*C* FAMILY – WAITING FOR BABY

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 2:09 am on Sunday, July 6, 2014

I LOVE this family! Kelly & Joe have been clients for years! I cannot WAIT to photograph their sweet little girl!

LOVE LOVE LOVE those shots!

I love those shots too! Perfection!

Thank you SO much for asking me to capture these moments!

WAITING ON BABY

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,birth,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 1:08 am on Monday, April 14, 2014

I’ve taken photos for the *K* family for 3 years! So crazy! Their little guy *L* is going to be a big brother in a few weeks!

HONESTLY!

Be still my heart – I ADORE that shot of *L* hugging his baby!

And these – sigh. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

The shot on the right is one of my new favorites!

Lauren – I CANNOT wait to meet your new little one! Thank you SO much for asking me to capture these moments for you!

LIFE AS WE KNOW IT

Filed under: bardenisms,expecting,family,just because,love,my family,newsworthy,the marriage fight,weight loss,word of God — admin at 7:42 pm on Thursday, April 10, 2014

I haven’t written since Enoch was two weeks old. WHAT?! And now he’s almost 5 months old. Crazy.

When he was a little over two weeks old – I noticed some blood in his stool. I tried not to freak out – but I knew that wasn’t normal. Nor was solid poops for a two week old. Crap. Literally and figuratively.

Turns out that it was suspected he had a milk protein allergy – which is different than being lactose intolerant. So we switched his formula – but he still wasn’t happy – there was still blood in his stool. Poor guy. He would cry when he ate and struggle to poop. He woke up every hour and a half to eat and eat and eat and cry and cry and cry. It was heartbreaking and exhausting. I cried and cried and cried.

At my 6 week appointment – the doctor suggested we switch him to a different formula – Elecare. It’s expensive – but worked! And is working wonderfully! He started to shoot off the growth chart and his whole demeanor changed! He’s doing very well on the new formula and we will introduce cow’s milk to him at 1 and see how he does!

He’s a happy beautiful baby – except for when he’s not! Happy – I mean – he’s always beautiful!

The transition from 1 child to 2 – has been … interesting. Difficult. Exhausting. Yes – rewarding. The lack of sleep has been the hardest part. Oh – and the – how do I do this whole 2 kid thing! That’s been the hardest.

I suppose we are doing fine – both kids are loved and happy. They are growing and fed.

As a first time momma – I felt very confident in my mothering abilities. With Enoch – I feel much less confident – and I’m not quite sure why!

Fitzy is fantastic with Enoch. There have only been a few occasions where he bopped him on the head and when I asked why – he said – cus I need you momma. Then just ask for me sweetie. Okay momma. He comforts him when he cries. He loves to make him laugh. He asks for him in the morning and rubs his little fist all over his face. He asks where he is when he’s not in the room. He can’t wait to help him learn – everything!

As I sit here typing this – almost 5 months after becoming a momma of two young boys – it’s getting easier. Easier in that their naps are usually timed together and I can get editing and my emails and bills done in the afternoon. Easier in that Enoch fits on my hip and is starting to interact more. Easier in that Enoch is sleeping longer periods (not through the night by any means – but I don’t think that was a blessing that was intended for me) at night and I’m not absolutely exhausted all the time. Easier in that I’m not yelling and breaking down two to three times a day (or more) while Fitzy consoles me and says – be happy momma. I just make you happy momma.

My confidence is coming back – slowly. But I feel like I forgot EVERYTHING about raising a baby. I told Jared – if I had birthed another 2 1/2 year old – I’d be set – but this? I don’t remember this. When do they sit up again? How much food does he eat – and when? Is he supposed to be drooling all the time? Why won’t he stay asleep? What do I do with him all day? It’s the weirdest thing. And with Fitzy – ugh. My heart was hurting so much for this little boy that had his momma all to himself. We went to the store – played puzzles – did play-doh – crafted crafts. You name it. And now – I have this little guy to tend to and Fitzy wants me too. And I understand that we are teaching them to be independent and successful on their own – but my word – he’s not even 3 yet. He’s still a baby. Why must he grow up so fast? I would catch myself saying things like – WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT? YOU KNOW BETTER. But ya know what – he kinda doesn’t. He’s just a toddle still. And I’m in no way excusing bad behavior. Believe me. And he’s still learning. And I’m learning.

