Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Guy Behind the Blog | Vol. 1

 
 
I love currently posts (they're just fun!) so I knew I wanted my sweet hubs to jump in and take over the blog for a day. Enjoy!
 
 
 
Watching: The Office (this is our third time going through all of the seasons.. haha!)
 
Reading: The Bible. ("More specifically, what book?...") All of it. ("haha! no seriously..") Jonah and Acts (and we are also reading the Bradley Method book together!)
 
Listening to: Your yappin' (LOL good one!?)
 
Dreaming of: You and Josie (then he smiles sweetly.. awww)
 
Eating: Lots of candy (Seriously, he bought a giant bag of Smarties and then on a game night, he and his friend bought two bags of gummie bears?!)
 
Learning: How to be a dad!
 
Wishing: I could be a dad! (Awww, yeah we are so ready!)
 
Obsessed with: Being a dad. (he's precious)
 
Loving: You and God (love him)
 
Planning: To have a baby (yes!!!)
 
 
 
Next time he takes over the blog, we will have ours a tiny little baby! We are so ready!
Thanks for hosting this fun linkup, Betsy & Laura Jean!
 


Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Faves - Mom Edition

 


+ I shared an update of my pregnancy with Josie this week (34 weeks, woot!) which included a maternity sneak peek photo + all the "fun" side effects of the third trimester!

+ This week, I opened up my heart and shared my fears + excitements about welcoming our first baby into our family. Am I the only one afraid of minivans, mom jeans, & all the scary pains of birth?

+ This week, through Pinterest, I found The Glow which is like a fun online magazine full of inspiring moms & their precious kids. It's a good blog to check out when you are in need of inspiration + fashion advice.

+ My husband and I are going through the Bradley Method (husband as the birth coach!) and I love reading these birth stories and getting pumped up about Josie's upcoming birth day. If you've ever done the Bradley Method or went medicine-free, I want all the details!!!

+ Have you checked out these prayers to pray during your pregnancy? I hope it's encouraging to you!

 
 
 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fears & Excitement Over the Arrival of Our First Baby

 
 
 
In less than two months, my husband and I (along with our super spoiled pup) will welcome our first baby into our family. For us, this is such a big deal. Our lives will never be the same! I wanted to share some of the fears and excitements that we are experiencing as we patiently await the arrival of our firstborn baby girl!
 
1. Fear of Giving Birth
I've always had fears of giving birth. I mean, fear to the point of never wanting to have kids. I'm a total baby when it comes to pain. And I'm super tense. Combine those two things together and I always told myself that I could never give birth. I'm realizing that that is such a lie! (another post for another day). I've always said that I have wanted an epidural and wanted it to go as easy and as fast as humanly possible because I thought I couldn't do it. Now that I am pregnant and have learned so much about birth and how medicine can effect the baby along with the great benefits of going medicine-free, I decided I wanted to go as natural as possible. I want to prove to myself that I am strong and for our baby, to keep her as healthy and alert as I can help. Before deciding this, I was praying for peace because of my intense fears of giving birth. God absolutely answered my prayers and now I have such a peace about giving birth although there are times where I start to worry about the pain. But I know I'm not the only one who has went through this!
 
2. Excitement of Experiencing New Life with My Husband  
My husband and I decided to do the Bradley Method, which is a husband-led way of going through the amazing process of birth. My husband is my rock and the place I know I can go for relaxation and peace during any kind of circumstance so I know he is going to be the best birthing coach I could even imagine! He is so calming and supportive and I can not wait to experience the amazing miracle of bringing a new life into the world with the person I love the most on earth. We know that God is going to do great things!
 
3. Fear of Our Baby Changing My Identity
I've always had a fear that once I become a mom, I won't be able to do the things I love anymore. There is a fear in me of being completely changed and turning into someone whose world revolves around her children and doesn't really see anything besides them. It's a real fear in my heart that I will become so involved or so wrapped up that I will lose a part of who I am.. I am afraid to drive a minivan at the age of 23. I am afraid of mom jeans and letting myself go. I am afraid of women my age with no children not building friendships with me because I'm not in their season anymore (something I am guilty of doing before I got pregnant). I guess I am afraid that being a mom is going to make me feel less than who I am.
 
