Where is your identity?

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I have misplaced my identity. At first I thought I had lost it, but when I really stop to contemplate this, I realize it isn’t lost, but rather misplaced.

From the time that I was young I loved capturing memories. I always had a camera in my hand taking pictures of everything. If you came to my house growing up, you were going to be in a photo shoot. Then in high school I took photo journalism and loved every second of it and especially learning to develop film in the dark room. Taking pictures has always been a second nature to me.

When we started a family, my passion for pictures was obvious.  To say our kids are well documented is an understatement.  After our second child was born, I started taking pictures for other people which would start a journey that would eventually become a full time career and a big part of where I found my identity.

For years I spent time building my business. I loved being creative, meeting new people, forming relationships with clients, and truly connecting with my subjects. I loved seeing the finished product and knowing that I had captured memories for my sweet friends. What initially I thought might just be for fun, turned into so much more. Before I knew it, I had made a name for myself. People started recognizing my name. I started hearing “Oh you are a photographer! I have seen your work!” My husband would be places and people would say “You are Jessica Meinardus’ husband? The photographer?” Friends would introduce me as Jessica Meinardus- the photographer. It took me years to call myself a photographer, but when people started identifying me that way, I too started to identify with it.

After 7 years of being a full time photographer, we had our 3rd child. We decided I needed to cut back and be part time. By the time I had our 4th baby (2 years later) we knew it was best for our family to take a break completely, so I did. At the time I didn’t really have any intentions of picking it back up but in between our 4th and 5th babies, I longed for what was missing, so naturally, I started taking pictures again.

But what exactly was I missing? Was it really taking pictures? No. I was missing that place where I felt I fit.  My love language is Words of Affirmation.  When I was taking pictures regularly I was getting feedback constantly that said I was good. That I was doing something right.  I was making a difference.  I was talented. I had become so reliant not only on my identity as a photographer, but also on praise that came with it. My main job now is motherhood and in motherhood there is not a lot of true, immediate affirmations!  Sure, other people say I am a great mom, but my 5 year old told me she wanted a new mom yesterday, so theres that.

As painful as it is for me to admit, I know that I have let my need for affirmation and my desire to feel I have a place in this world drive me. I have found my identity in what I do for so long, which at times has provided instant gratification, but eventually it leaves me empty and looking for something else.  I have found myself exhausted trying to feel like I have a place that I fit, a place where I feel enough.

What I have always known to be true, but have fought for so long is that my identity isn’t found in what I do or who I am, but rather whose I am.  My identity must be found in Christ and who He says I am.  This isn’t a new concept for me but rather something I have treated like I could handle better.  For several years I feel God has called me to something specific and although I haven’t completely ignored it, I haven’t been completely obedient either.  I have allowed fear to keep from letting go of certain things- fear of loosing a title that made me feel like I had relevance and the fear of loosing my source for affirmation.  I want to give God control of my life and allow Him to fully guide my paths, but each time I give him control, I take it back.   I feel Him nudge me, and I say “yes, I trust you”.  But then, I find myself in panic- wait, this doesn’t feel right.  Who am I?  Am I enough?  Then, instead of running back to Him, the one I just said “I trust you” to, I take back control and push away those truths- Who am I?  I am HIS!  I now see how easy it is to place our identity in something other than Jesus.

This is a journey.  It isn’t suppose to be a life of instant gratification. Choosing a life rooted in my identity in Christ, is full of His affirmation but that doesn’t look like the affirmation the world gives us. I’m trusting Him with my needs and my journey to a deeper understanding of His love.

Sometimes we have to fully surrender things in order for God to show us what is next. For a long time I have tried and failed to surrender the identity I formed in being a photographer. But I am ready for what is next- whatever that is. So, I am giving up the title that I have held onto for so long. My talent didn’t disappear and my desire to capture life on my camera is here to stay, but I am not Jessica the photographer. (and if I have already told you I would take pictures- don’t worry, I am not breaking any of my current commitments)  This is not an easy post to type out.  It isn’t easy to admit my struggles or to say goodbye to career that I have loved for 12 years, but I know that this is right.

