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Content with the Sheep

It’s hard to put a finger on where my heart has been these past months. It’s like I’m a ship ever-so-slowly sailing towards a port, waiting to dock but not exactly sure where I am or how to anchor along the shore. There’s land, something solid but I don’t quite see what will await me when I step foot on the sand. The only way I can think to describe where I am is that it feels opposite to my natural disposition. I’m type A. I’m a don’t-rest-until-it’s-done, go-getter, driven kind of creative mind. I don’t like stopping. I’m not fond of sitting still unless it’s because my wheels are spinning. And yet, I am still. Still…and content.

The early life of King David was characterized by stillness and quietness. It was just him and a some sheep for most of those days. I find myself so drawn to where he was during that time. It was menial work saved for the least important and the youngest. Sheep glamorous? Yeah, right. He didn’t even have that many sheep, “just a few.” He didn’t get much if any recognition. His father didn’t even count him among his sons when Samuel came. And yet his heart was after God. Even though the work was small His view was big. His eyes were on the greatest and grandest of pursuits. His tedious days and labor in solitude was used as a catalyst for poetry. Although I’m sure he hoped he wouldn’t be tending sheep forever, I can’t help but feel as though his heart was content as he wrote beautiful songs that only God heard.

I want my heart to be like David’s. I used to have these enormous dreams of what I’d do for God, such great aspirations for wherever I put my hands to work. Missionary in a foreign land. Worship music for multitudes. Art that went far and reached people’s hearts. Now? I see that I’m really like David, a shepherd in some obscure field tending small little things. By His grace alone, He has made me content. I just want to live out my life with my sheep, faithful in the small things. If my sheep are the only ones to hear my songs, that’s ok because it’s not for them anyway. My audience is One. If what I create for my work stays small or goes away entirely, I am thankful to have had the blessing of serving the people who came my way.

Those days of quiet taught David courage and to trust in God. He depended on God’s strength to help him guard his “few” sheep, so much so that He expected miracles! He took on a lion and a bear! His small tasks were not so unimportant that He didn’t rely on God to help protect them. I want to be the same. I want to trust God to show up in power in what feels small and unimportant. I want to show my little sheep that God is powerful enough, caring enough to meet us in the humble places – even if the miracles are only for a few eyes. If the songs in the field stay in the field, it is more than enough. They help my soul see the immeasurable beauty of God. If the path stays small and quiet, my heart can still sing and I can still expect BIG things from my God even if BIG things aren’t happening in my every day life.

I love what Levi Lusko said in his message at Passion: “Ministry that is effective always begins at home. If it’s not working at home why would God export it. If it doesn’t begin in your house, if it can’t begin in your cul-de-sac, if it doesn’t begin the city that you live in…if your gift on your life can’t work in a small, obscure, unknown context God will never be able to do the things He has put in your heart by way of dreams. Start where you’re at.”

God has changed the direction of my heart. He’s broken my big dreams and given me small tasks. Finally, now I see how beautiful and miraculous it is the be in the little fields, tending my few little sheep. My heart is full. My soul is content. Life is not perfect. I’m not anywhere near where I thought I’d be in life. My home, business, family, ministry don’t look like what I thought. My heart can find the same contentment whether I’m at home wiping up pee, or on a stage playing music, or working for incredible clients. I don’t have to have my identity be in what I “do” because I know WHAT I do doesn’t matter, but the HEART behind it. I don’t have to keep up a facade of perfection. I’m just a shepherd. But I can also expect miracles just looking after my small people, the same as expecting them for the things my finite mind reserves as “big” enough. God can show up when I’m doing dishes! I can overflow in worship when I’m cleaning toilets! Beautiful songs and art can flow from simple emails or picking up blocks for the millionth time. I’m not sure if I’m called to homeschool. Not certain if I’m supposed to go for it harder in business, slow down or if God wants me to let it go. I don’t know if what God has put in my heart will ever come to be. I don’t know if anyone will be impacted by the music He’s given us. I can’t see where I’m supposed to be other than right here, trusting Him for the every day and each moment as they come. Nothing may change and yet my soul can be full. I’m just a simple shepherd who is thankful to lead the little sheep I’ve been to green pastures and still waters, just as my Good Shepherd does so lovingly for me, wherever I am. In the dark valley or beautiful mountaintop I can see the glory of Christ alongside my sheep. And be content.

Baby #2 | SIX MONTHS!!!

