My Tribe.

I don't know about you, but I walk into church most Sundays, see a group of moms enjoying the day at the zoo with their kids, or watch viral videos of two best friends talking mom-life in the front of their car...and immediately I'm reminded that I don't belong to a tribe. 

I don't have the cool "mom-tribe" t-shirt. I don't have a group text between moms, talking about what's coming out of our kid's face, or the rash on their belly. I don't have someone to simply call up and say, "Hey, I'm wearing yesterday's pants, Monday's hair, and I'm in desperate need of a coffee. Wanna meet at Target?"

Sure, I know plenty of good people and sweet moms, but I haven't found my place in a tribe...at least I didn't think so.

Last weekend, I drove five hours west to my hometown. Within hours of arriving, my parent's home was full of almost fifty people. In laws of the in-laws, friends of friends, clients turned mentors, sorority sisters, students turned sisters, friends turned spouses, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, parents- Four generations of people laughing, talking, eating, playing, and worshiping together.

Towards the end of the night, those people, all of whom I love so much, surprised me with a shower for our third baby girl. With every gift opened, it was as if they knew I worried if she'd be treated as special as our other two girls. Every gift was so carefully considered that I was so overwhelmed it was hard to speak. For the rest of the weekend, I lived in the glow of that night. A night set aside for family and friends, fellowship, and worship. 

When we left town on Monday, my eyes welled with tears. I didn't want to leave. Life out west was full of so many people. But life headed East seemed isolating and lonely.

As the dust and dirt turned to green and lush, the Lord impressed upon my heart- I don't have a mom-tribe or a squad by the modern definition, but I do have a tribe, bound by much more than children of similar ages and proximity.

My tribe consists of a friend from my sophomore year of high school, who met her husband, my "adopted" brother, at my wedding. She now teaches with my mom. My tribe consists of a girl from choir, who often was the ONLY girl who treated me with kindness my senior year of high school. Together, we've sang karaoke on the beach, and she was there as I fell madly in love with my husband. My tribe consists of a sorority sister, whose first night spent with me resulted in a wreck (not my fault!). She now shares a special bond with my curly-headed girl! And another sorority sister who made me cry the first time we ever met. We've done everything from wearing flower crowns at a Justin Bieber concert, to highlighting each other's hair in my bathroom. My tribe consists of a group of TEN girlfriends from high school who still group text every week, despite the fact that we are spread out through five different states. 

They have loved me, loved my husband, and loved my girls with wild abandon. 

My tribe includes a voice student turned sister-in-law, whose encouragement guides me through every family function. We've chopped our hair, stayed up watching Friends while eating bags of gummy bears, and talked well into the morning. My tribe includes a cousin, whom I have always loved as a sister, and an aunt, whose laugh I share. My mom whose heart I long to reflect. Who has dropped everything to come care for my sick husband, as I was pregnant and caring for our one year old.

And standing beside me, no matter the distance, is my sister. The one who was there when no one else was. The one who has checked on me everyday for weeks and months. The one who has been on her knees before the throne, praying on my behalf. The one who has been a friend every place we've been and every journey we've walked.

I don't get to plan play-dates or girls' nights with my tribe. In fact, most days hundreds of miles separate us. We don't have special t-shirts, and some I haven't seen in years.

But proximity doesn't determine depth, and miles never negate worth. For though my tribe can't always physically be here on a daily basis, they always show up when I need them most. Whether it be a girl's trip to the ocean, or a simple text to say I looked beautiful in my latest post. Whether it be a meme that perfectly describes us, or a trip to pick out a gift special to the baby girl I carry- my tribe shows up. 

And when I sit on a stretch of highway, isolated and lonely, with the brown dust of the Earth blurring my vision, I am reminded, those women God has placed in my corner, are there even when I can't see them. 

They are my friends, my sisters, my family, my warriors- My tribe.

And I couldn't be more blessed.

Friday Favorites 1.

I've always wanted to dive deeper into blogging, simply because it's a fun creative outlet for me, but I often only write when inspired. So I've decided to hop on the Friday Favorites bandwagon, to stretch myself, to share more than just the inspired words, and to give you a peek into my life beyond motherhood and writing! 

What better way to celebrate another week than to list and share a few of my favorite things! I'll share some favorite moments, favorite goods, and even a few favorite foods here and there! 

1. So first on this list of favorites is SPRING! While some of the country still deals with snow, we are blessed in Texas to experience the warmth of the sun. My girls have played in the sand everyday, driven their gator, and rode their bikes, while I've soaked up plenty of Vitamin D! Our yard is starting to come together, and Spring decor just lifts my spirit! These tulip pictures were taken a week ago, at Texas Tulips in Pilot Point. It was an adventure to say the least (ie. better for a date than with toddlers!), but the pictures sure are worth it!

