polka dot maxi & learning to lay it down

 

abide | meg marie | a word for the year 2017

We are still in the throws of house hunting and now that spring is here it’s becoming more and more of a sellers market. Houses move fast and the prices are still so incredibly discouraging which has made us rethink a lot lately about what we are realistically able to look for.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

The dream/hope of finding the perfect house is diminishing fast. Don’t get me wrong, I never intended to find ‘perfect’ as in there’s nothing wrong and everything is spectacular, but I did mean perfect in the sense that we would walk into a place and right away feel like we belonged there.

It’s just not happening.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

I know we could keep holding out, we could continue to be patient. But at this point I really believe that isn’t what is best, for my heart or our little church.

Last Tuesday we put an offer on a house we weren’t crazy about. Only to have found out four other people also did the same thing that day. Our offer was countered last night but for a price that is far more than what we are willing to pay.

We have no desire to be “house poor” by dumping every extra penny we have into a house. So when the paperwork came back we knew right away that door was closing.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

I wasn’t too sad because another home popped up in our email that was listed just yesterday morning. We loaded the kids up once again to go see and when I walked in I thought it was that perfect I’d been hunting for in so many ways.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

I could tell my heart was pulling me.

I want that kind of home.

I wanted so badly for that one to be “the one”.

Within seconds of stepping through the front door I began to imagine life there and where I’d put each piece of furniture. The kids started playing hide and seek (don’t worry, it was empty) and I imagined playing hundreds more games in that sweet space.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

But it too was priced over the budget we feel comfortable spending.

The answer is no.

We are back to square one.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

As we drove home I felt angry.

And hopeless.

I feel like this process is one of truly laying down every desire we have in what we’d ask for or dream of in a home. It’s tempting to just shut off my heart and simply go with the facts and pick something just because of what is practical.

I am having trouble believing that there is something out there for us that we could truly love.

But if I’m honest what’s even harder is that nights like that night I wonder if He even still remembers us.

black and white polka dot maxi

I write often about making a home wherever we are no matter how small, how old or how run down a place is, about finding my hope not in the material things that life can offer, and how the dream of planting this church supersedes my desire to find a home I love…not because I’ve arrived in some way.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

I write because I know my heart is weak. It can often deceive me.

I long for a home. A place to call ours. I’ve hoped for that for as long as I could remember.

Since I was a little girl.

I want to settle in somewhere and know I get to stay.

But I need to continually remember throughout this process my deepest convictions and where my heart truly rests.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

My desires cannot be found in any home, however lovely or however perfect. My desire is to move into this city and exhaust my life for the sake of whoever comes across my path.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

What that means practically is we now want to just focus on living in the same city we are planting this church in. We need to do whatever is necessary to develop relationships in and among the community where we live. Our current situation of “commuting in” isn’t working for anybody.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

I want to be hospitable not because I have a house I’m proud of but because I am far more concerned about people and souls, than stuff.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

I want to live in and among the broken and intentionally seek out the lost…developing relationships and friendships that are life giving…rather than worrying about what color my carpet is.

I desire my life to be light and a blessing wherever the Lord places us no matter old the kitchen feels is or how ugly the paint is.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

This is a journey for sure and last night served as another huge fork in the road for me: will I grow distant and hard hearted believing the lie that He isn’t concerned for us?

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

Or will I remain steadfast, looking to Him alone to satisfy?

 

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

Through tears and with a heavy soberness I say: my hope and my home is found in Christ alone and today I choose to rest, trust and draw near.

black and white polka dot maxi; spring; love this; maxi dress

Thankfully, His steadfast love never ends and His mercies are new every morning.

 

My soul continually remembers and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,“therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3: 20-24

DRESS: Express || SANDALS: (similar below)  || HAT: Target


Niagara, Canada

My oldest son, Kai and I got to go on a mommy son trip this past weekend to Niagara Falls. My sister and her husband, my mom and my aunt all met us there. We had the absolute best time together exploring the falls and doing every sort of tourist activity we possibly could! Besides me completely and entirely forgetting my passport (yikes, right?!?!) and a little bit of rain, the trip was perfect. I was able to get across the border without difficulty…probably in part because of our pathetic puppydog faces and the maybe because of the other forms of identification I had on me…but regardless of how I got into Canada, we were so thankful I didn’t have to miss out!!!

