Hello faithful blog readers! I appreciate that you’ve read over the years, even when it’s been limited to only the monthly update about Eleanor or Otis. I’ve written a blog for about 13 years now, and it’s taken so many shapes over the years. It’s ebbed and flowed as far as how many posts were on each month, as well as with the type of content I have written. As Robbie and I transitioned out of YWAM and moved back to the States, it’s been a j-o-u-r-n-e-y to figure out what I am doing more specifically. I have the broad vision, and I feel confident in that. However, it’s taken a while to figure out the specifics.
One thing that has been a learning curve is figuring out our routine here in the States. For the first several months, we had no routine. Robbie was looking for a job, and he would go work in a cafe on resume/applications/etc. I was trying a few different things over those months. One thing I have felt decently confident in the entire time is to relaunch my photography business. I had anticipated doing it much sooner than I have, but it’s taken a bit of time and sifting through a few other areas first.
My major vision is geared towards family. That’s incredibly broad, and I feel a relative bit of freedom to dream with God as to how that outworks. One area is photography, specifically family photography. Another area, though, is continuing to blog. A challenge for about a year for me has been to determine how I could do both. I didn’t want them to be separated, but I also wanted them to be distinct. Finally I had an epiphany one day, and that is how my main page was created. So if you look at my main page, you will go into either my blog section or my photography section. They come under the same banner, though. I am still sorting out other decisions such as social media and all that jazz, but it will come in time.
Other ways I’m pursuing this vision of family?
I am looking at starting a summer mom’s group here, and I am trying to get out and about for play dates and other things as well. It’s all taking shape, but it hasn’t been without challenge over these 6 months. Yep, 6 months! We’ve been Stateside for 6 months already, and I cannot believe it.
Transition is a tough thing to work through, but I am learning a lot and recognizing areas that I still need to learn and grow in. I’m hopeful for more roots to be planted as we settle into summer and get used to Robbie being at work all day every day.
All that to say, I am hoping to transition this blog (and photography) from hobby to business. I love being home with our kids, but I definitely feel certain I am meant to pursue work as well. This seems like the best of both worlds for me right now. I’m also still selling Plexus products, but that is more on the side for now.
Let me know in the comments what your favourite posts are that I have done in the past. From analytics, it seems that all things motherhood and family tend to get the most movement. Is that what you like? Also, I do feel a strong nudge from God to write more vulnerably, particularly about our transition. I remember before we moved feeling like there wasn’t much written out there about transition, even though it’s something that most, if not all, of us will go through at least once in our lives. It’s tricky to navigate, and I am still in it. I hope to write more about that in the future as well.
Finally, again I appreciate that you read. Over the past four years in particular, I have received messages of encouragement from people who have appreciated my posts and sharing about my life, particularly with motherhood. I always have to keep that at the forefront of my mind. Even though sometimes it feels like I am writing to process things or record memories for myself, I want the main priority to be others. How can I stand with others, encourage others, be vulnerable to communicate “I’m with you” or “Me too!” That’s my heart. Can’t wait to see how it all takes shape!
In just a few short days, September will be here. September 1 in Australia is the start of Spring, and it is also BABY MONTH! How did that happen? Even though my due date is towards the end of the month, I am preparing for anything since Eleanor came a week and a half early.
There is a lot going on, and often I find myself getting into bed at night with my mind racing, torn in a million directions. Some things are obvious, some things are yet to be communicated, many things are yet to be worked out. All in all, I have tried to create lists and write my thoughts down and organise them so my mind doesn’t feel so cluttered, but I am still finding myself back in this place too often.
With that being said, I have felt really strongly to take a bit of a “maternity leave” if you will from the blog over the months of September and October. Obviously at this point my blog is not a full-time job, but there is a lot of vision stirring over here for the future. I don’t want to miss out on my main priorities because of that. I am planning to still write, but I may or may not publish right away. I really want to give myself room to just be present in these moments – the last moments with just Eleanor and the beginning of our life as a family of four. My parents are also coming to visit for three weeks near the end of the month, and I want us all to be able to enjoy the visit.
I am still planning to share on social media, and behind the scenes, I’d like to still be working towards my rebranding of this space. I’ve never had more vision for this space, and there are so many new components that will be brought to the table. I want to do them justice, but more importantly, I want to give this season room to breath. I want to slow down and relieve myself of the pressure to relaunch sooner or to be anywhere other than present with my family.
My goal, albeit a soft goal, is to relaunch around the first of November. In the meantime, follow along on my social media accounts for any updates about life – there are sure to be a few in the coming months!
