I Hope He Takes After You

I hope he takes after YouI already know he has your long, dark eyelashes

and the dimples that compress those precious cheeks are just like yours.

I already know he has the same notch missing from his right ear

and a length that hints at a tall frame just like yours.

But, I hope he takes after you.

I hope he inherits your subtle strength and quiet leadership.

I hope he possesses the same respect for women.

I hope he shares your love of coffee, the outdoors, and family.

I hope he has the same caring, sensitive spirit.

I hope he takes after you.

I already know he bares Your image

formed so perfectly and wonderfully in my womb.

I already know he is built for Your unique purpose

equipped with gifts and passions the likes of which only You could supply.

But, I hope he takes after You.

I hope he lives selflessly and sacrificially.

I hope he seeks out and serves the least.

I hope he pursues community and prioritizes relationship.

I hope he values vulnerability over comfort.

I hope he gives grace freely to himself and others.

I hope he loves abundantly.

I hope he takes after You. 

2014 Goals Update

It’s the middle of March and I’m feeling a little scattered when it comes to the roles and goals I outlined for 2014. My new normal is prompting me to focus more on the process than the results, but I still want to have a clear direction while I’m in process. I’m revisiting my goals today with that in mind.

There are two things I already know about my goals after 7 weeks with James in the picture:

  1. I need to focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking makes me feel even more frazzled than I already am. Taking care of James means my attention is divided anyways. In order to start accomplishing goals, I will have to devote a day to just one task.Today I will work on my Project Life book; tomorrow I will blog; the next day I will organize underneath the bathroom sink, etc. 
  2. Keep my expectations low. Lots of grace.

Self:

  • Daily time with Jesus – Not accomplishing a traditional “quiet time” but trying to be attentive to God’s presence in this season.
  • Regular exercise – The weather is finally warmer which means daily walks are possible. Getting to the gym takes some scheduling effort. I haven’t started intentionally trying to lose the last 10 preggo pounds yet. 
  • Sleep – I can’t get enough…
  • Reading – Different habits, but I’m still able to read with a baby around.
  • Service – No real progress on this one.

Wife:

  • Daily one-on-one time – Definite room for improvement. Usually we get a couple minutes before we sack out in bed.
  • Monthly date-night – We’ve gotten a couple, thanks to my mom. She leaves this week, so we will see how this evolves.

Mother:

  • Prayer – Tim and I pray before bed, but I’m usually half asleep. I need to be better about praying throughout the day.
  • Breastfeeding – Going really well!
  • Reading out loud – Sometimes I cheat and read my own book, instead of a board book, out loud.
  • Document Baby James life – My mom got me a Project Life starter kit. I plan to print pictures next week and plan a day to get going.

Family Member:

  • Consistent email updates – I was doing once a week emails but that has dropped off post James. I need to prioritize these updates over blogging/social media.

Home Manager:

  • Finish unpacking – James has beens staying in our room, but my mom and I did finish putting together the nursery upstairs. Many more decor boxes to unpack. 
  • Cull excess – I have several bags of things to drop at Goodwill.
  • Purge and revamp wardrobe – I unearthed two boxes of my pre-pregnancy clothes last week. Just now starting to wear pre-preggo pants. I think the purging and revamping will be a gradual process as I slim down a bit more.
  • Meal plan – My mom has been feeding us for the past two months, but I’m working on a couple weeks rotation of budget meals.
  • Pay bills immediately – If we had the money to pay our medical bills immediately, I would be on top of it…
  • Daily house de-clutter – On and off successful with this.

Writer/Blogger:

  • Write something everyday – Totally not happening.
  • Comment on blogs – I’ve been doing pretty good with this, I think. In this season, I want to comment more than I blog.
  • Limit back-end blog improvements to a specific day – Or just cut it out all together for now? I’d rather focus on getting blog posts written instead of frittering away my time on social media and improvements. 
  • Read books about writing/blogging – These will be put on hold until I have enough mental energy to enjoy them. I will stick to fiction and Christian living for now.

How are you doing on your goals this year?

What I’m Into – February 2014

What I'm Into

Parts of this post have been sitting in drafts since January. I didn’t link up last month because I had a baby Which brings me to the most important thing I’ve been into this month – my son, James!

James Gardner

My brother-in-law’s sister designed this cute announcement for us. Now I’m just waiting on my self-inking address stamp I had made via Vista Print (so I don’t have to write our return address on every. single. envelope) to send them out. The $15 dollars was a good investment, I think.

James at one month

James turned one month old yesterday. Just wow. He smiles and grunts (A LOT) and always has his hands by his face. Yes, his middle name comes from To Kill A Mockingbird. I can’t get enough of his fuzzy head, thunder thighs, and yawn face.

{This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.}

Good Reads

My current nursing activity is keeping up with my Feedly. I may not have read many books the past month, but I’ve read a whole ton of blog posts. These are winners:

  • 5 Reasons Mamas Don’t Take of Themselves via Naptime Diaries – I’m in the midst of creating new, healthy self-care habits as a mom.
  • Back to Writing and The Art of Unblogging via Trina Holden – Must reads if you are a writer/blogger. Trina’s advice is encouraging in my changing season of life.
  • Bursting via Little Did She Know – My new friend, Cara, considers the questions: How do you go about encouraging someone fainting in heart? What does it look like to come and console?

Next up on my book reading list is Dear Mr. Knightley, the debut novel by Katherine Reay, and I am beyond excited to start it today.

Good Listens

  • Oceans by Hillsong United – A gorgeous, moving song. I love the folky, lyrical style. Similar to Psalm 23, one of my favorites by Reality SF.
  • Hold You Up by Shane Harper
  • I’m digging Jake Bugg after seeing him perform on American Idol last night.
  • Ask It: Edged Out by Andy Stanley – Simple and straightforward. One of the best sermons I’ve heard on boundaries/purity.

