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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! 

Here's to 30 Years!

Dear 20 year old me,

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It's me, your 30 year old self. Well, let me start by saying, you will make it past 21, even though you thought you wouldn't. I would like to warn you, Things are about to get tough. Car accident, brain damage, depression, divorce, struggles that your average 20 something shouldn't have to go through, but you will. Just trust your gut and don't let the people around you tell you what to do. God has given you a great ability to discern His voice in guiding you, and even though in the beginning you will ignore His voice and do what is easier, trust Him, He won't steer you wrong.

You are going to have some dark days, days where you feel incredibly alone, abandoned and forgotten. But God sees you, He is with you & is working big things for your life! I know right now you think things are good, but that little voice you hear, telling you that there are better things ahead is right. But you're not going to listen, you're going to go against your gut and you will fall flat on your face. Divorce is really hard, disappointing your family is really hard, but you will get through this.

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God has created a man specifically for you. He will love you, support you in your wild dreams, raise children with you, mourn with you, and encourage you all along the way. He will love you unconditionally and do everything he can to make you happy. Just be patient.

Also, don't sweat the small things. Don't obsess about the opinions or approval of outsiders. They don't matter. Their opinion means nothing, trust your gut and seek the approval of the Lord. The things of this world are trivial and fleeting, but the Kingdom of God is forever! 

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Also, don't stress about having kids. I know later on, you will cry at night thinking that you will never have children after months of trying to conceive, but I promise you, babies will come. And they will take your breath away with how beautiful and perfect they are. Motherhood is even better than you will ever imagine. It's hard as heck, but you will figure it all out. God will definitely step in and help you navigate the rough seas, you'll second guess yourself, cry and be convinced that you are failing miserably, but I promise, you'll be amazing! Don't give up. 

 

Most importantly, relax. Don't take yourself too seriously. Laundry will get folded, plans will fall through or change, you will be disappointed, you will struggle, but you will also experience so much joy. Your faith will increase ten fold, and God will slowly reveal His plans for your life day by day and all will be good. You will experience a new level of trust and faith that you never knew was imaginable! God is so Good and will bring so many wonderful people into your life, and just as easily, He will fade out people that are no longer necessary for your journey. Don't be fearful of change, embrace it with open arms. It's scary and frustrating but oh so necessary!

Now, Just put down the phone, go out and LIVE! 

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Be Strong & Courageous

It's been a full year since I wrote THIS post about our struggle with losing our sweet little baby last year, and how I felt for some reason that October 14th was meant to be the day that he was supposed to be born. I'm good at making myself busy and pretending that the hurt isn't there, but the Lord has ways of getting you to remember. I don't think He means for it to be a bad memory, but just a memory nonetheless. A memory of His grace & goodness, a memory that even in the darkest of shadows, He will be there. It's a point to look back on and see His fingerprints on the plans, His loving hands carrying us through. 

This morning a dear friend of mine felt called to read a passage in our group chat from the book of Joshua about being Strong and Courageous. And then I heard it.

“Have I not commanded you? Be Strong & Courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
— Joshua 1:9

 "Have I NOT COMMANDED YOU?" Oh Lord. I hear you. Yes, you have commanded me, you have made promises, you're instructing me to REST, be Still, and to trust in your Name. I hear you. But as we hit the 19th month mark of trying for more children, and I start to question the promises. Oh Lord, you feel silent to me, and I need to feel you moving, because Lord, I am moving. I am going to all the doctors and trying to figure this out on my own and I'm starting to feel stupid. I'm questioning your goodness, I'm asking where you are, and I'm getting angry that I CAN'T FIX THIS on my own. I feel like You've forgotten these promises, and I get frustrated that you are giving the thing my heart desires to what feels like every one else. You're giving this blessing to people who don't even realize how much of a gift it is, and would rather dispose of your Gift. Lord, I would cherish that child as long as I have breath in my lungs, and they throw it away like yesterday's trash. Please, help me to understand your ways, because I just really need Your grace. 

And then, you show up. On a day, when I NEEDED you to show up, you SHOW UP. On a day, where last year I wrote about how my heart will never be whole again, and You tell me to be Strong and Courageous. You ask me to keep going, be BRAVE, be STRONG, NEVER LOSE HOPE. 

You open my eyes to behold the beautiful little boy you have already given me. You've instructed me to slow down, to rest, you've helped me to see that on days that I'm taking walks to the park, picking out colored leaves, listening to good music and singing in the car with this beautiful miniature blessing, that THOSE DAYS, they fill me up way more than any project I could be working on, or any wedding I could photograph. While I'm over here glorifying this notion of busy and successful, you're changing my heart for something bigger. Because being a mama, is all about strength and courage, and waiting on future babies, man, that is ALL ABOUT STRENGTH & COURAGE. 

So Lord, I hear you. And I'm sorry for doubting you.

My beautiful friend didn't even know or understand the gravity of those words she spoke to us this morning. She simply knew we needed to hear them and that was enough. Which is so beautiful to me, because the Lord speaks through people ALL. THE. TIME! But sometimes we are just not in the right state of mind to receive His words.

When I played that message this morning, I was hurrying to get ready, and I thought, yes, I need to be Strong and Courageous. Thank you, what a great message to head into this work day. And then hours later, as I laid down next to my little boy in hopes of getting him to fall asleep for his nap, I heard those words again. Jonathan slowly drifted off to sleep, as hot tears streamed down my cheeks. I realized those words meant something entirely different to me today, because I actually feel weak & broken. I feel sad and defeated. With each passing month, I feel this crushing blow to my heart, because last year when I wrote that post, I thought, God is going to redeem Himself. He is going to show up so big, and hopefully next year, I can talk about how we have another baby, and see, Look at How Good and Big and GLORIOUS our God is. And just yesterday, I sat there wondered Where IS GOD? Where is this child He promised us? 12 whole months and we are not any closer to expanding our family. As I read post after post of all these other people talking about baby #2 for their family, and I'm still here with nothing to show for it. 

But friends, I'm here to tell you, HE IS HERE. In all this mess, HE IS HERE. Just be STRONG & Courageous, keep pushing through and slowly His plans will be revealed. Day by Day, his plans will become clearer, and If NOT, HE IS STILL GOOD. Because ultimately, He knows better of the needs of our hearts, better THAN WE DO! Just listen to His Voice and hear His Commands! And Please know that if you need prayers, do not be afraid to ask for them!