And the lack of confidence and exhaustion spiraled out of control. The hurts of the past few years crept up on me. I’ve been angry. Frustrated. And I’ve held onto it – because it’s easier than facing the truth. That my heart needs to change. I have ridiculous expectations. I have control issues – which I’ve always said. But it’s time to face the truth. I’m not happy. I’m overwhelmed and let down. I’m demanding and impossible to please. My bitterness and hurt started to spill out of me and onto others.

We’ve had a rough year – again. And Jared is doing great. Really. But when I can’t keep a lid on my own crazy – he spirals. And believe me – I have my own crazy. I need to remember that things don’t have to be done now. That when Fitzy says – momma – play with me – I need to really get down on the floor and play with him. When he has a story to tell me – I need to listen like it’s the most important thing I’ll ever hear – because it really is. I need to remember that babies cry and fuss and I’m not doing something wrong. When Enoch won’t go down for the third time and just needs to be rocked – instead of crying and getting frustrated – just hold him and rock him. It will be gone before I know it. When Jared says I’m sorry. Take it. Don’t make him say it again and again. Punishment. It’s a hard one for me – if you’ve hurt me – then you need to spend some time being hurt. Ugh. Even typing those words makes me sick. But it’s how I feel. I can forgive you for hurting me but I am on the ready for it to happen again – so – what good is that. Instead of living in the past and bringing it up every single day – move forward. In God’s love and grace. When Jared was in the hospital – I prayed and asked God to show me what He wanted me to know. What I heard was that HE needs to be the center and source of my joy. Not Jared. Not Fitzy. Not Enoch. Sure – they will bring me joy – but God needs to be the ultimate source. Because nothing – NOTHING – in this life is mine. My husband – these sweet babies – nothing.

It was time to address some issues – face to face. So I did. We did. And forgiveness always wins. Love always wins. When you let it. God is always there to hold your heart in His hands – but when you’ve placed it in a prison – He won’t force His way in. You have to make the effort – make the choice. And airing some hurts and asking for and giving forgiveness has made all the difference.

And God loves me. And wants the best for me. And He knows the best – although I think I do. I think that closing the door to my feelings and living in anger is best. It’s not. And I know that – but it’s what protects my heart. Because I’m tired. Tired of hurting and suffering. But God wants to take that hurt and make it into something beautiful. And I can’t stop living a joyful life because of fear.

Because of some issues we’ve had in the past and some issues that were brought to light over the summer – it’s been hard to trust. It’s been hard to get that trust back. It’s been really hard to get to a place in our marriage where we are happy. And by we – I mean me. Jared is trying. But I expect more. I expect him to be what I think he should be. When I should be encouraging him to be what God has for him.

In March – at a MOPS meeting (that I didn’t want to go to) the topic was on marriage. Intimacy in marriage. Something that has been a struggle for me lately. The challenge was to be intimate every 72 hours. Make a point to make it happen. For 30 days. And see what happens.

Pornography is a horrible awful thief. Of joy and trust and love. It takes something that should be beautiful and wonderful – a deep connection between a husband and wife – and makes it ugly and hurtful. Bitterness is the root. A root that has taken it’s place in my heart and spread. And it’s starting to affect more than just me. My husband. My sweet kids. My joy. It has stolen my joy and replaced it with bitterness. And I’m done. I want to look forward to intimacy with Jared. I want to WANT to be close to my husband. When it comes time – I get nervous. The little voices in my head say – he doesn’t deserve this. You should wait longer. He should have to wait longer. Because that’s what pornography does. It kills. It kills marriages. For me – it kills the want to be intimate with my husband – because all I can think about is what he’s done. Not what he’s doing. The man he is now. The man he wants to be. The man he is trying to be.

And what I need to do is not speak over those voices in my head – but let God. Let God heal my hurts – let God be my trust. It’s been almost a month since we started the challenge – and with a few missed nights due to the demands of raising small children – we’ve made it. And while the beginning of the month started out rough – it’s gotten better. And like anything – it’s not happening overnight – but instead gradually. My attitude has changed and every day I am stopping in the midst of a trial to make a decision (or trying to – sometimes word vomit just pours out) and really think about what I’m saying. What I’m doing.

