3 Tips for Long-distance Friendships

adventure, Christian womanhood, Christian women, Friendship, Technology in Friendship

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One of the oddest parts of moving a lot is keeping friendships from past locations, and I think it’s actually more challenging with the rise of social media. While we can view what our friends post about their lives and see what their kids look like these days, we also see that snarky political post we don’t agree with or want to roll our eyes as they “humble brag” on their angelic and Einstein-smart child. 

This year I’m taking a sabbatical from most social media platforms, and I’ve found I enjoy people more when I don’t always see what they post. My guess is they feel the same way about me! While I’m thankful for these tools to communicate, there is something intrinsically false about it. We’re missing something. It’s never the full picture of anyone’s life—these photos with their captions and emojis. 

This isn’t a rant against social media, just a gentle reminder that true friendships need more to sustain them. Next year I plan to set out once again on the choppy sea that is social media, but I want to be more purposeful with it as a tool, rather than a substance that dictates my emotions and skews my relationships. I found a few helpful articles about reasons to be careful with social media–how it’s built to be addictive and is changing friendships

A few Ideas for Long-distance Friendships

1. Communicate with technology beyond social media—text, video calls, etc. I prefer apps like Marco Polo where you can watch and send videos to one another when it’s a convenient time. It feels more intentional, personal, and always has an added dose of reality, such as messes or wild child noises in the background, facial expressions, etc.

2. Snail mail! Three cheers for a happy little something showing up in your mailbox.  My long-distance besties are better at this than I am, but try postcards, small gifts, or a haphazard “I’m thinking of you. Miss you. Okay, bye” card—there’s just something about touching and opening a physical item that truly connects you with your friend.

3. Try to get together at least every few years  (more often is great, when possible). Plan ahead, budget, and make it happen! Being in the presence of those who know you well is a true gift. And those of us who move a lot (or have friends who move a lot)–we know it, don’t we? 

Life is ever-changing, and it feels hollow at times without your favorite people nearby. There’s no getting around the fact that it’s difficult, but a little intentionality can go a long way. I’m over here raising my proverbial glass–care to join me? How do you stay in touch with your people? I’d love to know. Here’s to friendship from afar!

Flower Power

Christian womanhood, flowers, home, Jesus, lifestyle, Motherhood, thanksgiving, Travel, Travel Home

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“Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty

outvalues all the utilities in the world.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

What compares to a bundle of joyful petals and stems? Hint: pretty much nothing. From everyday moments and celebratory occasions to honoring the deceased, there is hardly a situation not made more pleasant or comforting by seeing and smelling flowers. Historically there were both symbolic and pragmatic reasons for having pretty blossoms at events like weddings and funerals. Some reasons are quite hilarious (think lack of hygiene), and I’m glad the tradition remains.

In the current temperature of our culture, writing about flowers may seem trite, but I believe noticing and appreciating God’s creation is an important part of our lives. It is this purposeful noticing that leads us into an attitude of thankfulness and then joy. Ann Voskamp writes, “God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy” (One Thousand Gifts).

Motherhood is challenging (which is a super nice way of saying it’s like getting caught in a riptide–but then, when you come up sputtering for a breath of air, you witness the most beautiful sunset). There are so many emotions and questions. I often wonder if I’m doing it right, but one thing I’m proud of is teaching my daughter to smell flowers every time she comes across them. Watching her jam her nose into a plant, sniffing, looking–what a comfort to my heart. It’s symbolic of how I hope she views life. Taking in the beauty around her, neither too busy nor detached to lean in and show affection–this is how I hope she will be as a person, woman, and (I pray) a follower of King Jesus.

I believe in the power of fresh flowers, particularly ones that are locally grown. Of course the grocery store variety are a gift as well. Toss that $4.97 bouquet into your cart and then into a mason jar when you get home–brighten your house and your mood! But it’s been a special thing to know our local flower lady (Beth with The Flower Peddler). We met at the local Farmer’s Market, and my favorite Saturdays involved treks home with my plunder of fresh produce, donuts, and flowers from Beth.

Buying local flowers is a way to beautify your home with unique nature elements and support a local small business. Knowing even tidbits about the fauna and flora of your area helps foster an appreciation. Indigenous flowers grow more easily, and you’re adding to the beauty of your community. I’m terrible at remembering their names, but I want to be better–Asters, Sweet Peas, Zenias, Phlox, and the ever mystifying Southern Magnolia are a few local favorites of my area. Soon I hope to plant some flowers with my daughter. May we notice, nurture, and enjoy.

