Gone Fishing


Not really…


But “gone fishing” sounds better than “gone unplugging”, so there you go…  For the month of May, I’ll be “gone fishing”… although I’ll be doing absolutely everything but fishing.

Does that make sense?  (Please understand that sleep has been hard to come by lately, so my sense of humor has been a lot cheesier lately).

I just really, really need to unplug this month.  I need to brainstorm and sit with a clean notebook in my hands and let the creativity run wild.  Every once in awhile, I just get tired of staring at a laptop and at my phone, and so I decide to take a break from them for a few weeks.  It just feels good to do that sometimes.  (I still have to check Facebook Messenger and email occasionally, because that’s how most people touch base with me.  But still, I’ll be checking that a lot less

However, I’ll still be updating Instagram; so you should definitely follow me at Just Live It Blog to see what we’re up to.  :)

I always miss blogging when I take these breaks, but – at the same time – I always come back feeling refreshed and inspired.  :)  I’ll be back the first week of June, and there will be a fun summer ahead (which makes for great blogging material).  I have three, two-night vacations planned for this summer, AND I’ve signed up for an awesome 5k.  Plus Crazy Cooking with Nicole and Sarah vlogs will finally be back as well.

(While we’re on the subject of blogging material, leave a comment and let me  know if there’s anything that you’d specifically like me to cover when I’m back to blogging again!  Is there anything that you want me to write or vlog more about)??

For now, I’ll be chasing around a toddler, prepping for a piano recital, and enjoying the last bit of a Dunkies gift card.  ;)

See you all in June!  Until then, just live it!!!  :)

Bits O’ This and That

  1.  I’ve been obsessed lately with seltzer water, especially the orange vanilla flavor by Polar.  It’s so refreshing and calorie free, which is a win-win!  (Brady likes to take sips of it too, because he seems to think the carbonation tickles).


2.  I’ve also been pretty obsessed with smoothies for breakfast, although I hate having to clean the blender afterward.  (I know it seems like such a trivial thing, but – as a mom – I just don’t have time for that nonsense.  Ha, ha).  I’m kind of thinking that this may be on my birthday or Christmas wish-list.  It’s not a necessity by any means, but it would make the smoothie-life so much easier.


3.  How is it possible that I’m the mom to a 17 month old???  Time flies SO fast, you guys!  I was looking through old pics, and I came across this one from the day after Brady was born.  I still can’t look at it without feeling as though love is bursting out of my chest…  It’s a pic that I look at and see true beauty (even though my face is makeup-free, my hair is a mess, and I’m wearing a hospital gown).


4.  Here’s a video I put together of Brady’s 16 month.  He is such a character!   (And, yes, he desperately needs a haircut.  But I haven’t yet been able to say ‘goodbye’ to his curls).


5.  This French Dip sandwich recipe is soooooo good and incredibly easy to make.  Nate is already begging me to make it again.  ;)


6.  Brady is already better at drawing than I am…

but we both have the same bubbly personality.  I love watching him grow and seeing just how much he loves people and making them smile.  Warms my heart!

7.  Nate and I brought Brady to feed the ducks a week or two ago, and the little guy ate most of the bread that was meant for the birds.  Ha, ha!  That’s my boy…  He sure does love his food!

What have you been up to?  Any fun weekend plans??


Elephants and bunnies, oh my!


Meet Pinky, the newest addition to our family.

Yes, I understand that Pinky is quite green.  But somehow the name stuck.  And I’ve never claimed to be efficient at naming things (since, you know, I am the one with a cat named Highstreet).  So Pinky it is…

And I don’t know, he just looks like a Pinky… in a very forest green sort of way.

This soft, crocheted little elephant moved from his Etsy home over at Ellie Kay Creations to be Brady’s new little buddy.  He’s just the right size for little hands to hold and oh-so-soft.  The workmanship is absolutely beautiful!

Elizabeth, the talented artist and creator of the site, sent me Pinky for an honest review; and I have to say that I instantly fell in love with her work.  First of all, she’s a new mom who’s starting her own business.  I’m all for supporting that kind of endeavor (as I have my own experience with starting a new business as a supplemental income).

