My heart is stronger

Sometimes I get an overwhelming feeling of the way my heart was when my oldest was my only. Does anyone know what I’m talking about?! Only certain things trigger this feeling. It could be a song, a place, an old outfit, a picture, a memory, a touch. In this case, it would be a song. 
Basically, I’m not the same person, today, as I was back then. My heart is different. Much bigger. 
When I think back to that point in my life, there is one memory that sticks out more than most memories. 
A friendship. 
Sometimes, I feel like I was more focused on that friendship more than I should have, back then. To no fault of theirs at all. My heart was young. It was unsure. It was impressionable. It was 25. Lol It needed to grow and learn. 
Sometimes, I feel so much guilt come over me because I feel like I should have focused more on my son and not so much on that friendship. I should have focused on my marriage instead of that friendship. 
I’m not saying that friendships are bad, even when you’re married. I’m saying there should be a balance and my young heart had such a hard time understanding how. Before anyone thinks I neglected my kid, I want to make it clear that I was then and still am a stay at home mom and my every waking moment has been spent taking care of my children and husband. They have always been and always will be my world. 
It’s hard to explain, really, but I spent a lot of energy in that friendship when that energy could have been put to better use. It could have been put into possibly loving my son more. Is that even possible? I don’t think so. It could have been used to learning how to be a better home maker. Or a better wife. Or a better Christian. Or anything that helped me grow as a person. 
So as you’ve probably assumed, that friendship is no longer. After several long years and tears, it is over. It’s been over for almost a year now and I am in a good place! 
So on one hand, I wish that friendship never happened. Because I feel like I could have put the energy spent on that friendship on my family. In so many ways. Too many to count. And when my memory of it is triggered, I am saddened that I will never get that time back. Don’t blink. It has always been something I’ve said ever since my oldest was born. I try to live by that motto but somehow, I blinked. And knowing that my kids are growing before my very eyes makes me regret not spending more time with them. Even though I spend their every waking minute with them, I need to mentally spend more time with them. I will probably always have that smidgen of guilt. 
On the other hand, I am thankful for that friendship because my heart has changed because of it and it has grown during it. And it has grown after it. I am not the same woman I was at 25. My heart is completely different. I have had 2 more kids since the young age of 25. Before you think I’m old, I’m only 33. πŸ˜‰ Everything that my heart endured during that friendship and because of it has made me into the woman I am today. I am proud of this woman’s heart today. It’s still not perfect and there’s still plenty of room for it to grow. We are still trying to decide if we want another baby. This ole heart of mine has been through 5 miscarriages. It has been through deaths, heartaches, triumphs, successes, failures, happiness, sadness, and anything else imaginable. And I’m still standing. I am still here! I have not given up and I have not fallen! 
In the grand scheme of things, I know that I spent so much time with my first born and made memories that he still talks about, today. I know that he doesn’t blame me for having a social life. πŸ˜‰ That guilt that I feel every now and then is totally because of ME. Nothing he has ever said that makes me feel that way. And I am thankful for that time in my life because it was in that timeframe that I became the warrior that I am! I’m still not perfect. And my heart is not perfect. But it is strong! And 2 kids later, I am happy to say that my heart is also full!!!! 
I spend day in and day out with my boys. I try and make memories that they’ll remember forever. I have friends that I love so dearly. Best friends who mean the world to us. But this strong heart is able to separate my time a lot better now. I have matured as a mom and as a person. I am in a good place. Still a hot mess who screws up daily but my heart is on the right track. And I am thankful to my God for seeing my through all of it!

