Monday, November 30, 2009

The Overflow

The theme for 2009 in my little heart has been Abundance. From the smallest things to the largest treasures, we've been blessed. It's time to sit down and spell it all out...

I'm thankful for my He came in town this year with his wonderful girlfriend. It was his first time to meet Jackson.Briggs! When he was holding him, it was hard to choose who was prettier...

I'm thankful that Opposites.Attract... TheHotness gets homemade sammich bread and I get the assurance that our budget will be balanced and bills will be paid. I will talk, tend, and solve. He will listen, comfort, and protect. I am and he is

I am thankful for my life's Soundtrack:
-the sound of the potty being flushed by an independent little boy
-a dishwasher that offers Help as long as I fill the cup and push the button
-the way James says 'lets riiiide cliiiive' when we back down the driveway... and the silence that follows when no one corrects him to tell him it's lets ride clyde
-the little secrets that the bebe monitor picks up when theHotness is feeding his son, or whispering to him as he changes his diapers
-philosophies that James bestows on his brother when he climbs in to his crib after nap time
-the sound of the garbage truck picking up the garbage twice weekly, and how good it feels to know that I don't ever have to worry about getting the trash to the road. One honest responsibility I don't have to carry...
-the shuffle feature on my ipod... and how each song is a perfectly delightful surprise.

I'm thankful for bulk diapers and wipes... and how indulgent it feels to file them all away somewhere.

I'm thankful when the boys go to bed easy.

I'm thankful that I get to be the second.line.of.defense at bedtime... The clean.up.crew after theHotness does the heavy lifting putting the boys to bed.

I'm thankful the grace that is given when I forget a load of laundry in the washing machine... and how at the press of a button, the machine will re.wash my mistake and no one is ever the wiser.

I'm thankful for a full pantry, full fridge, and full bellies.

I'm thankful for My First... My James Neal... My Beaux Jack... Our BooBoo. He is what has propels me everyday to be Myself. He is my companion and delight. He is the reason that I question nearly everything I do. My inspiration for reflection and Purpose. He was sent to me as a promise.fulfilled, single handedly transforming my life into something worth.while... something beautiful.

I'm thankful for a body that does whatever I ask it to do with very little resistance. It can grow bebies. It can carry a child with one arm while reflexively keeping the other from darting into traffic. It can hear water running from the sink clear across the house- then darting through a mine.field of toys and children without ever losing it's footing. It can ignore Dora.the.Explorer's nail.on.chalk.board.voice while preparing a delish and nutrish meal. It can wake itself out of a dead.sleep to soothe a crying bebe or change wet sheets. It cleans up pretty well and can convince most people that it will survive.

I'm thankful for Mustard.Seed.Photography and the passion that is found behind the name. The people who take it upon themselves to encourage me, inspire me... and trust me even when I doubt myself. The people who have convinced me to look High and not Low... and to value my talent. The persistence in their constant nudging and the validation of a hug, email, comment, or phone call.

I'm thankful that theDuckling thinks everything I say is funny, or brilliant- or both. I'm thankful he is mine and I am his. I'm thankful that most days he gets my best... and the days that he doesn't, he loves me anyway. I'm thankful that he is small and fits into my arms just so. I'm thankful that there is nothing in his life that can't be remedied in my arms. I'm thankful that we have this secret, him and me. A secret that he is my son, forever... and that I am his mother... For the rest of time, no one else can say that about him and me.

I'm thankful for Brothers... the magic that only exist between James and Jackson... and inside connection that can't be rivaled.

I'm thankful for shelter. Our little nest, downy soft. It keeps us dry and warm and safe... I'm thankful that Love lives here.

I'm thankful for Connection.
-A connection to a who loves from the bottom of his feet to the very of his shiny.bald.head. I'm thankful that after two children and lots and lots of effort, he still Knows me and I Know him. I'm thankful that his foundation is secure and he seeks fulfillment in what is found Here... and not There. He celebrates me... and there is nothing better than that.
-I'm thankful for the connection of Motherhood... the journey that puts meaning in everything I do. A journey that would scare the Hell out of me if it wasn't constantly proving to me the Magic that is found in Everyday. I'd run away in retreat if it didn't make me so dadgum tough.
-I'm thankful for the connection of inspiration found through the internet. With very little effort, wearing not a business suit but a spit.up.stained shirt and pajama pants, I can learn just about anything I want... for free.

I'm thankful for Hope... the hope that is found in Believing in something greater than yourself. The Blessed Assurance that is my story, my song.

I'm grateful for the Grace that's always a phone call away when I've had a hard day and a friendly voice answers the phone. The understanding between women that allows us to pour our hearts out without needing to protect ourselves. The grace that promises no judgement, just mercy.

I'm thankful for Trinity Driving School and the service it provides and the good that it does.

I'm thankful for deeep bathtubs and water...

I'm thankful for coffee, coffee beans, coffee growers, coffee importers/exporters/traders/makers... You get my drift. :)

I'm thankful for the night.time... the magic hour when the boys fall to sleep and the house is quiet... and how nice it feels to be 'alone' with theHotness. There is no single place I'd rather be.