So – I’d like to tell you that life is getting “easier” because E is getting older – but it’s also getting “easier” because I’m trying to choose happiness over pessimism – which is hard for me. It’s hard for me to not expect the worst so that I won’t be let down. It’s hard for me to believe that God does indeed have good things for me when so much hurt has happened. And while I want to raise my boys with a sense of reality – I also want them to have hope. And not just a hope because we are supposed to hope – but a real honest to goodness HOPE. A hope that leads their steps and their lives. And I need that for me. For us.

And it’s not about an easy life. It’s not about a normal life.

When Enoch first came home – I felt so guilty. Guilty that Fitzy wouldn’t know the love that he did. Guilty that Enoch wouldn’t have the attention and love that Fitzy got when he was a baby. That Fitzy wasn’t my one and only during the day. That my heart wasn’t big enough to hold the love for the two of them. I was a fantastic momma when it was just Fitzy – but with Enoch in the picture too – I felt less than fantastic. How on earth do I give them both the love and attention they need? I cried. A lot. And Fitzy was such a sweet little guy. Don’t cry momma. I make you happy momma. All the time. I yelled. I lost my patience. A lot. Poor little guy. This is my sweet boy and I am hurting his sensitive spirit. So I would hug him and cry and apologize. And he would grab my face and say – I love you momma. I forgive you all the time.

Looking back over the past few months – I don’t know how we made it. Well – God. Just like over the summer. It’s always – but God.

So – every day I am making an effort. To keep the past in the past. To accept an I’m sorry. To trust my husband. To take a deep breath and not overreact (that one is really really rough). To make sure to spend time with just Enoch and with just Fitzy and with the two of them together. To spend time together as a family. Read the Bible (I’m horrible at making that a priority). To give up control. To forgive. To ask for forgiveness. To live my life in reality instead of on Facebook. Some days are better than others. Some worse.

Life as we know it – has changed. Again. And it will again tomorrow. Jared and I talked about how we haven’t enjoyed having two sweet babes as much as we thought we might. How it’s been harder than we thought. How I’ve cried and cried and wondered how I’m going to do this. And do it right. And that sweet little boy reminds me of God’s love when he holds my face and says. I forgive you momma. All the time.

 

*L* – NEWBORN

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,birth,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 7:01 pm on Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I was SO excited when Arica asked me to capture the first year of their little girl! I had taken photos for their little guy *G* through his first year – and am SO happy to be documenting his sister’s too!

I couldn’t resist adding that one in!

OH MY HEART! She is so beautiful! Don’t get me wrong – I ADORE my boys – but my heart does ache a teeny tiny bit for a pink bundle.

And just like her brother – she was NOT sleeping for me!

But we got adorable photos anyway!

Little *G* – reminds me of Fitzy! He was so excited to take photos with me and be my assistant!

HONESTLY!

Before we know it – she will be 3 months old and appearing on the blog again!

So excited for this blessing in your lives!

WAITING ON BABY

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 12:56 am on Monday, March 24, 2014

I love love LOVE Kelly & Dane! I’ve been taking photos of them for the past 5 years – that’s crazy!

I am SO excited for their sweet boy to come into the world!

Seriously!

I LOVE those shots! Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful moments to capture!

You guys are THE BEST! I cannot WAIT to meet your little guy!

*P* FAMILY – WAITING FOR BABY *L*

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 7:50 pm on Monday, February 17, 2014

I took photos of Alison and her family a few years ago – I think.

Like I said – I lose track of time – but I DO know that her little guys were quite a bit smaller!

I was SO excited when she asked me to capture her pregnancy! Turns out – she’s due the day after us!

Well – she WAS due the day after us! Her session was on October 22nd and her baby girl arrived on the 27th – of October!

I just LOVE the light in those shots!

OH MY WORD! I know – I’ve used this cornfield a lot – but I can’t help myself!

Thank you SO much for asking me to photograph this amazing time in your life!

I LOVE how your session turned out!

And now your baby girl is almost 4 months old! CRAZY!

THEN THERE WERE FOUR

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,baby barden,bardenisms,birth,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,marry me,my family — admin at 2:55 pm on Monday, November 25, 2013

A week ago tomorrow – I met a miracle for the first time.

