This was the spot over seven years ago that I went to celebrate positive pregnancy test and reflect on the unknown journey that lay ahead. looking at the water I felt BRAVE which morphed in the months and weeks to come. in those moments I felt fear and panic and becoming a mother. I was concerned about the mental health jeans that my family brought to the table and the perfect June Cleaver jeans that my husband brought. how would they mix and would it be my fault if the kids were a mess? becoming a mom made me nervous but by the water in the very first minutes of knowing I was pregnant, I only felt BRAVE. the water calmed my mind, the rocks grounded my feet and I bravely embarked on this new adventure.
Making a layout about myself felt narcissistic until I understood my intention behind the story. First, I wanted to explore the ways I take care of myself currently. (Later I want to take that a step further and determine if my self care measures need adjusting, added to or subtracted from). And even more than that, I want my children to see this layout in 20 years and understand how important it is to recharge yourself by taking time to enjoy life.
My story sparks ignited as I browsed through my photo gallery from the last few weeks. There were pictures of my kids, the dog and screenshots of items to remember or purchase. Embedded between those images were glimpses of how I am currently caring for myself.
Walking around outside seeking the beauty of blooming spring blossoms.
Sipping a latte while writing down thoughts and goals in my planner.
Finishing the day with a book that had me craving more of the story.
Linking breathe with movement in yoga class.
Have you seen Ali Edwards April Digital Kit? The egg shapes are my favorite!!!!
Let’s dive into the layouts I made with this kit. First is our church’s annual Easter Egg hunt. They divide up the parking lot into color coded age sections. This year I went with Jacob and about 200 other 3 year olds. What I love about this photo of him, is all the eggs surrounding him and the look of serious concentration on his face as he looked for the golden egg. (spoiler alert – he did not find a golden egg and had to be encouraged to pick up a few ordinary eggs along the way.)
Photo of jacob with eggs
The second story that I wanted to highlight from April was the story of when we rescued an adorable dog we found wandering near a busy street in our neighborhood. For this layout I focused more on Dylan’s perspective and how he interacted with him. The main part of the story that I want to be documented was the kindness that Dylan showed to the dog and the act of service we did that day in rescuing a strangers best friend.
Photo of Dylan with Petey
I LOVE this story kit. I like them all but this one has a special place in my heart right now as I am also working through Ali Edwards Lens of Joy class. The class and this story kit is helping me to explore the lens that I look at the world around me through. Am I counting it all joy as scriptures instruct or are there areas where my attitude could use a little tweaking and how can I make these adjustments? (more on that on a later post, I promise!)
The main story prompts that sparked my story ideas was the prompt of –
Through the lens I see:
I practiced using this story spark for documenting a day during week in the life and I love how it prompts me to look at my phone and interpret the story of my life as it is right now.
There was moment in our hotel room over spring break where all four of us were in one bed together eating left over chocolate peanut butter cake out of a to go box and spilling crumbs on the white sheets. THAT is the memory I want to remember. That feeling of family all together and making memories of joy is what my soul seeks.
This layout is a combination of all those feelings along with an ocean side, rocks climbed family selfie …
Thursdays are part “I go” and part “I work”. Here is a look at those parts.
6:49am // I go outside to feed Ryder and notice the bright sunlight flooding the backyard. I am grateful for this yard space and sunshine.
7:18am // I got outside and he knows it is breakfast time. He lays down and patient waits for me to give the ok to enjoy his kibble.
6:56 am // Before I can go about my chores, I make sure this little one has something to entertain him and something to eat. Today he gets to play the computer game and has some fruit for breakfast. He isn’t much of a breakfast eater and usually panics that he hasn’t eaten as we get close to his school. I always tell him that he should eat more and that I won’t give him a snack (but I always do)
7:45am // I go get the Easter basket painting craft for Dylan since he is dressed and ready for school early. I love that he loves to craft.
8:13am // I go into the car and load up both boys for school drop off. Again the magic of a new library book on CD has me all smiles. The boys are familiar with this author and Jacob said his teacher read him the book recently. Dylan holds the book before his drop off and Jacob will have a turn before his drop off.