I thought I’d put together a round up of our favorite things that we did and give ideas for anyone else who may want to visit. I was suprirsingly shocked at how much there was to do for kids, how many places were amazing for photographs and how everything was within walking distance.

Niagara, Canada To-do’s

  1. Journey Behind the Falls– At dinner together the last night we were there we went to a crazy nice restaurant. As we ate we went around the table asking one another what our favorite activity was and this was my number 1. If you visit Niagara this is a MUST SEE. To walk underneath that waterfall, to see the history, and to feel the rumble of the water pouring over the cliff as amazing. There are photos on the walls of the tunnels showing when/how they were first built, and as a history nerd I loved getting to read through each of them. You can get extremely close to the edge of the falls and I loved seeing it so close. And the photo ops are unreal.

Journey Behind the Falls- niagara falls instgram worthy attractions

niagara falls; tourist guide

niagara falls; tourist guide

niagara falls; tourist guide

Journey Behind the Falls- niagara falls instgram worthy attractions

 

2. View From the Zip Line At first I thought the zip line was going to take us across the falls…which kinda gave me a pit in my stomach to think of sending my 8 year old on a wire over that much water…but thankfully it was over to the side of the falls (whew, panic attack over). This was a super fun ride because it was such an incredibly beautiful view and a ton of fun with our little group. #makingmemoriestogetherniagara falls | tourist guide | most instagrammable locations

niagara falls | tourist guide | most instagrammable locations

 

niagara falls | tourist guide | most instagrammable locations

niagara falls | tourist guide | most instagrammable locationsniagara falls | tourist guide | most instagrammable locations

 

niagara falls | tourist guide | most instagrammable locations

3. The Maid of the Mist Boat This boat ride takes you riiiight up to the falls. And the name of the boat is extremely fitting—it’s so “misty” when you get that close that you have to wear a poncho (which is provided) and you’d better take every precaution to protect your camera (I didn’t and totally regretted it!) Don’t bother fixing your hair for this one…and mascara really may not be worth it either! But its a great way to get as close as you possibly can to the water!!! And it’s definitely worth it!  (sorry! pics are blurry because my camera lens got wet!!)

maid of the mist boat ride | niagara falls | most instagrammable locations

maid of the mist boat ride | niagara falls | most instagrammable locations

maid of the mist boat ride | niagara falls | most instagrammable locations

4. Table Rock Visitor Center This visitor center is located right at the edge of the Horseshoe Falls. It’s a stunning view from there being so close to the edge…and there’s a gift shop with a ginormous moose! How fun is that?! (you’d better tag me if you take a pic by that moose!!!!)table rock center | horseshoe falls | niagara tourist guide | top instagram worthy locations

table rock center | horseshoe falls | niagara tourist guide | top instagram worthy locations

table rock center | horseshoe falls | niagara tourist guide | top instagram worthy locations

table rock center | horseshoe falls | niagara tourist guide | top instagram worthy locations

table rock center | horseshoe falls | niagara tourist guide | top instagram worthy locations

4. The 5. 5. 5.Skylon Tower Revolving Restaurant– This is the place we had dinner the first night we were there. The view was breathtaking from that high up and to get to revolve around to see the entire area was a night we’ll never forget. Kai loved getting to watch the floor move. Just be careful if you leave to use the restroom! Make sure you know which section your table is in because it’ll have moved by the time you return! (just sayin’ from experience ya know)

The elevator ride takes you up and there is a coffee shop and some gift shops at the base. The food was great and there is a free dessert if it’s your birthday! The falls are lit up at night and it’s just stunning. It was hard to peel ourselves away from the view.Skylon Revolving Restaurant | niagara tourist guide | top instagram worthy locations

Skylon Revolving Restaurant | niagara tourist guide | top instagram worthy locations

