love after kids

A couple weeks ago, I was over at our church’s parenting blog talking about how having kids changed my whole idea of romance.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I read a blog where a woman gifted her husband a year of dates. That was brilliant, I thought. Especially since my husband and I were about to have a baby. I would have a fool-proof way to ensure we had a date night at least once a month and keep the spark in our marriage despite having a newborn. So I pre-planned a bunch of creative dates for the first year of our baby girl’s life. I felt so good about myself. We would nail that post-kid romance. …Read more.

Head on over there to read the rest (and to check out tons of other amazing parenting resources). parenting.flatironschurch.com

princesses and wonder women

If you haven’t noticed, there is an ongoing revolt against princesses, and consequently, calling a little girl a princess is all of a sudden offensive to people. Is it the delicacy and dependency of princesses that people find anti-feminist? I get it, we want our daughters to know they are strong and capable. So what do we want instead? Wonder Woman? Sure. But, why is it that we can’t have little girls who are princesses AND wonder women? Why can’t we celebrate delicacy and bravery? Why not both?

I call my daughter a princess and a superhero all the time because I believe her to be both beautiful and brave. When I look at her I see her strength and I also want to honor her unique beauty as a GIRL in this world. She is delicate and tough. Sensitive and strong. She is courageous and wild and free and darling all at once, and she reflects those character qualities in a way that only she can.

I want her to know she has it in her to risk, and that while sometimes we risk and succeed, other times we risk and fail and need the help of others. I want her to know that she can ask for and accept help, and that makes her both delicate AND brave. Admitting your own delicacy as a human (the fact the we cannot actually do everything in our own power and strength) is sometimes the bravest thing you can do, so obviously these are not mutually exclusive. I want my girl to know that both are important as she matures and grows into herself as a beautiful image-bearer of an ultimately creative and intentional God.

I don’t think princess has to be an offensive title. May we celebrate all the things that make us who we are. Beauty. Bravery. And everything in between.

the kitchen floor

i found this essay i wrote a over a year ago. i’m deciding to publish it today. it’s wild how much changes in just over a year. 20 months ago, my first baby was about to turn one. we were looking ahead to a monumental moment. we’d almost made it through that first year, and the little girl in front of me was emerging from babyhood to toddlerhood quicker than i could have imagined. i was beginning to forget what life was like before motherhood attached to my identity, and i was just beginning to see how sweet and sacred the gift of motherhood is.

from the archives, the kitchen floor.

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She’s almost one, and I watch her play. I watch her explore. She moves from cabinet to cabinet, opening and subsequently slamming all the doors. My heart laughs. She pauses at the stove drawer and attempts to pull herself up. I watch and wait as she musters all her strength to get up to her knees.

“Hi.”

Her sweet voice says hello to the baby reflected in the oven door. And then she turns around.

“Hi.”

She greets me, eager eyes seeking affirmation that she can pull up the rest of the way.

I watch her do all of this from our new favorite place. The kitchen floor. It’s hard tile and it’s perpetually cold. I think my knees are permanently bruised, but something about this plain, cold tile is endearing…and warm. In the last 11 months, this floor has been everything from our playroom to our fine-dining table. We’ve opened every cabinet at least a million times, and we’ve scattered every piece of tupperware as far as the eyes can see. We’ve eaten countless meals, swept an obscene amount of crumbs, and prayed hundreds of prayers all on that tile floor.

I think about the amount of time I have spent on any kind of floor since I became a mom, and it’s a lot. All of a sudden it’s normal. Down and up and down again. Always on the floor. It’s hard and hands-on and tiring to be on your knees and on your stomach and on your back and on half your butt-cheek instead of on your feet like most normal humans. And now, I realize, I feel like that in more ways than one. Motherhood has a way of knocking you right on your ass. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. It’s eating your humble pie and your celebratory cake all in the same day. It’s the extremes of all things. From your hormones, to your sleep, and even to the size of your pants.

But it is good. All the moments on these hard floors remind me that the act of laying down myself for the sake of raising my child is a profound joy and privilege. I forget this more than I’d like to admit, but this sacrifice of comfort – it’s one thing on the long list of sacrifices that we sign up to make when we enter this holy journey called motherhood. We get down on the lowliest of levels so we are face-to-face and eye-to-eye with these mini versions of ourselves. They need us. They like us. We treasure them.

I’m new to motherhood, but it hasn’t taken too long for me to realize the truth that this season of raising young kids just is exhausting. But every older, wiser mama tells me it’s short. And now that we’re creeping up on a year, I’m starting to believe them.

So on the millionth time in one day that I get down and up and down again and move my baby girl from tile to hip and back to the tile, I will treasure this time on our cold, crumby, sacred kitchen floor.

abundance.

