Loulie Bug Dasher, Fashion Icon

Ever since LB approached the two and a half mark, she has exerted her independence with an even greater intensity than first exhibited in her earlier years. Never is this independence more apparent than in the first hour of her day when choosing her attire. Occasionally she allows me to pick out a few options for the day since her main concentration is in the details. Yes, this young lady is all about the accessories! And as you will see below, she does not allow weather or season to confine her rich choice of color or fabric. In fact, like many young influential females today, she chooses to ignore all rules and set her own standards for looking good. 
Casual approach to Superbowl Sunday--pj pants backwards, favorite tee, comfy shoes--ready to cheer on the "Georgiaball game" 
Christmas in April--apparently Dashers can wear reindeer (and corduroy) year round

Bringing back the Du-Rag

This was the pantless stage from early March. Really allows one to show off those hard earned thigh rolls.

Mixing tones-coral, hot pick and light pink. The combination of booty shorts with fur boots upset her daddy but Loulie made it work.

Wise choice of accessories

Those four inch heels will get you everytime

Never underestimate the importance of good lingerie. Choose the wrong bra and everything looks out of proportion.

Loulie Bug, I hope you never lose your unique sense of style and confidence. I love finding you in my closet every morning!


What a croc!

Don't you just hate it when you can't get good reception inside a store?!

* I should also point out that right before trying on these shoes. She says "Oh mom, dose are my favorite! I gone put dem on." As if she is a 13 yr old girl, everything these days is "her favorite"!


Resume Part Two

Two years ago, I hung up my suits, threw away a pair of worn out heels and retired about 20 years earlier than anticipated. Yes, today marks the two year anniversary that I have been a stay at home mother. 
I first off want to say that I know every woman has her struggles with balancing career and family and that like your birth story, everyone has one personal to them. I have wanted to tell mine now for a while because it isn't so much about choosing my child over work but how God tugged on my heart and completely changed the way I thought about a lot of things including my self worth. So as a preface, please know that this is in no way passing judgement on any mother working or staying home. I have an extraodinary amount of respect for all the mamas out there putting their families first and joyfully (and sometimes not joyfully) doing this work of parenthood (in whatever capacity) everyday. This is MY story and MY experience. 
And I should begin by telling you that from the moment I set foot in Atlanta, purchased my first suit, sat through my first sales training and received that first bonus check; all thoughts of ever staying home with children became a distant idea. Not only did it become a distant idea, it became a negative choice--something that boring, submissive women did. I had horribly judgemental ideas of what would you do all day, how terrible to have to depend on a man, what a waste of an education and talent! And as I spent more years working and spending time with coworkers just like me, those ideas began to shape the way I saw myself. As I succeeded--higher numbers, bigger bonuses, encouragement to move up--my job became my identity. That was who I was--business minded, driven, competitive and as my manager would assure me 'going places." I wasn't drinking the company koolaid, I was IV-ing into my arm. And life went on just fine until marrying Bert and moving left me without the fuel to my fire. My energy had been spent on working and with out that, I suddenly felt very invaluable. In my year long search for a job in Charleston, I would get so frustrated that I wasn't "bringing anything to the table." I didn't feel like I brought any value to our marriage because I didn't provide a paycheck nor did I feel that my day was meaningful. I volunteered but still my self worth was so tied to earnings and productivity; I couldn't shake feeling kind of useless despite Bert's encouragement. Not only that but by putting so much pressure on myself to earn, it blindingly kept me from submitting and trusting him to take care of our family.
Thankfully, I found a job in Charleston and once again felt satisfied with how my time was spent. I had Loulie and returned back to work with a lot of resignations but stood on the ground that work needed me, that I needed the
 money, and that I would never find a job like that again. I now look back and see how prideful, how selfish and how untrusting I was. In the meantime, Loulie had horrible colic. Her daycare workers would call me out of meetings, I would pick her up to find her on the lap of the head administrator because her caretakers couldn't handle her neediness along with 7 other babies. And through all this, I prayed for signs of what to do but still held on to the thought of what would I be if I chose to stay home. How could I trust Bert to care for us?  That if I stayed at home no one would ever know what I had accomplished, that I was capable and smart. Talk about Satan having a party in your head?!
I began to get worn down. One night Loulie stayed up screaming until 5:00am. After finally getting to sleep, the alarm went off an hour and a half later so that I could get Loulie to daycare before an 8:00 meeting. It was hell and we were both miserable. 
I prayed more. I asked the advice of friends. I stained my poor mother's ear daily. And one day a friend said something to me that flipped a switch. "Whatever you decide to do, just don't loose your identity." I remember clearly going home and standing at my kitchen counter thinking "so is my identity my work?". Is that who I think I am? And like a cloud lifting, all of my self righteous sin that I had been masking with excuses for months was revealed. And I realized the real reason I was struggling. After praying and praying, all circumstances were pointing to me staying home. And after fighting it for so long, it became so apparent that I was scared of what God had in store, I was scared of loosing control, I was scared of not being able to provide for myself and Loulie, and I was scared of going down a road that might not have an exit ramp. So with so much trepidation, I made a call, I finished up my two weeks and I handed my self worth back to the Lord.

