Monday, May 23, 2016

I'm reminded...

I'm awful nosey, this isn't news. I can spend an unhealthy amount of time cyber stalking people, and unashamedly brag about it here, just now. On Instagram my explore option is never lonely, because I find myself clicking away like I have some investigation that needs solving. In real life, even when you think I'm not looking, I am. I have seen a father push your kid off his knee, because he was not interested in playing with him, even though your gentle child approached with love and a huge smile. He was brash and uninterested, lifted his head quickly to make sure nobody saw, but I did, I saw you. I have seen a husband not meet you, his wife, in the eyes as you attempt to engage him in conversation about the score, and he ignores your questions because he is too angry about the game. As you walk away, he looks around in shame because he realizes he was being a jerk and hopes no one heard your empty requests. But I did, I heard her...and I saw you. I have seen a coach yell at your kid, push him in frustration and go about his role like nothing ever happened. Either nobody saw it, or nobody had a problem with it, but I saw you and I had a problem with it. I have seen my son try and get your attention all while being a foot away from you, and you ignored him. You didn't look around to see if you were being watched, but you were, and I saw you. I'm not quite sure how to move past some of these encounters. I'm not quite sure how to mentally let go of them and let in the other part of you that's not a jerk. These are all very real things that have happened, and yet it has also been a very symbolic example of what I have always struggled with...my whole life. Once I am exposed to your flaws, I am turned off and mentally dismiss you. That is wrong, beyond wrong. But I've done it for so long, that I forget we are all imperfect. And expecting perfection out of anyone is an unrealistic expectation. I own a very real part of myself that may not be received well by others. And moreover, I'm quite certain you've seen parts of me that have turned you off. How judgmental of me to label you from the beginning. You've read me write it before, how we are who we are at our worst, and you read me share a confrontation I had with Adan's opponents mom on my blog awhile back, exposing exactly who I am. But in case you were still wondering, I am a woman who falls short, every single day. I am a woman who struggles with moving on from first impressions. I am a woman who struggles with witnessing others interactions and then finding a healthy and appropriate way to deal with it. I remember reading a print a while back about how one of the best things you can do for your marriage is to stop taking the negativity towards others, of others to your husband. How speaking ill of someone to your husband, even if just to vent, invites him to partake. Truth is, I do it because I want validation for my feelings. I want others to feel what I feel. I want audible feedback and joint justification for choosing to feel like I do. I am approaching it all wrong, my first vent belongs to God, those feelings, issues and judgments that I carry around, are begging to be laid at His feet. He should be my ultimate soundboard, He is my ultimate soundboard. But if I was being at all honest with myself, I would also have to share that in surrendering my feelings, invites conviction and realistically may be the sole reason I am slow to approach. Because I know that I will realize that my methods are wrong, acknowledge that I need to change them and move on from the grief of observation. You see, once I hand it over I know what's coming. And why would I want anything else? I should be running to God when I'm tormented or bothered. But this is where my flesh and spirit find its most common battle, and where my global issues truly live. In my heart I know that in visiting with Him about this or anything else, pointing me to forgiveness, mine and His, will be the end result. And why in the world would I want anything else? 

So as I close this month long prayer time, I am going to add a specific request for myself, I'm going to ask that God continue to let me see, because seeing is not the problem; but that He continue to let me see maybe what others don't. I am going to ask that He lend me His eyes when I find myself focusing on the flaws and realize that everyone else is falling short as well. 

My blog serves as my journal, and I used to add pictures of my family often, then I started doing more and more photography, and that became a prime ending focus for my posts. And what better time than now, with this post, to reignite the best part of who I am.

This sweet angel turned 7 on May 14th. He is sweet. He is sensitive. He is loving. He is growing up way too fast.
The older he gets, the less involved I am getting with his birthday "hoopla", mostly because he doesn't want parties at home anymore, and most places don't allow for a ton of "hoopla". He wanted Hulk and he wanted TopGolf, then I showed him the invite and he changed his mind to Jumpstreet. I love to personalize goodies for the friends, and I'm not NOT gonna do that, so they all got Hulk Tees with their names on 'em. The logo was found here and I enlarged it on a program I use, added the names, bought Iron on paper from Hobby Lobby...ironed them on...and viola!
See? I mean Hulk had a golf club and everything...
...that boy, he'll never know what his momma does for him! But I'm not complaining, I'd do, will do, anything for those boys.
Any part of me that is good is because of my Heavenly Father and these 3 humans. As I left for work last night and circled around front, this was my view. They are perfect and I can't believe I'm fortunate enough to call them my family.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Belong...

