The Weekender

I haven’t written a Weekender post since Good Friday. Let’s get to it! And Happy Weekend!

I started these posts as a way to share a recap of my thoughts and findings from the week. It’s really just a way for me to ramble. Here’s a peak at my world lately.

Don’t Choose Easy – This is a family mantra that we have posted up as a constant reminder. This week it currently applies to weaning Rose from night feedings. I’m so happy we chose to do the hard work. It has proven to be a better solution for all of us.

Date Night – Last night was supposed to be date night but the lack of sleep from the week caught up with us and we opted for rest instead. Keeping a weekly date night makes missing one here or there not feel like the end of the world.

Better Boundaries – I received comments, text messages and emails regarding my recent post about my struggle with social media. It feels so good to know I’m not alone. It sparked a conversation during a coffee date with a friend and fellow creative who also shares in my struggle. We decided to take a baby step together! No social media after 4pm. Breaking bad habits is always easier when done in community.

KitchenTown – If you live on the Peninsula, this is my new favorite coffee shop. Finally a cute and creative shop in our area! Normally, I have to drive to San Francisco to get my fix. Along with great coffee and yummy treats, KitchenTown is also a makers’ space for local food entrepreneurs. Yes!! My next goal is to try their weekend brunch.

Our First Wedding – We are driving up to Sacramento tomorrow for our first wedding of 2016. And I’m so excited! Work these days feels like mini-getaways with Vitaliy. But I’m also thrilled because Alex and Tanya are one of the sweetest couples we’ve had the chance to work with. They have been counting down to the big day on social media and I can just feel my own excitement building with theirs.

Wild & Free – I am two chapters away from finishing this book. I have not had something speak so specifically to my heart as a woman in so many years. I had a goal to finish one book a week this month. It turns out I’m only going to get through one. But I am so thankful that it’s this! And I’m happy I took the time to savor each chapter.

What are you up to this weekend? What’s going on in your world?

Don't Choose Easy

What To Do When Someone Else Is Living Your Dream

Do you ever take a rabbit trail on Instagram? Yeah, that’s what I figured. I took one the other day and landed on an account and realized that someone else was living my dream. MY DREAM.

It was the exact same idea I shared months, probably years, ago with Vitaliy. And they were doing it! You know how these rabbit trails end.

I’m such a loser. Everyone else is capable of making their dreams happen except for me. I’m such a loser. I’m never going to amount to anything. I’m a loser.

Yes, “I’m a loser” is sandwiched between every other negative self-talk statement. Just me? Somehow I doubt it.

I recently had coffee with a friend who said she couldn’t go on Instagram anymore because she couldn’t handle seeing all the other moms who seem to have it all together. I was so thankful for her honesty because I can relate. I want to boycott Instagram and Facebook on the daily, but I know it’s a lost cause. Those platforms aren’t the problem, my heart is.

“How many times have I bemoaned the lack of excitement in my life, only because I’m choosing not to walk in the joy of the season God has called me to?” – Jess Connolly, Wild and Free

I have been doing a lot of bemoaning in my life lately. Lack of sleep and a teething baby and Instagram rabbit trails can do that to you. I share that in case you can relate, but let’s not stay here. Let’s do less IG rabbit trailing and more being present in the moment with the people we love most. We’re in the season we’re in for a reason. I’m preaching to myself here! I’m called to this season of 5am wake up calls to change poopy diapers. That is the current season I’m in. And as I bemoan, there’s a woman out there who may have rabbit trailed to my IG feed and will close her feed because her inability to conceive keeps her from being able to celebrate another mom’s blessing of a babe.

I get it. And I don’t have the answers to our social media problems. I wrestle with them everyday. But in a creative business like ours, social media is definitely an asset and something I need to figure out how to use for business while not letting it rule my world (heart).

So, what do you do when someone else is living your dream? What if someone else’s season looks so much more exciting than your own?

If you need to quit social media, quit. If you need to unfollow, unfollow. I’ve considered the first and done the second. But right now, I know I need to deal with my heart. The only thing that is going to help me is choosing joy in my current season and celebrating the amazing couple living out my dream. Gratitude and contentment are the issues of my heart that need to be dealt with today.

What about you? What do you do when you’re faced with these issues? Leave me a comment below!

And please, please go check out Creative Marriages! Michelle said it perfectly in their promo video, it doesn’t matter who’s doing it, as long as more and more people are talking about how to have a lasting, healthy marriage. Yes! I couldn’t agree more myself.

Pool Life - Palm Springs

Husband & Wife: Comrades, Not Only Lovers

Husband and Wife: Comrades, Not Only Lovers

I sat across from my friend as she rocked her fourth child, a baby girl. The previous three were boys and they ran wild around us as we talked about life, family, and specifically, marriage. She laughed at herself as she thought back to her initial expectations for marriage. I used to think he’d bring home flowers on a regular basis, she said, referring to her husband. But after getting pregnant on their honeymoon, their first year of marriage looked entirely different than either of them expected.

As she shared her own experience, I honestly couldn’t remember what I expected when I got married. I was not the kind of girl that grew up dreaming of my wedding day. I never really thought much about marriage either. But, when I met a handsome Ukrainian named Vitaliy all of that changed. As I planned for my future, I knew I wanted it to include him. Forever. And I didn’t mind if forever started right then and there.

Though talks about marriage began, we soon learned one of the hardest and most valuable lessons of our lives: plans and expectations do not always turn out as we envision them. But, with perseverance and grace, you can pick up the pieces and make something beautiful from the mess.

The reality is that Vitaliy and I started our marriage in a less than ideal situation. A year before we got married his entire family was in a car accident in Ukraine. His mother, father, and younger brother died in the accident, but his two younger sisters survived. The only thing that looked remotely familiar when we got married were the two of us, but even we weren’t the same anymore. We were living in a new part of the country, surrounded by new faces and places, filled with grief, and trying to manage our new roles as husband and wife, along with becoming guardians of Vitaliy’s 16 year old sister. While most couples are soaring in a state of honeymoon bliss, we were deep in the midst of the grieving process and, quite honestly, operating in survival mode. Not only were we grieving the loss of Vitalily’s family, but we were also grieving the loss of the life and future we had envisioned for ourselves.

I understand that my story may not look exactly like yours. And no marriage is the same as the next. I simply hope to ease the hearts of those who may be feeling overwhelmed that marriage has not turned out to be what they expected. You’re not alone. I promise. And there really is hope. Remember, you can make something beautiful regardless of the mess you or life have made of things.

And I know this because we not only survived, but our marriage thrived and has become something beautiful itself. Randy Alcorn paints a unique picture of marriage. The following thought completely changed the way I approached marriage and has helped me keep my expectations in perspective.

Husband and wife must be more than just lovers. They must be comrades, soldiers fighting side by side for the same great cause. They should not only lie down face-to-face, but also stand shoulder to shoulder.

The truth is that my friend’s husband does bring her home flowers just not as often as she originally imagined. Because remember, they are lovers. But the daily grind of managing everyday life will often result in them needing to be comrades – defending, serving, and sacrificing for each other. It’s not easy, but done with perseverance and grace, and you’ll find yourself building something beautiful together, one day at a time.

Originally written for the beautiful Cottage Hill Magazine.