And, as always, thanks for reading! Love you guys!
In the last few months, I find myself constantly adding to my “To Read” list. I actually have had several book lists over the years in various places, and awhile back, I was reading this post by Nancy Ray and was introduced to Wunderlist. I really like this app, and I feel like I could utilise it for so much more than I am. It has helped keep lists like a reading list all in one place, though.
I wrote at the beginning of the year that I wanted to be intentional about learning, and a big part of that was by reading. I wrote that before finding out I was pregnant, and if I am honest, I have let the tiredness of pregnancy lead me towards a bit of laziness in this area. I haven’t done terrible, but I haven’t been as intentional in this area as I’d hoped. Here’s where grace comes in, and I am choosing to look ahead and not behind. It’ll all be ok!
That hasn’t stopped me from adding (almost daily) to this list of books I want to read. I am constantly seeing friends post in their insta stories about a book that impacted them or a quote from a book, and I am finding myself screen-shotting these photos all the time. One of the worst habits I have had with reading, though, is starting a book and not finishing it. Who is with me on this one? I don’t do this with fiction books, but with non-fiction books, I am a bit like a distracted toddler in a toy shop, focused until something else catches my eye and draws me in.
Robbie and I were meeting with a friend last week, and he was sharing a simple “equation” for success or results. This can be used in large areas of life, or even in small habits you want to grow and develop, like reading more regularly.
Desire –> Motivation –> Results
That sounds great, but the trouble is what happens when you don’t have the desire for something? There is a second part to the equation, and when desire is missing this is where discipline must kick in.
Discipline –> Motivation –> Results
Of course! It made so much sense, and then he broke it down even further and explained what ingredients are necessary to have discipline. In order to have discipline, you must have a schedule and accountability. Even more than that you have to allocate and prioritize in order to follow through with your schedule. I love when concepts that you know in your head are broken down so simply.
I find myself coming back to this often now and applying it to multiple areas of my life. For now, though, I am trying to take one thing at a time (ok, maybe 2-3 things at a time) so I don’t overwhelm the system and actually wind up with nothing to show for it.
In an effort to create accountability by sharing this publicly, I am going to tell you how I am going to allocate and prioritize time for this particular habit of reading. When I wrote my goals at the beginning of the year, they probably could have done with further specifics to help achieve these goals. Some of them had that but not all of them. Here is to creating discipline and seeing great results!
My Commitment to Reading
- First thing’s first – I am taking this one month at a time. Because baby is coming in September, I don’t want to set myself up to fail. So this is my goal for the month of August specifically.
- I will commit to read for at least 30 minutes before bed every night.
- I will commit to finishing 2 books that I am currently in the middle of reading – Long Days of Small Things and Loving Our Kids on Purpose
- I will commit to following up at the end of the month, possibly with a recap of the books I read.
Do you find yourself starting many books and not finishing them? What things help you stay disciplined to reach your goals?
I have been wanting to write this post for awhile now. It’s something I have been processing, and even though I’ve come to certain conclusions, I’ve still let this post gather dust in my drafts folder. I have had many thoughts over the past two years or so about my blog – many post ideas and themes. Yet, I haven’t written a lot of them. They sit in my draft folder as we speak.
When I first started processing why I wasn’t posting, I thought that perhaps I was too busy with being a mum or maybe it was because I had other obligations hanging over my head. Even with those things, I realised that it was neither of those because I was in fact still posting. I just wasn’t posting much.
I looked at what I wasn’t posting as opposed to what I was, and I noticed something very quickly. What I was posting – what I have posted – it’s fun or nice or encouraging. It’s about pregnancy and Eleanor and motherhood and photography. Even before that, it was about travel or cafes, or revelations I had been having about God or ministry. These are all great things, but what I wasn’t posting were things that were a touch more vulnerable or controversial. It was pieces that I feared would create backlash or bring on hurtful comments. It was topics that I worried would create debate or would have people look at me differently.
Fear really is the culprit here. So then I dug a little deeper, and I asked myself why I was so afraid now. When I was first in college, I wrote often. I had a blogspot blog and a xanga site. I wrote what I believed in, even if it may have frustrated one person or another, because I believed it was worth it to help others. I was bolder and more courageous. I was also less life experienced and definitely more immature. There was a lot yet to discover about myself and about God (and there most certainly still is). Even in the midst of my courage and boldness, there was a good dose of refining that needed to happen.
I thought about the journey from then until now.