9:08am // I go through the Starbucks drive through line to grab a special coffee (instead of black drip coffee like most mornings) and a breakfast sandwich. I appreciate the new gluten free option.
9:52am // I go to get my grey hair covered up. I could go every 4 weeks to get those stubborn things covered but that isn’t a reality right now. I treasure the times I do get to have my hair colored. My stylist, Denise, and I are good friends with kids the same ages. We talk about the kids, are husbands, being working mamas and LuLaRoe clothes.
2:28 pm // I go into work. Parking is crazy lately and I am parking further and further out. The advantage is a higher step count and not having to drive around looking for space. I enjoy the time walking in to mental prepare for my shift.
4:02pm // I go to a unit mandated class called communicating with respect. Some of our co-workers have said other co-workers don’t treat them with respect so we are all attending this class. We start the class with a painting exercise which ends up being really fun. At the end we are instructed to etch on word that we are craving more of into our painting. My friend Erin and I are sitting right next to each other and write the same exact word – CALM!
10:02pm // I go to my locker to get my glasses since my eyes are getting tired. I am ready to GO home and GO to sleep.
“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.” Mary Jean Irion
7:02am // On Wednesday I try to empty the dishwasher before I take Dylan to school. The routine of running the dishwasher every night and emptying every morning gives me a solid accomplishment to check of at the start of the day.
7:22am // On some Wednesday mornings I try to eat breakfast sitting down. This morning even read of few lines of my devotional book and took notes on the previous day for Week in the Life. The reality is the coffee ended up being reheated many many times and the breakfast was half eaten before it was time to leave for school drop off.
8:18am // On this Wednesday, Dylan complained of a stomach ache again before school. I am not sure if something is brewing of he is having a nervous tummy as we return to the school routine. Today I am grateful for the magic of a new library book on tape to keep them entertained for the drive to school.
9:01am // On Wednesdays, Jacob and I come back home and have a few hours free to do what we want. This morning he wanted, what he calls “lap sitty time”, and this means he crawls up onto my lap and settles into a snug. Todays session called for a book as well.
10:34am // On this Wednesday we ventured out of the house to take Ryder to the groomers. He is long overdue for a trim and wash. jacob chose to ride his bike and I love his enthusiasm and persistence in bike riding. The groomer is about a half mile walk from our house and I hope he is as excited to ride home as he is to ride there. (spoiler alert – he was not and I did not include a photo of me pushing said bike back up the hill to our house!)
11:25am // On Wednesdays we get a treat. Today was a Dutch Bros smoothie and a Bill’s donut. Both are in the same shopping center as the dog groomer and both are our favorite places to walk to for treats. Jacob walked right up to the Dutch Bros window and ordered himself a green apple smoothie with whip cream on the straw. And inside Bill’s donuts, he requested an apple fritter sample, a sprinkle donut for himself and a maple bar to surprise his brother with after school. He is always thinking about Dylan and remembers to get him a treat as well.
1:49pm // Wednesdays are the last day of the week that I pick up Dylan after school. Today I notice this gorgeous flower along the back pathway to his classroom and stop to check it out. Today we aren’t in a rush to get anywhere and can stop to notice the small things.
5:15pm // This Wednesday included dinner at the local Round Table Pizza who was sponsoring a fund raising night for our local little league. I loaded up on the salad bar before I indulged in a single slice of pepperoni. Dylan ate 4 slices of cheese pizza and they both love the parmesan cheese shaker.
5:29pm // Dylan was happy to have a teammate who has Pokemon cards join us at the pizza place. He brought his Pokemon card binder in anticipation of some good trades. I love the look on his face as he considers the trade and looks at what his friend has to offer.
8:54pm // Wednesdays are the last night we go to bed together for the week. I like to stay up and read a little but Darrin is usually asleep by 8:30. He props his shoulder on my shoulder and we lay like this until my arm goes numb and I roll out of bed to let the dog outside one more time and turn out the lights.
From where I stand … was my leading prompt for today. Not pictures of my feet like I intended but I guess that would get boring and repetitive. Instead I chose to “from where I stand” holding the camera.
