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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. 

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! 

Can I Bite You? Please...

I often get this crazy urge to bite my children. I just want to nibble on their cheeks, bite their toes or just completely consume them whole. Apparently, this is scientifically deemed a normal reaction. Here I was thinking I was crazy, and it turns out that scientists have actually done studies on people where this is extremely common. Not to be confused with the biological primal urge to eat your young, the term "cute aggression" coined in 2013 by a research team at Yale, refers to the almost-overwhelming urge to do violence to an object that we find incredibly adorable. 

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I know I'm extremely biased when it comes to my kids, but has anyone else ever felt cute aggression? It could be when looking at pictures of puppies, kittens, babies, really anything we find adorable! Mine really only comes out when I'm looking at adorable babies. 

I can't help but want to squeeze these sweet chubby cheeks. I found these pictures a few weeks ago, from back when Jonathan turned one and I wish I could jump in this photo and squeeze him tight! 

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Obviously, I try to resist the urge to bite my kids, because that would only teach them bad habits and then make them an undesirable play date, friend, human... because let's be real, who wants to be around someone who bites! (full disclosure, Jonathan has done this once or twice out of anger, obviously, we are working on it)

What is it Like to be Normal?

Sometimes I wonder what it is like to be a NORMAL person. By normal, I mean someone who doesn't try to do it all and knows that realistically there are people who specialize in certain fields for a reason and they are more equipped to complete a task better than they are. I know that I'm not educated in the medical field, so I don't try to pretend that I'm a doctor, nurse, dentist, chiropractor, etc, so I will seek the help of medical professionals when it comes to my health & well being. But I do have a Bachelors of Art & Graphic Design, so in terms of all things Artsy & CREATIVE, I say, "Oh I could do that." And then forget or procrastinate when it comes to doing that thing. Are you wondering what I'm talking about? Let me explain. 

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I'm a professional photographer & graphic designer, so for example, when I have a baby, I find the need to take my own newborn photos and never edit them, forget to schedule a session for family pictures so I can have photos of us all together, say I will design & order birth announcements but really just take forever, and then kick myself months later for not just hiring or outsourcing someone to do all of this for me. 

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I have to still sort through the photos from Verona's birth, Verona's newborn session, her one month & two month sessions, and order & send out birth announcements. In the meantime, I see on social media NORMAL people who have had babies after me have already done all these things. It's hard to have a brain that constantly is telling me that it would be completely normal to add one more thing to my plate. As if Mom, wife, photographer, designer, handletterer, illustrator & now blogger are not enough. 

Being an entrepreneur can be exciting, but some days, the thought of having a normal 9-5 or being a barista at Starbucks sounds like a dream. By no means am I trying to say that those jobs are easy, just probably less tiring than my 24/7 job of being a creative entrepreneur. I promise you, my brain never turns off. Maybe it all stems from my inability to relinquish control over things I know I can do myself. In which case, I don't have enough time to talk about those issues, and they might be best suited for a professional with a comfy couch, rather than me trying to figure out how to cure my control freak mentality. 

Maybe one day I'll order birth announcements, edit my personal photos and possibly design & order albums for myself! But for right now, I'm just going to keep trying to keep my head above water with all this motherhood stuff, and hope I take enough pictures to last me a lifetime!