Wordless Wednesday: At the Sugar Bowl


Rise.

Happy Friday (or late Thursday, depending on when you're reading this), y'all! Fought tooth and nail to get through this week, and by the grace of God, I made it! Initially, my plan was to completely flake out on this Five-Minute Friday post, but when I saw that the prompt was rise, my spirit wouldn't let me ignore it. If you'd like to get more info about this link-up, head here!

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When I think of the act of rising, I immediately picture a balloon. It's unpredictable, airy, and dances on the air around it, allowing itself to go with the flow of the current. As someone who is rather controlling tightly wound and bogged down by, well, everything, I take particular delight in buoyant things like bubbles, rubber duckies, and, yes, balloons. Their near-weightlessness is what allows them to be free.

After over three decades on this planet, I'm finally making a definitive leap towards this weightlessness, shedding just about all the heaviness I used to stumble around with. Honestly, it feels weird, wrong even, but I'm doing it anyway because, quite simply, the alternative is a slow, soul-crushing death. (Dramatic? Yes. Accurate? Also, yes.) We were becoming dangerously comfortable with complacency, and it was robbing us of everything we aspired to be.

On paper, the last six months make zero sense. The upheaval was brutal, drastic, and swift. And, thanks to the pushback we've received from those closest to us as we attempted to push through has made things all the more...difficult. The thing is, this vision, this momentous world-altering goal we're about to attain, is for us and only us. There's a reason why the others weren't meant to see it:
it's not for them to see, thus rendering their opinions on the subject irrelevant and unfounded.

As evidenced by this beautiful verse from Isaiah, thought and tender care have been put into the direction of our future. He cares for me, my precious husband, and our priceless babies. At times it may feel as though we are sinking, but there is a very important plan in place, one that has existed for quite some time, in fact. He's always been here with us, waiting for us to step out and trust Him with—quite literally!— everything we hold dear.

Instead of sitting on the sidelines waiting for our dreams to come true, we will rise and pursue them.

two young black boys
The boys at the Musical Instrument Museum, one of our favorite places to go!








May 2015 Nablopomo: Contrast

Nablopomo PromptDo you always ask permission of the subject before you post pictures online? Why or why not? 
I don't post other people on this blog very often, honestly. However, when it comes to other adults or their children, I always ask if it's okay before I post. I like to send them the actual photos I'm planning to use so they can have even more veto power. While I am free to allow certain parts of my life to be public, I am very aware that not everyone is comfortable with that practice, and I respect their right to privacy. With children, especially, one cannot be too careful. 

With regard to my own children, I'm a bit more lax while they're young enough to be open to it. As they get older, though, I'll start running ideas by them because, again, it's an issue of respect. Even now, I don't post baby nudes—as cute as they are!— or mortifying stories that might embarrass them as they get older. The internet is forever, after all; once I hit "Post" or "Publish", any and everything is fair game for public consumption. 

Photo: Contrast
Black and White Contrast older brother and baby sister
I took this with my iPhone about a week ago. Generally, I don't like graininess, but this time, it worked. What is most striking is the size difference between my youngest and oldest; I remember quite vividly when he was her age! Lastly, it perfectly captures their mutual adoration for each other. 

Interested in following along with or participating in Nablopomo? Click here to see the prompts for the rest of the month!

Blogher's NaBloPoMo May 2015: Bokeh & Sun Flare

Whew, this week is throwing me for a loop! Just as I think I've got everything semi-under control, another knotty mess pops up for me to unravel. Remaining calm and staying centered are not strengths I naturally possess, but they are getting a formidable workout as of late. This discomfort feels good, oddly enough, because I know it is a sign of much-needed growth. I was quite stagnant for so very long that stretching into new and different directions feels like an act of self-love.

This is one of the reasons why I recently picked my camera back up after months (years?) of walking past it. I struggle with photography, honestly, but seeing my life through the lens has given me a new level of awareness and appreciation for the people I'm blessed to call my own. Add to that the fact that BlogHer's NaBloPoMo theme for May 2015 is Photo, and well, it seemed like a sign that I was on the right track.

I'm combining the themes from Wednesday and Thursday in one post because it feels right to pair bokeh and sun flare together, y'know?

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Something to know about this little family of mine as that we are all adventurers. A shared case of wanderlust is one of the many things that drew my husband and I to each other, and we seem to have passed that on to each of our three children. Elaborate family trips are definitely in our future, but for now, we make do by piling into the car and figuring out a destination on the way. Sometimes, we simply end up at the park for a game of catch and bike ride; other times, we head to a different city and explore its local museums. I figure as long as we keep embracing the open road and I keep practicing with this camera, by the time more far-flung locales are in our sights, I'll have the skills to accurately capture those epic voyages.

Wednesday: Bokeh

Baby Joy with Polka Dot Hat Bokeh


Thursday: Sun Flare
Baby Girl Sun Flare

Baby Girl and Family Sun Flare





Reflecting on Mother's Day + Pics from Joy's First Birthday

A beautiful mess quote
This quote definitely sums up my life, these days. 

As Mother's Day 2015 comes to a close, I can't help but reflect on the three beautiful blessings that have earned me a lifetime membership in this amazing club. By my count, this is my seventh Mom's Day, and the joy I feel has increased exponentially. Every year, my goal is the same: to do my best to be the mother each of my children needs at any given moment. I know they're all very different, and thus the one-size-fits-all parenting techniques simply don't apply. Though my life would be easier if they did (!), I'm grateful for the challenge because it allows me to discover parts of myself that might have remained hidden. We are growing together, these precious babes and I, and the knowledge they impart is just as valuable as mine.

Below are just a smattering of photos from Joy's first birthday, as well as a collage of gems from the past year. There's also a video compilation of my pregnancy vlogs, as well as Joy's birth story, just in case you'd like to see where it all began! I was going to do separate blog post dedicated to her special day, but life unexpectedly intervened (as it seems to be doing so often, lately!). It was modest celebration, but I like to think we made up for that with our enthusiasm. ;)


Baby's first birthday balloons
Love her facial expression in this one! 

First birthday silly headband cute toddler girl
As you can see, she's not a natural charmer. 



First birthday cupcake with LED candle
Joy's extra-special Birthday Cupcake from Urban Cookies (Best. Cupcakes. EVER!)
and an LED candle for safety (it even blows out!) 


baby's first year collage
My, how you've grown, baby girl!