Breathing Fresh Air

The morning light breaks in, and I know it’s finally time to tell this part of my story.

The morning light wakes me from my half-awake, half-asleep, try-to-ignore-that-the-kids-are-in-the-refrigerator-so-you-can-get-some-sleep “slumber.”

And I know. It’s time.

I’ve been doing this here on A Mama Collective for over two and a half years. Before that, I had a Blogger blog that was also A Mama Collective. And before that, I blogged on Blogger at The Guizars, where I blogged mostly about our personal lives.

There has been an evolution, of sorts. I have grown in the past four years. I have shared so much about my children, so much about the hardships and roughness of motherhood, so much about the lightness and goodness of motherhood, so much of their laughter, their joy, their tears, their lives.

I have shared a little bit about my marriage. I have been vulnerable to this space, to you, dear reader, to my struggles and my difficulties in the every day of being a wife and being a mother.

But, in this evolution, I feel a sense of freedom in my life. I have a shifting of the mountains and the movements.

I am no longer attached to this blog in the way that I’ve been before — when I had collaborators, and we had seven posts go up in five days, when I had giveaways coming out the wazoo, when I felt an incessant NEED to please you, dear reader.

I have no need, any more. I have no need to give my life over to this rat race that I so willingly and longingly jumped in to two and a half years ago.

One day, it will make me money! That’s what the time and sacrifice is for! are things I would tell my husband when I was up until 1-2am working on this blog, this “future business.”

This evolution has opened my eyes, and for the first time, I run to my daughters’ rooms when they wake at 5:30am instead of sneak into my office to work on a couple of posts, or scheduling out social media, or pinning things on Pinterest just because I should.

For the first time, I cuddle my husband longer than I should just to keep him from going in to work, instead of tossing him to the side, saying Oh my gosh, I forgot to add the sponsor’s link to my giveaway today!.

How much of life have I thrown away, all for this space? For this *virtual connection* that I was so longing for?

I’ve given up too much for it. And this evolution, it is shifting things. I am moving. I am unfolding. I am discovering. I am becoming who I was always meant to be.

A mom, in love with her children and her vocation.
A wife, who gives her husband more than she gives her blog.
A hard worker, who values her job and her friendships in it.
A friend, who says “Yes” to girls’ nights out because the blog can wait.
A daughter, a sister, a niece, an ear — one who is not too busy with her social media and her blog and her Facebook page to actually listen to a real life problem.

This evolution, man. This freedom. It feels so. damn. good.

So, there’s my conundrum, sweet reader (or, more accurately, Mom). Actually, it isn’t even a conundrum. Here’s my heart. I no longer feel strung in too many directions. I finally feel free to beat at the rhythm of my real life. I finally feel free to sit and watch a show with my daughters without the guilt of all the things I should be doing.

I no longer feel the weight.

And this evolution, this freedom, it warms my soul.

I see the morning light beckon me. It’s beckoning me to my patio with coffee and a good book. I’m no longer drawn to my dark office and a computer screen.

The morning light breaks in and I can finally breathe fresh air.

breathing fresh air

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When I Finally Said Yes

saying yes to your dreams

“I believe that half the trouble in the world comes from people asking ‘What have I achieved?’ rather than ‘What have I enjoyed?'” — Walter Farley

For the very first in my life, I feel an awareness.

I feel like I finally said “Yes.” to my life.

I said Yes to my marriage.

I said Yes to motherhood.

I said Yes to dreaming.

I said Yes to passions.

I said Yes to self confidence.

I said Yes to saying no instead of overcommitting.

I said Yes to my husband instead of my computer.

I said Yes to my God.

I said Yes to surrender.

I said Yes to owning my mistakes and my shortcomings.

I said Yes to the effort.

I said Yes to myself.

I, for the very first time, feel like I said Yes to the role that has been here, all along. And it feels so warm. And it feels so right.

Saying yes feels like you’re free falling.

Saying yes feels like coffee with an old friend after too many months apart.

Saying yes feels like the warmth of your child’s embrace.

Saying yes feels like Mom bearing chicken soup on a sick day.

Saying yes feels like flowers at the door when you least expected it.

Saying yes feels like home, like you should have been there all along.

