Yesterday a close friend told me she lost her baby this week. My heart ached and tears poured. I’d like to say I handled today like I did my last hard anniversary but for me the loss of my baby has never gotten easier.
Four years ago I remember like it was yesterday laying in the hospital while an insensitive nurse delivered the news. I remember thinking “you don’t understand” or maybe not every woman is affected like I am.
The words keep going through my head “you’re missing from me little one”. Hard to even dream about having a two year old in my life right now. But then I sit back and have to thank God for the two beautiful boys I have and pray He teaches me to love them better every day.
I think about moms all over the world. The ones who watch their children taken into slavery knowing their fate, the ones who can’t afford to feed their babies, the ones with incredible supportive husbands who can’t conceive and want nothing more, the ones who effortlessly have one after another but are too tired to enjoy it or the victims of rape who have to make a hard decision based on trauma. This world can seem so cruel and often is, there’s no cure, there’s no formula to protect yourself from pain.
There are people who go through their life somewhat fortunate to never be greeted by such tragedies but while appealing I would never wish for such a life. It’s in pain and heartache I’ve learned compassion and in my faults I’ve learned humility. This life isn’t fair and never will be but it is what we make it in how we respond to what life gives. Isn’t that beautiful? We’re not victims to life it’s our choice even when circumstances seem far out of our control.
Looking around seeing the beauty.
Our newest addition. Angora goats, Aslan and Aspen.
Morning poragae on the sun porch with this sweet one.
Hot days of yard work.
Tristan bent on learning and getting the “squeaks” out.
The adorable face that relentlessly digs holes in my yard and kills all my bushes.
My preschool graduate.
Tristan the goat whisperer. He begs me every day to keep these kids!
Practicing walking the line after a water balloon fight.
Summer is off to a good start here. Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend!
10,000 apologies, 500 boxes of bandaids, 556 peanut butter sandwiches, 307 games of monopoly, endless car pool lines, birthday cakes, road trips and dance parties! What a life we share both the beauty and the sadness. My boys have watched me curse and fall and get back up, they’ve watched me fight my way out of depression, countless amounts of tears and belly aching laughs. They’ve forgiven me more times than I even want to remember. The list could go on forever. I’m so grateful for them and so grateful for this life and journey I’ve been given.
To four years, I wouldn’t change a thing.
These pictures feel about as scattered as my heart lately. It’s been a particularly hard season of growth and surrender. I wish I could say I was good at letting go, trusting but my heart seems to be as far from it as I am from the mountains.
I just started reading a book that I’ve been putting off for a long time called Hinds Feet On High Places (religious). Bittersweet reminder that love doesn’t come without knowing pain. I cringe a little when the words come off my tongue, I don’t want to feel more pain! Constantly asking have I not had enough? When is my turn to feel the joy of love. And then of course in my reading this morning another humbling reminder of where true joy comes from. Not from actions or family or even love. True joy is an act of surrendering to what has already been given. It’s there for the taking and can’t be taken away. It’s there! So today at least in this moment I’m picking it up without looking behind or ahead I’m choosing everlasting joy.
Daily reminders of what I have to be grateful for.
210 / the boy and his love for animals
211 / my littlest helper
212 / the endless smiles these kids bring
213 / Lazy evenings playing cards
214 / finished projects
215 / car pool lines
Today I’m doing the one thing I remember my mom asking for every year on Mother’s Day and never got. A day to herself. She graciously accepted all our gifts and attempts to make her day while honestly just wanting a break.
I love and treasure this picture of her because it perfectly depicts my memory of her growing up. Furrowed brow quietly but fervently praying always praying while leaning over the dishes or food prep. My mom raised ten children and home birthed six of her own. She made everything from scratch and could stretch a penny in the grocery farther than anything I’ve ever seen. She’s a fighter and a prayer warrior and the strongest woman I know. She taught me the literal meaning of Eshet Chayil and want it meant practically to be a woman of valor. To speak with grace and never gossip. I’ve never in my life seen my mom do a selfish thing for herself, to a fault. She’s a stunning beauty and always strives to be humble.
“To strong women everywhere, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”
15′ Spring Lookbook for Covet and Lou went live today. Loved the chance to share my heart and home. These pictures are treasured memories.
Details on the pieces I chose here.