But also, her little creations are adorable.  

How yarn can be crocheted to take the shape of an elephant, I’ll never know.  But she does it, and it’s SO cute.

I’m always looking for a small, stuffed animal to include in gift baskets when my friends have a baby; and Ellie Kay Creations has the perfect options for that.  They’re also ideal for Easter Baskets!  (Elizabeth is great to work with; and if your stuffed animal is for a newborn or toddler, she can make the animal without the button eyes.  You can also request specific color choices if you need to).



If elephants aren’t your thing, she also creates precious bunnies with floppy ears.  :)

Light Blue Crochet Bunny - Crochet Bunny - Easter Bunny - Easter Basket Bunny - Amigurumi Bunny - Stuffed Animal

Pink Amigurumi Bunny


I honestly wasn’t sure how Brady was going to like the size, since his animals are typically on the larger, more-‘huggable’ size.  But he actually loved having a smaller friend to carry around.  He had fun placing Pinky in places where his other animals wouldn’t fit and insisted on watching Winnie the Pooh with him.  And, since Brady is all boy, he quickly discovered that Pinky is fun to throw through the air and then chase.  (Pinky is holding up wonderfully and seems to enjoy the attention).

If you’re looking for a cute little animal to add to a gift basket (or even to top off a gift for a baby shower or toddler’s birthday party), you should definitely check out Ellie Kay Creations.

Elizabeth is on maternity leave until May 1st, so follow her for updates via her Instagram account:   Ellie Kay Creations.  Drop her a note to say “hi” and let her know that Nicole from Just Live It Blog sent you!!!  :)

OR check out her website  and click on the orange button to have your email address added to a mailing list.  Then, when she’s back up and running over the next few days, she’ll alert you to let you know that she’s open for business!



Jury Duty!


When you think about it, the existence of Jury Duty is both incredible… and horrifying.  The fate of those on trial rests in the hands of the average joe-schmo who received a summons in the mail.  That person standing behind you in the coffee shop?  They probably have absolutely no background in law, but their judgment could send someone to prison… or a guilty individual free.

The call to Jury Duty is all it takes to put the law into someone’s hands.

At the same time, it’s a reminder that “we the people” deserve a ‘say’.  We are equipped to make wise, fair decisions when presented with the facts.  And when picked with care and precision, the jury is a beautiful part of the justice system.  I embrace a government that doesn’t rule with a power-hungry hand as though it knows better than the people who elected it.  So I guess, as annoying as it may be to receive a Jury Duty summons in the mail, the ability to serve is a civic duty and an honor.

Last week was my first time being called to potentially serve on a jury, and I had absolutely no idea what to expect.  The call line told me to arrive early to ensure a parking spot, so early it was!  I had to drive into an unfamiliar city, which I knew included many one-way streets.  One-way streets and I don’t care for each other all that much, and I was terrified of getting turned around and unable to find my way back.

I also wanted to leave early, so that I could stop at the store and stock up on snacks and magazines.  Priorities, my friends.  Priorities.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to be allowed to leave the jury waiting room for food, and I was not going to starve!  ;)

The courthouse opened for jurors at 7:30am, but I had been warned that the parking lot across the street does get full.  So I arrived super early with the expectation that I’d just eat breakfast and drink my coffee in the car.  Unfortunately, 6:45am was too early, and the attendant told me that he wouldn’t let me into the parking lot until 7am.    I instantly panicked at the thought of backing my car out and getting lost, thanks to one-way streets.  But I found a spot on the side of the road to park, and I did find my way back to the parking lot… at exactly 6:59am.  ;)  The attendant rolled his eyes at me a bit, but he did let me in this time.

I thought that parking was the hard part, but – on my walk to the courthouse –  I totally jaywalked right in front of a cop.  The “walk” sign was taking so long that I thought it was broken, but apparently it wasn’t.  And apparently I picked a bad time to cross, because it was directly in front of three oncoming cars.  It was just one of those moments, you know?  I was feeling flustered and uneasy, and so I did something stupid.Thankfully, the cop just shot me a look and let me go on my way.

