“Desperate” Book Review | Columbus Ohio Baby Photographer

Chapter 1: ” Ideals and Going Under”

Over the past two weeks I introduced the book Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe By Sarah Mae. If you missed those posts, you can read them here and here. Today, I am going to delve into chapter 1.

Sarah Mae starts off the chapter with this quote:

“I want to set realistic goals that fit who I am, and what God requires of me.”

I realized very quickly that some of the goals I had set for myself in motherhood were unrealistic. Until I lowered my expectations, I was always disappointed because I felt like I was failing. Ultimately, it is what God wants for us that matters. My main goal is to please Him and fulfill the purpose that he has given me.

Sally Clarkson, mentor to Sarah Mae, offers a lot of insight throughout this book. Her input in chapter 1 is no exception. In the following excerpt, she shares one of her prayers.

“As I sat in still darkness, my heart cried out to God, perhaps more sincerely than ever before. Lord, teach me how to be a mother. I feel so inadequate. I don’t know what to do. But you are {insert child’s name}’s heavenly father, and you love him even more than I do, so please show me your way and help me to know how to do the right things.”

I have prayed that prayer more times than I can count. I just want to do what is right for my son. I want to be the best mom to him that I can be. I want to raise him in a way that is pleasing to God. As a parent, there are so many important decisions to make for my child. I want to make the right ones.

Sally is full of encouraging words for a mom who is struggling. Her words made me feel so important. She reminds women every where that God designed them with a specific purpose in mind.

“In keeping with His character, He must have intended something beautiful in creating a woman with the ability to give life, nurture with love, and cultivate the soul of a precious human being entrusted into her hands.”

Such a big, important, and sometimes scary responsibility God has given to mothers. He trusted me to love, nurture, and care for the sweet little boy he blessed me with. I never want to take my job as a mother lightly. Thankfully, he doesn’t just leave us on our own to figure everything out. He leads us and guides us each and every day.

“Each of us has a story, but God who originated the design of motherhood, is the expert adviser to whom we should turn. God has equipped us for every good work, and I am quite confident that he who designed this role to be so eternally significant is the one who is ready to help, support, instruct, and guide. He will provide all we need for the task he has given us to fulfill. But to hear from God we must become women of the word and women who pray, so that His voice may lead us as we grow into this role with grace.”

At the end of the chapter, Sally leaves us with one more quote to tell us just how important she believes the role of a mother to be.

“I have even come to believe that a mother’s role might be the most determining factor as to how history will unfold.”

That quote reminds me of another one by William Ross Wallace that my husband often reminds me of.

“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

I would like to leave you with the two verses of scripture that Sarah Mae included at the end of this chapter.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you., for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

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1st Birthday Cake Smash Pictures | Columbus Ohio Baby Photographer

Birthday Girl

Emma’s mom is a friend of mine and I was so excited when she contacted me about 1st birthday pictures. I had the privilege of taking her newborn pictures a year ago and I loved seeing how much she had changed and grown. Mom chose a unicorn theme for her party and pictures. Jumbo cupcake by Miranda Huey of Miranda Made.

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Click here to see more 1st birthday cake smash sessions by Joyful Moments Photography


“Desperate” Book Review | Columbus Ohio Baby Photographer

Desperate Introduction: “I Can’t Be a Mother Today”

Throughout the introduction of the book Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to BreatheSarah Mae poured out her heart to the reader. I could relate to almost everything she wrote. I didn’t expect to take so many notes just from the introduction. There are three specific quotes I would like to share with you today.

“Depression snuck up on me; there was a shell of a woman where I once was. My ideals, my hopes, my joy, were snatched away before I had the chance to notice. Pleas for help aimed at heaven seemed to be met with silence. The message was clear: this was my life, and I needed to just deal with it.”

I felt like she was writing out my story. This is EXACTLY how I felt. I didn’t know who I was anymore. In a single moment, my identity completely changed.

“Adjusting didn’t go well. Anger and resentment were living just under my skin. Exhausted, out of my mind, and still hormonal, every day felt like a fight. Feelings of desperation were like an ever present shadow over the good in my life. Experiencing hope in Jesus felt like chasing gold at the end of a rainbow… getting to it was always out of reach. Motherhood was something I planned for, something I wanted, so why was living it out so drastically different from my expectations?”

Again, was she reading my mind? No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t see the good past all of the bad. I felt like the darkness was closing in on me and I couldn’t find an escape. I have always wanted to be a mom, I had looked forward to it my whole life. Why wasn’t it going the way I had expected – the way other mom’s proclaimed it to be?

“The lifetime commitment that is motherhood will, many days, stretch you beyond what you think you can handle.”

Can I get an AMEN?!?! I never thought I could handle some of the things I have gone through in the last several months. I am so much stronger than I ever knew I could be. God has been there for me through all of it. He never let go of me and he never left my side.

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If you missed last week’s post about the forward from Desperate, you can find it here.

 


1st Birthday Cake Smash Pictures | Columbus Ohio Baby Photographer

This Little Monster Turns One

We have been doing a lot of cake smashing around here lately.

