My Everyday Featuring ... Andrea Gutierrez

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[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
I'm a Southern California native, married to my best friend Rick for eleven years and mama to two children, Natalie, 9 and Finn, 20 months. My story is an ordinary one made extraordinary because of what Christ has done for me and continues to do. I'm constantly in awe of what He reveals in my life and I love finding my identity in Him. Making the decision to be a stay at home mom changed almost everything for us. We had to sacrifice a lot, including moving in with my family so that we could stand by our convictions. It's been a tough road of humility and constant learning but I am grateful for it. Almost ten years later, I am being encouraged and renewed in my calling as wife, mom and homemaker as I see the possibility of change and new things on the horizon. I am thankful everyday for God's patience with us and am excited for what new challenges He has called us to as we live this life for His glory. As for me, simple things add happiness to my heart. I enjoy drawing and illustrating, reading, laughing (it's my favorite!), baking, coffee in the morning, a cup of tea with honey any time of the day, and the beauty and wonders of the Great Outdoors.

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
I never thought I would be a morning person but the last few years my perspective has changed. Knowing that I have a household to take care of encourages me to make the most of the morning. I love waking up to my children's faces, even on mornings where one or both are grumpy. Those mornings I have to remind myself that it is a gift being here with them, just for them, preparing them for the day ahead. It's also one of the greatest opportunities to learn and show grace. There has been many a morning that has been less than ideal, but through His redemptive work, I can take our sinfulness before Him and use it to live out the gospel in the hard moments by confession, repentance and grace. Every morning is an opportunity to find grace, even in the common things like freshly brewed coffee (with cinnamon!), the cool sweet air from an opened window and the day waking. I've come along way from just rolling out of bed with barely enough time to do what needs to be done. I am thankful to have mornings with more purpose and intentionality, pointing our thoughts and hearts towards Christ as we go forward with the day.

[#3] Name Three Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
These three ladies have made a significant impression on my heart: Joy @joyprouty, Terri @woodsermom and Stephanie @mamagaddis. They have sparked courage and strength in my heart to face the challenges of being a woman and a mother. Joy has so greatly shared with her followers a life that is real, beautiful and full of hope. She and her husband have bravely leaped into the unknown, and created a real-life adventure to share with their children in the process. By simplifying their lives, they choose to live by faith and not by the limitations of fear or doubt. 
Terri's life in pictures is an absolute inspiration to me. Her sense of purpose and love for her family are clearly evident. I'm constantly in awe over her idyllic photos and at the center of it all, a strong love for Christ. One day I will have a great, long conversation in her backyard, by the fire pit with her!

And my dear Stephanie! Who moved away too soon but through God's providence and the wonders of texting and FaceTime, has become one of my very best friends. She was a part of my church community group and after hearing her and husband's testimony, I was floored by God's grace in their life and their strength in Him to overcome. Shortly after having their sixth child, they moved to Louisville. She continues to encourage me by showing me real faith in real life. I adore her family and He has motivated to live a life more intentionally because of how she is faithful to what He has given her. 

[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
It's been tough carving out specific times to be creative and do something other than just domestic duties. I listed the above women because I see that life can be joyfully and creatively accomplished (with 4 kids, 9 kids, and 6 kids, respectively). Sometimes I am slow at grasping concepts but I also realize everything is a season. Now that my son is older and I am not constantly on call to nurse, I try to find little moments for creativity. Sometimes I am not so successful. It's trial and error and also allowing myself to be patient. I understand more and more that my family is my first priority and mission and everything else comes after. I still have goals with art and storytelling, there are still crafts I am dying to do and other creative pursuits. I know as I am constantly learning how to prioritize my life, I believe He makes way for things. Sometimes it's hard for me to understand it and have patience but it's pretty awesome knowing that. As I get life together, there will be time for these things, eventually! Who knows, I might become a celebrated author and illustrator when I'm 60!

[#5] What is a family tradition that you love sharing with your kids?
When my daughter was younger, before life got hectic with school, homework, softball and just living, I loved making things and exploring life with her. I enjoyed showing her this world He created and learning about it through stories, crafting and being outside. Life is much different now and it seems it gets harder to have these special times, especially with her. The traditions I want to build for us are having time together that almost seem like ideas from bygone eras. Life is fast, busy and you have to 'keep up' with what culture says you should be doing. I want to find moments to slow down, pretend, play games and enjoy each others' company. This past Summer, we created 'Camp Lupine' in an effort to make the most of what we had during the months she was off from school. We came up with a couple of family holidays (she usually comes up with them on the day) like National Gutierrez Strawberry Dipping day. We started our own secret code that I drive her nuts with, leaving notes for her to decode and it's a crack up for me. Also, being intentional to help develop a relationship between the two children since there is an eight year gap. To have them spend time together, do things together and establish themselves as part of a loving, close family, not just being siblings with no connection because of their ages. I want both children (and future children if the Good Lord wills) growing up knowing that we purpose to be a family, making our own culture, having our own mission and being intentional with not just living, but enjoying life with one another, all for the glory of His Kingdom.

[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
Being that we don't live in our own place, I have struggled with the idea of home and what is 'mine'. On Instagram, I typically share photos of my family outdoors but the pictures that are inside the home are usually close ups. I realized I purposely do that because in my heart I feel like this is not our own surrounding. I know my parent's deeply love us and have helped us tremendously, but as a wife and mother, I am eager to create our own space, a place that has our signature on it. Most photos I put up on IG from the home are of what I'm about to make for dinner. A simple photo of a vegetable or two, on top of my cutting board. Those pictures, to me, say a lot of what 'home' is; providing for my family by feeding them a meal made with love, being together, growing together. It's my way of saying 'By His grace, I promise you this and more'. 

[#7] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.
We have been learning a lot on how to be an intentional family and a frugal one as well. Most times we don't have the means to celebrate little things in big ways. It gives me the chance to hopefully create memories in simple ways. I try to do little things for my girl especially, so that she knows she is loved and important in the family dynamic. I know it can be tough having a much younger sibling that takes a lot of care and management. For her last day of school I put up a bunting I made her, with a small chalkboard sign welcoming her to Summer. I also brought her flowers as in our now tradition for the last day of school. I didn't post any pictures of the bunting or the sign because it's not much but that doesn't matter. What does is that I made it special for her in the way that I could. I hope when she is older, she can understand and appreciate that it's not always the big things that win, but the small, constant, simple ways love shows itself.

Be sure and follow @dearpomegranates on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms