Grief and Hope 

Grief. The word itself is ugly. It leaves an ugly black hole in the pit of my stomach. 

Grief comes from the Old French, grever, which means “to burden”.  It feels like a burden too, something we carry around on our backs like a heavy load. 

Some would think that grief gets easier with time, but really it only changes. 

My shock has worn down as the years have passed, but my grief is still as heavy and present as ever, and each passing year I forget more and more of the details. Like the sound of his laugh. Oh, how I wish I could remember what it sounded like. So, that grief, the initial shock of his death, morphs into grief for the loss of the details. I fear that eventually I’ll even forget his big bear hugs. 

I’ve written a lot about suicide since Will died, but it still needs to be talked about. Mental illness, depression, anxiety; these are all very real things. Until we, as a society, can get over the stigma attached to these things, then more families will continue to lose loved ones. And not just to suicide, but to things like addiction as well. 

I will live with my grief, carry that “burden”, and cling to the memories I have left until they, too, fade away. 

But there is hope as well. Hope that one day I may see him again. Hope, that by talking about these things another family may be spared the grief and heartache that we have experienced not once, but twice. 

Hope that someone may see this and know that they are loved and cared for and suicide is not the answer. 

And also hope in the Lord, for we do not have to carry this burden alone. 

Don’t wait to talk to your loved ones, don’t wait to talk to that kid at school that everyone makes fun of or the guy at work that keeps to himself. Your call, your smile or your hello could mean the difference between life and death. 

If you are the one suffering, please know that there is hope. You are not alone. 

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

J❤️

Already Enough


This is me. The real me. No makeup, filters or flattering photo angles. Hot and sweaty from watching my girls at cheer practice, before which I backed into my husband’s car (for real y’all). 

Tired, oh so tired. 

I am a daughter of the one true King, beloved and treasured, but I have a hard time remembering that. Remembering that my joy lies in Him and Him alone. 

I post this so you know that we don’t have it all together. I yell at my kids sometimes, and they are not always perfect angels. (The 4yo only made it half way through cheer before she had a meltdown). My house isn’t clean, I don’t cook gourmet meals, my kids are lucky if they have PB&J sometimes. 

Don’t compare yourself to what you see on social media. We all have stuff, no one is perfect. That photo I posted of my two sweet girls holding hands and smiling? It took 20 shots, lots of tears, and most likely a fist fight between the two to get. 

What you have is what you have, and what you have is already perfect because it’s yours. Live for the moment, because they go so fast. Put down the phone and spend time with your kids. I promise you will learn things about them you never knew. 

And LOVE yourself. The self you have now, not the self you want to be or think you should be. If you don’t love yourself now, you won’t love yourself when you get there either. 

You are beautiful, loved, treasured, important, intelligent, amazing. You truly are. 
“So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:18

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I post this for and to myself. I need to put down the phone and stop comparing myself to other people, AND I am just as bad as the next person about only posting the good and “perfect”. I would hate to know that someone would see something I’ve posted and think less of what they have, when really they are only seeing half truths. I’m not trying to be preachy, I’m only calling it as I see it in my own life and mind. 

And again, you are already enough. YOU, reading this right now. You are loved, cared for, intelligent, strong, important, amazing. 

Don’t ever forget it. 

Until next time, 

Daughter

Oh daughter, sweet daughter that I have made, the one that I adore. I know your heart hurts, I know you are tired and weary. I know that you get angry in the waiting and wanting. That you wonder why I don’t just take these things from you like you know I can.

But daughter, you are not of this world. This instant gratification “privileged” world. I never promised that their wouldn’t be suffering, only that I would be there with you. I don’t take these things from you because I want you to see Me in them. I want you to look for Me in the heartache, to lean on and rest in Me when you are tired, and to let Me wipe away your tears. You know I love you, right? You know I have every tear you have ever cried, and I have always been there even when you couldn’t feel Me.

But with these things I also give you a promise of Joy. A promise of everlasting life in Me. A promise that, one day, the veil will drop and you will see this world as I see it, and you will see yourself as I see you. Beautiful.

So, beautiful one, do not give up on Me. Lean in, and listen. I am here always.