I am so grateful for the people in my life, to the encouragers, to the fireworkers, to the community, to the women in my life who ride this road with me, to my husband who is relentless in his pursuit of our love, to my parents who look at me with the purest love that could ever be found.

I am so grateful that they’ve watched me say No and stuck around to see me say Yes. I am so grateful they said to keep going. I am so grateful they said there is a light even when I thought I was surrounded in darkness. I am so grateful that I finally said Yes. I am so grateful for this role I’ve been given. I am so grateful to be a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend.

I am so grateful.

I am so grateful for this place I’ll call home.

This week, I’m co-hosting with Madison and Rachel for the Community Brew link-up, which was created for bloggers to be open, honest, and vulnerable, and to build community with others. So, please share, sweet friends.


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Let Me Tell You What Matters

keep on dreaming

Someone [close to me] recently told me that my dreams, my aspirations, my desires, my goals, my projects, my passions bring nothing into this world.

They told me that no one would notice if those passions and those projects were never put into fruition.

They told me that this space, this incredibly sacred space for me would not matter to people if it didn’t exist.

Even more so, they told me that Blessed is She doesn’t matter.

And to those accusations, to those lies, to that demeaning and horrible conversation: I have no words.

Absolutely no words for what goes through my brain when I hear those incredibly awful thoughts being said aloud. No words.

The only thing I can muster is this: If someone has ever said these lies to you (even if it’s yourself), please know, PLEASE know that your passions matter. Your dreams matter. Your project matters. Your goals matter. They matter. You matter. <– Tweet this.

I know that that has been said before. I know that. And you want to know what I’m truly grateful for? ALL of the times it’s been said before.

Because without those thoughts pulsating through my head, without every single memory of every single person who wrote those words YOU MATTER or who said YOUR STORY MEANS SOMETHING or who said LET YOUR PASSIONS SET YOU ON FIRE, I would be in the corner crying my eyes out that someone could possibly say that my passions do not matter.

Because, really, get behind me.

What I love, what I dream of, what I have a vision for, what I think about every night until I can’t possibly think anymore: These things matter. And they give me life. And they get my butt out of bed. And they put red lipstick on me and remind me that I’m alive.

I’m alive.

With passions, with voices and smells and music and friends and strangers and cuddles and kisses and whispers and love.

I’m alive.

So what you have to say to me — what anyone has to say to you — about ditching my dreams, about pushing my passions to the wayside — what you have to say to me means nothing.

Because none of that will stop me.

I will keep on dreaming, because I’m alive.

unnamed

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What I’d Tell You Over Coffee

Using this adaptation of a coffee date from Mr. Thomas and Me. Amber is amazing and I want to have coffee with her. This is a link-up with Jenna of Dearest Love and me. Join us with your post below.

C O F F E E (2)

Over coffee…

Over coffee I’d tell you that I’m exhausted in so many areas of my life. That I need to cut back and step back and that instead of listing out my obligations, I want to list out my gratitude. That I want to have a heart of rest instead of a busy one and that I want to remember what it’s like to get a coffee in real life outside on my patio with my kids running around instead of working tirelessly on so many other things.

Over coffee I’d tell you that my priorities have been messed up for quite a while. You’ve been there too, right? Where you just need a good, long reevaluation.

Over coffee I’d tell you that I need to focus on the Lord. That, really, as always, none of this matters if I don’t have a solid relationship with Him. Who am I doing this all for if not for Him?

Over coffee I’d tell you that my heart is heavy in so many ways but on the same time so much lighter and free. And that freedom? It’s addicting. And I want more.

Over coffee I’d tell you that I’m focusing on reading. I’m reading books again as well as a lot of really amazing blogs: Kate J Baer, Unfancy (duh), When at Home, Letters from the Nest, Kent Heartstrings, The Wiegands, and my friend Kellie’s blog. I’d tell you that we have so much to be grateful for. And let’s drop the complaining act and the busy act and the I don’t have the time for you act. I’d tell you that I need to re-focus my attention on I have time for you.

Over coffee I’d tell you that I’m so in love with Blessed is She. And I can’t wait to make it better and better and better. I would tell you that my heart is in this ministry, and that I’m so grateful for the women who are doing this with me.

Over coffee I’d tell you that my Capsule Wardrobe post got lots of love and that surprised me. And excited me. And I can’t wait to show you all a Real Mom’s Capsule Wardrobe. Because I think it’s important for every mother, wife, sister, daughter out there to feel confident and proud. And to own a good red lipstick.

