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National best friends day.

You all  informed me that today was National Bestfriends Day. You had  fun playing with your neighborhood buddies and as always baby sister was waiting for your arrival home. Standing at the door as soon as you left saying "bubba bubba ... ee ee ee ee"

I'd say in her world, you are most certainly her best buds who she adores and looks up to so much. It's pretty neat watching you all love each other. 


And do you see those blue skies? The sun returned to Florida today!

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Sidewalk paint.

It has rained for days here, but we get outside as fast as we can in between storms. Thankful for the rain, but missing our Florida sunshine. 


Today, we made this sidewalk paint that took all of five minutes to make and provided over an hour of fun. Much needed fresh air for all of us. 


Love watching this little bit become curious about exploring with art. Will be doing lots more of these fun messy activities this summer. 

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The glorious mundane.

"How do you do it all? 
You invite the glorious into the mundane "

I am admittedly pretty late to the podcast craze. Better late, than never. Right? 


Yesterday, I began listening to the Podcast of @christynockels : The Glorious in the Mundane. 


If you've followed me for anytime you know my heart is passionate about finding the beauty in the everyday. It isn't just something I do to stay inspired to create art. No, it is a lifeline for me. A way of living and thriving in this season of life called motherhood. 


You see, finding beauty in the everyday, finding the glorious in the mundane, is about so much more than a beautiful picture or a positive outlook. It's about inviting God into all parts of my life. It's about seeing Him and His grace and love and LIGHT in the ordinary moments; especially in the ordinary moments. Talking to Him and seeking Him at the kitchen sink, in the car, and in all the daily messes of life. 


In some ways, I've felt stuck in the valley the past few months as our baby has emerged into a toddler. As she finds her voice and independence. Through tantrums and fits. Through multiple ear infections and teeth emerging on a constant basis. Through sleepless nights. 


No, none of these things are life threatening. And yes, we have so very much to be grateful for. But it's enough to feel weary and worn. To lose patience and grace. To feel frustrated and need to cry out. 


This quote that Christy shared in her intro podcast was such a timely reminder in the midst of an ordinary day. A day filled with struggles and beauty alike. A great reminder to keep seeking and inviting Him in to every moment. And with that invitation, my eyes and heart transform and suddenly everything takes on new light. 

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I see you and I love you.

Whenever we go to the pool you ask to swim through my legs. You call out for me to watch you do your underwater flip. You yell mama watch me as you jump from the edge.

Many times my eyes are on baby sister and I can't give you my full attention and then many times I've given you an ungraceful and selfish answer. Today, I want to say I am sorry. 
There have been moments that it feels like you've asked me to watch the same thing a million times. Moments, when I just wanted to sit by the pool side in quiet, lost in my own thoughts. It's quite embarrassing to say this out loud. To admit my own selfish desires and shortcomings. But I have to be honest. I always want to be honest with you children. I am far from perfect. 
The other day I read an article and it reminded me that you won't always be asking for my approval. For my attention. For my praise. It reminded me that there will come a day you won't need me anymore. Not in the same ways you do now. That I won't be such a huge part of your world. I know it. Things will change. No matter what I do or don't do, this is part of the growing process. The words from the article keep going through my mind. They challenge me daily to live fully in these moments because I know one day, it will all be so different. I will long for questions and noise and to be needed. I will long to be right here. 


Today, I want to remind you how much I love you. How much I love being your mama. There will be days that I feel depleted and will need your grace and unyielding love; yet, my prayer is that most days I make it known that I hear you and see you and love you . That I'm so proud of you. And I hope you always know what a gift motherhood truly is for me. 

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Never alone

Over the weekend, I was up with this sweet babe multiple times. Another ear infection. Fussiness. And sleepless nights for both of us. 
At one point, I was in tears. Feeling so alone and so exhausted. 
My mind wandered to how many other mothers out there feel alone. 


Sleepless babies.
Temperamental toddlers.
Pre-school children testing their limits.
Children with health issues.
Children with learning disabilities and struggles.
Teens that are rebelling.
Adult children with adult problems. 


Moms, not one of you; not one of us is alone. 


It may feel like it as you look around at others and think they have it so easy; that they have it all together as we see only snippets into their realities. 


