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My Definition of Bravery

March 20, 2015 in Love Notes / Uncategorized

As I was packing my bags to embark on a new adventure in my life, a friend said 3 strong words I will never forget: You be brave. Then, there I was, with tears in my eyes, blowing a kiss to my dad from the gate about to board by myself on a flight going across the world to meet up with a group in the middle of Africa for a humanitarian trip. I didn’t know what being brave actually meant at that moment. However, I was able to come to a harsh realization for the 3 months following that day.


In my mind at the time, I thought being brave might mean to work hard even when I’m homesick, or to be careful in dangerous situations. I was wrong. After a few experiences, I’ve come to find my own definition for bravery.

Our first orphanage we walked through was surreal. We got out of a bumpy taxi ride to meet with 70 barefooted African children in ripped shirts, or sometimes nothing at all; each with his or her own heartbreaking story and reality. They touched our white skin and observed our differences. I had to walk away. The scene was too hard for my own heart to even bare. Why do people have to live like this? What will happen in their lives? Why wasn’t I the one in their shoes?


Snapseed (The first orphanage…I made it black and white because I’m not the cutest cryer)

There were multiple experiences in Africa that are still hard to talk about. I volunteered in schools, hospitals, and communities. To explain it to someone who’s never been would be like trying to describe the color red to someone who was blind. It’s near impossible.

One day, in one of the villages, a sweet little boy was climbing mango trees with his friends and fell about 13 feet on his head. He had a concussion and some kind of neck injury. One of the villagers, not knowing what to do, picked him up and took him on a dirt bike taxi to get some help. I was at the hospital they brought him to. We had to take him in an ambulance to get to another hospital. This little nine year old laid on a shiny metal cot that was rolling around in the back of a truck bumping around like crazy on dirt roads. When we finally reached the hospital, I ran to see if we could get him in to help save his life. The answer I got from the hospital administrator was, “He’ll have to wait. I’ve got 900 other people in line.” At that moment the whole world spun in a circle and I realized I wasn’t in America anymore. My legs ached as I walked back to the ambulance truck to deliver the bad news. As this little boy waited at the hospital, I went home and spent time away from my group to pray for his little life. With a lot of help and events in between, little Ivan made it. I remember visiting him when he was recovering and he had a big bandage on his head. Not one whimper. He was ready to face whatever he needed to do to stay alive. He stood up and took a few wobbly steps. Despite the torment his body felt, he kept moving.

He is my definition of bravery.

As time went on, there were many other experiences that were similar to this one. As hard as life is, there is a love that exists in Africa that you can’t find in America. I was able to feel that every single day.

Two-thirds into the trip was my turn to be brave. I received one of the worst phone calls from back home. One of my best friends that I grew up with had passed away at such a young age. When I heard the news my body froze. I was clear across the world and felt hopeless. I called my baby sister and just sobbed as she held the phone to her ear for quite some time. I laid in bed grieving, with flashbacks and panic attacks of a cold reality. That night I had to make a decision.

That night, I needed to be brave.

The next morning, I woke up to the beautiful sounds of Africa. I made a choice. I got out of bed and put my shoes on. I was ready to go to work. I couldn’t dwell on things back home and I knew my friend wouldn’t want me to either.

We visited a primary school that day and on the wall I saw a hand made sign that read, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. My dad always taught me that growing up. Right then I knew this was when I needed to take my friend’s advice and be brave. I had new motivation for the reason I was in Africa. I woke up every day with heartache, and every day I would put on my shoes and go to work. I put my energy from my breaking heart into my hands to help someone else. I learned to be strong because I had to be.

Snapseed (1)

Courage and bravery aren’t just an attribute you are born with. Being brave is having the courage to keep going even when you are terrified. Being brave isn’t choking back hot tears and forcing a smile, it’s allowing yourself to feel heartache and then making the choice to get back up again. I still have times in my life, even as a mom now, where I feel defeated. Those are the times when I hear a voice in the back of my head that says, “You be brave”.

Hands Free Mama

February 27, 2015 in For Babies + Kids / Product Reviews / Uncategorized

You guys. (I feel like I always start my posts this way when I have something good to share with you!)

Remember that beautiful post that floated all over the internet called “The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’? Well, I was fortunate enough to get in contact with the author, Rachel Macy Stafford, who is completely admirable in every way. Her post touched so many lives in reminding us that it’s okay to slow down and enjoy the simple joys in every day life.