I made it through the medal detectors okay (although I had to take off my shoes since my boots set off the alarms), got directions to the jury room, signed in, and found a seat.  Taking a deep breath, I willed myself to just relax.  The hard part was over, and now I had to wait.  I reached into my purse for the gingerale I had brought, opened the top, and was instantly met with an explosion of carbonation.

“Everyone is watching me.  Great…  Yeah, I’m the jaywalking, soda spilling mess that has been invited to serve on a jury.  Nice to meet you too.”

Waiting was the theme of the day.  The large, very plain, white-walled room started out with 76 people, and – one by one – we were whittled down.  We were not allowed to leave, and there were court policeman on hand to make sure we obeyed that rule.  There were interviews and in-depth forms to fill out.  Hour by hour passed, and I soon realized that it was going to be a long day.  The seats were lined up by rows, and there was no television or entertainment.  At one point, I introduced myself to a girl my age just to have the opportunity to talk with someone and help the time pass.  She was super nice, and we ended up being jury buddies for the rest of the day.

Several hours in, I was brought into a trial room along with about 30 other people.  We were instructed to sit in two benches; and I realized that there was an actual judge, defendant, defense attorney, and another attorney present.   Wait, there’s an actual case going on right now?  The judge explained to us that they were searching for a fair and unbiased jury of 12 people to serve on a murder trial, as the defendant was being accused of killing a young man!  I won’t get into specifics as the case is ongoing, but the details that were provided to us were horrific.

There was an audible gasp from the jury, and I was someone who contributed to that.  It was that much more intense as the man being accused of murder was sitting right there in front of us.

The trial was going to last at least a week and would include graphic details and photo’s.  I instantly knew that I didn’t want to be a part of this, so I was relieved – soon afterward – when the defense attorney objected to my being a juror.  At that point, I was sitting before the judge and the attorneys by myself in the very large courtroom, so that they could ask me questions.  The defense attorney was concerned that I wouldn’t be impartial, since my husband was brutally assaulted when he was a Correction Officer.  The judge agreed and said that it would probably be best if I didn’t serve on the jury.

*Insert huge sigh of relief*

I was allowed to leave around 8 hours after the process started, and – yes – my first stop was to get a coffee for the drive home.  ;)  I was overheated and mentally exhausted.  But at the same time, it was definitely quite the experience!  (What an intense experience for my first jury-duty summons).

Have you ever served on a jury?  

Let’s Go On a Date


I have to laugh sometimes…

I mean, there are ‘those days’ during which I feel my patience being stretched just a bit too thin.  Because – let’s face it – all moms have days like that from time to time.  But still, can we pause a moment to reflect on the fact that most us of us are living a life so much more entertaining than reality TV?   Or even a TV sitcom?

It’s hilarious.  And chock-full of learning opportunities.  And sometimes maddening; but those make for the best stories afterward, so it’s all good, right?  :)  There are times that you have to be real and have that cry.  But there are other times that it’s just not worth stressing over the spilled milk, and you just have to laugh.

Or shake it off!

(See that reddish dot on the lower side of my face?  That’s totally a blob of spaghetti sauce that followed me from lunch… to the mall and then to the movies.  No, I didn’t invite Mr. Blob to come with me on my date, but he decided to play third wheel anyway.  It’s a classy addition to this classic photo, I know!).  

One of the ways that I refresh and give myself the attitude jumpstart I need – when it’s needed – is go on a date with the hubby.  (Making time for morning devotions and exercise are huge mood boosters too, AND I couldn’t survive my day without prayer)!  But my husband is my best friend, and the reason why I’m the mom to a beautiful little boy.  Quality time with him is everything sometimes.

When you’re a parent, it’s SO easy to forget that you and your soulmate should put each other first… (I feel almost guilty even writing that, because every bone in my mommy body fights it.  But it’s true.  My husband does have to come first).