As I sat there sleepless and awake in bed, I realized again that these hard moments of motherhood make me appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the other days. That I have empathy for other mothers that I may not have otherwise. That I have a realization of grace I may not have known. That I have a chance to use these moments to grow in ways I may not have seen I needed. And ultimately, that I have a chance to seek Him more and trust that His plan is infinitely better than any plan I could write. 


So to the mama that is reading this and feeling alone, please know, you are not. That there are many mamas going through these same valleys and mountains with you. Maybe not together in proximity, but together in heart. And far better than that, there is a God who loves you immeasurably and will never forsake you. 

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Grateful for simplicity.

You have very few toys, but I think you are quite content. You ask  to be "out" all the time. And you could sit and play in the water all day long.

There's a simplicity of life at this age and I'm trying to savor each moment. Yes, there are days this is hard. Tantrums have set in and moods rise and fall. But it doesn't take long to look across the house and see quite vividly how quick this season will pass. Words never seem to truly share how grateful I feel to have this chance again.

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thirteen

As I think back on the day you were born, it feels as real as yesterday. No one could have ever prepared me for motherhood. For the love that would engulf my life in such a powerful way. 
For the past few years, I've watched you change little by little. Truthfully, I was nervous as I began to feel the shift and as you began to travel through foreign waters. 


Today, I feel a peace as I see the beautiful young lady you are becoming. You are filled with grace, love and wisdom beyond your years. Your faith in Jesus continues to grow and I've seen you lean on Him for strength and understanding. I'm so thankful for you and the lessons you continue to teach me. My prayer, is to be fully present in these days with you; to guide you and love you right where you are. I realize more than ever how precious our days, talks and moments together truly are. 


In those early years, it felt like we had forever together. Today, as we celebrate 13 years of you, forever doesn't seem like enough.

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13 months

This little ray of sunshine is 13 months today. I couldn't help but think back to a year ago today. You were still so tiny... trying to gain weight. Reflux. Gas pains. I felt overwhelmed and at a loss for how to soothe you. I worried it would last forever. Goodness the newborn days are so bittersweet. Hard and tiring yet so beautiful too. Thankful for God's provision and grace giving me the strength I needed. 


And here we are today. You are the most smiley, waving, happy baby I could dream of. You are now taking steps. Eating non stop and still nursing pretty much non stop too. And yes... you love, love, love your baths. 

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scooting

I don’t remember any of our other children crawling like this. You've scooted like this across our floors with lightning speed for the past few months. This is the way you have moved since you started moving. And I love it. It is the most precious thing watching you carry your beloved item of the moment with one hand, and scoot with the other. For weeks, you have taken one step, two steps, and now will walk a handful of steps before losing balance. I realize your days of scooting are numbered, which makes me cherish this image even more

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wonder

The wonder of childhood is really something beautiful.


Today, I had the chance to read part of an advanced copy of Only Love Today, written by Rachel Stafford of  Hands Free Revolution . I read the first part and then thumbed through until I landed on this part of the book called Acceptance. I cannot wait to dive in and read more, as this spoke to me so much this afternoon.

As I read these couple of pages, I realized I have been at fault comparing our children at times. Sometimes, silently, but sometimes, aloud. I don’t want to do this, but with multiple children it happens (even with the simplicity of what they ate as babies and so forth). I strive for each child to know how truly loved they are. How accepted they are JUST THE WAY THEY ARE RIGHT NOW. There is a time for correcting, lessons to be learned, and room for growth, but there is so much more time for Grace , love and acceptance. I know, as a mother, a wife, and a daughter; these things mean so much to me. To be recognized and loved right where I am. I pray my children will know without a doubt that my love for them is never conditional. And not only that, that I am amazed by them. In awe of them. Right where they are.

Here are some words that Rachel shares about acceptance. I love the way she beautifully reminds us to see the wonder in our children. I believe this is something for all of us, no matter what ages our children are today.

