Filed under: babes,expecting,family,just because,love,portraits — Danielle at 10:27 am on Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I love when past clients get gift certificates for their families!

Little *O* was having a rough day when I came to photograph her – but momma’s love and a little swaddling calmed her down!

I LOVE those shots! I’ve been trying something new when it comes to newborns – as much as I would love the dreamy poses and the sweet softness – it’s not my thing. I am a true to life photographer – and I’m discovering that my clients book me for my work – my vision. They love it. I love it. And THAT is what matters.

Thank you SO much for having me over and capturing your little love!


Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,my family,newsworthy,word of God — Danielle at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Today was our ultrasound appointment – to find out if we are having a baby boy or a baby girl!

Today marks the 20 week point in our pregnancy! I feel like this pregnancy is FLYING by!

When Dave Fitzgerald sent us the text -

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.

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. 

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!

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!

ANYWAY – when he sent us the text – we both just assumed that our next child would be a son!

We are so excited to announce that we are having a BOY – our second son.

We would like to introduce you to Enoch Samuel Barden!

Enoch – for obvious reasons. We tried to pick other names – and we did – but kept coming back to the fact that we HAD to name him Enoch. Enoch is the name we gave the first baby we lost (in October of 2009) and it means dedicated. In the Bible – Jared has a son and names him Enoch. But Enoch didn’t die. He walked with God and THEN God took him to heaven. He is only one of two people to just walk into heaven. AMAZING! Samuel means God hears or name of God AND we needed to honor my sister – Samantha.

Our sweet little gift from God. Our miracle. Fitzy’s little brother.

I am so excited (and scared and nervous and thankful) to have another baby boy to hold in my arms. I cannot wait for Fitzy to meet his baby and for our hearts to heal. I can’t wait to be a momma to my boys.

Thank you for your prayers! WE LOVE YOU!


As I sit here and type this blog – a can feel the tiny little movements of a baby inside. Just the little flutters that make you realize there is indeed something in there.

We find out whether this addition is a boy or a girl on July 10th. Either way – this will most likely be our last addition. I love being pregnant and would be thrilled to have at least 4 children. But I have to remember that we have 5 – and for all eternity – we will celebrate with them! I love being a momma – more than anything I’ve ever done. Jared keeps reminding me that kids are WAY out of his comfort zone – although – he is a FANTASTIC daddy to Fitzy. While our hearts are so happy with this little miracle and Fitzgerald – we still hurt from time to time. I don’t have a great history of staying pregnant. And while I don’t want to live my life in fear – I DO want to enjoy what I have been given. It’s a hard decision to make – thankfully – we have time.

But especially with the 99% chance that this will be our last baby – I want to enjoy every precious minute I can.

I took a maternity leave with Fitzy . Kinda. Sorta. Not really.

And while I loved taking your pictures – I did miss that little baby.

So this time – I will be taking 6 months off. Seriously. From November to April – I will not be scheduling any sessions or weddings. When I do return – it will be on a 1 wedding a month limit – with a handful of sessions (most likely current clients) each month. I am still trying to decide what to do about new referrals outside of seniors – since they are mostly always new clients. And this might be the norm from here on out – until my kiddos are all in school.

I’ve known one thing my whole life – I want to be a momma. And God knew. And He heard. And He gave. And He gives. Again.

SO – if you know that you want a session next year once May rolls around – it’s not too early to let me know. I already have one wedding in September and an inquiry for May. And if I’ve taken pictures for you before and you need some done while I am off – email me – and I will recommend some great photographers to you!

Thank you all for your love – your support – your prayers. It means so much.


Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,birth,expecting,just because,kiddos,my family,newsworthy,weight loss — Danielle at 2:01 pm on Sunday, May 26, 2013

March 21st of 2013 THURSDAY

On August 24th of 2010 – I posted this - where I said - 

On March 28th of this year (2010) – Jared’s mom was given a word in church. That our children would rise up like mighty oaks. Our children. (Jared’s mom also told me that she saw me pregnant at the beach on our yearly vacation)

On April 11th of this year (2010) – Dave (Fitzgerald) called us again with a word for us. We would have children. Lots of them – running around in our yard – jumping on trampolines – and they would be our biological children – they would all look like Jared. (six months before I quit my job at Phoenix – Dave called and said – God wants me to tell you that your photography business is going to be crazy successful – more than you ever dreamed – you will be able to do it full-time)

On August 15th of this year (2010) – we met with our Pastor – because I am angry, tired, sad, and weary. He told us that God has children for us – our biological children. But first we must open our hearts to the notion of taking in a child that is not ours – biologically.

And on September 8th of 2012 – Dave Fitzgerald texted THIS to us -

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. This is a promise from God. God is NOT done with you. He’s just starting. You need to tuck this word on your hearts and cover it. 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!

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 saved it on my phone. And then wrote it all down today. There is a part I left out – about a name – because we may not tell this time. Although – if you know me – that will be REALLY REALLY hard!

I was supposed to start my period on Tuesday – it’s Thursday. And I’m one of those girls that have ALWAYS been 28 days.

I wrote this – on March 8th of 2013 – where I said -

Today – I’m not sad. I haven’t been sad about not having another baby for about a week now. That’s a HUGE step for me. I am finally letting the peace that God has given me about our decision take over – instead of fighting it. Fighting it because we should have 3 more. I’m feeling peace instead of being angry and hurt. Instead of wondering why me and why NOT me at the same time. It’s awesome. And I finally don’t feel guilty saying that.

Our decision was to go back on birth control and wait a year.

I’ve been anxiously waiting for my period to start so I can start those little blue pills.

It’s Thursday and it’s not here yet.

And now I know why.

I took a test today.

It was positive. Within seconds. Pink. Bold. Crossing lines.


We lost Enoch on March 17th of 2009 and little Lewis would have been born on March 24th of 2013. Today is right smack in the middle.

But. We have to keep it a secret. Well – you read why. 

Honestly – I’m speechless. I told Jared over and over that this would happen. We have to figure something out until my appointment because you KNOW we are gonna get pregnant. Because the last time I had peace like this – we found out we were pregnant with Fitzy. It doesn’t matter that we haven’t gotten pregnant since June – it will happen. I know it. I knew it.