For my babies

The other day I was thinking of things that I wanted to make sure the girls knew. Not only that we love them unconditionally, but things about life in general. I figured I should put the list down on paper now while they were still young. I can always add to it, but I figured I might forget all the important things I want to tell them by the time we make it into teenage-hood. (eek!)

Sun in the Pines

To my beautiful girls, Scarlett and Savannah, some things to remember as you make your way through life.

Learn to laugh at yourself. Laughter is the best medicine and if you can’t laugh at yourself every now and then you’ll have a tough time getting through life.

You will make mistakes. Believe me I know. But I also know that with mistakes comes forgiveness and second chances, and you will never do anything that will make me, your daddy or your heavenly Father love you any less.

I am always here for you. I want you to talk to me and confide in me. Also, know that God is always by your side even when you don’t feel him, and he wants you to talk to Him too.

Play, have fun, see the joy in life. You will have plenty of time for adult seriousness when you are older, but now I just want you to have fun. I want to you grow and learn new things, to see the world in a way that only a child can.

Love. Simply love. It is what we are here to do. To love one another like God loves us. To minister and teach His word, to bring joy to the people around us. To get down and dirty in the trenches and do hard things, to take care of each other, but most importantly to just simply love one another.

You are beautiful. Inside and out. You are made just the way He intended you to be, so love yourself, it’s the only self you get. Anyone who tells you different is having a hard time loving their own self. Help them. 

Pray. If there was one thing I could go back and tell my young self it would be to pray more. Bring your troubles before God. You aren’t bothering Him, He wants you to talk to him. He wants to be part of every minute of every day. Have a hard decision to make? Pray. Something dad and I did that’s bothering you? Pray. Have a fight with your best friend? Pray. You see someone at school that’s hurting? Pray. We want you to come to us with your problems too. We want to sit and talk with you and help you make decisions, and pray for you and with you. We want to make sure that the friend at school that you saw was hurting gets help. So please come to us and feel safe to be open with us, but pray also. Bring those things to your heavenly Father and find rest and peace, and answers with Him too.

Don’t ever give up. You will get hurt, people and friends will forsake you. You will have times when your down and dirty in the trenches and you are doing hard things and you feel like no one is there with you. Like no one understands. You will, I’m sorry. I don’t want to sugar coat it for you, it’s just part of life. But don’t give up. God is always with you, always. He loves you and will bring you out on the other side, you just have to trust in him. We are here too, and we will NEVER give up on you. We love you more than you can fathom even when it seems like we don’t love you at all.

Remember that we love you, you are important. We only want the best for you, which means we will do and say and make you do things that you don’t like sometimes. Everything we do is out of love, and hopefully one day you will thank us for them.

Most importantly, remember that God loves you, and that, my beautiful babies, is one thing that will never change.

Love always,

Mom

29 years… (WW#5)

Today is my last birthday. Every year from here on out will just be anniversaries of my 29th birthday. 😉

Seriously though, I’m incredibly blessed to have the most amazing friends/family/coworkers. They took a day that I wasn’t really looking forward to and made it amazing!

So, Happy Birthday to me! ♥

Jess B day

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Also, the sweetest little 2 year old serenaded me with a song first thing this morning. ♥ ♥ My cup runneth over.

 

J ♥

Linking up here:

and here today:

In the Moment with Sarah Halstead
Come join us! ♥

Our first baby (WW#2)

Our sweet Labrador, Jersey, passed away last Saturday. She was born December 26, 1999 and was with my husband 7 years before he and I ever met. She was our first baby, and survived a lot in her first few years. She was a good dog, one of the sweetest I’ve ever met. I will miss her dearly.

Is this not the cutest picture?

Is this not the cutest picture?

Jersey collage

Jersey5

Jersey2 Collage

Yes, that little black dot is her. She LOVED the river!

Yes, that little black dot is her. She LOVED the river!

Our first baby with our first baby...

Our first baby with our first baby…

I have to believe that she’s in a better place. She’s waiting for us on the other side. She has all the new tennis balls she could ask for, and we will play fetch again one day.

Love you sweet Jersey.