Skylon Revolving Restaurant | niagara tourist guide | top instagram worthy locations

Skylon Revolving Restaurant | niagara tourist guide | top instagram worthy locations

Skylon Revolving Restaurant | niagara tourist guide | top instagram worthy locations

6. Queen Victoria Park (by the Sheraton Hotel, Canada)-This park is stunning and it is referred to as the “heart” of Niagara Parks. It’s absolultely stunning. From the Welcome Center continue walking down the sidewalk and you’ll eventually walk right by it. The flowers, the view, the trees, the walkways, the little ponds, the architecture, the gates…you just cannot get a bad picture here…Park by Sheraton Hotel | niagara tourist guide | top instagram worthy locations

fancy at the falls

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls

6. American Falls-If you go to Niagara I would highly recommend seeing them from the Canadian side, however, the American side has some great views as well. The pathways and trees are beautiful. And there are some amazing spots for photos from the visitor center. You can get extremely close to the rushing water too.

american falls | niagara falls | things to do in niagara | best instagram worthy locations

american falls | niagara falls | things to do in niagara | best instagram worthy locations

american falls | niagara falls | things to do in niagara | best instagram worthy locations

american falls | niagara falls | things to do in niagara | best instagram worthy locations

american falls | niagara falls | things to do in niagara | best instagram worthy locations

Great Spots for Kids:

1. Dinosaur Mini Golf– This place looks super fun for kids. It was too cold for us to want to stay out in to play but this would be such a fun place in warmer weather. There is a gift shop just across the street from the mini golf course that we went into about 4 times to pick out presents for people at home…and maybe a few souvenirs for Kai too! 🙂 That little stuffed pterodactyl he has there is one of the things he picked. His name is Henry. 🙂

niagara falls; things to do with kids in niagara falls

 

niagara falls; things to do with kids in niagara falls

niagara falls; things to do with kids in niagara falls

niagara falls; things to do with kids in niagara falls

niagara falls; things to do with kids in niagara falls

2. Rainforest Cafe- This was the place Kai picked for his birthday dinner. Of course there are probably a thousand local places we would have loved to have tried before Rainforest but we couldn’t say no to that sweet face! And it was packed, which means it is definitely a hot spot for a lot of families that travel there as well.

niagara falls; things to do with kids in niagara falls

3. Ripley’s Museum-The day we visited here was our last day and it was raining. A huge storm had rolled in and we had a number of hours to kill before catching our plane. And this was the MOST fun we could have possibly had for that time!

ripley's believe it or not | canada | activities for kids in niagara

ripley's believe it or not | canada | activities for kids in niagara

4. Hershey Chocolate World-Apparently if it’s your birthday the workers bring you back behind the counter to let you pose for a few pics with the candy bar the size of a car! 🙂 This place was so fun to get to walk around and see all of the different candy. We ended up with a large Hershey Bar, 2 cookies, and some fudge…(clearly this was a total cheat week for me!!!)

niagara falls; things to do with kids in niagara falls

niagara falls; things to do with kids in niagara falls

niagara falls; things to do with kids in niagara falls

niagara falls; things to do with kids in niagara falls

niagara falls; things to do with kids in niagara falls

 

MORE GREAT ATTRACTIONS:  

Great Canadian Midway

Niagara IMAX Theater

Bird Kingdom

Indoor Waterpark

Tim Hortons

(The Nutella filled donuts are so good! And if you want

to order “donut holes” make sure you ask for “Timbits” 🙂

RECOMMENDED HOTELS: 

Embassy Suites: This hotel is right by the falls and the views from it are just the best. The con is that its a bit further from the rest of the main thoroughfare and restaurants so if you’re walking it might be something to consider.

Sheraton On The Falls: This is where we stayed and the views were incredible from here too. Slightly further away but a great view of both falls. Be sure to request a room with a view of the falls and make sure to go visit the spa!  The view from up there is just the best!

sheraton on the falls | canada | niagara falls

sheraton on the falls | canada | niagara falls

 

Park by Sheraton Hotel | niagara tourist guide | top instagram worthy locations | niagara falls | canada | new york | top instagram worthy locations

 

abide

I’ve never really gotten into the whole New Year’s “word of the year” movement. You know what I mean, right? It’s when people pick a word to focus on to define the rest of the year?! I’ve never done that before. Or had any interest in it.