At the risk of over quoting Emerson (but good grief, the man writes of flowers so well) he wrote, “Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.” I want to always see the flowers, even when fear, busyness, or the mundane bits of the day seem to fill my life, may I always see the flowers in it.

 

 

 

5 Ways to Make a Short-term Stay Feel like HOME

adventure, children, Christian, Christian womanhood, Christian women, family, home, lifestyle, Motherhood, serendipity, traditions, Travel, Travel Home

While a lot of the world has been in quarantine, our family has been in the process of moving. We’re dragging a little, but we’re grateful. Our house sold, and we have friends who are willing to take on our loud and needy crew in the midst of a pandemic. As Motel sings in Fiddler on the Roof, “Miracle of miracles!”

Allegedly we’re on our way to live in the gorgeous Cotswolds of England for a few years. It feels a little fake, but I know once my feet hit the airport floor, babies and backpacks abounding, I’ll get that rush of excitement and work to own the whole thing. 

But for now it’s setting boundaries for the toddler plopped into a new, not-ours environment while subsequently saying no to the majority of her favorite things: the playground, playdates, play places. Say goodbye to all the play! Just kidding–now we find fallen branches for her to climb, and we enjoy running through the sprinkler. One of the most surprising challenges of the quarantine has been the heaviness of being unable to give my daughter her favorite things. Clearly this is a very small hardship, but a mama’s heart still feels the sting. A few things in particular have helped us adjust, and I thought I’d share.

Temporary Home(y)

1.Essential oil diffuser/candles—Familiar and inviting smells can help a place feel more like home. An essential oil diffuser is safer than candles when you have tiny ones in someone else’s home, ha! We also use a battery-operated flicker candle for nice ambiance without the aforementioned danger. Right now I’m enjoying uplifting citrus scents like lemon, grapefruit, and sweet orange in a clay diffuser that doesn’t need power.

2.Routine—We do not follow a strict schedule, but we generally have a daily pattern that includes naps and quiet times for the littles (and us, when we don’t need to work!), exercise, outdoor play, listening to familiar music, reading time, etc. This helps with a sense of normalcy for all of us. When there are new rules for children to learn in a new location, it’s nice to have a routine that helps them relax, since they know what is coming throughout the day.

3. Enjoy what is different about the new location—for us: sidewalks. Our last house was on a very busy road, so it’s nice to just walk out the door to sidewalks and take the kids for a stroll, waving at our temporary neighbors and looking for puppies, ducks, and birds. Our daughter’s beloved Daniel Tiger says about trips, “Find what’s different and what’s the same.” Here I am taking advice from a toddler show, but this is my life now, and that is a-okay. 

4. Family traditions—Since the dawn of our little family, that has meant DONUTS, sometimes weekly and sometimes monthly. They might be fancy local donuts from a Charleston shop or 50 cent donuts from Walmart, but we eat these delectable carbohydrates with strong americanos and eNjOy!

5. Chill When You Can–Let me be clear, while I love writing about exciting trips and thoughtful things of life, my adventure-loving self is now a mother of two very dependent tiny people, and I’m daily jonesing for some veg time.

The Big Picture

A short-term stay reminds me, a tired woman feeling a bit displaced, that all of my homes here on this earth are indeed temporary. I’m a sojourner, holding on to the hem of the Prince of Peace, like the woman with the issue of blood. I’m holding on to Him. What a relief to know He’s already holding on to me (John 10:28).

Waiting to Fly

adventure, authenticity, Christian, Christian womanhood, family, marriage, Uncategorized

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It’s the tension between living in monotony and living in adventure that really gets to me. As a mother of two little children, routine is life-giving, as are structure and boundaries. But as a (quieter) member of the adrenaline-junkie club, I long to travel, see, taste, smell, jump and run. I long to relax in the arms of a new place, to sit and know and be known by it–wind in my hair and all that jazz.

Technically we’re en route to England (to live there!)–headed to serene village life, so I’m told. My husband, a federal firefighter, accepted a job several months ago. It was an absolute dream come true! However, due to COVID-19, we’re currently living with a (very gracious) couple from our church here in South Carolina. Our sweet home sold a few weeks ago, and we’re essentially “stuck” here until further notice.  The adjustment period has been rough on my toddler and on my pride and emotions as a mama who is mothering in front of others nearly 24/7.

