The Conlectio Newsletter
— The Truth About Confident Women —
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Fragile girl – 
do you think their opinions
the sum of your worth?
Let me tell you a secret:
Fear them, and you'll never love them.
Adore Him, and you'll never fear them
Fragile Girl, 2022.
I’m going to tell you the truth about the confident girl.
I am one of them. I am not shy. I’m a social introvert. I love people, I love to laugh, and I love parties. I like to look nice and dress up. I know what I think and stand on what I believe.
But inside, there are times I am anything but confident.
I’m not fishing for a pity party here, but I want to offer a little insight into women like myself. We are the ones people label “intimidating”, whether because of appearance or lifestyle or job – whatever. I’ve been told, “Before I met you, I thought you were – ” fill in the blank a thousand times. I am sure the same thing happens with introverts. People will always make assumptions; that’s just how the world works.
But for years, confidence was my crutch. Just as some introverts might hide behind a book or among familiar friends, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, slapped on a smile and some lipstick and faced a world I wanted to cringe from. Inside I was so afraid of what they all thought. On the outside, I wasn’t afraid of anything.
I learned to adapt to my environment. While people around me wondered if I liked them, I was terrified that I made them feel that way. I bent over backwards to be who I thought they’d want me to be. I tried to make everyone feel welcome, make sure everyone had a good time. And if someone didn’t, I took it as a reflection on who I was as a person.
I offended them with my personality. 
I should have been quieter. 
I look too high maintenance. 
I made them feel bad about themselves.
I was a chameleon, watering down or amplifying whatever part of myself would appeal to those around me. “You’re so confident!” I was told, while I was anything but.
Perhaps you know a confident girl, and she does intimidate you. You don’t want to approach her because she seems too {insert descriptor here} for you. I’m here to tell you: She needs you as much as you need her. You need each other. She may indeed be confident, but inside she is still a woman… just like you.
Though outwardly confident, I wrestled to release myself from fear in my relationships with other women. I wanted to be true to who I was, but I was terrified that who I was would push them away. But the realization came upon me like a tidal wave. I was tired: Tired of being someone I wasn’t. Tired of being afraid. Tired of being disingenuous and people-pleasing. That was the day I embraced who God made me as a woman.
And that was the day I embraced other women for who God made them to be.
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Here’s the thing: I can’t be anyone other than Phylicia. To be genuinely Phylicia means being confident in my God-grounded personality. This isn’t about “self esteem” or glorifying my personality above others. It’s about accepting what I am and what I love and ceasing to apologize for it. I love lipstick, a clean house, and an efficient schedule. I like working out and cooking and organization. Because the things I love in life also happen to be deemed “social requirements” in this culture, I have often apologized for them out of fear I’d make others feel bad. But I’ve stopped doing that.
Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert or anything in between, there is no need to apologize for who you are and what you love if you are walking in the Spirit of God.
We are not responsible for others’ feelings about us. We are not responsible for their reactions to who we are. We are responsible to:
love God (be devoted to Him above all things)
love others (walk by the Spirit and not in the flesh)
Even so, not everyone will like us.
This acceptance frees us to embrace other women for who they are, without baggage, without comparison, and without fear. The truth is this: the confident girl is just as human as you are. I think I speak for most, if not all, “intimidating” women when I say we want  to form quality friendships. We want to embrace relationships with other women. We may be more Type-A than the next girl, but that’s not a statement about anyone but ourselves. 
The passions of the confident girl are not mutually exclusive with the passions of women different from her.
There is so much we can learn from one another if we give these friendships a chance. Maybe you know a confident girl… an “intimidating” girl. Maybe she seems like she has it all together. I promise you – she doesn’t. No one does.We can stop living in fear of what others think of us. We can stop measuring others against the yardstick of our own preference and personality. And when we do, we will all be free. We will all be living in God’s design. We will all be confident girls.
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” (Psalm 118:8)
Ask Anything Monday Questions