I actually have a friend who has a rule that – while there are pictures of her children throughout the home – there are no pictures of the children in the bedroom she shares with her husband.  At first, I balked at that idea and thought it strange.  But she later explained that it’s to remind her that she first vowed to love her husband, and that their marriage needs to always come first.

I’m not sure that I’d take it to the extreme that I can’t have pictures of Brady in the bedroom, but I completely understand the point she’s trying to make.  I just have one child right now, but he is my entire world.  Still, my marriage should always come first; because if it does, Brady will grow up in a home surrounded by stability, commitment, and love.

Nate and I are partners in this journey called life.  We are strongest when we’re together!

But let’s face it, when you’re running around the house wiping snot off of little boogie noses, cleaning up stinky diapers, and washing load after load of laundry, it’s hard to remember the romance that brought you together.  That’s where the little quote “marriage takes work” comes in.  You’ve got to work at making quality time, romance, and friendship a priority!

This past weekend, my mom babysat the little guy so that Nate and I could have an entire day to ourselves.  An entire day!  (Not gonna lie, we originally asked her to babysit, so that we could spring clean a few rooms.  ;)  Instead, we decided to play hooky, because we so desperately needed some fun time together).

The day was a serious flashback to our dating days; because it was simple, and silly, and somehow perfect.

When we were dating, Nate and I always did random things, and our day together this past weekend was no different.  ;)  The important thing really is to laugh and to not take yourself too seriously.  Or at least I told Nate that, because I wanted to convince him to join me in posing beside grills and ovens in a local Sears.

(“Smile, Nate.  Being silly is good for our marriage!”).  

After enjoying food at a local restaurant for which we had a gift card, we decided to end the afternoon at the movies.  It was Nate’s turn to pick, since I chose a Disney cartoon last time; and he picked 10 Cloverfield Lane.  I really can’t do psychological thrillers, and – although I’m sure this was pretty mild when compared to other movies – it still freaked me out.  I hid my face in Nate’s shoulder a few times and whispered to him, “We should have gone to see a comedy!”

Never again, my friends.  Never again.  ;)

Life does feel like a crazy TV show sometimes.  Or a wild ride.  But holding onto the people we love reminds us to see the good, to focus on the positive, and to laugh until our ribs hurt.  It’s medicine for the soul, and it’s why God created family in the first place.  He knew that we’d need each other.

I know that I need my husband more than words could say.  And spending such a simple, fun day with him over the weekend was just what this mama needed!  :)









Getting Healthy – an update


I suppose it’s time for me to update everyone as to how my exercise and eat-healthy goals are going!  Hmmmm, should I start with the good news or the bad news?😉

So first, let’s talk about excuses.

Actually, let’s back up.  First, let me make an excuse.  Please excuse me if this blog post is a bit scatter-brained and more suited to the scribblings of a young child.  Brady is just getting over a 3 week stretch of very little sleep, and my body is feeling it.  (To be more specific, my brain is feeling it too).

Tonight, I tried to screw the nipple of Brady’s bed-time bottle onto the top of a milk jug.  Nate thought it was hilarious.  Brady was disappointed that I wasn’t actually intending to give him an entire gallon of milk.  And I felt my heart drop as I wondered what else I was accidentally messing up, because seriously awkward things can happen when you’re functioning on so little sleep.  I mean, my biggest fear is walking into the grocery store and realizing that I forgot to put on pants.

You just can’t bounce back from that!

What were we talking about again??

Oh, right, my exercise and eat-healthy goals!  :)  Here’s the tough news…  Starting a dedicated fitness routine that’s fueled by healthier foods is tough.  I know that’s nothing new to anyone reading this, and I’d definitely prefer to skip over this part of my journey and blog about the victories.  :)  BUT I also know that there are plenty of women (and men) out there who do have to drop a few pounds for health reasons, so I want to always be completely honest.