We were supposed to be leaving for England in a few days, but now even a potential leave date is foggy and seems fake. Some days it feels like we’re hopelessly waiting for our adventure to begin, but deep down I know the adventure begins right now, and it’s my perspective and attitude that will make all the difference. Andy Rooney said, “Everyone wants to live on the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” If that ain’t the truth.

And so I climb this mountain–the mountain of messes, laundry, and tantrums–in someone else’s beautiful home. I climb the mountain of low days and not liking how my body looks and figuring out how to stay close to my husband when all it feels like I do is ask him to please toss me the baby wipes.

Many, if not most, of us are concerned and dealing with disappointments right now. It’s been so much to process.  I’m learning to hold it all with care, with contentment, loosely. Saying goodbye to our beloved little home and moving in with friends during a pandemic was both more and less than what I wanted (which was to hop on a plane to the UK looking cool as is earthly possible with a toddler and baby in tow). But I am here–in lovely and wonky South Carolina. It sort of feels like we’re just awaiting our fate, but what it really is looks more like me leaning into my faith and learning to trust God more.

I won’t be hopping on that plane today, but today still matters, today can still be an adventure, and wherever I go His Spirit is with me. As the psalmist says,

If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.

Psalm 139:9-10

Our Rota de Las Flores Adventure

adventure, Beautiful, El Salvador, Travel

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I’m a big fan of understated beauty. Sure, loud and glossy can be fun, but quiet and natural beauty holds the most magic for me, especially when it has a few pops of colorful surprise. The Rota de Las Flores was the perfect adventure full of such magic. Our guide, a local college student referred to us by our Airbnb host, met my husband and me early in the morning at Casa Bonita in El Tunco where we’d spent the night. She hopped in our car, and we began the long drive toward the Rota de Las Flores. We packed lots of water and snacks, because that’s how we roll, and a road trip it was!

Our first stop was Nahuizalco, where flowers and colorful murals greeted us. Locals were setting up their market stands for the day amidst a background of bright walls and the still rising glow of the sun. Each pueblo along the Rota de Las Flores has a cute little town square park, and Nahuizalco was no exception with its large, open, and clean outdoor venue. Furnished with fountains and benches, locals sat and sold items or just conversed. We could smell the puposas cooking, and I couldn’t wait to try one!

To begin the tour, our guide directed us to a small museum where we learned about the history of the Spanish colonizing El Salvador through violence. Formerly living on the island of Guam where the stories were all too similar, learning such history was sad, and yet it encouraged to us appreciate the beautiful and strong people of El Salvador. After that we shopped the tourist shops, where we bought a few adorable dresses for our daughter and finally tried puposas from an outdoor stand. They were amazing, melt-in-your-mouth amazing. Our guide treated us to a favorite local drink, horchata, which has ground peanuts in it and offers a unique flavor and texture.

It was a bit cloudy that day, and the lighting cast a dramatic hue against the curving roads as we made it toward our next stop, Juayúa (our guide told us to drive through Salcoatitán). This town was full of fun backdrops for photos, so we took some! Admiring the church there, we asked permission and quietly took a few pictures inside and outside of the building. Moseying on over to a fruit stand, we tried a local fruit called jocotes, which sort of taste like mangos and are best when they’re closer to being red, rather than green.

In Apaneca we admired another beautiful Catholic church (there is one in every pueblo), and the cooler weather at the higher altitude was so pleasant. We particularly enjoyed the floral vines hanging over the walls in this quiet pueblo. You can see the coffee plantations in the distance, and they’re beautiful.

In Coceptión de Ataco we walked slowly and enjoyed the many mosaics on the streets. We also shopped at a well-known shop, Axul. I loved this place! It’s full of local arts and crafts, everything from jewelry to clothing, wall art, pottery, and skincare. You can even see the loom where they make the brightly colored fabric. We purchased several gifts for family members.

For lunch we went to El Jardin de Celeste, a childhood favorite of our guide. It was a beautiful open-air restaurant in the midst of gardens. There were so many thoughtful and fun details. The food was delicious, and the servers were very kind. We enjoyed walking in the flower gardens after we ate.

The highly-anticipated coffee “plantation” was actually a coffee bean processing plant, but we got to see the procedure for drying and roasting different types of beans. It’s a long process! We learned about the machinery (which, amazingly, was installed in the 1930s) as well as the quality control, which is eventually done by hand. They made us a pour-over with the coffee from the area.