I am still a creative soul who loves to share, encourage, and create so I plan to continue to share openly and honestly. I hope you will continue to join me! I have started a Facebook and Instagram page (houseofmeinardus) that I hope to share daily encouragement/real life, through pictures and words, and I hope to keep blogging regularly.  Thank you friends, for your continued support in my journey!

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Trapped by Motherhood

I woke up exhausted which isn’t unusual for me.  I got up in the middle of the night with one of our kids- who can even remember which one it was this time.  Everyday I want so badly to wake up before everyone else so I can drink my coffee, read my bible, and have me time.  I have no idea when the last time that happened.  Most of the time, one of two things happen- either I had a long night so I hit snooze too many times, and do not have any time for “me time” or someone decides to wake up earlier than normal and they need me right NOW.  Exhausted is the name of the game.

It was Monday.  A Monday after a long weekend full of busy and rush.  Not only had I woke up exhausted, I already felt defeated.  I knew that the day was going to be a tough one before it started and my attitude already reflected that.  Today was day 1 in potty training boot camp.  I was going to do my best to get my sweet but stubborn boy potty trained.  Two weeks prior he started hating poopy diapers (I mean, who doesn’t??) and taking them off as soon as he pooped, without warning or telling anyone.  I would find him naked with poop wherever he was.  He had wiped poop on the couch, his shirt, the floor.  I was DONE.  So operation potty train was in full swing.

By 10:00, he had already peed in the floor twice, the dog had puked on my new rug, and the baby had barely stopped crying.  I found myself running from one child to the next.  Someone was either crying, peeing, puking, whining, hungry, discontent with life.  I realized I hadn’t had a real adult conversation in days.  Sure, I had seen another adult but I hadn’t had any quality time with one.  I wish I could clearly communicate how difficult life seemed.  I cried all day.  I felt alone.  It all seemed hopeless.  I was unhappy and it continued all.day.long.

I kept thinking about how badly I would love to read a book, drink coffee, have nice things that no one was wiping poop on.  I just want to feel normal.  I want to be able to go to the bathroom without fear of what is happening while I am in there.  I want regular adult interaction.  I want sleep.  I don’t want to hear whining any more.  No fighting.  No messes.  I just want to run away to a a quiet beach.  I want to feel like I have purpose and meaning- like I matter.  3 & 5 year olds don’t give you much praise- and often times they give the complete opposite!

By the afternoon I found myself taking a breather and trying to sort through all the things in my brain.  I was so unhappy.  I kept asking myself what I was doing. Why in the world did I have 5 kids?  At this point I felt like this was a crazy question to be asking.  I mean I have 5 kids. I am now talking to myself outloud.  “Ok,  life is full of choices.  People make choices all the time.  If you go to college and get a degree and start working and realize that you spent all this time on a degree for a job you don’t actually like, you can switch careers.  Or if you are in a job that doesn’t fit or you don’t enjoy, you can get another one.  What about motherhood?  What happens when you find yourself so discontent and unhappy in Motherhood?  This isn’t a job you just change and find a new one.  What happens when you feel trapped by motherhood?”  I didn’t immediately have an answer.  I know that people do run away from their lives- but even in the thick, I knew that I wasn’t going to really run away.  I love my kids with all I have and I want to be a mom- but it is hard.

I text a friend and then ended up calling my husband, which I try not to do.  I was in a place I didn’t feel like I could get out of on my own but knew I desperately needed to get out.  I was a mess.  My sweet husband had reminded me that it won’t always be like this.  I felt like Allyson in the movie Mom’s Night Out.  She’s a hot mess most days and her life seems to constantly be in a state of chaos.  At one point her friend assures her “it will get better! in 3-5 years”  I am sure my face resembled her look of disappointment when my husband tried to encourage me by saying it is not forever.  In that moment, that was not a statement full of hope for me.