“you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us out to abundance.” – psalm 66:12

ABUNDANCE.

this is my word of the year. have you heard of those? it’s the trendy, new way to do new year’s resolutions. (and yes, i realize february is almost over and i’m just now writing about mine. it’s fine. there are still 10 more months in the year.)

anyway, i have never made new year’s resolutions, except for when required by my elementary school teachers. i’m not a dreamer and when i set goals, i keep them tucked deep, deep down in my own heart. they’re secret because when i say them out loud i feel all kinds of pressure. it’s weird, i know. picking a word for the year felt much less stressful, and in 2017, i’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon.

2016 was a year of growth. it was so hard…and so good – that cliché that gets ever more true the further i find myself in adulthood. we celebrated our first child’s first birthday. we sold our first home and moved into a new one. we got pregnant. we lost that sweet baby. we got pregnant again. we went through marriage counseling. the moments of 2016 were full of some really hard conversations and some really life-giving ones. we celebrated and we grieved. hard. we learned a lot. our faith was tested and deepened, and as i reflected on all of that with my husband towards the end of last year, i realized one word kept clinging to my heart – abundance.

in the turbulence of life, one thing remains steady. the Lord is a God of abundance. he gives and he takes away, but as his children, we are never in a place of scarcity. i lived a lot of last year in scarcity. in not enough. in overwhelmed. but i trust that the Lord, in his abundant grace, used 2016 to deepen my faith, and this year i want to remember that when, not if, we go through fire and flood – the love of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God, the goodness of God, the faithfulness of God – all remain.

i’ll have a choice to make when fire and flood come. and this year, i want to choose to lift my head and fix my eyes on the God of abundance.

woman.

Well, it’s no surprise that women and politics have made vibrant headlines the last five days. I fear I may just be contributing to more of the internet noise, and let’s be honest, there’s been A LOT. But as a woman raising a daughter, I just can’t ignore what’s going on around me, so on this little corner of space, I’m going to attempt to write honestly and truthfully and vulnerably about what it means to me to be a woman and a mother trying to follow Jesus in a culture where all of those descriptors can carry a lot of baggage.

I’m a woman.

I’m a professional.

I’m a wife.

I’m a mother.

I enjoy all of my roles equally, but some of them hold higher priority in my life. I’ve noticed something, though, which in some ways is a reflection of my own insecurities and judgements, and I have to be willing to own that. But I think it’s also bigger and deeper than me. Should I be made to feel less-than because in this season of my life I am not chasing 6 figures in the corporate world or a position as a CEO? No. Do I have less value or less of a voice because I care both about women’s equality AND the dignity of the unborn? No. Are those things mutually exclusive? No. But if we’re not careful, that is the image we are portraying to our daughters. And I’m afraid that collectively as women in this current feminist culture, we are unintentionally communicating that striving outside the home and putting ourselves and our own rights above anything and everything and anyone else is the new standard of worth and value for females. Isn’t it interesting that this is the same kind of pressure women have been trying to escape under the name of feminism in the first place? Why is it that we can’t find a way to elevate one thing without simultaneously decreasing the importance of something else? That goes against the very definition of equality driving the entire feminist movement. Of course there is nothing wrong with being a powerful woman in leadership! There is nothing wrong with using our voices to influence and our position, whatever it may be, to restore what is broken. We should do that. But we are all made to do that in different ways in different places, and we must be careful in our zeal to assert our rights and our power that we are not accidentally communicating, for example, that there is something inherently wrong with “just” being a wife or “only” being a mom. Or that just because we don’t fully agree about what it means to be women in our current culture that we can’t still see the inherent value in someone different than us.

I think all I’m saying is we might need to step off the emotional gas and take a logical look at what is happening around us, especially as women. Because it’s important. Asking good questions matters. We have to disagree with humility and have stimulating conversations that help all of us see a view we wouldn’t see otherwise. Everyone has a story. And listening more than shouting can only serve to unite and restore and progress.

And isn’t that what we’re after? The truth is, I haven’t done any of this even near perfectly – loving and supporting the women, the HUMANS, around me. But that is why I need Jesus. I need his abundant grace to cover me. I need his example to show me how to love better and how to handle that ever-so-delicate balance of grace and truth.

Maybe, just maybe, as we reflect that balance of truth and grace with unique beauty and boldness…maybe that is when we are truly living out what it means to be a woman.

five friday faves

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I think I’m about to do that cliché thing bloggers do (so millennial of me) and write about five of my favorite things. And to make it grammatically cute, it’s also Friday, so it’s a perfect alliteration. Without further ado, here are my five fun friday faves – things I’m currently enjoying or finding incredibly helpful in life.