How on earth am I not supposed to tell my sister. She’s going to figure it out. She just is. And my parents? And Jared’s parents? They always go to the Bahamas in November – I hope they haven’t booked the trip yet! But I can’t. I have to trust. The day before Dave sent us that text – I said – out of the blue – to Jared – if we get pregnant again we won’t tell a soul. Not one. Until our first trimester. Which is not me. At all.

It was confirmation.

So – today we found out that for the 5th time – we are pregnant. And we trust. Because either way – God is in control and the answer will be beautiful.

My first appointment is April 1st of 2013.

We won’t be over our first trimester until the end of May – a long two months from now!

Our due date – November 27th of 2013 – my mom’s birthday.


March 22nd 0f 2013 FRIDAY 

I can’t stop thinking about the women reading this thinking – GREAT. Another pregnant person who isn’t me. And while I can tell you over and over again that I’ve been there (and you know that I’ve been there several times) it doesn’t matter. It won’t matter.

Yesterday the list stood at this – 76 names. 20 with babies. 14 pregnant. 45 wanting. pray.

And while I wrote it – tears streamed down my face. Tears of happiness and of hurt. Tears of joy and of heartache. Tears of love and of pain.

I want all 45 wanting to inbox me and tell me that they are pregnant. It’s a miracle. But it isn’t happening. And here I am holding this joy in one hand and such sorrow in another for all my wanting mommas. It’s not fair. It will never be fair.

If you have to hide me on FACEBOOK – do it. If you have to avoid my blog for a while – please do. If you can’t bear to look at me – I understand. You don’t have to tell me that you are happy for me and sad for you. You might even be at the place where you are not happy for me.


And that still doesn’t make it any easier for you. Not one ounce.

Please know this – I am praying for you. I am lifting your name to God every day. I am trusting that His will is perfect and amazing. I am trusting that you will feel His strength and His love right now. I encourage you to cry out to Him. He knows Your heart – He can take it. His hands are open and waiting.

April 3rd of 2013 TUESDAY

I’m hungrier. Last week I had a migraine – which if history proves anything – means that there is a viable baby. Our last pregnancy came with migraines too – so I’m still scared. Trusting. But nervous. Is that possible? To be trusting and nervous. To be sure and scared?

Yesterday was our first appointment. The one where you pee in a cup and they tell you what you already knew. The nurse came in and said – well – I hope this was a wanted pregnancy. I said – they all are. I’m scared. We were going to take a break for a year and THEN see a specialist – but we never even got to the birth control part. We aren’t telling anyone so I’ve kind of forgotten about it. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I don’t do caffeine. I don’t really have to change anything.

I did wake up yesterday and today feeling just a little off – struggling to swallow my vitamins without gagging.

So – we wait to hear from our OB and set up our first appointment. Part of me wants an ultrasound RIGHT NOW while the other part wants to wait like we did with Fitzy. I am almost six weeks at this point – so we have another seven weeks to go!

I’ve known for 2 weeks and haven’t told ANYONE (except the doctor) and I’m shocked.

April 5th of 2013 THURSDAY 

Last night the stomach bug hit. Or a flu bug. Or both. It was intense. I lost two pounds overnight. I didn’t sleep until this morning when Jared stayed home with Fitzy. I took a bath early this morning and kept praying that those pangs in my stomach were flu pangs – not miscarriage pangs. I’m trying hard to not let fear win. It takes a lot of focus and a lot of prayer.

I’ve realized that in not sharing this pregnancy news with ANYONE but Jared – we are both depending on God. A lot. The way it should be. And it’s crazy hard!

April 30th of 2013 TUESDAY

Yesterday was our ultrasound. I laid down on the table and closed my eyes. I prayed. She started and didn’t say anything – and then a – there’s your baby. And the tears came. According to her measurements we are between 10 and 11 weeks – further along than I thought – and further along than any other pregnancy – except with Fitzy. We saw a little body and a head. Arms and a fast heartbeat. THANK YOU JESUS. Baby was moving around and looked good. The last two times – I got a phone call from the doctor that afternoon. No phone call. And I’ve been getting sick in the mornings. And afternoons. And evenings. Thank You Jesus.

Fitzy is very excited about his birthday present! He keeps pointing at my belly and saying – dear Jesus – heal – momma – baby – girl. This weekend he pointed to my belly and said baby. My mom looked at me with raised eyebrows. I said – yes – that’s where you were when you were a baby. Whew!

Someone did say to me recently – Danielle – you look GREAT! I mean like radiant – glowing! Are you SURE you’re not pregnant? I said – I’m sure. When she left I looked at Jared and said – REALLY? I’m not supposed to say ANYTHING!?

A friend asked me if I stopped updating my weight loss on my blog because of the issues people were having. I said nope. I planned to update at 20 pounds and then again at 12 weeks (which I didn’t think would be two separate posts) and then lastly at 30 pounds. Which I haven’t reached yet. But I couldn’t tell her why. I said – because I feel good right here. I look good right here. I’m good. Which is also true. But I won’t be hitting that 30 pounds – at least – not this time around.

Thank You God for this unexpected and amazing miracle. Again.

May 26th of 2013 SUNDAY

Yesterday we had Fitzy’s birthday party. We waited until the very end to give him our gift. I made a mental checklist in my head – mom is here – Brenda is here – Samm is here – Brian is here – I’ll go get dad. Okay – everyone is here. Jared started the video. I told Fitzy this was his last present but Sammy had to help him read it. Samm unfolded the shirt that said BIG BROTHER and it took her a minute. She looked up at me and said – ARE YOU SERIOUS? I said – yes – we are 13 weeks. Brenda (my mother-in-law) screamed and cried and rushed over to hug me. She asked if we had an ultrasound. I said – Yes. We’ve heard a heartbeat too. Samm hit me. Then the video ends. And I scan the room and realize my mom isn’t there. I seriously thought maybe she was upset and had to leave. Nope. When my back was turned – she got up and left – to go to the bathroom – and I was so focused on that little shirt – I didn’t notice. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! UGH! So we waited for her to come back and then gave her the shirt. And just like my mom – she said – Oh. Just like that. Oh. Then she added a little – I’m shocked – you were on birth control! I said – I never even got to start! She said – Oh. I read the text that Dave sent us – and tears flowed again.