So could I do better?  Yes!  I honestly haven’t made the commitment to cardio that I need to, but that is – mainly – due to the weather just now warming up.  I have a really hard time starting a jogging routine on a treadmill, and I’m just now able to run outside.  And as for the eating, no foods are taboo; because I want this to be a lifestyle commitment (not a diet).  But I could definitely cut down on the sugar and carbs.  ;)  And let’s face it, it’s sooooo easy to come up with an excuse as to why the workouts should start tomorrow.  

When I made an excuse to not exercise yesterday, Nate calmly looked at me and said, “What do you need me to be?  The tough husband who pushes you?  Or the understanding husband who lets you rest?”

I sighed and replied, “The tough husband…”

So needless to say, I ran a solid 2 miles shortly afterward)!

So yes, let’s talk about the victories!:)  Most of you have already read my posts during which I recapped my gaining weight due to stress eating and not committing myself to exercising after becoming a mom.  (If not, you can read those here and here).  I put on about 30 pounds over the past 4 years, and it wasn’t because I needed to. It was all because I was eating too much junk food and definitely not working out like I should.

But since February, I’ve lost 5 pounds!

I know that most people would see that as really slow progress, but I’m so happy about it.  I haven’t even exercised as much as I should, but I’m already moving in the right direction!  That’s all been due to moving more, listening to my body and trying to obey hunger cues, chasing after my toddler, and cutting out calorie-laden drinks.

Just those baby steps and little changes have been helping me to feel better.  But now that the nicer weather is here, I definitely need to take the workouts up a notch!  ;)  Hopefully the next blog post is all about the awesome workouts I fit into my hectic lifestyle!!  :) But either way, I’m going to be proud of myself for moving in the right direction.

That’s what this journey is for me.  It really is about lifestyle choices and just feeling strong, healthy, and confident!  I don’t specifically have a number on the scale that I’m working towards.  I just want to fill my body with healthy foods and work my muscles, so that I can be the healthy, energetic mom that Brady deserves.  :)

So, yes, it has been baby steps.  But I’m tip-toeing in the right direction, my friends.



Mr. Golden Sun


If I could, I totally would have bottled yesterday’s weather to save for a rainy (or cold) day.  It was absolutely perfect!  Seventy-one degrees, sunny (but not too hot), and too early in the season for bugs.  Really, it was the epitome of what I consider to be the most beautiful day.

Brady doesn’t nap well on Sundays (since he’s so busy playing with his church friends), so Nate and I opted to go for a long drive instead of an afternoon walk.  The little guy just seemed so tired and in need of a good nap.  (But at the same time, there was no way that I was going to sit at home).  :)

As we usually do when we go for a drive, we ended up in the middle of nowhere, which is – to be honest – right where we wanted to be.  I feel most at home (and at peace) in the middle of the woods, second only to the beach.  You all know how calming the beach is for me.  Sigh, it just makes me happy.

We were driving along the most narrow of unfamiliar, forest roads when suddenly it opened up to a beach along a beautiful lake.  What?!?  I’m fairly certain that this area is supposed to be private and enjoyed only by the vacation home owners who live in the area during the summer.  But it’s off season (as it’s rarely this warm in April), so there was no one on the beach.  And Brady had just happened to wake up.

So we stopped the Jeep right along the beach (as the road lined the outskirt of the sand), and we all hopped out to soak our toes.

The second my bare feet buried their way into the warm sand, I felt like a new person.  There’s just something about the sand, and the water, and the sunshine…  It cures whatever ails me every time.

Brady wasn’t having any of the “just soak your toes” rules, so the pants came off…  ;)  He just kept saying, “Wow, wow, wow” really loudly, so I think he’s going to like the beach just as much as his mom does.

Honestly, just playing there on the beach and feeling the very cold water on my toes made me feel as though I was on vacation.  It wasn’t a bad winter by any means, but it still somehow felt long.  It was SO good to be playing outside again.

