Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Let's ease up on the 'killing,' shall we?

Hi, I'm Lindsey... the mother to two little boys. Boys.

I really can't speak of gender differences here with much authority. I mean, I have no daughter yet to compare them to- so bare with me as I shoot from the hip here. I am an early childhood/middle school teacher... so I have debated my fair share of theory on the topic... no matter though, I plan on totally winging this post.

(I'm tired.)

I love my boys. When they do things, they do them louder, harder, rougher, and messier than I do. I celebrate their gusto! Maybe that's just how boys roll. Don't get me wrong, I love it. They grip my cheeks when they kiss my lips. Loud audible smooches. No pecks. They like to squeeze me tight when they hug me. They love when I tell them how strong and handsome they are. I do love their enthusiasm and heft in loving me...

But gracious! Our little nest is noisy. And now they chase each other. Full.on.Chase... with pitter patter feet and high pitched squeals followed by the eventual smack, crash, boom. And the make believe! Everything is about SuperHeroes around here, lately. They tie towels, blankets, etc around their wastes and necks and legs and arms... layers of accessories and accoutrement. *I meant to make them both real capes for Christmas. Sparkly ones made from satin. There is still Easter, right? I've got to make that happen in order to bypass James' penchant for rigging belts around his arms, legs, and neck, oh my! 

I remind them to slow down. I ask them to use their Inside Voices. I fuss and tell them to stop playing rough! I've learned just to gear up for the bumped heads and tears for when someone crosses the line plays too hard. But for the most part, I've learned to stay out of it. Let them play. Within reason, let them just do their brotherly thing. Oh, but it's hard! Especially when James and Jax in broken, toddler/preschool talk start ad libbing as they go:

"Aye! You killing me dead!"
"Oh, Bubba you deading me!"
"I dying you, Bad Guy!"
"You deading! I save da day!"

Call me crazy, but we don't do play guns, knives, swords, etc... not yet anyway. When I was little we had holsters and cap guns- true toy guns.  Now, toy stores have suped up assault rifles and tricked out killing machines- so yeah, we don't play 'gangster.' Annnnd we don't do violent 'kid' movies... again, not yet. I'm protective of what they see with their little eyes. I can't stand the argument that 'boys will be boys' therefore parents choose not to censor what they overhear or see on TV. James was nearly 10lbs at birth. And when your 4 year old is the size of the average second grader, you get a little protective of managing 'aggressive' play behaviors. Invision a 'bull in a china cabinet.' So I tend to redirect those kinds of behavior to other physical forms of activity... sports, running, jumping. etc. Makes playdates with tiny.miniature.fragile kids average sized children a little less stressful for this mom of Gigantoids.

However, no matter what I've done, we do a lot of super hero play... and 'deading' and 'kills you' and 'dying me.'

It does freak me out a little. As I stir dinner, holding my breath waiting for someone to burst out in tears, needing me to lift with my knees not my back to gather their big bones up in my arms for kisses, I pray a fairly simple prayer:

Dear God, please don't let them grow up to be killers. Please let them learn English. And please don't let them knock their teeth out today, or anything that would require me to go to the Emergency Room. I haven't bathed today and I'm out of matching socks. Momma really just wants to ride this one out, Lord. And thank you for making both children equally huge and physically hardy... that way when they go at it, they won't break each other to pieces.

See what I mean? :)

Peace, Love, and damsels in distress.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A beautiful Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

It's no secret that I love Martin Luther King, Jr.

I think MLK Day rocks... I always have.

Growing up in the public school system, I learned all about his life and his impact on my life. Where I live, so much controversy surrounds whether or not we should celebrate his life... and I just don't get it.

Why not?
Is it that I live in the Deep South?
Is it a black/white issue?
Are we really still there?

Why do people make sarcastic comments about the fact we dedicate a day to reflect on his life? And then they throw out poorly thought through rhetoric along the lines of- ' yeah, well, why don't we have a day for this guy or that guy? Isn't that racist? etc. etc"

Logic fail. 100% of the time.

For a man such as he, in a time such as that... to stand up for Love and Freedom and Justice... saying tough things to us all... asking us to reflect on our own human nature? I don't know. But to me it's important. It makes sense. And I'm grateful that he had a place in my education growing up. I'm a better person because of this guy, and the teachers along the way who felt it important to stress his role in American history and humanity. The teachers that at a young age, challenged me to decide what kind of person I would be... The person who Loved? Or the person who Hated? And at what cost would I stand up for love. *Thank you, Mrs. Dee Course at Bellingrath Hills Elementary School, for investing in my little life and planting a seed in me.
As a young woman, raising two boys... the adoptive mother to our future daughter who will be Ethiopian, Dr. King's words, writings and speeches inspire me, convict me, and force me to reflect in a real way on how to best bring up my children in the world.

