07.04.16

Brave Heart. 

Bravery. We all want to be and exemplify that word. For some it may be jumping through a huge hurdle in their life, taking on a new unfamiliar job or move, skydiving, swimming with sharks, climbing a high mountain, or maybe even facing their worst fear head on. 

But for some maybe bravery comes in the quietness of unseen hot tears underneath the bedsheets clinging to hope and processing the hard things in life, or maybe it’s a warm hug we offered a stranger because we saw pain in their eyes, and tears running down their cheeks. For some bravery comes in the quiet moments where we’ve stirred up enough strength in our heart to face our fears and pent up shame. 
What if bravery wasn’t always an epic, huge milestone we overcame? What if it’s the quiet voice telling us to dare to dream a little bigger, to see ourselves in a new light, or to come alive to the fact that people need us and want us in their life. These little moments spark bravery. 


Maybe some of you are facing daring situations in your life, overwhelming loss, or unplanned and unforeseen bumps in the road? Did you know you are brave? You are brave because you are choosing to go through these hoops, dive into the pain, and look fear in the eyes. You are brave for being able to tell yourself “you are enough” in a world that says you don’t quite measure up. You are brave for telling someone something honest and vulnerable in hopes that it will inspire strength within them. You are brave for baring your heart to another in hopes of finding love and connection. You are brave for loving and accepting someone through loss of trust and betrayal. You are brave for all the times you thought you couldn’t pick yourself back up. You are brave for standing by that hospital bed believing for the best. You are brave for telling someone you trust that you were hurt and neglected. You are brave for finding the courage to take that 17th pregnancy test. You are brave for getting over an addiction that consumed your life. You are brave for waiting patiently for your soldier to come home, even on your hardest day. You did it! You are a brave heart for simply being the person God created you to be. 

You see a brave heart faces what some may deam dangerous or risky. For what some may see as a dead end, or overwhelming heartache. But you, the brave heart, you see the silver lining in the grey sky, your hope though it may be a thread is anchoring you down, your passion and love for others is driving you to dig deeper to see things clearer, and become the brave heart you already are. 
Whatever your mountain may be right now, take heart, grab hold of everything that makes you brave, and believe the truth of what you are already accomplishing in your life. Let your brave heart feel pain, emotion, and grief. Let your brave heart heal the places that feel broken inside. Believe you are enough. Believe you have what it takes to empower and celebrate others, to come alongside them and give them your support and heart. 

After all, we are all on a journey of becoming more brave and courageous. But maybe sometimes being brave might look quiet, it might be seen in the mundane tasks of life, it might be seen in a simple act of kindness you mustered up the strength to give someone in need. Maybe these small moments of seeing your brave heart played out is shocking and not given enough credit in your eyes or another. But to every brave heart, this is who you are. This is you being brave in the face of adversity. Believe it 🙂

06.17.16

Tickled in Pink

Hey Mommas,

This time around with our second little one we are doing things pretty simple when it comes to her needs and our wants. I have certainly found a few special places that make handcrafted, organic, beautiful teething toys, booties, and “nu nu” holders for your little one. Here are a few of my favorites. 

Finn+Emma (100% organically grown)

They have the cutest, simple, gender neutral toys, teethers, and clothes you ever did see. We love this little pink teether and toys that can attach to the car seat or stroller for babies enjoyment. 

https://www.finnandemma.com/

+Otherware+

If your looking for soft hues of pastels and high quality teethers this is a very special small business to buy from. Incredibly soft teething beads and the cutest designs. We are just loving the shade of blush and light soft wood this time around. 

http://otherware.ca/

Birds+of+Nature

Handmade leather booties with sizes for baby up to toddlers. These super soft booties are ridiculously cute and give your child a gentle transition into walking with a very sturdy sole. You can add fringes in different colors which I find SO adorable. Birds of nature will be coming out am with some brand new designs soon so stay tuned. These booties will be so fun to see my baby  grow into. I really love this small business.

http://birdsofnature.com/

➕Follow these accounts on Instagram for more inspiration➕
@finnandemma

@birdsofnature_kids

@otherware

Xo

06.15.16

Forgive And Soften

Forgiveness is an expression of love. •Gary Chapman 


Today my friend Kate was kind enough to let us come out and see her horse “Cowboy” with our sweet friend Brae and Rachel. It was lightly raining and humid, the grass was crazy green, and it felt so good to be out in the open. Lately I’ve been humbled and graced by my daughters ability to forgive and show such compassion towards me and my husband. We have and always want to instill in her little heart that mistakes happen, people let us down, emotions can run high, and frustration will happen, even anger. And when those emotions conquer a brief moment in our day, we are constantly reminding each other of the good and honorable that each of us possess. 


