The Puzzle

Lately I have been feeling like my life is like a one thousand piece puzzle. It's so hard for me to get all of the pieces to connect and sometimes I just have to step away for a while, but in the end I come back to it with a fresh perspective and all of the pieces eventually come together. My biggest struggle is trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing with my life. I thought I had it all figured out, but as you can tell from my last post, I clearly do not. 

Being a mother is a full-time job, and the most important job that I will ever have. I love being a mom, but at the end of the day, after that is all that I have done, I just don't feel accomplished. I feel like something is missing from my life and while I do not in any way want a "normal" job, I want to do something. 

And so, I have this dream of something that I want to do. I love it more than teaching, but teaching I know I can do. I love it more than the idea of nursing, and nursing I know that I can't do. It's something that I already do every single day but for some reason I just fail to see that I am good at it. Deep, deep down, I know that I am good at it. I know that I have a talent. I am just afraid to admit it to myself or to anyone else because I am afraid. I am afraid of failing. 

I want to be a photographer. 

There, it's out. I said it. Now you know. 

I just don't know how to turn that dream into a reality.

I've spent a lot of time lately looking at other photographers' work. I've been comparing what I do to what they do and honestly? I can do this. I can do this well. I just have to remind myself that I can. 

I can. I can do this. 

"Anyone can take a picture, but it takes someone special to capture a moment." 

I made that up. Just now, in my head. It's ok, you can be impressed. I certainly am.


In case you were wondering, that tree limb did land that way in my backyard during a storm this week. And yes, that calf does have five legs.


I heard the other day that 24 teachers are going to be laid off in our county at the end of this school year. If that is true, the chances of me finding a job just went to zero. I know (well, I believe) that everything happens for a reason, and that what is meant to be, will be. But lately I am having a hard time trying to understand why my life has turned out the way that it did. I have also become even more discouraged and upset than I already was with our government. I can understand that there need to be budget cuts, but do they really have to take away from schools? From the children? Sigh.......

My plans were great, noble plans, or so I thought. I was going to do something that surely God would have wanted me to do - it was much greater than simply being a wife and mother. My plans for my life were a lot different than God's plans. When I started college, my plan was to get my nursing degree, then transfer to another school in Atlanta where I would get my Midwifery certificate. I was going to deliver catch babies. And that's not all I was going to do, oh no. I was going to take those Midwifery skills and go to Africa and catch babies and educate mothers about breastfeeding and make a difference in the world. I was going to be Mother Teresa Junior, and I was going to do big things.

Unfortunately, I failed Anatomy. Twice. And there was no way I was even going to risk taking Chemistry and cause my GPA to fall even lower. And you all remember what happens when I see needles, right? So yeah, nursing is NOT something that I can, or should do.

After the unfortunate anatomy flops, I lost my scholarship and I quit going to all of my classes halfway through my third semester. I was doing all kinds of crazy things and I broke up with my boyfriend and it all got so bad that I had to seek psychiatric help. I was seven kinds of screwed up and my life was spinning out of control. Then my counselor suggested that I take an aptitude test, which told me exactly what I had known since I was a little girl playing school with my brother; I was cut out for teaching, and really not anything else.

I could be a teacher. There are no needles involved in teaching, and very rarely is there any blood. Fast forward to May 2008 and there I am, walking across the stage as a teacher. Teaching isn't exactly as fun or exciting as babies, but obviously it was what I was supposed to do, otherwise God wouldn't have let me get as far with it as I did. He would have steered me in another direction, or put up a roadblock so that I would go another route. But He didn't and now I have a two-year old teaching degree that is covered in dust from going unused for all this time (as well as thousands of dollars in student loan debt). And I don't know what to make of it all.
If I was supposed to go to Africa (or any other poor, desolate country that needed me), surely God would have sent me there before I got married and had a baby. I can't just up and leave and go to Africa now. So what am I supposed to do with my life? I feel like there is something more that I am supposed to be doing with my life, I'm just not sure what that is yet.

At times I think that God is trying to tell me that I will teach, just not in the way that I envisioned. I think He's trying to tell me that he wants me to homeschool my children, and I LOVE that idea. I cannot stand to be away from Emily (I am away from her right now and it is killing me) and I dread the thought of sending her away for the majority of her time awake when she is only four years old. I don't understand how people do it, but maybe in three years I will be ready for that time away from her. Somehow I doubt that.

It's funny isn't it, how life works out? How our plans are so much different than God's plans and even though we think we know what is best, His plans are better. It's so funny, I forgot to laugh.....

You Capture: Quiet

She's quiet at night, snuggled up with Daddy before bedtime.