Friday night – I noticed a tiny bit of spotting. No. Not now. Not this time. This cannot be happening. I texted a few people that I had already told. Asked them to pray. Is this okay. Is everything okay? This CANNOT be happening again. Not this time. Not right now. No. Just no. It happened with Fitzy – at 20 weeks. This makes me scared. I took my phone out and read the text from Dave – again. For the 400th time. Just like I did in the beginning every time I was feeling scared.

We heard a heartbeat on Tuesday – 165. Everything was fine. 13 weeks. It HAS to be fine. Right? I mean – we are telling everyone tomorrow. It has to be okay. It’s the end of the first trimester. We will get pregnant again. And even though we will default in our minds that we will probably miscarry – oh no.

The spotting stopped. My sister-in-law assured me that a little is normal – it happened with her. Prayers were sent and sent and sent. Prayers are being sent. Still being sent. I still felt sick this morning. I’ll most likely call on Tuesday to schedule something – just to make sure. Cus I’m like that. So – please continue to pray with us. Pray for Jared and I – that we can rest in God’s love and peace. Pray for this wee one – that this baby is doing well and wonderful.

 And because it’s awesome – I leave you again with the words God gave us through Dave -

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. This is a promise from God. God is NOT done with you. He’s just starting. You need to tuck this word on your hearts and cover it. 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!

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!


Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,expecting,family,just because,my family,newsworthy,word of God — Danielle at 6:13 pm on Monday, April 8, 2013

In 2009 (while we were still pregnant) I wrote this about my MIL.

I still mean it.

Last year was crazy hard – for so many reasons – and brought some “conflict” with the in-laws.

We wanted to move. I’ve never loved this house and never thought of it as my own. I never planned on being here for the now 7+ years we’ve been here. I wanted something – mine. Ours. Away.

Jared’s parents are fantastic people that love to … do. And bless. Like I wrote about in my previous post.

The problem with doing and blessing is that I felt like we were kids. Now you might say – Danielle – are you really complaining about someone doing for you? C’mon. But what happens when everything is taken care of for you? You don’t do anything. The things you should be doing in your life. Taking the garbage out. Shoveling your driveway. Mowing your lawn. It is wonderful – while it’s also problematic.

So we had to figure some things out – quite a few things out. And on the list was the relationship with our parents. And we did. And for that I’m thankful.

We are here. Next door. For quite some time it seems. Living next door to anyone – let alone your parents – in a state of anger and frustration – would suck. Which is why I refuse to live in such a state.

Let me just say that in living next door to my in-laws – it’s not a big deal. The problem wasn’t that this house was next to them. The problem was that it’s THIS house. To be honest – I drop by unannounced on my MIL MUCH more than she does on me. Mostly because I have a little boy who knows we live next to one of his favorite people in the whole world.

So how do you do it?

How do you have a good relationship with your mother-in-law? Especially once you have a baby?

1. When Jared and I started dating – I already knew his parents. He met mine on our first date. Cus I’m that serious about my family. I love them. And he loves his. And if for any reason – we didn’t feel a connection or a fit – enough that it caused problems – then we wanted to figure that out early on. People say – you don’t just marry your husband. You marry his family. In some instances – that doesn’t happen to be the case. But in our situation – it would be. Thankfully Jared’s family and I got along well and mine loved him.

2. I’m a mother. To a little boy. I get it now. Jared is Brenda’s baby boy. In a way – he will always be. And that’s hard. But I get it now. I look at Fitzy and wonder just who will take my place in his life someday. Right now he needs me. And while I know that I will always have a place in his heart – it won’t be the same. I will lose him to a girl. And I will be a mother-in-law. Oh. Crap.

A woman at MOPS said – they figured out why the relationship between in-laws are strained at times.

Especially a MIL and DIL.

They are both in love with the same boy.

Whoa. That’s it.

So remember that.

3. I have a relationship with Jesus. If this doesn’t apply to you – you can skip it. But all the other points that follow – depend on it. For me. God sent His one and only to die for me. If I was the only person on the face of this earth – He would have done it. For me.

I know what love is.

Thankfully my MIL also has a relationship with Jesus. And while that isn’t a magic solution – it helps.

4. I meant what I said in that blog. I wanted Brenda in the room when our baby was born – along with my own mom. Turns out that I needed Bridget to take pictures and then couldn’t decide between my mom and Jared’s mom – so Samm won the spot. But had I been allowed – she would have been there. Because Fitzy is just as much her grandchild as he is my mom’s. And for some of you – you might say – why does that even matter? He’s MY son. They don’t have any special claim or right to him. I do. Me. And me alone. To that response – I say – my heart aches for you. And for the grandparents of your children.

Fitzy will almost always pick my mom or my MIL over me. Every single time. Brenda went to Florida for a week a while ago. It was a nightmare. That little boy KNOWS that his grandma lives right next door. And usually he can see her every day. He cried and cried every time I told him she wasn’t home. He stood by the door – asking and asking. His little heart was so broken. We facetimed with her – but he didn’t want any of that. He wanted his grandma – holding him.

I had a friend once say to me that it would bother her if her child wanted someone else that much over her. I told her that I loved it. I love that he loves them. I love that he almost always runs into her open arms with a hug and a kiss and she whispers her love for him into his little ears. I love that when we go to my parents – he wakes up the instant we hit the driveway. When he sees my mom in the window – he beams. He dives into her arms and is literally glued to her hip for the duration of our stay. I don’t think she’s ever been more exhausted and happy in her life.

My grandparents were very involved in my life – along with Jared and his. Grandparents long for the moment to hold the baby of their baby in their arms. Not being a grandparent – I don’t KNOW exactly how it feels. But I’ve been told. I’ve seen it. I see it. Every day. Because we live next door to a grandparent.

