Filed under: bardenisms,family,love,the marriage fight,word of God — admin at 6:30 am on Friday, February 23, 2018

I read a blog recently – She Only Said Yes Once – and it resonated with me.

I shared it and it sparked some conversation on the facebook.

Here’s a part of the article – which is an article within the article – if that makes sense –

“Last October the New York Times published an article describing what sex education is like for tenth graders now in San Francisco.  A new law requires that teachers give lessons on something called “affirmative consent”.  These children are taught to ask for consent at every point in a sexual encounter.

Do you want to kiss her?  Ask for consent.  Do you want to touch her breasts?  Ask for consent again.  Do you want to take her clothes off?  Ask for consent again.  Do you want to penetrate?  Ask for consent again.

If that’s too graphic for you, just remember, this is 10th grade material. If it makes you uncomfortable, then just imagine being one of the 15 year-old kids in that classroom who are hearing those words (and many that are far more graphic) with other boys and girls their own age…the same boys and girls they used to finger-paint with in kindergarten.

One student, upon hearing that he needed to check with a girl before touching her in certain places or doing certain things, asked, “What does that mean – you have to say ‘yes’ every 10 minutes?”

“Pretty much,” the teacher answered.

Somehow that seemed extraordinarily out of place to this young man, that one would have to pause the progression of an intimate encounter to ask, over and over again, “May I do this now?”
Those aren’t exactly words of passion and romance, are they?”

And they’re NOT exactly words of passion and romance. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t teach and understand consent. Right now I’m trying hard to understand that Enoch doesn’t want a kiss. BUT THOSE CHEEKS. I have to kiss him! BUT I am also reminding the boys that when people say no – you must respect them and stop. We DO need to teach our kids consent.

My argument is this – let’s teach kids about the beauty of sex the way God intended it to be. I’m not saying – just tell your kids – WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE MARRIED. JUST WAIT. BECAUSE IT’S WHAT GOD WANTS FOR YOU. When that’s all you say – it’s not going to end well.

Kids are only hearing NO NO NO – DON’T DO THIS! And all that does is send off the extra signal of – I MUST DO THIS! MOM & DAD SAID DON’T! BUT I MUST!! IT MUST BE AMAZING SINCE I AM NOT ALLOWED TO DO IT. AND MOM AND DAD DO IT. I MUST.

I read one of those BUZZ-FEED time-trap things – crazy things people have overheard in conversation –

Friend A – Can you imagine marrying someone without having sex with them first?

Friend B – I can’t imagine having dinner with someone without having sex with them first.

WHAT!? Really!?

Friend A – I’m excited about this guy but I’m gonna try to keep my expectations low.

Friend B – Yes. Guard your heart but not your vagina.

Basically – YES. Exactly that.

I had a discussion with someone recently and she told me of a miscarriage she had – long before she met her husband. This guy that she was seeing – it wasn’t really THAT serious. Not serious enough to have her son – who was pretty young at the time – meet him yet. She liked to protect him from heartache if she could – until things got serious. It was there that I stopped her. I said – WAIT. You wanted to protect your son – but what about protecting yourself? Because things weren’t THAT serious? But serious enough to have sex with him? That’s pretty serious. Very serious. THE DEFINITION OF SERIOUS. Why were you having sex with this guy while in the back of your head you thought – this might not work out. You did a great job of protecting your son from heartache – but not YOUR heart. Why were you having sex with him?

She looked at me and said – Huh. You’re right.

LADIES – GENTLEMEN – I beg you. Protect your heart AND your bits.

I can’t tell you how many girls I know that have intense heartache because of sexual relationships – outside of a marriage. Shoot – I know lots of women that have heartache because of sexual relationships INSIDE their marriage – either from their husbands or the previous relationships before they were married. Sharing sex with someone is a BIG DEAL.

A BIG DEAL. Much bigger than dinner. Vulnerability at it’s best. But I would argue that people would say sitting down and sharing their feelings with their significant other is more vulnerable than having sex. We’ve made sex into nothing. Which goes into another blog I wrote about the state of our country – the world today. Why are we shocked and surprised that more and more men are being accused and found guilty of sexual crimes? We’ve done this to ourselves. But the consequences are far too severe. Far too painful. Far too close to home. Far too real.