This little guy’s mom (who also happens to be one of my best friends) chose a monster themed 1st birthday party and decided to stick with that theme for his cake smash session. She provided the birthday banner and I custom ordered the cake to match her theme and color choice.

Contact me today to book your child’s custom 1st birthday cake smash session.

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To see more sessions like this one, visit the Joyful Moments Photography 1st Birthday cake smash portrait gallery.


“Desperate” Book Review | Columbus Ohio Photographer

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson

In Wednesday’s blog post I mentioned that one of the ways I find encouragement as a mom is by reading. I looked up suggestions for “encouragement for moms” and found a lot of great options. The first one I decided to reserve at the library was Desperate. This book is filled with so much relatable content and great suggestions for moms. As I read through each chapter, I took notes on passages that specifically spoke to me. I also wrote down encouraging thoughts and clever ideas for the future stages of childhood. I decided I wanted to share my thoughts about this amazing book with you. My hope is that you will decide to read the entire book for yourself. There is so much more than what you’ll find below, especially if you are in a different season of motherhood than me.

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Today, I just want to tell you what other’s have to say about the book and then give you one quote from the forward.

Rave reviews

“Powerful, captivating, and gut-wrenchingly honest; if this superb book could get into the hands of every mom, our world would drastically change, for the good! It’s a new classic for a new generation.”    – Kristen Habermehl, Author and Speaker from www.myheartathome.com

“Vulnerable yet practical, honest yet graceful. The greatest gift within these pages is the encouragement and freedom to mother just as you are.”   – Amy Lynn Andrews; Author of Tell Your Time and AmyLynnAndrews.com

Forward

“I was coming to realize: My kids don’t need to see a supermama. They need to see a mama who needs a Super God. That maybe being the mama I wanted to be wasn’t so much about being more but believing more; believing and trusting more in the God of Hagar and Ruth and Hannah, the God who sees me, who nourishes me, who hears me and answers. That Godly parenting isn’t ultimately a function of rules but having a relationship with an ultimate God. That Godly parenting is fueled by God’s grace, not my efforts. That maybe it all comes down to this: if I make God first and am most satisfied in His love, I’m released to love my children fully and most satisfactorily.” – Ann Voskamp, mama to six, author of the New York Times bestseller One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are ER waiting room, October 2012

Wow, what a profound statement. So much truth wrapped up in those few sentences. I don’t usually receive as much inspiration from a book’s forward as I did when I read this.


Mommy Encouragement | Columbus Ohio Photographer

How I stay encouraged as a mom

As a mom, it is easy to become discouraged. Over the past few weeks I have posted about my struggles in becoming a mom as well as some indulgences to get me through those rough days. Today, I wanted to write about how I stay encouraged as a mom. Here are a few methods I use to stay positive that I want to share with you.

Mommy Friends

I have found that one of the best ways to stay positive is to talk to someone who has been where you are. It helps you realize that what you are going through is completely normal and you are not alone. I have a few friends that I talk to about what is going on with me, as well as what is going on with my baby. They often offer advice that really puts things into perspective. It is also really helpful to know that someone is there to talk to and lean on when you just need to let it all out. Sometimes you aren’t looking for advice, and an “I’m sorry” and a hug is all you really need to lift your spirits.

Writing down the good stuff

One of the things I really struggle with when I am going through a rough patch, is remembering all of the happy moments I have had with my son. It’s sort of like the dark cloud over me is so thick that I don’t even remember that the sun exists. So, I have started writing down some of the things I love most about being a mom to my son. It helps me reflect on the good times instead of dwelling on the hard ones. Pictures and videos also offer a lot of encouragement. If I am feeling down, I watch a video of my son cracking up and it immediately makes me smile.

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Mommy Books

Motherhood is HARD. Because of that, there are a lot of books about motherhood and dealing with all of the difficulties that come with it. I am currently reading a book titled Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae. I highly recommend it! I plan to write my thoughts on the book in future posts. Again, reading books like this help remind you that you are not alone. So many other moms have been where you are and lived to tell about it.

Music

I love music. It always seems to lift my spirits and put me in a good mood. My parents bought me an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas this past year so through out the day I say, “Alexa, play Christian music.” It has really helped keep me uplifted and encouraged throughout the day. I have to give my husband credit for this one, he is the one who suggested it.

Prayer & Love

I would be amiss if I did not mention prayer. I believe that God is the supplier of my joy. He holds my every tear in His hands. He promised in His word that He would never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5 KJV). That means when I am having a rough day, I can call out to Him and He is always there. I also have to mention love because without the love of my God, family and friends, there is absolutely no way I could survive.


Mommy Indulgence | Columbus Ohio Photographer

The guilty pleasures of motherhood

I have written a few articles lately (like this one and this one) about some tough days as a mom. Today, I want to talk about some of my mommy indulgences that help me through the bad days.

I am pretty sure I am addicted to chocolate, especially when paired with peanut butter. I have several peanut butter chocolate loves in my life. Here are a list of a few of them (in no particular order).

