Interview With Lara Segrest

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This month is Down syndrome awareness month. In honor of that, we decided our post my interview with Lara Segrest today.  Lara has been my friend for the past seven years, and I have watched her family grow and expand during that time.  During the interview, I talk to Lara about her family, what it was like to get a Down syndrome diagnosis during pregnancy, preparation for their son John Issac, and what life has been like after his birth.

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My hope and prayer is that this conversation brings some awareness to Down syndrome (I know I learned something new) and brings some help to someone in a similar situation.  As you can see from the pictures, John Issac is a beautiful, thriving little boy.  I hope you learn as much from our conversation as I did.  Fair warning: you may cry a little.

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~ Laura

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Interview with Samantha Nelson

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Today we bring you another conversation with a woman who has an inspirational story.  Samantha Nelson was my boss around four years ago.  Since that time, she has been a stay at home mom, photographer, and travel blogger.  Her blog thosecrazynelsons.com features blog posts and tips on traveling.  She has a lot of great information about traveling with a family.  Her pictures are beautiful, and so is her heart.  I have loved following her journey online, and I thought it was a story worth telling.  Please listen to the link below to hear about the courage it took to follow her passions, advice she would give to anyone who is wanting to step out on faith and follow their dreams, what it was like to travel as a family for a year, and advice she would give families looking to travel more.

I hope you leave feeling a little uplifted on this Tuesday!

Also follow Samantha on Instagram @mrs_samanthanelson to get more travel tips and look at her gorgeous pictures.

~ Laura

Interview with Ashley Gilbreath

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Several years ago, before I called a two bedroom New York City apartment home, I was a new home owner searching Pinterest for decorating ideas. Mission, to find the perfect white paint color. At the time I was living in a little house in downtown Franklin Tennessee with my husband and new baby. I stumbled upon the Pinterest account for Ashley Gilbreath Interior Design. Ashley was in the process of renovating a Spanish inspired bungalow in my hometown of Montgomery Alabama. In those early days of motherhood and home-ownership I would check a handful of blogs daily. I scrolled over to Parish Blog in hopes of an update on her renovation. Ashley and her husband set out on the task of tearing this house down to the studs and putting it back together in thirty days. Not only was it fun to watch the house get torn down and put back together, it inspired me for my own little house. I chose the white color, Dove White by Benjamin Moore, based on what Ashley had chosen. I would go on to paint our next home a color from Ashley Gilbreath Interior Design’s sheet of favorite whites, French Canvas by Benjamin Moore. As you can tell, I am a little obsessed with Ashley’s design style and Ashley herself.

When I heard Ashley was working on a pilot for HGTV, Sweet Home Renovation, I couldn’t help but reach out and see if she would chat. I originally intended to record an interview with her and transcribe it to a written form, but after interviewing her over the phone I found Ashley’s energy translates so well I decided to share this interview in audio. I am excited to share this with you and I hope you draw as much encouragement from it as I did. When we re-launched Sister Babble we wanted to share stories that inspire you to dream, well I think this story does just that. With a successful design business, shop, and HGTV show opportunity, Ashley is doing it all. As you will hear in the recording, Ashley is just lovely and I think we can all draw something from the faith she has and the grace in which she carries herself.

The pilot re-airs TODAY  (9/11 at 12pm Central (1pm Eastern) Sweet Home Renovation on HGTV.

Click on the link below!

xoxo, Lindsey

 

Interview With “Invited” Author Christen Price

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Lindsey and I mentioned that we wanted to start using our blog as a platform to share the stories of other women.  I am so excited to share with you today a special book and author!

I met Christen years ago when I was volunteering in Montgomery with the American Cancer Society.  Since that time, Christen has become an author.  She has also moved to Dothan, taken on numerous important jobs and become a mother of three children.  I have followed her journey through social media.  I decided this past month to read her book, “Invited” that she published this year.  This book came into my life at the perfect time.  It was a reminder for me that all women struggle with perfection and we don’t have to.  We can rely on God to use us to make real connections with people even when we don’t feel perfect (or have a messy house/life).

Christen was kind enough to answer some questions I wanted to ask her so that our readers could learn more about her book and her journey.  I cannot recommend this book enough for all women! You can find a link to the book and her site at the end of this post.  But first, here’s Christen:

Christen Price Bio PictureFirst of all, can you tell our readers a little bit about “Invited” and how you decided to write it?

In Invited, I weave together personal stories with a practical party planning handbook as I share about my own struggle with perfection when I moved home and began to build community. My desire for perfection caused me to experience anxiety and meltdown when parties (and life!) didn’t always go as planned.

This book is written for women who like me, want everything to be perfect, but don’t always know how to stop breaking down when life doesn’t go according to plan. With kindness and Biblical truth, Invited helps women to overcome the hurdles of perfection by finding balance, wholeness, and completeness in Christ.

