June 1, 2013

My Little Bird has flown to a new nest!!!

After about a year in this dear old blogspot space, My Little Bird is making an exciting move!

Won't you join me over here from now on?: My Little Bird Blog

I'm so thankful for you following along with the journey so far, with the anticipation of our sweet little boy, a big move, job changes, big prayer requests, Emmett's struggles with acid reflux and food allergies, and maybe, what I'm most thankful for- your encouragement over this year when I needed it the most as a new mama. Thank you, thank you.

This transition to the new blog is explained in full over at the new site, and I do hope you'll come along. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making My Little Bird such a special place for me to share my heart, no matter what the URL ;)

Mama Bird

May 29, 2013

The Simple Things: Alone Time and Salsa

There are a lot of recent blessings and pictures and updates I could list here to share with you my 'simple things' gratitude list. But I'm currently nomming on a curry chicken salad sandwich and sipping some really good hazelnut iced coffee at my favorite local coffee shop and I only have a half an hour so I'm going to just stream-of-consciousness style list it all. :)

Thankful lately for:
-the goodness that counseling is for my soul -a counselor I can laugh with and who just gets me after only a few sessions -the fact that there is a Christian counseling center in Roanoke (what a huge blessing!) -the fact that my husband is so overwhelmingly supportive of me going back to counseling and getting a grip on my anxiety and perfectionism :)

-this rare bit of alone time, sans baby, to just chill at a coffee shop and eat a great late lunch and write -the homemade salsa that I'm devouring with my sandwich and chips! -hearing the coffee shop buzz that I so often miss in my current season of life -the whir of the espresso machine, the chatter of work meetings and friend catch-ups, the radio playing songs I actually love, the register accepting another purchase, the bell on the door telling of comings and goings

-a wonderful weekend that got to happen after a cancelled camping trip and rearranging of plans to go home and see my family after several months apart -watching Emmett get to know his Mom-mom and Grandpop and Auntie Linds and Uncle Bobby, and seeing them all light up over him the same way I do when I spend time with this precious child -sitting on the porch swing in our backyard with Neil at every chance we got -amazing (though quick) visits with dear friends over great food, drinks, laughter, and honest conversations/catch-ups -a heart to heart with my sister in the bathroom as we got ready for bed, the kind of talk that I miss when we're away from each other that just isn't the same as those phone calls across miles -the break my husband was able to take from work this weekend after weeks of working REALLY hard (hey three-day weekend, I'm a big fan of you!) -celebrating my dad's birthday over a relaxing and fun meal with my family, including my beloved grandparents that I've missed like crazy

-a REALLY exciting announcement coming to the blog on Friday June 1st! keep your eyes peeled. this has been coming for months and I'm pretty much bursting for the final details to be put in place so I can share this news with you!

-the fact that three-day weekends make for shorter weeks, and that we're already close to the weekend! Neil and I are helping at a Sidewalk Art Show this weekend for the Taubman, which I'm pretty excited about!

-and last but not least, I'm thankful for this little booger :)

What are you thankful for this Wednesday afternoon?

Hope you're enjoying your afternoon, dear friend.

Mama Bird

May 28, 2013

Letters from a year ago

Yesterday, my little boy turned 11 months old. He's getting to be so much fun, with his little chirpy noises, and singing and clapping along to banjo music, and his love for the outdoors, and his running around (oh yes, this kid is running). I wish I could freeze time a bit, since in just a few short weeks he'll be turning one.

We're planning the first birthday celebrations, and we just boxed up all of his clothes from the first year. It's remarkable how much he has grown and changed in just a little less than a year, but then again I'm pretty amazed at how Neil and I have grown and changed this year as well as we've settled into life here on the farm in Virginia and settled into our life as parents.

I kept a journal during most of my pregnancy full of letters and thoughts I wanted to share with Emmett. I decided to pull it out tonight and read through a few entries. I had the idea to include some of the entries and pictures from this time last year to just show how much things have changed. I'm thinking I'll try to share a few here and there leading up to the big ONE year birthday for our sweet boy!
May 17, 2012

Dear baby,

Feeling you move is the best part of my day. No matter what kind of day I have had, your little sighs and squirms and rolls and punches make me stop for a minute and look down at my growing belly and smile, and thank God that you are being knit together inside of me. I truly can't wait to hold you, to see you, to kiss your soft little cheeks and forehead and fingers, and rock you to sleep each night; to teach you, to cry with you, to love you and to learn from you each day of your life, sweet boy. Just seven more weeks until our adventure together starts.

Love Mama

May 28, 2012

Well sweetheart, six weeks and counting! We are getting more and more settled into our new life here. Your nursery is about 80% ready to go. We still need a few more things (we have all of the essentials though), and I have a few more projects to complete before you arrive (if I have time). Your crib isn't set up yet, so we actually have our mattress in your room for the time being. Can I just say, we love your room?! It's so cozy!

Today is Memorial Day, so your Papa and Grandpa have the day off. We'll probably do some more unpacking and settling in. Love you baby!

 Posts from this time last year: One of my first 'Simple Things' posts about Settling In and Permanent (exactly a year ago today!)

Hope you had fun looking at these little blasts from the past, and I'll look forward to sharing a few more letters and posts and pictures with you as we count down to June 27th!