I woke up on Monday the 18th of November and just didn’t feel right. I was crampy and cranky and had a weird headache. I texted my parents and Samm and Bridget (our birth photographer) to let them know that something was happening – most likely. Samm said – NO! Tell him to wait – I have so much to do this week before I come. I told her I would do my best.

I took a nap that afternoon with Fitzy – which I never do. When I woke up – I knew something was brewing. My body hates naps – no matter how exhausted I am. We had dinner with our friend Mara Monday night – and I told her to be on call for watching Fitzy in the morning – cus I thought something might happen.

We went to bed. Fitzy called out for me around 1 and I laid back down with him – but couldn’t get comfortable. I was up every hour – tossing and turning. Around 5 – I went to the bathroom – and then again at 5:30 – this time – I knew that my water was breaking. Fitzy was already awake and ready for the day – crazy kid! I called Mara (our dear friend who is house sitting next door) and asked her to come stay with Fitzy. I kissed Fitzy and reminded him that we would be back for him and Grammy (my mom) was on the way. I cried. I hopped in the shower and made sure I had everything I needed – and we headed out the door. Like Fitzy – Enoch decided to come on a windy night – just starting the process two hours later (and making his appearance two hours earlier).

I had texted Bridget telling her that it looked like it would be happening today. I called Samm and my mom – letting them know that waiting another week was NOT an option. My mom called into work and headed over. Samm texted her boss and waited and waited for a response – and then got on the road. We texted Jared’s parents – who are in the Bahamas on vacation – and let them know that he wasn’t waiting for them to come home.

With Fitzy – I didn’t feel contractions until they put me on Pitocin – but this time – I felt them all morning. In all honestly – I was feeling them very irregularly all day on Monday – but knew it wasn’t anything consistent. Once we got to the hospital – they were about 10 minutes apart. The same nurse – Laura – that helped with Fitzy’s delivery – was working! She checked me and my water broke – for sure! I was 3 cm already! Johna came to encourage and support and coach – both of us. We walked the hallway and I sat on the birthing ball for a few minutes. When Laura checked me again – I was 5 cm. The contractions were getting more intense and moving along much faster than with Fitzy. When she checked me again – I was 6 to 7 cm. Bridget was on her way – I was praying she would make it – because I was pretty positive that Samm wouldn’t!

Contractions got really intense and really close together – with almost no break in between. Contractions – while they are painful – are the easy part for me. It’s interesting how some women have the urge to push but need to wait. I would rather have contractions all day than push. But the time was quickly approaching. Bridget walked into the room at about 11:30 – I said a quick hey in between contractions – and went back to work. Knowing that she was there – I was ready anytime.

I couldn’t focus. I was a wreck. I kept telling Johna that I didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t ready. Life was supposed to be different. I knew that I might get emotional – but at that moment – I felt everything from the past four months. Mostly fear. Fear of the unknown. Once this baby came out – life would change. And it’s changed so much and I’ve barely – or felt like I’ve barely – kept up. It’s fitting to me that Enoch’s birth was quick but very painful. The change in our life this summer was quick and so painful. Bringing this new life into the world was going to change OUR lives. I was afraid of how. Jared kept telling me that I was doing great. Johna whispered in my ear – you can do this. You have faith. You have to hold onto that. I know this isn’t how you want things – but you will do it. And it will be great. Or something to that effect.

At the end – the contractions were so intense that I would pull Johna down on top of me and hold on to her. Focus and rational had left me. At one moment I remember trying to get out of my own head – to focus. I prayed for the names on my list of women who want babies. I prayed that I would be thankful for this moment – because so many of them want it. That they would someday experience THIS pain instead of the pain in their hearts right now. And then his head was out. And then he was lying on the table – looking around the room – not making a sound. He was beautiful and peaceful and amazing and more than I ever thought he would be.

I was a hot mess during pushing – a crazy hot mess. I expected Dr. Becker to shake his finger at me and say – now Danielle – was all that really needed? But he didn’t. The nurses were awesome. I’m so thankful that Johna was able to be there. I called Samm to let her know that she wasn’t going to make it. She cried. I cried. We all cried. For so many reasons.