I need God

I am in an unhealthy place right now, in my life. Yet, I am surrounded by so many people who love me. I have been bitten by the jealousy big, by the comparison bug, going through postpartum depression, overweight and lacking in a lot of areas as a wife and friend. The only thing I seem to give my all to is my mothering. 
My kids are my world and I’d much rather be with them than anyone else in this world. I mean that’s understandable but not healthy to not want to be with other people. I mean, I’m not saying I don’t need a break every now and then but my breaks usually consist of me wanting to be by myself for a little bit. I have stopped longing for those Mommy Time meetings with my friends. This is pertinent because this isn’t me. 
I mean my kids are my world and I have made that no secret from the moment I laid eyes on my 1st born, 6 yrs ago. That day change my life and my heart forever. But the Jonie I used to be…who I’ve grown into and have taught myself to be, has been lost for a long time now. 
I am no longer as spiritual as I once was. I want to be. I know God is still MY God and He is still able! I know He will be there to pick up the pieces once I just call on Him. I take comfort in knowing He will be there. I also take that for granted. And I am 100% aware of this. 
I am still in here. I still want to inspire others. I still want to be better than I was the day before. I still want to do things and make things happen. I still want to make a difference and work for a cause. I still want my high school body back for crying out loud (wishful thinking). 
My family deserves the best Jonie I can be. And as much as I give my kids of me, they STILL deserve more. They deserve a mama who loves herself again. I need to love myself again! My husband deserves a wife who loves herself. My friends and family deserve a Jonie who loves herself. 
So I’m just asking for good vibes and prayer to help me through this. It took me a lot to say this much. Lord knows I have so much more in my heart. I just need prayer! I need motivation. I need God! 

My Mommy Time

I am folding towels at 1:30 AM. I had to stop and ask myself why and I quickly reminded myself that it’s because we’ve been without a washer for a week and a half now. For no reason other than my husband and I were tired of our old one so he sold it before purchasing a new one. Then we had to wait til today to have it delivered. Hashtag: laundry room drama. lol
So I’ve had to stop and remind myself why I started taking pictures in the first place. I had to remind myself of that feeling I got when the whole new DSLR world first became MY world. That feeling I got when I was able to capture my oldest son’s every single movement each second for an entire minute. That feeling I got knowing that my baby’s memories would be captured in a crisp, clear high quality digital form.
I loved that feeling!!!
All of those smiles. And soon enough, all of those beautiful smiles covered my walls and refrigerator. Photo albums everywhere. Because of my need to capture my son’s every moment, I fell in love with photography!!!! 

It wasn’t instant and it actually took a lot of time and thought before I realized that I want to do for other people (parents), what I do for ME. Which is capture sweet precious moments of their most precious joys–their children, and to capture sweet family moments. 

So that’s what I did. Later down the rode, I improved and decided to start my photography page thinking it was gonna be a cake walk. I quickly learned that it was everything but. I assumed people would be beating down my door wanting sessions. Wrong! 

I knew I was better than before but I still had a ways to go. So I studied and practiced. And studied. And practiced. And as much as I have improved over time…tonight, I learned that all the logistics of my camera is still pretty overwhelming. I mean I understand my camera a great deal but I am constantly trying to better my work-for me. I didn’t give up when things were hard before so I’m not gonna give up now. 

Once I came back to reality and remembered why I started JSF photography, I started enjoying my sessions even more. I started to shoot what feels right. What makes the most precious moments. Pictures that I’d want of my own babies. πŸ™‚ I do it for MY love for photography and for making pretty things. And ultimately, I do it for the memories than lye on the other end of my lens. ❀ competition is tough but I’m gonna keep doing this for me! Photography is MY Mommy Time!!! 

You are My Sunshine

So today, I started singing an old favorite to my Littles. You’ve all heard it–“You are my Sunshine”. I’ve thought a lot about creating a template with that saying to hang on my boy’s wall. I’m usually busy with my photography work or other projects and most of all, being a full time Mommy. But today, I was able to picture exactly what I wanted and was able to execute it within a reasonable time period. So without further ado, I give you my newest digital download…

 You are able to buy this instant download printable (logo free) for just $8. Please contact me here at JSF Photography and send me a Facebook private message. This is the perfect addition to your Little’s room. 

Thank you! And I sure hope everyone has a wonderful Hump Day tomorrow. πŸ™‚

Daily Reminder!!!

