stuck on repeat.

Days gently melt one into the next.

Some days repeat themselves.

We trip over our own feet again and again, brush off the dirt, kiss the bruises, and forgive and forget again.

Some times it feels so very mundane.  I wonder how a week, even a month, has passed by and when asked details about it, it is seldom I can recall many moments that stand out or what we spent our time doing.

But I know.

I know we cuddled on the couch and read and laughed.

We ran outside through the grass and dug in the dirt.

We went to the library and brought home a much too large pile of books and racked up a small fine after returning them late, even though we had read them the first day.

We ate popcorn and watched a movie, three snuggled deep in a blanket.

We wrote and learned lessons and did simple arithmetic and went to classes and played at parks and made new friends and fought with old ones.

We quarreled and stamped our feet and threw some things and screamed a bit.

I held my head in my hands and wondered what I was doing and if I could ever figure this parenting thing out.

We came back  and looked at each other in our tear stained eyes and all apologized and forgave again.

We allowed the tide to chase us back to the shore and froze our toes in the cold, salty water.

The sun is shining more and we wait for the green new sprouts to spring out of the garden boxes. We sit and revel in the warmth on our faces. We find ourselves continually longing for more of that warmth to come.  Oh summer, my heart is yearning for you.

It is easy to feel that the days must mean nothing since I barely seem to notice one from the other.  I look forward to bedtime beginning at the lunch hour, and wake up feeling tired and not quite ready for the day to arrive.  But oh how I am reminding myself right now, as I type these words and think about what our days have been full of, how important this time is, and how it is merely one season.

Young ones, so full of life, learning so much and sharing so much and needing so much and yet, becoming so independent at the same time.  And here I am, failing and loving hard, and learning about second chances and grace and what it means to become and just be.

Keeping eyes open hard to find the gems tucked throughout.

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– b.e.

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new and beautiful

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Every year for as long as I can remember, has always been better than the proceeding one.

I have a feeling this has a lot more to do with an increasingly positive outlook on life and simply being a year older (and hopefully, wiser) than anything actually more spectacular happening during the course of the year.

LIFE IS GOOD and I feel eager to embrace it and find the beauty in each moment now, rather than whenever the next goal or item on my checklist arrives.  Some times those things don’t come, and when they do, it doesn’t necessarily mean my life will be any better.

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So without getting really all that philosophical or “deep”, I am entering the new year feeling energized, ready to tackle new projects and be more present and accessible to my children, family, friends, and others I encounter.  Some simple goals include reading and writing much more, creating when I feel inspired, and getting my business defined clearly enough to really resemble me and what I have to offer.

I am ready to dream big, give big, simplify and get re-organized in order to make time for the things that really matter.

Part of this has included stepping back from social media and trying to focus more on what is in front of me.  When you disconnect it seems like you will become isolated, but I have already found that it opens up more connection with those closest to me.

Because moments like this one are what I want to be present for:

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This year, I want to live each day as if it were truly the best day and as if a new opportunity could be around every corner.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and hope you are inspired to be the best YOU have ever been.

b.e.

all images created by becca ellis of b.e.

 

before they fade away

It was quiet in the house.  Son in the office listening to an audio book. Myself taking a moment to sit and rest in the living room. Daughter upstairs being unusually still.  She doesn’t actually sleep much during our sacred still space in the middle of the day, so I was curious to see if she was indeed asleep.

I crept up the stairs and found her lying flat on her stomach at the top of the stairs, breathing and sleeping deep.

There was something about the way she was laying there, as the sun filtered through the window and warmed her little spot, golden curls highlighted in the bright rays and softly falling across her face.
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I lingered a moment and watched.  Watched her breath. Looked at her small features and rosy skin. Things I couldn’t stop myself from doing when she had hardly been outside the womb a few days, but now it was harder to slow and just look.DSC_0006_01

Life speeds by so fast. There are so many things we can think about wanting to do or places we want to go, and so often, those things just end up passing us by.  Or we can become so consumed in achieving our goals that what is already around us fades into the background and we forget what we already have.

