The first time I heard Lysa TerKeurst speak it was for an event at our church for the female staff and staff spouses hosted by our Pastor's wife, Holly Furtick. By the end of her talk about God's will for our lives being to be joyful, prayerful and thankful, I was in tears. Goodness gracious, does this woman have a gift! One of the things from that talk that really stuck with me was how each morning she would pray that God would show her one person that day that would need something from her - someone that she could give a little bit of her money, a little bit of encouragement, or a little bit of her time. I really loved that. I walked out of that evening feeling so inspired....more inspired than I had been in a long time.
The past two years I have had the opportunity to photograph Lysa, which has been such an honor and a delight. Here are just a few from our shoots.
This weekend Lysa will be preaching at our church for Mother's Day. I couldn't be more excited to hear from her. Take my advice and get yourself there...you won't regret hearing from this woman. Promise.
Since May is the month that I begin shooting for the first time since I had Crew, I thought what better than to kick things off by attempting to be organized with some goal setting? Yes, May goals.
Can I just say...I am kind of floored that it is already May? And that next Thursday my baby will already be THREE months old?! I am beside myself.
1. Lose 5 pounds. I am happy to say, the baby weight is coming off much quicker the second time around. I do, however, still have about 10 pounds to go. For the most part, I've been eating well, but I know it's time to kick into gear with some exercise. This Thursday...TOMORROW....it's cardio funk time, people.
2. Thomas at Tweetsie. Take a day trip to Blowing Rock for Boone to see Thomas the Train at Tweetsie for "A Day Out With Thomas". We went last year and the kid flipped out when he saw Thomas choo chooing around the mountain. TA-TA!!!!
3. Crew's Baby Book. Guys, I have the cutest baby book for Crew. And I just haven't found the time to begin filling it out. I was SO bad with keeping up with Boone's. Bleh.
4. Get My Kid to Stay in His Bed at Night. That kid. Goodness, have we had a time keeping him in bed at night. I feel like we've tried everything and nothing seems to work. I just got this clock in the mail that we ordered that shines GREEN when it's 7am signaling to him that he can come out of his room. Please dear God, let this work!
1. Stay on top of my editing. We are shooting four engagement sessions this month and I would LOVE to go into June with a clean slate.
2. Equipment. We recently sent in all of our equipment to Canon for cleaning/checks to prepare for our upcoming wedding season (quick shout out to Canon Professional Services - we are big fans of this program!), so now it's time to sell some old stuff and buy some new stuff.
+ 5D Mark II: $1300 (this bad boy has a lot of shutter actuations; price reflects that)
+ 24-70 2.8L: $1100
+ 70-200 2.8L: $1000
+ 50 1.2L: $1100
If interested, please shoot me an email or send me a note through the contact form on this blog. :)
3. New Branding/Website. I'm happy to say that we have, in fact, made some progress in this area. Goodness, it's been the longest time coming. At this point I need to and will make a schedule for deadlines and we will stick to it.
4. Mentoring. No, I haven't forgotten about my announcement that we would begin offering mentorships. I was silly enough to think I could have it launched before the baby was born. Well, clearly that didn't happen. Plans are underway; just need to formalize the format before we officially begin this program. Stay tuned.
And here are a couple recent pics of my babies. Happy May! :)
We are so grateful to Style Me Pretty, Real Simple, and Charlotte Wedding Magazine for the features shown below - thank you so much!
Style Me Pretty Destination - full feature can be seen HERE.
Real Simple - one of our images was used as a "must-take wedding photo". Direct link to the image can be found HERE.
Charlotte Wedding Magazine published our work from Josalyn and Patrick's gorgeous wedding at The Foundation for the Carolinas.
*** let it be known that I began writing this blog post on March 14. eleven days later, we are complete. :) ***
Earlier this evening I packed up my sleeping baby and headed to the grocery store. I needed a couple of things (like chocolate), but more so, I needed to feel human...to feel sane. Sanity.....something that I took for granted until plunging once again into the world of caring for a newborn around the clock. A newborn that eats....a lot. And sleeps at the "wrong" times. And screams...screams with a piercing scream. I was worn out and on the brink of losing it. And so, grocery shopping is an activity that sounded pretty darn good to me after a full day cooped up in my house. As we neared the checkout line, of course, she began to scream her head off. 20 minutes early from her every 1.5-2 hour feeding demand. Off to the car we went.
As I fed my sweet baby, I looked out the passenger side window to see a young guy transferring his grocery bags into his very tiny, bright yellow, beater car. He had a wedding ring on his finger and boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese in his bags. And, a plastic covered bouquet of red roses in the front of the cart. First, it made my heart happy. I pictured he and his young wife still basking in the glow of newlywed life....picturing them making their mac & cheese for dinner...picturing the look on her face when he walked in the door of their simple apartment with those flowers. And then, I pictured my own reality. Struggling through what seems like never-ending feeding issues. Sleeplessness. Feeling like I was going crazy from the 24/7 general caring for a newborn and a toddler. Admittedly, it made me sad. And jealous.