I guess maybe I sorta felt like picking a word for the year was too narrow minded…like there should be more words than just one? Or maybe everything around the new year is always just so busy and I didn’t care to stop long enough to really pray and think through what my goal word for the year should be?! I don’t know…I’m not really sure why I disliked it actually…I just never did it before.

But this year was different. I had read a blog post by another girl I adore where she had explained her word and the reason behind it…and then did a recap for all of the words from years past and the fruit that come from staying focused on one word/theme. And if I’m honest this was the first time I felt a bit sad that I hadn’t ever done that. I stopped reading, closed my computer and right then and there began to pray. I asked God to give me a word.

I asked Him to give me one word that would not just be a goal, but something that I could keep close and “hold” as the days and months went on. Right away a word came to mind, but I thought that it couldn’t have been that easy so maybe I should just wait and think through it some more before really saying that was the one. I didn’t tell anyone about it and sort of just tried to move on with life. Well, now it’s May and I have seen over and over and over again this particular word continue to come up.

The word is…abide.

Webster defines the word “abide” in this way:

  1. to bear patiently, to endure without yielding
  2. to wait for
  3. to accept without objection
  4. to remain stable or fixed in a state
  5. to continue in a place

I originally thought abide was a gentle reminder to stay close to the Lord and not get overly distracted with things like blogging, homeschooling, fitness, the kids, or just life in general. I imagined “abide” being similar to a word picture of a baby bird tucked safely right by its mama watching a huge storm all around. But wow, when I actually looked up in Webster’s Dictionary the definition itself makes it that much more clear just how fitting (and practical) it is.

I know that in this season of church planting I have to confess that in many ways I have had one foot in and one foot out the door. I truly do want to be here, in this place, and with these people, but the reality is that we are living in one of the most expensive places in the US with a family of seven and aren’t sure how to make that work day in and day out. I mean, can we really raise 5 kids in Orange County??? The cost of living here is beyond ridiculous.

I went to Texas a few weeks ago and my friend drove me around to look at the massive properties. She showed me amazing houses with land and neighbors more than half a mile away! There were fences and cows and…well…space!  And for the same amount of money here you can get a tiny fixer upper with neighbors close enough you could hand them a cup of coffee through the window. It’ll take all our money to get IN to a house like that and then the reality is we’d be super limited in how much we have left to fix it up! It’s just absolutely mind blowing how costly it is here.

And the church itself…has had a ton of ups and downs. I’ve heard people say that planting a church is crazy difficult when you’re starting from scratch, but I really didn’t get it until now. It most certainly is. I’m not sure if other pastor wives sometimes question whether or not their husbands are truly in the right place, but I sure have at times throughout the past year.

We have seen the Lord provide in crazy amazing ways and direct us so clearly to this point, yet in the back of my mind I have doubted that He would continue to do so. I haven’t trusted He would follow through. I have become distracted in many ways with thoughts of living somewhere less expensive or moving somewhere that would be “easier” to raise kids. Deep down I long for a slower place without so many people.

But this ‘half-in’ mentality is so. insanely. destructive.

I now believe it’s wrong for me to think that way and it needs to stop. It short changes the work we need to be focusing on, it doesn’t serve the people in our care, and ultimately it just shows that I am taking my eyes off of Jesus. Waffling back and forth kills the joy in being here, as I am often imagining how “easy” life could be somewhere else. I’m pretty sure that others around me have been impacted by my non-committal attitude and have possibly questioned whether or not they want to be here too. And if that is the case, then to you all I would say…gosh…guys, I’m so super sorry.