By bedtime my heart was still heavy.  I went to sleep feeling like I had to figure things out.  I wanted more than anything for my feelings to shift into a more positive light.  The next few days I thought through all my feelings and searched for answers.  I am not sure if there is such a thing as THE answer, but I wanted to remember what I had done in the past and possibly find new ways to combat the difficult seasons of motherhood.  Here is what I came up with!

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1.) Embrace the difficult.  Don’t dress it up.  Don’t try to make it pretty.  Motherhood is hard at times.  There are challenges and difficult stages.  A few weeks ago our pastor said “life is meant to be enjoyed even when it has to be endured.”  I love this and have held onto those words daily.  I have found that when I allow the moments to just be- difficult, hard, challenging, exhausting, then I can accept them that way, rather than trying to wrestle with them and make them into something prettier.

2.) Find a pick me up person.  Find a person or an entire flock of people, who you can call or text when you are in the pit.  When you find yourself wanting to run away or quit, have those people on speed dial.  If you don’t have that person, let me know- I am serious! We all need someone who can love us and encourage us right where we are- even if we are being irrational.  We need someone who we know will love us when that moment is over and we are back to loving life again.

3.) Seek truth.  The truth is always there, even in the lies.  When life is throwing us lots of challenges and we find ourselves teetering on the edge of sanity, the lies often seem a lot louder than the truth.  It is in these moments we have to intentionally seek truth.  Remind yourself that there is another side and you will get there.  You aren’t going to stay stuck in the yuck!

4.) Switch perspective.  Hold tight to the power you have in changing perspective.  I have learned that my perspective is a powerful tool.  A lot of times, especially in the hard times, I naturally sees the worst of the worst.  But that is just not the truth!  There is always another way to look at things and learning to see a better perspective helps me get through those hard moments.

5.) Change scenery.  If things seem to be falling apart, sometimes changing scenery can benefit you and your kids.  Go outside, hop in the car and take a drive, change activities.  Just do something different.  A lot of times fresh air and and a new scene will help everyone change gears.

6.) Take a break.  This isn’t easy for me to figure out all the time.  But I have learned that to be a healthy mom, I have to take a break.  There have been times we have a recurring babysitter each week to allow me out of the house alone.  We just made the choice to add that to the budget.  Other times, I have made sure that if the kids nap, I either take a nap too or I chill on the couch in silence.  We have all done this one- hide in the closet or bathroom for a few minutes.  Taking a break will look different for each of us.  Maybe you need coffee with a friend or a date with your husband.  Evaluate your needs and do what you have to so that they are getting met AND then, don’t feel guilty about it!

7.) Pray.  I can’t tell you how much peace I feel when I stop and pray during the chaos.  It doesn’t make the chaos go away but it does bring me peace!

8.) Rationalize your expectations.  So I often have some crazy expectations of what I should be as a mom, how my kids should be, what our day looks like…… I have found that a lot of times, when I find myself completely unraveled, I have some expectations that have completely been shot.  Giving my expectations a reboot really helps.

9.) Give yourself some grace!  Seriously, this one is big!  My rule is to always ask myself “if my friend called me and told me what is going on, what would I say to her? Would I extend her grace, love, and encouragement?”  And if the answer is yes (it always is)  then I know I have to give myself that same thing!  Motherhood is hard enough, we don’t need to beat ourselves up!

10.) Remember you are not alone!  When I am in those moments that feel impossible, I typically feel very alone.  There usually isn’t another adult around and I am surrounded by children.  I feel like I am probably the only mom struggling.  Guess what?  You are not alone Momma!  Everyone struggles.  Whatever you are feeling, lots of other moms are feeling it too.  Sometimes it is really hard to admit it because it almost feels like we are saying we don’t love our jobs as moms, but seriously, no one loves their job all the time!  Being a mom is so hard and the best thing we can do is support and love each other in this journey!  Lets be honest with each other so no one ever feels alone!

Momma, in this life that is full of never-ending demands, we all find ourselves in moments where nothing seems to help.  Grace, just grace.  It is hard, it isn’t always fun, but it is always worth it.  God has trusted us with these babies and His grace is enough to cover all the difficult, demanding, lonely, places.

