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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

learning the art of slow living

As each day passes, I can see and feel it more and more... the joy that surrounds living slowly, savoring each moment, and really trying to be intentional about being in the moment. Having a baby has taught me to be intentional about not letting the moment slip by without enjoying it and really savoring it. 

I don't want to always have my phone in my hand or always think I have to be doing something to seem busy and important to people around me. I don't want to blink and regret not enjoying every single day, every single stage and season of Josie's life or my marriage. The more I choose to let the dishes sit in the sink for another hour to sit in the floor with Josie, watching her play and making her laugh, the more joy I feel in my heart. Of course there are days when I have to clean the house but even in those moments, I am learning to be thankful for the home I live in, the food I have to cook, and the toys I have to pick up off the floor everyday. 

I used to dread cleaning my house or cooking dinner but when I stop and thank God for these blessings, these "chores" become my joys and they create in me a thankful and content heart. I'm slowly learning to savor each moment... the sweet moments when my sweet girl cuddles up into my hair or kisses my cheek, the tough moments when I'm tired and exhausted from being pregnant---a complete blessing from God, the mundane days filled with laundry and dirty dishes made by the people I love the most in life, and the easy days when my house is clean and my husband is off of work early to enjoy his family.

 I'm so guilty of thinking of life as a to-do list but God is showing me that life is more about enjoying every moment that He gives us. I am choosing not to fret over an imperfect home. I am choosing to cherish this role, this season, this life. 

I want to stop what I'm doing to go outside and listen to the birds sing. I want to watch my baby sleep because one day, she won't have big pudgy cheeks and tiny little hands. I want to kiss my husband longer and hug him more because everything can wait when he comes home from work. I want to put my phone away and watch my child laugh and learn so many new little things... or enjoy the smell of my grandma's chili recipe simmering in the crockpot all day.. or turn the TV off and let my soul be nourished in His Word. 

I want to be available and open to God's plan for my every day. And I can't do that if my own schedule is full of things to keep myself busy. I am learning the art of slow living, of taking every moment captive, of taking little "snapshots" in my mind of the blessings around me that God has specifically given to me to enjoy and praise Him for. 

Because that's what this life is about. And if we miss that, we miss out on Him. We miss out on life all together. Instagram or Facebook will always be around. Our families won't. Blogging can wait. Housework or hobbies that get in the way of enjoying your people can wait! Time doesn't wait for us. And we only have so much left. I'm choosing to savor and relish it in this gift.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A Letter to my Daughter {before there are two}

My sweet Josie,

While you were still growing sweetly inside of me, I prayed for you. I prayed that you would be strong and joyful. Those two words stuck with me throughout my prayers for you as you grew inside of me.  You're only 8 months old but you already exude so much joy. And the world knows how strong you are with how you overcame so much when you were first born. You amaze me! The world is new and amazing to you.  I always imagined what you'd look like. I always daydreamed that you'd have big brown eyes and long brown hair. You'd dance around without a care. Already, we can see that you are a lover. You love to love. You love to cuddle, give kisses, burrow your little head into my hair, and lay on your daddy's chest. You love others so well already; you're an inspiration to me. You love and are so loved. Everyone that passes you, whether they are your friends and family or strangers, they always comment on how gorgeous you are, how happy you are. People can't help but be happy when they are around you and I know that you're going to use that for God's glory as you grow. Your smile, your laugh.. evidence of the joy that is from God. What a special person you are.. and you're not even a year old yet.

I never thought I could love someone like I love you. There have been some hard days when you were smaller and we were both learning. But every single day, I thank God for you. I thank Him for taking care of you and giving you great strength while you were in the NICU. Every time I look at you, I see God's faithfulness, His grace, His goodness. You are our precious gift from God.

Right now, you're our one and only. Your sister will be less than a year behind you and I think you're going to absolutely love having someone so close to grow up with. I know that when she gets here, it may be hard at first but I think, just like me and daddy, that having another baby in the house will naturally ease it's way into your life and heart just like you did for us when you came home at six days old.  I think you're going to love having someone your age that you can grow up with, exploring all God has for you both as you grow. I'm so thankful for that! I can see you two running around the house in dress up clothes, singing a funny song you made up just like your dad does.