My doctor recommended meditation to me but how I do adapt that to be from a Christian point of view?
Secular meditation is based on eastern religions which emphasize emptying the mind. In Celebration of Discipline Richard Foster points out that biblical meditation is always a FILLING of the mind, not an emptying! So the best way to do this would be to memorize Scripture and meditate on it during prayer. You could set a timer for ten minutes, recite the verses you're learning and pray them back to God. Ask Him to calm you and make these truths real to you throughout the day!
My 6 year old asked how we can believe the Bible is true. I've listened to the Canon Series but am not sure how to simplify that for him!
I love that you listened to the canon series of Verity Podcast because you'll be particularly equipped for this talk with your child! For a kiddo, I might say something like: “We can trust the Bible because God gave it to many witnesses. In other words, a LOT of people over a long period of time all saw God work and trusted in Him. God was not secretive about His plans! Those people wrote down what they saw in the Bible. Because there were so many witnesses in so many different cultures and times, the Bible is more trustworthy than most historical documents. In fact, there are more early, historical documents about Jesus than there are about the ruler of Rome, and we all know the Caesars existed!” Obviously edit that for your particular child. A good book that has lots of visuals is How We Got the Bible by Jones.
Reasons to limit number of children that doesn't come from a spirit of fear?
This conversation is always hard because 1) many Protestants have an underdeveloped respect for life and its sanctity; even if they vote against abortion, their overall mentality toward children is more worldly than it is aligned with God's heart. 2) We all have experiences that we can point to as proofs for our decisions, and this makes us emotional! We don't like the idea that our view of a subject like children might be wrong.
That said, there are some extreme groups in Christianity who see having MORE children as a sign of holiness. What began as a true appreciation for life ended in legalism. These are the camps who may use a “spirit of fear” as a buzzword to manipulate their constituents into guilt, instead of guiding them to listen to the voice of the Spirit.
On the other extreme we have more and more Christian couples claiming that the Bible says they can willfully reject children and just enjoy sterilized sex for the entirety of marriage. This is deeply concerning to me on many levels, the first of which is the clear partnership with cultural views of children, parenthood, and sexual responsibility. Much of this is the product of the church's normalization of contraception. What many Protestants don't realize is that full endorsement of contraception, but rejection of homosexual relationships, is inconsistent. Christian marriage is to be covenantal and life-giving echoing God's very nature as a God of covenant, the Giver of Life. Sex is for pleasure and procreation; if we do not intentionally sterilize, we procreate. It is designed to function in such a way and that function should be honored.
However, this does not mean we “must” have ten children. It means that we deal with the underlying trauma, contempt, and fear that is causing us to reject children that God loves, and we seek His face diligently before making fertility decisions. So where does the “spirit of fear” play into this? First, let's make sure this phrase isn't coming from a manipulative church body attempting to cut out the Holy Spirit's lead. Next, let's ask: Have I sought God about this, or have I just liked a bunch of posts on IG about how annoying kids are and how it's “okay” not to have them? Then, figure out the underlying motivation for preventing any or more kids. Is it a major health issue (such as my pregnancy-induced autoimmune condition, which was a factor in our planning)? Is it a fear of becoming like an abusive parent? Is it a desire to preserve a perfect life and personal freedom? Be honest with yourself and then with God. He already knows what's in your heart. 
This process will and should take time, and should involve your spouse. As you seek and pray, God will lead you forward. But be open to His voice. And open your heart to the truth about children - that they are good and loved by Him, and should be honored, even if you end up not having more/any. 
I do believe that God will hold us accountable for our attitudes toward humans (all of the Law proves this): that includes the old, the young, the unborn, and those of different ethnicities. If my readers are against racism, I hope they are equally against ageism – including ageism against children, born or unborn.
What I'm [Still] Reading

  • A Great Reckoning: I had paused this Louise Penny novel and picked it back up on audio this week!
  • The Marriage Portrait: I loved Hamnet, by this author, so when I heard she had a new book I picked it up at our local bookstore. I have enjoyed it so far! There is some sexual content that can be skipped over.
  • The Saga of the Seed: My friend Ryan Coatney of Cross Formed Kids has a new partnership project with Kaleidoscope Kids' Bibles. I love these books - each one focuses on a book of the Bible retold for kids ages 5-10. Ryan's is Genesis, and I wrote the foreword. You should preorder here!
  • Quenched: Discovering God's Abundant Grace for Women Struggling with Pornography and Sexual Shame: I also wrote the foreword for this book (which means I endorse the content!) and I am so excited for it to be in the world. This is the message I wish I'd had when I was struggling.
And still reading:
  • Fellowship of the Ring
  • Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend 
  • The Care of Souls
  • Conservatism by Roger Scruton
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What I'm Loving