I had one girlfriend message me on Facebook, regarding my post from last week. She mentioned very real and personal struggles that she was having in her role as a mom. Feelings that I can say with 100% certainty, I have had, and am almost certain you have too. They consume her thoughts, they invite doubt in her role as a mom and welcome insecurity as a woman. We spoke about how she is not alone in her feelings, and I too suffer at the expense of my own self worth. She is my first prayer in the morning, and throughout the day, when she pops in my head, I pray for her. It has been a pleasure, and I will continue doing it for the rest of the month. This weekend many of you got the chance to celebrate the privilege that is being a mom. It is hard. There is no way to prepare you for the role. You can be educated, you can read up and you can have the best support system in town, at your beck and call, but nothing can actually truly prepare you for the role. I don't like to think of memories before my kids because it doesn't feel right, to think of my life before them. Marcus and I will look at our kids, and have conversations about how there is no way that people love their kids like we do, because we love them so much. I'll often times have similar conversations with my own mom about that topic. I'll mention the notion that she couldn't have possibly loved me like I love the boys. She'll call me out on my ignorance, and remind me that she not only did, but does. Why did I get this blessed? How in the world did I get to live here, be born here and be loved so greatly by two amazing parents, grow up without a need, marry an amazing man and then have the gift to raise two children of my own? How, why...? Sometimes, when I get caught up in that type of thinking, my flesh runs with it. I accept the camouflage, and somehow allow myself to believe that it is a good thing, and that somehow it will lead to gratitude, demonstratively. The reality is, it is not. Satan is the biggest illusionist of all, and many times he has me fooled. Questioning God's plan for my life thus far and wondering why in the world I am not suffering like so many, is just as much of an insult to Him, as when I question why in the world so many actually are. When He placed it in my heart to lead this month in a mommy dedicated prayer time, He already knew about my friend, and how she would read my blog and lean on me for that. He already knew that it would be in those moments of her opening up to me, that I would see myself in her. He already knew that every morning when I went to Him in prayer that I would be at my weakest because I would be completely and utterly relying on Him, depending on Him, for the words coming out of my mouth. And He already knew that this time of prayer would open up my heart to the promise that if I can trust Him with the needs of my friend, and trust Him to help her in the most important role she will ever have, then I too should trust Him enough to just be grateful for how I got here. Don't you see...I was hand picked, and so were you. 

Ladies, my fellow sisters, lovers of your children, fighters in this land for a better place to leave your offspring, women of heart and soul...YOU are Beloved!

Happy Mother's Day!

Ps, I would still love an opportunity to add you to my mommy daily dedication prayer this month, not too late! (message me, email me, or send me a text)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Forming...

I have been doing this parenting thing for a few years now, and it has not gotten any easier. In fact, I believe the older they get, the harder it becomes. I will let my mind take me to some pretty scary places if I let it. The other day I got to thinking about my children, and what their future will be like; their wives, their children, their old age. Truth is, I think about it often. I have always prayed for my children's future. In all areas of their life. But lately, the weight of their wives has been extra heavy. So I pray for them, even now. What does that look like? Well, I just ask that God would mold their wives for them, starting now. I ask God to send them loving, patient, kind, honest, genuine and caring women to partner through their life. I ask God to send them women who are of same faith, women who will pursue Him alone, and can then pursue Him too, with my sons. I also ask that my boys would know when to fall in love, and to only give their heart away to the right woman, the woman they will marry. I know that it has to be enough, that it is enough, prayer. And quite frankly, it is the best thing that I can do for them. But sometimes I let my mind go there, to the unwelcome yet haunting inevitable, potential time where we are all headed. I see them, in their old age, alone, wifeless and childless, and it kills me. Before I even have the chance to ponder the question, I am reminded of the answer. The one that lives inside of me and pretends to not exist, pacifying my incessant need to control everything. My steps, our steps are marked, and so are my thoughts, and even when I find myself veering off into a thought process that does not belong to Him, I'm shielded. And that shield comes in the form of my fellow, Christ loving, mom friends. It's familiar, their response; because I have been here before. I hear it living in the replies of my parents advice, when I emotionally breakdown and share my insecurities as a parent; because I have been here before. But I am also stubborn. My own selfish human desire seeks it anyways. It, the want for my children to have a wonderful long, happy life, never wanders far. I'm not going to lie, trusting my heavenly Father to bring forth a will that I too will rejoice in, is hard. How in the world can I trust that deeply when it comes to my own children? Well...they are not mine. They do not belong to me. I often find that God will teach me some of my most important lessons through an internal struggle that comes in the form of a third party. I am compassionate, and suffer greatly at the hands of others' sadness. I am at the forefront of their turmoil, internalize it, carry it, give it to God, and through His resolve, I'm shown that the lesson truly lies with me. And I'm awakened with the thought of what my prayer should be truly focused on, when referencing my kids. It's just that I can sometimes be my own worst enemy, and will allow the fog to distract me from emmulating the only type of catalyst I should be focused on. And that my friends is love. Love is what God does best. Love is what Jesus was. And in the end, love is what will win.

