The Trait Project : # 2 Part A {Haley Marie}

In February of 2008, I moved to Lynchburg, VA to accept a job that would help me complete my Masters degree debt free. This job afforded me the opportunity to work alongside a lot of people in the same time of life as myself. One such individual was named Haley.

Haley Trait{Yes. That is a large shoe in Haley’s face. I won this at a party from a 6’8″ basketball player. Don’t hate.}

Haley Marie Carr Bodine.
She was Haley Marie Carr when I met her. Her boyfriend at the time, Adam, would soon make her a Bodine.

Haley is stunning.
She has this radiance about her that only comes from fighting for grace.
Haley fought for every inch of ground she gained in life and you can tell by the shine in her eyes that God has carried her a long way.

Haley{Isn’t she lovely? :)}

If I am being completely honest, The Trait Project exists all because of Haley.

Since meeting Haley, I have taken more time to notice traits in people. Traits that are good for me to possess and pass along to my children.
This started with Haley because she has two traits about her that have profoundly impacted my life for the better. (They both are so great that I am giving you one today, and one tomorrow.)

Haley has the gift of affirmation.

I believe this is one of the best gifts for a girl to possess.
We as women are often bombarded with propaganda about how we should look, sound, exist, etc. This type of inundation can cause extreme stress and negative views of ourselves. This is horribly exhausting.

Want to know the worst part about being all things to all people? When we actually achieve this goal, no one usually notices.
We may have hit the jackpot one morning in the beautiful face department and no one says anything. We may have woken up in a state perfectly suited for the Paris runway and not one single person will comment on our outfit.

The absolute best thing that can happen is for another woman to notice our victories. Why? Because it diminishes the competition the world places between us and gives us a bridge of grace into sisterhood.

Haley is the exact picture of this. She is a noticer of victories. She notices beautiful face day and Paris runway clothing. Not only does she notice it, she comments on it.

There were many days when I would walk into work very tired and disheveled. As soon as I would be getting ready to sit down in my cubicle, Haley would walk by and compliment my hair or my clothing. I would then smile and my whole day would change. I suddenly felt better about myself.

I believe we as women forget, and choose not, to give affirmation because somewhere deep down inside of us, we believe giving affirmation takes something from us personally. Haley would compliment me and she lost nothing. Haley would compliment me and she gained one more person with a better outlook on the day in her workplace. What little sacrifice that is.

My first admittance is that I am terrible at this. Terrible. Affirmation often sits on the tip of my tongue and sadly, it too often stays there.

I long to be a Haley. I believe the world’s women need more Haleys.

Haley sees people where they are and meets them there.
It’s a true gift and one that I want to emulate in my own life. I also want my son to know how to be this type of person.
I want him to be able to see people where they are and affirm their greatness.

We all need this. We all need a Haley every single day.
I’m so glad my Haley is only a phone call away.

I love you Hales. More than I can ever put into words. You are such a God send to a million people, but especially to me.

{Tune in tomorrow for more Haley}

The Trait Project : # 1 {Brenda Gail}

When we were in the process to adopt a little girl from Ukraine, we had the unique privilege to host her in our home. While I was learning to parent her, I began to notice all the things I do that she quickly picked up (and I hear a collective groan from all parents reading this. HA!). Some were good things and some were not so great things.
I started thinking about all the traits I have that I would want her to pick up, but then my mind would shift to traits in some of my closest friends and family. Traits I often wished I had.

I decided I wanted to document this.

After we were not able to complete her adoption, I stopped documenting. Then we were matched with a little boy who is now our son. I sort of forgot about the trait project because I was only thinking about women and didn’t think he would benefit much from what I had been researching.

Then it hit me, a good trait is a good trait right? No matter if a woman possesses it or a man. Therefore, I decided to pick this up again.

I am going to do my absolute best to continue this Trait Project every Monday until I am done. Each Monday you will be introduced to a new person in my life whom possesses a quality I am so enamored by that I want my child to emulate it. As my father-n-law says very often, “I hope my children keep the good things of their mom and myself. I hope they throw away the bad.” I feel the same. But not only that, I want my son to learn things that I myself want to learn. I want to be a better person and I want to teach him how to aspire to be a better person as well.


If I start anywhere, I have to start with my mom; Brenda Gail Johnson Tucker.
Brenda Gail.
Brenda is steady.

Brenda Gail Trait Project
She is crazily calm until you push her to an ultimate end (which I have only witnessed once in my whole life, so it takes A LOT to get her there).
She is giving.
She loves children in a way I can hardly understand.
When I say she loves children, I mean she loves everyone’s child. I mean everyone’s. I do not understand this at all. I have enough capacity for my child and my spillover capacity is for my 3 nephews and 2 nieces and some of my close friend’s children. For realz. I can’t handle the world’s children, but Brenda…. Brenda has got it.

