Decorating my body with memories

The other day I was washing dishes, staring out my kitchen window  when my thoughts drifted to my tattoos. I have three of them. None of them planned. All spontaneously done but filled with memories and meaning.

It’s sort of like life isn’t it? So much of what we experience isn’t planned, but brings with it memories & meaning along with the pain.

My first tattoo is a butterfly located on my right hip. I was 18 and up until that point I had always been an obedient child, rarely going against my parents wishes. I guess you could call this my rebellious stage. There was no planning or thought put into it, I simply went into the tattoo parlor, picked out the first thing that caught my eye and went for it.

Growing up I had always been VERY shy, but something happened that summer before entering into college. I no longer wanted to be the shy, self conscious girl anymore. I wanted to come out of my shell, make friends and learn who I was. In hindsight, a butterfly was the perfect representation for that season of my life.

As the years followed, more tattoos came, along with the memories (good & bad) that they would bring.

A flower with my husbands name written in the vines on the top of my left foot, capturing that sweet dream-like season of life. Newlyweds, with hearts wide open to the journey that was upon us. I remember the tattoo artist telling me that this tattoo would never last, the color would fade in such a delicate spot, but I didn’t care. It was exactly what I wanted. And you know what? It still looks as beautiful now, 12 years later, as it did then.

Initials on my lower back honoring the loss of my brother in law, Jason. A time in our lives when we felt broken and unsure of where our lives were headed. Where I had to learn how to live 500 miles away from my husband for 9 months, in a city where I knew few people and had no friends of my own.

And a addition of vines and another butterfly to my first tattoo. Initially, I did this out of pure desire for more. But now see it as a representation of myself in this new city, once again having to learn how to spread my wings and fly.

There was a time when I feared that decorating my body would be a phase and something I’d later regret.

I never put much thought into my tattoos before arriving at the tattoo parlor, so there have been times where I feared that I might regret them. But as I get older and experience life, I love them more and more.

I love that I was bold enough to get my husbands name tattooed on my body, something that I’m sure others would never do. Or that I just went with my gut and did what felt right in the moment. I love that I have a way to carry my brother in law with me always. And a reminder of the beauty that life brings when you spread your wings and fly…

XOXO,

~P

The art of making space for Peace.

Hey Friend,

It’s been a while hasn’t it? Honestly, as much as I love to share my heart in this space of mine, I’ve enjoyed the time away. LIfe just gets too busy sometimes, don’t ya think?

So I’ve been learning the art of making space so I can have more peace in my life.

Initially, I didn’t know how to slow down. I’m a people pleasure by nature and hate to let others down. But I had said yes to too many things, and felt I was missing out on the moments in my life that mattered most. But where to start?

First I had to be honest with myself and ask “What areas in my life bring me the most joy/stress?”

Some of the answers I came up with in the joy column where pretty obvious:

The areas that brought stress, not so fun to admit. Especially since it would mean letting others down and giving up things that I actually enjoyed, but knew in my heart they weren’t right for me in this season of life.

And I truly craved slower days where I could be more present in my life…where I could cultivate peace.

Once I gave up those areas of stress, I took a look at my schedule and daily rhythms. In what ways could I simplify the “busyness” of my life and create more space for peace? I’m a neat freak and would straighten up my house and clean all day long, but I realized this was taking away from time I could spend doing the things that actually matter and bring me the most joy.

So I made a list of the things that I wanted to keep up with on a weekly basis, broke them down so was only focused on one thing per day and limited straightening up to just the evenings. Talk about a relief! Instantly I felt my days become slower and more peaceful…goal achieved.

What life looks like now…

It’s amazing what will open up in your life when you create more space. I have more time to be present with my babies and hubby, I can get together for playdates spontaneously, I have time to pour into my calling and more time for myself .

Letting go of the people pleasing, asking yourself “what really matters?” and making space to cultivate peace in your life can allow more room to flourish in your life like never before!