Today I talked more to James about Dr. King and why we celebrate his life. We looked through pictures and listened to his 'I Have a Dream' speech. James prefers the pictures where he is speaking out to a crowd. He told me he is going to talk like that one day... and that people will listen to him talk about Love and God. Oh, and when James talks about things like that I get all weepy. He's such a tender kid... and God gave him to me! It's cool to have a kid who is tender about things that I am tender about... that he's open to the things we learn together.

I hope he does speak that way one day. Whether it is to a crowd of a thousand or just to a crowd of three. Standing up for Love and Justice is everything a mother could want her child to do.

It's my job to impress on my children the importance of defining what you believe in and having the courage to stand up for those beliefs even when it's not popular. And of course, the first step in teaching our children that virtue, is to walk it out in front of them consistently as we navigate this life. And that's not easy... it never will be.

So, I'm glad we set aside one day a year to recommit ourselves to the dream that Dr. King spoke of... A day to renew our commitment to our children, our community, and our world. It's a beautiful way to live.

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” -Dr. King

Peace, Love, and Visionaries,

Friday, January 14, 2011

mustard.seed.photography Facebook Fan Page!

So many of you have found my photography fan page.  But for those of you who haven't, please swing by and check out my newest work.  I've spent today updating my albums for your viewing pleasure.  ;) 

You can find my facebook fan page HERE and my website HERE... *I'll try to update my website here next week. 

*Please check out my fan page and 'like' my work if, in fact, you do like it.  AND please leave a comment letting me know you've stopped by from the blog.  It would be nice to meet you.  :)

Mustard.seed.photography is glad to greet 2011!  I'm already booking into May.  I've got the most amazing and loyal clients!  Thank you for supporting me, my passion, and our adoption.  The more I shoot, the closer we are to meeting our adoption financial goals!

If you would like to schedule a session with me or to check to see my availability for events, weddings, etc- please email me at www mustardseedphoto dot com or click HERE!

Natural light photography is a wonderful thing!  Thanks so much for following my progress on this little mustard.seed Journey of mine. 

Peace, love, and Sunlight.

Monday, January 10, 2011

BLUE LILY and the best husband on PlanetEarth.

So I needed a few days to let the news wear off sink in... Just talking about it out loud makes me queasy have butterflies in my tummy...

We are officially a Blue Lily client.


You can see their iconic work (here) and (here) and (here).

You simply must click on the links to see what all the fuss is about!

I have followed their work pretty much daily for 5+ years... they are on my short list of favorite photographers ever.EVER. To me, their work represents the very best of what portrait photographers can achieve... I see their soul in the images they take. I have an emotional reaction to their work. Tyler and Wendy serve as endless inspiration to me and my little mustard.seed mission.

The husband and wife team travel all over the world shooting portraits... and in perfect theHotness.fashion, as soon as their 2010 dates were released, he snagged us up a spot. We will have to travel to meet them- but that's part of the fun!

I'm so excited. I have great pictures of the boys... but we always look like single parents in our memories- bc one of US has to man the camera. I may die when I see us ALL in one frame (or 30). Plus, the idea to meet this inspiring couple makes me crazy excited. I get to actually SEE them do what they do best... while working with US. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around it all.

I'm so nervous and intimidated. What will we wear? Will I be a giggly mess? Can I keep my composure? Will the boys participate well? Oh, gosh, will I compulsively ask for them to sign my camera, my bag, my face? Ugh... then my stomach goes nuts and I have to take a break from this train.of.thought.

I'm so excited. I'm so grateful and thankful to theHotness for making note of all the little things that mean something to me. He is always so generous... and I know that that kind of generosity comes from his strategic planning and gut.busting hard work. There are so many things being done behind the scenes to give me the life I have... and he manages it and balances it all so effortlessly. *But I know it takes effort. Lots of effort. - thanks Bay.* So, stay tuned as we await our shoot.

Now, I must change the subject, lest my stomach gets the best of me.

Peace, love, and Mentors,

*i had to add a photo in... but please note, it's their image!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Our little Christmas... in Pictures.

