So few women see themselves as inspirational. At Lumi, we want to show the world that all women are inspirational and have an inspiring story – even and especially those women that we don’t see on the cover of magazines or the TV.
Penny is one of these women. She is generous and sacrificial, strong and faithful. Read her humble words below!
Penny, tell us a bit about yourself
I am 32, a wife to Pete, and mum to Sophie (3) and Jesse (2). We live in a coastal holiday town in the South West of Western Australia. I am a high school teacher when I am not being a mum.
Tell us about how you got to where you are today. Do you see yourself as an inspirational woman? Why/Why not?
No, I don’t really see myself as an inspirational woman, just a very, very normal one. I think I’ve got some pretty good skills, but have my fair share of flaws. Like most people.
Describe your most important values and those things that are most important to you. Why are these so important?
HONESTY – having integrity and being trustworthy.
VALUE FOR OTHERS – Seeing even the most broken person as being precious, with something to offer.
KINDNESS/MERCY – not in a wishy-washy, permissive way. Sometimes being kind and merciful is the hardest, bravest thing you can do.
What in your life are you most proud of? What do you see as your biggest achievements?
If I’m honest, I think the thing I am most ‘proud’ of is making wise life choices. Obviously not all of my choices have been great (Cross Colour jeans? Ratty peroxided hair? Loving the band Hanson in ’98? Ergghhh!) but I think that in some of the more important choices (spouse, faith journey, career path) I have chosen well. This makes me feel so proud, yet really humbled at the same time.
My biggest achievements would be – choosing a career that I really love (teaching… hooray for teachers!!) and keeping my kids alive (so far).
Penny with her 2 beautiful kids Jesse (R) and Sophie (L).
What in your life can’t you live without (you can say coffee/chocolate! 😉 ?
Depth in relationships
Do you struggle with work/life balance? How do you try and master this?
Ergh. I think I struggle with balance in general. I love lists. I love getting lots of stuff done. I love a sense of achievement. I like feeling like Superwoman.
But when it all comes crashing down every now and then… I always come to the conclusion that I am crazy for even trying, and sometimes the failure to ‘do it all’ helps me to reprioritise and focus on the things that have real value. And to take a damn chill pill.
What inspirational books have you read that have really made a difference in your life?
I love the bible, and the fact that it always speaks to me in every season and situation. The bible and a relationship with Jesus have been a compass in my life.
Two books that have also been a great help to me in the ways I relate to others are Boundaries (Cloud & Townsend) and The Five Love Languages (Chapman).
What would your perfect ‘me-time’ look like? What would you do?
I’d be happy to go to the toilet without being interrupted with “Good wiping, Mummy!” at the moment… But in all seriousness, ‘me-time’ would involve sitting in bed and getting completely absorbed in a brilliant novel. And having coffee and fruit toast brought to me on a tray.
What you hope to achieve in the next 5-10 years?
Raising curious, cheerful and settled kids who have a sense of their own value and the value of others. Being an encouragement to other Mums in the trenches (go Mums!!)
What does success look like to you?
To me success is not about constantly striving in order to prove yourself to others, which comes from an internal place of insecurity. I think success is about gaining an accurate sense of self, of your gifts and abilities (and flaws!) and, from a place of settledness, trying to be the best version of yourself. I am a bit of a ‘striver’ by nature, so this is a big challenge!
What kind of person do you really aspire to be (daily)?
I’m very much in ‘Mum-land’ at the moment. I have a 3.5 year old, a 2 year old, and a baby due in June. This makes for a challenging and, at times, very monotonous life. Sometimes I crave the excitement and freedom of my pre-kids life, and the sense of achievement I had when I was teaching. But I have a quote by Mother Theresa next to my kitchen sink (a place I hang out a bit these days!) that says “Do small things with great love.” At present, I aspire to be someone whose life and actions are rooted in love.
Sometimes that looks like disciplining my toddler who has drawn on the walls, or being kind to my husband when I want to be a selfish cow, or folding mountains of laundry… but at the heart of it (I HOPE!) is love. There are some GREAT life lessons to be learned when one has little kids. 🙂
Tell us about the joy that is in your life right now – what is happiness to you?
Seeing my kids learn and grow. Having a husband who works so hard to provide for us. Being part of a loving community. Knowing God and being astounded by His kindness.