blew up with sewage and we were displaced for 5 months. Fun times.

I'd tell that younger girl that God is always at work, even when it doesn't look like it.  I'd tell her to quit trusting so easily in her own strength and surrender to her need for God.  I'd tell her that the hard work she's doing now in marriage and on herself will pay off!!  Freedom and healing are coming!  

I'd tell her that the days with little ones are long, but the years are way too short.  Play more and clean up later. Stop worrying about how they'll turn out and stop being so easily embarrassed when they pull their shorts down and pee at the park for all to see.  I'd promise her that one day she'll laugh about all of it and see that so many of those things she is stressing about just won't matter.  I'd tell her not to lose sight of herself in being a wife and a mother because her husband and kids will be inspired by her living out of her passions. It'll inspire them to figure out what they're passionate about.

I'd tell her to bask in God's love for her and let it reach down deep into those hurting places and make her whole.  I'd tell her that those darkest parts of her story will be the very things God uses to lead her deeper into His grace. 

5. If you could only make or have one piece of art in your home, what would it be?

The easiest answer would be one of our signs, but there are honestly too many to be able to choose.  

I'd say it's a toss up between two pieces of art that I have.
One is a white church that my dear friend Jackie painted for me, and the other is a painting of Jesus that a local artist made for me.  They literally take my breath away each time I see them.  They both remind me of what matters most in this life.

And now you just want to go have a coffee date with Tara, right? Such words of wisdom! See more from her here:

1 comment:

Between You and Me said...

I love your teachable heart! It's beautiful and enduring.

I'd give anything for a coffee date. If you're ever in Athens, GA...