Awwww, and summer is only just beginning!  :)


Yankee Candle Village


Today honestly started out as one of ‘those’ days, mainly because Brady is on a three-week strike to boycott sleep.  So when he woke up at 5am, and I heard rain pitter-pattering against the window, I wondered to myself, “How am I going to survive an exhausting day while being stuck inside with a hyper, sleep-deprived toddler?”

Actually, I wondered that out loud.  And when Nate didn’t stir, I may have pushed him awake and posed the same question to him.  Misery loves company… but so does an over-tired mama who has a major case of cabin fever.

So Nate came up with THE best idea ever.  Let’s take off and have an adventure!  Actually, he suggested a day-trip to Yankee Candle Village in Deerfield, MA; but same difference.  :)

I’ve been visiting Yankee Candle since I was a little girl, although it has really grown a lot since then.  And before you think, “Hmmm, I’m all set.  I’m not really that into candles,” please let me assure you that it’s way more than candles.  It’s an experience!

Sooooo, please let me be your tour-guide for this little trip, so that I can show you!  :)

When you first walk in, there’s a General Store area filled with kitchen gadgets, maple syrup, gift items, spice packets, specialty pasta, dishes, and – well – everything interesting that you might find in a quaint country store.  It’s my favorite part of the entire Village, I’m fairly certain.  :)  (And Brady is obsessed with the train that drives around the edge of the ceiling, so it just might be his favorite part too).

Next up is the Black Forest.  Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds, and I promise that you won’t get lost.  It’s a valley sprinkled with miniature villages that you can either purchase… or watch with glee.

The trees get much taller towards the end of the valley, and – if you’re lucky and pass through at the right time – you might even see some snow.

Once you’ve safely passed through the beautiful, snowy forest, you’ll find yourself in a little town in Switzerland.  There’s the tallest of Christmas trees in the center, sprinkled with beautiful Christmas ornaments for sail.  And the little shops on either side are filled with festive ornaments, delicate lace, figurines, and Christmas decor.

At the end of the village, is a regal castle, complete with water-filled moat, gargoyles, and tall nutcrackers.

Passing through the castle leads you into Santa’s workshop!  Santa wasn’t in today, but there were still plenty of toys to discover and play with.


And the workshop is followed by a giant candy store that even has a boat you can climb into!

Once you’ve passed through the toy store, there’s a cafe, fudge shop, popcorn counter, and various shops that sell paintings, home decor, etc.  There’s also a Ben and Jerry’s icecream shop.  Just when I was thinking the day couldn’t get any better, we found out that it was Free Scoop day!!  What, what, what?!?  Free icecream?

Yes, best day ever!!

The area just past Ben and Jerry’s is filled with home and garden decor, as well as purses, jewelry, pampering items for the bath, lotions, and pretty trinkets.  I love this section too, not gonna lie.  ;)

Oh, yeah, and don’t forget!  There are lots and LOTS of candles to pick from too!  :)  Obviously!!

To top off the day, we had lunch at Panera Bread!  Eating out is usually really stressful, because Brady is high-energy and refuses to sit still.  ;)  But apparently his macaroni and cheese was SO good that he found the strength to sit still and let his mama enjoy her food.

This is his focused face!  ;)  He was REALLY intent on eating every bite.

I ordered my favorite BBQ chicken salad option, and it was sooooo good!

Thank you, Panera, for having such awesome food that I was actually able to enjoy a meal out!  And thank you, Yankee Candle, for another wonderful experience!

SUCH a great day spent with my family!!  And the sunshine came out for the drive home.  :)



Breathe (Part 2)


Part 1 – if you missed it


Sometimes, we ladies forget that we’re human.  And so it makes it that much more difficult when we have to admit that we need help.

Asking for help from my husband (and even mentioning specific ways in which he could show me love and support during this particularly stressful time) – as amazing as he is – was hard for me.  But I had to.  Admitting to a friend that I was really struggling with being stretched so thin was humbling.  But admitting it (and knowing she was praying with me about it) was healing.  Realizing that I had to choose between a cleaner house and quality time with my clingy 16-month-old forced me to give up control, but it was a choice well made.  He always comes first.

