When Things are Good

a little update.

It’s been a while, sweet blog. I was going to say “sweet world,” but I’ve been in the world and living it up but just haven’t documented here on this blog. In quite a while.

What have I been up to?

I’ve been waking up and having slow mornings with my husband.

I’ve been cuddling with my daughters on the couch.

I’ve been putting my phone in the room opposite of where we are so that I can focus on the only things in the world that truly matter: my family.

I’ve been praying. And not praying in ways that I think will earn me brownie points with other Christian-friendly bloggers, but praying because nothing of this is mine: it’s all His and because of Him and from Him.

Basically, I’ve been living. I have been putting on my red lipstick and dressing up in cute clothes and (attempting to) do my hair.

I’ve been breathing fresh air. And it feels so damn good, you guys.

What’s going on with Blessed is She?

This past few months, Blessed is She has really blown up. All by and for the glory of God, this ministry is big (in my eyes) and is growing (holy crap), and I couldn’t be more grateful. Really.

I am surrounded by amazing writers (check them out here), there is an amazing Instagram following, and Twitter (y’all know I’m obsessed with Twitter, right?) is so so good. I host a #BISchat randomly — I’d love to do it every Monday but it’s difficult with life and all that. But wouldn’t you know it, there are so many women who are full of wisdom and kindness and love and speak into each other’s lives during those chats. It is surprising, it is fulfilling, and it is good. Like, Jesus Good.

What about my capsule wardrobe?

I still dream of being Unfancy one day (who doesn’t?). I mostly wear the same things every day and try to mix them up. Some of my favorite recent additions to my wardrobe are this So Worth Loving tee, this Madewell gorgeous necklace (a birthday gift from a dear friend), and these combat boots from Rack Room.

I think they add something special to my wardrobe (and make me feel different and unique), and I absolutely love having one little thing that spruces up my every day outfits.

Why am I telling you all of this?

I’m telling you this because I want you to know me. I feel like for a little too long, I wrote for reasons other than you knowing my heart. But, here it is. My heart is red lipstick and reading the Word and being in community with other amazingly talented women. That’s what fills me up, that’s what makes me come alive, that’s what I have discovered.

And again, for lack of better terms, it feels so good. From the inside out, it feels good. Like, Jesus Good.

RackRoom Collage

leather chevron necklace // DIY by Cassie Kent of Kent Heartstrings
G by Guess combat boots // Rack Room Shoes
pleated linen skirt // Gap
black shirt // Old Navy

rr 2 Collage

Rock & Candy boots // Rack Room Shoes
skinny jeans // Gap
white shirt // Target

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

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.


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

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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