I'm thankful for all the Cool People in this world who have made all this Crafty.Old.Lady.Stuff I love to do cool. For the first time in my life I'm like a knitting/baking/sewing*rockstar! :)

I'm thankful for Family... the men who think I've hung.the.moon. The children who make me think, try, strive, and achieve. The instant dizziness I feel when I hug them tightly and take a deep breath. They are the constant in my life that helps me earn my sleep at night... and the very reason I wake up each morning. The tiny collection of people who see the best in me even when I lose my cool, go days without a stitch of makeup, or forget the sweet potatoes steaming on the stove.

I'm thankful for the Truth that our family isn't finished yet... that there is a chapter yet to be written for us. I'm grateful that even though I don't know The Plan... or her name, that God is in control and holding our daughter in His hands. And through the miracle of adoption, one day soon, I will have a daughter that will look nothing like me... but was exactly.created to be my daughter and change my life. Our little treasure waiting to be found...

And of course, I'm thankful for my readers... the ones who spend a tid.bit of their time letting me know that I'm not alone... and that we are in this together. Sort of. :)

Happy Thanksgiving friends!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Definitely possible...

It is possible to attend your ten year reunion and like it.

It is possible to be ten years later, when you walk into a event... all alone, with your pretty shoes on... with your date on your arm... hoping that things will be fine.

It is possible for old friends to recognize you after a drastic hair.cut, two pregnancies, 6 years of marriage, a mortgage, 710 sleepless nights, and 168,000 diaper changes.

It's possible to feel like a teenager again even though there are two car seats in the back seat, and Laurie Berkner on repeat in the car.

It's possible to feel nervous when you pack your 'little purse' and wonder for a split second if you have room to fit a box of raisins in there just in case the kids whiny...

It's possible to have a panic attack when you realize that you don't need raisins! Hell, you need note cards with topics written on them to be relevant and interesting at your ten year reunion!

It's possible to be a well adjusted 28 year old. A happily married mother of two... walking up that flight of stairs... scared that perhaps at the top, you'll realize that Life has in fact passed you by. And being scared that everyone will notice.

It is possible to plan ahead NOT to dance... because that would be stupid... but then feel the overwhelming urge to get out there when the DJ plays a rap.track.

It's possible to regret being such a 'teenager' in because for the most part, these are some of the coolest people you have ever (re)met.

It's possible to look across the room and realize that out of a couple hundred people and a lot of old memories, your husband is the most exceptional creature in the place...

It's possible to be honestly happy for people you use to not like.

It's possible to make a real effort to be Interesting, then two drinks later realize that we all just want to talk about bebies, poop, reflux, sex, and fat.rolls (ours and theirs).

It's possible for a group of 'snotty.teenage.highschoolers' to turn a rented reception hall into a giant, happy mommy.playdate.

It is possible to be reminded in a matter of minutes how much you miss some of your friends... how much you've missed... and how friggin exceptional they have become.

It's possible to stand shoulder to shoulder with a Doctor and a Lawyer and feel just as valuable and accomplished as a Stay.At.Home.Mom... because all three of us are working hard. All three of us are happy. All three of us are making a difference in this world.

It is possible to leave your reunion feeling 10 feet tall... knowing that in ten years, you've worked your tail off. Sacrifices, tears, dreams, Love, fears... And no matter, YOU are exactly where you need to be. You are exactly who you need to be with. You are heading exactly where you need to go.


To all my We made it. We really made it. We went from flimsy.teenagers who thought we knew what we wanted... thinking that no one understood how life really was- except of course Alanis Morrisette. Some how we made ten years of choices that brought us to Saturday night. All of us beautiful. All of us strong. All of us hanging on to what we have left of ourselves, while being brave enough to grow as mothers and wives. We were so little then--- but we must have cast a long shadow. We are much greater now than we ever (ever) were sitting on the carpet of The.Commons.

I walked away from a Could.Be.Disaster.Saturday.Night, realizing that I am a part of an incredible, beautiful, accomplished group of people.

*For those of you that read my blog and took the time to let me know and encourage me Saturday night- Thank you. It is nice to know that you share this space with me. I do love it.

Peace, love, and No.regrets.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hellos from the road!

Hello friendlies!

Thank you each so much for your embraced love and support of my newest venture, Mustard.Seed.Photography. As many of you said, it's been a long time coming and it has really transformed things for me/in me this past week. By week two of it's big debut, I will have completed four/FOUR/fOuR photo.sessions. That's... awesome. I have some special support in my life right now. And the encouragement that pours through this blog/email is a huge part of things. Thank you. In other Mustard.Seed news, I'm ***this*** close to launching my website. I'm debating to whether to launch it 'almost perfect' just to get it up sooner... or be patient to have it 'absolutely perfect.' I can feel some of you rolling your eyes. You know me too well! I have a feeling we both know what I'll choose. ;)

Right now... as I type, I am in the for the week. TheHotness has business which means a nice hotel and rental. Which means to me, that I have no floors to clean, meals to prepare, laundry to do... and an invisible house.elf that makes my bed and fluffs my pillows every time I leave. *Confession: I'm not a bed.maker. Seriously--- I always have fresh flowers in my house... I cook from scratch most meal... I sew and knit... all of that. BUT you'll never find a made bed in my house--- scratch that---- You'll ALWAYS find a made bed in my house, because the only time I make them is if people are coming over. Otherwise, they go un.made. BUT I tell you what, a made bed is a special thing... perhaps I'll change my ways?