And for months he did a great work on my heart.

I get asked all the time since I have done both sides of it whether or not I think a friend or coworker should stay home with their child. I want to share what I've learned so far but I'll save it for another post. Like I said earlier, it is a different story and choice for each family. I have one answer for myself--I have never once looked back with regret. It took a lot of pruning but I have peace that what I am doing now is where I am meant to be. That what I do with my hours and days doesn't define who I am.  That the choice wasn't about what to do but who I was putting in control, who I was choosing to trust. And I hope I never stop being thankful for the lessons I've learned and the way I now spend my days.


Week 14 inspired by...

Nest egg

"I don't wear my religion on my sleeve. I'm extremely reluctant to talk about it at all. Chiefly because my belief does not really reduce itself to simple statements."
-Marilyn Robinson, Pulitzer Prive Winning Essayist

I am particularly loving these words this week. Because how hard is it to explain the Easter story? You can summarize it in a paragraph (He is risen!) but I think until you experience the overwhelming awe yourself, it is something that cannot be explained in a simple statement.


Has anyone else seen this?

I have a weakness for artsy independent films that no one else sees. Last weekend I rented Like Crazy and watched while Bert worked late Saturday night. I felt the same way I did when Blue Valentine ended. But Sunday came and I couldn't shake the feeling of this movie. Days later I am still thinking about it. I think I have decided I like it. Without giving too much away, it is not a warm and fuzzy. In fact, it leaves you a little raw. The story builds around a couple trying to make it work long distance which may be why it affected me so much. Because watching this couple try to navigate being in different cities felt all too familiar. In 52 weeks, Bert and I missed two weekends. But two days a week doesn't make up for all you miss out on during the week. Before marriage, we had never woken up on a Sunday where one of us didn't have to pack up and leave. Crazy! Now when I think about the circumstances around our courtship--that we had never lived in the same city, that he had hardly ever seen me on just a regular day (no makeup, sweat clothes, grouchy from a long work day, etc), that we hardly knew each other's friends or coworkers; all I can think is crazy! I watched an interview with the actors where the question was broached why do people think they can make long distance work? that it will work out for them when it always seems to fail?
Who knows? Why did we try it? Why did we think we could make long distance work when I couldn't make it work with a guy that lived down the street? I talked about all of this the other day with a friend who is struggling in a long distance relationship. I guess what I am trying to say is despite the challenges, YES! sometimes it does work. 
Has anyone else seen this movie? What did you think?

P.S. This song is in the movie and I just love it! Someone needs to choreograph a ballet to it.

P.S. I love hearing couples' stories--how people met, the challenges it took to get where they are. To me it is not the perfect romances but the real life, slightly worn love that is so inspiring. The rise and falls, the changing of lover and beloved and the knowledge that God has his hand in all of it. It really is one of my favorite things to find out about someone.