 In just three short months, there will be two. Two sweet girls to love on and teach and hold and watch grow. But you'll always be my first baby that made me a momma. And I'll always love you, hug you, hold you, laugh with you, and cry with you. We'll always be there for you when you fall to pick you back up and dust you off. We'll be there in the good and bad, the sunshine and the rain. I pray everyday that you will know God and love Him more than anything the older you get. I pray for wisdom beyond your years. I pray for protection from what the world will tell you and that you will bravely and boldly know who you are in Christ. You are strong and brave! I'm so thankful for you and I can't wait to see what God has in store for your precious life!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016


The first few months of being a new mom, I honestly didn't struggle or deal with mom guilt. I was wrapped up in one thing: my new baby. Those first few months were quite a blur and everything I did revolved around our baby... feeding, pumping, recovering from a c-section, eating everything in sight,  crying alot and cuddling even more. Those things summed up my life. And while I did love every second of it (minus the PPD, of course), I held out hope that my life wouldn't always be consumed with these things. But it felt like a lifetime away. And then one day, I woke up and the newborn stage was over. It went just as quickly as it came upon us.

Josie wasn't needing to eat every 2 hours anymore and I eventually stopped pumping and moved onto formula (hallelujah!) and I knew that thing were getting somewhat easier. And that's when a new frenemy knocked on my door: mom guilt.

I was recovering and able to do things I used to do like workout, blog, take pictures, and read my Bible. I was starting to come out of the fog of postpartum depression and anxiety. Life felt normal again. Besides being pregnant again already, haha, but that's another story for another day.

As I was trying to create a daily routine, I found myself feeling so guilty when I wanted to do anything for myself. Mean little whispers filled my ears... "You're not a good mom!" "You have a baby to take care of, you don't have time for anything else!" "You always need to be giving your baby attention." "If you don't play with her or hold her 24/7, she'll never feel loved!" I had no idea where any of these feelings were coming from. I'd never felt them before. I feel like I'm a great mom, super loving and attentive. I know my baby better than she knows herself. Yet, anytime I tried to do anything that didn't involve Josie, I would feel like a total failure.

Every time my husband and I would go on a much-needed date, I would think about Josie almost the entire time. I wondered if she knew I was doing something else without her... as if a 5 month old thought about things like that. I own a photography business and any time I had to be gone to shoot a session, I felt the guilt creeping back into my head. I barely put any effort into my quiet time with God because I was so consumed with holding my baby constantly. I didn't open my laptop to write once for seven months because I felt like any time away from Josie, even though she was right beside me playing happily and carefree, was going to mess her up somehow. The mom guilt is real, y'all. But I knew that I didn't HAVE to feel like this. I really wanted to shut it out... I at least wanted to stop listening to that guilt in my head.

I realized that any guilt, even mom guilt, is from the enemy. Guilt is never from God. In fact, Jesus took away all guilt when He proclaimed, "It is finished." 

I had to accept that truth and live it out in my own life... as a mom and beyond. I hated carrying around the heavy weight of mom guilt and Jesus reminded me that that burden is not mine to bear. He wanted it. So, I gave it to Him. And I give it to Him daily, hourly even.

The enemy of my soul still tries to get to me fall into the lie of mom guilt but when I soak myself in God's truth and in prayer, I can fight against those lies that I am not a good mom if I simply do something I enjoy. I still have to tell myself not to worry when she is playing happily in the floor beside me and I am reading or writing. She doesn't mind and I shouldn't let it bother me either. Date nights are needed and I should never feel guilty for putting my husband first. Don't let the enemy lie to you either. Jesus came to take those burdens of feeling unworthy or not good enough. In Christ and only because of Him, I am FREE. And so are you.

I will not let Satan steal my motherhood and I will not let him steal my joy even for a day. Because my today belongs to God and I find all my hope in Him as a mom and outside motherhood. Jesus redeems every part of our life for His glory. He is worthy, mama, even when you feel like you aren't.