She's quiet when her mouth is full.
 She's quiet when she is climbing the front porch steps, so concentrated & trying not to fall.

She's quiet when she swings because she's still not sure if she loves it or if she hates it.

She's quiet while she watches the dog.....
.....and while she waits to go outside.

But my favorite of all is when we are quiet together. I have to savor these moments because they are almost over.....

You can see many more beautiful You Capture photos here

Month 12

Dear Emily,

You are 1 year old! This past year has been the best, but also the hardest year of my life. You have brought so much joy to my life, and because of you, I finally know what real, unconditional love feels like. I am so proud of you for all that you have accomplished in these 12 short months. I am also proud of myself for keeping you (and myself) alive, proving that I can do this. We have both grown so much and not a day goes by that you don't amaze me with something new that you have learned. Slow down, baby girl, slow down.

In February, you learned how to get down from the couch all by yourself. Now only if you could learn to get up there all by yourself, we would all be much happier. You LOVE being on the couch, but that's probably because you love to get my cup which is usually on the table beside the couch. You think it is so neat to drink out of mommy's "big" cup, and it's a good thing there is always water in it because it always gets spilled.

You can now say say ball, all done/all gone (you say the same thing for both and you use your hands), cow, and either no-no or Nana - I can't tell which it is. If you want to go somewhere you will get your jacket from your room and bring it to me or daddy. You are aware of when you wet your diaper too - you will look down at it and try to pull it off. When I am changing your diaper you sometimes get away from me and you have peed on the floor a few times. You know when you are peeing because you will squat and look down at it and then run away as soon as you are done. I have had to shampoo the carpet a lot lately, but I am glad that you know what is going on down there. Hopefully it will help when you start learning to use the potty!

Right now, your eating habits are not the best. You hate to sit still for anything and you just will not sit in your highchair to eat a meal. You eat a little bit and then you want to get down. Usually you just eat a little bit of everything all day long, plus you still nurse 4 or 5 times every day. You love to do it still and it is the first thing that you want to do when you wake up in the morning. I am proud of us that we breastfed for a whole year, and although I am not looking forward to you weaning (whenever you are ready), I can't wait to not be tied down by it anymore.

And plus, there are the 6 teeth that you have now. You got your sixth tooth on February fourth (I think!) and even though you rarely ever bite me, when you do, you bite hard. You look so funny with teeth in your mouth. They almost look like they don't belong in there because teeth are for big girls, and when I look at you I don't always see you as a big girl. You're still just a little baby to me! When you first got your teeth, you didn't mind me brushing them, but now you won't let me anywhere near them. You are extremely independent and you want to brush them yourself, so I let you hold the toothbrush in your mouth and I hold your hand and brush as quickly as I can. You can really be difficult sometimes!

But sometimes you are the easiest baby in the world. You can play by yourself while I do things around the house and you are fine with that. You still go to sleep on your own at night and at nap time (even though last week you would NOT go to sleep without being rocked. I don't know what was up with that, but I kind of miss it now) and you sleep for about 10 straight hours at night. Some days you take two hour-long naps, and some days you take one long, two - three hour nap. And some days, we take naps together.

One of your favorite things to do now is go riding - on the golf cart, in daddy's truck when we go look at the cows, and in your wagon and car that you got for your birthday. We keep your car inside and you will just go sit in it and look at me and daddy, asking us with your eyes if we will push you around the house. We do this a lot. You also love to listen to music on You tube. Daddy started this around Christmastime when you wanted to hear Jingle Bells over and over and over. Your favorite songs are Five Little Monkeys, Rain Rain Go Away and If You're Happy And You Know It. When those songs are on you clap your hands and swing your arms and bounce up and down - you just get so excited!

What else happened in February? You got sick (and so did Daddy & I) with a stomach virus. You didn't let it slow you down, though! Then....

We went to Grandmama's house......


....and you found a paci to suck on, even though you haven't had one in months!

You played tug-of-war with Daddy. 

I finally started learning how to properly use my camera and I took tons of pictures of you. 

You celebrated your first Valentine's Day. 

We went to the park. 

You finally let me get a picture of your teeth. 

You drove the golf cart. 

You wore the dress that I made you. 

You got into everything.  

Then you got into everything at Nana's house.

You stuck out your tongue.....

...and made me smile.

You had your very first birthday party. 

You were beautiful.....


.....and mischievous.....

.....and unsure.

You smelled the flowers.

And you were loved. Oh, how much you were loved.

My baby girl, you will always, always be my baby girl. I hope that we have many more years together, you and I. I love you more than you can ever know. 

Love, Mommy

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