Enoch was born on Tuesday – November 19th of 2013 at 12:03 PM. He weighed 7 lbs 7 ounces and was 20 inches long! Fitzy weighed 7 lbs and 7.7 ounces. I couldn’t believe they were almost the same exact weight! Again – 7 is the number of completion and perfection – how AWESOME is that!! Enoch resembles Fitzy at some angles but definitely has his own look. He has light brown hair – a tiny bit – with a widow’s peak. His hands and feet are gigantic – just like Fitzy.

Bridget stayed until my mom came with Fitzy – capturing the first moment my boys met.

(side note – I don’t care if you book me or Bridget or some other awesome photographer – but if you are pregnant – I URGE you to consider (and do) birth pictures)

Fitzy looked at Enoch and said – Oh! I missed you baby ick! I love you baby ick! Oh!

It was beautiful.

Enoch (I’ve taken to calling him Enny. We tried Nick – but it’s just not fitting for him) is a dream. He is content and sweet. Fitzy holds him with the boppy pillow and is so proud that he does it himself. When Enoch cries – Fitzy comes over and says – it’s okay baby ick – and rubs his little head. The sweetest.

He hasn’t even been here a week and I feel like I’ve known him my whole life. Even now – I tell him about how we knew he would be born. How God named him. How the plan for his life is beautiful and amazing and most likely painful – because pain is what molds us. Teaches us. Heals us.

Bridget took that shot for us. It’s on his birth announcement – because it’s beautiful. I never thought that I would hold one baby in my arms – let alone two. I’m still in shock and so thankful that God chose us to be the ones that help guide Fitzgerald and Enoch through this crazy life.

Of course – I HAD to bring my camera.

That face!

His first day home – Fitzy is just so proud and such a big helper! Yesterday – Enoch peed all over the ottoman and his clothes while my sister was changing him – Fitzy fell on the floor laughing. He loves looking at his little toes and his little ears. He’s also amazing at communicating what he needs or wants. He said to me – momma – please give baby ick to daddy – I need you. So I did – and we cuddled. And I cried.

Because my heart is overwhelmed. With so many beautiful things.

LOVE STILL HOPES ALL THINGS

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,my family,portraits — admin at 2:20 pm on Sunday, November 17, 2013

It’s still tattooed on my arm. When I glance down – I can still see it. Right now. And yet. Again. I lose hope. Hopefully not all – but sometimes – a lot. It seems like all.

I wrote briefly about what happened this summer – and while someday I know that I can write more about it – it’s still not time yet. It’s still too fresh and too painful. Too close. I’ve watched my best friend – my husband – the father of my children – break. The hardest thing for me to deal with – you might have guessed it already – is control. Or lack of. I can’t control it. I can’t make him better. I can’t make choices for him. I can’t. Not that I won’t. Because I would. But – I can’t.

As I write this – I am 38 weeks and some days pregnant. I cannot believe that it’s almost over. I laid down with Fitzy for his nap the other day and studied his face. Tried to take pictures – but nothing I took captured the contours of his face the way I saw them. Now – I get that I’m extremely emotional right now – but I really couldn’t get a shot of his face exactly the way I was seeing it. It made me cry. Which isn’t hard at all anymore. But I just laid there – and took in those moments – our last few moments where it’s just him. And me. Even typing it now – it makes me tear up. Will he remember these times? I hope he knows how much I love him. How his little soul has carved such a deep place in my heart. How he is my favorite and will be even when Enoch is here in our arms – my two favorite boys.

I’m not ready. I’m not ready for another change. These past four months have been the absolute hardest of my entire life. I’ve cried more than I ever thought possible. I’ve exhausted my words. I’ve waited for God to swoop in and fix everything. Truthfully – I’ve waited to wake up. I’ve waited for Jared to wake up in the morning and be the man I knew. To look at me with those sea green eyes of his – the way he used to. And everything will be like it should be. I can’t believe that we are almost due – because I feel like I was just learning that we were pregnant. The past four months – while the days have been hard – have FLOWN by.

And you’ve seen this many times on our blogs – but here it is again. A promise. Because it helps explain – everything.

You will get pregnant again. And even though you will default in your minds that you will probably miscarry – oh no. You will have a healthy child – possibly twins! It will be huge and massive BUT you must keep it to yourselves and announce at the END of the first trimester. 