Until next time my friend…

XOXO,

~P

 

Stop & Smell the Roses…

As much as I’d like to say I’m living life being truly present with those I love, that would be a complete lie…

Being present is something I’ve been striving for especially during this season of life, but the days keep getting away from me. My to-do list is long and there’s always something to be done, a kiddo who needs me, a house to keep clean or meals to prepare. But I truly don’t want to look back on my life and feel like I missed the point.

I’m a neat freak and a busy body, so slowing down enough to be present in even the most simplest of things is HARD. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching, praying and reevaluating of my life over the last few months to try to change this. I am far from perfect or even close to where I want to be, but I’m making progress…

This week was a big step in the right direction.

My hubby was gone for 3 days and initially I was feeling all sorts of anxiety, stress & exhaustion just thinking about those 3 days. But to my surprise I found a lot of peace during my “single mom” days. And this time even came with a BIG change in the napping department…on the first day of my hubby being gone, Savi dropped her morning nap and Jase dropped his naps all together.

At first I wanted to cry, but I quickly realized that with some switching up of my routine, it wouldn’t be so bad. An to be honest, I’m actually sort if loving it! It’s given me the ability to have more down time with my kiddos, to be more present and to stop and smell the roses.

This year has already brought so much change, and yet I feel there is still so much more to come.

I feel the shift happening, telling me to let go. And although I want to fight every bit of this and stay in my ways, my world around me is changing and I know deep down I need to change with it. I need to be more free, more relaxed and more willing to slow down.

My to-do list can wait and things will get done in time, but my babies are growing at a rapid pace and I’ll miss the beauty if I don’t focus on what matters most. So today and every day I will keep reminding myself of this: to Stop & Smell the Roses.

XOXO,

~P

Behind the Name

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.” -Ben Sweetland

When I was first deciding on a name for my blog, I wanted it to capture the essence of my life both past & present. And I kept coming back to the word happiness. For so long, I didn’t feel much happiness in my life, but I desperately wanted to.

When I think back to that time in my life,  I felt the only way to get there was to finally become a momma. But one thing I’ve learned is that it isn’t just that one thing you crave that will bring you happiness. It’s a daily choice.

Because even though I’m living my dream now, it doesn’t mean every day is happy.

I didn’t know this then, but being a momma is not an easy job. It’s very demanding, exhausting and stressful. Worth it, yes. But not always happy.

I don’t want to look back on this season of my life and feel like I let the hard stuff get in the way of my happiness though. So I’m choosing to find pure happiness in each of my days. What do I mean by pure?

To me, pure happiness comes from within. From your heart. Because finding that kind of happiness can only come from God. Only He has the ability to provide a different lense through which we see our lives. To look for those moments, where you feel that warmth in your heart even when the days are hard.

My hope is to share how I’m finding pure happiness in each of my days, so that you too can find it in yours…

Because after all it’s the community, connection & being real that bonds us and inspires us. Sharing the hard stuff, the messy stuff and the beautiful stuff makes us feel less alone. It gives us the ability to learn from one another and live the lives we were meant to live.

Happiness is a choice that we must make daily. I’m not great at it, and there are many days I completely fail. I let the sleepless nights, teething babies & tantrums cloud my ability to see the happiness that is always there. But I will continue to search for it, trust it’s there and lean on God when I can’t seem to get there.

The beauty of this life is it’s never too late. Each day brings a chance to make new choices and to live life Finding YOUR Pure Happiness…

XOXO,

~P

 

Finding Your Identity among Dirty Diapers, Dishes & Paw Patrol

Before I became a momma, I had dreams of what life would be like…

I envisioned slow days where I would play with my happy kids, clean up around the house while they napped (at the same time) and have dinner on the table by the time my hubby walked through the door. I knew in my heart that being a momma was absolutely my calling, but what I didn’t realize is that I would have other callings/passions as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kiddos and feel truly blessed to be able to stay home with them. I know how lucky I am to not have to send them to daycare every day. But being a stay at home momma isn’t always easy and my days are definitely not all sunshine and rainbows.

