I Choose.

Life has this funny way of happening. No matter how much you plan and prepare, some seasons sweep you up in the busyness, the stress and the pressure of keeping it all together.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that this year has been a big year of change for me. I’ve made decisions based on what I no longer wanted to feel or experience. I let go of the idea that I had to do things a certain way and instead decided to do things the way I felt God calling me to do them.

But even still, I get swept up.

I let all the to-do’s, stress, obligations and pressure dictate my days and ultimately my life. And before I know it, my days are passing by without a chance to really be present and seek the beauty of my life.

Recently, I had this profound phrase pierce my heart: I choose. It’s simple but holds so much weight. It made me realize that I don’t have to get swept up in all the things, I have this amazing ability to choose how my days will unfold. Yes there are things out of our control, but there is also so so much in our control.

If only we will stop long enough to make the decision to choose…

I choose to let go of my insecurities and walls I’ve built up to protect my heart.

I choose to slow down so I can actually seek the beauty and wonder of this life.

I choose to be present and find the joy in each of my days.

I choose to believe that we have a good God that is bigger and more loving than we can ever imagine.

I choose to follow Jesus knowing that I don’t have to have it all together to earn my place.

I choose to go at God’s pace, not the world’s.

I choose. I choose. I choose.

This is my life and this is your life. Let’s make the decision today to choose better. To choose what lights ours souls on fire. To choose the things that will bring us peace and happiness.

Because when we choose a life filled with all of those things, we can look back on our days knowing it was a good life…

XOXO,

~P

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

 

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

 

When Miracles come from Tragedy…

They say “Everything Happens for a Reason”…

It’s been 8 years and I still don’t know why we had to lose my brother-in-law, Jason. I often think back to that time in our lives and how losing him changed the course of our lives forever. It’s because of that change that I can see the miracle that came from that horrible tragedy. It’s been our comfort and strength. Our way back to him.

Seeing this miracle unfold was my way of seeing God work in ways I’d never seen before…

Oct 18th, 2008. It was early morning and my hubby & I were getting ready to head to the airport for a visit up north when we got the call. My brother-in-law Jason was gone. Our world came crashing down all around us and life was no longer what it used to be.

After losing Jason, my husband and I made the decision to move up north to be with his family during this incredibly difficult time. It was going to take some time for my husbands transfer to come through, so I packed my bags and headed up north the weekend after Christmas to be with my in-laws.

It was a long 9 months of living on opposite sides of the state, but we were finally together again…

We had purchased a cute little house, perfect for starting a family in, and by this time I was 3 years into my struggle with infertility. I was hoping that this move would be a sign that things were soon going to change for us. We envisioned planting roots in our new home, raising children in a safe small town and living there for years to come. 

Unfortunately, my husband missed life in Southern California. He missed our friends, people who had become like brothers to him. And now with the loss of his own brother, he was aching to get back. So a year and a half later, we packed up our bags again and moved back. Only this time we moved to the small town that I was from.

About a year after we moved back, I had a chance meeting that changed the course of everything…

It was the Spring of 2012 and mom was in town for a visit. We headed to Target and it was there that I ran into a friend of mine. Our conversation easily landed on the topic of my infertility and it was during our conversation that a lady came up to me and ask if I had heard of PCOS. She encouraged me to check into it…it’s what she has and our symptoms sounded very similar.

As soon as we got home, my mom and I hopped on the computer to take a look. We soon found out that it was not PCOS that I had, but through our research we landed on Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. Over 6 years into my struggle with infertility, countless doctors appts, infertility treatments of all kinds and not one person had ever mentioned this to me.

It was in that moment that I knew something bigger was at work…

Nine months after finding my diagnosis and going through my recovery journey, I saw those two pink lines. I could hardly believe my dream was finally coming true. And finding out my due date was Oct 19th, just 1 day after the 5 anniversary of my brother-in-law Jason’s passing, I knew he had been with us all along.

It was never in our plans to move to Northern California in the first place, let alone back to my childhood home, but God had different plans for us…

The day we found out we were having a boy is a day that will be forever etched in my memory. I knew we would name him Jason after his uncle and tell him about him too. From a very young age, our Jase would point to picture of him and now calls him by name. I can see so much of Jason in our Jase. The fun-loving, joyful soul exudes from him. He’s the life of the party, a hambone as we like to call him 😉 He’s our comfort and peace that Jason is still with us.

