[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
You have this idea in your head of what you expect your life to look like. You strive for happiness and the white picket fence. Or at least I did. Till my world got so shook that I realized happiness was dependent on things and I needed joy that wasn’t circumstantial of what I had or what I did. My family’s life took a drastic turn in May 2013 when my husband took our middle child, Naomi, then 2.5 years old, to the doctor for what we thought was croup, only to find out a massive tumor was between her heart and lungs and she needed to go to a children’s hospital immediately. So with a 4.5 year old, 2.5 year old, and recently turned 1 year old, we didn’t know what the next day was going to bring, we only knew the road ahead was blurry and scary. We are so thankful for the community that came along side us in the town we lived in and online. Five days after the diagnosis with the childhood cancer Neuroblastoma, Naomi had a surgery that removed 95% of the tumor and did not require chemo or radiation—-the best outcome we could have hoped for. I cannot share the story without mentioning the grace I learned about through Jesus’ presence during that difficult time. I know that it doesn’t always turn out that way—brokenness is a part of this world and surely we aren’t exempt from it in the future. But what I know is that Jesus gave me a peace throughout it all that I can’t even put into words. And for that, I’m incredibly thankful for what we endured because I grew to know Jesus on a much deeper level. I was affected so much by His presence that I went and got a tattoo at the beginning of this year to remind myself daily of His grace. In my own handwriting it says “grace is enough” on my left wrist. Based on 2 Corinthians 12:9—when I am weak I know His grace will carry me through.
Every three months we went back for scans to make sure the cancer hadn’t grown again. We just hit our one year mark in May and we celebrated with a huge move. Okay, we didn’t really move because of the awesome results we got, but we did move because through this challenge with cancer, we learned that life is short. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Every single day is a gift. And we started saying “yes” to more things we have always dreamed of doing. So we moved 20 hours away to South Florida so we could be near the ocean, a dream of mine I’ve had for so long. We also said “yes” to starting our own online clothing store called Little Loves Clothing. I hand-draw the designs then my husband does the graphic computer work. We want rad designs on comfy shirts that have a purpose behind them. Our motivation behind our company was to begin to save up to one day, hopefully, adopt. In the meantime, we give $5 from every purchase towards an organization in Uganda called Abide Family Center. We share a belief with them that families matter. They work to keep children out of orphanages by providing other options to families caring for orphans and other vulnerable children. I love following them on instagram @abidefamilycenter and reading about their work on their website.
If there is anything I want to teach my children it’s that life is a gift and it’s not about us. A heart for others is a heart led by love.
[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
I spent some time thinking about my favorite part of the day. Not a certain time of day stuck out to me, rather it was moments throughout my day that I receive grace from children and a reminder that this sacrificial love is so worth it. When they come up to me and say “I think you need snuggles, mama.” Or when I see them put their brother or sister before themselves, because they are getting it. My favorite part of the day is celebrating the little victories of love. Isn’t that what life is all about?
[#3] Name Three Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
Instagram is such a beautiful community. I love how I can scroll through and find inspiration through someone having a fresh cut of flowers from the market or a mama taking in those newborn snuggles, because we all know how fleeting those are.
One of my favorite instagrammers is Rayda @rysimmons. She shares the sweetest homeschool ideas that she does with her three little girls, not to mention her home decor and her kiddos dress is dreamy. I can just feel the love and laughter that exudes from her pictures.
Another instagram mama that I’ve fallen in love with is Leslie with @dreambiglittleones. She has such a passion for life, loving her two adorable children and husband, dreaming big, and changing the world. You can’t not look at her photos and gush over her sweethearts. I love how she has opened my eyes and the world to dwarfism awareness and celebrating the beauty of differences. She also was a huge encourager to me during our trial with our daughter, Naomi when she was fighting cancer.
The third mama that I’m head over heels for and love her feed so much is Wynne with @wynneelder. She’s also a dreamer and a doer and happens to be an adoptive mama to two Ethiopians. Just this past month she took her two insanely adorable kiddos on a huge trip across a ton of states. I loved following along on instagram to see her seek adventure. She also has a passion for Jesus, social justice, and ethically-made shopping; I mean, that’s a triple win!
[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
Oh my. Isn’t life always about trying to find a balance? I’m constantly weighing things in my head, evaluating how I spend my time. But lately, I’ve learned that it is okay to not have it all balanced out. Somedays I just go for it, I focus on my creative outlet, whether by sewing something up, painting a picture with my kiddos, or working on our business. Other days? I say heck with it, today it’s about doing whatever the day takes us to- the beach? Ok! The park? Why not! Sitting around having a tea party? That works too. I do make it a point that my children see me doing what I love and being creative. They can join me by working along side me or go find something else to play. I think a challenge for me is learning to trust in what the Lord has laid on my heart. Sometimes I think I want to give it all up and just be a mama. But I’m reminded over and over again, we are to share our gifts with the world. That being a mama and an entrepreneur is a beautiful thing.
[#5] What is a family tradition that you love sharing with your kids?
Family traditions. I’m a sucker for them. I love creating moments that can be repeated and something that will be etched into my children’s hearts. Since we just moved, we are in the process of creating new family traditions. But one we can take with us no matter where we are is what we call Friday Family Fun Night. We don’t do it every Friday, but for about a year it happened at least every other Friday and now we do it about once a month. It starts with a dance party in our home while we make simple homemade calzones. I’m pretty sure my girls could make their own calzones without a recipe now! Then we pile into the living room and watch a classic family movie, eat our calzones and have root beer floats. It’s pretty simple, but we love it. I distinctly remember creating a family fun night at the hospital when Naomi was recovering from her tumor removal—we watched a movie and had pizza all together in the hospital room. Such a sweet memory during a difficult time.
[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
I love decorating and remodeling homes. I think that’s secretly why I’ve been okay with moving four times in the last eight years. My goal of our home is to create an environment that is welcoming, warm, and invites community. When I look around each room I could tell you a story behind almost everything hanging on the wall. Stories of hope, of laughter, and tears. Something you can’t see, but hear in our home is music. Music is a mood changer for me and also allows for random dance parties through out the day, so music is always on. Our home is an extension of our life; only in the past year or so have I begun to accept mess. Mess equals living to me. I still like to be organized and clean, but I’m learning that dishes in the sink mean we have food to eat. Laundry that needs folded sitting in the corner means we have an abundance. It’s perfectly imperfect for us.
[#7] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.
After being away from their daddy nearly two weeks for his work, the excitement at the airport to pick him up couldn’t be contained. I just loved sitting back watching our children adore their dad and welcome him back. It’s these sacred moments, that to others may see this photo and think nothing of it, but to me, I see the adoration of three children to their daddy. And I’m so grateful for it.