Over coffee I’d tell you that work is good. That I’m proud of my job and that I’m grateful for it. Again, I’m trying to quit the complaining game. Someone will always out-complain me. Let’s change that. Let’s, today, change the complaint to gratitude. The sentence from “I don’t like this because…” but “Wow, I’m blessed to be here because…”

Maybe? Who knows if it will work. But I’d like to give it a go.

(more…)

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Capsule Wardrobe Explanation from a Not-So-Fashionable Mom of Three

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been loving on the Capsule Wardrobe idea. And in case you didn’t notice, I haven’t really explained what it is.

unnamedI always think to myself, “Someone more brilliant than me has explained it already, does someone want to hear it from me too?!”

So. This is my attempt at explaining something that’s been done beautifully before, but with a twist: I’m a mom of three toddlers.

Life with three toddlers is quite a bit different in terms of being comfortable, functional, and put together.

So, here’s my personal capsule wardrobe explanation.

I was walking out of preschool earlier in the week, wearing Lucia in my Maya Wrap ring sling, and I saw a mom who I am always in awe of how amazing she looks.

She’s the type of mom who pulls off the “I just left the gym and I’m going back to the gym” look. Like, she’s gorgeous in gym clothes. And she has awesome hair and sunglasses and tan. Basically, I want to be her.

But then she said this to me, “Good morning! You always look so put together in the morning! I’m always so impressed by you.”

Um.

Wait.

Is this role-reversal? I am supposed to be saying that to you!

I was shocked. This is never something in my life that I’ve ever heard. I’ve always thrown on whatever I can find, never have cared about my hair or makeup or even if I brushed my teeth (my friends love me). But this? That is the ultimate compliment for me.

My thoughtfulness, my work, my effort (that really isn’t that much work) is paying off.

So, I have to give mad props to the Capsule Wardrobe Project. I don’t exactly know who started it, but all my kudos in the world goes to Caroline of Unfancy. She’s my idol. I mean, if I could go shopping with her, I just might die.

Here’s my problem:

  • I am not fashionable.
  • I don’t know what looks good on my body type.
  • I crave simplicity.
  • I need someone to tell me what to wear or it’s just not going to happen.
  • I needed the junk cleared from my closet so that I could have simple, staple, just-right pieces.

Does that sound like you? I hope not, for your own sake. I hope you love fashion and are good at it and know what looks just right on you and you don’t struggle with looking halfway decent like I do.

But, if this does sound like you,

I have the solution: a capsule wardrobe.

Here’s Caroline’s explanation of it:

capsule-wardrobe-project
Do I need more time?

Yes.

Do I need more money?

Yes.

Do I need more energy for the things in life that matter (my husband!, my children!!, my work!).

Heck to the yes.

I’m sold.

Enter the fact that I’m a mom, and these things matter to me even more.

So. I got to work.

And you can, too.

But, where do I start?

Again, Caroline to the rescue. She has an awesome couple of extremely resourceful posts. Here is a Free Wardrobe Planner she made a PDF of, specially for us who need the help to sit down and realize what our personal style is.

She also did a post highlighting How to build a capsule wardrobe.

Caroline’s basic gist is to have 37 pieces for an entire season. Thirty-seven, y’all. That’s a very small amount of pieces for a whole season (and for me, really longer than that since I’m in Arizona and we don’t have four seasons).

She breaks down her Fall wardrobe like this: 9 pairs of shoes, 9 bottoms, and 15 tops. Then the remaining 4 were just enough for 2 dresses and 2 jackets/coats. But her reminder is this — it’s not about her number:

It’s about finding your personal style and what number works for you.

Again, a lot of us are moms. We need functional and beautiful. Simple and flattering. So, find your personal style, and if it matches Caroline’s (like I wish mine did), then look at her pieces and see what could work for your own personal life.

So, that’s the gist of the gist.

Use her Wardrobe Planner, check out her Fall Wardrobe, look at Summer for past inspiration. You will be inspired, I promise you.

I am still building my wardrobe, and I can’t wait to share it with you all. Like, seriously.

Oh, and I’m adding red lipstick as one of my accessories, because, duh.

sharing with Beth / Jessica

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