(It will be huge and massive. I didn’t know what that meant – and I still don’t – not quite. But huge and massive. I feel like it’s huge and massive that I’ve made it. That we’ve made it. And while I know I lean toward the dramatic – let me tell you – it’s been hard. Massively hard. Hugely hard. And it’s not over. It’s just starting.)

This is a promise from God and you will rename the son Enoch. God is NOT done with you. He’s just starting. You need to tuck this word on your hearts and cover it. The Enoch tattoo was intended as a remembrance BUT in God’s time was a prophetic act as to your next son’s name being branded. 

(This is a PROMISE from God. He is NOT done with you. He’s just starting. This is just the beginning? Crap. I don’t know if I’ve written about my box before – but I have one. It used to be neatly wrapped in layers of duct tape. LAYERS. To keep God in. To keep me comfortable. Then my jaw pain started. And a few layers came off and I got on my face before God and prayed. Which was huge – because only crazy Christians do that. And I told satan to leave me alone – which was massive – because only crazy Christians do that. I memorized Psalm 46 and recited it all the time. Again – crazy. And then I got comfortable in life – and the box stayed in it’s corner. Then we miscarried. And that box came back out. But God – I took a few layers off – why. Why would this happen to us. And I got angry and put a few more layers on. Took them off – tried to stick them back on again. By this time – that box wasn’t pretty – frayed and sticky. God’s light peeking through the cracks – but I didn’t want to know what He has in store for me. Because it might scare me. Most likely will scare me. And ask me to give up some things I love. Some things I can’t live without. Okay – can but won’t. Don’t want to. Then we got pregnant – so surprisingly – and the layers came off and I let God in a little deeper. He did answer my prayer for a baby after all – I owed Him that much. Sure God – I can let you in a little deeper – get a little crazier. And here I am – with that stupid box. Still wrapped up. Because even after all this – I’m afraid of what God has for us – things that I know will be amazing – even if eventually – but scary and out of my control.)

It will be a massive testimony and will restore relationships, friendships, and family ties in ways you never thought possible. It’s going to be mammoth. It will be full circle. Both of your families will be remarkably astounded at what God will do through you in this next pregnancy. BUT you MUST NOT announce it until the end of the 1st trimester. Not even to close friends or family. YOU MUST WAIT!

(Again – that word – MASSIVE. MAMMOTH. Both of your families will be astounded at what God will do through you in this next pregnancy. It will restore relationships – friendships – family ties – in ways you never thought possible. Check. Check. And check. Friendships have been repaired – friendships that I thought were beyond any sort of repair. Family relationships have been healed. Because I was in a time of absolute need? Because I was hurting – we were hurting – and really in the end – why were we having issues in the first place? Remarkably astounded. God has given me remarkable strength and grace. Strength and grace to deal with mania and depression and what comes with each of those. Things I never imagined I would encounter. Ever. Strength to be a fantastic momma to an amazing little boy. Strength to carry a miracle – a promised child of  God. Strength to stand by my husband when I wanted to run. And hide. For a long time. Grace. Forgiveness. A love that runs much deeper than romantic love. Deeper than – kiss you on the way out the door – love. Deeper than – XOXO – written on the bathroom mirror. Love that fights. Love that is ugly and beautiful at the same time. Love that makes you sob on the bathroom floor. Love that makes you pray harder than ever. Love that writes YOU CAN DO IT on the bathroom mirror. Love that fights. That screams. Love that makes you angry. Love that keeps your family together. Love that means far more than anything you could have imagined when you said your vows. Love that only Jesus can teach. Love that I was – and still am – incapable of on my own. I don’t know what I imagined those words could have meant – what God will do through this next pregnancy – but I didn’t imagine this. THIS is why I keep that box sealed up. Because it’s been scary and out of my control. And I’ve begged God. Why this. Why now. Why us. Why. Just why.)

I honestly feel stronger about this than the word I gave you for Fitzy! You can’t even tell me when you first find out – I will already know. You can’t tell ANYONE! BELIEVE IT! RECEIVE IT! ACT! God is good and will be massively glorified through it. Save these messages for confirmation and documentation. Not for me – but so that we can honor Christ Jesus & God’s ridiculous faithfulness. He is good. He is really REALLY good!