Not only that, but she also wrote a book called Hands Free Mama.


A few years ago, she was living a highly distracted lifestyle (like most of us!), and in one moment she realized she was missing out on the most important parts of her life. Not only in her own life, but her child’s life as well. The book talks about her experiences that have transformed her to be a hands free mama. She gives lots of tips to help motivate her readers to live the same – a rich-filled life without missing those precious moments we so often give up without even knowing.

Since reading her book, I’ve been able to reevaluate where I stand and strive to improve my relationship with my spouse and baby. I don’t miss “moments” because I was scrolling through my newsfeed or instagram. It’s amazing the kind of memories you make and moments you have just by slowing down, putting electronics away, and actually BEING where you are.

Even though my little guy is only one, I’ve noticed a huge change in our connection when I put him as my focal point. I savor those memories. Our yogurt paint, flour mess, and play dough dates are my favorite because it’s just us, no distractions.

It’s a constant effort for me to be Hands Free, but I pledge to work on it every day to help improve relationships and connections with people I love. This book has changed me.

“I will say yes to gumball machines and holding a big, fat toad that will probably pee on my hand. Because this makes my kids happy- and one day they’ll remember I said yes to gumballs and toads.” – Stafford



Friday Fitness: Finding a Healthy Balance

January 23, 2015 in Fitness / Uncategorized

I love when Trista stops by the blog to give us some health and wellness inspiration! Here’s her thoughts today:

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Fitness is a very important part of a happy and healthy life. But is it the be-all end- all? I submit that it is not! (gasp!)

Now don’t get me wrong, there is a huge sense of satisfaction that comes from working your butt off whether it be running, lifting, etc etc. That feeling you just can’t replicate anywhere else. It’s a high. You can truly feel the endorphins rushing your body, and you feel invincible!

However, what I think is a bigger, more important trial to conquer is that of a true healthy balance. If you mama’s are anything like me (and I’m seeing more and more that you are), there are times when I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot in the gym to work out! In fact, to be 100% honest… I had a new years resolution to train and compete in my second fitness contest, and I have already thrown in the towel. I had a big moment where I felt like I was failing by not fulfilling that goal, but after a LOT of thought, tears, and stress I finally came to the conclusion that there is a time and season in all things. I LOVED the first time I competed, and I would love to do it again. But, there are so many other things that are pulling my attention that quite frankly are so much more important than this contest. Realizing that and allowing myself to let go was so liberating, and THAT is true health and wellness.

Now being a mom of just one, I haven’t quite mastered the art of balance simply because I lack experience. But my hope is to think big picture, and find a healthy balance in my life. Like I said, working out is still a passion of mine. And I miss the days when I could spend hours in the gym without a thought of how it affected anyone else. Lets face it, we can’t do that. We have other people that are counting on us. Some of us are working moms, others are stay at home moms, but either way we are all moms and that is a job that you don’t get to clock in and out from. But how lucky are we that we get to be moms. We get these perfect, messy, loud and at times irritating little humans that we would sacrifice anything for. We just have to remember that through that, not to sacrifice balance in our own life. We need to stay sane for these people that count on us. However you define sanity… whether that’s reading a book, taking a bath, planning meals, cleaning, going to the gym, or taking a nap. These babes look to us as examples of how to love, live and to love how we live. What an amazing calling and blessing that is.

I recently read this article given back in December of 2011 and what really impressed me was the idea to put God, or the things you value most at the top of your priority list and the rest will either fall out of our life, or fall into place. What a simple, yet profound key to living a healthy and balanced life. I hope y’all find that as insightful as I did, and have an amazingly healthy and balanced weekend!! 

Monday Mama

January 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

I’m so excited to get back in the swing of things with our Monday Mama spotlights! I love reading about other moms and being able to relate to them.

Today’s Monday Mama is the beautiful Natalie. She loves sushi, crafting, fashion, traveling, fishing, and most importantly being a mama to her cute Makayla. She blogs over at Keeping Up with Makayla.

Here’s her story:


“Most of you have either heard of or possibly experienced the ‘mommy blues’. That overwhelming feeling of having to take care of an infant on little to no sleep while still maintaining your life, yeah that feeling. While some experience a much worse feeling, postpartum depression.

In the first few months as a new mommy you feel anxious about taking care of your new, fragile little ‘cub’. At the same time you are sleep deprived, possibly covered in spit up, and may have not showered in a day or two. You may have also experienced a sense of loss for who you used to be. I’m here to tell you, it’s normal.

