Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kids lately

While the kids were home from their school break I tried to take some photos of them with my big girl camera... it's just us in our back yard on a very normal, ordinary afternoon. But it's us. And I want to remember this.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

A good solid dose of reality

If I could pick one word for last month it would be this:


For a lot of reasons that have all kind of snowballed. November was such a good month for me, I was feeling like everything had finally clicked into place and I was moving forward consistently and intentional and then bam. Here I am again. A puddle at the bottom of the hill. I don't know if it's depression, hormones or emotional exhaustion or what but it is a struggle at the moment to move forward because I feel like I've lost my sense of direction and emotional energy. So it's just one day at a time, here in the gloom and the cold. And it's celebrating little things, like getting my laundry folded while watching back seasons of Downton Abbey. 

This month I wanted my word to be: reset. I had all these grand plans and amazing ideas for 2014, I imagined myself bursting out of the old year and into the new like the cork of a champagne bottle, but here I am struggling along. Most of all I think I'm frustrated because my reality isn't matching up with my expectations. But just now, as I was helping Eli put on his coat & shoes so we can go outside, as I was mourning a little all those hopes and plans for my grand "reset" then suddenly I remembered what I'd thought about writing about in February: abide. Maybe in this moment, maybe even for this whole month, that is my word. Abide. I feel like I can't do a lot. But I can abide. Because to abide is simply to surrender. To abide is to give up trying to make it all work in my own strength and just walk with God, in whatever season I find myself in.

I finally felt like I could write about how I've been feeling after I read this blog post by Emily Freeman. I especially loved this part:
Sometimes January has big eyes and a small stomach, too. It can be easy to stack your plate high with intention and goals, only to sit down at the table, take two bites, and realize that’s all you can digest right now.
Go read it now. It's very good. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

My word for the new year

I feel incredibly late getting this post written but there has just been no time for writing or even hardly for thinking. As much as I was looking forward to this break and counting down the days till I could turn off the alarm I think I am now looking forward to getting back into our routine more than ever, alarm clock and all. And as much as I have wanted to enjoy this holiday, enjoy having my kids home all day and take advantage of two weeks with very few obligations - in all honesty I have been a grumpy mess and this break has been miserable for me. There were some high points like our visits to Atlanta to see family and the day that my girls and I played Monopoly, like all day - and it was awesome. But I like my quiet and a sense of routine and that has been thrown all out of whack and I have not been the easiest of person to live around lately. Ugh. I can not wait for this crazy train of a break to be over! Only a couple more days though and school will start again and my kids will  be happy to see their friends and have more structure to their days. Only a couple of weeks and my small group will be starting back - which I am SO happy about! I so miss my ladies. I have been so lonely without them.

So this year I didn't stress out about resolutions. I read a blog post this week about resolutions being simply a direction for my energy - I like that approach and have just sort of kept a mental list of some areas to work on. I didn't worry too much about picking a word for the year. Some years I have one, some years I don't. Sometimes my word is more for the year that passed rather than for the year that is ahead.  I felt a little bit of pressure as ladies started sharing their word for the year but honestly, if I got one, great. If not, no biggie. This year I got one, right as the fireworks welcoming 2014 were going off down the street and my word is: intention.

I was walking through my house, into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Everyone else was asleep and I was feeling lonely and annoyed with myself. I'd spent half the night obsessively sorting my girls rainbow loom bands and now was finally going to bed at midnight - despite everything I had said about going to bed early - and you know, it just hit me. Right in this moment of loneliness and annoyance and emotional exhaustion: I have to live a life of intention if I am going to live the life I want. 

I read this definition of intention and that is simply "to aim" it also means to have a purpose, a plan, to direct the mind, an aim that guides action. In yoga it is taking a desire and bringing it into your life through practices that reflect that desire. An intention is choosing your path and taking it step by step. 

So many times in life  it feel like I just wander, more or less aimlessly. In my parenting I see myself reacting to what is in front of me instead of creating something on purpose. I stumble through my day distracted and at the end of it discontent because what in the world did I do all day? Yes I spend a lot of my days making peanut butter and jelly messes and then cleaning them up over and over. It's books back on the shelves and backpacks and shoes and discipline and correction and trying not to yell as I say for the two billionth time that we need to use our NICE VOICES. But it can also be a lot of fluff and distraction and stuff that doesn't really matter.                                                 

Intention is taking the time to ask: what do I want?  and then following through one step at a time. It is doing the harder things that pay off in the long run. It is living life more purposefully. It is putting first things first. It is learning the rhythm of my right now. It is doing the things that are important that I never seem to have time for and giving up some of the little things that don't matter at the end of the day. 

For me that means more yoga/exercise and less TV, more reading and hopefully writing and less Facebook surfing. 

It means continuing on with my resolution from last year to prioritize my IRL friends. 

It means having the tough conversations. It means not giving up the fight just because it starts to get hard. It means standing up for myself and saying that my needs really do matter and I have limits and boundaries is not a four letter word. 

It means trying more new recipes and cooking more at home/from scratch because meal times don't have to be out to be fun. 

It means doing new things and going places and making memories, even though I'd rather be at home with my coffee and my Instagram. 

This year I want to make my marriage a priority.

This year I want to look at my parenting honestly and be the kind of parent I want to be not the kind of parent I just sort of stumbled into. 

This year I want to pick up my big girl camera more, not to prove anything to anyone - not even myself! Not to produce anything specific but just because photography is beautiful and beauty is good and taking pictures is part of who I am. 

This year I have got to embrace the practice of self-care. I was looking through my Instagrams of 2013 and I look just awful in 90% of them. Especially my hair. It's been a New Year's Resolution in the past to keep up with my hair and failed. Miserably. So this year I'm starting again and am going to make getting dressed and fixing my hair a priority. I'm trying to be honest with myself about the why of what I eat because that matters just as much as the what but that matters too. This year I'll be drinking less coffee and eating proper meals. 

And maybe this year I'll do better at washing the dishes - because I really am trying to face my demons that hang out around the kitchen sink, but probably not, and that's okay because perfection isn't my goal. I'm just me. With all of my weakness and mess and aching and longing and brokenness, breathing in grace and pouring out praise. 

So this is my word. 


I'd love to hear about yours. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

a photoshoot for my sister in-law

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can you see her mom in the mirror? 

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My sister in-law asked if I would bring my big-girl camera to our Christmas-Ever gathering to attempt a few snaps of their newest addition and I have to say, even though it's been awhile since I've done anything like this, I enjoyed the shoot a lot. I was hoping to get a better shot of the three littles together. I'm a little happier with the images of my newest little nephew. I think he looks a lot like my husband and I enjoyed watching all of his tiny little expressions. Babies are such sweet, serious little creatures. I just have to say, once again, this is hard. Anyone who does quality infant/newborn photography is a superhero in my book.

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