(I am holding onto those words. That God is good. REALLY really good. I know that God is good. But it’s really really REALLY hard for me to say that THIS is good. So I don’t. Because while I believe that God is good – I don’t believe that everything that happens in life is good. Because – we live in a sinful world. Not the perfect world that God intended at the beginning. And we can hope for good and hold onto good. But some things that happen – just suck. After the summer and fall we’ve had – I couldn’t take another thing. Not. One. Then I got a rash – I thought it was just chafing from a little extra poundage. Nope. Turns out – it was shingles. SHINGLES. Seriously. And since it’s in a very sensitive spot – it needs to clear up before Enoch comes in order to deliver. Seriously. The pain. The absolute ridiculousness of the situation. How on EARTH is getting shingles at 37 weeks pregnant while my life is already a hot mess – good. How. But – I do know that God is good. That – I will not let go. Because. I won’t. I can’t.)

And because LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS – I’m holding onto hope – even if it’s just a little tiny bit. Because sometimes – it just is.

And because LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS and little Fitzgerald was and is the hope of my heart – more than I could have ever imagined a child being – here’s a few pictures of his sweet little face to look at. And see. That miracles happen.

LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS. Even when life is more ugly than you ever imagined – LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS.

And even when you can’t imagine anything in your life to say thank you for – there is. Even if it’s just the chance to get up tomorrow and start a new day. Even if it’s just that you have breath in your lungs. Even if it’s just the chance to fight. LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS.

For me – it’s just that my husband is still here. Which isn’t just a just.

It’s that he’s still here. It’s that there are glimmers of who he was. Who he will be again. It’s that little face with those sweet brown eyes. That he calls me momma and I call him my son. That in what could be a few short days or a few short weeks – another little boy will hold my heart.

And for all of us – it’s that God LOVES you. And that LOVE – hopes everything.

*W* FAMILY

Filed under: babes,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 11:49 am on Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I took photos of the *W* family almost 3 years ago – THREE YEARS! I cannot believe how fast time flies!

LOVE LOVE LOVE those shots!

GORGEOUS!

SO SWEET!

Vicky – thank you SO much for asking m to capture your family again!  I cannot WAIT to meet your baby girl!

LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS

Filed under: at work,babes,bardenisms,birth,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,my family,the marriage fight,word of God — admin at 6:47 pm on Thursday, October 10, 2013

If you don’t know – Jared and I share a website where we blog – the marriage fight.

In order to better understand what I’m about to write here – you might want to hop on over there and read – at least – the last two entries. About grace.

There is so much I want to say. So much I want to just pour out – but it’s not time. It’s not all mine to share. So I won’t.

But I will tell you this. I’m struggling. In the past – I’ve written about the hard times. It’s how I heal. How I process.

That’s a tear on my arm – right above the dandelion. It’s mine. From this morning. There were a lot more. A lot.

I’m angry. I’m confused. I look at the pictures on our bedroom wall and wonder what happened to those people. In our wedding photo. At a picnic. At the beach.

Pregnant with Fitzgerald. That’s where you can see the change. All the pictures before – we were – different. You can see it. We aged – quickly. That sparkle in our eyes isn’t as bright. Looking back – we should have been in counseling the first time we miscarried. Tomorrow would be Enoch’s 4th birthday. FOURTH. I cannot believe that it’s been that long.

(I’m okay – little Enoch in my belly is okay – I’m talking about our first baby – which we also named Enoch)

And then it all just kept coming. We got pregnant so easily that first time. And then – not so much. And I got really sad. And Jared got really sad. And then we got pregnant with Fitzy. And a new chapter in our life began. In so many areas. We miscarried again. We lost sight of each other and what was important in our lives. In our marriage. We miscarried again. Then we started to get our marriage back. It was a rough spell – but forgiveness and grace was abundant. Then we got pregnant. Again. For a fifth time. And we knew he would stay. And we both felt really awesome about where we were. How far we had come. How far God brought us from where we were.

And then – almost overnight – it started to crash. Hard. Harder than all the crap I just mentioned. Harder than anything I have ever been through. And it broke. And the pieces are still scattered. Just a few corners and edges put into place. But like with any puzzle – once you get to all blue sky in the beautiful landscape background – all the pieces look the same. And you have to start sorting them by shape. Pouring over the slight changes in the color – teeny little changes. And it takes a very long time to fit them together. To figure it out.