Brenda loves. She just loves. I can’t finish that sentence because she loves babies and kids and teenagers and adults and grandparents and everything in between. But she ESPECIALLY loves teeny tiny babies. She loves to rock and pray and sing. And while I couldn’t get enough of Fitzy in those first few months – I made sure to share him. When she asked to have him – I gave him. She likes to bless – remember? She loves to help. And in those first few months when I didn’t think I could stand one more second without falling asleep – she kept him for us. All night. People would ask me how I could do that? How could I hand my brand new baby to my MIL for the night? How did I sleep? I slept like a baby. I knew that he was in fantastic hands – in reality – better hands than my own at the moment – which were beyond exhaustion. I loved her. I trusted her. I appreciated her.

While my “normal” personality is pretty high-strung and … ahem … bossy – my “mothering” personality is not. I’m a little bit over-protective sometimes – about silly things like food. But laid back. I don’t have a list of rules to drop off. I know that when Fitzy is with my parents or Jared’s parents – I don’t have to worry about a thing. Not one.

Over the summer – Brenda was watching Fitzy while I was at a session. I called Jared on my way home and asked where he was – I could hear screams and lots of laughing in the background. He was at a soccer game – with Fitzy and his parents. I said – how did Fitzy get there? And I heard Brenda say – OH NO. I forgot to ask Danielle if we could bring him. I said – I’m glad she doesn’t have to ask. Yes – take him an hour away to dinner – please ask. But run him up to the school for a soccer game? By all means.

When I hit our gas line coming into the house – we had to spend the night with Jared’s parents. Brenda – being the giving woman she is – let us sleep in their bedroom for the night. Fitzy – however – did NOT want to sleep. He wanted grandma. And only grandma. He cried and cried and I told her she could leave and I would just deal with it. He cried like I’ve NEVER heard him cry. Brenda was peeking at the door and after a few minutes – came in and said – I’m taking him. You guys need to sleep. I’ll deal with it. He stopped his screaming immediately and cuddled up with her. She slept – I use that word loosely – on the floor in the living room with him that night. Jared said – you okay? I said – are you kidding. I’m so thankful she is comfortable enough to do that. Even though I told her I would deal with it – she still stepped in and took over. She didn’t cross a line at all. At least – not with me. I had a horrible day and was exhausted. It was a giant help.

5. I see her face light up every single time she sees him. Same with my mom. I can’t imagine seeing sadness instead because I’m withholding a relationship from her. I’ve told Jared – if I am ever upset with your mom about something and I start to use Fitzy as a weapon in that situation – smack me. Seriously. Do not allow it. If I have a problem – I need to figure it out. Not take her grandson away from her as punishment. Totally not cool.

6. I’m a first-time momma. And I hope I would still feel this way if I was a 5th time momma.

I don’t know it all.

I can safely say that I don’t even know what’s best for my child – all the time. I’m still learning and figuring it out. I used to ask questions on FACEBOOK about sleeping. Fitzy is a better sleeper – but I can’t even go so far as to say he’s a great sleeper. I needed advice and help. And while I got advice – I also got some – you are obviously doing it wrong remarks. So I stopped asking. The people in my life that are close to me – still gave advice – which was totally fine. And those people included my mom and MIL. Which was totally fine.

I have never once felt that Brenda or my mom were judging me or telling me I was a bad mom or didn’t know what I was doing. I’m not above asking for help. Screaming for it sometimes.

I wanted to breastfeed. My mom breastfed and so did Brenda. I knew it was important. How could I not? There are certain people who will – in so many words – tell you about your bad mothering if you choose not to. I knew that Brenda was very pro-breastfeeding. She never pressured me or insinuated I was a bad mom if I didn’t – but I knew that she very much preferred it. At about 6 weeks – I was exhausted. To the point that my own mom was worried about me. She was worried about Fitzy’s safety in the middle of the night when I would nurse. She brought him downstairs one night and got some formula from the hospital bag and gave him a bottle. She was prepared for the consequences in the morning.

I was too exhausted to be upset. Go ahead – call me selfish. But I’m also honest. And I was exhausted. My mom said to me – I thought I was gonna have to take him from you. You scared me Danielle. You put a new diaper right over the one he had on and when I asked you to nurse him – you told me he was fine. It was time. He was hungry and crying. But you literally fell asleep – sitting up – talking to me. Give the child some formula. You cannot be a good momma when you are in this state. You have to be rested and present.

I could have screamed at her. HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A BAD MOTHER. HOW DARE YOU GIVE HIM FORMULA. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. I could have never spoken to her again. But I think I take constructive criticism pretty well. At least – I hope I do. I didn’t react that way. I said – thanks mom. You’re so right. I just can’t do this. I ended up stopping at 8 weeks. Brenda never told me how awful I was – I don’t think she was even thinking that. She was supportive and encouraging.

With all the advice – asked and just given – I’ve never felt that my mom or Brenda have ever thought I was a bad mom. I’ve never thought they were overstepping boundaries. If I pick up Fitzy from Brenda’s and he’s sick – I want her to tell me. She’s noticed things that I haven’t before. When he was little – teeny tiny. I made some comment about not cleaning behind his ears – how could I forget that? She chuckled and said – yes – I noticed! I just cleaned it up. We laughed. I’m much better about it now – but I used to forget to give him a drink at meals. Every single meal. And she asked me once – why don’t you give Fitzy a drink at dinner? I stopped and said – OH MY WORD – I’ve never even thought about it! We laughed again.

I know that for some of you – your mom and MIL might very well be pointing out every single thing that they wouldn’t do with your child if they were you. And that’s gotta be hard. My advice in that situation is to politely say – but you aren’t me. This is how things work for us. It will be hard to adjust to a relationship where the advice they give is truly from the heart and meant to help and not hurt – but you’ll get there. With a lot of slow breathing and prayers on your part.

But sometimes – maybe your mom or MIL is really just trying to be a grandma that loves that baby of yours. She’s seeing an area of struggle for you and wants to help. She’s really trying to not overstep and say everything the right way. And it still comes out wrong. Be patient. Really take a step back and see where it’s coming from.