  • Sophie Graf on Instagram: My friend Jozlynne introduced me to @sophiamariegraf on Instagram - an expert on styling curly hair. My hair used to be extremely curly before I had kids (like, it looked like I had a perm!) but the curls largely fell out after Adeline was born. It was so limp and weird I preferred it straight. I'm only a few weeks into Sophie's method and it's made such a difference!
  • Perpetua's 2nd Birthday Party: As you can see above, she loved it.
  • The Margin Schedule: At the beginning of the month I talked about the new schedule we implemented as a family to create more margin and less media consumption. Now that we are 4 weeks in, I'll share some takeaways. First, here's what it looks like:
    • Each weekday is time blocked. From 6-8 AM Josh and I work out, spend time in the Word, and get breakfast ready. At 9 AM he starts his work in my office and I start chores and homeschool with the kids; we switch at 12:30/1 PM. After dinner, we stop work and do whatever the “margin schedule” dictates for that night.
      • Monday: games, art, reading - “free night”, but we avoid TV. Kids can play Minecraft.
      • Tuesday: Small group with four other families
      • Wednesday: hobby night - which usually means music or art. Josh will practice piano and I will practice piano or violin, or we'll paint/draw. The girls can pick what they want to do.
      • Thursday: When Josh isn't playing with a group of friends, every other week, we do a game called The Adventurers Guide to the Bible 5E. It's a role playing game similar to DND but takes place in biblical times. Jury is still out on how biblical it is (lol) but so far we've enjoyed it.
      • Friday: Hosting night. This is the night we either have people over or go out with others.
      • Saturday: Family movie night or game night (usually movie).
      • Sunday: Planning night.
    • The nicest thing about this is that it's right on our chalkboard and the kids know what to expect. There is a lot less asking to watch a show or movie and more excitement about the variety of ways we can spend an evening!
    • Limiting our hosting to once a week has helped me have more space for rest and planning in the evenings. I moved some social events to early mornings (twice a week I meet other women for coffee or prayer between 6-7 AM) to free up evenings. Saturday mornings can also be used for meeting up.
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Home Sweet Home

  • My Cookbooks: On Day in the Life on Instagram last week I had questions about my cookbooks, so I'll re-share them here:
    • Magnolia Cookbook 1 and 2
      • What's funny about these cookbooks is that the pictures or recipe titles don't often appeal to me, but if I try the recipe, I love it. A few repeats in our house:
        • Banana Bread
        • Chewy Granola Bars
        • Silo Cookies
        • Weeknight Salmon
        • Grapefruit Avocado Salad
      • The girls love to watch Magnolia Table and sometimes we try recipes after we watch JoJo make them.
    • Half Baked Harvest Simple Cookbook
      • I love all the HBH recipes and this cookbook is used almost daily! I have made at least half the recipes, some of them multiple times. I especially love the polenta eggs, chicken gnocchi soup, and her ramen dishes. I love the coconut banana muffins.
    • Jubilee African American Cuisine Cookbook
      • This is a beautiful cookbook. I use this when I'm making real southern food - fried chicken, cornbread, corn chowder, and biscuits.
    • Feed These People by Jen Hatmaker
      • Confession: I bought this to study her preorder campaign because JH is a good marketer. I do not endorse her theology, but I have enjoyed some of the recipes. Her peach corncakes were very yummy.
    • Jami Balmet's Finding Joy in Your Kitchen
      • This one just opened for more orders! I have made about 15 recipes in this since I bought it a month ago. If you are learning how to make whole food choices, this is great. I like it because I grind my own grain. Faves:
        • Lentil Sausage Stew
        • Spelt Sandwich Bread
        • Pumpkin Muffins
        • Spelt Biscuits
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In Our Homeschool

  • This is a break week for Classical Conversations so we are doing some light memory review and LOTS of read alouds! I'll also utilize Youtube videos about the different topics we've been studying lately. Our current read alouds:
    • Thomas the Tank Engine Collection
    • Wind in the Willows
    • Richard Scarry Busytown (we have a bunch of these and Ivan loves them)
    • Marven of the Great North Woods
    • The Golden Treasury of Poetry
  • We are reviewing math and fractions by baking together. This week I'm making corncakes, muffins, and bread.
  • For art, I'm utilizing YouTube again for some classes related to Gainsborough and Degas.
By that Light,
my sin exposed
a gracious Hand extends --
to turn my wandering heart around
and leave me
pure and cleansed.




for the awakening,