Well, it’s been a while! Thankful things have brightened up since my last update. I feel like an entirely new person, or rather that I’ve escaped from a dark storm cloud that weighed me down into the sunshine. The analogies could go on and on, that is how much better the past 2 weeks have been. I cannot believe we are six months in now! I’m starting to feel the need to finish up the nursery and choose a name! Just like with Eleanora, we are having a hard time. It’s a big thing to name a person, you know? Mostly we’re just picky. We are painting the nursery tomorrow! Yay! It will feel much more like her own space after we paint, add the curtains and crib.

How big is baby: as long as an ear of corn, between 1 – 1.5 lbs

How I’m feeling: Whew, so much better. Night and day. I still have my moments of feeling bleh, but I really can’t complain about not having one sickness on top of another for months on end! So thankful for this little reprieve.

Weight gain/ clothes: 10 lbs. I don’t check much at all. Not sure when I jumped up, but I mean, it doesn’t really matter. I’m hanging on to my regular pants thanks to all my hair ties! Lol! It’s not super comfortable, but thankfully it’s almost warm enough to just wear dresses from here on out. I’m excited for stretchy shorts too. I’d say my bump is finally noticeable, so it makes getting dressed a little more fun. I’m finally passing “the awkward” stage as I like to call it!

Symptoms: Mostly just back aches. I don’t remember my back hurting so early last time, but I also wasn’t carrying a 27 lb toddler around or bending over constantly. A little nausea/ indigestion here and there still lingers but nothing too bad.

Sleep: Thankfully, I’m not so tired these days. Some days I just can’t wake up when I’d like to, but I try not to push myself too much.

Diet/ cravings/ aversions: Thankfully, we’ve hit a good rhythm and food tastes good again!!! My body doesn’t love heavy meat or fried things, but does it ever? Ha! I LOVE grapefruit, tangy citrus and super fresh mexican style meals with lots of medium tomatillo salsa. (Only liked mild before.) Now that I’m feeling better we are back to meal planning and loading up on tons of veggies. I do succumb to the occasional milkshake and Five Guys burger though. #balance We’re doing much less dairy these days, but I have found that milk will settle my stomach at night if it feels icky. Also, I really love cereal at around 9 pm, probably for that reason. And I found a delish non GMO granola one that I’m obsessed with. That might be the reason too!

Movement: All the time. Little lady especially doesn’t like me wearing pants or playing guitar or singing apparently. Or maybe she does and kicking my bladder is her way of showing it. I do love feeling her move, however uncomfortable it might be. At night sometimes her kicks to my intestines make my stomach feel unsettled, but I that makes sense. I doubt tiny feet pushing and round house kicking my upper organs is good for digestion.

Exercise: Also, much much better these days. I feel so much stronger already and I’m not doing a whole lot more than walking/ light jogging a few times a week and some prenatal workout videos. It’s hit the point that I have to be super aware of my core to make sure I’m not straining my back and also supporting my growing bump. I’m trying to be intentional about doing little things throughout the day to gain strength, especially in my core.

What I’m looking forward to/ best moment this week: Well, I can tell you I’m NOT looking forward to my glucose test Monday. I hate it so much…and I always feel like absolute poop having to pump my body with all that sugar without eating anything! GAG. Mostly, we’re just excited about this little lady. Elle has started talking about her baby sis a lot more, and it’s super sweet. I am just soaking in the moments and thankful I get to do this all again. I’ve been doing some extra fun things with Elle lately since I know we won’t be going out quite as much after baby girl #2 gets here. It will be sweet but I love making these little trips with her. I can’t help but picture my two sweet girls with me after June! I took Elle to the beach Monday and she was dying to have a playmate besides me! ha! She kept inviting other kids to her “sandcastle” spot. I know she is going to love having a built in buddy soon.

Mood: Simply thankful.

Our Journey Towards an Ethical Wardrobe

Over the past two years, our little family has become much more aware of how our choices as a consumer impact us and the world around us. First I started with food, then household and beauty products. We aren’t 100% clean and organic, but I am much more conscious of what we are putting IN and ON our bodies. What we choose to wear is my current topic of research.

I have known about “fast fashion” for a while now, and personally have tried to make better choices when it comes to my wardrobe. Essentially fast fashion promotes a very unethical way of making clothes to keep prices down and people buying constantly. The companies listed below use sweatshops, some child labor and the list of icky business practices goes on and on. (Just go google it yourself and be enlightened!) Now that we have 2 little girls to clothe for the many years of their childhood I see just how great my impact as a consumer can be for good or bad. I really don’t want all those years of purchasing clothes and shoes to go to companies employ practices that (if I’m honest) I’m not comfortable supporting. This list hits me hard, especially Anthro, Zara and Old Navy! It’s easier for me to purchase sporadically from these companies and to be careful to only purchase what I need (a relative term) and will fit my life for at least a few years. But kids? They grow so quickly that we will inevitably spend a good chunk of change clothing them.