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2. I have a thing for nice pens, markers, strollers, and BAGS. All the bags. It's slightly a problem! With another baby on the way, I have been looking for a lightweight diaper bag to just throw on and go. I've had the same Petunia Picklebottom for three years, and it still looks amazing and has plenty of room, but given the material, it can get a little heavy. So I decided to buy this skip hop bag. It's lightweight, cute, and the reviews are awesome! Plus, for less than $40, it's perfect! 

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3. Another item I've quickly learned to love has been my new point and shoot camera. As a photographer I know it almost seems backwards to get a point-n-shoot, and with so many mirrorless DSLRs on the market it doesn't quite make sense, until you begin to check prices. Truth is, like every average person, I use my phone A LOT for photos, but they get lost on my phone. Whereas, my camera photos are always imported and edited (mostly lol). I have also found how easy of a rabbit hole the phone is...even if I just take a few pictures. There's the pressure to upload as it happens, choose the perfect caption, and get distracted from those I love most. But with a point-n-shoot, it takes a little more time. For me, I import, weed out my least favorites, edit, and then post. This is all usually done on my own time, while the babies are asleep. Which means a more present mama with her little ones. I have been looking into cameras for a while now and settled on this Sony Cybershot because of the features- a digital viewfinder (LOVE!), a flip up screen for selfies with my girls, the sharpness, the options, size, and price! This one fit the bill for wayyyyyy less than other cameras, without sacrificing quality! I'm looking forward to the freedom from my phone this gives me, as well as the room it adds to my diaper bag! 

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4. These hydrangeas have given me so much joy every time I've stepped outside! We planted these three weeks ago and they've already grown so much! Our flowerbeds mainly sit in the shade and it's taken some time for me to find plants that I wanted to plant in each bed. I knew I wanted perennials that encouraged butterflies and bees. So we planted hydrangeas with our scarlett sage, gardenias, and I'm starting some ivy trellises this weekend! Perfectly southern! In our sunny bed, we planted pink jasmine and lantana among our knock-out roses. As summer comes, I'll add a few annuals to beef up the color! Just getting my hands in the dirt was therapy! 

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5. This photo is my favorite of the week. Everything I love most in the world standing beneath the most beautiful display of God's promises. There is nothing sweeter! 

 

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I pray you all have a wonderful weekend! Come back next week for more reflections, favorites, and photos! Happy Spring! 

 

Building My Home.

A few days ago, my husband and I got into a heated argument. The type of argument that probably hasn't happened in over a year. The boiling point argument.

Out of his frustration, my husband said, "I'm tired of hearing you yell at our girls." His words struck deep and hurt- not because they weren't true, but because they were all too true. I had had to apologize to my girls for my raised voice one too many times over the course of the day. While the apology was a good start in the right direction- an apology meant nothing if I didn't change my course of action.

With tears in my eyes, I ran to our room, overwhelmed, convicted, ashamed. It'd be easy to blame my actions on the situation- I was pregnant, exhausted, overwhelmed by all that needed to be unloaded and put away. Laundry was already piling up, and groceries needed to be bought. Add to that the fact that our vacation, Christmas, and time as a family was coming to a close. Then add on the simple fact that I have two very busy toddlers, and it's enough excuses to "justify" my frustrations.

However, the circumstances never justify the behavior- the culmination of those frustrations- as a woman who is called to be set apart.

As I was studying my Bible today, I knew I needed to focus on my anger. So I turned to Proverbs. The first place I turned was Proverbs 25:24.

"It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman."

Knife to the heart. I have been that contentious- vexed, heated, impatient, frustrated- woman.

Out of fear, conviction, and desperation, I turned to find a way to remedy my contentious condition. So I turned to Proverbs 14:1.

"A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands."

I spend my days building our home to be a place of rest and refuge through the work of my hands, words, and actions, yet many days I am also the one demolishing it through those same hands, words, and actions. After coming to the realization that the building up of my home is dependent on the choice I make to be a wise woman, I wrote these words as a reminder.

I have the power to build up or destroy. I have the power to bring joy or cause fear. I have the power to encourage or tear down. I have the power to nurture or react. I have the power to pray or walk blindly. I have the power to answer gently or speak sharply. I have the power to redirect and train or destructively discipline. I have the power to set the tone or pace in frustration. I have the power to teach or reverse. I have the power to laugh abundantly or scowl from impatience. I have the power to be present and active or distracted and missed. I have the power to be wise or contentious.

May my words, actions, priorities, choices, direction, and love be that of a wise woman- building my home. How can I build my home today?

 

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