7. Your mother-in-law is human. You are human. Like any relationship – you both have to be on the same page. Sometimes she might have to work a little harder to keep her opinions to herself and sometimes you might have to work a little harder on keeping yours. Brenda and I are honest with each other. Sometimes I might not like what she has to say – but I hear her. And vice-versa.

8. Forgiveness. I don’t have a relationship in my life without it. I’ve had to ask it. And give it. While you can forgive someone for hurting you – it’s not all on you. Relationships cannot be one-sided. They will always fall apart. Look inside your heart and figure out what you’ve got going on in there. What are you holding back? What are you hiding? What are you holding onto? What are you afraid of? It might be the same questions that your MIL is struggling with.

9. Pray. Reach out. Ask forgiveness if you need to. Give forgiveness.

And remember that she was once a momma holding the hand of her little boy.

A little boy whose whole world was his momma.

And now that little boy is holding your hand.



Filed under: babes,expecting,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — Danielle at 11:52 am on Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I’ve been taking photos for Nicole & Dustin for almost THREE years!

Dustin is overseas defending our freedoms – so capturing the birth of this little guy was VERY VERY important. And I got sick. Sick enough that I couldn’t risk exposing a new momma and baby to the germs. I was SO SO SO upset. I knew that if I couldn’t be there with these dear friends (I love clients that turn into GOOD friends) that someone would have to be. Who better than the girl who photographed Fitzy’s birth?

Bridget Reed did a beautiful job with his birth! THANK YOU SO MUCH for stepping in for me!

Thankfully – I got over my nasty cold just in time to photograph him while I was in town!

I’ve been disappointed with my newborn results lately. I am trying to be someone I’m not – as far as the style goes. With *G* I just put aside all the expectations in my own head and photographed him. I LOVE they way they turned out. It’s exactly the style I want to represent. I can’t wait to try out some more ideas next time!


You’ll be getting lots of little looks at *G* this year! While his daddy is fighting for us – I’ll take pictures of him every month!



Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,baby barden,bardenisms,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,my family,newsworthy — Danielle at 1:35 am on Monday, March 18, 2013

Four years. Four years ago today we lost our first baby – little Enoch. The darkest times of my life followed. I lost hope. I was angry with God. I questioned Him. I prayed. I cried. I asked. I hurt. He listened and healed. The process was slow – on my end.

He gave. He showered me with love and grace. He held me. Hurting and crying. Lost and desperate. I felt alone and forgotten. And He gave. It’s crazy.

I’m so thankful for that time. I’m thankful that I can be a shoulder for other women going through loss and struggling to have a baby. I wish I didn’t have a list. I wish I didn’t have 74 people listed – people who wanted. People who waited. People who are still wanting. And waiting. But the reality is – I do. They are there. And so I name them. I bold them and italicize them and write BABY after their names when their little ones come. I pray every day for them. And while I wish that they didn’t have to be on that list – I pray.

I wouldn’t change what happened. You’d think I would. But I wouldn’t even be aware of those 74 names is we hadn’t lost Enoch. I wouldn’t be aware of hurting hearts – praying for a baby to hold. To love. I’m blessed to pray for them. I’m blessed to be involved in their lives. I’m blessed to hold babies. Babies whose names have been always known to God. Prayers that have been whispered and cried and shouted and screamed and begged. Prayers that are now warm little babies. Beautiful babies. And because of this – I am blessed.

We wouldn’t have Fitzgerald if we had been given Enoch. We might have had another baby at the same exact time – but it wouldn’t be exactly Fitzgerald. And he is amazing. I cannot imagine my life without him in it. He has touched us in so many ways. And while I wouldn’t have known any different – I like to think I might have. I might know that he was out there. Meant to be ours but not with us. And I would miss him. Terribly.

On February 13th – it had been a year since our little Joy Christina left us for heaven. I didn’t write a blog. I remembered her and thanked God for the tiny time she was here. I was hurting then – a month ago. Badly – and while writing is therapeutic for me – I couldn’t sit down and talk about my goodbyes to her. It hurt too much. I wanted another baby so badly and to remember that she was taken too early – was too much to bear. So I didn’t. And I felt bad. Like she would be upset that I didn’t acknowledge her. But that’s silly. I know that she knows I love her.

And in a month – God has given me peace.

A week from today was our due date with our 4th baby – Lewis Samuel. And I sit here typing this – there are no tears streaming down my face. Not that crying would have been bad. But I’ve cried so much. I’ve missed so much. I’ve mourned so much.

And it’s time.

It’s time for joy. And for peace. And for rejoicing. And for that – I am glad.

Enoch – you are the baby that started it all. You were our first. And while I never saw you – not even on an ultrasound screen – I know your face. I love you dear boy.

Joy – you were a surprise. A joyous surprise. One that we never met. You would be 6 months old today. I imagine you with curls. And green eyes. I love you dear girl.

Lewis – I was convinced that you were a baby meant for my arms. We saw you on an ultrasound. Heard your tiny heartbeat. And still you left. In a week from today I would have been holding you in my arms – realizing that I’ve known your face my whole life. If we hadn’t lost Joy – we wouldn’t have you. And for that – I am thankful. I love you dear boy.

We miss you so much down here.

But I love that you are there.


Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,adoption,babes,baby barden,bardenisms,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,word of God — Danielle at 1:17 pm on Friday, March 8, 2013

70 names. 19 with babies. 15 pregnant. 39 wanting. pray.

If you are friends with me on FACEBOOK – you’ve seen something like this as my status. Over and over. It might be obnoxious. But I can’t stop. Seriously. CANNOT STOP.

70 names. 19 with babies. 15 pregnant. 39 wanting. pray. that was March 6th. 

67 names. 18 with babies. 8 pregnant. 41 wanting.pray. that was March 5th.

In one day – ONE DAY – pregnant almost doubled. DOUBLED.

Today – I’m not sad. I haven’t been sad about not having another baby for about a week now. That’s a HUGE step for me. I am finally letting the peace that God has given me about our decision take over – instead of fighting it. Fighting it because we should have 3 more. I’m feeling peace instead of being angry and hurt. Instead of wondering why me and why NOT me at the same time. It’s awesome. And I finally don’t feel guilty saying that.