Is it as hard for you as it is for me? Do you think about your kids future like I do? Are you afraid for what they will face when they get older, or is it just me?

I am beginning a specific daily dedication to prayer for myself and anyone else who needs it, focusing on mothering. If you are a mom that is struggling with something, and need help or want help, can I pray for you? You do not need to believe in prayer, because I do and I will go to God for you. I would love to have to opportunity to love on you through prayer. Please either comment below, text me or send me an email.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

resting...

I can't believe that this year has succumbed to it's end already. I have no idea where the time has gone. I can't quite remember if I read it or overheard someone say it, but it has been living in my mind for the past few months..."If you are an adult, and you aren't tired, you aren't doing it right!" And lately, nothing has rang more true in my life than that. I mean, it made it's way onto our Christmas card, well sort of. As the holidays approach, I am reminded that although I am looking forward to the time with my family, there are so many people who will be alone on Christmas and New Years. What can I do to make that less prevalent of an issue? How can I contribute a part of myself to aid in someone else's loneliness? I'm not quite sure. Adan had a great idea a couple of years ago. He wanted to bake cookies, fill a large jug with hot chocolate and pass it around to people who don't have anything to eat. Unfortunately, for a couple of years now I have encouraged the idea, but never followed through on it. This year will be different. On his break from school, we will be doing just that. We will bake cookies, fill the jug with hot chocolate and drive over to the hospital district south of Dallas passing out goodies and passing out the love of Jesus. There is something to be said about the simplicity in a child's thinking. The solution is so concrete, yet for us adults, navigating through such simplicity can handicap us. I have found that if you enter a situation with the intent to find your answer, in most cases, you will. Searching for what may be missing in your life isn't any different. Many of you, especially as the holidays approach, find yourself in a place that is dark. You put on that brave face every single day, put one foot in front of the other because that is what is burned into your heart, yet you still can't fill the void. I have been there, in that dark place. I may not have known the place existed at 7, but the decision I made so long ago did in fact allow for an easier transition into resolve when the darkness came later. Where do you think that ingrained desire to be better, to want more, to be complete comes from? It comes from God. I pray that as you finish out this year, you will open your heart to the promise of concrete simplicity, placing that handicap we keep so comfortable at bay, in His hands. Merry Christmas folks, may you be happy and may you find a real peace this season.

This was the first time I ever photographed such a large group, and I was terrified beyond prepared. They were sweet, they were fun, energetic and they made me feel like I could accomplish the task. I hope you enjoy these few faves below...





Thursday, December 10, 2015

mirror...

There was only a few of them. But it didn't take long for more to join, slowly but surely, more of them made their way downstairs. Every single time I glanced over, more out of touch with the performance they were becoming. Some of them sleeping, others just staring off into the empty part of the room. And I found myself getting emotional. Here I was, standing with a camera in hand, snapping away at this sweet first grade class sing away, and all I kept thinking about was what difference of extremes in age I was surrounded by. These children had no idea who they were performing for. Truth is, neither did I. I have always had a bit of a soft spot for the geriatric population. As a matter of fact, I always thought that I was going to be a geriatric nurse. There is something honorable about being able to care for someone in their last days, especially when they have lived a life full of memories. Memories that have difficulty surfacing, but live so freely in the lines on their faces. Memories that can't make their way to the forefront of thought, but live so freely in the grey of their thinning hair and in the expressions behind their eyes. So there I stood, as the children sang, emotional and overcome with a sadness. One that contradicted any rational reason to not cry. But I did. I let the tears fill my eyes, and I let them stream down my face. She was here, I'm certain of it, the woman who made sure to always have fresh baked bread on Sunday afternoons, so after their spirits were filled from service, they too could be filled with the makings of yeast, warm water and sugar. Not to scarce was the man either, because in his presence I'm sure we were also. The one who rubbed his knuckles to the bone every other night, as he held down that second job. The one that would allow him to feed his family of eight. But what I'm most certain of, is the great old souls of which we were also in the presence of. And as the class began to wind down their performance, the teacher thought it would be appropriate to sing some old church hymns, Christmas themed ones. Almost as quickly as the music began, I could see it. One by one the once empty expressions filled with a recognition. And almost as as quickly as the lyrics left those sweet young lips, I could see it. One by one their heads lifted in recognition. The once uninterested, mentally drifted group began to sing along with a fervor to praise. So I stood, in awe struck wonder, realizing that I too would one day gaze into nothing. I asked God to always allow me to experience moments like these, to pull me close to Him, and asking Him to never lose interest in me, even "when" I reach this old age.