The leaning tower of laundry in my bedroom will be there tomorrow… or the next day…or the next day.  For now, I’m closing the bedroom door so that I don’t have to look at it.  ;)

And letting myself cry and feel all the emotions that were surrounding me was unfamiliar.  But then afterward, it felt healthy…

It was a really, REALLY tough week.  I don’t know that I’ve ever before been in a place like that, because I rarely have a hard time smiling and seeing the positive.  But I imagine there will be more times like that in my lifetime. However, going through that – and not being able to handle it all – didn’t make me a failure as a woman or as a mom.

I know that now!

I will make mistakes.  I will sometimes (many times) wish that I could do more.  But I have to do my best and trust the rest to the One who can be everything.  He did create women with Superpowers.  :)  He created us to be strong, and loving, and passionate, and with an insatiable desire to give.  But He didn’t create us to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders.

Only He can do that.  And so I ultimately only fail when I stop looking to Him for answers, strength, protection, forgiveness, grace, and guidance.  :)  I need to look to Him.  He will be sufficient when I am not.

Once I released everything to Him and allowed myself to be human, I stopped being so hard on myself.  It released me from the guilt.  From that overwhelming need to be in control and on top of everything.  It reminded me to take a deep breath, do what I can, and find all the beautiful reasons in my life to smile.

The joy of the Lord really is my strength.  But the joy and the strength comes from Him!  And we moms sometimes need to be reminded that just because we can’t handle it all sometimes (or that sometimes we do need to cry; have a really, REALLY bad day; or learn to say ‘no’), it doesn’t mean we’re failing… or not being Super-mom.  It just means that we’re human.

And that’s okay… because that’s what we were created to be.  :)

Breathe (Part 1)



So I hit a really rough patch a few weeks ago, and it left this mama feeling like a failure.  I really did feel like a honest-to-goodness failure.  I hadn’t slept well in four nights, I saw how messy my house was, there was a crying little boy grabbing at my legs, dinner was burning on the stove for the second night in a row, and I realized that I hadn’t finished correcting piano theory for lessons the next day.  I had a worship service to plan out for church, so much laundry piling up that I wasn’t sure what was clean, cats who were tripping up my feet since they hadn’t been fed, and an upcoming piano recital to organize.

I was balancing so much that I was dropping absolutely everything.

In that moment, I wanted to run away from it all.  I want to run somewhere quiet, and safe, and still…just so that I could maybe cry for a minute and let all those emotions escape before the lump in my throat made it impossible to breathe.  Then I wanted to eat cake.  Lots and lots of cake.

Instead, I swallowed it all and put on a brave smile.  Because that’s what moms do, right?  They manage their household with patience and grace.  They always have time, and answers, and encouragement.  They always have enough to give…

But every new struggle, emotional need, and responsibility caught up with me until the cracks in my mom-shield were too great to ignore.  I knew – truly knew – that I was at the end of my rope when I took out my camera one afternoon to snap a pic for my blog…and I couldn’t smile.  I couldn’t lie to the camera and pretend that I was happy and feeling joyful, when all I really wanted to do was cry.  And scream.  And flail my arms to pull myself up out of the water that was drowning me.

After days of this, I finally decided that enough was enough.   And instead of burying how overwhelmed I was, I faced the pain, anxiety, and loneliness head on.

So many of us have been told that – as women – we are strong and unbreakable.  We can do anything.  We are the glue that binds our families, and shame on us if we can’t keep a smile on our face.  Shame on us if we can’t keep everything together.  “The joy of the Lord is our strength” so – for goodness sake – act joyful!

Yes, God made us strong!  He created us with a selfless love that goes beyond this world’s comprehension.  And He does provide joy, even amidst the worst of circumstances.  But let’s not forget that He also created us human.  We were created with emotions and our own set of needs.  We have the ability to fall and get back up again.   But we were also created to cry sometimes.  To rest. To be still.  And to need fulfillment of our own.

We can’t juggle it all.  At least not all the time.  (…to be continued tomorrow!)  :)