Jase (8 months old) pointing to his Uncle Jason <3

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It’s still hard to believe that he’s been gone for 8 years now. My heart aches when I think of how my kids will never know him or his contagious laugh. I’m so grateful God lead us down a path that gave us the ability to know that Jason is always with us. The events after that tragic day are proof that although we can’t always stop the heartbreak of life from happening, as long as we lean into Him, He will find a way to bring healing…

Sometimes tragedies happen and you may never know why. It can take months or even years to get some sense of healing. I miss Jason every single day, but am so glad God used our loss to bring us a miracle.  A miracle that has given us the ability to feel Jason even though he’s no longer with us <3

Jason & I <3

Jason & I <3

A Burning Heart.

Lately I’ve been reflecting back on the past year, taking stock of my regrets, accomplishments, hopes, changes and desires…

I’m not quite sure why this year of all years has been such a changing year for me…perhaps it’s completing our family with our sweet little Savannah, or possibly the leap of faith I’ve taken in following my calling, but one thing is for sure…it’s given me A Burning Heart.

A heart that yearns for connection, meaning, presence and inspiration. 

Earlier this year I struggled with feeling overwhelmed, mom guilt and trying to find my voice and place in this world. But lately, I’ve learned to let that all go. To say YES to playing on the floor with my kids instead of doing the dishes. YES to listening to my gut when it comes to how I want to help others. YES to being present over perfect. So what’s caused this shift? God.

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“But present and connected and grounded deeply in the love of God, which is changing everything.”

I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but I’ve always believed in God. I didn’t have much of a relationship with him, but would pray during the big struggles in my life. I attended church in my early 20’s, but felt an overwhelming sense of judgement so I stopped going and quite honestly never thought I’d return.

Over the last few months however, I felt this tug on my heart. A tug telling me to draw near.

I joined a Christian based mom’s group {MOPS} in January of 2015 that set the stage for things to change. It took some time, but gradually my heart softened to the idea of having a relationship with Him.

I would listen to the other mommas at my table talk about the goodness of God and what their faith in him has done for their life. I started to follow Lara Casey and read her book Make it Happen. I also read Shauna Niequist’s book Present over Perfect, and to say my life has changed is an understatement.

This burning in my heart is something I feel every day now and it came from truly letting go and trusting. I’ve always felt like I had to prove my worth. Put others feelings, needs and desires before my own. Have a perfect house. The perfect body. Be the perfect wife, mother, daughter, sister & friend.

But, allowing God to come close and work in my heart over the last few months has made me realize that it’s so much more than all of those things. It’s about being truly present. Following his call on your life. Loving those around you in a deep way. And seeing the beauty in every day.

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As I plan for the future and how I want to spend my time, these are the things that are on my heart…

Self care. Including yoga, fueling my body properly, reading & connecting with friends so that I can give the most of me to my loved ones.

Supporting and loving my husband with intention. Tell him that I’m grateful for the things he does for us regularly. Plan monthly dates for us to reconnect, even if that means wine & dessert on that patio after the kids go to bed.

Quality time playing with my kiddos daily. Outside, indoors or on family adventures…as long as I’m truly present with them that’s all that matters.

Spending time with God. So that my decisions and actions are with purpose and direction.

Making myself available to help those who are struggling with infertility/Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. Whether through calls over the phone, what I share on my blog or The HA Sisterhood...this is where my story is best used.

Sharing my love for truly living a healthy, happy life. Helping others live a life without guilt or the need for perfection is what I hope to do.

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When you truly let God take the wheel and lead your life, knowing how to spend your time becomes easy.

The overwhelm dissipates. The mom guilt is easier to quiet. And finding your voice & place turns into A Burning Heart. 

XOXO,

~P

 

 

 

The First Post.

Thank you so much for stopping by! In this first post, I’d like to give you an idea of why I decided to write this blog and my hopes for it moving forward. First, a little background on me…

A little over 10 years ago I married my best friend and love of my life. About 6 months after getting married we decided we were ready to start a family. We were both so excited to start this next chapter in our lives and never once thought we’d have problems getting pregnant. Unfortunately, we were one of the many couples that struggled with infertility (you can read more about my infertility journey HERE).

During those 7 years I lived my life under a dark cloud, always waiting for things to get better. I was rarely present in my life and missed out on what life truly has to offer. My struggle with infertility consumed me and every aspect of my life.

Finally, with the help of an infertility support group and drastically changing the way I viewed food & exercise, not only was I able to get pregnant, but I was finally able to look at my life in a whole new light. I was no longer willing to let my life pass me by and wanted to experience what life was like “living in the moment”.

Fast forward 3.5 years later, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, I have a beautiful 21 month old son and a baby girl on the way!

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Now that I’m in this new chapter of my life, my hope is to share the stories and life lessons learned through motherhood, my walk with God and all of the little things in between that make my heart happy! I hope you enjoy reading along…

XOXO,

~P