Brenda owns a child development center. She has owned this particular facility since I was a sophomore in college. Throughout my life she has kept children in our home and taught at numerous schools.
She has the patience of a saint. A dipped in gold saint.

Early on in her adventure to open the child development center (which consists of children from 6 months to 5 years) I suggested she buy Velcro suits for all the children and put Velcro on the walls. That way when they were naughty, she could just pin them to the wall and be done with it. She then educated me on some sort of laws and how you can get in trouble for that. Weird. I thought it was genius.
{FYI, now that I am a parent, we have NO Velcro walls in our home. I figured I could get in trouble per Brenda’s instructions and I am convinced Aiden would pin me to the Velcro wall before I could ever do it to him}

Kids can scream their heads off…. lungs bleeding and snot dripping and she will look down at them with a halo around her head and a glow encompassing her body. She will say with the most angelic voice, “Jesus loves you.” {I am in the corner having hurled my head through the drywall}
Brenda is a Disney Princess on crack and in my adult life, I have grown to see this as the most amazing thing ever.

What do I want to carry on from Brenda {besides a million things that I already possess and my husband says “That is your mother” when I do them. No matter how much I love her, no one wants to be told they are their mother. Right?!?!?}?

I want to be steady.
I want to be sure and true and steady.
She is the calm in a million storms and if I could just have an ounce of her steadiness…, what a woman I could be.

Aiden, watch your GiGi closely. She is a calming presence in our lives. She is so sure and resolute. Take that son. Take that and run with it.

Aiden with Gigi & Poppy{My son, Aiden, with his Poppy & Gigi}

I love you mom. <3



Heart of Bricks

The first thing I saw on my Facebook today was this :

3 years ago pic
Then my Facebook asked me if I wanted to share this image. Its a funny enough pic that I took three years ago; making fun at my 5 years older husband. At that point we had been married one and a half years.

Such kids. {who am I kidding? We are still newlywed kids!}

I shared the photo and went about my day.
I wrangled a four year old into some clothing.
I took that four year old to see his new classroom at his school.
I worked a little in my office while my husband took our son to the pool.
I had dinner with my family and some friends at our favorite local Mexican restaurant.

We got home and my husband asked me about that picture I shared. He couldn’t remember where it was taken. I reminded him that we were at his family’s church in Wisconsin when that was taken.

Then I realized the date today.

This throwback picture was taken moments after I saw this picture for the first time :

This day, three years ago I saw her; Alina.

I went back to look at the throwback picture. That is the precise moment the whole course of my life changed.

That 24 hour period three years ago, I was a just young newlywed who was visiting her in-laws. Normal day.{well except for the fact that we just so happened to be going to a Republican rally that day that my father-n-law was speaking at. {It was the first day Paul Ryan was coming back to Wisconsin after being named the Vice Presidential pick of Mitt Romney. My father-n-law was an opening speaker to this welcome home rally.} So maybe it wasn’t a normal day for everyone. HA! But that is the life of a Congressman’s family sometimes.}

I digress.

I was just living my normal life that day and then I saw her picture.

I look at the Krystal in that throwback picture and see so much naivete. Not purposefully. I never chose to ignore the bigger world around me, but there was so much that God had for me to pay attention to that I had yet to realize.

I spent that day three years ago visiting my family and seeing a picture of a little girl who set my world into a different motion.

My 24 hours now??

Today I took my adopted son, who has been home less than 5 weeks, to see his new preschool classroom.
Last night I spent time sharing at a friend’s house about Noonday Collection. I talked about how the purchases they made last night change the lives of people around the world. The artisans who create Noonday’s items can now make a sustainable living because of women like us.
On the way to this friend’s house I was on a phone call about three orphans (and actually many more) who are being sexually abused in their orphanage and how I could help stop what is happening there with the connections I have in Washington, DC.

THAT is what my hours consist of now. All of that and so much more.

My life is no where close to what it was three years ago.
God had some things He wanted me to pay attention to and boy did He bring it all on full force since this time three years ago.
Had you told me about this then, I would have cried for just imagining the pressure.
But last night as I finished my phone call about those abused orphans; my friend on the other end said, “I am so sorry you have to step into your Noonday show with such a heavy subject hanging in the air.”

I said to her, “This is who God called me to be.”

You see, my heart is heavy. Always will be. My heart that is scarred by four orphans also holds the weight of a lot more of them. However, I do not carry the burden of that weight on my own.

God put the weight of a bunch of orphans in my heart, but He is the one holding my heart up in place.

As you carry the weight of your life, remember : you may feel like bricks are weighing you down, but those bricks are actually gifts God feels your heart was created to hold. He trusts you with His heaviest stuff. 

He is the strength to hold your heart up. Never fear my dear.

<3 KR