My days are usually filled with lots of crying/whining and racing around the house trying to get stuff done while the kids nap only to finally get a break the second one of them wakes. There’s messes and spills at every turn and a toddler that thinks throwing things in the toilet or playing in the cat food is a good time. There’s a very strong-willed 3 year old that I’m constantly having to battle with in even the smallest of things.

About a year and a half ago I felt this urge to find a way to express who I am outside of being a mom.

I used to feel like others would think I was ungrateful for wanting more. After everything I’d been through to become a momma, why did I feel the need to add to my life? But what I’ve come to learn is that it’s ok to explore and express another side to who you are. And that’s where this little space of mine came into play.

I had written my first blog the prior year and found this passion for writing that I didn’t know I had. At first blogging started out as an outlet for me to connect with other blogger moms as well as share my passions about healthy living and motherhood. However, it quickly became a place for growth and finding my true identity.

For so long I was the girl that struggled with Infertility. That was my identity. It became who I was and what I talked about. And when I finally became a momma, I wanted to leave that identity behind. I wanted to embrace this new identity that I had always hoped for and run with it. But before I knew it, my journey with infertility began to show up in places I least expected.

Over the last year there has been a lot of soul searching, trying to figure out how to bridge the gap between the two.

I’m still in a place of exploration, but I feel closer to being the person God intended me to be. I’m learning to embrace this season I’m in (dirty diapers and all) while still finding time to express the passion I have in my heart to mentor others going through infertility as well as build a mom tribe with some of the most lovely women.

My hope is that this year brings with it a sense of peace in my new identity. Knowing that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing…I can be a momma and a passionate person that loves to write and connect with others.

Because when your children are grown and living their own lives outside of your home, there needs to be a soul that is fulfilled. And true fulfillment can only come from becoming who you were meant to be…for myself that’s a loving wife, a caring mother, a friend to those struggling with infertility and writer sharing my heart & struggles through motherhood.

My sweet momma friend, my hope is that you are living your passion too. That your soul feels fulfilled even when the days are hard…

XOXO,

~P

 

 

Giving yourself Grace in a Season of the “Threenager”…

A few weeks back I shared this post on Instagram. I was one week into Jase being out of school on Christmas vacation and to say it was a tough week is an understatement. I typically like to keep the social media posts I share on a more positive note, but on that particular day, I felt a tug on my heart to share…and the response I got confirmed that it was the right thing to do.

As a momma to little ones, it can be very easy to feel like you’re doing things all wrong…

Let’s face it, 3 year olds are TOUGH! It’s at this age they start to push the boundaries, find their voice and have some pretty crazy mood swings. I’d like to say that I’m calm and cool during these super fun times, but that would be a complete lie. I’ll admit I’ve lost my temper more times then I care to admit and have raised my voice when I probably shouldn’t have. And it often leaves me feeling like the worst mom in the world and like I’m failing my child miserably.

But that’s just a lie.

I love my children deeper than I ever thought possible and I know in my heart that I’m a good momma. I’m THEIR momma, the one God chose for them. I know that I’m doing my best and although sometimes the lack of sleep or a crying, teething baby causes me to react in a way I wish I wouldn’t have, I’m learning to give myself Grace (and wine). I’m learning to take a step back, take a deep breath and do my best to respond in a loving way.

My sweet momma friends…

If you’re finding yourself in this place, please know that you are not alone. I’m with you and so many other mommas are too. We are in this together. We can help encourage and lift each other up in these moments of frustration and stress. Give yourself the grace you deserve and trust that God made you the perfect fit for your children.

Lean on Him and He will help get you through.

Although I still have my moments of weakness, building a deeper connection with God over the last year has given me the ability react in a more loving way {most of the time}. Even if I initially respond in a way that I regret, I’m able to brush off the feeling of inadequacy much quicker. I’m able to let go of the stress and frustration and get back to a place of peace, love and contentment.