The day ended with wild traffic on our trek back to our new hotel. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time due to evening traffic, especially if you’re staying in San Salvador like we were. It was crazy!

While the coffee processing plant was very interesting, the best local coffee we had in El Salvador was at the Cinco Hotel restaurant in San Salvador, where we collapsed after our adventure. If you visit, be sure to taste their chocolate as well. It’s natural and so unique. Try the kind they keep in the refrigerator, our favorite by far. Hey, there’s nothing like a little treat after an adventure, right? The Rota de Las Flores was a great excursion, allowing us to experience a slower pace, natural beauty, and some fun surprises in El Salvador.

*We opted out of journeying to see the Mayan ruins and waterfalls, but if you have more time than we did, check them out for us!

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Visiting Our Sponsor Child in El Salvador

adventure, Beautiful, Christian, Christian womanhood, El Salvador, marriage, Travel

 

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For seven years we’ve sponsored a (now) young woman named Briseida in El Salvador through Compassion International. If you’re not familiar with Compassion, it’s an organization that partners with local churches and families in communities all over the world, fighting poverty and equipping children with an education, skills, and savings accounts (to name a few things!), as well as giving them access to doctors and dentists. Most importantly, the mission is to offer the hope of a brighter future in the name of Jesus.

All these years Briseida has been writing us long letters and sending us drawings. A few years ago she asked us to come visit. I was pregnant at the time and the Zika virus was a threat, so we couldn’t go, but a few weeks ago, we did it! We went to see “our” sweet girl. Mountains of paperwork, along with much thought and financial resources went into this trip–from setting up our will to travel release forms for my parents to the U.S. Embassy website advising us to change our plans due to the general violence in the country. Yikes! We belabored, asked advice, prayed, and went.

Leaving Talitha was so hard, but the time Eric and I spent together (even the stressful and chaotic) was so beautiful and growth-filled for our marriage. I’ll save the touristy days for another post, but I’m so excited to share about our final day in the country, the day we met Brieseida, her mom, her brother, and all the lovely people at her “project” (the Compassion center).

For those wondering, the project is not an orphanage, it’s a huge facility where children come to learn the Bible, music, English, and various other skills like using the computer, cosmetology, chocolate-making, shoe-making, etc. From what I understood, there is a public education system in El Salvador, but it’s half-day, and the project allows the children to receive extra coaching, teaching, and preparation to succeed (along with medical aid).

We both had butterflies as we rode the bumpy and wild ride to get to the project. Such anticipation! Upon our arrival, we were met with children holding signs and waving flags, a few little girls dressed in traditional dresses. They cheered and I tried to take in this moment while somehow not wanting so much focus on us. Simultaneously looking for Briseida and trying to enjoy each of the children was a sweet little challenge. The host told us to follow her up a flight of stairs. Then we heard someone call out and turned around to see Briseida standing in front of us.

There she was, a good four inches taller than me, long dark hair and a bit shy. She grabbed my hand as I said, “Mucho gusto” and she repeated the sentiment then began whispering to me in Spanish. In that moment I so regretted how years ago I’d stopped practicing. I had to tell her (irony of ironies) in Spanish that I didn’t speak much Spanish. After a little welcome program and tour of her amazing project (which also employs Briseida’s mom!), we went to her home.

Walking into her home, we saw our framed picture, and my hands flew to my mouth. What a precious sight to see–so humbling and sweet. Sitting with the translator we talked and shared beautiful moments that will stay deep in my heart for as long as I live.

We later went out for pizza and Facetimed with Talitha (Briseida was sad she wasn’t there, since she considers Talitha her little sister). After lunch Briseida’s tutor showed us her file–so impressive the amount of detailed records they keep. Our girl is a star performer! After lunch it was back to the project for prayer and final hugs. Also tears–so many tears.

I think Eric would agree that besides days like our wedding day or Talitha’s birth, this day was one of the best days ever. Praise God for this good gift. We are just one small part of Briseida’s success. So many love her and we are humbled to parter alongside them. If you’re interested in sponsoring a child yourself, go here. Do you already sponsor one or a few? Be sure to write them! According to the tutors, it means a lot. Enjoy a few snapshots from this special day.