I feel like that’s where we are. So much has happened and there’s so much to piece together – that it’s overwhelming. The entire puzzle is blue sky. And even the edges and corners are tough. Intricate and detailed. Specific. Each piece has to fit perfectly.

And it’s taking a very long time. Which in reality – is a speck. But oh my – it seems so long already.

And in less than 7 weeks – Enoch will be here. Another precious baby in this house. A house that will have new windows next week and we can move upstairs. And if I’m honest – I’m having a hard time being excited. Because I’m terrified.

I started counseling yesterday – and she asked – what were 4 things I do well. Only 4? Just kidding. I thought about it.

Well – I organize well. I have a take control personality – so I think I lead well. I am a photographer and I think that God has blessed me with the ability to see things others can’t – so I capture moments well. And I mother well.

What’s your goal? What – my goal? Um – my goal was to have a baby before I turned 30 – I was 29 and 11 months. Check. Start a photography business. Check. But now – to be fun. To be a fun mom and wife and sister and daughter and friend. Because sometimes – I’m not. But we all need that one person that says – c’mon guys – should we REALLY do this? Do you REALLY need that sweater for $100? I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses.

And.

Love hopes all things. Right?

I mean – it’s tattooed on my arm. I look at it every day. Multiple times a day. And still – I lose hope. I cry and I whine. And I HATE whining.

Right now – it’s a deep deep valley. One where the sun hardly shines. And I am so thankful for my growing family. I am so thankful that I get to spend the days with a little boy who is full of joy. And hope.

Fitzy’s newest thing is to stand on something – a block – or a shoe – and balance. He says – MOM – look at me do this! I say – that’s fantastic baby! I’m so proud of you! And he waddles off to find the next thing to balance on. When he sees something he likes – he says – oh momma – that’s so niiiiiiiice. ooooooh. It’s seriously the best. He does the dishes. He does the laundry. He cleans the sink. He folds clothes. He washes windows.

I was so angry that this was happening now. Why couldn’t this have happened when we didn’t have a baby and one on the way. Without Fitzy – I would be in that valley too. Me – personally. I’m in it now with Jared – but I have to be the one to remind him – us – to look for the sun. Without Fitzy – it would be a lot easier to find a cave together – crawl into the darkness – and not care about coming out.

I told my aunt the other day that I felt like God was giving me the bare minimum to get by. That He could see me dangling off the cliff by my pinky – barely holding on. And He said – well – here’s a little deeper of a ledge for you to grasp. Just a little. I know you want more – but this is all you can have right now.

Now – I know – I know – God isn’t mean and vindictive. He doesn’t take pleasure in watching me dangle – although some of you would disagree with that. But it’s how I feel. And feelings are important. And so is the truth. That God is covering us and holding us.

And I tell you what seems like random babble – to say this. God has given me organizational skills. Leadership skills. Strength – but knowing to ask for help when I need it. The ability to see beauty in things that others can’t. And I’m a great mom. I have never had to use those skills like I am right now. Like I will have to. That all that crap was to prepare me – us – for this.

To depend on Jesus.

Fitzy asked me to rock him today – he hasn’t asked me to do that in a while. A few weeks. But it’s been MONTHS that he has fallen asleep while I rocked him. I needed that today. To hold my baby and know that God is holding me – holding Jared – holding Fitzy – holding Enoch – even tighter. That while I’m dangling off the edge of that cliff – while we are – that He isn’t above us – giving us just a little bit more – He’s right below us. Ready. Waiting.

Today – I texted Jared and said – What do I do? He said – Pray. Wait. Listen. Love.

I’ve prayed and prayed – and pray. I’ve waited and I feel like I don’t have much time left to wait. I’m listening but not hearing. And love. Love has been redefined in my book. Which isn’t always a bad thing. Hard – yes. Bad – no. So I love.

But I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what we need.

Well – yes. A miracle. We need a miracle to find our way out of this valley.

While I tend to give out tough love – more than gentle love – I didn’t like receiving it today (not mentioning any names – Ericka) but it was what I needed to hear.

We need prayer. We need hope. We need a miracle. We need Jesus.

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