This word ‘abide’ makes perfect sense to me right now:

  • To abide means to be in the Word, not letting the pace of the day take away from the relationship with the Lord.
  • Abide means to hold fast and to draw near to Him, knowing that He is the one to make a church, or anything else for that matter, grow.
  • It means to take my worries and concerns and even my doubts to Him because He is a good Father that cares.
  • Abide means I need to endure without yielding right where He has us, trusting Him and pursuing Him first.
  • Abide means I am to wait on Him to continue to provide and I need to have hope and faith (even if it is just the size of a mustard seed) that He will.
  • Abide means I need a steadfast resolve to accept where He has us without reservation, without doubt, and without wavering, until He makes it clear otherwise.

This word carries over into other areas of life…in motherhood, with homeschooling, the dreams I have and the plans I want to see happen, and with this blog even. Sometimes it is easy to get distracted with everything I feel needs to be done, but what good is that if I am not abiding in Jesus?!

The word is clear about this and the word abide shows up more times than I can even recount at the moment. Obviously the most popular is John 15:5…I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Gosh that word is strong: Nothing. Apart from Him I can do nothing.

Oh Lord, teach me this year what it means to truly abide…

 

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  John 15:7 

 

 

bubba turns nine

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy

kai turns nine | meg marie wallace blog | birthday boy


My first born son. My sweet Kai. My Bubba.

I honestly can’t remember how we started calling him Bubba but it’s clearly stuck. 🙂

Kai turned nine today and I can hardly believe it. This boy is turning into quite the little gentleman. He is a helper to me, considerate of others and incredibly fast on the soccer field. This boy was our second miracle baby. The son we were most assuredly told we would never have. The child we were told over and over again we would miscarry. and the child that ended up being born in the most fantastic way, and despite the doctor’s warnings, perfectly healthy might I add.

Today we got to celebrate him. Well, of course, if you’re following along at all you’ll know that we’ve actually been celebrating him all week long. Our mommy/son trip to Canada was a combo to celebrate his birthday and my sisters birthday so he’s been getting free desserts at every restaurant for over a week now! 🙂

One thing I’ve learned from being a momma to Kai is that the little things matter. Every hug, every word of encouragement, every cheer, every special glance, every time I hold his hand in our secret way, every effort to truly “see” him and make sure he knows he is loved….every bit of it goes so far. I can tell from the look on his face that it matters to him. I may get busy and my attention can often be a thousand places at once, but I know that when I slow down to be intentional and give him the one on one interaction he loves, he soaks up every bit of it. Kai makes me want to be a better mom every single day.

I love you Bubba, Happy Birthday.

 

to the mamas: you're doing a great job

To the mamas:

Mother’s Day. It’s just around the corner. Mother’s Day is a good day. A day of honor for women everywhere who are in the trenches of raising little humans.

For me, in recent years Mother’s Day has become a day of pretty dresses, smiles, homemade kid gifts, and take out so I don’t have to cook. But it wasn’t always this way.

It used to be a day of pain…because there wasn’t someone to hold and I wasn’t yet a mother. I remember vividly standing in church, surrounded by women with new infants in every seat near me, weeping bitter tears as I longed for children I was told I’d never have. This day can be such a painful one for women struggling with infertility. But it can also be tough on those of us that do have kids too…

Mother’s Day can come with so many emotions. It’s a time when we are told we are “the best mom in the whole wide world,” yet our hearts can scream at us and tell us otherwise. I know for me personally so many of the days during the rest of the year I feel like I’m just not quite “there” yet. Life can get busy and things can slip through the cracks. I can so easily get off track or lose sight of what is most important. I can often get to the end of our days having worked hard for all of my waking hours, get into bed and only think of what didn’t get done. I can sometimes question whether or not I am doing the right thing or are focusing on the best things…and the doubt that can creep in can sometimes make me wonder if I’m doing a good job at this…and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one…

So, I wanted to take some time today to encourage. To write to my mom friends who have shared some of there most intimate thoughts and struggles on motherhood with me. Sometimes it’s difficult to gain the courage to say something that you know is uplifting or encouraging to another because somehow we find it a little embarrassing or a little “out there.” We can fear what people will think of us…that we’re weird or something for getting a bit sappy. But I don’t want to let those thoughts get in the way. In reality, words that are encouraging will only bring life to both yourself and the person you’re speaking to.