AND my ten.year.highschool reunion is coming up. Like, next Saturday. *sigh* I'm actually looking forward to it. Odd, I know. But my Rachel/maid of honor is coming in town with her hunk... and my Carla and her hunk are all going. So that means my best girls and their sweeet boys will be together for ONE NIGHT ONLY without children or diaper bags. That alone is enough to get butterflies over. As of today, Thursday, I haven't decided on what to wear. True to form, I'm a procrastinator... and yes, I use my children as an excuse to continue procrastinating. However, I have good intentions for this weekend/week.

Highlights of this week so far:
*The Galleria with the boys... new shoes for James and Jax. So cute. James got a pair of new Chucks... this will be his fourth pair since he was born. I need to take a pic of the size progression... And Jax got a cute little Fox pair of Robeez to match his foxy.winter.wardrobe. :)
*hotel.Black.Out.curtains (as usual)
*photo.sesh that included kissing Ghandi's feet, mosquito swarms, foxtails... and a rumored Storm.Trooper.
*Date.night with theHotness- and this very*special Cilantro vinaigrette
*a new installment to my GreenErica jewelry. Thanks to this very*very gifted artisan, I have a very envious.and.ample collection of pretties. One word: CITRINE. Hello, love...

Now I'm about to head off to Joann's to gather up some fabric... for... camera.straps? bebe.Madelyn's layette and bebe.gear... what else? Oh, maybe fabric for window treatments? We will see where the fabric takes me...

We will be heading home Friday some time... I've got a newborn shoot this weekend. :)

Peace, love, and momentum.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I've always felt small. Small in my efforts. Small in my skills. Small.

I love big. I dream big. I try big... but ultimately, at the end of the day... when I'm left alone with my thoughts, I'm still small.

Maybe I'm not alone in this. Maybe we all feel small in some ways... but it doesn't really matter when I evaluate myself. Isn't it funny how we as mothers fall into this trap? Small!?!? Who me!?

Out of my mother's heart a family is born... fed. nurtured. protected.
I educate.
I work.
I correct.
I encourage.
I comfort.
I play.

All of that takes effort... but I hardly notice the effort. Because as a mother, the results of my efforts are so much larger than any sacrifice I have ever made. The bounty found at the end of the day dissolves whatever effort I put forth. My children are my portion, my prize. My family is my harvest. My God is my anchor, my strong tower.

It comes as no surprise here where we play with pencils, that I love photography. It's no secret that I am at home behind the lens and delight in the beautiful I find around me. For years my friends have encouraged me to take that next step with my photography. They've begged, they've bullied, they've pushed me to give myself credit and live out my dream. But I'm small. Remember?

Then six months ago, my heart was stirred. I began to grow. Marcus and I began to sort through much of what this growth was forcing us to consider. God was moving. And as small as we feel, we trust that something greater is at work here. We've committed our hearts to take a step in the name of Faith... hoping, trusting, knowing that a mountain will, in fact, move for us. We've taken that first small step in adopting our daughter.

And then, sure enough- little by little, that mountain has begun to move.

I may be small, but my God isn't. My heart isn't. My love isn't. My FAITH isn't.

It's time for me to be honest with myself. No more feelings of doubt. No more feelings of inadequacy. Because of Him, I'm much much more. And because of her- I have to be more. I can't stand by with idle hands while we work through this long journey of adoption. My Mothers.Heart won't let me do that. I need to be BIGGER than that... So you know what? I will.

With an open heart and an full.measure of inspiration, Mustard.Seed.Photography is born. (!!!)

I am a Believer, a Mother, a Photographer on a mission to move mountains by capturing and documenting the overwhelming bounty of the blessings all around us. I specialize in natural.light photography and am specifically passionate about finding the beauty in women.bebies.children. and family portraiture.

(I'll be changing my blog format soon, in order to better display my images... until then, you can click on the photo for a *somewhat* higher quality image.)

Why now? Ah! Because lately I have found courage in the most unlikely places. There is an orphan girl somewhere in this world that was meant for our family. I am a gifted photographer... and Mustard.Seed Photography is dedicated to bring her home. :)

*As I type this, I'm totally tethered to the ground... for years I've had this burning desire to pursue my passion in photography. And now, thanks to a handful of the best friends a girl could have and a God who created me with Purpose- I am living my dream. !!! (seriously, picture me with my crazy red and blonde spikey hair floating in the air with a fat littleDuckling on my hip... tied to the ground... while the Chicken and Dumplins simmer away on the stove.) That's me! :)

If you would like to participate in my journey of Faith and would like Mustard.Seed Photography to capture the blessings in your life, please contact me. My website will follow shortly... I can always be reached at my email:

Peace, love, and moving.mountains!