Hello, Strangers of the blogging world! Life has been busy for me, to say the least. New baby…motherly duties, housewife duties, wife duties… It has been non-stop for me.

With everything going on, it’s easy for me to forget a chore here and before I know it, we are living in a pile of clutter. Nobody likes clutter. So today, I decided to put an end to that so I hopped on Photoshop and made me up a “Daily Reminder” picture that I’m gonna hang in my kitchen. Or most likely, somewhere that I pass by several times a day.

I chose the things that I find most important in my daily life as well as a favorite Bible verse. I am sure there are more but these are the ones I was able to think of today. I’ll probably have the list extended by tomorrow.

DailyReminders

I hope this gives you an idea to help de-clutter YOUR life just a little. =) You are welcome to save this picture and use it as your own. Just please give credit to my blog.

Sweeter as the months go by….

So it’s now February 18th and in 2 months (give or take a couple days) we will have our 3rd little baby boy here in my arms. I have so enjoyed this pregnancy. Even the times I’ve complained about being tired or the times that I’ve been so mean to those I love (I’m totally blaming hormones). There have been plenty more “pregnant moments” for me this pregnancy. I have to admit that out of all 3 of my babies, I’ve been most mean during this pregnancy.

I’ve even had the normal “pregnancy pains” this time around. Like A LOT! But I don’t recall really complaining about those. I just endure them because I know it’ll all be over after while (until our 4th baby, that is). A very long while.

But over all, I have just enjoyed this pregnancy (even the bad parts). This time around, it seems to be so much sweeter. And in the grand scheme of things, it seems to be going by so fast. Of course, I’m saying this before I’ve hit the extreme uphill battle of the very last weeks. I remember those.

With my first son, everything was new. Every little thing set me off and scared the crap out of me. I called the nurse about everything. And the last month or so seemed to take forever. I thought every time i peed longer than normal that my water had broken. Silly! I mean, I enjoyed growing him inside of me like crazy. It was such an amazing gift from God. A wonderful experience is an understatement of what it actually was. And when that precious day came, God blessed us with the most perfect little baby boy I had ever laid eyes on. He instantly became my EVERYTHING. He instantly taught me what unconditional love feels like.

Then, about 3 years and a miscarriage later, God blessed us with another bundle of wonderfulness in my belly. He was so prayed for and waited for. We want 4 kids and he was our 2nd bundle of blessings. His pregnancy was way more trying than my first son’s. While I enjoyed it, it was different. More hard. He was an almost 10 lb newborn baby. Woah!!! No wonder is was hard! But I also spent most of my pregnancy with anxiety over how in the world is it possible to love someone as much as I love my first baby. Now, of course I loved him in my belly and I knew I’d be even more in love with him when he came out and into my arms. I guess I just didn’t understand how it would feel. I felt like in some way, I was betraying my first born. It made me feel a little guilty. I just didn’t understand it.

But If Jonie now could go back in time and tell Jonie then that it’s all gonna be ok, I would. Because what I didn’t realize was the moment my husband put baby #2 in my arms, I instantly knew that I then and would always have not one but 2 everythings. I loved him as much as I love my first born and it all just came so naturally. Just like how God loves us. I do believe that no one quiet understands God’s love for us the way a mama does. And watching the way my 1st born loved and adored his little brother showed me that it was just the most perfect love. I was in love with not one but two little boys. And their daddy that helped me make them.

And all that brings me to this pregnancy. I am 31 weeks pregnant and I have just enjoyed every little kick, every time I’ve heard the heart beat, every time my boys love on him, give him kisses, blow raspberries on him. I’ve enjoyed it all. And all of that makes my (so far) almost 8 month morning sickness, all the pain I have to endure, all of my mood swings worth it. They make it SO worth it. Because I know how this love thing works, I KNOW that this baby is gonna be just as loved as my other 2. And since I’ve already experienced that whole 2nd child thing, I am not scared. I already love him as if he were here. As if he is already in my arms and here in our world. I just can’t wait to love on him. To smother him with our kisses and undying love. He is our 3rd precious gift from God. We just have to give this 3rd precious gift a name. Still thinking on that. So the above is the whole reason why this pregnancy has been so much sweeter than my first 2. I can’t wait to meet our precious baby.