4. Excitement of Our Baby Making Me a Mother
Even though I do struggle with believing the lie that motherhood will make me lose a part of who I am, I am so excited, so humbled, and so honored that I am gaining a new part of me. God is blessing me and entrusting me and my husband to be parents to His precious children. What an honor! I have to remind myself that I can still write and create and take photos and shop every now and then. I don't have to go buy a minivan anytime soon and I can still reach out to my friends without kids and go out to coffee and laugh (with a baby sweetly sleeping on my chest). Who I am will be changing but motherhood will only be enhancing who I am, not taking away who I am. And for that, I am so excited.
 
5. Fear of Our Baby Affecting Our Marriage
This is probably the biggest fear I have about having children. I see precious couples choose their kids over each other all the time. And it hurts. It hurts my heart to see wives neglecting the needs and wants of their husband. Without realizing that that is a choice, I fear falling into that trap. I am head over heels in love with my husband and as much as I can't wait to have children, I decided a long time ago to never put my kids about my husband. I'm sure it's easier said than done especially when that little newborn needs her mama every 2 hours to eat and in between, but I know it's not impossible. But the opportunity of a baby affecting our marriage in a negative way is really a fear of mine.  
 
6. Excitement of Our Baby Growing in us a New Love for One Another
I have seen marriages grow apart over time when children come into the picture but I have also seen the amazing ways that having a baby enhances a marriage. I've heard wives say that seeing their husbands as a daddy makes their heart grow 100 times bigger for them. They fall in love with their husbands all over again. They rely even more so on each other. And I know that having a baby doesn't have to affect our marriage in a negative way but that it was grow and make our marriage flourish and for that, I am more than ecstatic! I've always wanted to be a mom and my husband has always wanted to be a dad (he's going to be the best dad ever!) and we are so ready to have our own little family. I can't wait to take our little girl on camping trips, downtown during the summer, to the pool, and on little dates. I can't wait to get a babysitter and spend all night with just my husband. I can't wait to send my husband and daughter off on daddy-daughter date nights. I can't wait to fall more in love with my husband every day, through every pregnancy and every year our family grows bigger and bigger.
 
 
 
 
What are some of your fears about becoming a mother? What are you most excited for?


linking up this morning with Holly, Jenn,

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pregnancy Update - 34 Weeks!



Pregnancy Catch Up  
#sweetbabyk


 
How far along: 34 weeks, 4 days

Size of Baby: approx. 17 in. & 5 lbs!

Symptoms: Oh how I have hit the fun part of pregnancy. I'm well into the third trimester and everything is achey and painful and I've lost my 2nd trimester energy. Boo! But that just means it's almost over and we get to see Josie so soon! My iron levels are still really low so I have to take a stronger dose of supplement so please pray that my levels go up before birth!

Hubby: He has been so supportive with me not feeling well lately and we have been preparing for the natural, medication-free childbirth that he is so excited about!

Total weight gain: So far in this pregnancy, I've gained 13 lbs.
 
Maternity clothes: Oh yes. All the time, sweatpants and my hubby's tshirts. Haha.  
 
 
Sleep: I switched sides with my husband and somehow it has helped so much with my sleep. I used to get about 4 hours and then be up for good and it was horrible. I still get up about 8 times during the night to potty but at least I can sleep a bit later!

Best moment of this week: We had our maternity photos this weekend which I cannot wait to share next week! Also, my sister and I made a hobby lobby trip to get fabric for headbands for sweet Josie girl. We're about to start making them today.. so excited!
Also, my family has helped us get her nursery into shape.. we love it!


 
Miss anything: energy :)

Movement: She is so active still which is amazing to me but now she is so big that her kicks are pretty painful which makes me laugh.. such an active little girl. Funny story: this morning, I had my coffee cup resting on my belly as I was blogging and she tried kicking it off. She hates when anything is touching my stomach, she always hits and kicks it until I move, haha! Sassy already!
 
Food cravings: EVERYTHING! My doctor actually instructed me to eat more so no complaints about that ;)  
 
Anything making you queasy or sick: It has taken me 8 months but I can finally say that nothing really makes me nauseous anymore!

Have you started to show yet: Oh yes! HUGE. I am all belly!!
 
Gender: A GIRL! Josie Kate :) 

Happy or moody most of the time: I've been struggling with some hormone changes in this new third trimester.. it's not easy!

Looking forward to: Seeing her sweet face in 6 or less weeks!



 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

when change doesn't bring a road map

This morning, I am soaking up this quiet moment of no sounds but only the rain splashing on the window outside. In just a month, my life is going to change forever.
 