What’s with Sundays?

This morning I woke up positive that today was going to be good.  The past 3 or 4 Sunday’s have just not been fabulous so I went to bed feeling a little bit dreadful but woke up feeling great! I was able to drink my entire cup of coffee while it was hot, got myself and the kids all ready for church- on time, and was about ready to head out the door when it started.  “those shoes are too tight!”  I know they are not.  I just bought them a few days ago and they fit great.  but I couldn’t convince her.  So I quickly decided it wasn’t worth the fight.  I offered a different pair of shoes- tears and crying…… “I want to wear those!”  Wait, what?  The ones you just screamed were too tight?  The tears and crying continued and I threw my hands up, taking both pairs of shoes and the child to the car where everyone else was already waiting.

Phew!  We are still on time! I silently celebrated as I put the car in reverse.  It sounded funny as I backed up, but our driveway is gravel so I put it in drive and started out, only to quickly realize that funny sound was my wheel grinding into the gravel.  Flat tire.  I put the car in park and jump out as I call my husband- who is at work (ask any firefighters wife, it all happens on their shift!) I have never changed a tire.  I go back and forth about how i feel about it.  On one hand I don’t want to be the damsel in distress calling for help over a flat.  On the other hand I don’t really feel like I have missed out on life by never changing a flat tire.  But suddenly, I had this deep desire to take care of it myself.  As Joel insisted he would come change it, I insisted I could handle it.

My oldest child and I got the tire out and started the process.  I watched a quick youtube video and up the car went.  I worked on the lug nuts and I got all but one off.  The last one was not wanting to come off.  As I was about ready to give up, our good friend showed up to help!  I didn’t know it, but Joel had already called him and asked if he could stop by since he was just a few minutes away.  He helped us finish changing the tire and off we went to church, 30 minutes late!

I get there and realize Harvey fell asleep.  A 3 year old with a 20 minute nap is no good.  I took a very cranky boy in the church.  Melt down. Nothing was right.  He was just mad.  I finally got him to stay in his class just in time to hear the sermon.  As I sat down I realized that in the madness Harvey had wiped his glazed donut all over my black shirt- oh well, I was just glad to be hearing the sermon!  The final song was about to wrap up when someone taps my shoulder “Harvey pooped in his pants” WHY?  Harvey….. Why?  He does so good, until he doesn’t.  Any way, potty training is stupid. the end.

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If we go back to when I got in the van this morning, there was a smell.  I addressed it- told the husband what I thought it was and he said to come by after church and we would take the seats out and find the source.  So that is what we did.  He pulled the seats out, vacuumed and found nothing.  I got in with some cleaner to really detail it since the seats were out.  I had already told him I was sure I knew what the smell was, but as I cleaned, it was confirmed.  I found mouse poop.  IN MY VAN.  Are you kidding me?  Where have we moved?  We have lived a lot of places and I have never in my life had so many mouse issues.  Is moving an option? I mean before we buy land again can I get a mouse survey?

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So, after taking off panels, finding a LIVE baby mouse IN MY VAN, taking off my wheel, 3 hours of searching, the dead mouse is still in there somewhere.  Why?  I mean seriously?  Who has mice living in the panel in their car?  Of course, I do!  UGH!  I don’t even know what to say.  My little kids loved the baby mouse and wanted to bring it home as a pet.  They squealed with excitement and kept saying “mommy its so cute!”  As I die inside just a little.  At what point will they both loose the “its so cute” attitude and turn into “oh my gosh there is a LIVE mouse in my car”?

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Just a few short weeks ago, I had a similar Sunday with all kinds of crazy things.  Honestly, that Sunday had a Harvey poop incident, a dead mouse (in the camper), and a flooding situation.  The Sunday’s in between have been crazy too.  I use to love Sundays.  Jesus, friends, family, food….. But now it seems like Sundays are more like poop, mice, and madness…..

