• The Poplar Family

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Our boys room looked like a beyblade blizzard so my husband modified their beds to maximize space.

Breana Isbell Photography

Three, Two, One, let it rip!!!

There once were three little boys.
Who had too many toys.
Their Mom would get stressed,
When they made a big mess.
Now they all they make is loud noise.

If you are fortunate enough to be a parent of boys, chances are you have experienced disasters that deserve to be classified as a federal emergency.

What Happens When A Child is Left to Himself

Before someone contacts DHR or CPS, let me just say, that we know better than to leave our children to themselves. The Bible very clearly spells out what happens when children are left unto themselves.

"The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." Proverbs 29:15 (KJV)

I've always wondered why scripture singles out that a child left to himself will bring his mother shame. But based on a recent boy room discovery, I may have gotten a glimpse of why. There was an army of ants that invaded our home. They appeared to be marching directly into our boys' room alongside one of the beds. When my husband pulled the bed and shelves away from the wall he noticed chip bags, fruit snacks, and old PB & J sandwiches. When he asked our boys what happened they quoted their brothers' words, "If we give the ants what they came for, eventually they will leave us alone."

Pretty Impressive Logic

My husband laughed so hard.

I wonder if scripture singles out mamas because the folly that leaves us frustrated is the stuff that dads find funny. Over the years, I've watched my husband face wall art made out of boogers, broken blinds, and ant buffets behind the bed. The things that leave me feeling frustrated, frayed, and sometimes furious, are the circumstances he attacks head on. Instead of throwing up his hands, he puts his hands to the plow, and figures out a way to optimize space, solve a problem, or clean up a mess.

Since this photo was taken, my husband has built desks, lockers, and added hanging buckets to the boys' beds to keep their treasures off the floor. They have fewer ants and a lot more fun.

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  • The Poplar Family

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Our girls are not just good friends, they are goal friends

Breana Isbell Photography

Everyday they're hustlin'

When they were little they had a lemonade stand. Now when life gives them lemons they're still making lemonade.

"You were the one I always told on, now you're the one I always lean on."

Always Sisters Always Friends

A phrase that would most likely cause a war in my household as a kid is, "Oooow, I'm telling!!!" Most often the person who yelled those infamous words was the person who instigated the ordeal to begin with.

My daughters remind me of my sister and myself. Uniquely different in every way. Their weaknesses and strengths compliment one another perfectly. I always prayed my girls would be good friends because when I was little my sister and I were not. I didn't like my little sister. And yet she loved me dearly. Now that I'm older, my sister is one of my closest friends. She is loyal, funny, reliable and smart. I can't imagine my life without her. My sister would be the best business partner because her natural strengths mask my weaknesses. Her straight forwardness is the perfect medicine to balance my artsy ways.

My girls learned at a young age how celebrate one another's uniqueness. Of course, they have their normal sister stuff, but it's nothing like the continuous contention I grew up with as a kid. Here's an example of how different they are, one day it was time to clean and I said, "OK ladies, it's time to clean and we need all hands on deck!"

Trinity responds, "OK Mom, can we listen to Bach? Beethoven is great for studying, but Bach is better for cleaning."

Amiya responds, "Mama, can we please listen to Pac? (As in Tupac Shakur)

I love it! I got too tickled by how they share the same room and seemingly come from two different worlds.

Trinity, our oldest daughter, is an artist in every way. She writes, illustrates, sings, plays, dances, composes, and loves to study her Bible and foreign language. Trinity is an introvert whose idea of a good time is spending the day working on her novel, worshiping at her keyboard, or online practicing linguistic skills with a friend overseas.

Amiya, our youngest daughter, is a straight A student who is a filmmaker, actress, culinary artist, gym shoe addict, avid Netflix watcher, seasoned babysitter (sassy kids are her specialty), and she's involved in seven social clubs at school. Plus she works and runs track.

As different as they appear, they actually have much in common. They are goal oriented, hard workers, who love Jesus and operate in excellence and integrity. They encourage one another to pursue their passions and they help one another reach their goals. They pray for one another and look for ways to lighten the other one's load.

When I think about the foolishness I fostered as a kid, and all the years I missed out on being friends with my sister, it breaks my heart. With our creativity and entrepreneurial aspirations we could have collaborated, accomplished so much, loved each other well, and had lots of fun along the way.

My best-selling book Stop Write There was birthed out of my desire to see people create from a pure place. Offense contaminates the creative process. If you are hurt by the church, someone in leadership, or perhaps a good friend, it's far too easy to give up on your goals. Perhaps you are reading this and it's causing you to reflect on the areas in which you've been stuck, if that's the case then you are in the right place. God uniquely designed us with different relational needs. It's OK to not be OK, and when you're not OK, it's OK to place yourself in an environment to get what you need to heal so you can be OK.

There is a Dr. King quote that says, "We must learn to live together as brothers. Or perish together as fools." If there is someone that you love, but you currently don't like because of your differences, turn on some Bach, or Pac, and do some deep cleaning in your soul. Life is too short to allow judgement or grudgement keep you from dwelling in unity with your goal friends.

  • The Poplar Family

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Meet Laurence. He is a UAH Charger, computer animator, and our first born son.

Breana Isbell Photography

Welcome to his world. My favorite thing about this photo is how it is so true to life. His fingers on a keyboard and face staring at a screen. Video game controllers, popcorn, and pizza on deck. What you see is what you get.

He's serious about his cultivating his craft. He is consistent in his character. He tries his best and gives his all, but nice guys don't finish first.

Melvin has always been the kid who almost won. When he was younger he would enter a contest, give it all he had and place second. The closest he got to being first was this one time in grade school a friend copied one of his drawings and placed first in a contest. It was earth shattering to see someone else be recognized for a design our son conceived. Creativity can sometimes feel like a curse. You start out doing something for the love of it, then somehow your gift can bless everybody but you.

Create Anyway

Do what you love for the love of doing it. I've learned that from watching this young man's life. Whether you win or lose, play the game. A true game changer wins because they refuse to quit. Melvin is a gamer. A beast at Super Smash Bros. A skill he acquired when he was young because gaming was his thing. Not because people wanted him to, not because he was in a competition with someone else, he did it because he enjoyed it. And that's why he's so good. I'm sure you've figured out that this blog is really not about gaming, contests, or even my first born son, it's about life, love, and the legacy we leave when we show up in the world as our authentic selves.

Guess what happens when we stop trying to be first place and start placing our crave to create first? We win. That's right! It's as though the universe can't resist aligning with who we choose to become, someone who shows up for themselves, gives it all they got, and creates from their core.

Our first born recently placed first for the Media Fusion Digital Animation Excellence in Animation Award. Congratulations Melvin, this is a long overdue and well deserved honor. What's excites me most is knowing that you do what you love, and love what you do.

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