Having a baby is a special time. It's the beginning of life. It's the opportunity to love. And I was asked to swing on by this families house to snap a few of them in their home. Here are a couple of my faves...





Thursday, December 3, 2015

whose view...

He was loading the nail gun. It was easy for him. Many things are. I sat there, an onlooker, watching as he put up studs, nailed them secure and did the math in his head. I told him that I loved him, and he paused, looked up at me and said he loved me too. As he continued to reframe the wall, I told him how cool he was. He smirked. The kind of expression that leaves a gap of acceptance and security but one that is always guiding me towards his heart. He is beyond talented, in everything that he does. We started talking about redoing our house since we purchased it three years ago. We had always planned on someone, some company, coming in and doing the work. We have a rental in Arlington that he remodeled, and taking on a project of that caliber again, wasn't something I wanted, he wanted. But here we are, changed current...and somewhere along the way I have found myself living with my builder. Truth is, we could write a check for this. We could write a check for a lot of things, but we don't. He is that man. The man that wants to have his sons learn what it is to actually take care of a home and a car. He is amazing. He teaches our oldest the importance of knowing the difference between a phillips and a flathead, and in that same breath, extends instruction on loading the washing machine. I have said it before, how he is a way better father than I am a mother, and I love him for it. I don't waver for one minute in that truth. We are partners and I am beyond fortunate to have him lead our home.

I get a little bit of anxiety when I have to shoot kids. They are mobile, they are energetic and they have minds of their own. I get nervous because I want to do a good job. Then I realize that if I will just let them be, take a deep breath and follow them around, the shot will just present itself. May these sweet faces remind me you of what joy childhood is. Here are a few of my faves.






Monday, November 30, 2015

gratitude is finite...

I drove home, after a very long shift. I walked through the door and helped to get the morning going. They were packing up and driving to Waco soon, and I would be left all alone. Wiping faces, brushing teeth, lacing up shoes and an insufficient amount of hugs and kisses were had before they all piled into the truck and drove away. It was Thanksgiving Day, and I would be spending it alone, without the most important people of my life. As the door shut behind them and I exhaled audibly, I made my way to our bedroom, for what I thought would be some amazing sleep. Except that it wasn't. I woke up every single hour, on the hour. Every single time that I looked at my phone and saw the time, it was a reminder that I was that much closer to having to go back to work. It was a reminder of how much time had already passed since I had seen my family. And it was a reminder of how soon I would have to pretend to be okay with working another night shift, on a holiday, without my family. Moments like these make me not like my job. Moments like these make me wish that I did something else for a living. And yet, moments like these make me stop and realize that even though I am obligated to report on holidays, weekends and overnight shifts, I am not obligated to lay in that hospital bed with those children. I am not obligated to carry a parents emotional burden of having a child so sick that their chest has to be opened in order to fix it. And I am not obligated to remain in such a victim rich outlook. I am however obligated to change my attitude, because I chose this life. I chose to study this in college and I choose now to continue it in the matter in which I do. I will get to go home in 12 hrs, every single night that I show up, but those children and their families do not. That obligation, the one to stand firm on a character that was instilled in me by no one other than the Lord, allows me to continue to carry out such an honor. Because that is exactly what I do. It is an absolute honor to have these parents look me in the eye, and trust me to keep their child safe and most importantly...alive. Every day, every night...even on Thanksgiving.

My heart was so rich after having met this family. They are brave, they are full of joy and they love each other very much. And I'm pretty sure their children will carry their tradition of love, forever. Here are a few of my faves.