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Writing & Being My Worst Enemy

Christian womanhood, Dreams, Hope, writing

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Write? Wrong. Nope, I want to sit on this very couch and watch an episode of The Middle I’ve seen seventeen times and eat an ice cream bar. In peace. By myself. And yet, here I am writing. Why? I’ve been told that the discipline of writing is key; you can’t be a writer unless you write, and you must give time and tears to such a dream. Obviously, but I’m still growling about it.

I have these moments when I become a snarky, cynical Hulk. Like Bruce Banner, I’m going about my day just minding my own business, feeling mostly happy (and always analytical), when suddenly I think about my writing future: There is no point. Everything has been written; only my friends read this. WHY AM I DOING THIS?! I turn a garish hue and grow some ginormous metaphorical muscles, and the monster emerges. Forget being an Eeyore. I’m not just sad that this field is saturated; I’m MAD. And I’m quick to tear down any progress I’ve made as not enough, as terrible, as meaningless.

If you’re someone who overthinks things like I do, you should know that in certain scenarios, particularly ones involving safety, you can be helpful and use your preventative measures for good. In other scenarios, however, you can be an absolute dream crusher (and not the positive version of “crushin’ it” used by the cool kids).

You become your own worst enemy, and just like the Hulk, you don’t even know it. You rip up your work and then you wonder what the heck happened and why you’re not progressing. This is not hopeful, and it is certainly not helpful. Much of our practice may be thrown away eventually, but we should not disrespect the process of working at it again and again and again.

What’s helped me is to focus on what I can do today, ideal or not. Whether it’s thirty minutes of writing, ten minutes of brainstorming, or a bit of online networking, I focus on what I can accomplish before bedtime. While it is wise to “Begin with the end in mind” (Stephen Covey), it’s also important to do something, even if it’s small, and then continue to organize, plan, and dream along the way. 

We may not be able to fully envision the end result of our dream, let alone how to get there. But if we give our craft a bit of daily love, we’re sure to be a step closer. What’s one thing you can do today? Blessings, friends!

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann

Motherhood and Too Many Photos

Uncategorized

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, are thousands of pictures really worth millions of words? It depends on the photo, right? While my flaws are many, one that greatly annoys me is my inability to organize and reduce the amount of my digital photos. I mean, it’s bad. I’ve prided my sentimental self on being a minimalist convert these last ten years or so, but photos (and cards, letters, etc.) are another story. Since Talitha came, it’s been infinitely worse. If I’m about to delete a random iPhone photo I think, “Oh, no! What if we don’t have another photo of her with that exact same expression. I’d better keep it. Oh, and that one, too. It’s the same expression, but her hair is blowing differently in this one.” Seriously.

A few days ago I was thinking about this conundrum–how I should dedicate a whole day when Eric is off and organize (read: delete a ton) of photos. I started thinking about why I feel this need to save all the photos of my baby, and I realized that I just don’t want to miss or lose a thing; I don’t want to let any of it go. I want to be a witness of her life, a cheerleader of all her beautiful moments, and a comfort in all her difficult ones. That’s natural, right?

But as a Christ-follower mama, I know that my greatest calling as Talitha’s mother is not saving all her snapshots and mementos, but pointing her to the One who can save her soul. My wandering heart must not fixate primarily on her, but on Jesus. He calls me to love Him MOST, whose love is more than I can understand. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe God loves my baby more than I do. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but it’s true.

In that struggle of unbelief, I pray against double-mindedness and reach toward God. I am Mary Magdalene in the dust, completely unworthy, in need, fearful and waiting for stones, wondering what I missed and why I can’t get it together. There’s a lot of fear in motherhood, wouldn’t you agree? Vaccines, life-threatening allergies, diseases, pedophiles, and regular ol’ accidents are just a few of the fears that keep me mindful of my dependence on Christ. The fragility of life and the beauty of life—and there we go. The reason I fear throwing out any of T’s photos is the beauty and fragility of life. And I love her so.

Craving the simplicity of having less, I work to manage this massive amount of photos. While I may never find “balance,” I’ll work to enjoy more moments with my daughter rather than just capture them. I’ll work to live this life, remembering the past, but not being overcome by preserving it. Documentation is important, but being selective will add both meaning and sanity.

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann

Social Media and the Quest for Everything

Uncategorized

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Like a nightmarish flight of stairs, this glittery escalator entraps me. And it’s going the opposite direction. The more I climb the higher the goal, and what is the goal? I’m asking you. I really don’t know; it’s super blurry at best.