My friend commented on the article that I shared at the beginning of this blog – and while we didn’t totally agree or have the same perspective on the issue – which brings me to say – PERSPECTIVE IS A BIG DEAL. And healthy debate and disagreement is good. But often times we forget that we are passionately SURE of our opinion just as much as the next person is passionately SURE of their opinion. And 37 years of a certain perspective will not change 37 years of their perspective.

But – something she said was very thought provoking – “And telling non-christian teens to practice abstinence until marriage is just not helpful anymore. Because without a desire to do God’s will because they know Him and have a relationship with Him, why would they bother to wait? It’s like trying to push moralism on people without the power of the Holy Spirit. And that doesn’t work.”

This was my response –

“Back when we had myspace I wrote something about the HPV vaccine and why I thought it was absolutely ridiculous. I’ve since looked for it and can’t find it – but basically – I don’t think that it’s too much to expect people to stay abstinent until marriage. I realize that in the majority of all cases – people just don’t. However – some people do. And I’m sure some people that do ARE Christians and some aren’t.

I think that the bottom line is how do you value yourself? And just like everything else in this world – no one deserves sex. it’s not some right that we “get” once we’ve reached a certain age.

I’m pretty sure i’ve shared this before – but we had a demonstration in high school once. Sally and Joe stepped onto a sheet – they were debating having sex. After all – Sally had only slept with one boy before Joe and he the same. But – the one person they both slept with had slept with two people. And those two people – two people. And those two people … you get the idea. That sheet gets full REALLY quick. It’s not just two people. It’s ALL THE PEOPLE.

Where does your self-worth come from? And in my case – Jesus. But in the cases where it’s NOT Jesus – I would say that people still value themselves. And understanding that opening yourself up to sleeping with every guy you want to – isn’t really loving yourself and showing your self-worth. So maybe just maybe (while I realize that everyone NEEDS Jesus) we really NEED a relationship with Jesus to get this. Although – I would argue that lots of Jesus loving people still don’t save sex for marriage. And I’m a realist – I can accept the reality of the world MOST times. This one is one that I have a hard time saying – it’s a lost cause. Saying – we have to figure something else out because you just can’t expect people to not have sex. But – I say it CAN happen.”

After I wrote that something about HPV – a friend said – Danielle lets her religious beliefs affect too much of her life – or something along those lines.

WHY YES. YES I DO. Thank you for noticing.

If you ARE worth it – do you think that you are valuable? Do you think that you are worth more than what you can give someone in the bedroom. Or what you can GET from someone in the bedroom? Sex outside of marriage is a selfish act. And sometimes IN marriage it’s a selfish act. We’re offended that men can’t control themselves. HOW DARE THEY – the animals. And I’m not saying it’s our responsibility to make sure the men in our lives don’t sin. Think about this – when we are handing out sex to everyone that we eat dinner with – it’s certainly not helping the cause.



Filed under: just because,lifestyle,love,marry me,portraits,wedding — admin at 12:01 pm on Thursday, February 22, 2018

Danielle & Cliff wanted to capture their love in EVERY season!

Our last engagement session – WINTER!!

Danielle works cross-country and trying to get together for a first snow – seemed tough – but we managed on the FIRST try!!




Danielle & Cliff – I cannot WAIT for your wedding – it’s coming up quick!!


Filed under: bardenisms,family,just because,love,marry me,my family,project,the marriage fight — admin at 11:50 am on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I shared a post recently that I wrote in 2013 thanking my dearest Lori for being my cheerleader in life. For helping me remember to NEVER lower my standards in life.

For a boy – for a job – for friendship – for ANYTHING. For helping me establish good self-esteem at a young age. For helping me hold onto that attitude throughout life.

For showing me what a life dependent on Jesus looks like. For showing me how to love like Jesus.

And it got me thinking about someone else that I need to say thank you to.

In November – Jared and I went to a marriage conference – one like we’ve never been to. We were strongly encouraged to spend LOTS of time focusing on each other – and not only encouraged – but the conference was arranged so that you DO get to have lots of time focusing on each other.

Over the course of that weekend – I was able to share something with Jared that I’ve never really been able to put into words before. Or even thought about putting into words before.

I have a good sense of who I am. I am unapologetically me. BUT – Jared Barden helped me be that person even more so!

Before Jared and I started dating – I was trying HARD to win the affection of someone else. I wasn’t totally myself – in hopes that I would win the attention I was hoping for.

