Find time for your soul

There is usually at least one big blow up from me at bedtime on school nights and it’s usually directed at the 3-year old who thinks bedtime is playtime. I know it’s my own fault for trying to put two children with an eight year age gap to bed at the same time. I know it’s my fault for not remembering she’s three and that winding down to the point of relaxation can be hard for a toddler.

And I know it’s also my fault for not finding a little more free time for myself where my soul can be still and listen to my heart. 

After I’ve stomped away to pout and decompress in the bathroom on those crazy nights, I usually remind myself of all these things I should remember.

She’s exhausting and frustrating but I would never give up the playful moments we share between somewhat tired and incredibly exhausted nor the quiet moments when she finally gives in. I love to hear her and her brother’s giggles and watch her jump “jus’ one more time,” for the tenth time.

I love to feel her body tiny, warm, solid and completely surrendered to relaxation and rest against me. The moment I look down and see her eyes closed and her face relaxed is  full of internal elation because once she’s asleep I can have a little bit of free time for myself, if I’m not too tired.

Many times the free time I do find myself with is so short I try to do too much – watch a show, edit photos and write a blog post all at the same time. In the end I often find I have accomplished very little and my head is a jumbled mess of thoughts and sheer panic that I won’t have time to do all I need or want to do.

My goal this next year is to choose one task I want to finish in that golden hour between when the two of them fall asleep and my eyelids won’t stay open anymore.

Today I chose blogging during her nap. At bedtime it may be catching up on a favorite show (of which I have only a few) or reading a chapter in a book or listening to a podcast. Whatever I choose I am grateful for those little moments of mental rest when my soul gets some much needed attention.

How do you step away to recharge your soul?

Or do you?

If not, make that your goal this week. Find time to make space for your thoughts, your feelings and for your soul to breathe.

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10 on 10 for October | Athens, PA Photographer

This is part of a monthly blog circle and collaboration with a group of ladies where we feature ten photos from either one day, one activity or from the previous month. Please find the link to the next person at the bottom of the post and follow the circle around. If you are a photographer and want to join in you can link up with us in our Facebook group.


September was unseasonably warm and October is showing it’s going to be the same. During the unseasonably warm weather Little Miss must have been hit with an extra burst of sass-driven energy because she’s decided she doesn’t need to listen, go to bed or sit in her car seat.

Her antics, and the fact I’m alone with her most days while The Boy is at school, means I seem to have quite a few more photos of her these days than him, but I assure my readers he is still creating his own brand of comical and hyperactive moments. 

These are just ten of our visual highlights from September and the beginning of October.  

 Here is Little Miss showing some of her sass, which she's always had, but seems to be showing up more and more these days.
Here is Little Miss showing some of her sass, which she’s always had, but seems to be showing up more and more these days.
 Licking the mixer with grandma's homemade mashed potatoes on them.
Licking the mixer with grandma’s homemade mashed potatoes on them.
 The Boy - procrastination expert. He was supposed to be in bed.
The Boy – procrastination expert. He was supposed to be in bed.
 The weather was so warm we actually swam in my parents' pool in the end of September, which, of course, is unusual for our area.
The weather was so warm we actually swam in my parents’ pool in the end of September, which, of course, is unusual for our area.
The story behind this photo:  Me: “Oh my gosh, it was so sweet how you all were protecting Little Miss today while you were in that Nerf war.” The Boy: “We weren’t protecting her. We were capturing her. Like capture the flag. Whichever team had her won.” Me: “So you were saying ‘We’ve got the baby!’ because you were capturing her?” The Boy: “Um…yeah. Of course.”
 Little Miss has developed a stuffed puppy obsession and there are about 15 being dragged around the house most days. She also tries to take all 15 with her for every car ride.
Little Miss has developed a stuffed puppy obsession and there are about 15 being dragged around the house most days. She also tries to take all 15 with her for every car ride.
 Here we are in reality. Messy van, messy kid who seemed to live on lollipops for the month of September.
Here we are in reality. Messy van, messy kid who seemed to live on lollipops for the month of September.
 Someone has decided she is going to be a dragon for Halloween and she wanted to wear the costume as soon as she got it.
Someone has decided she is going to be a dragon for Halloween and she wanted to wear the costume as soon as she got it.
 This was not a set up image. This was her chasing her brother who was pretending to be a knight, slaying a dragon.
This was not a set up image. This was her chasing her brother who was pretending to be a knight, slaying a dragon.
When I asked her to step back into the light she said “OK! I stand in the light!” She knows what mama likes when it comes to pretty light and my pretty girl.
A “tragic accident” on our front sidewalk one day. In reality, The Boy put the bike on him and made it appear as if she’d run over him. Pretty ingenious in this mama’s humble opinion. She’s full of sass and he’s full of drama and craziness.