We truly are our children’s first example of love and forgiveness. These two words are not separate from one another in my opinion, rather I believe they complete each other like a puzzle. Instead of seeing children’s mistakes as well as our own in a condemning/shaming way, let’s connect with the heart, the feelings and emotions behind the miscommunication, failure, or lack of love. Let’s be a safe place, where we can affirm each other’s strengths and find healing and wholeness together. 

The other day I was frustrated and said something to my daughter in a harsh way. I wasn’t very proud of that in the moment until I heard my daughter speak directly to my heart. She said “It’s okay Momma, are you frustrated?” To which I replied “yes.” She than went on to say “Momma, I forgive you, it doesn’t matter cause I love you.” At that point my cheeks were stinging red and my heart was full and overwhelmed with her sweet grace hovering over me like a cloud. You see when we fall away from who we are in a hot moment we need to be reminded of who we are, our purpose on this earth, and the compassion that lies deep inside each one of us.  


Forgiveness comes by the sweet grace of God that calls forth our true identity and leaves us not feeling ashamed but rather honored, stood by, loved on and lifted up away from our current failure. My sweet daughter and I have been blessed with a very amazing connection when it comes to understanding each others heart. We hold them dearly and securely. We trust, and we listen when we’re frustrated. We learned this and continue to learn this each day we grow closer to our Heavenly Father. 

On any given day one of us will forget, yet the other always has the compassion to seek out the best and offer compassion and love to re-connect our hearts with what’s important. As we inhale  the present moment, the reality that love and kindness is never far from us is comforting at best. It’s right within reach. It lies inside each and every one of us. 


We can’t teach our children forgiveness. They learn by being given the chance to fail and make a mistake. They learn forgiveness when you open your heart, when you open your home to love and not a place of perfection. But rather a space that is freeing, compassionate, and open and honest about feelings and emotions. Forgiveness is choosing love and grace in the face of failure. It’s speaking to a place in the heart that needs a reminder of “Hey, that’s not who you are…you are love, you are kindness, and you are honorable.” 

The amazing part of modeling forgiveness like this to your children is they aren’t simply just saying “I’m sorry” or ” I forgive you” out of duty but rather they are connected with the feeling and the emotion taking place. They are involved in the healing and nurturing of the heart to bring it back to where it belongs. 
Xo

05.09.16

Spring into Beauty

Hey Mommas, It’s easy to forget to pamper ourselves sometimes when the business of motherhood is in full swing. I have found a couple tricks to keeping my skin well hydrated and nourished before bed that I am sharing with ya’ll today. So go ahead a give yourself ten minutes each night to pamper, relax, and get that skin glowing. Today I am sharing my go to products for glowing, healthy skin, and my new favorite all natural make -up I have been trying out. All of these ingredients are 100% organic, and naturally sourced. The oils I use on a daily basis are young livings essential oils that enhance and keep the health of your skin in check. Follow below for my homemade toning spray, moisturizing cream,  exfoliating scrub and favorite mineral makeup.

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My favorite oils for the skin and why?

Lavender: Smells amazing while helping to soothe irritated skin and greatly enhance the appearance of your skin.

Orange: A natural face brightener that gives skin a fresh and glowing appearance.

Tea tree: A wonderful oil to use to treat blemishes and enhance the appearance of the skin leaving you with a cool and tingling sensation.

Sacred frankincense: This oil is an all purpose oil that can help decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkle.

Carrot seed: Carrot seed oil is a wonderful oil to place diluted under the eyes to decrease the appearance of baggy eyes/naturally de-puff!

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Before I begin my skincare routine at bedtime I apply a natural face wash to clean off  the dirt of the day and makeup. After I have washed and dried my face I than use a scrub alongside my clarisonic brush that helps to exfoliate the dead skin cells leaving the skin smooth and thoroughly washed.