Right then I remembered a blog post written by Lysa TerKeurst that I had read just earlier that day. A post that spoke. right. to. me. A post that was strangely reminiscent of what i was currently experiencing. The timing. Oh, the timing. Surely, it wasn't coincidence. Surely, it was God.
Entitled, "I Want To Run Away", Lysa recounts her own experience of life with two little babies and feeling stuck....feeling like the craziness of day-to-day life full of "sleepless nights, leaky diapers and needy cries" would never end. Very much how I had been feeling.
Through her words, I was encouraged. Reminded and encouraged that this is just a season. Encouraged that God is with me. That He is equipping me with all that I need to press on. The whole post is a must read, but my favorite quote was this:
"Though my circumstances may not change today, my outlook surely can."
From there, I was determined to do two things: 1) change my outlook and 2) to make choices that will help set myself up for successes...even small successes (like making it through the day without crying....can I get an amen, new moms?).
#1 - My outlook. The fact is, I have all that I really need. I have a God who loves me and continues to love me even when I am distant from Him. I have a loving husband who is funny and cute. I have two healthy and adorable babies. I have SO much to be thankful for. And, I am.
#2 - My choices. I was inspired to make a list of things that bring me sanity and then do them. I thought I'd share. :)
+ seek Jesus. First and foremost, I know this is what I need at my innermost core. While I may not be able to sit down and have 20 minutes of uninterrupted time reading and praying each day, I can call out to Him for help when I am about to lose my patience with Boone as he tugs on my leg while whining "up please" for the millionth time in a row. I can use my iPhone to read a chapter of the Bible while nursing Crew in the middle of the night. I can put on our church's latest worship album and sing to God. I can be thankful and praise Him for the many blessings He has given my sweet little family and I.
+ put myself together. There's something about having brushed teeth, clean non-pajama clothes on and a little makeup on my face that makes me feel normal. So, I'm going to try to do this each morning. I might not get a shower until the evening when Geoff gets home, but hey, it's something. :)
+ fresh air. I'm going to need to make it a point to get out of this house and into the fresh air - even if only on my front porch - at least once a day. Otherwise i feel like i'm getting serious cabin fever.
+ natural light. I've been spending a lot of our feeding time the past few days in Crew's nursery, as it gets the best light in the house. Actual sunlight does wonders for my mental health.
+ a clean house. I know people say to prioritize when you've got a newborn and not worry about the housework, but really, a messy house just brings me added stress. Now, I'm not talking about scrubbing toilets or cleaning windows, but keeping things picked up throughout the day is important to me. Going to sleep with a semi-clean kitchen is important.
+ sleep. This one isn't as easy - i would love to do the whole "sleep when the baby sleeps" deal, but once you've got a roaming toddler, that goes out the window. When I can and if I can tell that I need it, I'm going to try to grab at least a catnap if the baby is napping when boone is napping.
+ blogging. It's therapeutic. It may take me a few days to complete a post (or in the case of this post...ELEVEN days), but something is better than nothing. I like to blog. Can blogging be a hobby? What about coffee? Can drinking coffee be a hobby? :)
+ lattes and chocolates. Speaking of....on monday of the week I started this blog post, I swore off chocolate, as I decided it was time to get my butt in gear to get this baby weight off. What in the world was I thinking? I need chocolate now more than ever. :) Thankfully, I'm doing weight watchers, which is based on a points system, so I can still work in a bit of chocolate while keeping on track. And my lattes? Thankfully, there is a drive-through Starbucks about 10 minutes from our house. Thank you, Jesus, for drive-through coffee.
+ exercise. I've got a stroller and a nice neighborhood just calling my name. Eventually I'll start up with bootcamp again, but for now, i'll enjoy some walks with my babies.
+ me time. At first it sounded selfish, but I've decided that time for myself is beyond necessary if I expect to keep this up long term without losing my mind. I haven't worked it out with Geoff yet, but I think I'll need to schedule in an hour or two a couple of nights a week to do something for myself...and by myself. A random drive with blaring music, reading a couple of chapters of a new book in our backyard if the weather is nice, a trip to Starbucks to work on our new website or some other business project, holing myself up in the office to work on Crew's baby book. Or maybe even just a shower...with the door shut and not worrying about which kid might be crying. Stuff like that.
+ community. I am so thankful to have so many amazing women in a similar season of life surrounding me to do life with. Play dates (preferably with coffee) and late night texting/tweeting at each other are a must.
+ encourage/do something nice for someone else. This one might be my favorite. I always feel so joyful when I am doing something kind to serve someone else. This could be as simple as sending a quick email to a friend in a tough place who is needing some cheering up. Or baking some muffins with my little baking buddy (Boone loves to "help" me bake) to bring to a neighbor.
+ time with Geoff. We've already marked off dates on our calendars for regular out-of-the-house monthly date nights. We probably need to go ahead and pick a day of the week that is an evening dedicated to spending time together.
That saying "the days are long, but the years are short" is so, so true. I know this. I am trying my hardest to not wish away these precious times and am determined to make the best of each day with these sweet, sweet babies of mine.
Now, time for a latte. And chocolate.