Friends, I don’t know if my life is just that crazy, or maybe It is just that I don’t know the right people and others have just as many crazy things happen,  But here is my plea- if your life is full of crazy “incidents” that when you tell others they all look at you crazy and laugh, asking why weird things are always happening to you, please raise your hand, leave a comment, something!  We can start some sort of support group.  I keep wondering if maybe God is like “Hello, Mrs. Meinardus, I am obviously giving you really good material to work with!  Write it down, make lots of money with these crazy stories!” Or maybe He just likes to laugh!  If it wasn’t my life, I would totally be laughing!

I’m not a good mom like you

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It had been a long day already and it was only 11:00.  I had already cried twice and wanted to run away.  Honestly, those feelings are pretty normal here.  Garner had asked to paint my toenails at least 10 times.  I had deflected that question each time.  Reality- I do not like messes.  I do not like chaos.  I do not like crazy.  (said the lady with 5 kids) A 5 year old painting my nails just feels like, messy crazy chaos.  But finally I was tired of deflecting so I said ok.  I lined the floor with paper towels, and braced myself.

She painted and painted.  When she was finished she proudly said “ok I am done!  Well, it looks a little messy, but don’t worry, it will dry pretty”  I looked down at my feet and suddenly remembered the times I had seen friends walking around with messy nails and proudly said “my daughter painted them”.  I kept trying to figure out how I could do it….  I just can’t!  Tomorrow its going to be 75 degrees and I want to wear sandals I thought to myself.

Guilt washed over me.  I knew I wanted to take off the nail polish.  But I knew how proud my sweet girl was.  But other moms just wear it.  UGH!  After a little while I realized that I could secretly repaint them, and let her think they dried pretty.  After all, that is what she thought any way.  This way I could have neat nails and skip the anxiety that messy nails would give me AND she would still be proud I let her paint my nails.

I am not a good mom like you, I am a good mom like me.  I have been a mom for almost 14 years (one week away!) and I am slowly but surely realizing this.  I may parent different.  I may do things you don’t do.  I may not be able to bring myself to wear the messy polish, but I am a good mom!  You may embrace the messy polish- you are a good mom too!  In a world where everyone is comparing and competing, we need to be offering ourselves more grace!  Guess what?  You are not a good mom like me, YOU are a good mom like YOU!

Can we embrace our differences and celebrate being good moms, period!? I mean seriously, mom, I love that you do it different and that it works!  I am so tired of feeling pressure and guilt to be a certain type of mom.  Life is way too short, raising kids passes too fast- to sit and waste time feeling guilty about how we are doing it!

Momma, you are doing a good job!  You are enough! You are just what your babies need!  (this reminder is really for me!)

 

Party, Princess Style

When Garner said she wanted a princess party I immediately had a vision for a party filled with gold glitter and pink florals.  I couldn’t wait to start planning all the things!  But a request for a real princess had me trying to figure out how to pull it off.  But then a good friend let me in on a secret!  She was in the process of starting a business that did just that!  She was going to be making character appearances at parties!  I was so excited to be her first party and let me just say, she was amazing!  I am going to highlight my favorite things from the party and share a few ways I  saved money and give props to a few places who helped make the party great!

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We had the party at our unfinished house because that is where the birthday girl wanted it!  Joel built me a new kitchen table which worked perfect for the party!  I wanted cute place settings for each girl so I spent about $0.25 per sheet of scrapbook paper  to dress up the table.  I also bought plastic cups from Dollar Tree (6 for $1) and used modge podge and glitter to make fancy punch cups.  This won’t help many people, but I got the flowers on sale after Valentines day!  $4 a dozen!  I normally buy flowers at Sam’s though because they are cheaper and always gorgeous! The gold Glitter HBD sign is from Hobby Lobby.  $4.99 but I used my 40% coupon on it.  Table cloths were all Wal-Mart $1 each.  I tried to keep things simple but elegant.