"When it comes to my loved one’s future, I cannot predict. So let me stop.
I cannot accelerate. So let me pause.
I cannot control. So let me release.
But there is something I can do. There is something we can all do to celebrate our loved ones for who they are now, rather than what their current skills or interests indicate they might become.
We can wonder.
To wonder about you is to know you, to see you, to delight in you just as you are.
To wonder about you is to love you in the most empowering way possible.
Today I invite you to join me in the act of wondering in an effort to enhance futures rather than diminish them. 
Take a look: 
To the child who’d rather catch butterflies than fly balls….to the child who wants to play catch ‘til the sun goes down…
You are a wonder.
To the child who prefers solitude…
To the child who prefers an audience…
You are a wonder. 

To the child who does things in her own way, in her own time…
To the child who forges ahead with no sign of slowing down..
You are a wonder.
To the child who wears his heart on his sleeve.. To the child who wears a costume to the supermarket..
You are a wonder. 

To the child whose butterfly colors light up a room.. To the child whose firefly light shines quietly from within…
You are a wonder. 

To the child who questions everything about life.. To the child whose inherent knowledge runs deep…
You are a wonder. 

So go on, extraordinary one.
Live and let live.
Love and be loved.
Bloom in time-in your own time.
Now I see you for who you really are.
And you are a wonder.
I am sorry I didn’t see it before.
I see it now.
I see it now.
You are a wonder.
I’ll be watching proudly with glistening eyes to see what your future holds.
Today I will love my people “as is” Instead of harping on their bad habits, low marks, messy rooms, or future pursuits, I will pause and simply marvel at who they are at this very moment. In that sacred pause I take to marvel, there’ll be room for love and acceptance to come in.”

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siblinghood

My childhood memories are filled with my older brother, your Uncle . Holidays, birthdays, the "everydays" . I was always tagging along. Riding bikes wherever we could. Barefoot wiffle ball in the backyard. Mimi sending us to the bathroom because we couldn't stop arguing. So many amazing memories of childhood. And then me marrying one of his best friends, you daddy. 

I watch you all and I love seeing the memories you are making. Memories that will stay with you a lifetime. There's something pretty special the relationship the two of you share. You spend so much time in the yard daily playing together. Running outside when you get a break from school. Hours can pass as you adventure together. Bubby looks out for baby sissy and you looks up to him. And admittedly pushe his buttons often. But your love and adoration is undeniable. I'm a grateful mama. 

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how's your soul

How's your soul? 


I know it's a pretty deep question. Have you thought about it lately ? Does life have you going from one commitment to the next. One day to the next. One year to the next. Do you feel like something is missing? 


I believe there are so many of our generation that are tired of the more mentality. More technology. More activities. More stuff. So many are realizing that less is more and they crave space and time to connect and to be still. Not with a phone or a TV to entertain them. Not with more activities just filling space on their calendar because no was too hard to say. A yearning to slow down is taking place in the souls of so many. 


My husband and I are co-leading a study at our church with the college/young adults by Judah Smith called How's Your Soul? This week we discussed the power of saying no. And really making our yes answers be ones that count. That our hearts are 100% connected with. 
We must have margin in our lives. Time to stop and simply be in awe of God's creation . Time to enjoy God's creation. And most definitely time to connect with the creator Himself. 
I urge you.

Take time and really ask yourself how is your soul? 

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everyday beauty

"The beauty that I love is the gift of every ordinary day that's left to me. I want to center my life on the things I'm grateful for. I want to pay attention to what's worth caring about, to read the sacred in everyday life, to develop a spiritual sturdiness I need for that simple, endlessly challenging practice."
-Katrina Kenison


This is the mindset I've been challenged to have for years. A mindset that I have challenged mothers and photographers in my workshop to seek. 


My camera has been such an amazing tool in aiding me to see the sacred in the everyday life; yet, the images I have acquired are not what I am most appreciative of. I am most grateful that God has given me the ability to see life with such clarity. To see the gift of these days I spend with you all. To see the beauty in mundane moments. The infinite details. To feel the brevity and to seek gratitude, even amidst the challenges. Especially amidst the challenges. To truly realize the importance of being still and in the moment. This way of seeing my days at home with you all has spilled over into all aspects of my life. It really is true that a life seeking gratitude, can bring such a joy filled life of living.

Perspective really changes everything. 
And who knew spaghetti oh's and light made such a beautiful combination? 

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