But Jared – he saw me in the moments when I wasn’t trying. The moments when I was simply myself and not scheming to win someone over. And he loved that person.

He loves me at my best. He loves me at my worst. He loves me when I laugh too loud at the movies. He loves me when I’m whining about living in this house. He loves me when I haven’t shaved my legs all winter. He loves me when I shave my head – actually PREFERS when I shave my head.

Because I am so secure in his love – it allows me to be even more unapologetically myself.

When Jared and I started talking – like I said – I had NO intention of dating him. The thought wasn’t even on my radar. But when I talked to my mom about it – in her quiet wisdom – she said – you’ve spent so long trying to win someone else over – if you tell this guy no – you might be missing out on the rest of your life.

Our first date – we went to my brother’s soccer game. He sat with my dad. On the way over – we had talked about what we wanted out of life. I told him that my family was REALLY important to me. If he didn’t mesh with them – deal-breaker. If he didn’t want kids – deal-breaker – cus I was born to be a momma. And if he saw anything that was a red-flag on his end – let me know. We started dating with a goal in mind. Marriage. I didn’t want to date for years and years without any idea of marriage on the table.

But – my dearest Aunt Lori and my sweet husband aren’t the only reasons for my strong sense of self and security.

JESUS is. Really He is the ONLY reason.

Psalm 139: 13-16

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

God MADE me – he saw the beauty of His creation and thought that the world ALSO needed ME. And YOU. EXACTLY THE WAY I AM.

This doesn’t mean that I’m perfect. I’m not. I need to change. To grow and learn. I can be a better sister. A better friend. A better wife and mother.

BUT – God isn’t telling me that He will love me WHEN I change. When I become the best mother and wife. He tells me that He loves me NOW. In all my imperfections.

He knows that I had something to give. That YOU have something to give. Your existence is not an accident. It’s amazing to think about the specific conditions that must happen for life to start. Temperatures. Timing. For life to stick around. When I think about that fact that if another sperm had fertilized the egg that is now Fitzy – we would have a completely different child. A child that we would love and cherish – but NOT Fitzy. Not Enoch. And we wouldn’t miss them because we wouldn’t know them – but how different everything would be. It’s not coincidence. It’s God.

He orchestrates every small detail of our lives – and every BIG detail. And you my friend – YOU are a BIG DETAIL!


And having an Aunt Lori and a Jared Barden doesn’t hurt your confidence. Find the people that love you. Really genuinely love you. People that aren’t afraid to call you out. People who encourage you. I’m not talking about compliments for compliments sake. I’m talking about the people that speak life into you. And the people that give you constructive criticism. The people that love you and want you to be the BEST version of you that you can be.


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,love,my family,my town,newsworthy,word of God — admin at 11:51 am on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Jared and I stopped giving Christmas gifts quite a while ago – typically because if we see something we want – we get it. Obviously – within reason.

We don’t really live life that way anymore – but we still don’t give gifts to each other.

BUT – Fitzy and Enoch shopped for us and for each other – so we were REALLY looking forward to opening those gifts!

That little handwriting – the excitement he could BARELY contain!

We LOVE our puzzles!!

Fitzy got Enoch a fence for his animals – his many many animals!

Enoch got Fitzy marbles and a car! And Enoch was SO surprised – he thought the things he picked out were for HIM!

We did get Jared a little gift – STAR WARS FOR LIFE!!

Fitzy picked out this sweatshirt for me! He said – MOM! It’s so ugly – I KNEW you would love it!

And the leggings – they were ONLY FOUR DOLLARS MOM!!

He asked if I would wear that sweatshirt EVERY CHRISTMAS! Yes sweet thing. Always.

Enoch got Jared a book of 5-minute STAR WARS stories!

And he got me a STAR WARS activity book and a mosaic sticker book!

Fitzy got a set of knives and his VERY OWN CUTTING BOARD!

We’ve played that game SO MUCH already!

Puzzles and games. Crayons and notebooks. Undies and matching shirts. And a lego set for Fitzy – one I’ve been holding onto for FOUR years!

I love that they didn’t need LOTS of presents under the tree. And almost everything I got them – I had bought on clearance throughout the year!! WIN WIN WIN!