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The party was from 2-4 so I planned sweet treats, fruit, and cheese and crackers.  The cookies turned out amazing!  They came from That Cookie Lady.  Find her on IG or I can get you her contact info!  Not only did they taste great, but they were beautiful!  Lets talk about cupcakes. Cake or cupcakes can easily become a huge expense with any party.  I went with Sam’s cupcakes because they are $15 for 30.  You can have them color the icing any way you would like!  We always get the whipped icing which was a hit at the party.  I ordered my gold crown cupcake toppers from Amazon, $7 for 20.  I didn’t get a picture of the punch, but we did pink lemonade (our favorite is the Simply Raspberry Lemonade) and 7up which was yummy!

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Princess Aurora’s arrival was magic!  The girls were all so excited to see her!

gstoryThe first activity that Princess Aurora planned was an interactive story time.  She brought a prop for each girl to participate in telling the story of Sleeping Beauty.  It was such a fun, well done story time!  She also sang a song with them (she has an amazing singing voice, just like on the movie!)

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Up next,  Aurora painted each girls face!  The girls loved this part!

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while face painting was going on, Big sister Jade made princess putty with the girls. Another fun, but messy activity!  We used colored glitter glue to make the putty, which allowed us to have pretty, glittery putty without making a mess with food coloring and glitter!

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This princess is full of talent and surprises!  She made each girl a balloon crown or wand!  What a fun take home!

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I knew that Aurora was going to be signing autographs so I wanted to incorporate something for the girls to take home with the autograph.  I came up with this-   scrapbook paper+a polaroid with the princess+some washi tape, it made for a fun party favor!

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Before Aurora left to head back to the Enchanted Forest, She gave Garner a special crown and reminded the girls what it means to be a true princess- always be kind to others and love one another.

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The party was a huge success and I owe a lot of that to 4everyoung Parties!  If you are looking for an affordable, fun, entertainer for your next party, talk to Jana!  She really was incredible and absolutely exceeded our expectations!

The bible lesson

So there are few things in life I have a hard time committing to.  Shower curtains- I mean really, why are the cute ones so expensive?  I feel like I have sticker shock every time I go to buy one.  Do I really love this one?  I mean it is $40 and I am not sure if it is  $40 love.  But yet, the”cheap” options are not really fabulous. This is why my kids lived with just the white plastic one for almost 3 years- yes, 3 years!  Then there is furniture.  I mean if you buy the cheap sofa, you may regret it every time you sit down to watch TV, but do you risk spending twice as much on the super comfy couch when you know you have 5 kids who will likely ruin it?

As I am thinking about this, I really do have issues committing to anything that is over $20.  It isn’t just shower curtains and furniture.  I just have a hard time spending money on things unless I really love them.  I have made so many purchases in the past and regretted them a few weeks later and now I try to be more careful but this caution sometimes keeps me from making decisions on things I need to buy.

Months ago I went outside so find that one of my kids left the van door open.  Our sweet golden doodle had been in the van.  He ate several things that didn’t even matter but he actually ate my bible.  Yep.  When he is in our house we don’t really have any issues with him getting things he isn’t suppose to so I was shocked when I saw he had eaten my bible!  I was so upset I didn’t have a bible any more.  I have the app on my phone and still had access to it (thankfully) but I really like having the real thing.

Joel was like hey no big deal, just got pick out a new one.  So I went over to Christian book store to buy one.  Well, I got overwhelmed quick.  What version do you want? Do you want a study bible?  Do you want leather?  Do you want your name on it?  Do like pink?  What about these fun bibles you can color in?  I left the store without a bible.  Why? Because they are over $20 and there are too many choices and I didn’t want to make a $50 choice I would regret!