Sometimes I kinda think people just already know how or what I think of them. Yet I am learning more and more that they don’t. It’s so important to actually voice what it is we are thinking because words have power. They have the power to completely destroy or to entirely build up. I don’t want to let those moments pass and let an opportunity go by where I think something positive about someone and don’t say anything.

In this post I am writing about specific moms that I personally know. Real moms. Real friends. Real people. Moms who aren’t perfect, and have never claimed to be, but who give it their all each and every day. I know they can, at times, feel beat up and wonder like me if they’re doing a good job. I think that the mind games is one of the most challenging parts of mom life.

_

To my friend down the street who has recently gone through a divorce, feels the pain every moment of every day and often cries herself to sleep at night…yet somehow manages to hold it together, having had to find a job, yet still finds every way to give her kids the best opportunities possible. I see you trying so stinkin’ hard to do well in all areas of life…and I want you to know that I truly believe…

You are doing a great job.

To my friend whose husband has been in school for the past 4 years and has worked ever so diligently to play both parent roles while supporting him and raising your kids in a city where you know no one…and still finds a way to put a smile on everyone’s face around her, using every breath to speak life and joy into your children as well as your friends.

You are doing a great job.

To my friend who feels your husband is emotionally a thousand miles away but who doesn’t want to settle and refuses to give up. I see your heart breaking for your family and I see your genuine desire to walk by faith raising your kids to honor Jesus despite the challenging marital circumstances. I know you feel desperate at times, and I know you often wonder if there’s any hope…but I see you as a fighter in all the good ways and I also want you to know this…

You are doing a great job.

To my friend who just had her third baby, is struggling with post-partum depression, yet you push through how you “feel” to love those around you every single day. You are constantly asking and seeking out a better way, challenging yourself to not stay where you’re at and keeping alive that eagerness to always be growing. You handle life well, because I see you worrying about all of the right things, but I know you feel overwhelmed, exhausted and never enough. You need to know this…

You are doing a great job.

To my friend who has 10 kids, some with severe medical issues, who often spends more time in doctors’ offices than you do your own bed. You have taken on a business to help even more people and have a massive heart to love and serve everyone you could ever come in contact with. I am confident more often than not you feel spread thin, yet I don’t know that for certain because not one word of complaining comes out of your mouth. I want you to know I see you, and I am so encouraged by your life. And I truly believe even on your worst day that…

You are doing a great job.

To the mom who just married off her first child and feels joy and sadness simultaneously…having completed the job of motherhood, but is not entirely ready to let go. I see your broken smile as you let go of your first “baby” and I see your dignity and strength as you try to hold it together while loosening up your grip on that son you’ve loved so well. I’m encouraged by your grace and strength as I imagine with a pit in my stomach one day having to be where you are and I want you to know…

You’re doing a great job.

To the mom who is trying so desperately trying to breastfeed after feeling that nursing with your first baby went terribly wrong. I see you as a woman who is strong and is willing to fight through pumping, soreness, exhaustion, confusion and mom guilt…yet still choose to smile and press on despite the voices all around telling you every which way you should go. You ask for help not because you’re weak but because you’re strong. You want what is best and I see you doing all you can to seek that out, even if that means humbling yourself and admitting when you don’t have the answers. You’re finding your voice and growing in strength and I say to you today…

You are doing a great job.

To my friend who feels never enough, b-class, never put together, always frazzled. Your kids sometimes are missing a shoe, or two, and life is crazy…and I see you sometimes try to make excuses for it or apologize for the nuttiness. Yet you need to know that having as many kids as you do is so stinkin’ hard and that I truly believe the REAL reason you feel undone is because you love. so. well. I see how you exhaust yourself for your family, some days without ever once looking in the mirror and I see your unwashed face as radiantly beautiful because what truly shines through is your selflessness. To you I say…

You are doing a great job.

To my full-time working mom friend who is amazingly great at sales and brings in an income big enough to not only relieve a ton of financial stress for your family but also finds ways to give so freely to others. I see you struggling with mom guilt not being able to be at home every moment of every second with your babies like every other “stay-at-home mom”…and you need to know this…

You are doing a great job.