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♥ J

Linking up here:

and here today:

In the Moment with Sarah Halstead
Come join us! ♥

Babies don’t keep

I hate whiny posts. In fact I hate whining period (especially when it’s coming from my 2 year old). BUT I’m so tired. My husband and I work full time, and it always seems that when we get home there are a ton of things to do. Then the baby starts screaming and the toddler is crying because I didn’t fix her chocolate milk just right, or the dog looked at her, or she has just finally realized that the rock she brought in from the driveway two weeks ago is missing. Seriously.

I’m just tired, and that makes me sad. I realized that I’ve spent so much time feeling exhausted and annoyed lately that I’m missing out on my baby crawling, and all the awesome stuff that my 2 year old is learning lately. Scarlett and I actually held a conversation with each other a few days ago and it made me stop and wonder where this little person came from.

There is so much going on in the world, in our country, at work, with our families, that it’s been hard to just stop and enjoy life. To enjoy the fact that Scarlett still comes to me and asks to be held, I know that those moments will soon come to an end. To enjoy Savannah in all her chubby, yummy, sweetness. To enjoy my husband, and the amazing relationship that we share. It’s all so fleeting.

A friend shared this with me a few months ago, and it came to mind this past weekend:

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
For babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow
So quiet down, cobwebs
Dust, go to sleep
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.

~Anon

Babies don’t keep. They may be babies in our hearts forever, but physically it such a sort period of time. They grow up SO fast. By the way, NEVER say this to a parent of a newborn/infant/toddler, they will soon figure it out on their own, trust me. But for now it doesn’t help, it just makes them feel more exhausted/inadequate/angry/(insert crazy parent of a small child emotion here).

I came to a realization today that instead of feeling defeated I wanted to feel joy. I know that it’s not going to happen over night, it’s not even going to happen all the time, but I’m going to try. It’s the trying that counts. If I can say that at least ONE afternoon instead of brushing my toddler off I actually stop and listen to her and make sure that she knows how loved and important she is and I find joy in that, well then I’d say I’m doing pretty good. If I stop and play patty cake with my baby instead of rushing to finish dinner, then I am blessed, or pause to make sure that my husband knows how very much I appreciate all he does for me, then my cup is overflowing.

Find the joy, because babies don’t keep.

♥♥Jess

Good Intentions

So I had every intention of starting my C25K program this afternoon.

That is until it started raining.

I feel like the universe is against me sometimes. I mean most of the time I do make excuses, I admit it. I know I’m lazy, but at least I know that I need to do something about it. But come on, really? It just had to rain this afternoon, you couldn’t wait until tomorrow?? Plus, I feel like it has rained for a month straight.

Ah, well this too shall pass. I will get started and I will stick to it. I have to do this, not only for myself, but for the girls.

So touche universe. You-1, Jess-0

But the beauty of Today is there is always a Tomorrow.

So until tomorrow…

♥Jess

Time stands still for no one

Around here…

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5.
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7.
8.
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10.
Around here…
1. we’ve been playing dress up!
2, 3, and 4. we took a beach trip. So much fun!
5. Little Sister turned 6 (then 7!) months old.
6. we’ve had lots of poochy lip faces, then 3(!) teeth.
7. there has been a ton of sister play time. (Makes my heart happy!)
8. we decided that Big Sister might need a hair cut.
9. we love avocado!
10. we’ve worn shorts and flip flops in January! 

 Feels good to be back.

Until next time,
Jess ♥

MIA

So I know I’ve been MIA, or MIB (Missing in Blogging). Ha!

Getting back to work and in the swing of things left me seriously lacking in the blog motivation department. Not even any picture posts, which is what the blog had turned into.

I’ve never been really confident in myself, and I’ve let that get in the was of doing a lot of things. I didn’t play basketball in Jr High because I was afraid of doing something stupid and embarrassing myself. I didn’t audition for All State Choir because I was afraid I wouldn’t make it. I’ve neglected writing posts for this blog because I’m not confident of my writing ability.

The little nitpicker in the back of mind always tells me, “You have nothing interesting to say, why would anyone read you?”.

Well, I’m not writing for you nitpicker, so screw you!

I decided that either I’m going to do it and be confident and proud of myself, or I’m going to spend the rest of my life beating myself up for not having the balls to give it a try. I may be writing to no one, but as least I’m writing.

I hope to catch on up a few posts that I started and never finished. Then we can move on to Christmas!

See you soon,

Jess ♥