God has placed SUCH a heavy burden on my heart for these 70 women that have asked for prayer (or have been put on my list by someone that loves them). There is not ONE SINGLE DAY that goes by that I don’t pray for them. I am in awe. I am overwhelmed at the emails and messages. The tears and the hopes. The amazing blessings that are pouring out on “my” wanting mommas. I am usually one of the FIRST people to know about their little babies. It gives me goosebumps. I cry and pray and thank Jesus for their gifts.

But I also don’t forget the heartaches. While that number has almost doubled – a few days before that – it was at 10. Then at 8. Two of those wanting mommas lost their miracles. It’s not fair. It hurts. And I italicize their name – cus I know that I wanted my lost ones recognized. And I pray again. For renewed strength and hope. And then again for more hope. Because I lost mine. So I pray again for even more hope.

Speaking of hope – I asked a woman I admire to share her journey with me. With you. With us. To encourage. To give hope. Here is her story.

I hope that my story will be a source of encouragement and support for those many couples who are praying for children with their prayers not yet answered.

I was 21 when I was diagnosed with Endometriosis.  It was very painful and debilitating.  After many unsuccessful treatments I ended up having an emergency hysterectomy when I was 23.  I had never been pregnant, so I knew I was never going to be able to give birth to my own children.  This was something that I needed to grieve and accept.  I needed to accept that I was never going to experience the joy of hearing, “You are pregnant”.  I was never going to be able to tell my husband that he was going to be a daddy.  I was never going to experience the “pregnancy glow” that I saw so many woman have. I was never going to experience a child growing inside of me, feeling a little flutter and then later a huge kick. I am sure some of you reading this can relate on many levels to what I am saying.

There was a part of me that felt that I was being punished by God for some reason.  Part of me felt that maybe God felt that I was not going to be a good mommy.  I was not sure.  All I knew was that I had a huge void in my life and nothing was going to fill it except a baby.

When I met my husband, I had the scary task of telling him that I was unable to have children.  I was terrified that he would reject me.  I felt like I was “damaged goods”.  When I finally worked up the courage to tell him, he looked me in the eyes and said, “So, we will adopt”.  The relief I felt was indescribable.

About a year after we were married we began our adoption process.  We had no idea what we were doing.  We began looking online for foreign adoptions, but knew there was no way we could afford them.  We also felt there we so many children in the US that needed good homes.  We prayed that God would lead us to the children He wanted us to parent.
We filled out applications and looked at different lawyers and agencies.  We were so disheartened that it felt that kids were being sold.  We got tired of the price tags on children’s heads.  When we did get interviews from one particular agency we felt like we were  being treated like deviants because we could not have biological children.  The questions we were asked were invasive and judgmental.  At least from our perspective of two adults who really wanted children.

After 2 years of searching, crying, praying and being told by people that we should, “Go into foster care and be happy with what we have if we are so hard up to be parents”.  Yes, we were told that.  We went through depression phases, anger phases, resignation phases, everything.

On April 7, 1998, we received a phone call from a woman from Catholic Charities.  She asked us if we are still looking to adopt a child.  We said, “YES! Of course!” She then, almost apologetically, said, ” Well, this baby is black”.  I replied, “So? I don’t care about color”.  She told us that many black couples had refused her because she was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and addicted to crack.

We wanted her.  We had 3 very long days to get ready and wait. We had a 4 hour drive ahead of us before we could meet our daughter and bring her home.  The night before we left, I checked the nursery over. We had bought everything. Everything except crib sheets!  How could we forget those?  We ran out to Wal*Mart and bought crib sheets, washed them and put them on the crib.  We couldn’t sleep. We left at 3 AM.

We got there at 7 in the morning and decided to walk on the Lake Michigan shore.  BIG MISTAKE.  I had an asthma attack and didn’t have my inhaler.  My husband wanted to take me to the ER, but I wouldn’t let him. Instead we drove to a store for some Primatine Mist. Thank the Good Lord, it worked!  There was NO WAY I was going to miss out on meeting my daughter.  Then we realized we did not have the car seat attached properly.  Laughing at ourselves, 2 highly educated people couldn’t figure this out! We worked on it for quite a while in a McDonalds parking lot.
Finally. 11 AM.  Time to meet our daughter.  We drove to the agency.  Excited.  Nervous.  Eager.  Happy.  Euphoric.  We met her.  All 3 pounds 15 ounces of her.  She was perfect.  Sweet.  Crying like crazy.  It was surreal.

I remember 3 days later, holding her in my hands wondering who this was.  In that exact moment I fell in love with her and finally knew what love really was.  Even though it wasn’t long before we were in and out of doctor’s offices, hospitals and specialists for the next 15 years.  We knew without a doubt that she was meant to be ours.

By July of that same year, we decided we wanted a sister for our little girl!  Since it took 2 years of “labor pains” for our first daughter, we wanted to get started right away with the process.  A friend of mine worked with an adoption agency and called us asking if we were interested in a 15 month old girl, born with similar circumstances as our first.  We said, “YES!”  We began the process of getting ready for her. She had been in foster care all of her life except 3 days and they wanted to place her ASAP.

We went through the interview process.  We met her.  We were in love with her!  She was delightful!  Precious!  They were interviewing another couple, but felt that we were the ones they wanted to her to be placed with so it was just a formality.  Nothing to worry about.  We would get a phone call by the end of next week.  Next week came and went.  We didn’t get a phone call.  I called the Social Worker to find out what was going on.  She said that she couldn’t bring herself to call us because they decided to place the girl with the other couple.  The husband played for the Colts and the wife was a professional.  They could raise her to be a “productive member of society”.  I sobbed.  I was angry.  I told her that wasn’t my definition of success.  My husband and I cried and grieved.  We felt in our heart of hearts that this wasn’t right.

Two weeks later I can home from school to find my husband in the nursery moving things around.  I asked him what he was doing.  He replied that we was getting ready to bring our daughter’s sister home.  I thought he had lost it.  He told me to check the answering machine.  The Social Worker had called.  The couple had given the baby back.  They found out that she was pregnant and they did not want to raise their child with a “crack baby” for fear that the adopted baby would hurt their real baby.  So, once again we began to process of bringing our second daughter home.  We began with many visits.  This felt right.  By November of that same year, we brought our second daughter home to live with us!