  1. Mom Enough – I can’t say enough good things about this book. I am only halfway through, but it has already been a breath of fresh air for my heart. I don’t think I’m the only one that feels like we as mamas in this technology rich, social-media-saturated-culture have way too many influences telling us how to be a good mom. This book reminds me that the only voice to listen to is God’s voice. It’s actually freeing to admit that I will never be enough for my kid(s)…it means I don’t have to strive because God is infinitely enough. This book is not necessarily a pat-on-the-back, you’re-doing-great type of book, but its encouragement comes in the constant reminder of the holiness of motherhood. It’s a call to lean on the Gospel and into a God who is more than enough and all we need. Bonus? It’s a collection of short essays, so if you’re like me and have a habit of starting a book, not reading it for a week, and picking it back up again, you won’t feel lost. Another bonus? I’m actually not having that problem with this book. It’s that good.
  2. Diaper clutch from GoldenFinchCo – Adorable. Useful. Chic. This diaper clutch is the best. It perfectly fits about 3 diapers and a pack of wipes, and it has two little pockets for a changing pad and your phone or hand sanitizer. It’s so easy just to grab this clutch to change your babe or toddler instead of lugging an oversized diaper bag to a tiny bathroom in a crowded restaurant. Seriously, this will simplify your life. The incredible selection of top-quality fabric will maybe do the miraculous and make you excited about changing a poopy diaper….okay, that could be a stretch. But this is absolutely worth every penny. Bonus? My dear friend Peggy started this business with her mom about a year ago. They have a ton of other handmade and stylish baby items available in their shop, and they generously donate 10% of all their sales to Compassion International. Worth. It. Give them a follow on Instagram to see more.il_570xn-1013336575_eese
  3. Get To Work Book – I’ve always loved a good planner, and this one is perfect. My favorite part of the Get To Work Book is that it has clean lines and is entirely in black and white, because life is already busy enough, I don’t want my planner to add to the crazy. This is another business started by a mama just a couple of years ago, and I think that in and of itself is worth supporting. There are plenty of pages for goal setting life-planning. I use mine for work projects, home-life, and meal-planning. It’s just enough, but not too much. If you’re still in the market for 2017, head over and check them out. I think there’s even a shipping discount because we’re already halfway through January (yikes). get_to_work_book
  4. Lipstick – I know, if you know me, this might come as a surprise. I’m surprising myself. But on the 2-3 days of the week that I actually put on makeup, I’ve added lipstick to my routine (that lasts all of about 4.5 minutes until little lady toddler wants to “see, see, see”). I’ve always had pale lips, so it’s just been fun experimenting with different subtle lipstick tones that make me feel like my lips won’t disappear into the rest of my face. I only have 2 colors that I picked up at Target. No expert here, so if anyone is, feel free to share tips. Basically, it’s just fun and I feel feminine and maybe a little fancy. And that’s really nice in this stage of life where taking a shower alone is a total luxury.
  5. Sorel Slippers – These slippers are more like shoes, but they’re still slippers. The best of both worlds. They are fuzzy, stylish, and functional. AND they’re on sale right now at REI. Enough said. Go treat yo-self.

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P.S. A little disclaimer to all 4 of my followers (ha)…I don’t get any kickback from these links. Right now, I’m simply sharing the things I like. I hope it’s helpful and/or fun. I’ve found quite a few great things by reading other blogs like this one, so I thought it was worth a shot. Thanks for reading.

just show up.

Is anyone surprised that I haven’t blogged in over a year? I’m 99.9% sure that my husband, mom and dad are the only people who read this blog anyway, and right now that’s totally okay. I clearly haven’t established any credibility when it comes to consistency. Over and over again I’ve tried to commit to write on this blog hoping that it will take on a certain identity. And I’ve also operated under the assumption that I have to have an authentic, fresh, inspiring subject to write about before I even begin a post. But what I’m realizing is I need to just show up and write. Write, write, write. The first few many posts will probably be embarrassing in a year (let’s be real, they already are!), and that needs to be okay. Progress, not perfection. When will I learn this?

After almost a year of my income depending on writing via my job responsibilities, I’m learning a few things about writing. But maybe one of the most valuable (read: most difficult) lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn is that inspiration is unreliable, untamed, and wild. You can’t wait for it to come. I wish I could count on it, but the truth is, it just can’t be something I rely on in order to show up and do the work. Instead, I show up and do the work and am inspired as a result. I’m a busy human, like everyone else I know. And as I do the normal things I do in my every day life, things that may actually be boring at face value, I’ll see that inspiration actually hides in those things. To be clear, the world around us is bursting with inspiration (and creativity) simply because we are created human beings living in a created world, but we’ll absolutely miss it if we’re waiting for it to smack us in the face. Inspiration reveals itself when we show up wholeheartedly in the mundane, in the everyday, in the step-by-step rhythm of life. It’s a product rather than a precursor.

Show up. Be faithful. Do the work. Even when I feel dead and dry and out of ideas. Write and create. Believe that I’m creative because I am created. Even if I don’t publish anything I write on this blog, I’m still committing to showing up to write. Only time will tell if they make it out to the big, scary internet. 😉

“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”

Brené Brown

P.S. One of the hardest things for me to do when I commit to writing is sitting down and doing it. One of my friends calls it “butt in chair time” (real catchy, I know…ha). Anyway, just keeping it real here and letting you know that my toddler watched Daniel Tiger while I wrote this. I said it already and I’ll say it again: progress, not perfection. 🙂