Praise God for such wonderful gifts!!!

Be still.

My blogging has been very few and far between lately. Like for half a year lately. I guess I have just gotten busy, which is an understatement. And I feel like I post enough on social media lately that there is really nothing new to tell. And I guess I’ve lost the vision in which I wanted for my blog over the months. I know that originally, I wanted to use this blog to inspire other moms. To let them know that they are doing a great job. Even on the hard days. And I wanted to use this blog to ultimately brag about my hard day and easy day and to ultimately celebrate motherhood. And even if I inspired just one person, I was OK with that. I guess I still am. I know I am. Because someone, somewhere out there needs to hear some encouragement. Whether it’s a total stranger or someone I know. And I have just lost my drive, I guess.

I need encouragement myself. I, myself, have stopped reading blogs. I just never have enough time. I get lonely during the day sometimes when it’s just me and the kids. And so when I have a free moment from diaper changing, making lunches, filling sippy cups, giving snacks, preventing one kid from stealing a toy from another, cleaning messes, giving naps, editing pictures from my photography sessions and sometimes, creating new things for my very slow growing photography business, I usually lose myself in social media. Or my newest guilty pleasure, Clash of Clans. My husband got me hooked.

As hard as some of these days are, I am so in love with this chapter of my life. Because I look at these precious babies and KNOW that when I look back on this time, it will be of a distant memory. Memories that will be held so dear in my heart. And I will long for them again. These babies are so precious. Just to be clear, I only have 2 boy on the outside and one growing boy on the inside (27 weeks) and he is currently saying HEY. =) Kicking hey?…. But I also babysit. So when I say “all of my babies”, I am not only speaking of just mine.

And I just look at them sitting there watching Super Why on Netflix at the moment and they are just so into it. Their mouths hung open and they are just absorbing every single word that is being said. It’s such a precious time for them. One minute they will have me about to pull my hair out and the next minute, they are looking up at me with such an adorable cheesy grin that just makes my heart skip a beat or 2.

A few things have changed in my daily life. We are a 1 car family at the moment so I am confined to just the house 5 days a week. Minus the hour I leave once a week (sometimes 2) when my husband gets home so I can go grab some groceries. And I guess that I have become somewhat envious of other moms who get to leave their house whenever they want or need to. And I guess I can too, when my husband leaves. Or on the weekends. But those times/days are supposed to be for family-time. So we are usually spending time doing family stuff. But I kinda miss the random play dates. Or the random yogurt stops to treat the kids. Or the random shopping runs, just because.

But I’ve had to remind myself and fully make myself understand that this may not be where I think I need to be right now but it’s where I am supposed to be. And I am here, writing this part of my story for a reason. And so I’ve learned to embrace it. And I know that we’ll eventually be able to afford and extra family car. But right now, I need to keep focused on what I have right in front of me instead of comparing myself to what used to be or comparing myself to other mom’s lives. These kids love ME just the way I am. And I am thankful beyond measure that I get to share this journey, this chapter in my life, with them.

Thank you for reading.

“What is normal anyway…”

Within the past few months, I feel like I have failed as a mom. Normally judgment from other “perfect” moms (or non-moms) don’t really bother me but I can’t seem to shake them lately.

My 5 yr old has been going through a few life changes since he started Kindergarten. The biggest is just that. He started Kindergarten and his life has essentially been turned upside down. All of a sudden, there was permanent structure in his little life. I’ll admit that I have never been one to keep consistent structure in his life because my own life isn’t structured. I’m horrible. Having preK at home did help a lot with structure on his and my part. It held us accountable and forced us to be on a schedule. πŸ˜‰

So with that and the constant “new people” in his life, having a new person to answer to (new person being his teacher); life changed big time for my little man. I mean, it really puts a lot on him not wanting to turn his card. And so far, he’s only had to turn 1 card all first semester. πŸ˜‰

That’s my boy!