About a year later we began the adoption process again.  We wanted more children, a house full.  Over the next couple of years we had many “adoption miscarriages”.  That is the only way I can think of to describe them.  So painful!  Then we found a birth mother who was 6 months pregnant.  We updated out autobiography and met with the adoption agency.  The birth mother chose us to be the family she wanted to raise her son.  We named him.  We fell in love with him.  We told our daughters about their baby brother.  We were supposed to pick him up at the hospital the weekend he was born.  We had a diaper bag packed and ready to go.  The weekend came and went.  We called the Social Worker.  The birth mother changed her mind and took the baby home with her.  I fell apart.  I told my husband, “No more”.  I cannot go through the emotional ups and downs of this.  We grieved “our son” for a while.  To this day we bring him up from time to time.

We then moved back “home”.  After a few years we decided to once again pursue adoption.  I felt that I wasn’t finished having children.  So we went through the loops, took the necessary classes and looked on the SWAN website for sibling groups.  We wanted to focus on siblings since they were harder to place.  There was no success.  A lot more pain.

We realized that we were going to be a family of 4 and we were okay with that.  We felt totally blessed with our daughters.  Yet, there was still a nagging feeling inside of me.  I wanted 1 more baby.  Allan did not feel the same way.  So it was put on the back burner.

Two years ago, my husband and I brought up adoption again.  This time we were both ready to think about it.  But we decided that if we were going to do this then God had to lead us because I did not have it in me to face further rejection.

In June of 2011 we were at a car dealership literally signing papers for a used van when my sister called asking if we wanted to adopt a baby.  She told me the situation.  The birth mother was 14 and looking for someone to adopt her baby.  She was due in one month.  We said, “YES!”  Right away we got a lawyer and called the agency we used when we took the classes years before.  They both thought this was never going to happen since we had only spoken with the grandmother of the baby, not the mother.  I assured them it was happening.  We got ready for the baby.

On July 9, 2011, we welcomed our 3rd daughter into our family.  I was able to be in the delivery room and cut the umbilical cord!  Our family is complete.  For now.  We will never turn away a child if one is presented to us.

So, God answered my prayers.  I am a mom.  I love my daughters SO much!  They are my answers to prayer.  My gifts.  My miracles.  I learned a lot these past 15 years.  So many people tell me how blessed the girls are to have us as parents.  No.  I who am blessed to be their mom.  Through these 3 amazing girls, I have learned my strengths, weaknesses, abilities, fears and how to truly trust and lean on God.  They have made me a better person.

There was a lot of heartache for my husband and I.  It was not an easy process for us.  But I would do it over again in a heartbeat.

I leave you with this.  There was a time when our first daughter was really sick.  I was angry at God.  Why would He bring us a child only to take her from us?  As I was going up the stairs to check on her, it was as if I heard Him say, “You dedicated her to Me.  She is Mine.  I am allowing you to raise her on earth.”  It was at that moment I truly dedicated any and all of our children to God.  They are not mine.  They are His.  And their lives are in His hands.  Always.

Eve-Marie – thank you SO much for sharing your story with me. With us. If you are waiting on God for an answer. For a baby – I am praying for you. For hope.


Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,birth,expecting,family,friends,just because,kiddos,love,my family,newsworthy,schrute — Danielle at 1:45 pm on Friday, February 8, 2013

The first night we were in the hospital with Fitzy – the nurse asked if we wanted him with us or in the nursery. I said – if I say nursery – am I a bad mom? She giggled and reassured me that I was not. I said – then nursery it is! They brought him in when he was hungry and then took him back when he was done. I look back on this and I think – I can’t believe I didn’t want to just hold him and eat him up. I can’t believe I let him just lie in that cold cart all by himself. Oh right – I was exhausted – and the nurses took great care of him.

When we brought him home – I had every intention of putting him in a bassinet next to our bed. Which I did – but he cried. As soon as I picked him up – he went to sleep. As soon as I laid him down – he woke up and cried. While I tend to be a non-sympathetic person in general – when it comes to babies – I melt. I couldn’t let my new baby cry. What if he thought I didn’t love him. What if he thought I left him. What if he got scared. Yes – I actually thought these things.

It didn’t really matter. Schrute did not adjust well to Fitzy. I asked my dog-loving friends – they said – wait it out – give him a chance. Every time Fitzy made a move or a noise – Schrute was there in the blink of an eye – and not always gentle. He was jealous and confused. He was anxious and irritable. I didn’t trust him – I was uneasy.

I was exhausted. I would nurse Fitzy in bed and fall back asleep – sitting up – holding him. By the grace of God – nothing horrible happened. Jared was uneasy with it and so was I. We took to sleeping in the recliners in the living room with Fitzy on my chest – I would wake up and nurse him – and fall back asleep with him cradled in my arms – thankfully again – God kept him safe. It wasn’t ideal – but until Schrute found a new home – it would have to do.

side note – finding a new home for our first baby was one of the HARDEST things we’ve ever had to do. EVER . lots of people made me feel bad about it. some people understood. but for the most part – we were horrible for just getting rid of our dog. while he is doing fantastic in his new home – he has also bit two people. because they pet him unexpectedly. isn’t that exactly what babies and toddlers do. that could have been Fitzy – and it could have been fatal. and then I would most definitely be institutionalized.

We found a new home for Schrute. Time to have Fitzy sleep on his own – in the bassinet in our room. Our house is a little patched together. Our first floor is the kitchen and living room. Our second-ish floor is the bathroom and bedroom and laundry room and little cubby rooms. Our third-ish floor has two bedrooms. Our attic is big enough for two BIG rooms and a bathroom and then there is a loft in the attic. Our bedroom is on the second-ish floor. Fitzy’s is on the third-ish floor. WHICH FREAKS ME OUT. (I’m a control freak – remember) and while I try my best to keep it at bay – having my child on a different floor than me is NOT okay. I don’t know if it would ever be – especially such a teeny baby.

