The Parable of the Peonies

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I felt the anxiety welling up inside as we pulled out of the driveway for a long weekend away. All over Instagram were gorgeous photos of Peonies, beautifully styled photos, and ours were just starting to bloom. "I know they are all going to bloom this weekend while we are gone and I'm not going to get to photograph them, style them or even enjoy them." 

It's been exactly 5 years since we signed the papers and got the keys to our little Burnt Orange Mid Century Mod House. In those five years, we've completed MANY MANY projects, but my most favorite outside addition was the two peony bushes that we planted out front. 

Every year since we planted them, I wait in anticipation to see how many blooms I will get that year. I panic and obsess over them. I fear that if I don't cut them all and bring them all inside that I'm going to waste them. One year, I even went as far as to try and put them in the fridge and save them for months later. But as I was showering the other day, I had this crystalizing epiphany. 

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Which is where the "Parable of the Peonies" came from. There were two maidens, both with gorgeous gardens full of Peonies of various colors. The first maiden would wait with anticipation as her garden blossomed. She would obsess about trying to make sure that she enjoyed every second of her garden, to the point that is caused her so much stress that she spent the entire time worrying she was missing it. She would anxiously plan out things to do with her flowers, photo shoots, social media posts, but then she would blink, and just like that the flowers had died and she forgot to enjoy the beauty that she was blessed with. 

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The second maiden, like the first, waited with anticipation for the joy that these gorgeous blooms would bring to her, and with pruning sheers in hand, she snipped a few stems for herself to enjoy inside. The sight & fragrance of the flowers brought her heart so much joy & as she looked over the bushes, she saw so many flowers and realized that there was no way should keep these all to herself. So she snipped a few more, wrapped them up, and decided to make a few deliveries to others who she knew would enjoy their beauty as well. Because when the day is done and the flowers die (as they always do), you will be left with nothing. But using something as simple as a flower to spread love, joy & friendship to those around you, that's a way to make them last far longer. 

I'm learning to work on that whole contentment, & living in the moment thing and in case you were wondering, I haven't quite figured it out just yet, but I'm trying. Maybe it's the photographer in me, or the fact that I'm sadly too obsessed with social media, but I never feel like I can truly live in the moment if I'm not able to take photo documentation of said moment. 

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Have you seen this photo of the sweet little old lady enjoying the moment, as everyone around her is feverishly trying to document every second with their phones? It was like a punch to the gut for me, because it's easy for me to be one of those people looking at life through the lens of my iPhone. But when was the last time that you sat back, put away the phone, and enjoyed life as it was actually unfolding, minute by minute, and truly felt content with the season of life that you were in. Not telling yourself, well if I could just get to this point I would be okay. If I could just declutter the whole house, and get everything clean, maybe I won't feel so crazy. If I could just lose 20 pounds, maybe I'll be happier. 

There will always be goals to accomplish, laundry to wash, a house to clean, but there will never be another day just like today, so enjoy where you are and share your joy with those around you. Life isn't about the things you have, its about the relationships you build, the legacy of love that you create, and the ability to love others the way that Jesus loves us. 

I Said a Change... A Change Will Do You Good.

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Pretty sure I just dated myself with that song lyric quote, but for real, change will do you good!! With the exception of the hour I lost just a little bit ago, as I watched a few random youtube videos from Ellen, and this battle that I'm currently losing with this bag of Pretzel thins, I have been REALLY GOOD and intentional with my time! My kids have been happier because mama is happier, and I even fit in time for some family time with a trip to the local greenhouse to pick out our flowers for our summer patio pots! 

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The past few days have been the restart I've been needing. Instead of hitting the ground running, already behind the gun because I wasted 30 min scrolling through Instagram first thing in the morning... I've been getting up, washing my face, getting ready for the day, sipping a coffee and listening to podcasts. Followed by breakfast with my sweet kiddos as we laugh and listen to music. As they play on the floor in the living room, I try to accomplish a few small tasks here and there that I had previously written down on my list for the day. Naps. A workout. And so on and so forth, and finally ending the night early, cuddled up with my husband as we are both present to either have a conversation or watch a television show together before bed.

Life is far from perfect. I am FAR from perfect. This week, has NOT been perfect. Believe me, there have been meltdowns, timeouts, tears, arguments, moments of binge eating handfuls of chocolate chips while hiding in a closet, I flooded the laundry room, I caught myself countless times getting caught up in the comparison game on social media... but there has also been Joy. So. Much. Joy. And I have been consciously choosing to focus on that. 

Am I cured? No. Have a fixed all my problems? No. But have I been trying my best to love my family and make them feel loved and heard? Absolutely. And I think that's pretty darn good. Small steps. Progress over perfection. 

Help Me! I'm Wasting My Own Time...

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Both kids are napping as I lay in bed, making my second round at Instagram & Facebook. As I mindlessly scroll, I think to myself "Why can't I ever seem to accomplish anything during the day?" Frustration & anxiety start to build, the pile of clothes that has been on my dresser for 2 weeks now begins to mock me and my stomach growling isn't helping matters.

I have just successfully wasted an hour of my life watching videos of the Kardashians (and I despise them), looking at random facts I didn't know about celebrity couples, trying to decide if it's "Yanny or Laurel" and the theories behind both, not to mention scrolling through hundreds of perfectly curated photos on Instagram that just make me feel even worse about my messy house & our lack of extra spending money. 