Annnnd looks like that's all Blogger will allow me to upload at this time. *Huff*

It was a good holiday season... we have so much to be thankful for. Most importantly, those two boyJoys of ours. They make pretty much everything merry and bright. Plus, at the end of the day with them, we fall into bed completely wiped out... then have dreams of more bebies. It's a vicious cycle. :)

Peace, love, and Christmas.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

To be Five...

Dear boy.of.mine,

You've reached the mark you've been waiting for... Five Years Old. I'm so happy that you are happy. For the first time in your life, you outlined exactly what kind of fanfare you felt fit this big milestone. I did everything in my control to secure all the details of the day that you wanted... not because you are demanding or hard to please- but because you are the kind of child that a mother wants to indulge. There isn't an ugly bone in your body- or more importantly, your spirit.

It's spectacular to watch you grow... and I have noted every detail of this growth since you were just a flutter deep within my womb. I marvel in who you are. I'm astonished at who God has created you to be. There was a time, not too long ago, that your dad and I could evaluate everything about you... your nature, your eyes, your smile, your predispositions... we could label them quite clearly into two categories: theMe in you, and theHim in you. But now we can clearly see that there is more to you than Us. And thank goodness for it! You are so much more than we could have ever imagined. You are intricate, marvelous, and sincere.

I love you for where you have brought me. I love where you take me. I love the journey I've found in being your mother. I love the hope that exist every morning I wake up to find you in our nest. Watching you grow is fantastic and devastating and beautiful... I'm so grateful you share this space with us.

always and forever.ever,

photo credit: Glass Wall Photography

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Last Night...

I woke up this morning as usual to theHotness making his way to the bathroom to get ready for work. In that instant that I opened my eyes, I realize that I had an amazing dream... a beautiful dream. I saw our daughter's face... her big brown eyes, her curled lashes, her soft dreamy hair. In my dream, I was focused on telling her to wait for us, that we were coming... and to not be afraid. I held her tight and kissed her a million times and I was overcome with emotion. She wasn't scared and she acted like she new me and loved me and felt safe with me. It was the warmest, brightest feeling ever. I told her about her brothers and how silly they were and how devoted they will be when she comes home. I told her about Jax's easy laugh and James' tender heart. I told her about her daddy... that he was calm and strong and good. I wrapped my arms around her and told her that her daddy's hug felt one.hundred.times better... and that with him around, nothing would ever hurt her. Ever. I told her that he makes our dreams come true and will make hers too.

In my dream, I started to feel the haste that our time together was nearly over. I took her tiny hand... all five fingers and I spread them out over my hand. I held it to my heart and told her about me. I told her that nothing would stop me from getting to her. I told her that I'm not a perfect person... or perfect mother... but I've never been scared of Effort or a Challenge or Hard Work. I told her that if she would trust me, I would devote the rest of my life to raising her up in Love and in Truth. I looked into her brown eyes above her button nose and told her that her dreams would be my dreams and heart would be my heart. I told her that I promise to respect her heritage and the woman that gave the ultimate sacrifice to place her into our nest. I promised to come back and DO something to keep these children safe, these woman safe. I promised to be honest with her... to not raise her separate or apart from her culture... I promised to try with all my heart to raise her as best I can. I asked her to trust me. To wait for me.

Then a beautiful lady dressed in a beautiful, simple gown came and took her from me. I crumbled. Not in fear... I had great peace. I crumbled at the physical separation and reality that we have a long road ahead of us. I love her so much. I'm bonded to a child I've never met or seen. But this dream was a gift to me.

My friend posted this today on her FB page. It spoke to my heart.

"Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise... He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises." Romans 4:20-21

I am fully convinced that God has promised this for our family... for this little girl. In this promise comes great emotion. For this child to be promised to us, she will have to come into this world amid great strife and struggle. She will have to be loved, nurtured, and given up by her birth mother... not because she was ever unwanted... but because of extreme poverty... because of lack of resources and development- things that shouldn't exist in our world. Things that can and should and will be changed. I'm so little. So very very small. But inside me lives a Mighty.Force. And I know that my heart is His heart... and that paired with a little Boldness, is all we really need. In my dream, I pledged myself to this child to do everything in my power to bring about a change in this orphan crisis in Ethiopia and around the world...

And in that promise, I will not waiver.

peace, love, and Promises.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy NewYear: The beginning of a journey...

Hi friends!

