Rylee | Spring Mini Session

There is something about being in Alabama that makes me feel at home. We only lived there for three years and yet, each time I go back, I am flooded with the open sky and good memories. There is space to breathe and a slow pace of living that I always find refreshing. In my most recent visit, I was able to stay with a good friend of mine in her heirloom home and take some portraits of her little girl in the blooming azaleas. Children are probably my favorite to capture, because of the challenge it is! One of the easiest ways I've found to take portraits of small children, is by letting them play naturally and working to get those smiles and laughs. It was easy with Rylee because this was her "home." She loved picking berries and flowers and running down the dirt road. We were outside in the middle of the day, but the contrast in lighting really made for a beautiful scenery. This entire shoot took about 20 minutes - simple and quick - but now they can cherish these adorable portraits of her at this age forever. 

To the Distracted Mama

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It's crowded out there. And if you're like me, when it's crowded out there - it gets crowded in here too. In my heart, in my mind. I get sucked into the crowd and the busy and the doing and forget what the purpose is. I start functioning and living from a place of performance instead of a place of purpose.

I get distracted.

The truth is, the world doesn't stop moving for us mamas. It doesn't wait until our kids are sleeping through the night, or finally not sick, or potty-trained or not out-of-their-minds (which I've heard actually isn't curable). No, minus a few weeks post-birth when everyone brings you meals and wants to hold your baby (those were the best days of my life), the world expects you to keep operating at it's speed - you know, warp-speed - while still maintaining your role as wife, homemaker and/or working part or full-time. And well I'm sorry, mamas of the social media millennium, when you have communication at your fingertips there is just not a lot of grace for you, even on the friend-level. You must reply to every text, catch up on every Instagram photo, Snapchat video and attend all of your friend's virtual parties on Facebook (because they are making life easier for you by letting you be in your PJ's) while still managing to give your children some sort of a childhood. The kind where they don't end up sitting in front of a screen all day, you know, like you.

 Sigh.

I'm not saying that all distracted moms are sitting on their phones all day. Nah, I know that's not possible with children. But it's still there. And most likely, attached to your hip for any opportune moment to have a second to yourself. To "free your mind." When in actuality, it's really just distracting it more.

I know, because I am so much more guilty than I want to admit.

I don't know why I think that reading one more political post is going to help give me the patience I need, when in the very next moment my child is pouring cereal all over the floor. Or why following that super-model mom rocking her bikini body on Instagram is going to give me motivation, while I stare in the mirror feeling guilty that I skipped out on the gym again that morning. 

And this is just the kind of distracting stuff that happens "behind-the-scenes." There are tons of more opportunities for distraction, you know, when I actually get out of the house. 

I always set out with good intentions, and then end up living and functioning out of performance instead of purpose. Trying to live to "claim a spot" in this rat-race world, instead of resting in the one role that I never have to earn or try to be the best at. The one that Jesus came to die for.

My identity as a child of God. 

I have been redeemed from living a life of selfish ambition or vain conceit (Philippians 2:3-4). Worldly accolades mean nothing when compared with the surpassing value of knowing Jesus Christ as Savior (Philippians 3:7-8). I'm reminded that I can plan all I want to, but my ways are not His ways (Isaiah 55:8) and boasting in anything, apart from Christ, is arrogant and evil (James 4:15-16). 

These are the truths I have to remind myself daily. Before I am a mom, before I am a wife... I am His. And if I miss that, I will naturally keep striving to "perform" in the other two. 

Jesus offered a place for the weary and "burned-out" (burdened) in this world... with Him. 

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
— Matthew 11:28

As I was tucking my little boy to bed tonight, he asked me (like he does every night) to lay down with him for two minutes. I looked at him and said, "Okay, baby," and then laid down beside him, stroking his soft, fine hair and asked, "You know why I do this, right?" He smiled gently and said, "Yeah... because you reeeally love me." :)

My precious boy knows what Jesus wants us to know... that because I love him so much, he can find rest in my embraceAnd in that moment, with all distractions aside, I knew I was doing something right.