Good Eats

  • Magnum Minis – Small versions of the decadent Magnum ice cream bars.
  • Fig-Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula via Pioneer Woman – A toothsome combo. We’ve made these modifications: whole wheat Boboli crust because whole wheat is delicious and quicker than making your own, regular mozzarella because fresh made our first round soupy, spring mix because our pack of arugula had gone bad, and crisping the prosciutto before putting on pizza because crispy prosciutto is good prosciutto.
  • Man Pleasing Chicken via Witty in The CIty –  Some of the best chicken I’ve eaten. How could you go wrong with mustard, maple syrup, and rosemary?
  • Raspberry Lemon Pie via Thimbleanna – Summer in my mouth.

Linking up with Leigh!

Wings To Fly {Cara Meredith}

I’m always fascinated by why people write. I write because there’s no better way for me to process life than through words. Now that I’m a mom, I’m even more interested in how writer mommas balance their two roles. Cara Meredith of be, mama. be. is weighing in on just that today. 

Wings To Fly

I write because my insides have a story to tell.

I write because my fingers are just waiting, waiting for their moment to speak.

I write because the process – the grueling, sticky process of finding that one word, of phrasing an utterance “just right” – gives me Life …and if said Life is found through the syntax of a sentence, enveloping part and parcel of my deepest self, then I think I really have landed in the right place.

Because it is through writing that I further embrace not only who I am, but also whose I am.

And it is then that I fly.

~~~

Of course, it took me awhile to figure out the Writer’s Life – of which, I’m certain now, I’ll never actually quite figure out.  [After all, there will always be another story to tell, another phrase to untangle, another sentence to make seamless.]

For years, I worked in the education world, teaching high school students the intricacies of Shakespeare and Poe, guiding them towards perfecting the written art of the five-paragraph essay.  I moonlighted as a conference and retreat speaker on the weekends and during the summer; it was only then, in crafting the words the Spirit had me to say, that I wrote.

I was too exhausted otherwise.  Overwhelmed by my students’ words, I couldn’t bear create my own stories.

But then the question came, as it always does: “Cara, if you could do anything with your time – if money weren’t an issue, what would you do?”

While I dreamed my own northern Californian version of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, I knew the heart of the question centered on vocation.  Not working wasn’t an option, but following my heart was an option.

“Well,” I’d answer to the inquiring friend, “I’d write and speak full-time.”

Truthfully, my answer came with its own hidden set of questions, in which a caged fear of the unknown kept me from fully jumping in, from finally flying: What if no one hires me? What if this crazy dream is just what it sounds like – my own crazy dream?  What if I don’t have an organization from which to stake claim?  What if, what if …I’m wrong?

But then it happened.

Twelve years, two career fields, and one baby in the baby carriage later, I finally stepped into pursuing the dream.  I started following my heart.

~~~

Like Emily, I now attempt to balance motherhood and writing – although let me be the first to place strong emphasis on the word “attempt” of the aforementioned phrase.

But along the way, I’ve learned a few things.

I’m learning to not be so hard on myself.  Because some weeks, naptimes run smooth as spice, and a babysitter is secured for a good couple of sanity-filled afternoons.  I’m able to crank out five blogs and two articles and finish a chapter in the book; I pat myself on the back, raising congratulatory fists in the air – Victory!  Victory!  Then the next week rolls around, and my word count is a third of the previous seven days, and voices of failure and woe crowd my mind for space, but I remember…

We lived life fully this week – and we have stories to tell for it.

I listened to my body, the tired, worn-out body that needed rest, and I received grace.  I threw fistfuls of confetti-like grace over my shoulders and into my hair; this grace tickled my eyelashes and reached my insides.  And this Grace was and is and will continue to be sufficient for me.

For this grace is enough.

And that, I’d say, is exactly what I’ve needed to embrace all along – for it is through grace, and it is through telling stories and living stories and embracing stories, that I’m freed up and again, again given wings to fly.

And I soar.

Cara MeredithFormer high school English teacher turned youth minister, Cara is now learning what it means to be as a full-time mama and free-lance writer and speaker.  She loves pretending to be a foodie, being outdoors and trying to read seven books at a time (although never very successfully).  She lives in San Francisco with her HBH (Hot Black Husband) and their 13-month-old son, “Cancan.”  She writes at “be, mama. be” (carameredith.com), and tweets here and there under the handle, @caramac54.

photo credit: moonjazz via photopin cc

Well-Loved in 2013

There’s no other way to put it… 2013 was a big year. Here’s a brief 2013 wrap-up for the blog and daily life.

{The Blog}

The most views: The 5 Essential Earrings Every Girl Should Own
earrings The top five recipes: Top 5 Recipes in 2013

The most well-loved posts:

Well-loved posts

Thank you for reading, subscribing, commenting, and encouraging me! What would you like to see more of in 2014?

{Daily Life}

2013 threw a lot of travel and transition our way:

Travel

  • I went to Boston, Chicago, and Orlando for work.
  • We had a weekend away in Montana (almost didn’t count this since it’s just two hours away)
  • Tim and I made two trips to California together – once to see family and once to attend The Gathering (and see family and celebrate our first anniversary).
  • I made a solo trip to California to visit friends.
  • We spent a weekend in Kansas City to attend my cousin’s wedding.
  • I visited my parents in New York twice – once for a retreat, and once with Tim for vacation.

Transition

The biggest/craziest/weirdest thing for me about 2013 was the fact that I was pregnant for the majority of the year – definitely not what I was expecting 2013 to hold!