I find myself wanting to be more present and more realistic. As mothers, we can feel pressed to prove our worth and the value of what we are accomplishing on a daily basis.  It is so easy to look at our friends without children or those who continued with their careers or developing other hobbies and talents into something that seems so much more exciting than what we are doing. Or perhaps you are on the other side, waiting for those precious little ones to call your own, to nurture and care for and fulfill a deep longing in your own heart.

It is good to pursue your callings.

But oh dear mothers, how I wish I could look you in the eye and tell you that you are doing so much.

If there is a calling on your heart and it is the season, pursue it.  But also,

soak in these warm sunshine filled moments.

Maybe right now they feel few and far apart,

but when they are there, grasp them for just a little while longer before they fade.

I remember reading in a gardening book about waiting a full season in a new house before planting your garden. During this time, record how the sun falls, the water drains, the vegetation grows so you can be the most prepared when you finally begin to lay seed into the ground.

Maybe we need to do this more with our children. Watching and paying attention to who they are and then carefully considering what seeds we will plant in their lives.

Some times we simply have to linger longer and wait, faithfully, consistently, lovingly.

stop our feet for a moment or two

breath

and just watch.
DSC_0012_01– b.e.

life as told by my phone

I love to look back through my phone and remember simple little moments from our days. It gives me some perspective and reminds me about all I have to be grateful for.  For a long time I always wanted to be someone other than who I am, and I am happy to finally be content – more than content – with just being me.  I don’t really use Instagram that much, but here is what it would look like if I did:

essay writing on my back porch on a sunny day with a glass of wine // feeling fresh after a workout and shower // Indianola sunshine // outdoor boy // stuck in bed in the morning // at the hospital waiting for a new baby // woke up from a nap headache free // girl deep in sleep // mother’s day // wild children at the beach // grain free pumpkin pancakes for lunch // making math fun // morning selfies and snuggles // we snuggle a lot in the mornings.

finding balance

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I have had so many thoughts swarming my mind, but every time I sit to write, nothing really seems to matter enough to put into words.

I have been tired and slow and fast and life is wonderful and hard and challenging and easy.  Balance is found in the tension and some days are harder than others, but I have found that when I become less preoccupied with all the things I want to get done in a certain time frame, and slow down and not try to accomplish so much so fast, I see more moments.

moments like the giggling and cooperation of my children playing a game together, when my older is displaying patience and gentleness toward his little sister.

the little expressions that I am never ready to catch on a camera, but leave an imprint inside of me, perhaps more deeply because I know its the only record of it.

small conversations that are mundane yet important.

the deep soul look into my husband’s eyes that allows us to re-connect and remember why we are here together and sometimes it speaks more than the words.

Many blogs and articles I have seen popping up on feeds and blogs I follow have seemed to follow this theme of balance.

I couldn’t agree more that living a life that is balanced is essential to our health and that of those around us.

But I also feel like many of these posts have been pointing to this idea of never being extreme, never allowing ourselves to believe in something deep enough that we become a little “obsessed” for a while, because something else will suffer and thus, we will find ourselves “out of balance”.  But some times, something is already suffering and we don’t even realize it, because it is our “normal”.

I don’t advocate obsession.  My husband has a habit of becoming very one-track minded.  I have known this about him since we first started dating, and over the years I have gotten used to this tendency and in our relationship we tend to balance each other out (me going every direction, him only one) but at times, it still drives me crazy.

At times, however, becoming more focused on something in particular is beneficial.  What are we doing when we enroll ourselves in school?  We are focusing in on something specific for an extended period of time in order to master the subject.  We place authority figures (teachers, mentors) above us in order that we are put in a place of accountability to help us maintain this focus and discipline.