So what do we do about it? Well, herein comes my research lately. I’d love to start moving towards an ethical wardrobe for myself and my girls. Fortunately Elle and baby #2 will be born in the same season, so I can utilize her handmedowns. For now I’m compiling a list of all the ethical clothing companies I can find so I know where to go from here, instead of just being sad about where I’m *trying by best* not to shop. (I’m allowing a cave in every now and then! Gotta wean off slowly!)

Whats my plan? For now, wear the crap out of what we have. I have a good amount of Elle’s things all set for baby so we will utilize it all! For future purchases I’m trying to go with a “capsule wardrobe” for the seasons Fall/Winter & Spring/Summer. I’m making a list of what I like and what type of clothes works for our lifestyle. We will just have to purchase less since the ethical companies are more expensive (you know, since they pay their workers a fair wage) and take good care of what I do purchase for the girls. Kids are messy and get dirty when they play! I don’t want to get in the way of that, so my plan is to thrift and buy secondhand for things that will be more likely to get ruined. Any tips from you guys? I’m all ears.

So what are some of the ethical clothing companies? Well, they are harder to find because they’re smaller. There’s a reason the big chains use less than wonderful practices – it enables them to make more money and sell more stuff to consumers. Therefore, they are large companies! Here are the few I’ve found thus far:

Shoes:
– Saltwater Sandals (we already live in these for spring and summer. We almost wear nothing else, so why have much else? Plus, they last FOREVER. Elle’s are still in great shape and we did everything in our matching pairs!)
– Sweedish Hasbeens (women’s – also similar Lotta From Stockholm)
– FRYE (men’s, women’s & some kids)
Zuzii Footwear (mostly kids, some women’s)
Nisolo (adult sizes)

Clothes: (I haven’t even begun to research much for adults, so this is just kids)
Yoli & Otis
Daughter Co
Mabo Kids
– Etsy (you can find handmade clothes from ethically sourced fabrics with lots of searching)
Mini Mioche
– La Queue De Chat
Little Green Radicals
Wildly Co

Do you guys know of any others? I’m really just starting our journey. All ears!

 

Baby #2 | 19 Week Update

I’ve finally popped a bit! There’s not much hiding the bump (at least to me) now. I really love seeing it, and having the reminder of the sweet little girl inside. I’m so thrilled to have this girl join us soon! We moved Eleanora’s bedroom to our old guest room. When we first found out about baby, I went into an organizing/ cleaning out frenzy. Our closets are pretty small and there is no garage or extra closet to speak of, so we had to clean out an entire room of winter clothes, coats, my wedding dress and all the other things you don’t quite know what to do with. It took me a few weeks, but now all our storage is much more efficient and organized…or at least about as good as it’s going to get without a garage! I knew I’d probably get super sick so I wanted to get a head start. (Um, glad I did!) Now that we can keep our guest bed and Elle’s room is mostly done we can move on to the new nursery! Making a sweet space for these girls is one of my favorite things. It’s so special for me to create something just for them, something beautiful that they can grow into. Elle’s room is more colorful, with french blue and flowers – just like she loves. Now her room overlooks the backyard where she can see Luna and the birds in the trees outside her window. I can’t wait to make baby girl #2 a sweet space too and adapt it to her personality. It’s a small, silly thing really but part of my love language. Even if it’s just rearranging, it’s so fun for me to make things better for them.

How big is baby: the size of an heirloom tomato

How I’m feeling: Well, my hopes of morning sickness subsiding were quickly dashed after my last update. I am still battling nausea almost all day, and it is especially bad at night. Headaches and lightheadedness are almost constant as well. The past 5-6 weeks have been one sickness after the next. After the poison ivy went away I started breaking out in hives from some unknown allergies. Then I had an allergic reaction to mangos (which is in the poison ivy family if you didn’t know!) Apparently if you’re highly allergic to poison ivy, you’ll break out terribly if you touch the skin or pit of the mango. Well, glad I can never to go through that again. THEN I got flu like symptoms with a super bad head cold, cough and aches. I still have a cold but at least it isn’t as bad. Maybe the nausea is going away soon.

