Sending Out.

By: Jen Shoop

The other day, I came across these lines in the devotional I am working my way through:

“Whether consciously or subconsciously, we are always sending out something–whether that be rays of kindness, ripples of impatience, or riptides of frustration. The way we carry ourselves, the nature of our responses to others, and the way we speak, think, and act are all emitting something.”

I found myself flipping back to that passage over the course of the days following. It struck a deep chord, and not even entirely in the intended Christian context. Mr. Magpie and I often interrupt ourselves while mid-conversation and say: “Little rabbits have big ears.” It’s shorthand for “let’s pause here and pick up later, when children are out of earshot.” Sometimes this might be because we’re puzzling over the behavior of people in our lives and don’t want to cast a long shadow, or because we’re commenting on how drop off/pick up went and don’t want her to feel criticized or “talked about,” or glibly visiting any manner of subjects we don’t necessarily want her repeating to her entire classroom the following morning. We are aware in those moments of the way we are modeling. And it’s not just what I say, or even how I say it. My children absorb everything. My body language, my pace, my mood, my level of distraction. There have been times in the last few years where I have been upset or sad or frustrated and my children have pressed their bodies against mine, laying their heads on my shoulder, and I know — with the pique of heartache — that they are reading my movements and attempting to console me. More recently, mid-move, I found myself keenly aware of the way in which my bristling nervous energy was rubbing off on my children (mini was waking early — 5 a.m.! — and mini-tantrums erupted frequently) and even our terrier, Tilly, who was nippy and agitated. Sometimes this is how it must be, or at least that’s what I told myself while beleaguered with logistics and stress. I cannot completely conceal my emotions. I cannot protect my children from everything I feel. I am not a robot! But after reflecting on those words from my devotional, it made me wonder: “What am I sending out on a normal day?” What picture do my children have of me? What picture do I want them to have? How can inch closer to the latter?

I want this to be a part of my new morning conversation with myself. And not just as a parent. As a semi-innocuous example, sometimes I find myself nearly pawing the ground with impatience when I am waiting in a long check-out line at the grocery store. What vibe am I sending out then? Not the version of myself to which I aspire, to be sure. How can I be more mindful of my posture, my body language, my openness to the beautiful happenstances that can transpire when interacting with other parents at drop-off, while passing neighbors on evening walks with Tilly, when stretching alongside other runners in Rock Creek Park? What energy am I putting out into the world? What do I want it to be?


+Praise for a “normal day.”

+The first job each morning.

+More inspiration from this devotional here.


+A forbearance that far outstrips my own.

+On being bad at prayer.

+And how prayer got me through catching COVID.

Shopping Break.

+Utility buys for home.

+Van Cleef-inspired earrings — the green ones are in my cart!

+Matouk bedding vibes for less!

+I keep coming back to these flats. I have several pairs of suede flats/mules already but these remind me so much of pairs from Mansur Gavriel and Manolo Blahnik and I adore that dusty rose hue…and they are currently 40% off…

+Fun, on-trend dress. Like SEA and Agua Bendita had a baby. Also drawn to the similarly exaggerated collar on this LBD.

+This curved-hem cashmere sweater looks like heaven, especially layered over thermal leggings and finished with those new, trendy low-rise Ugg boots (olive green is my favorite) I’ve been seeing all over the place. Uggs are back, baby!

+These autumn flower earrings are a perfect match for all the fall dresses we’re loving, as are these — love the scale! So fabulous with emerald or olive.

+This is definitely one of those dresses you could wear all summer and then winterize by layering beneath a chunky blue cardigan and even over a white turtleneck, finishing it all of with navy velvet shoes and headband. (More styling along these lines here.)

+Speaking of blue velvet…I’m feeling this for micro’s holiday look.

+Also! This perfect ballet flat comes in three perfect-for-fall colors and is on sale for under $160.

+In case you are starting to panic about Halloween costumes, this shop ships really quickly and has the cutest, best-quality costumes for little ones. Micro is going as their owl this year! Pairing with orange tights 🙂

+I ended up ordering mini this Spider-Man costume. Would advise ordering ASAP so it arrives in time!

+Also! These shoes are PERFECT if you are looking for ruby slippers or glass slippers for your little one’s costume but don’t want to spend a fortune!