But he has been home with me now for the past 2 week for Christmas break. I have been spoiled having him home, even though I did share him with a few family members. I am not ready to get back to the grind of things.

I almost forgot my opening statement.

So with all that said, with all these changes, he’s had a little attitude change as well. It seems that out of no where, my sweet baby learned how to talk back. And *try* to talk his way out of and into things. I feel like we are raising a teenager at times and I want to ground him from his car!!!! Parenting has gotten tough in just a short amount of time. I mean, it’s never been easy but this is something we’ve never experienced at parents. And honestly, we probably thought we wouldn’t go through this phase for another 10 years. Ha!

But each thing we go through is teaching us and molding us. The experiences are there for us to look back on. To reflect on. And to become better parents because of.

I just want what’s best for my boys and I want it so much it hurts. And this whole raising little people thing is scary because you just don’t know what will come of it. You won’t know how they’ll turn out for several years. And you won’t know how badly you either screwed up or how awesome you were/are until that day comes when they start becoming their own person.

And I know that no matter who they turn into, I will love them unconditionally. And I can only pray to God above that I’m at least doing something right. They love me more than anyone so obviously I am. πŸ˜‰

Thanks for reading! Happy New Year!

Promise!!!

Sometimes, with our family and friends, we often take them for granted. Because it’s simple. We think they’ll always be there. In some cases we know. We know that no matter what we do or how much we ignore them or treat them badly, they’ll never leave our side. Because they love us.

Well, this story sounds familiar, don’t you think?

I am pretty old school, most times, with my gospel music (my friends would tend to agree). With that said, as I was listening to this really old, whinny gospel song, The Blood is Still there, God spoke to me.

He knows, I know, and only a select few know that I have not been walking with Him the way I used to. The way I need to. I have let the way of the world run my life and mind for the past few months, in various ways. Whether it be with music or the internet (social media), or just simply not keeping myself my mind, and heart in constant prayer with Him. Not holding myself accountable. Knowing that I NEED God if I’m ever going to be any kind of mom that my boys (and possibly girl come April?) need and deserve.

And I’ve known this. Like always. But I never really felt too concerned and I never really thought about it until I was listening to that song. I’ve never been too concerned because like with those friends and family that I spoke about earlier, that is exactly the way we treat God. Myself in particular. Β And in the back of my mind, I KNOW that beyond a shadow of a doubt that God will always be there for me. He is always walking with me per His promise. So It just makes it easier to just keep living my life as I am, with Him in there constantly because, like I said, He will always be there.

It’s sad but true. And no, it’s not OK in the least to take anyone for granted, especially the One who gave you everlasting life!!!

It’s also a hard thing to admit out loud but I just did in hopes that this reaches and blesses someone who is going through something similar.

Motherhood and poop! They go hand in hand. Can’t escape it.

It’s been one of “those” days. You know the one. The one where you have to pull a wet (but clean) wash rag out of the washer just so you can take a shower but not before you throw a few more into the dryer for your family before they wake up. The one where your husband HAS to go to work “commando”. Yes! I just said that (it’s more pitiful for me being the homemaker). Oh and you know those days where you are doing laundry and your kids get quiet and you all of the sudden hear very faint “pop” “pop” “pops” from the other room. Just to walk in and realize almost all of your keys on your keyboard are now gone. No longer intact. Yeah! That was fun! You know, one of those days where your (almost) 2 yr old takes his diaper off while you’re doing sight words with your 5 yr old and wait for it…..POOPS in the kitchen floor. Yes! Poop! Literally a crappy day. Pun totally intended. πŸ˜‰

And I spared you the debates and tantrums my 5 yr old provided when he got home from school.

But through it all, I’m still smiling and SO thankful for my husband. I am thankful that he is an involved, very caring, and very loving daddy, husband, friend, confidant, and provider.

Even on bad days, I wouldn’t trade my world for anyone else’s.