Diana Frazier - Story-teller, musician, worship leader, mother, wife and entrepreneur who's on sabbatical from her business Poulsbo Elderberry.
Alex Jacobson - Leader, speaker, writer, avid book reader and book reviewer, activist, advocate, lives on her hobby farm with her husband of 12 years and their five children. She's an excellent cook and provides tips and tricks on her instagram and blog @inspirationclothesline
We check in with these ladies who were on our podcast back in April (season one episode 25):
Diana’s business was booming back in April, so much such so that she was killing herself with up to 60 hours a week AND she had all her kids home from school. She knew something had to give.
Most days now, managing her children with distance learning is deeply challenging: There’s just not enough of her to go around. “It feels like you’re sucking at everything all the time and no one is getting the very best you.”
Alex and her husband feel like they are handling things differently than most; they have very limited contact with the outside world because they have autoimmune disorders in their family. One of things that she has learned in this season from an online parenting class is around the idea that kids have “buckets” that need to be filled in order for them to even be able to behave properly. Basically she came to realize that she can’t ask or expect her kids to function without some shifts in the way they are as parents. They are trying to get one-on-one time with each kid for ten minutes twice a day. It doesn’t happen everyday but the intention is to fill their kids’ buckets up so they have the energy and emotional bandwidth to behave when they are asked; and they are being asked to do more than before covid out of necessity. It has increased the quality of their nuclear family. The biggest shifts have been in these internal systems. Everything is always changing, and even person to person.
Alex says, “Life moves on in a pandemic. Life moves on in quarantine. Life has real issues, whether that is a presidential election, family drama or health issues… those things don’t stop. They get exponentially harder.”
But thank God for therapy over zoom!
Danielle says we are all trying to harness all the fragments of life, that normally other places in our lives would have collected for us. There is a spiritual and collective weight to what we’re all bearing. Trauma forces us to shift systems and perspectives, to cut out the [unnecessary] fat in our lives.
Diana says this year has been “a walk in the wildness that I didn’t know I needed.” She has come to realize that in so many ways in her life she has been silenced, through trauma, abuse, theology… And it has forced her to not be able to show up as herself, bringing all of who she is. That she has had to shut down who she is in order to make others more comfortable. As she has been healing in this season, that means "I’ve been really unpopular with my family for sure and a lot of people this year because they are not used to this version of me. I’m not used to this version of me.” It’s a continually living in the “messy middle.”
Diana said to her husband that he may have thought he was marrying a quiet, compliant church girl 15 years ago but instead has married someone very different. “We never could have known.”
Maggie named that it has been costly for Diana; She’s become aware of that places she has been silenced and the ways she has had to shave off her sides in order to fit into other people’s spaces. She is reclaiming herself now. This covid season has in some ways given her the freedom to hold those boundaries and say, “No, this is who I actually am.” Maggie also noted how beautiful it is that in this season Diana is stepping into her prophetic truth-telling gifting, calling things out and becoming the best version of herself in the middle of a global pandemic.
Alex says one of the things that happens when you are doing an internal work is that you realize you’re a part of systems. Whether that be systemic racism, a religious system, a familial system… the way that you were was a component of that greater system. “When I change, the system around me will be forced to change. And I can’t manage how someone else feels about that change.”
Alex mentioned a quote by Maryam Hasnaa “Be prepared for the emotional reactivity that’s going to come when you decide to release the pattern of trying to make everyone else comfortable at your own expense.”
Alex says, if you are at all evolving, in your faith, in yourself, in family dynamics…If you’re evolving in anyway you are changing the systems around you.
The questions Alex are asking are what will come out of this when we all are actually able to get back to interacting in the world? With people changing and systems changing, what will it look like to reenter with each other again? How am I going to react or respond to other people’s change, or changes in the systems that I am a part of? “We’re all literally going to come back into our communities different people.” Some more different than others.
Danielle brings it to our physical bodies; how do our bodies interact with other bodies? We are going to have to deal with our scratches. How will we regulate — will it feel like coming home or coming into strangeness?
