Our Love Is Magic (a love letter)


It didn't take long to fall hard and deep. Not the scrapped, red and bloody knee-type of falling but the falling into heaven's clouds. At that moment we met, we understood each other, we were unblemished in each other's sight, and quickly became inseparable. I don't remember the exact moment when I knew and it doesn't even matter, but you were the one. We traded every part of our souls, even the broken pieces, because we knew that the other held the healing salve for our lives.

They say opposites attract — this is true. Though we've come from very different backgrounds it gives us a strength like no other. As the years continue to gather, we weave more together as one, unsure of where one starts and the other ends. Soulmates. It is not our goal to become one another, but to recognize each other. Playing as witness to each other's life.

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"...in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things...all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'." Shall We Dance (2004)

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They say having a baby changes things. It does. It has propelled me unfathomably further in love with you. As I look at our son, I plunge deeper in love with every part of you, the man who made me a mama. You are a faithful, honest, kind and good man. You are the answer to every question my heart could ask.

I am so thankful for everything. Every graduation. Every fight. Every mortgage bill. Every dirty dish. Every illness. Every birthday celebration. Every vacation. Every ordinary day together. Because it all has woven us tighter together.

Nick, thank you for taking a chance on me. I know every day is not easy, but by the art of committment you continue to be my soulmate. I could never live without you. I love you in untold ways, you've cast a spell over my heart and our love is magic. What a gift of a lifetime. You and I have journeyed the path of rocky roads and have swam in the sparkling blue, but the constant always has been you. Our love may be old but renews forever. Beauty arises and my soul is satisfied.

Life is a journey, and I have chosen well with whom I travel alongside. Together let's leave a beautiful history for our family, a legacy of deep and true love, a marriage to inspire and encourage. Thank you for helping me discover the greatest joy of life.

Pep Talk for the Working Mama


To the mama heavy with guilt.

To the mama who is sitting in her office choking back the tears.

To the mama who literally feels her heart breaking.

To the mama who is questioning her motivations.

To the mama who feels like the day couldn't move any slower.

To the mama who hasn't seen her baby since yesterday.

To the mama who works outside the home and hears, "it gets easier with time," but it hasn't.

Remember.

Remember you work to provide for that baby you're missing so badly.

Remember you are fortunate to have a job when many do not.

Remember that work is an opportunity to share your talents with the world.

Remember that work keeps you in the game career-wise and connected to the larger world.

Remember that you are providing a positive role model.

Remember each work day ends with an all encompassing bear hug — the best part.

Mama, when you're feeling the guilt overcome, remember hard days don't mean bad days. You can do hard things, because you're doing it for the ones you love. Today while at work, remember there is an end to every day. You are not the first mama to need a little reassurance and reminder that you can do what seems impossible. Maybe work isn't always where you want to be, but it is a push and pull. You are strong and smart. Be fully present, whether you are at work or at home.


At the end of the day...



At the end of the day, when it's all said and done, magically all the hard frustrations melt away. Past the dinnertime food throwing and not actually eating and the purposeful milk spilling. After all the defiant "no's" have been said, we march up the creaky, well-worn wooden staircase to his bedroom.

A small lamp on the bookcase dimly illuminates the room. I help my wiggly boy change into his pjs and we cuddle in soft and deep. Books stacked beside us as we turn the pages together — symbolic of the pages of our lives — quickly turning and passing. We read about the cow jumping over the moon and snowy owl wings among other things. Prayers are said. Songs are sung. Meanwhile my boy clings tightly around my neck and presses close for our cheeks to touch.

I linger, smell his sweet baby shampoo scent and listen to his precious toddler voice. He tells me of his plans for the following day and I become teary-eyed. His scary, life-threatening birth story flashes through my consciousness, and I find myself so thankful and blessed — the very best way to end the day. Heart so very, very full.

Created to Create


There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. — Sophia Loren
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. Sophia Loren
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/sophialore120970.html?src=t_creativity
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. Sophia Loren
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/creativity.html

I have this desire to create. It is innate in me — it's who I am. As long as I can remember, I've created.