Baking soda scrub:

~1tsp baking soda

~1 drop tea tree oil

~A couple sprinkles of water

Mix into a paste, apply to the skin and use the clarisonic in a circular motion around the face, rinse and towel dry the face. Purchase yours @clarisonic!

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After I have exfoliated the skin, I then use my homemade toner.

1 glass spray bottle

filled half way with witch hazel astringent

~5 drops lavender

~5 drops tea tree oil

~5 drops purification

Apply on a cotton pad and then finish with a fine mist on the face and neck!

Homemade moisturizing cream:

1 small container to store cream

Organic coconut oil

~1o drops sacred frankincense

~8 drops lavender

~5 drops orange

~8 drops tea tree oil

Mix together well and store in a cool dry place

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And there ya go! Your go to “me time” at night. Your skin will thank you and so will this make up i’m about to share with ya’ll!;)

Interested in purchasing young living oils? Contact me at @cultivate_wellness my independent distributor number is #3285495

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Lately I have been searching for an all natural mineral makeup that actually covers and leaves my skin with a natural glow. Well I found it. Let me introduce you to “Moonrise Creek & Cosmetics.” A high quality, apothecary, botanical skin care line. These mineral foundations and blushes/bronzers are beautifully crafted and made with so much love. So far I have tried the medium mineral foundation, vintage peach glow, and the warm chestnut luster bronzer. Not only do they cover well but they give my skin this glowing, dewy appearance that makes me fall in love with these products every time. Finding a good make-up is hard so if you are on the hunt go check out @moonrisecreek or go to www.etsy.com/shop/moonrisecreek 🙂

What did you love most about this blog post? I’d love to hear your feedback!

04.25.16

Flowers+Play

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is YOU. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can.” HYLRIKZ.COM

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Today Beatrice and I played with florals and made pretty things to hang around the house. She sang and cut the flowers, pulled a part the strings, and talked about the colors of the flowers. Sometimes the simple projects in life bring a lot of joy and peace to our day. I truly believe when we let our children be creative and playful they find out more about themselves. What they are capable of, what they love, and what they are passionate about.

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Make room in your day to connect with nature even if that means a simple walk through the woods, or a nature inspired project. Let your children look and touch and be inspired by what surrounds their life. I find taking a more relaxed approach to parenting leaves room for our children to explore and be who who they are without a constant tickle in their ear reminding them of what they aren’t doing right. Simple nature projects give our children a deep appreciation for the simple pleasures in life and create a respect for beauty that surrounds us each and every day.

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This was a small little project that we both did together with various things lying around the house:

+Flowers around the house

+A wooden stick or piece of thin wood

+Various types of string and textures

+Scissors

+And a creative mind, playful hands, and playful hearts:)

+Hang it in the window or above your bed, be creative and bring a little piece of nature into your home!

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You can find more about myself and Beatrice by visting my ig page @cultivatemotherhood and @cultivate_wellness

 

03.31.16

Seriously Silly

Imperfections are beauty, madness is genius, and silly is better than boring.-Author unknown

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Lets face it, life can be seriously challenging, convicting, and painful at times. But life can also be seriously hopeful, light, approachable and silly too. When I think about my teenage years and how serious I took myself it kind of makes me giggle. I was serious about my thoughts, my speech, my challenges, and how I wanted to be viewed by others.

Ten years later here I am a wife to Aaron and mother to Beatrice with a second one on the way. And boy, have my thoughts changed on how I want to live this one precious life. When Beatrice first came along I was pretty uptight and had my undies in a bundle at any given moment . I wanted so badly to have it all together, to be the best mom possible, and raise her to be a loving, caring and responsible child. But what I forgot is how much easier life is on a daily basis when we don’t take everything too seriously, but rather enjoy these passing moments, taking time to inhale the present, and being okay with the imperfect moments. I forgot that kids don’t need you to cover up your mistakes, or to choose embarrassment over laughter. They need you to be approachable and light. They need a little silliness sprinkled throughout their days. And so do you!