Before becoming a momma, I had no idea of the challenges that would  be ahead of me so quickly into motherhood. Giving myself grace, leaning on God for guidance and building a strong community of other mommas around me, have been key to being the kind of momma I’ve always hoped to be. I’m still a work in progress, but I know in my heart that I’m doing the best that I can…

Hang in there sweet mommas, you are doing an AMAZING job raising up your precious babies!

XOXO,

~P

 

 

 

 

Reflecting Back and Moving Forward…

After some time away from writing here in this little space of mine, I’m ready to get back to sharing with you the happenings in my life as well as what’s on my heart.

As I reflect back on 2016, I have this overwhelming feeling of HOPE. Hope for what the new year brings and hope for how God will use me. So much change has happened over the last year and I am definitely not where I thought I would be…

I’m some place better.

I’m more still, patient, joyful, connect, present and hopeful. My faith is stronger. And I now feel confident in where God has called me to be. I’m so grateful for the ups & downs that the past year brought with it…they brought me to a place where my relationship with God and the people I love is stronger than ever.

When I think about the possibilities that are ahead of me, I feel overcome with joy. Knowing where you’re supposed to be and getting there is so fulfilling. For so long I moved from job to job, never feeling truly satisfied. It wasn’t until I finally got quiet and listened to what God was trying to tell me, did I find true contentment. Getting to use my story to help others brings so much happiness to my life.

As I move forward into the new year…

I’m not exactly sure where God will continue to lead me, but my hope is to continue to provide encouragement to those in The HA Sisterhood (my online community group for those struggling with infertility) as well build connections here with momma’s like you. I’m not one to set resolutions, but I do have some goals/priorities for the coming year:

  • Continue to build my relationship with God
  • Spend more time being present with my family
  • Provide support & encouragement to those struggling with HA (infertility)
  • Be more intentional about getting together with the special people in my life

I hope that as you reflect back on the past year and look forward to the future, you’re filled with happiness & excitement for what’s to come. Thank you for reading along and for all your support…Cheers to 2017!!!

XOXO,

~P

 

My Redemption Story.

Re•demp•tion: The act of being saved from error…

I was once asked to think of a time I created a mess for myself and found myself being saved from God and in it’s place given a miracle.

It didn’t take long for me to think of the mess I had unknowingly created for myself during my struggle with infertility. As the pain & hurt from not being able to have a child grew more and more with each passing day, so did the mess I found myself in.

For the first 6 years of my struggle with infertility, I had no idea that the mess I was in was caused by my lifestyle. The hours at the gym, the restriction I put myself through on a daily basis. They were the mess. I’m honestly not sure had someone told me during the darkest years that it was my desire to be thin that was causing all of this pain, if I would have made the change I needed to make.

It wasn’t until I came to the point of desperation that I was ready to do whatever it took. I was running out of options and time.

My relationship with God during those years was distant at best. I always felt He was there, but I didn’t think He was listening to my cries and brokenness. I didn’t think He had a plan for me or that my dreams and prayers would be answered.

Looking back now I can see so clearly how He held me close and kept me safe, even during the heartbreak and tragic losses.

Yes, I created a mess for myself. I may not have know it at the time, but I was absolutely the one who brought this upon myself. There was a time I felt deep shame over this mess and couldn’t believe I let my desire to be thin take so much from me. But God wasn’t ashamed. Instead He took that mess and turned it into the most beautiful miracles I could have never given to myself.

He gave my my babies and the ability to love them in the deepest way. He gave me a calling and a passion. He took my story and turned it into something beautiful, something life giving.

He gave me my redemption. He saved me from my error and in it’s place brought beauty & healing.

I’m so grateful for my journey and the ability to touch others lives. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel a wave of emotion wash over me when I think about how He’s using me. When I see that my story is changing lives, it brings tears of joy to my eyes.

For so long I felt unworthy, not good enough, not pretty enough, not skinny enough. I felt forgotten, a face in the crowd. But those are just lies.

We are all Worthy, Enough, Beautiful…and we all have a Purpose. We were placed on this earth to do good in our own ways. To use our story and messes for the benefit of others. To allow God to save us from error and turn it into something beautiful.