As a small child, I played hours with play-doh and colored every time I could get my hands on crayons and markers.

In middle school I scrapbooked.

In high school I made all my own jewelry.

When I graduated high school early, I landed a design position at a small company.

In college I studied art, was the curator for my University's art gallery, then graduated with a Bachelors in Photography.

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At the beginning of my college career, the professors gathered the new art students in the small prayer chapel for a moment I'll never forget. The professors spoke words that permeated my heart and impacted the entire way I viewed the creative profession — to this day. Their words reminded me that I was made in God's image, the original Creator. As an image bearer, I have been given the gift of creativity and have been called to continue the creation story. Each student in the prayer chapel that day was gathered to have their hands blessed. I won't forget as my hands were anointed and prayed over — I have been commissioned to create.

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On my last summer break of college, I showed a collection of my photographs in a Chicago Arts District gallery — and even sold a few pieces.

After being proposed to, I planned every detail our wedding and handmade hundreds of detailed paper flowers for the big event — held in an art gallery.

After we were married I decorated our first apartment.

Those early years of marriage, I carried my camera everywhere, blogged and fell deeply and madly in love of the art of food.

Enter now: wife, mama, and career. I've viewed my life the last few years as simply full. Too full to have any time for creativity — and just plain tired. But perhaps I am worn out because my creative heartbeat is being muffled. Creative endeavors energize me and in 2017 I am going to carve out the time and space to dip my toes back into my creative roots. Because creativity is the constant thread that is woven throughout my life, how could I simply abandon that now?

I was born with a hunger to experience and create beauty — this is not a coincidence. Throughout my growing-up years I created without thought, unrestricted — it was simply what I did. And I know that gift is still inside me. So give me a shovel 2017, I need to start digging back to my creative place. I want find my creative spark in everyday activities again. I want more than a functional life, I want to be fully aware of this beautiful life. So I'm finding my way back to do my job and keep showing up even when it is hard, and even when I am tired.

Inaugural Mom Moment

Post incident — You'd never know anything even happened. Ha!

I've had a few moments where I've thought, "this is it, my true welcome to motherhood moment," but this past weekend's incident tops all the rest!

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"Owie, owie, owie!" rings from the backseat of the car as I pull into the Trader Joe's parking lot. I find the spot closest to the cart corral and put the car into park. I walk around to retrieve my son from his apparent jaws of life car seat situation. He seems fine — I don't see any owies.

It is a frigid cold, midwest December morning. The plaza is busy, everyone is out checking off their Saturday morning errand list. As we head toward the grocery entrance, halfway through the parking lot, I hear the horrifying noise...The owie is his tummy. Standing in the middle of public, my son and I are now both covered in vomit.

We hurry back to the car, grab the beloved fuzzy blue blanket and quickly wipe as much of the puke off as possible. My son tells me he is alright, so I decide that this is undoubtedly my inaugural mom moment. I bite the bullet, lose my dignity, covered in puke, we head inside to finish our errands.

I plop my son into the cart and we stroll quickly past the flowers and are standing by the produce. All I can smell is the putrid stench we are both wearing. My arm reaches over to my back and it is all wet. I turn my back to my son, "Is there something on my back?" Turning forward, I look as he nods and smiles. Ugh!

We push through the other shoppers as quickly as possible and head to the restroom. I take off my coat to find my son's vomit streaming down the back — from my shoulder all the way to my knees. All I have on underneath the coat is a pair of leggings and a thin t-shirt. I was totally not prepared, and didn't have another option than to wear my stained and foul-smelling coat. I run to the paper towel dispenser and pull out wads to rub on our coats. This was as good as we were going to get.

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Sorry to the lady in the freezer section who I had to reach over to grab the frozen mangoes. Sorry to the checkout lady — we had an entire cart full of groceries to scan as we just stood there stinking up the air. And finally, sorry to all those in the parking lot who saw me in my grandest mothering moment to date — wiping off the puke, yet still heading in to do our shopping.

Welcome to motherhood!