 
In the book you mention a study that says that 74 percent of young women feel the pressure to be perfect.  I think this is something we can all relate to.  Why do you feel like we put this pressure on ourselves?  
 

I’ve discovered that many goal-oriented women who like to plan battle perfectionism. It doesn’t matter if we are planning a birthday party, who we will marry, or working toward our dream job – women want to achieve perfection because we want the best for ourselves, our people, and our futures. Perfection is passion, an ideal that makes us feel so strongly about the matters of the heart that we act in ways that make us later feel shame and unworthiness, like we will never quite measure up.

In Scripture, perfection is defined as wholeness, completeness, and beauty. When young women give their expectations to God and realize that perfection is only found in Christ, we are less disappointed, discontent, and depressed. God is perfect, so we don’t have to be. By releasing our anxieties to Him, we find beauty in our imperfections and accept His invitation of love, grace, and mercy.

 
Have you heard from other women after writing this book that struggle with perfectionism as well?
 
Yes, their stories have been so impactful to me! Many of the women who I’ve heard from have felt freedom from perfectionism and have been living by the mantra “connection, not perfection.” I think this idea of building relationships instead of having everything just right makes opening ourselves up to others and celebrating life so much easier.
Connection is about relationships and being linked with someone else. Our greatest fear is disconnection which causes us to strive for perfection in hopes that people will like us.  Yet perfection usually has the opposite effect and gives the impression that we are better than others. The antidote to perfection is when we can see beauty in the imperfection. When we focus on building relationships through connection, not perfection, we are able to more fully celebrate with our people.
 
Connection is such an important thing, and reading your book has inspired me to have more people in my home (even when it doesn’t feel perfect).  What would you say to someone who feels inadequate at hosting or thinks hospitality is not their gift?
 

We are often afraid to open our homes to others because we think our homes aren’t decorated nice enough or we are too busy to prepare our house for entertaining. Here’s my advice: don’t let perfection cause you to miss out on inviting friends into your home. Even if your home doesn’t look Pinterest-perfect, find a spot that makes you feel comfortable to entertain in like your kitchen or your back porch. Add some flowers and candles to make the space feel casual and inviting. Or, if you are too busy to entertain at home, invite a friend to meet you at a local restaurant. Pick a spot that has a unique menu or atmosphere and enjoy having a night out with a friend. One of the many benefits of practicing hospitality is happiness. The hostesses who enjoy entertaining the most are the ones who can let go of their worries and enjoy the party with their guests.

 
Reading about your experience with your daughters in the NICU really hit home for me.  I also had a NICU baby and felt the shame, confusion and questioning you talk about in the book.  Can you tell us about how you overcame shame and learned to dwell in God’s presence?
 
Having premature babies was not anything I could ever plan for or expected to happen during my pregnancy with the girls. So, when they were born early, I realized that there was literally nothing I could do about the situation except pray and show up. I couldn’t hold them, but I could love them and know that God was holding them during those critical first days of life. What helped me overcome shame was actually having a season of mourning. I had experienced a loss of carrying my twins the final weeks of pregnancy and I had to work out those feelings in order to move through that pain. One of the things that helped me dwell in God’s presence during that season of heartache was to listen to worship music, journal, and go on long, slow walks. I had to ask God for His help constantly, and He provided me comfort through the encouragement of loved ones and the promises that there was always light through the darkness.
Lastly, the cover of your book is so beautiful! I loved looking at it, and I plan on making the whipped cream pound cake for my next hosting gig.  What is one of your best tips for being a good hostess?
 
The whipped cream pound cake is delicious! It is my husband’s grandmother’s recipe and we made it together for the cover.  One of my favorite terms in the book is to be a hallelujah hostess. The term “hallelujah” means a shout of joy, praise, or gratitude. A “hallelujah hostess” practices hospitality by recognizing that her service is to God and not her own vanity. She not only celebrates her friends, but loves strangers. She gives gifts to those who will never repay her and offers her time, money, and her home to people in ministry. She is not just entertaining on a surface level, she is extending grace on a soul level.
Christen put it beautifully!  This book was such a good reminder for me to be selfless and seek connection instead of focusing on my perfection.  I loved that her book also contains some party planning tips, as well as recipes that go with certain life events.  Yes, I did already make the cake from the cover of the book, and it is as good as it looks!  That recipe and many more are included in the book, and I plan on making it again.
You can find Christen’s book on Amazon by clicking on this link: Invited by Christen Price.
Christen also has supplemental material you can buy on Amazon to help you dive deeper.  You can also follow her journey, as well as a continuation of the “Invited” story, at christenprice.com.  She has some great video chats with other women about things in the book.
Thank you again Christen for sharing your book and journey with us!  I hope this helps other people who struggle with the same anxiety!
~ Laura