Diana brings a quote from Emmanuel Acho from Uncomfortable conversations with a black man: Proximity breeds care and distance breeds fear. Acho meant it in the context of relationship to race but Diana believes it applies in our current situation in this pandemic: When you were physically in the same room as someone, face-to-face, and are looking into their eyes, you are able to feel a deeper level of compassion and empathy for them and to see their humanity. Now with masks there is even some distance there and dehumanization from not being able to see each other.
It will be different when we are able to be with people again—we’ll need to meet people as they are, not who we knew them to be.
Maggie loves Diana’s invitation to meet people anew, who they are now. Covid has been like a purification—we’re sloughing off the stuff that doesn’t fit or things that aren’t who we want to be—and it will continue when we are able to be with people again. We may not continue in some friendships that have changed in the interim, and that’s okay. In the absence of old relationships there will be the opportunity for new growth and new relationships.
Alex notes that systems had to change in this season. Nothing is the same. We have inserted this new way of living into our lives that were already full and it has forced things other things come out because their isn’t enough room for it all. Everyone decided what it was that needed to be removed. Her family has had privilege in this season as their family was already a single-income household where her husband worked remotely for most of the week. But she acknowledges there have still been changes, additions and subtractions to their lives.
“We are all doing this shifting prioritization juggling game to make our lives function. That alone changes us.” We may not opt to re-enter all the places we were in before.
Danielle adds that we are slogging through this season. We can not process trauma while in trauma.
Coming into Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas—Danielle holds to this idea of a broken Hallelujah.
Diana says her typical pre-covid holiday season is really busy as a musician. But this “happy happy joy joy” version of Advent isn’t resonating this year. She’s exploring, “The Lament of Advent;” The pain and grumbling of the Advent season. She reads a passage from Reformed Worship:
“Worship that is oriented to the coming kingdom leads naturally to two central expressions: intense groaning and expectant hope. Notice how Paul describes these two expressions in Romans 8:18-27. When we think about the coming kingdom of God, we can't help but long for an end to warfare, abuse, hunger, violence, illness, and death. Liturgical lament is our expression of this longing. As such, lament is not whining or complaining like that of the fickle Israelites in the desert. Rather it is the expression of the groaning that we feel as we long intensely for the coming kingdom of shalom.”
She said she is trying to keep hope in these dark days… holding both the grief and the hope.
Alex adds on to this discussion of hope with a quote from the Evolving Faith Podcast, Episode 17 with Derrick Dawson, “Sometimes I feel like I don’t have to hopeful. I just have to be diligent and faithful and get up the next day and do it again.”
Advent can be different this year; Alex says they are not missed traditions, they are different ones. The intention is to acknowledge the growing this year as a way to increase the expectation.
Diana says we are all growing, and there are growing pains. We need to use our new eyes! You have a new perspective. And this year, Advent can have new eyes and new perspective.
Alex said they have blended the gratitude of Thanksgiving into their Christmas so that both traditions serve their family better—writing the things they are grateful for on slips of paper all month long and putting them in their stocking so that on Christmas they create a paper chain of gratitude.
Alex asks, How do I parent them when I am so changed? We are experiencing growth and it’s is a good thing, so how can we incorporate these changes into our families this year, this Christmas?
Danielle says “It’s not a lost faith, but a found one.” We’re actually ecstatic that Jesus is born because He bridges beauty and brokenness, pain and joy, the now and the not yet. It’s something to celebrate!! Kids are not too young to learn, and it’s a way to disrupt the system!
Maggie felt close to what Alex said regarding traditions in this season and also the lament that Diana talked about. This is a season where we can feel the darkness more than ever, and the need for Jesus to bring Light into the world. It is an invitation for us to shift in our traditions in a more meaningful way.
Diana is reading: Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free by Linda Kay Klein
Diana is listening to: Africana Music and Richard Rohr's The Universal Christ Book on tape
Diana is inspired by: People who are doing the hard and excruciating inner work during this season.
Alex is reading: Something Worth Doing by Kirk Patrick and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abby Waxman
Alex is listening to: "You're not Finished Yet" by the Belonging Co.
Alex is inspired by: women and like-minded moms who are speaking life into her. And therapy
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