Do we expect to do this forever?  Of course not.  I don’t think we would do it if that were the case.  Think of medical students.  I can only imagine what they feel after the years of intense training they go through, and how they stay motivated in the midst of it.  After schooling is over, when the discipline has been learned to an extent, it becomes a part of us.  We can now use those skills and depth of understanding we have learned in a practical way, and soon there is a new area to learn balance in.

I have seen this in my own life many, many times.  Some times I share the things that we decide to try and I am sure to some I have come off as legalistic, extreme, and foolish.  For me, doing is integral to learning.

And many times, after doing something a bit “extreme” for a time, I see firsthand the benefits or cons in my life and adjust. This is how I learn to balance.

Balance does not mean that every day I spend a certain allotment of time doing specific things.  I believe life is more holistic than that.  There are seasons.  I think of the Jewish calendar and how it has so many feasts and holidays to observe through out the year.  They signify different times of our life, a rhythm.  There is time to rest to feast to fast to celebrate to mourn.  They are reminders to hold us accountable so we flourish, so we stay humble, so we remember.

I don’t have any clear answers of what this means on an individual basis.  What it looks like for you or me to live a balanced life.  We learn what to say no to, what to embrace, some times we follow a gut feeling.

For me, I know that I am not perfect, and to appear as such is not my goal.  I know I would love everyone to think that I am always gentle and kind and disciplined and self-sacrificing, but while I occasionally can be described as this and have come a long way in the past few years, I am not.

I can be very mean-spirited and judgmental.  Some times I treat my children like a mean older sibling would their younger.  Some times I sit around in my pajamas half the day and hardly get anything done.  I’ll eat extra pie. I say mean things about others.  I gossip.  I think up all sorts of great comebacks and comments to justify myself against someone I think has me all figured out (thankfully I don’t usually think of these until much later when I am not able to say them, but still I am intentionally thinking up words to harm someone).  I think awful thoughts about others to make myself feel better about myself. I compare.

Thankfully, oh so thankfully, I have a loving and supportive family that sees beyond these awful traits to something more valuable.  They remember me at my best and over time, forget and forgive the worst.  Some times balance comes over a long period of time, as we test and try and learn and become more refined.  It is a constant process.  We need to be willing to be wrong at times and change our minds and make the best decisions we can about what we will do and pursue.

It is hard, because it will not always be understood by others, and at times we may not really be sure about what we’re doing ourselves.  Here we need to extend grace not only to ourselves, but toward those who see things differently.

To be willing to listen, because perhaps we are wrong,

learn to discuss without tearing each other apart,

be open to having parts of our lives challenged, although I’ll admit that I am not always at that point or ready for it,

and to realize that things can take time and some things will never happen during our lifetime.

– b.e.

allowing space

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We haven’t opened an advent day on our calendar in a week.

We haven’t done our daily readings and additions to our nativity scene since last Sunday.

The felt tree has all of the ornaments on it (when they are not being thrown on the floor), rather than adding only one a day.

But, we have been enjoying this season and all the excitement and the looking forward and the hope for Christmas growing with each day.

Maybe we haven’t done everything on our list, but we have done some other really fun things, which have grown out of a sense of anticipation, who we are as a family, and allowing this space for spontaneity.

I love the sparkle in Shea’s eyes when we do something together that he suggests.  I marvel at his determination and concentration to work on a project he feels inspired to do, rather than something on a list that I feel is important or valuable or necessary for his “childhood development”.

And even in the midst of attempting to focus on these weekly words of the season: hope, love, joy, peace

I have found myself stressing, becoming impatient with little things (oh how little ones push and stretch us!), allowing my day to be driven by things to complete rather than moments to live and breathe and be.

Tonight we will light the third candle on our advent “wreath” – the candle of JOY.  I have been so thankful for this weekly reminder to reset and refocus.  To forget the advent activities and pay more attention to my attitude and heart.  To slow down in the dim with the gentle flickering light and remember the gifts we have been lavished with in our lives.  Something so small, and yet, so easy to miss.

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How will you embrace and embody and share the JOY we are brought by Christ’s birth this week?

– b.e.