To continue this month’s circle, visit Anna Hurley’s blog!

 

In Case You Missed It

In case you missed some of the posts on the blog this week, here are links to them to help you catch up:

Sunday: a series of phrases I never, ever thought I’d utter as a mom.

Monday: I am determined to be a writer, but sometimes life gets in the way.

Tuesday: I featured a favorite photographer, Sven Berger, for the Tell Me More About feature.

Wednesday: I hope to someday photograph families in their natural environment

Wednesday: I shared some thoughts from a friend on the doubts Christians can have.


A little snow must fall. . .eventually | Athens, PA Photographer

You would have thought we had never seen snow before the way Jonathan and I quickly dressed ourselves and the baby and headed outside into the cold.

“Quick! Before it melts!” I called as I buttoned Grace’s new Christmas-styled coat.

With a winter that was featuring temperatures way above normal I knew the day could warm up fast and turn our yard into mud instead of a winter wonderland.

I also knew the forecasts were calling for record breaking warm temperatures for Christmas and we wouldn’t be having a white Christmas, so we’d better enjoy the snowy scene while we could.

I placed Grace in the slushy white snow in the side yard and watched her look down at it with a confused look on her face. She’d been too young last year to really notice the snow but this year I watched her poke her finger in it on the grass, my shoe, her brother’s shoe. She seemed to be genuinely puzzled by the cold substance on the ground.

I’m sure it will be another year before she really enjoys the snow the way her brother does, building snow forts and snow men (though we’ve never actually been able to make a real snow man).

As for when we will get any measurable snow again in Pennsylvania – your guess is as good as mine.

What are we waiting for? | Ulster, Pennsylvania Child Photographer

I  meet my son’s bus at an old school parking lot and usually we head home right away to make dinner and get ready for karate or to get homework started.

This past week we’ve had warm temperatures and sunny days but I’ve been too busy to enjoy it. By the time I have been ready to experience some of the warmth, the sun is already sinking below the hills that surround the small town we live in.

One day I took my daughter out of her seat as we waited for her brother and admired the golden light of the already setting sun. When my son got off the bus I heard myself say:

“Oh wow… Look at that light … It’s amazing.”

I knew we had to get home, get dinner done and get to karate. No time for photography or having fun or just cutting loose. I had to start being responsible and stop being such a goof off, as I tend to find myself being.

“Then what are we waiting for?” I heard my son say and before I could remind him we have responsibilities he took took off across the still green grass, tinted golden by the sun.

Without even thinking I was carrying the baby across the grass and watching my son climb a tree limb that had broken off one tree and fallen against another.

Soon My daughter was trying to eat dried black walnuts and I was admiring the sun flare behind her head.

I forgot schedules and responsibility and we ran down a hill and laughed and hugged each other while the sun set behind us.

Sometimes we need those spontaneous moments of joy. We need to put aside what we tell ourselves are responsibilities but are probably only things we do because someone else does and we don’t want to look like a bad parent to someone else.

My son seems to often transform mundane moments into magical ones. Watching him climb the tree limb, sitting at the top,proud of his accomplishment, I found myself admiring his willingness, maybe even his determination to seize the moment and go with the flow.

Before I had children I saw parents as the teachers and the children as students but now that I’m a mother i realize my son often leads me and where he leads me is into a world where the focus is on what is true, real and important.

beauty from ashes |

Isaiah 61:2-4To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.4Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.…

Soft hair brushes against my arm and you sigh in your sleep.

I nuzzle my face against the top of your head and breathe in the scent of you. I smell honey from the shampoo we used to wash mashed pears out of your hair. Your chubby hand has somehow found its’ way into my hair and the strands twist around your fingers, trapping me until you’ve fallen into a deeper sleep.

I love these moments. I love the feel of your soft skin, your warm breath, your heart pounding. I love the feel of your life, a life I never expected but that, like your brother, has changed mine 180 degrees for the better.And here we are, at your first birthday. You’ve been here a year and it may sound cliche but it absolutely feels like it was yesterday.

It was the end of a long day when you decided it was time to come see your brother, dad and I.

By the next morning you were in my arms and it felt like you had always been a part of our life.

Your daddy counted fingers and toes but I never did. I knew you were perfect. I knew you were from God and that’s all that mattered. All I saw were your eyes and they were looking into mine.

You, joined with your brother,  have been the burst of energy, the breeze of freshness this stale, jaded, empty soul needed to remind me that life is still good, that God is still on the throne and that beauty comes from ashes.

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