Today is the first day 'back.to.normal.' You see, 4 days ago we started a new year... Year 2011... the year We've Been Waiting For!!! I've been waiting for this moment for more than a year... remember way back to November of 2009? Feels like forever ago.

This year marks a big step in our little family. As anticipated, we are growing our family! We will be adding to our little nest through the miracle of adoption. The anatomy of our family will be forever changed and we could not be happier!

All the way across the world there is a little girl... we don't know who she is. We don't know her face, her age, or anything about her at all... other than the fact that circumstances will bring us together as a family. All we can do is trust God to make our paths meet. All we can do is to take one step forward, in faith, trusting that eventually we will find our feet on African soil making their way to ourGirl.

The specifics?

We have filed for adoption of a bebe-2yo little girl in Ethiopia... Our agency is Illien Adoptions International. We expect this process to take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. Yes, it will be expensive. Yes, it will be an emotional trial. Yes, there are many many unknowns out there that have/have yet/and will present themselves to us on this journey--- BUT we feel without a shadow of a doubt, that our family is meant to reach out into this world and bring an orphan home. In adoption (or even pregnancy) we can't control everything... at some point you have to let go of the illusion of control and step out in Faith, trusting God's will in our lives. We trust that our Heavenly Father will meet us there and carry us to her and her to us. He will make a way for us both.... It's an unlikely story of Love. But 'unlikely' is our God's specialty. So we look forward down this path with eyes lifted!

This image is taken from our agency's site... they have amazing images there. :)

So basically I'm staring this year in the face and wondering about many things:

Will we be moving this year? Will we move back to Texas? Will it be (crossing our fingers) overseas? Will we be parents of three by 2012? Will the adoptions be short and easy? Long and difficult? Are we sticking around in BatonRouge for another year or three? What will me turning 30 feel like? Should I let mustard.seed.photography grow with wild abandon adding more photographers, editors, and a studio space? Should I keep it small and neat and maintain my position as a niche indie.photographer? Will I feel this new bebe sleep on my chest... feeling her hot little breath on my neck? Or is that further away? Will the boys become world travelers this year with hours packed away on airplanes... walking the streets of new places, learning new customs, making new friends?

At this point, Jan. 4th, 2011- I have no idea of the answers. And my personality lends itself to being a little impatient... wanting to control mostly everything. BUT when I look over my list of uncertainties, it's obvious that no matter how these questions are answered, we are living an abundantly blessed life. I'm not sure what the Big Picture of 2011 will be... but I'm completely certain that God will be there in the details, hand tailoring exactly what we need. Today I am at peace! And I'm hoping that tomorrow I will wake up with the same peace... but if not, I'll choose to center myself around the things in my life that are unchanging.

Good things are on the horizon! I don't want to miss today by waiting on tomorrow... So YOU! 2011? Don't even try to come at me all loomy and up.in.the.air! That may would have worked in 2010 or something- but not now, Sucker. Dude, I'm almost THIRTY- which means I've got this thing.

In the meantime, I plan on choosing joy everyday and wait for all these questions to reveal their answers. But between you and me? I'd like to be overseas, with a bebe, that comes to us rather quickly and painlessly, with happy/healthy/growing boys experiencing a different culture... annnnnnd i'd like to find myself in a moment where I'm walking down a market street, with my bebeGirl wrapped around me, sleeping soundly, the top of her head smelling like Heaven. My boys holding my hands walking beside me taking in all that they see... with Marcus' keeping us all safe in his stride. It certainly would take many minor.miracles to piece this little dream together this year- but it is certainly possible. SO I'll think on it while I fold clothes and tend my men. :)

For now, we will be focusing on some up coming job news, our home study, some exciting fund.raising opportunities, James' spring Pre.School semester, and a very full winter/spring mustard.seed schedule!

To keep my heart busy, I'm on a quest to find some amazing Africa/Ethiopia/Adoption art prints/jewelry. I'm currently obsessed with filling our nest with it's image. Because after all, this country (and more specifically a Community, a Family, a Woman) will give us the most Precious Resource it has... and I want to be reminded of this everyday. :) So let me know if you have a favorite resource!

source here! *This was made by an expectant dad to his wife as they awaited the arrival of their sweet son... It makes me cry when I see it. It's amazing. Annnnnd I think I'd die if I could have my own print...

***And it can't go without saying, THANK YOU to all that have followed my story, my work, and my little family... Your encouragement has gone a long way and I'm grateful for your time and sentiments. Please keep up with this journey! We will need the company!! ;)

peace, love, and notarized paperwork trails.