To my friend who just had her 6th baby and is utterly exhausted and knows there is no way to be able to handle homeschooling five others and a brand new infant. I see your desire to soak up and cherish every single moment of these sleep deprived fleeting infancy days…and although doubts creep in of not being enough to handle it all I want you to know…

You’re doing a great job.

To my friend who IS a mom, at heart, and has been for 2 years now, but has not yet experienced the joy of her own children…who longs for a baby of her own more than life itself and through heartbroken, painful tears begs to see that test turn positive. My heart could literally crack in half at the pain and sorrow I know is yours, but please know that although there are days you want to punch a wall and days you feel are dark and hopeless, what I see is a woman who is strong and steadfast, one who at the end of the day says, “but I will praise Him” and one to whom I want to say…

You are doing a great job.

To my friend who feels that her kids are constantly disobedient and is having to spend 90% of her day trying to sort through issues of behavior or conflict. You are exhausting yourself for all of the right reasons and at times it is easy to grow weary. What you plant will have a harvest. Please don’t give up. And I want you to know that, although your road is hard…

You are doing a great job.

To my friend whose husband is in ministry and you now have three kids and you’re not sure where money is going to come from to care for your family…yet you stay strong, are a constant encouragement to your family and you never waver in staying upbeat and hopeful yet I know it weighs so heavily on your heart. Please know I see you, and am encouraged by your joy and…

You are doing a great job.

To all of the mamas who have not yet had a shower today, who brave crowded stores with all the littles to grocery shop to prepare food for your families, who fold laundry into the wee hours of the morning and who roam through Target aimlessly to take a breather…To the mamas who have poop on their pants and spit up on their shoulders and who haven’t made their beds in over a week. To the mamas who bathe all of the kids while longing and wishing for a quiet bath for herself. To the mama that just glanced at the clock hoping for bedtimes to hurry up and get here because you’re afraid you’re gonna explode. To the mamas that lay awake at night for hours thinking through all the things that went wrong and what to do different tomorrow. To the mama who has blown it and feels like a failure. To the mamas with disobedient children who throw fits in stores that somehow manage to keep composure when everyone else stops and stares. To the mamas up at 5 am trying to get a workout in to stay strong because you are unwilling to miss out on time with your kids…to the mamas who are having an amazing day and feel like you’ve got this…to the mamas who wonder if they’ll make it to lunchtime…to the mamas who spend hours putting together that same puzzle over and over again and can tell that same story with your eyes closed from having read it so many times. To the mama who knows she is soooo not perfect but chooses to continually find her identity not in her failures or her successes…to the taxi cab mamas who spend the majority of your day carting children from one event to another, to the mama who hasn’t left her house in 4 days…

You’re doing a great job. 

Let’s not end it here though…

Is there a mom you know that needs to be encouraged? Is there someone you can think of that is doing an amazing job and needs to be told so? If I could make one request it would be that we keep this going. Let’s not wait for opportunities to speak life to those around us, let’s create them. If you’re reading this and it reminds you of someone you want to encourage as well, then please comment below and write out your own words to the mom you know who needs to be built up…

 

 

meg marie signature w/XO

to all the mamas: you're doing a great job

 

bliss tulle in niagara and 7 tips on how to get better photos

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi; bliss tulle; meg marie wallace

fancy at the falls

fancy at the falls

fancy at the falls; pink tulle skirt, tulle maxi

fancy at the falls

fancy at the falls

fancy at the falls

fancy at the falls

fancy at the falls


 SKIRT: BlissTulle |  SWEATER: old, similar here | SHOES: Jessica Simpson, similar here


SQUARE HEART

 This photo shoot was one of the most fun shoots I’ve ever done. The setting in Niagara, Canada was just unreal. The views were breathtaking and finding a spot for a good pic was faaaar too easy–there were so many to choose from. And it surely helped that the second I put on this skirt I felt like a fairy princess. (I’ll be writing more posts to share all of the photos in the next week or so, but getting home to the kids and homeschooling, cleaning, unpacking, grocery shopping and the laundry has me beyond busy!)