No more sitting and doing nothing but being still in the silence. we live in a life of ever-changing seasons and I'm more than excited for this new life change of adding a human to our family coming up.
 
And even through transition and change and new adventures to places that don't come with maps, I can always rest in the One who NEVER changes. Ever! My God, my Strong Foundation.
 
Through every changing chapter, He remains the same loving God. He is forever my Rock and my never changing merciful father.
 
And he will be my rock when baby comes, when the winter melts and another year passes and more babies come, and the grey hair grows, and the memories of newlywed life turn into the fun tales we tell our grandchildren, and through the years of loving and living and so much changing and until the day we finally go Home..
 
Through every season.. He will be our rock and our mighty unchanging one.
 
 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

When God Restores: Our Story

I just wanted to share a bit of our story with you all in hopes of encouraging at least one person. I haven't wanted to share because this story, our story, let's you into the deep places of my heart. A couple of months ago, Faith, from Life With Mrs. G and the Artist, asked me to guest post for her for her marriage series, "After I Do". I figured I would do a lighthearted post like "5 ways to be a better wife" or whatever. But after much thinking, I knew I should share our story. So I did. But now, I want to share it with all of you. Because God is so good and stories of God's goodness can empower and encourage.
 
 
 
My husband and I have been married for almost three years. Honestly, he is like my dream husband. I have no idea what I did to deserve such an awesome man! We love laughing together, being lovey-dovey with one another, and holding hands 100% of the time. But things haven't always been rainbows and butterflies. 
 
When we got married, I was having female health issues. I've always had really bad issues and had multiple surgeries, nothing too terribly serious (in regards to what other people have to go through) but also not fun at all. Every month, I was down for at least two weeks. I had a couple surgeries to fix cysts and what not, but nothing seemed to help. I was terrified of the doctor therefore when my husband and I got married, those issues were still going on but I was too scared to address them. I was in pain, physically, which led to emotional and spiritual pain. It took a toll on us intimately. I blamed God for making me "broken" and even if we wanted to have kids right off the bat, it wouldn't of been possible. I let my circumstances control me and in doing so, I lost all hope to be healthy and normal. 

I let my circumstance be my identity... "broken + messed up" is what I labeled myself. We still went to church, worshipped, prayed together, read the Bible, studied, and had fun. I'm sure everything looked perfect from the outside. But inside, this trial was tearing me apart. Night after night, I would be up sobbing, desperate for change, for hope. I was torn apart inside. I hated who I was.

 My husband never once left my side or turned away from me. He had hope but for me, it felt like an attack on who I was as a woman and a person so I couldn't seem to muster up the faith it took to have hope in such a seemingly desperate trial.

I had surgery in February of 2014, about seven months after being married, and a doctor ended up taking a bit of cells away that were precancerous. If we wouldn't of been having any issues and if everything had been left unnoticed, I could of ended up getting REALLY sick. That was the first huge miracle of God working in the midst of this trial. A little glimmer of hope. I remember crying in the parking lot thanking God for looking out for me. Maybe all would be better! We could finally get on with our lives. But instead of holding onto that hope, I let myself fall back into failure, trusting in the hope of a better circumstance instead of hoping and trusting in a Good Father. For the next year, I tried doctor after doctor and even went to a physical therapist for help. Nothing worked and I became depressed and hopeless. Looking back, I was focused so much on myself and my circumstances that I never once trusted that God was working on my behalf.
 
Somehow through all of this, I never stopped seeking God. Which was strange because I pretty much blamed God for making me like this. But I did love Him and I did want to be healed so I kept seeking Him in my darkness. In the midst, I would of not told you that I got mad at Him, blamed Him, or pretty much stopped believing He could fix me (but I did do those things) and yet, He gave me supernatural strength to keep seeking Him, through His Word.
 
And one day I remember Jesus telling me personally in my heart, "I am hope." Those three words were exactly what I needed. Exactly. It all clicked. I realized that I hadn't been trusting God at all. I had let this trial suffocate my faith and hope in Jesus. I let circumstances become bigger than my faith in Jesus. He reminded me that it doesn't have to be like that. I can have peace and hope and faith and confidence that God would work it all out for His glory. Slowly, I started to believe that and out of the pit of despair I ran.

