Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: 2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Best Part about Being Married

Jon and I celebrated three whole years this week! And in our generation, every passing year of marriage is worth a gigantic celebration. So celebrate we did! We went to a fancy dinner at Steinhilber's and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

My sister asked me this week what my favorite part about being married was. And it was actually a really hard question to answer. I know my favorite parts about being married to Jon. I love how much fun he brings into my life, how adventurous he is, how he thinks, how he loves Jonah... but that's just like describing your favorite things about your best friend, not the best part about marriage.

It's not about how happy he makes me, because he doesn't always make me happy.
It's not about how nice it is getting to snuggle up to him every night, even though that's nice, too.
It's not about growing old with your best friend, even though that is such a privilege.
It's not about the physical intimacy, even though, let's be honest, that's awesome, too.

The more I thought about it, the more I came back to this: the commitment.

Sorry it sounds corny, but my favorite part about marriage right now is the commitment.

Before we started dating, Jon told me that he was looking for a woman he could struggle with. Someone to go through hard times with. Someone who didn't have to like him or like the situation to stick it out and work hard. And I'm so glad he chose me for that.

And if there is one thing I've learned in marriage, it's that (sorry, one more corny line): love is a choice. And not a one-time thing, but a daily thing.

That recurring choice has been one of the hardest things I've ever been a part of because it goes so far against what is comfortable or exciting or self-seeking.

That's what brings me back over and over to my favorite part about being married: the commitment. In no other relationship or friendship do you live with someone who has committed to choose you over and over, even when it's not fun or you're not happy, or one of you is being super unlovable. It's the decision to make that choice over and over and over and over and over.

This summer has been hard, but this week has been really good. God is so good. He is so faithful to show up when He's invited. And these are weeks, days, moments I don't want to forget when things get hard again - whether that's in a week or in three more years.

I'm thankful for a man who knew marriage wasn't going to be easy before he got into it. He was looking for someone to struggle with and struggle for. Thankful for the grace that helps me continue to choose him, to choose us, to choose Jesus. And thankful for every up and down of these last three years that I have gotten to spend with the man that is beyond my wildest dreams.

What is YOUR favorite part about being married? Tell me tell me!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Jonah's First Birthday Party! + 5 Ways to Make a Party Simpler

How am I the mother of a one-year-old??? Jonah strangely feels like he's been here for forever and at the same time it feels like we brought him home yesterday.

I had been looking forward to his birthday party since last summer, and it got here way too fast! But it was so fun... I loaded up my parent's front yard with Lego decorations from Dollar Tree, and Jon smoked way too much BBQ. We wanted to keep it realllll simple and just focus on the folks around us, so we asked everyone to bring a side and BYOB, and it was so fun.

Everyone told me "Jonah won't even remember it, so don't stress yourself out." So I didn't. And Jon made Jell-O shots! Lol. Anyone remember what he made last year for our gender reveal party?? ;)

The biggest reason I was most excited about Jonah's party was his smash cake... who doesn't love an adorable baby covered in cake???
But, unfortunately, he ate so much before we brought the cake out that he didn't even touch it! Next time I know to make sure the kid doesn't have anything to eat leading up to the party ;) And I did get him to eat some icing later on!

I was such a sweet evening to be reminded that we are surrounded by some amazing people. Jonah has so many kids his age around! We're so blessed.
So how can you throw a fun 1-year-old's birthday party and keep it cheap + simple?

1. Make it a potluck!

Provide the meat and ask folks to bring a side. Everyone brings something they like to eat or something their kids can eat, and it makes sure you don't have to worry about pleasing everyone with all the food you're providing. It also makes things a whole lot cheaper.

2. Have something for the kids to do.

Parents can't enjoy themselves if their kids can't enjoy themselves! By the end of the night, the kids had gotten soaked in a make-shift sprinkler system! But something as simple as a bubble machine or a water table helps keep the kids occupied

3. Make dessert easy

We didn't serve any dessert. I had picked up some cheap popsicles, but they didn't freeze in time *facepalm*... so my brothers ran out and got ice cream sandwiches! Again, something quick, easy, and affordable. Lots of adults don't even want to be tempted by birthday cake, and would prefer for their toddlers to not be hyped up on sugar

4. Decide what is ONE thing you HAVE to have

Don't pressure yourself into having a picture-perfect Pinterest birthday party for a child who isn't even going to remember it. Is there one picture you reallyyyyyy have to have? Get that one picture! And then let the rest go. Find what's important to you, prioritize that, and be easy-breezy 'bout the rest. This keeps you from feeling like you need pictures of every single moment, too
For me, it was the picture of all the kids + mamas. I wanted to remember how many people were in our life at that stage, and thought it would be fun to look back on how many little friends Jonah had at this age! 