But more than the setting and the amazingly beautiful skirt what made this shoot so fun is that I taught my mom how to be a photographer in one afternoon! Normally my sweet hubby takes my pics for me, but he wasn’t on this trip so I had to improvise. Kai has also taken a ton of pics for me too, but since he wanted to play with Legos and my mom wanted to learn I took her out with me.

We started off in the lobby of the hotel looking at different objects through the lens. I shared with her some tips on how to get the camera to focus and how to adjust a few settings on the fly…and then we went out to give it a shot.

She’d be the first to tell you that round one was rough…almost every photo was blurry…but we made a few adjustments and I offered a few more tips and in no time she was catching on and learning fast!

She began noticing different angles and different settings that would be great for pics. And I had to tell her that learning to photograph well is a blessing and a curse: On one hand you begin to see your surroundings in a whole new way, noticing the little things that didn’t used to stand out, like tiny flowers or small details on buildings. It creates a sense of awe as you begin to see what is ordinary as lovely in a whole new way imagining how it might turn out through a lens.

But it can be a curse too…sometimes when your brain begins to notice all of those things you begin to think only of the camera and not what is right there in front of you in the moment. We loved getting to point out what kind of outfit might look good in what setting, but also had to just stop and appreciate it without the plan to document it.

I thought I’d pass along some of the little tips I shared with her in case you’d like to take better photos too!

  1. The lens matters. I purchased this lens and it has dramatically changed the quality of my pics. To a professional it’s more than likely a joke because there are sooooo many options for good cameras/lenses out there. But for the normal, average person taking photos this is my BEST tip for improving pics fast.
  2. Shoot in manual. Learn your camera and how the settings all work. I set it up for my mom because I didn’t have time to tell her everything that fast, but I would definitely advise that you learn to use the settings yourself instead of the automatic setting. There’s info in the user manual that comes with your camera and there’s a bajillion tutorials online. Getting the lighting correct is crucial.
  3. Focus. Focus. Focus. If you have blurry pics there’s really nothing you can do to improve it later. Make sure when you look through the camera you see the little guide dots to help you point it exactly where you need it to focus. I’d say we ended up with about 15 blurry pics for every 1 that was clear. My mom needed to learn to not be afraid to overshoot, meaning take a ton of pics because you can always just delete the bad ones later.
  4. Colors. Pay attention to what colors there are in the setting. Since I was wearing something soft and pink we tried to avoid anything that had more of a bright or bold background. I love wearing colors that match the setting. Since the trees were pink and green it made my outfit look like it belonged there. When you’re planning your own photo shoots think through what colors will already be there and plan around that.
  5. Model Movement. There’s nothing worse than someone looking stiff in a photo. How do I know this?! Because I often am. I can be so awkward when a camera is shooting me!!!  Long gone are the days of sorority girl posing with one arm on the hip and the side turned cheek! 🙂 It’s taken a ton of practice, a great deal of feeling really uncomfortable, and a whole lot of failures to learn to move more fluidly in front of the camera. (Honestly, having my kids take my pics has been the best thing because they love it the most when I’m silly.)
  6. Photographer Movement. My mom had to learn pretty quickly that SHE also needed to move. Some angles might look good with the naked eye, but once you start shooting through the lens you see things a bit differently. Getting the same shot but from different angles can really help with getting good pics. She began to move more and adjust her placement based on what angle or setting she wanted to include.
  7. Editing. Once my mom got a good, clear photo with decent lighting I was able to edit and sharpen the images on my own afterward. I use Lightroom and Photoshop and have created my own preset to use on (almost) all of my pics. I’ll plan to share more about this another time, but editing can really streamline your pics as well as perfect any of the colors, shadows, tones etc…

Please let me know if you are trying to improve your photography and need some more pointers! I literally would sit there and watch YouTube video tutorials while folding all of my laundry each week! So if I can help please let me know. Either comment below or shoot me an email, I’ll be happy to help!!!

love Meg Marie signature