I can't explain to you how God healed me. I can't promise that my story will be just like your story. But I know that God is healer, no matter what. A few months later, there was no more physical pain in me. And my husband and I were able to be intimate. God saved me from the downward spiral that I was going and out of His grace and mercy, He blessed us. BECAUSE HE IS GOOD. And because He has bigger plans that no earthly trial could stop. A few months after God healing me and restoring my faith in Him and restoring our marriage, we found out that we were expecting a baby! A miracle. A true miracle. I had all but lost hope in God completely but my husband never gave up hope and God never gave up on me.
 
When you walk through trials in your marriage, do it together. When you walk through trials in your life, don't do it alone. YOU DON"T HAVE TO. Through all of this, we had people praying for us. In our small group, they were praying that God would restore. Reach out... even when it hurts. Lean into your husband no matter what. Emotionally and physically speaking. Whatever your trial may be, don't give up on each other. And keep seeking God. Don't lose hope. Your circumstance may seem hopeless. It really might and you may not be able to see any light but I promise it's there. Because Jesus is that light and He is always there. The darkest night is always met with a glorious bright morning. Because Jesus is in control of the sun! And that goes for your personal life as well. He is able, friend.

And whether it's your spouse who is hurting or if it's you, it doesn't matter. Your hurt is his hurt. His hurt is yours. The heart issues, physical issues, the pride and sin, the weakness, it's both of yours. You are one. Take on his burden like it is your own.
 
Don't blame God and don't run from Him. His love for you is real and He SEES YOU. He sees your pain and your trial. And He alone is healer. He is Redeemer, that is who He is! He can and wants to redeem YOU and your heart. So much of what I went through was physical and yet spiritual. And still, nothing can hinder the work that He is doing.
 
Through this trial, my husband and I grew so close together. Had it not been for this issue in our first year of marriage, we can both honestly say that we wouldn't of experienced God in the way that we did had we not went through the valley. The way we viewed God changed and grew into this reverence and awe. And the way we loved one another grew and changed completely. God restored me, my heart, my joy, our oneness, and even He restored my physical body. Most of all, He restored my faith in Him. Because He wants His children to trust in Him, because He knows that it is for our good and His glory. He is good and He is worthy.
 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Currently No. 1 // January

 January has been off to a pretty productive start which is always a good thing in my book! Today I'm linking up with Jenna + Anne to talk about what is currently going on in our lives this month!

 
 

resolving | to set my mind on eternity // for the past few years, I have chosen one word to focus on in the new year instead of choosing resolutions. this year, I chose eternity and you can read all about why here! I want my mind and all I do to be set on eternity. I have been asking myself, "will this matter in 20,000 years?" Normally the answer is no so I know what I need to focus on in life. I want to say YES to that question more this year, focusing on sharing His love with others.


reading |  The Bradley Method Book which focuses on natural, husband-coached childbirth + Ina May's guide to childbirth... // both amazing books! I am so excited to go through childbirth with my husband as my coach and encourager. He is the best as keeping me calm, peaceful, and relaxed in situations when I don't want to be so I know he will be the best! I recommend these books for anyone!


organizing | our home! // Our first baby is making her debut into the world in possibly less than SEVEN WEEKS! Y'all, I am organizing like crazy. We have to make room for her which is so crazy to think about. All we have to do is organize the kitchen, finish hanging wall d├ęcor, get our bedroom in order, finish her nursery, and put up new trim and get this house sanitized. Oh man.


loving | the season that I am in // the joy and pure love on my husband's face when he feels Josie kicking and moving around, getting woke up in the middle of the night feeling Josie hiccupping, and praising God for His grace in this season of my life. My heart hurts for those women still waiting for this season that I don't deserve to be in. But I am humbled and so thankful and desire to raise Josie to fear and love her God!


craving | oh, just everything. // Josie is growing like a weed since we are in the final stretch of her growing in my belly. She's eating all of my food so I am having to eat more (literally requested by my doctor.. I'm not complaining, haha). I can't wait to put all of my grandma's recipes to work in the kitchen this month. First up: her famous chicken casserole + yummy peach cobbler. 
 
 
I am excited for what the rest of January brings as I strive to set my mind on what is important to the Kingdom of God!


 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Reintroduction!

I love the start of a new year. There is something about the refreshment that it brings. Normally, around this time, I decide to get active again. But I'm 8 months preggo and that ain't happenin'. I can barely muster up enough energy to make myself lunch. (Insert hilarious laughing face here...)
 
