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Dear Baby Girl,

Last year I took your pictures in my wedding dress and said I wanted to do it every year…well, I finally got around to it (a bit late, ok, almost seven months late, but it’s still 2017, so that technically counts as a year). Looking back on my last letter (which you can find here), I can’t believe how much you have grown. I wrote how I wanted God’s voice to be louder than the world and what it tells you, and that’s still my prayer for you….because, trust me, the world is very loud right now!!… so loud that it’s almost impossible to hear anything else. But, that’s not what I want to talk about today. Today I want to ask for your forgiveness. Forgiveness for ever putting my own insecurities on you. The other day, after I combed your hair, you ruffled it up when you changed your shirt, and you looked at me with sadness and asked, “Is my hair still beautiful momma?”, as if I would suddenly not love you if it was messed up. It broke my heart. I thought, “Why does this sweet child even care what her hair looks like?”  And then it hit me…it was because of me. You see, it’s not just my job to try and teach you how to love and serve other people, it’s my job to try and make sure I show you how to love yourself, without the need of approval from others. Yes, of course, we all want approval from others, in fact, one of my love languages is words of affirmation, but my desire for you is that you know you were fearfully and wonderfully made and that you love yourself the way God loves you.   I don’t do this well, it’s one of my biggest weaknesses. I doubt myself, I pick apart my body, I complain about things, I let others’ opinions of me influence my decisions….and there you are silently watching, even if I don’t think you are. I tell you you are creative and kind, and in my next breath I tell myself, “If I could just have this or do this or look like this (fill in the blank)…then I would love myself”.  And what stinks about the whole thing is that I know the truth.  I know God loves me and my worth comes from Him, not from losing five pounds or buying the newest shade of lipstick… and I’m truly sorry for not being a better example. Please know I’m trying…and I will try harder, because I don’t want your love for yourself to ever waiver, I want it to shine through in everything you do. You are such a free spirit and I’m so very grateful God let me be your mommy. Love you always,

Mom

 

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Dear Baby Girl, today I photographed you in my wedding dress.  You looked so sweet and innocent.  I’d like to take your picture in my wedding dress every year….as long as you let me…and as long as I remember.  Your face in a few of these images reminded me of how I was when I first tried it on. I never thought I would go with a princess style dress with pink threading in the flowers on the bodice, but every other dress I tried on made me look old and boring. Of course, if I were to pick a new dress now, I would probably go with the more sophisticated  “champaign” color and less poof…but then again, now I’m old and boring.  I was only 22 when I married your daddy….and he was only 20!  And I know this is cliche, but I love him more today than I did when we got married.  I wanted to let you know that I’ve already started praying for your spouse….I know sounds crazy right? Every night after I pray for you, I continue to pray for your spouse, who may not even be born yet (if you’re a cradle robber like your mama!!).  I pray for your future spouse because the choices he makes while growing up will affect how he treats you, how he loves you, and how he cares for you. I also pray for your choices as you grow, and I pray that when you make bad choices (because we are all human and you Will make bad choices) you come to me unafraid. You see, the world around you is changing every day, some for better and some not. The world will tell you God is anything you want Him to be, some even try to make themselves God. The world will tell you to do whatever makes you happy, even if it hurts others. The world will tell you it’s ok to have sex before marriage…..whenever you feel ready, where ever you want, with whomever you want, and it will make you a better lover. The world will tell you many things….but my hope for you is that God will be louder than the world.   I want nothing but the best for you baby girl, and I will continue to pray, laugh, dream, and cry with you until God calls me home. Love, mom

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So, I thought I was being all sneaky and photographed my daughter in what I thought was my mom’s wedding dress….turns out, it was my Aunt Sis’…but they were too cute not too include. 2016-02-29_0007.jpg
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 My daughter had a pretty “sweet” Halloween costume last year as a Starbucks Latte, so I thought it was going to be hard to beat….until I decided that she would be pretty stinkin cute as the Queen of Hearts. All I had to do was show my oh so talented mom a picture of a dress I liked, tell her a few changes I wanted…and wam bam thank you mam!! My mom is so talented…I wish I had her capability with sewing (with no pattern to boot!).  I’m pretty sure I couldn’t even thread a machine, let alone make this adorable costume for my daughter. So, thank you mom, you are the best!  I’m pretty sure my daughter thinks so too…I love this girl infinity times infinity!!

