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Marriage Matters

October 21, 2015



We had family photos taken a week ago by a dear friend of mine who is raising money for their family’s adoption. Family photos are my favorite, at least once they are over and done with! Once I have the photos in my hands I’m so thankful we captured this moment in time, when our daughter is tiny and our family is healthy and our lives feel so full. What a sweet season this is for us, after a season that felt as dry as a desert.

As women we spend a lot of time talking and talking about motherhood, don’t we? Blogs and articles and books are dedicated to the subject, and with good reason. Being a mom is important work! But where is the love and attention for our marriages?

I used to be very smug when people told me marriage was hard. Even as a newly married person, I still couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Marriage? Hard? Hardly! If you’re in that camp, I don’t hold it against you. If you haven’t yet hit that point where marriage is truly, deeply hard, it will come eventually. I can guarantee it.

We had one of those years. The years that test and stretch and strengthen you as long as they don’t kill you. And trust me when I say that sometimes you think it may actually kill you before you see the other side. I look at that photo above and my amazing, wonderful and loving husband and I thank my lucky stars for him every day. I think about our first kiss at 17 and the memories we’ve collected together. He’s my person, yet sometimes I don’t give him nearly the time or attention he deserves.

There are days when I give my best to my baby, my work, my friends and a bunch of people on the fringes of my life, leaving very little time or energy for my husband. I’ve been working on it, little by little. Investing into my marriage the way I invest in my child. Can you relate?

Despite all the parenting books I have read, I don’t think I’ve read a single one on marriage. In the past I’ve naively assumed that marriage is just supposed to happen intuitively without time or investment of resources.

I want to continue to strive after my marriage, to give my husband the best I have to offer. I want to take time to get away just the two of us, for date nights and vacations sans-baby and dates at home after Ainsley is in bed. To put down my phone and quit scrolling through Instagram when we’re together and really look him in the eyes.

It’s worth it. I’m convinced there are very few things more worthy of our time and attention.



Confident + Kind

October 12, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 7.40.16 AMAs Ainsley gets older I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want her to be. Not about the vocation she chooses or the activities she participates in as the grows, but the important things that make the core of her being. We pray over Ainsley daily, but we always pray for her out loud before bed together as a family. The words that keep coming back to me are “confident & kind.” My prayer for you, sweet Ainsley, is that you’re confident in who God created you to be and kind to people from every walk of life.

Joe says that each one of us is best at practicing that which we struggle most with. I’m positive that’s true. Now that I’m a mom, I’ve become more reflective. I’ve thought about times when I haven’t been confident enough to be the person I feel called to be, or when I haven’t had the confidence to go sit with someone who is alone because I’ve been too preocupied with my own insecurities.

I see kiddos who have differences, both minor and major, and I think about the heartbreak that parents experience when other kids use those differences to make fun of another kid or tear them down. Guys? It breaks my heart. Perhaps it’s because I got a little glimpse already into having a baby that’s “different” with her little skin tags by her ears and her tiny gap that we repaired in the corner of her lip. She was just an infant, oblivious to those differences, and she’ll never remember that as part of her story. But I pray every day that when she encounters children who are different than she is that she is includes them, brings them into the game or group, and can see past the differences to find common ground.

I’m also realizing that this parenting business is weighty stuff, isn’t it? If I want Ainsley to be confident and kind, to include and affirm others, then I need to do a better job of modeling that behavior in my own life. I feel SO convicted of all the times that I’ve fallen short, and so inspired to continue to ask God for the strength and capacity to model these things to my baby girl.

I’ve been thinking of taking these words and using them as artwork in Ainsley’s new room, both as a reminder to her and to me + Joe that we should strive to model true confidence in the form of humility and kindness to everyone we come in contact with.

On that note, does anyone have any great parenting books to recommend? I’m talking less about tactical books and more about general concepts, faith-based parenting and the like? I’m all ears!



Make Motherhood Your Own

September 21, 2015


For the last three days I’ve had the JOY to spend three uninterrupted days with women from around the country at The Influence Conference. I met up with my sister-in-law, Amber, and good friend, Laura, for some much-needed girl time, a break from daily routines and time to think about the bigger picture in life rather than the day-to-day tasks.

Did I mention this was my first overnight trip away from Ainsley? I had big plans for sleeping, but I found my heart needed girl-time and late-night talks more than it needed the extra zzz’s. So although I’m more physically exhausted than when I left, I’m filled up emotionally and creatively inspired more than I’ve been in a long time.

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Motherhood was the topic of many conversations and speaker sessions. As I took in all the information and digested what people were saying, I started to think about all the “shoulds” I carry into motherhood.

I should feel guilty leaving my baby for 3 days. I should miss her so much it hurts and shed tears when I leave.

I should feel more conflicted about being a working mom, and what does that say about me if I don’t?


I should make my own baby food.


I should read to Ainsley more and buy more developmental toys.

I should feel all the mom guilt about the things I don’t do well. 