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Beatrice was and still is happy, joyful, and adventurous. She loved to giggle, play, and be silly with me. As i’ve raised Beatrice these last three years I have come to know that children carry little weight. They feel and sense deeply. They love when adults are silly and don’t take themselves too seriously. Why? Because young children don’t know what this word “serious” means until they see it acted out in front of them reminding them that they must show remorse for spilling the milk on the floor, or they must act a certain way in front of others. But what if we approached life the same way? Not always needing to please everyone that crosses our path, taking time to laugh at ourselves and laugh with our children. What if we didn’t feel the need to cover up our hurts but simply started living in a joyful state of mind;less tense, more silly, and genuinely squeezing every ounce of happiness out of this life.

Children are so good at this. They were wired to see the world with optimism, innocently dancing to the beat of their own drum, to flourish in a gentle atmosphere, to notice the color of the bird sitting on the branch, and to find adventure through jumping in puddles and getting their boots muddy. Joy comes easy to them. But all of those things are not lost as we grow older their just buried underneath the blanket of lies saying we must take life more seriously. We must show people as little as possible about ourselves for fear we may not fit in, we must show our children that not everything is funny and silly.

Now, I know there needs to be a fine balance and that there are plenty of teachable moments when parenting wisely and responsibly. But there are also plenty of moments to sit back and enjoy the joy and silliness of our children. In return our children feel accepted and free to live their life through adventure and fun without feeling fearful of every step along the way.

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Floral crown by @ellareesedesigns

Children know that life is meant to be lived and loved wholeheartedly. Why not encourage the silliness so that our children may see us as open free beings rather than a hard wall seeking to correct every mistake that gets in our way or day.

So today mommas, I encourage you to lighten up and choose to be seriously silly instead of seriously serious. That is what brings out the richness and flavor that life has to offer.

02.06.16

Journey Wisely

The sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to us. Journey wisely. -Author unknown

We all know the feeling of sleep deprivation, midnight feedings, “just one more book,” sticky fingers, and unforeseen frustration that can entangle us in the fast and furious state of motherhood. We’ve read all the right books and picked out the perfect baby clothes as we prepare for our first baby. Excitement, happiness, anxiousness, expectations, and fear are all part of the process. But no one can prepare us for how fast the days will go by.

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I remember the sleepless nights, the worry of never feeling “normal” again. I remember feeling like I had to have it all together.  Somehow I managed to forget that the most important thing was tucked up cozily on my chest. This breathing, living, soft, and beautiful baby was mine and forever marking me as a mother.

I often wonder how many times I’ve taken for granted giving my baby a fresh bath, brushing her white hair, feeding her applesauce, and baking a sweet treat together. These moments are ever present when raising little ones, but if we truly think about it, we might ask “when will it be the last time?” We can’t brush their hair forever, hold them in the rocking chair, or sing “twinkle, twinkle little star” for the fourth time before bed. But we can treasure and appreciate the very hard and rewarding season of life we are in now. These are some of the most precious, downright exhausting, and joyful times.

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We have been given a beautiful role in motherhood, one that can never be taken away. We are our children’s comfort, warm hand to hold, and a gentle voice encouraging their abilities. It is you “Momma” that soothes and comforts that tiny body. It is that tiny body that awakens our hearts to feel and roar like never before; to give words to the poem we’ve dreamed of writing our whole lives. It is love that sets us free, picks us up out of our deep slumber and kisses our tired eyelids with new purpose for each new day we are given. But when these moments become our lasts, hold tight to memories that last a lifetime. Be present in your child’s life.  Enjoy the extra cuddles in the middle of the night. Laugh at the milk spilled on the kitchen floor and give them a rag to wash it up instead of disapproving of yet another spill. Look deep into their eyes and listen to their every word. They have important things to say and ask if only we would listen. The big words and the little words.  For one day they will not remember if your house was neatly clean but they will remember that they felt heard and seen by you. They will remember that the tiny moments weren’t swallowed up in guilt, but enjoyed with every part of our being. Hold tight to what you’ve been given. This is a living, breathing, little human being. One that will grow old someday, have their own thoughts and vision for life, and always have a place they belong. Inside the heart of a mother is one who has known defeat, exhaustion, frustration, teary eyes, and failure and also inside the heart of a mother is one who has known the greatest joy imaginable. Soft, wet kisses, warm cuddly hugs, rhythms of unconditional love and grace like we’ve never known, and the strength of a mighty fortress.

