Madre Beads

I love seeing women hustling hard to make their dreams come true. It's even better when it's my own friends. I really have the most inspirational friends. Women who are strong and smart and brave. Women who take risks and have amazing business ideas. I only want to support them and cheer them on.

Lacy, a fantastic writer who has helped me get my own freelance writing career off the ground, recently started her own business called Madre Beads. Madre Beads are eco-friendly, non-toxic jewelry for moms and their little ones. They come in the cutest designs made from the best quality wooden beads (safe for baby to chew on) and soft stretchy t-shirt yarn (safe for baby to pull). 

I love my Madre Beads necklace. When we took a family trip to Disney World a couple weeks ago I wore my necklace and my kids had fun playing with it when they got bored waiting in lines. And I didn't have to worry about them breaking it or anything. 

And it's really perfect for nursing moms. I remember little fingers constantly tugging on my hair while feeding, it would have been nice to have this necklace as a distraction! Plus, they're just so cute. 

The new summer line launches on Monday, April 27th! You'll want to grab one for you, your sister, your friend, and even a mini-necklace for your little one. Be sure to follow Madre Beads on Instagram to get all the latest up-to-date information. And here's a little peek at the new summer line:

Happy Shopping!

finding my parenting sweet spot

Lately I feel like I survived something. I survived the "early years." I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am not a big fan of babies. There's just something about the baby years that feels so frantic. You're walking around in a sleepy fog covered in spit up and your house smells like poop. The baby is constantly up and crying and you can't figure out what in the world they want. It's maddening. 

Maybe that hasn't been your baby experience, but it's certainly been mine. There were so many days when I just felt weary. I was tired and wondering what happened to my life. It felt like I would be stuck in an endless cycle of weariness. But, as Rach Kincaid said recently, "weary is a season, it's not our identity."

I can personally attest to that sentiment. Now that my kids are just a little bit older I'm feeling a little less weary these days. That's not to say we don't have our struggles, the "threenager" struggle is real! But it just doesn't feel as crazy. Things have slowed down. My kids are little more independent. I have the ability to sit and write this while my son is at school and my daughter is playing independently. It's nice. 

I feel like I have found my parenting sweet spot. This toddler/preschool stage is fantastic. One thing that I always worried about previously was that I wasn't enjoying motherhood. I was merely surviving. And it's okay to be in survival mode, having two kids back to back warrants that, but I didn't want to stay there. It's easy to wave the little white flag and live everyday just trying to get to bedtime in one piece. It's easy to fall into a pattern of self-pity and resentment. I had to decide to let go and let Jesus work in me. I had to call out to Him. I can't tell you how many times I've had to just stop, close my eyes, and say, "Lord, I can't do this without You. I need YOU." And He is so good to calm my heart and show me the way. 

These days I am enjoying motherhood more than I ever have. I look at my kids and I feel grateful for their lives. I feel grateful for their personalities and their chubby cheeks and sticky kisses. Motherhood is sweet. The crazy baby season is fading and we're entering a new stage. When people tell you, "this too shall pass," it's really true. So hold on to that hope. Keep looking for your parenting sweet spot, I'm sure you will find it. 

Whose favor am I seeking?

Sometimes my line of work is crazy. I started out just wanting to write, but these days a big part of writing online is social media. People are always inquiring about your following. How many Twitter followers do you have? How many people like your Facebook page? How many likes do you get on your Instagram pictures? 

At first I really didn't care about any of that stuff. I've never been one to care about popularity, but when I started getting writing gigs I realized how important it was to get a good following. A lot of sites have a certain number of views they want you to hit, and if you don't reach it you're in danger of losing your job. And, you know, it's nice when people like your pictures and comment on how cute your kids are and say how much they love your writing. 

For a while I became obsessed with how many Instagram followers I had. For some reason I wanted to hit the magical number of 1000. I started wondering what I could do to gain followers. I even took a class about doubling your Instagram following. I was so excited by this idea, but by the end of the class the secret hadn't been divulged. I would have to pay a lot of money (well, a lot in my world) to take additional classes in which I could learn the secret strategy. 

That's when I was done. Why did I care so much? I'm a small fish in the blogging world. I don't have thousands of hits on my blog or hundreds of shares on Facebook. And I still don't have 1000 Instagram followers. I had been getting caught up in gaining the favor of the masses and forgetting that I already have the favor of God. 

This can happen to anyone, not just bloggers. My husband, for example, is a people pleaser. It's a good thing and a bad thing. He works hard to deliver a good product at work. He tries his best to help people in anything they need. He's kind and sweet. But then he forgets to draw boundaries and takes on too much because he doesn't want to tell anyone, "no." And when someone doesn't invite him to a party or compliment his work, he definitely gets his feelings hurt. He seeks the favor of people around him and sometimes forgets that he has God's favor. 

It's not bad to hustle. It's not bad to have 1000+ Instagram followers. It's not even bad to try to make sure people like you. But when we become so obsessed with the idea of gaining the favor of the masses, that's a problem. 

In a way it's been so freeing to let go of that pressure. If people don't like me, that's okay. God sees my innermost parts (He created them!), not just the parts I choose to share on the Internet, and He loves me just the same. I want to be the type of person who is constantly seeking God's favor and not man's. It's true when the Bible says that God's yoke is easy. I am so thankful that I don't have to worry about pleasing the world, I'd much rather please Him. 

healthy mama

Thank you to Healthy Mama for sending me this great package of goodies!

Thank you to Healthy Mama for sending me this great package of goodies!

I've mentioned before that I am preparing to be a gestational surrogate (you can keep up with that journey on Part of the preparation means making sure my body is healthy and ready to take on a pregnancy. 

I met with the fertility doctor last month and he suggested I start taking prenatal vitamins. I have to admit that I was never very good about taking my prenatal vitamins in the past - mostly because a lot of them taste gross and are hard to swallow. 

Healthy Mama reached out to me at just the right time and offered to send me their products. I was so excited to receive these goodies. You can learn about the Healthy Mama mission here, but basically they want to create products for mothers-to-be that are safe to take during pregnancy. I remember always being so worried about taking medications during my pregnancies because I didn't want to take anything that would harm my baby. It's nice to see a brand that has done all the research and created a trust-worthy product for pregnant mamas. 

I've been taking the prenatal vitamins along with the DHA supplement daily and I'm pleasantly surprised that the pills don't taste horrible and are easy to swallow. Hopefully as we move forward with the surrogacy I will be able to test out the other products (bring on that sleep aid! haha). I'm happy that there is a safe and healthy option for medications out there for us mamas. 

Here's to a happy and healthy pregnancy!