Since this is a brand new, rebranded blog with a fresh focus, I thought it would be perfect to reintroduce myself! I ADORE reading about the women behind the blogs that I so love to follow. I hope you do too!
 
 
 
First and foremost, I love and follow Jesus. He changed my life completely when I was around 18 and I haven't looked back since!
 
I've always enjoyed...
 
being creative,
writing,
painting,
being outdoors,
reading good books,
eating delicious food,
laughing hysterically and way too loud,
being in the sunshine,
drinking hot cocoa in the winter,
walking through Central Park in the snow with my husband,
traveling to new places and old,
drinking coffee in a quaint little shop with a friend,
enjoying morning devotions with the rising sun,
spending time with family,
photographing any and everything,
and so many other things!
 
 
 
 
 
I dream of...
 
the future,
being an interior designer,
being a full time overseas missionary with my little family,
owning a farm,
being an author,
living by the beach,
being a mom (happening in February!),
living my own fairy tale (started July 20th when I married my prince!),
living a life that encourages others.
 
 
 
 
 
I love...
 
+ my husband whom I married July 20th, 2013,
+ Jesus who saved me and changed my life,  
+  encouraging others to live life freely and joyfully everyday through Him,
+ our little Josie Kate who is due to make her appearance into the world on my birthday this year, February 27th!
 
 
Joe and I met through a mutual friend at the end of 2012 and by February of 2013, we were engaged in the Bahamas! That July, we married! It was the best day ever!
 
 
 
I am a...
 
Jesus follower
Wife
Momma to be
Sister to seven
Professional Photographer
Siberian Retriever Mom (her name is Penny and she is SPOILED)
Southerner
Youth leader at our local church
natural introvert who sometimes acts like an extrovert
lover of PJs and blankets
ENFJ
lover of sweet tea and coffee and watermelon and okay, I love food
 
 
 
 
 I hope you enjoyed learning just a tad bit more about me! Now, it's your turn... what do you put in your coffee and what is your favorite pastime? Let's be friends!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Setting My Mind on Eternity in 2016

It's 2016 and after long weeks of relaxation and fun with our families over the holidays, we are back home and ready to start this new year off right!
 
Each year, I try to chose a word to focus on for the entire year. This year, I choose eternity. My husband always talks about if we choose to have an eternal outlook on life, we wouldn't be so apt to turn to the temporal world we live in for purpose and meaning. Jesus encourages and commands us to seek the things which are above and to set our minds on things that are above, not on the earth. Why? "Because you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God."
 
I decided to start studying Colossians in-depth this morning. Since it's a letter and we normally read letters in their entirety, I read the entire (really short) letter of Colossians which is written by Paul to the church at Colossae. And in chapter three, these words were penned:
 
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." Col. 3:1-4
 
I am not my own. You are not your own. "If then you have been raised with Christ..." That says if you claim to believe and follow Jesus having been washed clean by His blood, then you ought to seek things that are above. He isn't saying if we feel like it, or if we have nothing better to do. He isn't saying after college or you get married to do this but NOW to EVERY believer.
 
My life shouldn't be all about me because who I am in dead and it is Christ who is alive in me! Christ isn't concerned about whether my home looks like a home right out of a magazine or if I am a size 0 or 10. He isn't concerned about whether or not we are successful or rich or perfect wives or mothers. He wants our entire hearts, all or nothing. I must stop following the world and start truly following Him.
 
 
 
 
 
That is what I want in 2016. I want to set my mind on eternity in all I do, say, and think about.
 
In my friendships and relationships with family members, those who believe and those who do not.
 
In my new role as a momma starting in February.
 
In my marriage.
 
In my mind when I am prone to worry.
 
In my heart where I am prone to wander.
 
In my church family relationships, women who are younger than me and older.
 
In the way I use my money.
 
In the way I eat.
 
In the way I spend my time.
 
I want my heart and mind to be set on eternity, on Christ.
 
I can't do it alone. Left to myself, I will fail. That's why I have stopped with silly resolutions. But this, this is through the strength of His Spirit within me. I want to know God and His heart. I want to grow in Him daily. I want to see less of me and more of Him in myself and in my daily life. I want to love like He loves.
 
 I want to be a mom who is passionate about teaching the love of Christ to her child. I want to be a wife who constantly builds up and serves her husband because of the love she has for her Savior. I want to love the lost with a passion so deeply rooted in seeing them be saved from hell and oppression by a God who loves them mightily.
 
 
What do you want in 2016?