Hey Momma… These are some of the best days of your life right in front of you.

01.07.16

It’s a process.

It’s a process, it’s a process, it’s a process, change takes time.

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Lately i’ve found myself getting frustrated with how bossy and demanding my two year old is towards other children. Sometimes my responses to her strong leading spirit are not always in line with a gentle parenting approach. As I’ve put some thought into how I want to teach my daughter how to be loving and thoughtful towards others I have also considered who she is as a person. Her name is Beatrice. Meaning: Wild and Joyful, leader and organizer. Yes, this is who she is to a “T.”

How might our parenting approach look different if we took into account what qualities and skills our children possess? As a mother I want to be so careful not to crush her spirit, rather I want to lift up and encourage those qualities. But how do we do this? I believe we do this by really watching our children interact with other children. When I see her bossing another child around I can say to her gently that “maybe she could ask if the other child would like to do that”, or maybe instead of scolding her I could encourage her to keep being a leader, teaching her to demand action in a kind and loving way. You see her leadership skills will serve her so well in life as she grows older, but they can also serve her well right now at two years old. She is a leader, encourager, organizer, and loyal friend. She is still learning what it means to lead and organize her stuff. If we let our children be who they are they will be so much happier. May we find other ways to encourage and speak into who they are instead of tearing them down.

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 In the process of life it takes time for children to explore and understand their feelings and emotions. It takes time for us and them to figure out exactly who they are. It takes time for our children to fully understand failure, compassion, and sympathy. It takes a daily selfless heart to help them learn how to share or how to direct their feelings of outrage when they hit that “toddler” point in life. Whether you’re an adult or child life is a continuous process of learning to love more softly, give compassion more easily, and use our words to uplift instead of tear down. Each day is a gift and a chance to grow small seeds into our children.

I truly believe our actions speak louder than words in front of our children. If we want them to know sympathy, let them be apart of the emotions of losing a loved one, or the passing away of an animal. Let them see you serve others and stand along side the broken. Let them know how much you love to share your belongings with them through your words. Let them see the beauty of learning how to be still and peaceful through nature and times of rest. You see, being in a continuous process of growing in life is beautiful if we learn to grab hold of that process and embrace the growing pains. As we grow in who we are so do our children.

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When we choose grace instead of frustration, gentleness instead of anger, and joy instead of sorrow we are showing our children the qualities they already possess. Its almost like as we carry out these truths in our own life we are calling out the good and true self of who our children are and what they are capable of learning. After all, our children are very shapeable, small, important, and emotional human beings. They too are learning and figuring out how to be compassionate towards others and see themselves as wonderful people. Our children feel their lives so much deeper than we give them credit for sometimes.

Today I am encouraged to keep sowing small seeds into my child. Growing with her, beside her, and always making room for mistakes. Some days are down right exhausting and frustration can get the best of us. But we as mommas always have the chance to speak more softly, give of ourselves more fully, and widen our perspective on how children view and see their world and emotions.

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Our children awaken our hearts to feel and roar like never before. They awaken our identity and reintroduce us to ourselves in a fresh and new way. But we must be willing to grow, to learn from them, and to take their little hearts seriously. This process is slow and requires patience; however, it results in happy, fulfilled, loving, and loyal children. Take a moment today to look deeply into their eyes, to listen to their words more closely, paying attention to the little details of their lives. For one day, they will not remember if we had a perfectly cleaned house, but they will remember that they felt heard and seen by another. They won’t remember the time and patience it took for you to get here, but they will remember the tiny moments where we were present and engaged in their worlds.

Teach, live, and learn, in and through the process. Be flexible…be easy. Life is tender and often times leaves us misunderstood. Love hard, practice gentleness, seek patience, and above all give selflessly to the things that matter the most in this life. Our children and this future generation is longing to feel understood.

