• my-real-bio-2

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    My Real Bio

    10.20.2014 / WORK


    Hi, there! If you’ve been visiting this site for any number of minutes, you’ll likely have read my “official” bio. (If not, it’s here.) It’s the sizzle reel of my career thus far; the big, celebratory moments awashed in glitter remnants and golden trophies. (Actually, there are no trophies. Can I get a trophy?)

    There are published bylines and international speaking engagements and sold out product lines. And these are real and true and good and exciting, but these accolades, I want you to know – these are not me.

    If you come to my house, I’ll forget to tell you where to put your coat or hat or keys because I’ll be ushering you into the kitchen for a drink. I’ll hope you’re not too excited, because it’s probably just cold coffee or water, unless it’s after 5 and I’ve been expecting you and – in that case – red wine. I’ll try my hardest not to apologize about the state of my home because I’ve learned enough to know that true friends don’t clean for your arrival. I’ll hope you take the dustbunnies as mascots of your inner circle status. If you don’t, that’s OK. We’ve all got our things.

    I’ll want you to sit down and spill it. What are you learning right now? What’s going on with your kids? And where did you get those incredible pants? This means that if you’re coming to my house for a meal, you’ll likely get take-out or a frozen pizza. I cannot simmer or saute or poach while engaged in a conversation, and I’ll always choose the conversation. This also means I’m a naturally poor hostess, too lost in stories or thought or sentences to notice your glass needs re-filling or the cookies have burned. For this reason, guests must fend for themselves. Sorry about that. Come anyway, please.

    We might talk about design or style or beauty, but probably not. I struggle often to justify my love of aesthetics. I love to rearrange furniture and choose lipstick shades and curate art collections and have amassed more than enough statement jewelry over the years, and I sometimes treat these gifts as if they’re burdens. I sometimes wish I could trade these passions for something more “worthwhile” – whatever that means – and then I realize how ridiculous that sounds. Gifts are gifts. Passions are passions. We don’t choose them; they arrive, packaged in cardboard. They’re often bubble-wrapped, I think, and sometimes I use that same bubble wrap to suffocate them. Lately I’ve been working really hard not to do that, and instead, to pop the wrap a bit at a time with a new challenge (pop) or project (pop) or pursuit (pop pop pop).

    We might talk about religion, too. I have a deeply rooted faith in God, but I will say this: I sometimes find myself disenchanted with modern churches and American Christianity. I say this not to spark a debate or discount the beauty of community, but to extinguish the assumption that Christians have it figured out. I wonder if I’m doing it wrong – if we’re all doing it wrong – and have a very real desire to strip religion down to the bare basics that Jesus taught: servanthood and obedience and generosity and grace and reverence and love and love and love. The hard kind of love that’s grueling and messy, that heals marriages and surprises strangers and transforms generations. The kind that cannot possibly be done in our own power; the kind that makes God evident, tangible. Real.

    We might talk about children, families, relationships. Ken and Bee are my biggest priority; my proudest prize. Motherhood and marriage are hard work and I’m fairly unapologetic about learning to be better at both. It’s an ever-evolving process – one that I do not take lightly. When Bee was first born, the balance seemed too unsteady. The plates spun too fast; the expectations piled too high. Yet somewhere along the way, just recently, I realized that – for me – the only plates I truly wanted to spin were the ones that held my family. And then it became easier. Far, far easier. And far more enjoyable. When I stopped fighting for the person I thought I wanted to be and – instead – embraced the person my family needed, everything shifted. Because it turns out, the person I want to be is the person my family needs. I cannot serve those beyond my four walls and neglect the needs within my own home.

    We might talk about current events or the latest movie or last week’s concert, but I might have nothing to say. I don’t follow pop culture or celebrity gossip or sports teams and I can nearly guarantee I was asleep by 9pm last night. We might talk about the latest Internet meme, but I probably didn’t catch that either. We might talk about how I’m often in my own world, churning around questions and answers and revelations in my head, and then, yes, we’d have something to work with.

    Other topics that might burst forth, if I’m leading, that is: raw brownies, books on my nightstand, books on your nightstand, why I cannot ever fold a fitted sheet, weird travel destinations, my quest for the perfect mascara (found it), yoga, your deepest dreams, Internet fasts, why our culture’s so obsessed with happiness and perhaps a lively debate on hot vs. iced coffee.