*Bonus tip, if you do want pictures of every moment, ask a friend or a sister to take extra pictures throughout the day! Ask them to take pictures of the smash cake or the decorations or the small things, that way it's one less thing you have to worry about.

5. Make sure YOU have fun!

Enjoy it. No one can enjoy a party if the host isn't enjoying the party. What will help you have fun too? Maybe don't have food at all. Maybe just meet at a park with cupcakes. Maybe all meet at the zoo. Make it an excuse to gather people and show them that you are grateful for their presence in your life. And make it fun.

How did you celebrate your little one's first birthday??

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Of Failure and a Mighty Fortress: Where to go when you just can't keep it all together

We all know what it's like to feel failure.
Such a mixture of dread and disappointment and "I knew it," but all horrifically pointed at yourself. No one else to blame and you know it.

And the enemy wastes no time in telling you "you shouldn't have even tried. I told you you couldn't do it. I told you that wasn't meant for you. You just don't have it in you."

Sometimes it's something small, like saying something without thinking. Wasting time on social media and falling behind on work. Forgetting to put the leftovers in the fridge so they were on the counter all night and you have to throw them out (that's not just me, right?)

And sometimes it's something big, like saying something really hurtful to your spouse, or falling short of a big scary goal at work, or putting yourself out there publicly.

It doesn't matter if it's big or small, the feeling sucks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Essential Oils for Every New Mom (aka, my New Mom Survival Kit)

If you follow me on Instagram, it's not secret that I have become obsessed with Young Living essential oils. Ask me why, and I'll probably ramble on about 20 different reasons. But the biggest reason is because they have become my survival kit as a new mom!

I'm so so thankful that the Lord brought these amazing resources into my life. There's a reason I call them my "drops of glory"! They have brought a new calmness and a new wholeness to my home, and have saved my new-mom butt several times.

Wanna know what's been saving my life??? Glad you asked, I'll introduce you ;)
Disclaimer, I'm not a doctor, I am only here to share with you how oils have helped support our health and wholeness, not diagnose you or "fix" your health issues. ;)

Monday, May 7, 2018

Martha's work wasn't the problem...

The story of Mary and Martha was always a story I particularly liked in the Bible when I was a kid. Not for any super spiritual reason... but because it seemed like the best way to get out of some chores.

A simple read of the story makes it sound like Martha is getting fussed at for doing chores and Mary is praised for sitting and listening and hanging out with Jesus. Well, that sounded nice to me!

But as I re-read that passage today, I noticed that Jesus didn't chastise her for working. He didn't even look down on her work. After all, her work was important. She was being an amazing hostess and she was serving Jesus and His crew well by providing meals and bedding and everything that they needed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Looking Like a Bride Everyday

My wedding day was the most amazing day of my life. It wasn't perfect, and there are things I would change... but it was a day I love to look back on.

Besides marrying my favorite human on the planet, I think my favorite part was my dress. The way I felt in it, the way it moved with me, the way it felt like mine. I never expected to love the way I felt in a dress like that. But I had never felt more beautiful.

It wasn't just the dress though. I had a spray tan, and my cousin did my hair and  make up, I had acrylic nails... things that aren't normal for me. They made me feel special. They made me feel like a bride.

But nothing made me feel more beautiful than the way that Jon looked at me coming down the aisle. The picture of his face is the best. It truly doesn't matter what I was wearing down the aisle... because his face just says it all. He loved me! And I knew it! The feeling you get after seeing so much love on someone's face... indescribable.

I have yet to feel more beautiful as I did on that day.

After the wedding day...

That's not real life, though, and I only had one wedding day. I couldn't waltz around life feeling and looking like that forever. My wedding dress doesn't even fit over my "new and improved" mom bod. 

Today is Tuesday, and it already feels like it's been a long week. I'm feeling defeated. I'm feeling deflated. I'm feeling "less than." I'm feeling like I'm going to be making the same mistakes over and over again for the rest of my life.

And in my moping, the Lord reminded me of this verse:

"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Is. 61:10

"Like a bride adorns herself..."

So here I am today, feeling "fluffy" and deflated and a little stir-crazy from being home with Jonah so much.

But here's the best part: when Jesus looks at me, He doesn't see the cabin-fevered, hot mess that I am... He sees the most beautiful, perfect version of myself. More beautiful than I felt on my wedding day!
He does not see my flaws.
He does not see the extra pounds.
He does not see my shortcomings.
He sees a bride who is completely decked out, dolled up, and presented in her best dress. 
Not because His love is blind, but because His love is accepting.
Not because He doesn't see the flaws, but because He loves me in spite of them.