 

 

12.02.15

Just+Slow+Down

 

“Just slow down. Slow down your speech. Slow down your breathing. Slow down your walking. Slow down your eating. And let this slower, steadier, pace perfume your mind. Just slow down.” ~Doko

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Perfume your mind? What beautiful and thought provoking words those are! Every parent has found themselves at times using the words “Hurry up, walk faster, move quickly” when communicating with our children. And while we mean to have good intentions, I often wonder how that leaves our children feeling. In this day and age life is about being better, quicker, faster, and stronger. Yet life doesn’t slow down, it keeps going. And while life is moving on by we are losing out on the simplest pleasures with our children. A warm hand to hold, a walk through the woods, something delicious to eat, a good book by the christmas tree, and so on.

Since moving to Alabama this past year, our lives have changed…..a lot. Life has been much slower. Things have not been tightly scheduled. From that there is this freedom to explore and just “be” that has brought so much peace to our little family. Peace that has awakened creativity and passions, as well as time to explore our day with all five senses. Lately, Aaron and I have really been intentional about taking a “non-hurried” approach with our daughter. Making sure she doesn’t feel rushed through her days and providing extra time in our schedule so that she may walk a little slower, notice all the leaves on the ground, or just simply go down the slide 20 times, without the reminder that we need to “go” soon.

Although some days we find ourselves struggling with this we are always reminded to come back to patience. Back to the peace that fills our home when we stop rushing each other and take time to feel the world from the inside out. This is what I want and dream about for my family. I desire for my children to find contentment in a book, peace in nature, peace in quietness, and a great love for the outdoors. I desire for our world to look different than some may see it.

When I look at my daughter, I see a wild spirit that doesn’t like to be tied down. She is eager to finish a job herself even if it takes a long time. She is creative, smart, and strong willed. Life is really exciting to her and she absolutely loves who she is. I know that someday soon she will acquire a passion for something, whether that be dance, sports, music, yoga, education, etc. And while we all secretly have expectations of who or what our children will do, we are not in control of that. How freeing is that!? Everyday I get to see a little bit more of who she is. I get to be a part of cultivating her passions and dreams without hindering her. I write this to say..whatever her passions turn into I will always want her to feel life at a slower pace. I never want her to feel over-scheduled with no time to use her imagination. I want her to chase her dreams, but I also want her to find contentment in the littlest pleasures of life.

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Our Creator  is the perfect example of gentleness and peace. His peace is like a river, it keeps moving and flowing, but it’s not hindered by nature and storms. No matter what the water always reaches where it’s trying to go. I think we all can learn great value in being like a “river” and instilling these great values in our children. We can be a river, a river that is not moved by current circumstances or moved by what paths our children choose for themselves. Rather we flow with it, we adapt to our current situations. Rather than worrying and filling our hearts with anxiousness, we see that life is always moving, always progressing, and we address the situations out of a place of peace rather than frustration.

How amazing would it be for our children to see peace in our eyes rather than fear when hard times roll our way? Showing them that life is something we can tackle and doesn’t have to leave us feeling defeated. Life teaches us and inspires us with growth and makes room for  adaptability if we let it. It’s our chance to surrender fear and worry and to become that river, ready for whatever comes our way.

These are the values we want to instill in our daughter. Values based off of peace which means a slower pace, time to breathe, “unhurried schedules,” room for deep conversation, and meaningful get togethers. Life is meant to be lived. And by living it to the fullest, it requires stepping back and seeing what areas are crowded, in need of some TLC, and where we can gain more peace.

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Here are few of my own personal tips for a slower paced life for you and your children:

-Give yourself permission to  say “No” if your life/schedule is feeling crowded.

-Take a day to observe how many times you use the words, “hurry, quickly, faster”. Be intentional about taking a step back and slowing down the pace by being present even if it requires walking slower, being at the grocery store an extra fifteen minutes, etc.

-Find contentment in a book or baking something special with your child.

-Be an observer of nature. Nature can teach us so many beautiful lessons in life.

-Take a mindful walk, notice something new today, try hearing yourself breathe, and be at peace with the present.

So today my sweet mommas and friends, I leave you with a few words from one of my favorite hymns. ” When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrow like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, IT IS WELL, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.” 🙂

Love from one Momma to another!