I dream of being a writer, one well-paid and recognized by many. I want to be an influencer, but I entered the Instagram game late, and we just got Wifi. It’s like a complicated version of that hungry hippos game; I grab at those marbles in front of me, but I can’t reach. Just keep biting, and maybe, just maybe I’ll get myself a little ball of success.

So many choices that might mean something. For example, what font to choose on Insta stories? How do I get that cool background? Which camera and editing tool to use (also how to sequester the time to learn how)? The details in my posts need to show that I am whimsical, edgy, artsy, a lover of old-fashioned things, and a good Christian girl. Not too good, though, because that is boring, right? See, these little boxes and photos show who I am. They create who I am. Wait, is that right?

Do I really believe my soul’s worth is found in how many followers I have, how successful I become, or how charming I seem to others? My pragmatist voice says no, but my worries say otherwise. Funny, I thought these were high school fears. Turns out they’re adult fears, too, only illuminated by the ever-pressing social media land.

Glamorous people all around–maybe you’re one of them! I’d like to learn from your success while remembering this verse God has used in my life:

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. James 1:9-11 (ESV)

Flower fades, falls–beautiful, but fleeting. We know this, but do we know it? Do we feel it as we stare into our phones and look at others soaring while being both gorgeous and self-deprecating? Our belief says yes, but our practice sometimes says no.

Perfect love casts out fear.

Seems like so many of us are trying to be mini celebrities. It’s the child’s game of playing in front of a mirror, except now we’re more self-conscious, and it’s not only our parents and babysitters who are watching. In essence, we are branding ourselves. On a business level, that’s a smart move, but we must be watchful of our hearts and minds. This image we create and carefully curate is never the complete story. And now I’m fretting about how pithy I sound, how cute my daughter’s outfit is, and how to hide the fact that I certainly do not have a thigh gap.

But Christ: A few weeks ago, His Holy Spirit came to me on a porch in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, with a light breeze on a dead end street, and a touch of the most reassuring love. Because in the end, that’s what I crave–to be loved. My flesh seeks accolades, affirmation, likes, money, success, but my soul wants love.

Social media is an amazing tool–whether you’re keeping in touch with your friends, growing a business, or something else. But do not for one second forget that every person online matters just as much as another, no matter their finesse or following. God gave us the dignity of being made in His image, and the most glorious and rewarding thing in the world is to be a follower of Him. As His follower, I’m free to pursue these dreams while daily placing them in His hands and asking for the Holy Spirit to lead. And that, my friends, is where I want to be for the rest of my days, well known or not.

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann

Talitha’s 1st Birthday Party

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As Murphy’s Law would have it, our normally happy (albeit passionate/prone to short fits) baby girl had her worst spell of teething the night before her party. We all faced the day very tired and yet so thankful for our friends and family who could join us to celebrate the sweet life of our Talitha Rose, whom we affectionally call “Talisaur” and “T-Rose.” What a gift!

I had such fun scouting ideas on Pinterest and working with grocery store flowers. The concept was “feminine and floral dinosaur” and I think it was smashing. We kept the food simple (donuts, fruit, and Starbucks iced coffee from Walmart), and I bought her smash cake from a health food store. Also, I dropped her cake and therefore I actually “smashed” it first. Lovely. Note to self: the cardboard under the cake is very slippery on a cake stand (insert pangs of disappointment). Even now, I can envision that darling cake crumpled on the grass.

However, since I’ve been able to balance my body with the help of Plexus supplements, I’ve noticed that I can handle situations that would have pushed me to frazzled tears a few months back. And having a friend with a culinary degree on hand certainly didn’t hurt. I actually liked the “rustic” look better! Thank you so much, Linneah!

We thank God for our daughter, and we pray that she would come to know him and love him very soon. Hope you enjoy a few photos of our day, and apologies to my mom and dad (and other guests) that we forgot to get photos with them! It was a lovely day.

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Eric made this wooden tray, and I just love it.

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Cheap dino toys+gold spray paint

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Pre-caketastrophy (see what I did there?) 😉 My dad would be proud.

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Lack of sleep+teething+people singing to you=her face

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Linneah to the rescue!

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Our precious gift from God.

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Facetime with the paternal grandparents

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Oh, my heart. May she walk with God and face this ever-alarming world with the courage, grace, and compassion he gives.

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann

Photos: My wonderful mom (not pictured, boo). If you’re in Indiana, check her out! Her work is lovely.