So here we are, close to 8 months without my bible.  I got a gift certificate for a bible for Christmas and decided it was time.  I was going to get a bible!  We walked in the store and the clerk immediately said “Can we help you find something?”  I said “oh that is ok, I am just looking for a new bible and not sure what I want exactly so I will just look”  He quickly replied “There are only a million options and you have 17 minutes before we close, please let me help you”

Here we go again…. What version, what color…… Before I knew it I was overwhelmed and ready to walk out the door- especially knowing that I now only had 15 minutes AND the store clerk was standing over my shoulder waiting on me to make a choice.  After browsing the study bibles, large print, ESV, NLT, pink, brown, blue, bibles,  I said  “What about those fancy bibles where you can draw and color, where are those?”  In my head I am so artistic and thought surely that is what I need.  I was excited to see that a lot of the options had templets.  It was like an adult coloring book on the side of each page which was really nice since I can’t draw.  But then Joel hands me the most beautiful bible I have ever seen.  It wasn’t the fun adult coloring book version but I quickly concluded that buying a bible I was suppose to make pretty was probably one more thing I’d add to my list of things that make me feel like I am failing at because the reality is I want to be artistic- but I am really not so it would end up feeling like work to me.

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So here I am, with my new pretty bible, more excited than ever to dive into The Word.  This entire bible buying experience has me thinking about how often I find myself feeling overwhelmed with all the choices life has to offer.  I want so badly to always do the right thing so I sit around overthinking and a lot of times, not ever making a choice or taking the next step because I am too afraid of doing the wrong thing.  When the entire time, God is patiently waiting on me.  He is saying “those details aren’t as important as you are making them out to be.  Just go, just do it, I am already there.”  Fear of failure can hold us back from doing all the things God has in store for us.  What are you letting fear keep you from today?

I don’t think it mattered which version or what style bible I picked out, but I let those details keep me from making the purchase for months.  Sometimes I think we complicate God’s calling for our lives.  He calls us to love Him and to love others.  He asks us to go and make disciples.  Instead of stressing about all the details, I want to let everyday be an opportunity to do just that, wherever I go, whoever I meet, whatever platform I am given- Love God, Love People, Make Disciples.

Just take the picture

Lets talk about pictures.  Who doesn’t love pictures?  I guess there are some of you out there that don’t enjoy them but if you know me, you know that is not the case here.  How about those dreaded selfies?  Such and controversial topic these days.  There are articles all over the place talking about how terrible selfies are and how selfie-centered people are.  Don’t get me wrong, I do think there are some extremes, but for me, most of the time, if I don’t make it a selfie, I don’t make it in the moment!  But, if I take and post a selfie I do fear the judgement that may come with it.

I can’t tell you how many times I think “I wish someone was capturing this moment for me”  I don’t love pictures of myself and the reason I want to be in the photo’s has nothing to do with that.  I just want to be in the memories and I want to remember me now- just as it is.  The tired momma who is doing all the things for her family.  I want to remember the way I looked at my kids and the way they looked at me.  I want to remember that crazy messy hair and t-shirt I wore for 3 days straight. I want to remember the tears, the smiles, the fights, the laughter.  I want to remember the creativity  and the mess that came with it.  Or how about how much time I spend holding kids- I want to remember it all!  Each stage of life seems to pass by so quickly and I just want to remember them and I am not sure I will fully remember all of it without the photos to remind me.

Tonight, I sat on my bed playing with Vera Jane.  I was kissing her sweet chubby cheeks and watching her face light up with joy.  Harvey came running in and climbed up on my bed with us.  He was telling me all kinds of things and loving on the baby too.  I couldn’t help but want to capture the memory.  I handed my phone to Joel and asked him to snap a few photos while we played some more.  I struggle with this and have missed so many opportunities to capture moments because I don’t want to ask someone else to do it.  I want the pictures done the way I would do it- unprompted and completely natural.  I don’t want to ask- but not asking means I miss the chance!  The picture isn’t posed and I got my memory, all I had to do was ask!

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Mom to mom, if you aren’t getting in pictures, start today!  If you don’t have someone who naturally sees moments and takes photos of them, start asking!  Asking someone to take pictures of the moments doesn’t make them any less real or take anything away from it, it fact, asking just allows you to preserve that real moment!  (Preaching to myself here!)  Grab your phone, hand it to someone, don’t worry if it’s perfect, and just take the picture!  I know you won’t regret it!