Weight gain/ clothes: 5 lbs. Pretty much stayed the same for the last 5-ish weeks, but I think that’s because I’ve been so sick. I did order one pair of maternity jeans this week, but alas they didn’t work. I’m hanging on with the rubber band trick but I think I’ll need the stretchiness soon. I basically wore dresses the whole time with E, but I wear pants so much more now – especially since we are still in winter. Hopefully I can make do if I find a pair of jeans along with what I already have.

Symptoms: Exhaustion, nausea and headaches

Sleep: Man, I could still sleep all day. I usually have to find some time for a catnap during the day.

Diet/ cravings/ aversions: Where do I even start? Gosh, my body has been all over the place. It really depends on the day what it decides it will tolerate. I was on Whole30 to try and clear up my hives, but with no nuts. I’ve added dairy and some wheat back, but overall I don’t seem to do well with much besides veggies.

Movement: I really started feeling her move around the other night. I’m still trying to wear my regular pants and I don’t think she liked it! Haha! She made it known she wasn’t comfy, which neither was I but my stretchy pants haven’t come in the mail yet! Ha. Excited to feel her move some more. It’s so fun – until they get big and stomp on my bladder.

Exercise: Still LOL LOL LOL LOL! I hope I can do more of this soon. We went on a family walk the other day and I try to do a few squats here and there, but I really need to get well first.

What I’m looking forward to/ best moment this week: Well, I felt pretty great on Sunday. It was a nice break. Elle has been especially crazy but also sweet lately. It’s been warm the past few days and that has really lifted my spirits! It makes me look forward to Spring and all its fun! I’m looking forward to my 20 week ultrasound next week and seeing little lady again! Also – HALF WAY! All the praise hands. We can make it.

Mood: I’m trying to stay positive. My mom came to help out since I’ve fallen a bit behind lately on life/ work/ etc and that was such a huge blessing. I’m trying to be joyful and keep a quiet heart. The Lord has taught me a lot lately. I’m trying to use feeling bad as a reminder to desire Him. The ick of nausea and the constant bad taste in my mouth is a reminder that my sin and self-centeredness should taste the same way to me. He has been with me. And I see just how blessed I am to have such a wonderful husband who has taken on so much while I’ve been sick. I can’t control my life – shocker. This is just another area to rely on the Lord for His strength. We’ll survive.

My Little Girls

My girls. I really couldn’t have imagined a life with two little girls in it when I dreamed about having kids. I always thought I’d be more of a boy-mom, which is probably due to my love of blues, outdoor adventures and making things. Growing up I was always the girl in a dress, with unkempt hair climbing a tree or skinning my knees. I had more hickory nut wars with the neighborhood boys than barbie doll dress up parties. I’m not a very outwardly emotional person (it channels into writing and music for me) so girl emotions and pinks and princesses kind of scared me. Then came our Eleanora Rose and I fell in love with my little girl. I suppose you could say I’m a baby girl convert. She’s all the best things about a girl – ballerina dancing, ribbon loving, Frozen adoring, nail painting – but also so adventurous and explorative. If I turn by back on her for one minute outside she will be in a pile of dirt. She talks about wanting to climb a mountain one day and loves running “the fastest I’ve ever seen!” I won’t lie and say we don’t hope for a boy one day, but I am so excited to have two sweet girls to raise and take on adventures. Plus from experience, having a sister is the best thing ever. I am excited to lean on Jesus and we seek to raise strong, confident girls who exude kindness and grace – beautifully unique in their own ways. That is my hope for these two!

I cannot wait to meet this sweet new baby and watch her grow into who God has already designed her to be. Perhaps the most exciting thing to me about parenting is watching their unique personhood unfold and ask for God’s wisdom in how to shape these precious lives for His glory. Nothing is a mistake. Strengths and weaknesses are there for a purpose. Each of these girls have a reason for being on this earth, in our home, and to live at this point in time. As do I – and am often reminded as I pray for them. It is incredible to know that God created every part of them, knows each of their days and loves them far beyond the capacity of my human heart. Their lives, however long, are in His hands. I’m the lucky one that gets to be a witness to the story He is unfolding in them, and to point them always to the gospel. I’m not a perfect mother. In fact, I often find myself at a complete loss or in need of apologizing. There are more times than I can count that I don’t know how to discipline other than to have us both pray that God will help us. But therein lies the gospel and the need for Jesus. I can’t parent perfectly. They won’t obey perfectly. We’ll all mess up. That’s ok because it just shows us our desperate need for grace, and the vast, unconditional love of the Father.

Sweet baby girl #2, I cannot wait to meet you and stumble to Jesus with you.

Love, your Mama