    Topics that we probably won’t cover? The ones listed here. I’m proud of them, yes, but they are not my everything. They are slivers. They are mere snippets, newspaper clippings in fine print – captions overshadowed by real, everyday life: stubbed toes, cluttered entryways, jumbled thoughts, clogged pipes, swirling doubts and snagged sweaters. They’re less glamorous, to be fair, but they’re part of me, too.

    For every well-written bio, there are dozens of mistakes – judgment errors, missed opportunities, wrong intentions. And yet, we press on. We move forward. We type and send and delete – cursor blinking, fingers hovering – two steps forward, one step back. We waltz with productivity and collapse when the music ends, always winding up in a different musical chair than when we began.

    From the outside, it looks like we’re dancing. It looks like beauty. It looks like freedom. Effortless, perfect.

    But we know better. Dancing can bring blisters, too. You can’t seem them – they’re often hidden in patent heels – but they’re there. They’re always there. So if you come to my house, I’ll forget to tell you where to put your coat or hat or keys. But I know exactly where the Band-Aids are.

    Here’s to blisters and bios, Band-Aids and beauty.

    It’s nice to meet you.

    • Ruth

      Hi Erin
      I’ve read your blog for a long time and love it :-)
      I’ve never commented or done this before but felt like sharing my Christian faith with you today after what you’ve said. Have you had us knock at your door, or seen us on the city streets? JW.ORG
      Thanks for sharing the real Erin

    • You are such a gifted writer Erin – love this. :)

    • hi erin, i too have read your blog for years and never commented before. so many things written that i love in this post. “Gifts are gifts. Passions are passions. We don’t choose them”, this is so refreshing. i find myself always wanting someone else’s gifts and passions instead of being grateful for my unique ones.

      and i agree 1000% on all your thoughts on religion….. “servanthood and obedience and generosity and grace and reverence and love and love and love. The hard kind of love that’s grueling and messy, that heals marriages and surprises strangers and transforms generations.” if only christians would remember THIS is what is good news!

      you are a doll and thank you for sharing your thoughts today.

    • Wow, was this lovely! Thank you for sharing both blisters and beauty, and thank you for being real. I adore the bubble wrap paragraph, and it resonates so much. So often we’re caught up in trying to create “a bio” for others, we forget to create lives for ourselves. You rock for the continual reminders lately to savor the moment, not the documentation.

      • Ahhhhh you’re so right on creating a bio for others, Rebecca! Thank you for your sweet note! :)

    • I’d love to have a conversation on hot vs. iced coffee…I’d drink an iced coffee in the middle of a Canadian winter ;)

      I find it very interesting how those success snippets, those parts of our lives, that often are small or big goals that we set for ourselves sometimes seem to lead to continued pushing for more such snippets. While we are working on successes for our career, on milestones, etc. we are very content without having achieved them at all, but once achieved, our eye is set on the next thing. It often seems like a revolving door – out and around to search and search again…often not being able to stop our own spin.

      • So so insightful, yes!!! I totally agree. :) And yes to iced coffee, always!

    • Jenn Mattison

      i love our talks. They are so refreshing. You are a wonderful wife, mother and friend. A wife, mother and friend who oozes that love of Jesus that you mention. ❤️

    • Thank you for this. I love everything you said above. Thank you for always being so transparent about who you are, for sharing your lessons with us, for your way with words. I always feel refreshed after stopping by and reading your posts. And it sounds like I’d enjoy chatting over a glass of wine with you too. :)
      Thanks for the real talk! xo

      • Oh you are so kind, Stephanie – thank you for the encouragement. :)

    • This sounds like the absolute perfect welcome. I hope you would find my dust bunnies just as sweet (they’re mixed in with the dog hair, the fish crackers, and a few small plastic animals…)

      • Ha – I’m quite sure Bee would spot those fish crackers and eat them in a heartbeat. No need to vacuum! :)

    • This is an award winning blog post in my book. Love this.

    • This is such a sweet post; a pleasure to read. Thank you for sharing:)

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