let why lead
Welcome to Let Why Lead, a place for the purposeful wife and mom. I’m Erica, and I'm passionate about living fully and filling my family with love and belonging. For regular reminders of the whys of your life, I hope you’ll keep coming back.
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5 “Diamonds” from the Marriage Diaries

I was an honor over the last year to host the personal stories of the 14 women who wrote for the Marriage Diaries. Today I wanted to share some of the little pearls of wisdom that stood out and stayed with me, even months later. (Except we’re calling these pearls “diamonds,” because—marriage!)

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed and commented and shared. I loved every entry. I hope you enjoy browsing these honest reflections.

5 "Diamonds" from the Marriage Diaries

How many chores would he do? What would he do to make me feel good? What would he say to help me feel special? These were the questions I pondered—and carried with me into my marriage.

I held those questions—and expectations for their answers—tightly as I walked down the aisle. I packed them carefully into the suitcase I took on our honeymoon, and I made sure they made it into one of the boxes we hauled into our first apartment…With so much energy poured into my good husband checklist, of course I didn’t waste time thinking about what kind of wife I was.

It was only after counseling and a lot of soul-searching that I realized my expectations, combined with my insistence on being right and having rights, were ruining my chance at a happy marriage.

Mary Carver: “Surprise! I Was a Lousy Wife”

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When we got married, we didn’t know that most conflicts in marriage aren’t even solvable. There’s not a “fix” for every problem, and realizing this took a lot of the pressure off: we weren’t aiming for a perfect solution to every disagreement, just one we both could live with.

All these years later, we still fight poorly. I thought it would get easier over the years; it hasn’t. But in a strange way recognizing that it’s hard for us—and that we’re not striving for a perfect solution to every problem—has made it easier all the same.

Anne Bogel: “One Thing We Were Horrible At”

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Hard times can be even harder when you experience them in marriage.

It seems as though the inverse should be true. Going through something hard with someone by your side can be so empowering, feeling as though someone else has your back. Still, going through something hard while trying to communicate well, continue to be selfless, deal with someone else’s feelings that may be different from your own…. well that can also be a recipe for disaster.

Jill Anderson: “Fighting the Pull to Drift Apart”

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I don’t see us as having two separate lives that occasionally line up. We are knit together, our days are dependent on one another, our family is a living and breathing organism that functions best when we’re both fully aware and attentive.

Jessi Connolly: “Another Kind of Needy”

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We became parents just 9 months after we were married—and we were babies ourselves. We’ve grown up together and have become husband and wife, as we were becoming mom and dad. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s been stressful. My selfish heart shines through daily, and it’s a constant battle to not feed it.  Lots of days, I don’t succeed. But then I have a few days where Jesus wins my heart, and I don’t quite feel like it’s all about me. Those are days that I consider a win.

Emily Anderson: “I’m a Runner”

If you’d like to catch up on any other posts, you can access the full series here. Much love!

Congratulations to Colleen at Meet the Sullivans for winning $50 to Polaroid Fotobar! And thank you to everyone who subscribed to the newsletter last week. I really appreciate it! 

Photo by Rebekah Westover Photography

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The Cutest Lemonade Salesmen You’ve Ever Seen + Lessons on Work

In honor of my kids starting school this week, I thought I’d share our last big summer hurrah—the lemonade stand. Trenton has been talking about doing this all summer. (Slowly wearing us down? ;) And since I always wanted to do one as a kid, we penciled it in for the last weekend of summer.

lemonade stand and lessons on work

Here they are sampling the merchandise. Quality control, people! 

We picked lemons from a friend’s tree, and the boys juiced every single one. They cut out the words I printed for the sign and taped them onto the poster board. They helped me make the Nutella brownies and helped their dad haul the table and chairs to the nearby shopping plaza. They even did their hair and wore “nice shirts” in hopes that their cute faces would sell more lemonade. :)

After devoting practically two whole days to this gig, I wanted to share what we learned…so you’ll know what you’re getting into when you pull out your red checked tablecloth and buckets of lemons. :)

4 Things We Learned from Our First Lemonade Stand

  1. In the future, when I see kids selling something, I will scrounge up whatever cash I can and buy something!! I felt so much gratitude to the people who supported our boys by buying a cup of lemonade or a brownie. To kids, it is SO MUCH MORE than a cup of lemonade. 

  2. A lemonade stand happens to be the perfect early introduction to sales and people skills. They played around with what to say and how to say it to get people to stop on their way into the grocery store.

  3. I’m pretty sure we spent as much as we made. :) But the boys were pretty darn happy with their 25 bucks!

  4. It was a fantastic way to give the boys a chance to WORK. As a parent, I want to always have my eyes wide open for those opportunities for them. I remember watering my elderly neighbor’s flowers and checking her mail, for a bit of money, when I was a kid—and then doing some cleaning for her when I was older. I see so much more value in that now than I did then. Now I can see that it taught me to show up when I said I would and to follow through with my commitments. As my neighbor (and her cat) followed me around telling me about her grandchildren, I learned to listen—and to see what life would be like in someone else’s shoes. Kids need those lessons, and I’m excited to help my kids find them wherever they can, starting with their first lemonade stand. :)

lemonade stand Just for some Thursday fun – What chances did you have to work as a kid and teenager? Cleaning your dad’s office? Babysitting? I want to keep any ideas in mind for the future!

Btw, don’t forget to enter the giveaway for $50 in beautiful polaroid prints by signing up for my new quarterly (ish) newsletter. You won’t regret it! 

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Welcome to the New Let Why Lead + A Giveaway!

It’s been a couple weeks since we got the ball rolling on this, so I’m sure many of you have already noticed, but the blog has a fresh new look! In May, I shared the refocused direction my writing would be going, and now I’ve got the design to match it. It all just feels good. In case you haven’t visited lately, or…

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Wholehearted Living: That Time I PLAYED

If you’ve ever been to the beach as a mom, you know it can be surprisingly hard to relax. The baby shoves a handful of sand into her mouth while your preschooler collects feathers (gross) and drapes seaweed around himself like a necklace (also gross). You’re preoccupied with when to put on the next layer of sunscreen, and heaven knows that within five minutes there is…

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5 WAYS TO HELP KIDS BEAT BACK-TO-SCHOOL FATIGUE

Judging by social media, plenty of you have started school by now. Here in the Bay area, we still have a couple weeks of summer left. I’m penciling in parents’ night and starting to think about school supplies, but the  number one thing on my mind is how to help my oldest beat back-to-school fatigue. For most of kindergarten, he came out at the…

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