I have something more beautiful clothing me than a wedding dress: His incredible, unending love for me. That's my best dress. And I get to wear it all day every day. During the witching hour, the late night feedings, the sleepless nights, the disappointments, the sink full of dishes... 

On the small, messy, mundane days, God doesn't shake His head at me and say, "What a hot mess you've become!" He looks at me with eyes full of love, just like Jon did on our wedding day. 

Years later...

It's almost been 3 years, and I am far from that pretty bride that I was. I'm fluffier around the edges, 20 pounds heavier, and I haven't had a spray tan since. I never ever do my hair, and haven't put on a full face of make up since that day either. But thankfully, the look of love in my husbands eyes hasn't changed. 
Because that's what truly made me feel beautiful in the first place: how much I knew he loved me.

I am sinful and imperfect, and I'm going to make mistakes til the day I die. But what makes me beautiful and desirable and someone worth dying for is how much Jesus loves me. That's my best dress. And I get to wear it all the time.

And so do you. Whether your wedding day was Pinterest-perfect, in a courthouse, or a tragic day you don't want to look back on. Jesus looks at you and sees the most beautiful and perfect bride, and His eyes of love are what clothe you. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I Can't Tell My Son to be Brave

I'm not a big movie gal. The only reason I went (and went with a baby I knew I would just be holding/bouncing/pacing with the entire time) is because my family - all 12 of them - were going and #FOMO.

So there I was. In the Greatest Showman.
Sure enough, by the second song I was standing in the dark stairwell bouncing a 5 month old who wanted to watch the screen instead of take a nap.
And that's when it happened.

Monday, February 19, 2018

How I Used Everything in My Young Living Starter Kit in 25 Days

I got the best Christmas present from my sweet husband this year. It was a Young Living Premium Starter Kit! *insert happy dancing emoji here!*

For those who don't know, the Young Living "PSK" is an amazing package full of incredible, all-natural goodies. They will change your life, your home, your health, everything.

Seriously, everything. The way you eat, the way you clean, and the make-up that you use!

But even though I knew what was inside, it was still super intimidating to open the box and see 11 bottles of oils staring back at me.

And I've spoken to soooo many of ya'll who also think this kit is the shiz... but have no idea how to use all of it either!

What are you actually supposed to do with all these?
Where the heck do you start???

I started by searching "using your young living oils" on Pinterest. (lol) ...but there weren't very many resources out there that didn't involve buying more accessories or more oils!

So I am here to make this process super easy on you, and make sure you are using all those beautiful products in your life ASAP.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Why We Named our Son after the Rebellious Prophet

"Jonah! What a sweet name! Except you're going to be obedient to the Lord, aren't you, sweet boy?"

For what seems like the 49th time since Jonah was born - and named - folks hear his name and remind him that the prophet he was named after was rebellious. Disobedient. Not a role model.

It's ok. We knew those comments would be inevitable.

Jon and I were aware of this before we named him. It was a big part of our consideration because we wanted to be able to share with him the story of Jonah and why we wanted to give him that name. But we were also aware that not many people read the small book of Jonah and say, "Wow, what a guy. I want to be more like him!"

So why Jonah?

Monday, February 5, 2018

What I Read in 2017

I'm a starter not a finisher. It's just a part of who I am. I used to hate it about myself and ignore it, but now I'm learning how to embrace it and to form my life in understanding of it.

For a while, I tried to only read one book at a time, thinking that my desire to read the next book would motivate me to actually finish a book.

It didn't work.
But I'm not too discouraged, because apparently smart people read more than one book at a time! At least the smart people I listen to on podcasts say so;) (Listen to Tsh Oxenreider talk about reading here and Phylicia Masonheimer talk about reading here)

SO, I am guiltlessly embracing all the books I have cracked open and admit that I can't read one book at a time. Truly, how could I? I'm not going to always be in the mood for something deep and spiritual, but I also need more than a fiction some mornings.

Without further ado, here are the books I'm reading, have read, and want to read!
(Books that are on sale, too!!!)
(Me trying to read & nurse Jonah at the same time, lol!)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Year of Vision: My Word of the Year

"Word of the year" is not something new. Actually, my mom was the first person to tell me about it, and she's been doing it for years... so obviously I give her all the credit;) I like the idea, but with the newness and unpredictability of motherhood, I wasn't going to force any of it... unless it came to me.

And it did!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Defaulting to "Nothing"

Hello, 2018! And a big "long time no-see" to you readers.

I used to roll my eyes when blogger friends of mine would become mothers and promise "just wait until he's sleeping through the night and I'll get back into a routine!" or, "man, I didn't realize how little time I would have with a newborn!"
But, dang. Here I am. In their shoes. #humbled