+Was totally caught off guard by how chic these vintage bells look as a low-key, not-over-the-top holiday decor choice. This is the kind of thing you could also track down on Etsy. Imagine finishing off with some lovely green or blue velvet ribbon for the season!

+100% something a chic French woman would wear with aplomb.

+Fun personalized notepads.

+The colors on these NBs are fab.

+In my cart for micro at the moment.

+YES to this leather padded headband. Very Ralph Lauren.

+Oo this croc card case!

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10 thoughts on “Sending Out.

  1. Your grocery store comment made me think of the book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. One of the practices he suggests is actually selecting the longest line at the grocery store, and the way he expanded on the idea really stuck with me. I think it’s a book you might enjoy 🙂

  2. “Ripples of impatience” and “riptides of frustration” — I feel like these describe me to a T right now. (yikes)

    I so appreciate your thoughts on this, Jen. I have seen this with my daughter too (nearly 4 y.o.) — children are SO perceptive, they always have their radars tuned in! (except when you want them to do something, haha). We have had a lot going on recently and I KNOW she senses my frustration/agitation/restlessness, and lately I’ve been seeing more dysregulation in her. Which makes sense — because I myself have been dysregulated! Conversely, I do see that when I feel steadier, she feels more regulated as well.

    You are so right in saying that we cannot completely conceal our emotions or protect them entirely from how we feel. This might be a bold statement, but I think it’s probably even a disservice to try to do that — because they WILL and DO have unpleasant/negative emotions, now and throughout life. One thing I’ve tried to be more intentional with is verbalizing when I have an unpleasant emotion — whether frustration or sadness or anger — and verbalizing and modeling what I am doing about it, like taking deep breaths or 10 jumping jacks or whatever. While I am really, really trying to send out more positive energy, it’s not possible or realistic to always have positive emotions, and I don’t want her to fear negative emotions either. I’ve been trying to label and normalize them and show her how we can problem solve/work through a negative emotion as well.

    I’ll be thinking of that quote today. Thank you for prompting this reflection!

    1. So relate to this, Mia! These little ones are absolute sponges — mirrors! The move here really reaffirmed that for me. Thanks for sharing your approach to this issue in modeling “problem solving” our ways through negative emotions. I know sometimes my daughter has yelled: “I don’t WANT to take a deep breath” when I am sitting next to her, trying to work through a moment of ENORMOUS emotions, and it’s dawned on me that this might be because I never show myself “taking a deep breath.” Reasonable!


  3. Such a good question to start each day! I know for a fact that I frequently radiate frustrated/impatient/resentful energy. I’ve gotten better at recognizing this in the moment, and controlling at least the yelling part, but I’m sure my children (and everyone else!) can still pick up those negative vibes. In fact, my 4yo recently asked me why I had an angry voice…and I wasn’t even angry! So, lots of work to do here. Especially for us moms. Motherhood can be a “constant provocation” as I just read somewhere.

    1. You and me both, Stephanie!! My almost 4 year old asked me this very same question too, just this morning, when we were trying to get out the door for school drop-off. Still trying to problem solve how to make that time of the day go more smoothly…

      But yes, “constant provocation” — exactly. Our emotions are all tied up into everything we do as parents, for better or for worse.

    2. Hi Stephanie! Thank you for your candor in sharing this — right there with you. Lots of work for me, too. It’s funny this post went live today, as I woke up to a text from our nanny saying she would be out sick and my day immediately inverted itself on its head. I went from looking forward to a leisurely pace this morning (as mini is out of school for a teacher training day) to frantically trying to rearrange my morning, check on my husband’s schedule, postpone a coffee date, think through activities for my children, and find a back-up sitter for this evening’s planned date night. The morning was so chaotic as a result! A few times, I had to pause and think about my post earlier today and right myself. I mean, really! What’s the big deal? Just go with the flow, Jen! It was helpful to return to this baseline question.


  4. I recently discovered your blog and it’s quickly become my favorite way to start my day. Your writing is so honest, thoughtful and always sparks an insight or new reflection for me. And…your shopping pics are fabulous! Thanks for putting this out into the world. It’s the best kind of treat!

    1. Wow – thank you so much for the incredibly kind note! Happy to have you here and so glad these posts are resonating with you. Thank you, Kathleen!


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