11.09.15

Courage+Bravery+Vulnerability

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The other night as I was tucked beneath my warm sheets, listening to my husband breathe heavily into a deep sleep, I laid in bed tossing and turning. My brain was spinning and pondering how vulnerability and bravery has become  a part of who I am today. How it has shaped the way I feel my life, and taught me to be honest with my feelings and fears. I thought about how I want to encourage my children to be free to speak their truths, to be real and honest with people, and to practice courageous vulnerability…I asked myself these three questions:

What will my daughter and my future children know about bravery and vulnerability as they grow older? How will emotions or lack of shape their lives? Does my life reflect truth and vulnerability? As I circled around these questions I decided to write my daughter a letter. A letter to remind her and I to feel life from the inside out and that feelings are always meant to be worn on our sleeves, not tucked away hidden beneath the sheets.

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My dear Beatrice,

Today I will tell you a story of bravery and courageous vulnerability. As I share a piece of my heart, I want you to know that I promise to practice letting you feel heard and seen everyday we’re together. It will be hard sometimes, and some days I will shove things away instead of showing my real self. On those days I will remind myself that people from all walks of life crave authenticity, a listening ear, and for someone to listen to their truths.  You see, I want to listen to the good, the bad, and happy parts of your life. I have found it is worth it to show the truth of who you really are. To be known and  be heard. To feel free of expectations, and free of what others will think. This very act of vulnerability produces bravery. Bravery that will one day help the lives of so many people waiting to be heard and known.

Once, I was was afraid of telling my truths. I was afraid to be who I really am, and I was afraid to dig deep into the painful areas of my life for fear of shame. I knew deep inside if I could just share my truths with someone I could experience freedom, freedom from the memories that haunted me everyday, but I didn’t know how to get there. Until one day,  I decided enough was enough. Through the storm and the emotions, I would stand up to fear. I would be brave and I would be vulnerable. I would talk to someone, share my pain, and I would dig deep. Was this is a short process? No, it was long, it was grueling, and it was exhausting. At times I wanted to give up, be done with it all, and let it all settle back down into the ground. But I pushed through.

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Because the minute I realized I have a voice and people want to hear it, freedom was released inside every bone of my body. I remembered that I was never unworthy of perfect love, I was not alone, and I was not crazy for feeling strong emotions. Finding my voice changed the way I viewed myself. I found myself. I realized the God I serve is SO much more gentle than I could ever have imagined, and that He is fighting for my heart to be freed, and refreshed, he is cheering me on to actually feel emotions, to feel life, to feel the goodness he created in each one of us. I have learned that to be known and heard, seen and felt through another’s eyes is second to none.

You see even the deepest pains of one’s life can be used to break down the walls of perfection, hardness, and shame. My failures and pains of the past used to remind me that I was ashamed and deeply rooted in fear. But now as I look back, I see that I have been given an opportunity to be courageous, to stand in the face of fear with complete abandonment, free from perfection, and wholeheartedly accepting vulnerability as my new best friend. I have chosen a path some may never want to walk down, but I believe it’s worth it my child. It’s worth it to be honest and real with people; it’s worth it to cry when sadness is real to you. It’s worth it to let someone in, to let them see the raw and the real moments of your life. It’s worth it to be seen and heard rather than silenced and deaf.

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When you’re angry, I want to listen. When you’re sad, I want to feel your sadness. When you’re excited, I want to feel your excitement. When you’re grieving. I want to be with you. You were never meant to be put on the back burner, to be “shhh’d” and told what you can and cannot do. You were not meant to be nagged on, perfected, and told you aren’t strong enough to do this or that. You weren’t meant to need people’s approval to feel good about yourself. You don’t need my approval, because God already approves of you. He already sees you; He marked you with His perfect love and His freedom to be YOU!

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You my child are a gift. A gift that only requires encouragement, a listening ear, and hands free of control, manipulation, and approval. You are meant to wear your heart on your sleeve, to be heard, to be known, and to be courageous in the face of fear. As we walk this road of vulnerability together, may we practice gentleness, kindness, and compassion for those around us. May the freedom to be heard and seen energize this future generation to cultivate the art of courageous vulnerability. And may we take time out of our day to give a hug, a kiss, a word of affirmation, and always speak our truths out loud. You may be little, but you are brave, you are courageous, and you are the gift that keeps on giving. So today and everyday my child, I will practice vulnerability by encouraging you to feel all of your emotions. My wild and joyful child!

Love, Momma