Really, the list could go on and on. You know what? I didn’t shed a tear when I left Ainsley on Thursday morning. I missed her, but not achingly so. Knowing she was safe at home with dad and her Mimi, Nana and Papa all loving on her made me happy. I loved eating full, hot meals and sipping coffee and getting ready without rushing. And when I returned home? There was nothing sweeter than hugging that little munchkin and kissing those chubby cheeks. Enjoying my time away didn’t diminish my love for Ainsley. And, dare I say, it made me a better, more refreshed and inspired mom?

As I started to unpack the “shoulds” in my thinking, I realized that at the heart of almost every “should” was comparison. It’s not God’s standards that I’m holding myself to, it’s people in the world around me. And, as we all know about comparison, it’s always an ugly, unsatisfying road to walk.

We all want to be good moms. Heck, we all want to be amazing moms! To give our kiddos love, adoration and support. But how we arrive there comes in so many different shapes and sizes.

There is SO MUCH gray in motherhood, isn’t there? I have to imagine if we freed ourselves up from the “shoulds” and the guilt associated with the choices we make in motherhood the mommy wars would cease to exist. Because isn’t that what we’re all doing when we engage in those debates or carry that guilt or second guess our intuition?

In our hearts we know that this motherhood thing, it matters, it’s weighty and important and we’re desperately looking for validation that we’re doing it the right way. If the world tells us we’re doing things the “right” way, then we have no need to feel guilty.

I’m thankful that this weekend I was able to spend time with moms, women I know and respect, who have different perspectives on what it means to be a mom and what motherhood looks like for their families. I’m thankful for grace and forgivness and fresh starts in the name of Jesus, day-in and day-out.

For a while now, our family has been clinging and meditating on 2 Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

If you’re carrying the weight and burden of shoulds, if you’re tired and weary and feeling like you’ll never measure up to the version of mommahood that you desire, I want to encourage you. Let’s boast in the fact that when we’re messy and imperfect, we can live freely by knowing that our imperfections are an opportunity to point others back to Him.



What’s In My Bag: Influence Conference Edition

September 16, 2015


Tomorrow I’m leaving my favorite people (and my baby for the very first time overnight!) and heading to Influence Conference for the second year in a row. Conferences? Gah, conferences. I have such a love-hate relationship with them because my secretly introverted self feels so. dang. uncomfortable. But once I just do the dang thing? It’s always worth it.

I’m working on going out of my comfort zone more and more these days, and I think it’s doing me a world of good.

So what’s in my bag? Here’s a look:

1. My MacBook Air
I’ll be doing a little work while I’m there and hoping to jot down some ideas for blog content while I’m listening to all the amazing speakers.

2. My iPhone
How else am I supposed to FaceTime my baby five times a day? Plus, what’s a blogging conference without social media?

3. FLYJOY Bars
Conferences are notorious for having bad food and lousy snacks, so I’ll be taking plenty of FLYJOY bars for myself and to hand out. If you’re hungry and attending the conference, come find me and I’ll hook you up!

4. Wet Wipes
I’m getting all fancy and taking the cute, scented wipes since I won’t have a baby in tow. I’m now realizing that #momlife means getting excited about taking fancy wipes in your purse.

5. Business Cards
Purchased on VistaPrint. I’m never really sure why everyone hands out cards. Does anyone go back and look at them after the conference? I’ll never know, but I can’t imagine going without a stack.

6. Lip Glosses
Both basic (EOS) and fun (Victoria’s Secret) because that’s about as close as you’ll ever get me to wearing lipstick.

7. Notebooks
For jotting down thoughts, ideas, prayers and dreams. A couple days away, without distractions, is always good for my heart and mind. It’s such a breath a fresh air to have room to dream and plan and hope for the future.

8. My Joby GripTight Gorillapod Phone Stand
I’m convinced this will make Periscoping and selfies about a thousand times better.

Is anyone else out there going to Influence? If you are, please come find me and say hello!



Mid-Year Reset

August 28, 2015



In my “When Life Needs White Paint” post, I talked about a mid-year reset to start fresh. Although I’m no longer in school, I love the idea of starting new habits and intentions at the beginning of the school year. There’s something SO much more inspiring about starting new goals and routines in September than in the middle of the winter in January. Anyone with me?

Today we closed on our new house. There is more work to be done than I want to think about in order to make it a home that works for us, but we’re diving in headfirst! Although a lot of our free time will be devoted to home projects, I’m trying to be more intentional about my time by setting a few goals for the fall and beyond. Last week I jotted a few notes down about what I want to do and where I want to devote my time. Most of my list is pretty self-explanatory and straightforward, and now that I look at the list again I think it could be described like this: Live more life! Connect more, spend more time in the moment, experience new things and move my body more frequently.  I want to spend more time in my life if that makes any sense at all.

Now I want to hear from you! What do you hope to do this “school year” and beyond? Goals, hopes, dreams? Maybe we can all do a little mid-year reset together!


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