After my little girl was born I was overwhelmed, stressed, tired, and more. I felt like a completely different person and no one understood. Shortly after my daughter turned 3 months old I went to my doctor to discuss how I have been feeling. I had been in denial of my feelings for months and it was effecting my marriage, my work, everything. With my daughter in my arms, tears running down my face I explained to the doctor my sense of feeling completely lost, depressed, and overwhelmed. I felt like the worst mother in the world. I mean who am I to be depressed? I have a healthy, beautiful little girl. I had a very easy labor and birth. I felt guilty for being depressed with everything I was blessed with while other mothers sit in the NICU wishing they could hold their little one or have a little one born with a serious medical condition.

After a long talk with my doctor he let me know it is okay to feel this way, that it is completely normal.

My advice to new mommies dealing with the “mommy blues” or postpartum depression is this….

  1. Talk. Talk to someone, anyone. If your husband or significant other does not understand, talk with a loved one or friend. Don’t be afraid that they will judge you, it’s completely normal. Becoming a mother is beautiful, crazy, scary, and overwhelming.
  2. Pray. And pray hard.
  3. Face your feelings with acceptance. I was in denial for months. If I would have just accepted my feelings I could have enjoyed those first few months with my little girl a little more.
  4. Keep a journal. Write your feelings down. Look back on them in a week or month. You’ll be amazed how different you feel. It will also give you a sense of control. Don’t let your feelings take over.
  5. Take time for yourself. Take a couple hours each week to go do something for you. Go get a manicure/pedicure. Get a massage. Take a bath. Do something for you, you deserve it!
  6. Time management. Learn how to manage your time. As a new mom you will be juggling the tasks of several different occupations. Learn to manage your time wisely and take deep breaths. You are not going to get everything done in one day. Prioritize your tasks by most important.
  7. Work out. Go for a walk, jog, run. Join a gym, yoga class, anything!
  8. Get Assistance. Do not be afraid to ask for help. I thought I could do it all on my own. I felt if I was going to be the best mother I had to be able to do everything myself. Wrong! Let others help. It takes a village to raise a child.
  9. Date.  Go on a date at least twice a month with your spouse or significant other. Your spouse/significant other should still come first.
  10. Lastly, seek professional help. If you feel like nothing else will work it is okay to get help. It is okay to take medicine {only if prescribed by a professional}.

Don’t be ashamed of how you feel. You are not alone! And in the end your new little family is all that matters.”

MIA for the Holidays

December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

So I’ve been a little MIA the passed few weeks with Christmas and I have to say… it was kinda nice! I spent lots of time with fam and put social media and the blog aside. I definitely recommend it sometimes! It helped me take a step back and really enjoy the beauty of my own life instead of always reading/seeing others. I’m feeling so blessed!

In case you are out and about this week (or in my case at home in my PJ’s online shopping!!!) Check out Carter’s deals! (thanks Shopular!)

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Also, if you have a Costco membership stock up on Huggies NOW!!! $6 off a box! (thanks Lindsey from The Mamahood group!)

Can’t wait for the start of this new year and the exciting things coming! Stay tuned:)



Secret: Shopular App

December 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

I just wanted to share with y’all an app that I use ALL. THE. TIME. I’ve mentioned it before, but yesterday I needed to run and get a few warm clothes for the babe before heading up north and it’s the fastest, easiest way to get deals that are right close to wherever you are!

It’s called Shopular. Let’s be honest, some apps are a total bust and although this post is sponsored by them, all opinions are my own and I wouldn’t even post about it if I thought it was dumb!

This is what it looks like… you can just scroll through all of your favorite stores.


Seriously, check it out. Especially for last minute Christmas shopping if you are wanting to save a few bucks and find good deals! Happy shopping:)

INTRODUCING: Mamahood Love Mail!

December 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

Do you know a mom who deserves some recognition? Here’s your chance to nominate a mom who deserves a “Thank you”! Each month I will be teaming up with The Dainty Pear to send some personalized love mail with one of these inside to a mom that is nominated! Just comment below who you nominate and why (if you want it to be anonymous you can email me: Also, you can get 30% off right now using code: THEMAMAHOOD14 at her shop!

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December 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

You guys. Giveaways are so fun! This week I picked out some of my favorite Etsy/Small shops to do a few giveaways for you all! Follow along so you don’t miss out on all this goodness:) Enter here and stay tuned for more!

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