 

{I’ve written, deleted, and written some more, and honestly, I can’t quite find the right words to convey what I want to say. I didn’t want this to be a whiney, gloomy post or a cliche “it’s all about trusting Jesus” post (yes, I believe we should trust in Jesus).  Maybe I was too focused on trying to be profound, yet funny…that the words just didn’t come…or maybe, I’m not supposed to share every thing that’s on my heart….maybe I’m just supposed to write for me.  To write as a reminder to myself that each day I will make over a hundred choices, choices that will either uplift me and those around me or tear me down along with those around me.  So, get out of your dang pajamas woman and read this! (I’m talking to myself here, by the way.)}
Winters are hard for me. It seems like when the skies turn gray, a veil is put over my eyes and I can’t see the beauty in the everyday. My hands and feet turn into ice blocks.  I’m stressed.  I can’t stand that my face is breaking out like a fourteen year old boy. I feel like I pray the same prayers over and over and yet, I still make the same mistakes…I get angry, I say things I shouldn’t, I get jealous, I feel overwhelmed, ugly, not worthy of God’s forgiveness or grace. I take for granted all that I have…my husband, my children, my family…my own life.  I find myself wasting nights watching ten episodes of Switched at Birth on Netflix, instead of doing much needed chores around the house.  I’m torn between what I think I want to do with my life and what I feel God is calling me to do. I feel isolated in my own mind… and that can be a very lonely place….but it doesn’t have to be.  I need to stop trying to change the way things look and start trying to change the way I SEE.  I can either let my negative thoughts control me, or I can choose to think differently. Before I get out of bed, I can choose to check my email or I can choose to do a devotion before my feet hit the wood floor. I can choose to be defeated, or I can choose to find joy.  Will it be easy? Of course not, but I’m tired of being tired…I’m tired of not truly loving myself. I’m tired of feeling I’m the only one who feels this way. I’m tired of hiding behind a smile.  I’m tired of believing God’s promises for everyone else, but not for myself.  I am responsible for my own choices, for my own happiness.  I don’t know what tomorrow will bring or what my thoughts will be, but today, I choose hope. I choose acceptance.  I choose laughter. I choose to believe God has a plan for my life, for my family, and for every person on this earth. 

                                           

Model: Henley Drew
Makeup and Hair: Laura Drew

 Growing older is inevitable, and as I age, the people dear to me age….and with age,  it’s only a matter of time until there is change…..and I’m not one for change. This past summer, my grandparent’s decided it was time for them to sell their home (the place where I spent so many nights running, playing, and snuggling) to build a more suitable home that better fits their needs.  Of course I was sad to hear the news, but I knew it was coming, the gardens and house were simply too much to take care of.  They decided to start giving away some of their things to family to make the move to a smaller house easier.  As my grandma walked me around the house, I almost broke down thinking about childhood memories of me playing dress up with my cousins, to teenage memories of me crying into my grandma’s arms, to present day sitting beside them, watching my grandpa hide quarters for my boys to find.  My heart hurt as I realized my daughter would never get the chance to spend the night in the “pink doll room” with her cousins, she would never remember playing on the swing in the backyard, she would never remember running up and down the stairs dragging her hands along the banister….and that’s when I decided to take her pictures there…so we can remember together, so I can tell her all of the stories that were born in grandma and grandpa dolly’s house. (If you are wondering why we call them grandma and grandpa dolly, it’s because my grandma owns Dolly Heaven, a doll repair shop downtown New Haven.)
     If you have ever been on Powers St in New Haven, then you’ve probably seen the big white pillars of their house (or mansion as I used to call it). In the spring, the bushes would bear their bright yellow flowers, and in the winter, the candle lights in the windows would give a soft glow through the curtains….it was magical.  And being able to see my daughter on the front steps was even more magical. 
  As my grandparent’s prepare to move into the next stage of their lives, I realize now more than ever, that although I will miss their house greatly, a house is just a house… and it’s the people inside of it that make it a home, and when I’m with my grandma and grandpa, no matter where it may be, it always feels like home.  I love you grandma and grandpa!!

P.S. My grandparent’s house is still for sale if you know of anyone who wants to buy an awesome house! You can check it out online here.