  • Dove Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate. Melt in your mouth dark chocolate with a creamy peanut butter center. Yum!Columbus-Ohio-Photographer
  • Peanut Butter M&M’s. I love the crunchy shell and the delicious combination of creamy peanut butter and milk chocolate. (No picture because I just finished them last night.)
  • Snickers Peanut Butter bar. Caramel, nougat, creamy peanut butter, and crunchy peanuts all covered in chocolate. Can’t go wrong there. (no picture of these either, they don’t last long in my house)
  • Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. (my sister made these for my dad’s birthday)Columbus-Ohio-Photographer
  • Even my morning Larabar is peanut butter and chocolate. Columbus-Ohio-Photographer
  • Can’t forget about cereal. Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerios for the win.Columbus-Ohio-Photographer

Do you have a mommy indulgence to get you through your rough days? Maybe it’s chocolate like me, or perhaps it’s coffee, or maybe tea. I would love to hear what you do to survive as a mommy.

 



Starting Solids | Columbus Ohio Photographer

Introducing Baby to Solids

After doing a bit of research, and after consulting with our son’s pediatrician, we decided to introduce solids to my son at 5 months old. We chose to purchase baby food from several different local stores including Kroger, Target, and Baby’s “R” Us. The very first solid our son tried was baby rice cereal. He was a little hesitant at first but eventually got the hang of it and started eating it several times a day.

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Next, we could start feeding him yellow vegetables. We chose to start with carrots. He loved them! A few days later we offered him carrots again only for him to start gagging and refusing to eat them. We discovered he is very picky about textures and will only eat certain brands. All of his foods must be very smooth and creamy. His absolute favorite vegetable is sweet potatoes. He devours them within a few short minutes.

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After the introduction of yellow vegetables, we could start on green veggies.  I was a little worried about this one since a lot of babies don’t enjoy green vegetables. Thankfully, as long as the texture is right, Josiah likes green beans and peas. I don’t have a photo of him eating any green veggies, so I will move on to fruit. We started with apples because most babies LOVE applesauce. Not our kid. Remember me saying he is picky about textures? Well, that means he doesn’t like apples or pears because they aren’t creamy. They have more of a gritty or grainy texture which he does not like. That limited us a little for stage one fruits as there aren’t a whole lot available. So, he likes three fruits, bananas, peaches, and mangoes.

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Josiah now enjoys rice cereal mixed with banana puree for breakfast every morning. For lunch he eats a yellow vegetable and for dinner he eats a green vegetable and a fruit. We are currently still giving him stage one sized jars as we want to make sure he also still gets enough milk. We offer him breast milk after each meal as well as an afternoon and a bedtime feeding.

Read more articles about our baby adventures here.

Click here to view the Joyful Moments Photography baby portrait gallery.

*Images in this article are cell phone pictures


A Mother’s Regret | Columbus Ohio Photographer

The Regret of Motherhood

Most mom’s will admit that there is something they regret about the way they raised their children or a decision they made. Some moms regret the way they disciplined their kids, while others might regret the way they chose to feed them (bottle or breast). Many mothers wish they would have changed the way they got their children to sleep when they were babies. Maybe you can relate to some of these, or perhaps you regret something completely different. I am only six months in to motherhood, but I too have regrets. Specifically, I have one really big one.

My Regret

Last week I wrote this article about my encounter with postpartum depression. I, of course, regret having ppd, but that isn’t my big regret. At the end of that article, I did hint at my big regret though. I regret not enjoying the first several months of my son’s life. I regret missing out on so much joy because I will clouded with so much anxiety. I have to really work hard to remember good things about him as a newborn. Often times, in order to remember those good times, I have to look back at photographs and videos. That’s one of the reasons why photographs are so important to me and why I decided to become a photographer. This experience has just shown me once again why they are so necessary.

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Yes, that was a shameless plug for photography.

Anyway…

Even now, when I have an episode of depression, my husband has to help me remember all the joy my son has brought into our lives. When the darkness comes, I just can’t see any light. Due to my depression, I missed out on enjoying my son as a newborn. I didn’t really want to take care of him or snuggle him while he slept. So, regretfully, I only held my sleeping boy a few times. I can never get that stage of his life back. While I was there in body during all of those sweet little newborn moments, I wasn’t mentally there. I can look back at pictures or watch a video to remind me of that time, but I can’t actually go back and experience those moments with joy like I wish I had the first time around.

I know this all sounds quite sad, but there is hope. I am learning to be present for each and every moment. When my son is awake and when my husband is home, I put everything else aside and spend time with them. You see, other things will always be there but my son won’t always be in this stage. One day, he will be all grown up and I don’t want to look back any more and regret missing time with him. I want to be present not just physically, but also mentally.

I am still a work in progress, but I hope to encourage another mother of young children or a momma-to-be, to actively be a part of your child’s life as much as possible. If you aren’t mentally present due to an illness like depression, like I was, please do whatever it takes to fix that. You don’t want to look back a realize how much you missed.