We moved his crib downstairs – tried here and there – he wanted to sleep right next to momma – which I didn’t mind. Oddly enough. I NEVER intended to be a co-sleeping mom. Co-sleeping moms are kinda crazy – so they say. That was NOT going to be me. I’ve heard stories about babies that sleep in their parents bed till Kindergarten. Nope. Not me. Not us. Won’t happen. But here we were.

Fitzy didn’t even really sleep through the night until about 14 months. Seriously. Having Fitzy sleep right next to me and get up multiple times in the night – way easier than me getting up and completely waking up. Every night.

Then Jared was not okay with it. He didn’t really let me know at first – it just exploded into this issue (followed by several other issues) and there was NOT going to be a baby in our bed anymore. His crib was moved upstairs (ugh). And since our friends said that they let their babies cry it out – that is what we were going to do. I was NOT happy – to say the least. But I would try it. Fitzy cried for 3 hours. 3 HOURS STRAIGHT. I refused to go get him. We tried the 5 minutes – 15 minutes – 30 minutes – blah blah blah. Only made it worse. But this was something that he was bound and determined would work. Finally – he caved. Ya know – after 3 hours of non-stop screaming.

I was willing to work on it – little by little. But I am not a cry it out mom. Kudos to those of you that are. We moved his crib back downstairs and would put him in it for naps and then to start the night. Naps would last maybe 45 minutes in his crib. Compared to the 2 hours on the couch. So he usually naps on the couch (unless it’s the weekend – then it’s on Jared) while I blog or edit or organize.

He would start out the night in his crib and usually stand up and say MOMMA at about 1. I would pick him up and lay him in bed and fall back asleep. And he would sleep the rest of the night.

We need to renovate our house – like – majorly. New windows. in. every. blasted. room. New siding. on our giant house. New laundry and nook rooms. New electric. New bedrooms. New attic. New attic bathroom. New doorways. Basically you name it – it needs to be done. So the goal is to work on a back bedroom for us that shares a wall with a little bedroom for Fitzy – and by that time – to have a baby that can sleep on his own. All night. In his own bed.

I rock Fitzy to sleep. Have since the moment he came home. I love it. He is an almost 3 foot – 33 pound – almost 22 month old. Kind of hard to get comfortable in a rocking chair with me. He lets me rock him to sleep for nap time. But the past month – I’ve had to lay him down in bed next to me and bop him to sleep. Sing Silent Night – hold him close.

We took the front off his crib and moved it flush with our bed. When he is finally asleep – I move him to his bed. There has been ONE night he slept there in that bed from 9 to 7. ONE. So far he sleeps till about 3 and then crawls over to me and cuddles up and falls back asleep till about 8. (Once when he was little bitty and sleeping in his car seat – yes we tried that trick – he slept all night – those are the two times)

Progress. Slow and steady. I make sure that this issue isn’t an issue in our marriage anymore – that I make time for Jared. That just because we have friends that don’t live this way – doesn’t mean that it’s horrible that we do. And I’ve completely changed my mind about co-sleeping parents. I understand now that some parents choose this option and that it works for them. While I don’t want Fitzy sleeping with us forever – it’s what worked for us then. For now.

And while I am frustrated and exhausted and basically running on prayers and little Fitzy kisses – I still love singing Silent Night. Every. Night.

I wrote this blog a month ago – so to update – He’s been getting worse the past week – he does have a cold – so it might be that. But it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes to get him to sleep and then he gets up at 130 and then again at 330 and stirs till 430 and then again at 630 and stays up usually. I cry for the 30 to 90 minutes it takes to get him to sleep. I cry when he wakes up at 630 – ready to go. I’ve been going to sleep when he does – leaving almost no time with just Jared – and this will not be an issue again. I have an appointment today for his little feet (he walks on the insides of his little ankles – really bad – maybe he’s in pain. hopefully there is something we can do for him. i have an appointment next week to see if we need to go gluten free – maybe it’s his little tummy. i can’t wait till warmer weather where he can run around and play outside and fall asleep on the floor playing – he has NEVER done that)

A huge surprise happened last night! It took 30 minutes to get him to sleep – usually he just wants to play and talk. He fell asleep at 9 and at 5 am woke up – IN HIS CRIB. He crawled over to me and we got up at 8. SERIOUS ANSWER TO PRAYER. And while my old self would say – it’s just a fluke – my new self is thankful for this! SO THANK YOU!


Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,baby barden,bardenisms,birth,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,my family,my town — Danielle at 12:59 pm on Sunday, January 27, 2013

Recently I had to purge my life of FACEBOOK for a month. There are SO many reasons – FACEBOOK being a giant time waster – ignoring my child – ignoring my house – ignoring Jared – caring too much what people thought (which is something I’ve never dealt with) – and jealousy.

Jealousy was a BIG one. I really really really want to be happy in the house we live in. It’s slowly coming along. But I was getting VERY jealous of our friends that have the houses they loved – finding houses the loved. Cus in my mind the grass is ALWAYS greener – and usually on FACEBOOK you only see the grass is greener parts of life. It was bringing me down – not at the fault of any of our friends – totally mine.

Oh – and babies. While I truly love and feel called to pray for my mommas in wanting and being connected to them through FACEBOOK – I was getting really jealous of friends that were having blessings (and angry with the ones that complained about it) – so I needed to remove myself.

I’ve since rejoined the world of FACEBOOK – but I use the “remove from news feed” button. A lot. I understand that it’s not the BEST way to get over my issues – but it’s a start. A start to focus on the blessings that are in my life. Right. Now.

2012 SUCKED – basically like every other year it seems. But it really sucked. Such is my life – is what I tell Jared. He hates it. But sadly – it’s the truth. People have asked me why I stand by my faith in God when everything just seems to be craptastic. Why do I keep giving when it seems that all I get is more crap.

If this is the fate I have following God and giving – I’d hate to see what lies ahead without.

This year my goal is to count my blessings – not my sorrows – cus there will always be sorrows – but I really want to focus on the blessings. If that means that I have to take a FACEBOOK break – so be it. If that means that I have to write our blessings down – one by one – and put them in a jar – it will happen.


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