Fitzy was VERY VERY excited about this lego set – he’s seen it in the closet for SO LONG! And he wasn’t expecting it because he isn’t 9 yet! And you should be 9 to build then on your own!

He worked most of Christmas day and the day after – with only a tiny bit of help from us!

I really really do not enjoy winter – but Christmas – I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!

I hope you had a lovely Christmas with the ones you love – snuggled up nice and warm doing ALL THE THINGS you love!





Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,family,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family,my town,parties,RAY,word of God — admin at 12:29 pm on Monday, February 19, 2018

My mom has had this nativity for as long as I can remember – and she let us borrow it for our Christmas Eve service!

Our Christmas Eve service had cookies and hot chocolate and some cookies and fireworks and bonfires and cookies – did I mention the cookies!?

That guy – he wants to be a hunter like his Pa!

My bestest – she’s the bestest!

Those boys love their Mara!!

That gorgeous little guy – he’s super sweet!

That special bond between a grandmother and her little guy!

I love witnessing the world through a child’s eyes! Everything becomes so MAGICAL!

Enoch really didn’t LOVE the fireworks – he ended up inside – away from the BOOMS!

I hope your Christmas was spent with the ones you love – we LOVE our church family!


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 12:17 pm on Sunday, February 18, 2018

We always spend Christmas Eve day with Jared’s parents – making breakfast and opening gifts.

Eating pizza for dinner – but this year it was Subway since my gallbladder decided to give up on me AND Enoch is dairy-free and prefers Subway!!

I would love to tell you how delicious that french toast was – but I made it with coconut milk so Enoch could eat it – and coconut milk (while good for you) is very very fatty – so I avoided the yummy french toast!

THAT GUY! I cannot believe how big he is!

Enoch took that photo – it’s so perfect!

He also took that one – a BEAUTIFUL shot!

We’ve taken a family photo every year since Fitzy’s first Christmas!


Fitzy was VERY VERY surprised to get this game – a game he was asking to get NEXT Christmas!

Mom-mom was NOT surprised to get this ornament! She had opened it earlier in the month – when it was incorrectly delivered to HER front door! I had texted her to let her know there were a couple of packages on the porch for her – candles from her order for Fitzy’s school. Little did I know – the mailman had accidentally dropped off our packages at their door! So – she opened it! But I still wrapped it up and gave it to her Christmas morning!

For our first Christmas as a married couple – I got Jared some undershirts. He opened the package and said – OH – these are NOT the ones my mom gets me.

And I’ve never gotten him any again. So – his mom got some THIS year for Christmas!

Those pictures – while I was editing them – I stopped and took notice.

That sweet face. That big guy. He made my momma heart soar the moment I saw him – the moment I knew he was in our lives!

He continues to make my momma heart soar! He has such a tender and kind heart!

They went to church in their jammies!


My sweet family and my sweet Missy!

I’ll post about our Christmas Eve service at church – but I had to take a quick shot of Jared and his boys before bedtime!

We had such a BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS EVE!! How was yours?!


Filed under: family,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,love,portraits — admin at 11:57 am on Friday, February 16, 2018


Matching Christmas pajamas – THE BEST!

If you don’t know what to do next year for Christmas photos – DO THIS!

Snuggle up in your jammies – read a book – write a letter to Santa AND eat Christmas cookies! AND LET ME COME PHOTOGRAPH YOU!

Viky – thank you so much! I love seeing your family year after year!!


Filed under: family,holiday,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,love,portraits — admin at 12:09 pm on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Every year – Viky and her family have their Christmas portraits done!

I’ve been taking his pictures since his FIRST CHRISTMAS!

I LOVE that shot on the right! Hanging the stockings!!

THOSE MOMENTS – they are my favorite!

That’s only HALF of them – stay tuned for the rest of their session!


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,family,just because,kiddos,lifestyle,my family — admin at 12:12 pm on Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Fitzy is LOVING all the games lately AND WE LOVE THAT!

He taught Bacca how to play GUESS WHO – it’s an easy one!

Isn’t that the most DARLING little gift?!

If you want one for you or your family – check out Russian Stitches!!

I’m pretty sure Fitzy won EVERY TIME!


Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,family,holiday,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 12:20 pm on Monday, February 12, 2018

Victoria took advantage of my mystery sale LAST year and got a free mini-session!

I hope to see you next year – I LOVE photographing your family!

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