A lot can happen in 12 years, and a lot has happened in my life. I finished college in a much different place emotionally and spiritually than I started. I moved halfway around the world to try this “missions thing”. I was changed in many ways and given new and fresh perspectives on things that had previously left me hurt and frustrated. I met my now husband, got married and had a child with another on the way. I’ve gone on outreaches. I’ve planned events. I’ve appealed for financial partners. I’ve had victories with immigration, even amidst the challenges and setbacks. I’ve been challenged and refined in weaker moments. I’ve learned. I’ve learned I have so much still to learn.
Yet in all of that “life happening”, I got scared somewhere along the way. I got a bit more worried about what people think, particularly as a mom, and somehow I forgot about the quiet call God had spoken to me. The call to write and to teach and to disciple. The call to be myself and to find all of my confidence in Him, even in this area of motherhood. Especially in this area of motherhood.
The more our culture and world becomes digitally engaged, the more I find my temptation to disengage. It’s probably the harmony in me. I cringe at online “comment debates” because they’re mostly done quite poorly. (I have definitely seen it done well, which is worth saying). I follow many different bloggers and writers who represent different spheres and nationalities. I read their blogs, and mostly, I find myself giving them the benefit of the doubt. I can’t help but notice the mean comments or the disbelief in their choices or lifestyle. I think about the desire to write, to influence and to impact, and then I see the comments and backlash and get scared.
Be Brave. Be You.
That is the call I am feeling. It’s been a gentle nudge over the years, but I am feeling it stronger than ever now. The minute I worry, God swoops in with someone to encourage me down this path. Lately, there has been so much encouragement, and I am feeling challenged to really pursue this. To pursue this dream and to continue walking in the calling and gifts God has placed within me.
So I will write.
You read it. You can quote me on it. I will write. It may not be perfect, and often, it’ll probably be in the midst of my own learning and development and growth. In fact, I hope it’s always in that place: in the journey. A few months back, I had a thought about authors and how scary it could be to publish your own thoughts and opinions onto hard copy, knowing it’s out there forever. What if you change your mind about something you’ve written or learn something new? Then I remember all the second and third (and fourth and fifth!) editions of books and the vulnerability of the authors in those first introductions. They’ve grown, and they’re not apologetic about it. They’re inspired by it. In fact, it is what makes me want to read them more because it shows humility, teachability and growth. I want those in my life through Jesus so much, so I am inspired. I am inspired to continue journeying, and I am inspired to write about it. To be vulnerable in this space. To share. To grow together.
Will you grow with me?
I feel like I need to write an update about life because a lot of what I have wanted to write in the past few months simply hasn’t happened. I don’t necessarily feel like I need to explain this, but I also feel frustrated that the blog has become a bit more dormant than my hope is for it.
Life has been busy these past few months and a bit unexpected at times. We went on holidays for four weeks to the States, and when we returned, it was a whirlwind three weeks as we finished June with Robbie’s school, teaching, a massive fundraising campaign for our centre and more. We finished the month sick – all of us – and honestly, I wasn’t surprised. I said to Robbie somewhat jokingly (somewhat not) that if June were a person, he took us out back and beat us up. It was too much, and even though we walked into this new month under the weather and exhausted, it was nice to have a chance to slow down and recover.
I entered my third trimester this past week as well, and it’s not escaping me that in just a couple months, life is going to change again with this new baby arriving. Busy will look and feel different than it ever has before, and the dynamics of our family that we have known for these past two years will shift to welcome our little guy. It’s good, and I am so, so excited. I am also a little nervous and a lot curious. I haven’t written hardly at all about my pregnancy because to be honest, I have no desire to do so this time around. I thought I would want to, but things are so different this time around. Half the time I can barely remember how far along I am. I have taken about a fourth of the photos of my belly this time, and pregnancy feels more like a road to a beautiful and incredible destination. Because I’ve been there before, I am just ready to get there again. I cannot wait to meet him. I am not marvelling at the newness of pregnancy this time around, but rather, I am watching my daughter daily, loving her more and more, and finding myself so anxious to add more of that to our little family. Did anyone else feel this way?
All that to say, my pregnancy is going well, and traveling to the States this time was a bit easier pregnancy-wise than when I traveled while pregnant with Eleanor. It was harder in other ways (hello, entertaining a nearly 2-year-old for a 16-hour flight…), but overall, it was pretty smooth. I am measuring normal, have normal blood work and glucose tests, am not swollen quite yet and haven’t had many cravings. I feel stronger in general because of working out prior to getting pregnant and staying moderately active this time because again, hello, 2-year-old. My current sickness that I am getting over has been frustrating and quite persistent, but I am hopeful that if I stay at a slower pace, I’ll fully recover soon.