204 / Apologies
205 / My mum
206 / Heart shifts
207 / Evidence of growth
208 / Bug collections (and the collectors)
I recently had the opportunity to shoot a spring lookbook for Covet and Lou. Here are a few shot (more coming soon) that gave me a chance to share one of my favorite recipes.
I clipped this out of a magazine in my teens and it’s been a family favorite ever since. Super easy albeit not very healthy but makes a perfect picnic lunch or road trip snack. I’ve substituted the sausage for ground turkey or even prosciutto! Definitely something you can get creative with.
Sausage Cheese Braid
4 1/2 t Active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
2 T Sugar
1 1/2 t Salt
1 t Italian seasoning
1/4 cup Butter softened
4 – 4 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1 lb Sausage
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
In large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water, add a pinch of the sugar and let proof for 5 minutes. Add sugar, salt, Italian seasoning, egg, butter and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured board; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, cook sausage, drain and set aside to cool. Punch dough down; divide in half. On floured surface, roll each half into a 14″x 12″ rectangle. Cut each one into 3 strips. Evenly distribute sausage and cheese along each strip. Fold together and pinch closed. Seam side down on greased sheet, braid strips together and pinch the ends. Cover and let rise till doubled about 45 mins. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire rack completely. Makes 2 loaves.
Lookbook photos shot by Whitney Neal
Capturing my everyday adventures as a mother of two boys isn’t always easiest, but Teva sure did it!
It’s far too easy in our post-modern culture to be concerned about the details, the look, the right capture, but reality is no picture tells the entirety of any story. But pictures; They are still important and telling, helpful for putting words to a moment instantly. Subsequently, thank you Teva. For depicting what matters most whilst bringing comfort and practicality to my everyday life.
Today I’m grateful for
191 / motherhood
192 / A new season
193 / Boys who are always up for adventure
194 / Health to sustain an active lifestyle or rather an active lifestyle that supports our health
195 / Fresh cut grass
photos by Whitney Neal
Curled up in bed sick with everything the boys had last week but thankful..
186 / healthy boys
187 / last minute photo shoot complete
188 / I made it in time for the beautiful birth of my friends son
189 / LOTS of fresh milk and our first egg from the new hens
190 / a new real skate deck for my little shredder and celebrating 7 years of his life
“Darkness can not defeat light.”
Looking for the silver lining in our third sick day and a week worth of plans shot. I was meant to be at the hospital today helping a friend labor but find myself instead cleaning up vomit intermittent with making chicken noodle soup and administering any aid I can. Canceled photo shoot two weeks in a row due to weather while the work load gets higher and higher (along with the water in my basement).
In all though I feel blessed and encouraged this week, despite the circumstances. What gets you through rainy days (literal and figurative?). Collin after saying “this is the wowst day evew” asked if we could watch a movie together tonight. I think it’s a plan.
181 / homemade coffee honey coconut oil latte (blend with cream or milk till frothy)
182 / clean bedding
183 / rain
184 / wild grapevine swings
185 / new curtains and shined plant leaves
ps. A friend sent me this article on Love and I thought I’d share. A few, ok, all of these hit a little close to home. Relationships are so hard and I’m not even in one!
Tea in hand listening to a storm rolling through and reflecting on the past week. My boys have been home sick the last two days and I’m enjoying the slow pace it has brought us.
We celebrated a birthday with friends. Pie and campfires several days in a row. The kids are almost too big for the nesting boxes they adopted as their beds. I’ve been surprised they’ve already been nibbling grass and between the two of them haven’t been able to keep up with ladys’ production. I’ve already milked nearly two gallons! It’s not sweet yet from the spring wild onions so I’ll take it to a local soap maker to trade for oils and other things we need.
I’ve been impatiently waiting for my newest batch of 8 hens to start laying. Waiting is something I’m thinking on a lot recently. I’m terrible at being present and struggle to not always feel like I’m ‘waiting’ for life to begin. Silly when I think about it and the reality of how lovely everyday can be but that’s my struggle. So I sit in it and attempt to fight back reflecting on all the things I have to be grateful for today.
176 / Extra cuddles with my boys.
177 / The smell of a campfire.
178 / A soothing storm.
179 / Psalm 27.
180 / Hope.