My sweet sisters, if you’re feeling unloved, unworthy, ashamed or forgotten, please know that you are not alone. There is a God out there waiting to use you and all your messes for good. He wants to turn it into something beautiful, all you have to do is allow it to happen…

XOXO,

~P

 

To my sweet girl on your 1st Birthday…

Where do I begin?…

It feels like just yesterday we were in the hospital, you by my side, and I was writing your birth story. It was a time in my life that will forever be etched in my memory as one of the most magical, beautiful moments…and here we are, on your First Birthday…

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I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how my heart could possibly love another child as much as I love your brother. But the moment I laid my eyes on you, my heart ached with a love so deep it brought tears to my eyes.

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You have completed us my beautiful girl.

You have the sweetest personality and your smile, oh that smile, it lights up a room and can turn anyones day around. You scrunch your nose up and make the cutest sound, I hope you never lose that joy!

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What I’ve loved most about your first year is watching your relationship with your big brother blossom. From a very young age you absolutely adored him. Your face lights up and you kick your feet whenever he is near. He calls you “Savi Jeanne” or “Baby Girl” like I do and it’s the sweetest thing <3 You’ve started to play together too and I often daydream of what life will be like as you continue to grow together…

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First day of school!

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My sweet sweet girl, I’m so grateful to be your momma.

I promise to never let a day go by where I don’t tell you how beautiful you are and that you are so very loved. I pray that God gives me the ability to raise you to be a confident, joyful and radiant little girl.

I will miss this season in our lives as you are our last baby, but know that there is so much joy in the years to come. Thank you for completing our family and coming into our lives at the perfect moment. I love you to the moon and back Savi Jeanne!

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XOXO,

Momma

To my sweet boy on your Third Birthday…

How has it already been 3 years? I’ve heard the phrase “time flies” many times in my life, but it’s never been more true since becoming a momma…

Just minutes old...

Jase, just minutes old <3

I lived so much of my adult life bound by infertility. I’d often spend my days trying to convince myself that being a momma just wasn’t meant to be. That I needed to find something else to fill the deep hole in my heart. When you spend so much of your life under a dark cloud, never seeing the light, you start to believe that this is just how life is supposed to be.

Finding my diagnosis and embarking on my recovery journey brought with it a whirlwind of emotion…

I was elated and determine when I finally found the answer to my struggle with infertility, then the heartbreak of a miscarriage knocked me off my feet. I was angry that this had to be so difficult, but knew that I needed to stay strong…finally the feeling of pure joy at the sight of those two pink lines.

It still feels like yesterday that you came into our lives. You were a stubborn little one going 6 days past your due date, a peek into your personality perhaps? 😉 Those first few months were pure magic. Living my life in 3 hour increments, with early mornings rocking you while the sun came up to late nights walking around the house when you protested sleep.

First Valentine's Day <3

First Valentine’s Day <3

You my boy have filled that void in my heart and more. Having you gave me purpose, it changed the person I am and the way I see life. Just one look at you and my heart skips a beat. And your smile gets me every.single.time…I fear I’m going to have to keep the girls away somehow when you get older 😉

I tell you I love you multiple times a day and you reply back with “I love you too much!” How did I get so lucky?!?!

Now not every day is rainbows and sprinkles…you have the stubbornness of your father and the determination to keep me on my toes! But, even on the hard days you always make me so proud <3 You are an amazing big brother, a great helper and such a silly little guy.

First day of school!

First day of school!

You started school this year and I think it came at the perfect time. You are thriving and loving every minute of it! It’s so fun to hang your artwork on the fridge…kind of surreal for me to see it up there I have to admit.

My sweet sweet Jase…

You my boy are truly loved and so very special to us all. I’m excited to see what you’ll be like as you grow older and what sorts of things you’ll be into. But one things for sure…I know there will be many many laughs and great times in our future <3

Happy 3rd birthday Handsome Boy!

XOXO,

Momma