In general, I have so much I want to write, and in the past few weeks, I feel like God has been speaking a lot and showing me more and more of his heart for me in this current season. I am reading a book called Long Days of Small Things, and it’s so good. I am only on the second or third chapter, but seriously, it’s so good. It’s just what my heart needs right now. I am trying to slow down, but I am also wanting to really soak up these last couple months with just Eleanor and me each day. One thing God has been showing me with writing is the area of vulnerability – how to do this well and why it’s good and right for me. I’ve been confronting fears when it comes to writing, particularly about parenting because the internet (which is people really) can be so harsh sometimes, especially in parenting. Like I have said before, I have questioned if I am strong enough or brave enough, but I am realising that some of that bravery and strength is forged in the fire. Some of it is founded in the tricky conversations and questions and responses. And again, like I said before, I do believe it’s worth it. I know it’s been worth it for me when others have been vulnerable, and I am incredibly grateful for them.
More on that to come. If you haven’t gathered in the past few years with this blog, it’s taken a lot of different shapes over the years, and part of that has to do with the season I am in. I am really working to continue plowing through the main heart and vision for this space and defining that more as I go on. Stick with me. I appreciate all of you who read, and I hope you continue.
2017 hasn’t really had the exciting zeal that I had hoped for thus far. On Monday night, I got a horrible stomach bug that left me feeling like I got beat up in the carpark. We thought I had food poisoning because I had eaten some leftovers that were perhaps a little old, and Eleanor and Robbie, who were fine, hadn’t eaten it. At least that’s what we thought.
Robbie got Eleanor ready for the day, and then my friend Emily watched her for nearly the entire day while I rested. I was so incredibly grateful that she was so willing to have Eleanor for the whole day. I felt terrible. Wednesday rolled along, and I was starting to feel better, even though little Miss was waking up around 5:20am! I ventured out on a walk with Eleanor, slowly but surely, easing into the day.
After a day full of social interaction, Eleanor was pretty bored spending the day with just mum, so I tried taking her to the warehouse to see some friends. Then later that afternoon, some friends came over to our house. And then, one of Eleanor’s little friends threw up twice in Eleanor’s room. Yeah…we were wrong about the food poisoning.
Three hours later, Robbie began throwing up, and I quickly ran to Woolies to buy the best sanitizing cleaning supplies on the planet for fear of Eleanor catching this terrible bug. Another two friends on base started throwing up later Wednesday night as well. It’s brutal friends – not a bug you want.
I sanitised every.single.surface in our house, including the bazillion play food pieces Eleanor got for Christmas. Oh the joy. And, I texted many friends to pray that this horrible bug was done attacking our little community.
The cherry on top of this wonderful first week of the New Year? Our sewer system for our entire house got completely blocked yesterday. THANK GOODNESS this happened post throwing up for everyone, but nonetheless, another lovely addition to an already challenging week.
We can still use things, but water sources like the washing machine and shower put too much pressure on the system, so we are avoiding those for today and tomorrow until it’s completely fixed.
I don’t write all this to garner a bunch of pity or sympathy. Seriously. I am more outward processing life right now. I have had to stop myself from my own self-pity, and I’ve had to recognise that as much as we like to think our “fresh start” can only begin on January 1, it’s simply not the truth. God offers a fresh start every morning in fact.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Today I am reminding myself that Eleanor has been smiling and happy and healthy all week. I am reminding myself of the incredible friends who help us when we are having a rough go. I am reminding myself that despite the barrage of articles online and shared on Facebook about what not to do as a mum, Eleanor will indeed survive if she’s watching a little more tv this week and outside a little less. She will be ok if I am not giving her as many vegetables, and I am not a bad mum for not trying as hard this week. I am reminding myself that prayer is beautifully powerful, and I am thankful that at this point, no one else has gotten sick. I am reminding myself that next week (or tomorrow or next month even) is an ok time to really think through my goals for 2017, and this week hasn’t been wasted, nor have I missed my chance to start 2017 off well. I am reminding myself that God is good, and He is not at all flustered or changed by my issues. I am reminding myself that all will be ok. I am reminding myself that there is immense power in hope and that gratefulness is the seedbed of hope. I am reminding myself that we have much to be grateful for even when things haven’t been as easy this week.