8:27am // From where I stand I witness a comradory that has developed between classmates and I am curious as to what they are talking about as they walk to class. And yes it is still raining late into April here.
8:52am // From where I stand I watch Jacob walk in front of me into his class. He likes to wear a backpack like his brother even though he doesn’t “need” to bring anything with him. I am trying hard not to run back to the car in excitement about having 2 hours of freedom after being home with the boys for all spring break.
10:10am // From where I stand I see increased weights on my upper body workout as I rest my knee from dislocating early Monday morning. I was hesitant to workout at all this morning because I was tired and sore but focusing just on upper body and getting in a workout made me feel so much better. I want to remember that some days, something is better than nothing!
11:08am // From where I sit I enjoy a delicious hamburger and a wedding ring symbolizing 14 years of ongoing commitment. Back to the burger for a minute .. prior to this year I hadn’t eaten red meat in over 10 years but after Stephanie introduced me to a juicy delicious Hawks burger, I have been hooked. I don’t indulge often but this morning felt like a celebration moment. Having a wonderful vacation with the boys and my hubby and enjoying the slower pace of spring break, I was celebrating a return to a routine I both like and dislike. A routine that currently allows me twice a week 2 hour break that I use to feed my body and soul. And I am so grateful for those moments!
1:28pm // From where I stand, I look down to see a little guy building his confidence in himself as he works through a new Pokemon look and find book from Grandma Nancy. Later I will send this photo to her as a digital thank you note for giving him this gift. I also see his favorite snack, “a snackie” plate which is like a kid version of an appetizer platter. (and coffee warmed up from this morning .. good to the last drop!)
1:46pm // From where I stand, I look up and express gratitude to God for a clearing in the rain and this gorgeous sky that reminds me there is always a new season on the horizon. WE changed, we grown, we learn and we continue to experience the seasons in our life.
2:46pm // From where I stand, I return my book and watch the boys as they say they are returning themselves in the library bins as well. A little bit about this book – Glennon is a blessed story writer and I love reading about people’s story. I related to some of her struggles as she explains not accepting her body as it is from a very young age and working through that in midlife. I love reading how her children changed her for the better and motivated her to become whole and carry on in the name of love.
3:37pm // From where I sit, I enjoy some sunshine and the green of the backyard. I hear the boys inside playing together and possibly making themselves a snack. I resist the urge to run in and help with snack and instead see how it will turn out. Instead of getting up, I stay in the moment and enjoy looking through my newest library finds – a book on Wine Country home design.
3:49pm // From where I sit, I am served this rainbow platter of snacks from Dylan (minus the blue he says because we are out of blueberries). Dylan made himself a bowl of cereal and yogurt and helped Jacob get a yogurt as well. I am proud of their healthy snack choices, the fact that they got it themselves and delighted to be served a snack as well.
4:25pm // From where I sit, I watch as two brothers fight over the basketball and end up hurting each other intentionally. It hurts my heart to see this happen most days. I want to teach them to love each other, to get along with one another and to not bicker! Not sure how to do that but we are all a work in progress right?
7:11pm // From where I stand, I see a loving daddy reading to the boys like he does every night after bath and before bed. I also see a sneaky husband who doesn’t like his picture taken and is sticking out his tongue at me!
8:37pm // From where I stand, I see a dog who has a favorite spot laying inside the bends of couch and observing how he used to look tiny next to this big couch. This is our spot to wind down from the day and be together. We chat a little, we get things done (tonight is ordering baseball photos and registering the boys for church summer camp) and now that baseball season has started, we watch some of the Giant’s game.
8:52pm // from where I stand, I love this sight!
9:32pm // From where I lay, I start a new book and know I need to get to bed soon. I love the ritual of reading before bed.
And for the photos I didn’t take …
I’ll explain the laughter that we shared as a family as we played a silly made up game with a hula hoop and ballon. I’ll document the pre-bath naked run my oldest did up and down the hallway. And I am happy with this day and “having my life reflected back to me via photos” (like Ali Edwards says).