Are you starting to see any holes in my Life choices? 

I'm exhausted. I'm cranky. I'm gaining weight at a frightening speed because of laziness & stress eating. I'm resentful towards my husband for having a job and towards complete strangers who can make motherhood look easy & effortless. And to top it all off... I feel incredibly alone. And while I'm being real honest, just admitting this all out loud is making me want to crawl into a hole and power eat oreos. 

I stare at the monitor during nap time, wondering how much time I have before they both wake up, wasting time as I try to decide what task I should accomplish first before my time is up. Before I know it, the littlest one starts to stir, I start to feel the anger and frustration starting to bubble to the surface, because I just don't seem to ever have enough time. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. That is honestly how my week goes. 

Some days are honestly exhausting, but a lot of my pain and frustration is self inflicted. Phones are thieves, they steal so many hours, they steal moments away from my husband and kids, they steal my joy & confidence. And yet, I struggle putting it down. 

I’m going to start eating better. I’m going to start working out. I’m going to do more projects with the kids. I’m going to start a blog. I’m going to... I’m going to.... I’m going to.... look at my phone for hours and ignore everything I actually want to do in real life.
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Oh gosh, please tell me I'm not the only person who does this? Anyone? If you're nodding your head like a bobble head, let's make a plan. Let's put down the phone (yes, sorry, don't put the phone down just yet, if you're reading this on your phone...) & grab a pen and some paper and just start writing. Write down plans for the summer, dreams, goals, to do's, projects around the house, groceries you need to buy, dinners you want to try. Just dump everything in your head at this moment out on paper. Then color code it based on what it is... You can see how I did it in the photo. (if you can read my chicken scratch... yes I'm supposed to be good at handlettering, but I'm not that great at regular handwriting.) 

Now that we have our list, and we can keep adding things and crossing things off of this list, let's start trying to take steps to make these things happen. Maybe we make daily lists with small action steps for bigger items? For example, from my list, I realize that I have a lot of House projects I want to accomplish, mainly getting our stuff organized & Clean. We suffer from clutter. Mounds & mounds of clutter. So maybe my daily list will be...( 1. Clean off dining table. 2. Put away clothes on dresser. 3. Clean up art supplies in kitchen. 4. Put away Pack n play.) Four small tasks that will make a huge impact on my day. 

Okay, who's with me? Let's try to be more intentional, and maybe we will start to see more joy in our days, instead of the constant anxiety of never getting anything done. 

And this is my public cry for accountability. I'm going to hold myself to this, and if you need help being accountable, message me, comment on this, or just get in contact with me SOMEHOW and we will be in this together! 

They Are All the Reason I Need...

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"All Natural" "Organic" "Chemical Free" are just a few of the crazy buzz words that are being thrown around these days with absolutely no weight behind them, or facts to back them up. Just about anything these days can claim "all natural" on their packaging and people will buy that stuff up without even batting an eye. But when you really sit down and do your research, you start to realize that these companies are selling you lies, wrapped in beautiful slogans and packaging. 

So let's break this down. In 2014, I was seven months pregnant, suffering from a nasty chest cold. I was looking for anything safe to use while pregnant, to take away the nasty symptoms of my cold. A friend recommended essential oils, so I bought a premium starter kit, a few months later I had a baby, got busy and there it sat. The most expensive paperweight I ever bought. It wasn't until Jonathan was 10 months old, where I started to see the benefits of these magic little bottles. 

After being plagued with a few ailments (hello ears, head, rash), and taking a few rounds of antibiotics, Jonathan developed what I thought was the worst diaper rash I've ever seen. After some digging, I realized that antibiotics (although wonderful) can cause yeast infections in babies, and no amount of rash cream or wipe was going to cure it. I vowed that the next time he got sick, I would try a more natural approach first, because the side effects of antibiotics are frustrating! And suddenly my obsession with essential oils was born. 

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I got lucky & started with a wonderful & reputable company right off the bat. Young Living offers a Seed to Seal Promise, that is their set of standards that helps ensure that with every pure essential oil and Young Living product our family uses, we're enjoying the benefits of global resources, industry leadership, and over two decades of innovation. Young Living will never knowingly compromise by adding synthetics, contaminants, or cheap fillers, or by using unethical production practices.  Can Johnson & Johnson say that? Even with their "130 years of Caring" slogan, it doesn't excuse the fact that they were putting harmful, cancer-causing, fertility destroying chemicals into their products for YEARS. 

So let's fast forward to now. Almost 60% of my household and personal hygeniene products have been swapped out for healthy, safer alternatives. I'm making smarter choices when it comes to my diet, skincare, & overall wellness. The products I use on my children are safe. The products I use to clean my home are plant-based and safe. And I'm sleeping better knowing I'm making better choices for our family.

This isn’t just an expensive hobby, it’s a change of lifestyle!
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By making these smarter choices NOW, we are giving our children a chance at a healthier future! And that right there is all the reason I needed to start this journey. Don't be fooled by cheaper companies who offer "The Same" products at a WAY WAY cheaper price. NOT ALL OILS ARE CREATED EQUAL. But I will get into that in another post! If you have any questions, PLEASE PLEASE leave me a comment or message me! Or Click the link below and get a membership!! 

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