Friday, January 22, 2016

Everyday Light Self | January

One month down. I wanted to keep it simple this month and just get a feel for being in front of the camera and working with the intervalometer. It was harder than I thought, but to be completely honest, the hardest part is getting up the courage to post these. And why? I don't know. I'm just not used to being the one in the frame, I guess... Nevertheless, January is done. Bring on February.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Everyday Wears: Fur Vest

This is nothing exciting, but I've been taking stock of my wardrobe lately and weeding out the things I don't wear, and pulling forward the things that I wear on repeat. It's funny the things that we hold onto *just in case* we want to wear them... or will fit into them by some miracle... I've been dropping inches lately since starting to eat clean again, but let's be honest, I will never fit into that green halter top from college. Nor should I, good Lord...

Can I tell you something kind of cheesy? I really like being able to have an extensive wardrobe, but I hate shopping, and I need to do it without breaking the bank. So I buy most of my stuff at thrift stores and consignment shops and I'm in a couple of those Buy/ Sell/ Trade groups on Facebook and IG. ​

I got this grey tunic in a sell and swap that I'm a part of and it's easily my new favorite item in my closet. It's super lightweight, so it'll last me well into the spring, but if I pair it with this fur vest (also bought secondhand) it's warm enough for winter. Side note, I vowed never to buy a fur vest because they remind me of that "See My Vest" song that Mr. Burns sings on the Simpsons- anyone know what I'm talking about? But when I saw this one for just nine bucks at a local thrift shop, I caved and I haven't looked back. It stays in the "wears constantly" section of my closet now. Also in this section: approximately fifty-seven thousand white shirts, and even more black shirts, tanks, tunics, and trapeze slips. It's a sickness...

What's on repeat in your wardrobe lately?
Hat: Old Navy Men's- "borrowed" from husband... and never given back...
Shirt: Hi Beam- secondhand
Vest: no tag- thrifted​​​​
Jeans: Old Navy- thrifted
Boots- Target 2014


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Prudent Advice For My Daughter: On Being Pretty

If you know my daughter, or if you follow our #vessiedressesherself hashtag on Instagram, you know that the child has an affinity for dresses and skirts. The bigger, the more sparkly, the better. I let her dress herself with just a few rules:
1. Must be weather appropriate
2. No jammies
3. No costumes outside the house
The particular dress in question- the cause of much weeping and gnashing of teeth- broke all three of these rules, and I wasn't going to budge. ​​​​​Another tidbit of info you may know regarding my daughter is that she has a flair for the dramatic. But here's what I want her to know about being pretty:

You were in tears on the stairs and I was in no mood to play hostess to your dramatics. We were in a rush. We're not usually in a rush, to be honest. I avoid rushing at all costs and I can mostly get us out the door in a timely manner, but today... we were in a rush. And now this display. And all over a princess dress.

The waterworks on you will surely someday earn you critical acclaim. But this time, real tears welled up in your eyes and rolled down your red cheeks. This time, your tiny four year-old self was truly in the midst of a tragedy. But I said the same thing I usually find myself saying to you in instances such as these,
"You're being ridiculous..."
You quieted. Then sniffled.​
"But Mom," you whispered, "if I don't wear a dress, I won't be pretty! I'll be so ugly!"

And you meant it. In your world, your lack of a princess dress was honestly the gauge against which you judged your prettiness. And I was crushed. Who told you that? I mean it. I want names. Who told my barely-been-on-earth-long-enough-to-know-what-pretty-means-daughter that what it meant was a glittery dress and sparkly make up? But more than that, who told you that without those things you would be ugly?

Listen to me, child... pretty is not a physical trait. It's a heart trait. It's a soul trait. Pretty is what happens when your heart is open and loving and kind. Pretty is the sparkle in your eyes that happens from recognizing the pretty hearts in other people, and from building them up over and over when they don't feel so pretty. Pretty is when we see people the way Jesus sees them, and love them the way He would love them... And you have it, baby. The prettiness. That heart is pure, sparkly gold and I've seen it make other people's hearts feel pretty too. Including my own. But pretty didn't come from a box at the store. It came from within.  ​​

It's an understanding that you and I and all other women have that regardless of what we're wearing on the outside, our hearts are all the same, and we have to care for each other's hearts in order to keep them that way. Pretty, I mean. And your heart is my responsibility. It's my job to remind you what pretty really is. So let me be clear:
You might not always be fancy, but you will always be pretty.
Your clothes won't always sparkle, but your heart always will.
You can put on make up, but you can't cover up a hateful heart.
The world will sell you glitter in excess, but ​no amount of flash and shine can ever make you love yourself... that has to come from within... from that pretty heart.

​​​​​Don't sell yourself short, baby. That that cheap, flimsy dress couldn't possibly hold the entirety of your worth. It doesn't even hold a candle to your beauty. You are made in the image of a God who loves you. You are lovely because he loves you. Inside and out.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy Birthday, My Love

I don't know why you love me. I don't deserve you even a little bit- the way you work so hard for our family and encourage me to follow my dreams and love our children and fight for their hearts and point us toward Christ- it's more than I ever could've dreamed of. I love your dreams and ideas and thoughts and laughter and words. I love you. And I'm so... so glad you were born. Happy birthday, my  love. Please be mine forever.

2016 Theme: Live Well

I'm not one for putting unnecessary restrictions and obligations on myself, so resolutions aren't really my thing. Instead, I choose a sort of underlying theme for the year. Last year it was "Be Present," and I think it helped me keep my priorities in line throughout the year. But this year, my theme for the year has some big changes that will come along with it.

This year's theme is "Live well..."

This will be a year of not just living life to the fullest, but redefining what it truly means to live *well*- as in, healthy- Redirecting my thoughts about loving myself from giving in to staying strong. Because I love my life, but let me tell you how I've lived it for the past several years: I'm lucky enough to not have any major health scares, but I do suffer from allergies, eczema, frequent headaches, dry mouth, irregular cycles, digestive issues, hip bursitis, sciatica, and chronic neck and back pain. I exist in the no-man's land where exhaustion meets insomnia, and I can't remember the last time my brain felt sharp. I basically subsist on a steady flow of Tylenol and coffee to manage pain and exhaustion. And honestly? Management isn't enough. I want to feel alive again...

​Because here's what happens: I think that I'm doing everyone a favor by pretending I'm fine. I push through dull aches and pains until I become desensitized to them. I store it up and shove it aside and a few nights of uncomfortable sleep becomes weeks and months or a year's worth of an issue that is now serious. And I'm done.

I'm done with food that isn't food and being unable to function without medicine or caffeine. I'm done with ignoring what my body is telling me is wrong. It's time to start giving myself and my family the wellness we deserve.

My husband and I started a slow-carb diet in the Fall with great results, but soon realized it wasn't a sustainable option for long-term nutrition. We've settled on a complete lifestyle change of eating mainly whole, unprocessed foods and being diligent about doctor visits: dental, chiro, annual, etc.

No more shrugging off dentist appointments or ignoring back pain or allowing fast food to turn into a habit​. This is the year of wellness for us...

What's your 2016 theme going to be?​

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Year in Review: 2015

It's been a beautiful year for us. We bought our dream house, started a business, began homeschooling, and closed a chapter of my photography journey. I wouldn't trade a single second of it, and I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for 2016!

Here's a look back at our year:​