Mama Bird

May 21, 2013

Love Yourself: In Letting Go

When I was in college, I went through a traumatic experience that shook up my world and the way I saw pretty much everything-- my faith, relationships, good and evil, sin, love, and forgiveness.

I don't think I'll ever be able to share that story in such a public forum as a blog, but the details of that story are not important here. The important thing is how that experience changed me, and ultimately helped me learn how to love myself more.

I held onto the emotional scars and the baggage of that piece of my story like they were my lot in life-- something I would carry with me forever, something that I was kind of afraid to let go of but also absolutely desperate to be freed from. The weight of it sometimes felt like it was drowning me. I had become a shell of the old version of myself, pretending it all was okay, but inside falling further into the valley of depression as a result. I had come to a place where the scar of this ugly thing made me feel unlovable- to anyone down the road who may want to spend their life with me, but most importantly to myself. After several months of holding on tight to the secret, the shame, the wounds that were still open and aching, I knew that I needed to let go. To survive. To breathe again. To find what it meant to be free.

I started climbing towards light. Literally, it felt like the slowest little turtle crawl I could fathom. But it was movement. I wasn't stuck anymore. I started seeing a counselor at my school who helped me put some of the pieces together, gave me helpful terms and resources for processing the experience, and just gave me a place every week that I could tear the walls down that I worked so hard to keep up everywhere else and just cry.

I wrote. I let words fall like tears into my journal. I wrote letters that were never sent just to get the words out. I wrote poems. I wrote short scenes and plays, letting myself relive what happened and giving myself control of the story. I made art. I made art with good friends who knew my pain and we cried together over the therapy of seeing what came out onto the page. I told my story to those few close friends and mentors around me at that time that I felt could handle it, and they poured love on me that felt like soothing balm to my aching heart. I let myself take space when I needed it. I let myself ask for prayer when I couldn't pray the prayers myself. And eventually, I felt like I could trust again.

Neil and I were reconnected towards the end of that healing process. On our third date, I did something terribly bold that I still look back in wonder at and think to myself, 'What were you thinking?' But there, on a September day walking around Boston, I heard my heart. It said, 'You need to tell him.' We sat down for coffee at a sweet little cafe on Newbury Street, and over lattes I nervously told him the deepest part of my heart. I knew that if he could stand with me through that, this was it. And he reached across the table and took my hand.

I took my final (?) step of healing with my now husband, as he encouraged me to write one more letter. It was one of forgiveness. Reading that letter aloud to Neil (and myself) was one of the hardest things we've ever had to go through in our relationship. But afterwards, a chapter had closed, and that nagging scar finally stopped aching. We were married a little more than a year later.

I don't tell you all of this to tease you with a story that I'm only giving glimmers of. Nor do I mean to worry any of my family or friends reading this (that is the farthest from my intentions!). But I do share it to give you hope and encouragement. My faith has become my rock like never before. I see forgiveness and grace and redemption as real, tangible, moving things and not just cliches anymore. I am so happy to have and to know that my dearest friends are accepting of me, scars and all, and that there is unconditional love that surpasses even our worst hurts and griefs and darknesses. But most importantly, I'm so thankful for the healing gift of self-care, and that I took the time and emotional energy to process and eventually let go of this painful piece of my life. It hasn't gone away completely, as it is part of who I am today. But I'm so very thankful to know how much stronger it makes me when I love myself enough to look for healing.

What would it take for you to let go of past hurts, present pains, nagging expectations or guilt or perfectionism or scars that you carry with you today? What would it take for you to let go and start living more fully?

In loving ourselves in the letting go,
Mama Bird 

This post is part of the Love Yourself Link-Up series with Anne the Adventurer. Won't you join us?

May 19, 2013

The Little Adventures // 4

I don't remember where I initially found this quote, but I had it hanging in my office at my last job before I became a stay-at-home mama. I find such hope and joy in it :)

'The world's favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.' -Edwin Way Teale

I can't help but feel that truth pulsing through with all of the little adventures around here lately. First Mother's Day last weekend. Emmett's first real ride on a tractor. His first time playing with crayons. My first time learning how to plant in the garden after a magical trip to a garden center to pick out flowers, tomato plants, mint, arugula, and a beautiful Hen and Chicks succulent. Gorgeous May weather on the farm, and celebrating a whole year of being here in Virginia. Captions are necessary for the following photos... just wanted to let you in on life as of late!

Love that eyebrow look and the dino shirt from his Uncle Gibby
All dressed up for Mother's Day
Oh, my heart :)
Mama and her boy
The Line-Up
Trying to teach Emmett how to color
First ride on the tractor with Grandpa
A new papercutting I'm working on!
During a walk this week. Love this view in the springtime
Seersucker pants and humidity hair ;)
Grandpa, Scooby the goat, Grandma, E and Miss Annie (the dog)
Trip to a garden center! Beautiful succulent arrangement
Emmett and his Aunt Beth
In the greenhouse
Sprite, the horse at the garden center
Thought of you when I saw this one, Ali!
He slept so hard after this! (tired and flushed, but still so cute)
A treat that my mother-in-law bought for me

With May-seasoned hope that all things are possible,
Mama Bird