Three things NOT to do as an Instagram user!Read More
What is ONE thing you need to hear from someone today? I mean seriously. Stop what you're doing for a second (well, keep reading...) and just think. How would you feel if someone checked in with you like this:
I'm proud of you.
How are you doing today?
You are so beautiful.
Thanks for being so great.
Do you need a hug?
Hey, do you want to go see a movie?
Let's grab dinner.
You are so incredibly strong.
I just love you!
As I've gotten older, I can't believe what a 'words of affirmation' gal I've turned into. Yesterday I scaled a rock climbing wall.. When I entered that gymnasium and looked all the way to the top, I didn't think for a SECOND it would be me ringing the bell at the very TOP. But when I heard my husband cheering from below, I heard him say, "Reese is going to be SO proud of you, Ash! Ring the bell!" I looked to my right and saw the next rock. I took a slow and deep breath, and I reached so high for that glorious bell. DING, DING, DING!!!! High fives and hugs greeted me at the bottom, my friend Liz (aka BEST workout buddy) beamed with excitement. I mean encouragement, y'all--isn't it great?!
I think most days we just move through our routines. We go to school or work, put our kids on the bus or send them off to the sitter; some of us are homeschooling our preschoolers--making breakfasts and lunches and ordering toys and rooms to be cleaned up, and naps to be had. Our husbands come home and we are tired; hair untouched, teeth lucky to be brushed. The pets have been cared for, house is put together, kids are still alive, but it's now what we moms like to call witching hour; and we are TIRED. We check Instagram and scroll, scroll, scroll. Maybe we throw in a double tap for a 'like' if it's a photo that spoke to us. We check Facebook; scroll, scroll, scroll. Sometimes we comment when something is funny or there's a cute photo we like. We'll like each other's statuses all day long, but often we forget to text our husbands, "Hey Babe, I am proud of you. Thanks for loving me." We forget to call or message our family and ask, "How are you doing? Is there anything you need this week?" To check in with our friends, "Is there a time that would work in the next couple of weeks to get together? Let's get dinner and catch up. In the mean time, how can I pray for you?"
We are busy creatures, somewhat stir crazy in our souls. The days can be hectic and the nights long. We have babies and young children who don't yet know the importance of a GOOD nights sleep, and the thoughts that rattle through our minds when our feet need to hit the floor to start all over; well, they aren't always the most pleasant. I wrote a post a while back about finding God in the crazy--to seek Him first and to pray more often. To speak to HIM, more often. I think I've improved greatly with this, but Lordy how there's room to grow. And thinking outside of that, of the prayers that need to be had, the more scripture that YES, I do need to read...is ensuring that we as a community are caring for one another.
Who haven't you reached out to in a while? What face pops into your mind as your read this and you think, 'hey...I wonder how ______ is doing.' Don't just wonder, find out. I swear I probably have 10-15 women pop into my head all day long. Heck, as I sit here writing it's like boom, boom, boom!!! Name after name, just flying through my tired mind! My pregnant hair dresser, Michelle, seriously, so many prayers are said for you. Same for my preggo girlfriend Britney! My sister in laws, my brother, my DAD, women from our old church... I mean really, the list could go on! I don't think we are all destined to be best friends with one another and I don't think that's ever the expectation within friendships. But I think we could do better at staying in touch with the women and friends that we love. Stephanie who came to dinner, I loved you! I'm SO glad that you're 28 and we have that in common and that you love dogs and animals as much as I do. Chelcey who does my web design and helps me form emails and newsletters and is my soundboard for life in GENERAL. Peg, my childhood best friend who I dream about living closer to, with your two boys and husband; laughing with you is quite possibly the best thing EVER. Lisa who lives in Boston, who spent a season living in Kentucky WITH me. Jerrica, who is quite possibly my earthly angel, you're my everything!!
No, I won't list every single person that I love here in this space, because there's just too many of you and my mind is too fuzzy for that anyway. But I wanted to just throw this out there, that you, whoever you are and wherever you may be, I bet it really means a lot when you hear someone tell you that they are proud of you. It feels GOOD to feel strong and beautiful, radiant and loved.
Can I encourage you today to think about the top three people that keep popping into your head? Outside perhaps from the regular people you talk to on a consistent basis (aka my husband and my mom hear from me 300 times a day...) Who are those people? Ask them how they are. What about them makes you proud? What do they do well that they would love to hear from YOU? And then keep going about your day! The clothes to be washed, dishes to cleaned, tables to be wiped off, prayers to be said, books to be read, kids to be tucked in...it's all still waiting for you. I even bet that somewhere along the way, you'll feel more energized and recharged to DO those things, BECAUSE you took the time to brighten someone else's day. Those dishes can wait, for all of 2.1 seconds, am I right? Let's love the heck out of each other because frankly, we're worth it.
Sisters, I could not be more excited to share this lady with you. I stumbled upon her Instagram feed months ago and when I saw where she lived, close (ish) to my parents home in Michigan, I squealed. I was all giddy and knew that I wanted to meet her. Her gorgeous farmhouse has been my dream for a *very* long time; but not just for her HOUSE; her captions always made me laugh, her two boys looked darling (they are!) and she is just a really big inspiration to MANY!
If you haven't yet gotten familiar with the Beloved Woman, well then first, welcome! This article is part of a brand new series here on the blog and I am so pumped you are here. My mission this year is to celebrate women worldwide, to somehow make you feel loved, valued, and cherished. I want to photograph you, hug you, and share YOUR story with readers everywhere. So with all of that said, please grab your warmest blanket (because I'm freezing as I type), a large cup of tea, and enjoy this post, celebrating my dear friend and sister: Morgan Ford.
I wasn't able to meet her husband, but she shared the sweetest stuff about him when we talked:
"He was my next door neighbor, but being in the country, that means we were a mile apart. I always wished he was my age so I could date him, or that his parents had more kids because I wanted a boy just like him! He told me after we married that he had long ago told his best friend that he had always been looking for a girl just like me! Our families always had a small Christmas together. He hadn't come to one in years and was finally there there one Christmas six years ago. Boy, did we hit it off! He asked me to see a movie on Christmas Eve. I was at a family Christmas party at the time and told my grandfather I was going home because I had a date! I told him who it was with and he said "Ohhhh no, that boy is trouble." It made me laugh because being in a small town, of course everyone knows everybody! (And of course he had been in trouble a few times and my family knew all about his "wild streak.") Fast forward a few months (or maybe it was just weeks??) to the moment I knew he was the one. It was cold and dark out. He was taking me somewhere and had the truck all warmed up for me. He had to get out to close the barn doors and had a pair of very worn leather gloves in his back pocket with a Carhartt jacket and jeans. Something about that moment, I just remember feeling a sign or a whisper that he was the one. Right then and there...it was nothing he did or said, but just a moment that stood still in time and a feeling that warmed my heart. He was and is my only one."
Morgan is a nurse and fluctuates working between her closest town's local urgent care and ER. She says:
"Sometimes I think I would be better at picking or paint colors than reading EKGs, but this pays the bills and warms my heart caring for those in need. I work most weekends, as we don't have daycare, and I try to find the family-work-life balance by being home with my family."
So first of all, are you not completely in awe of their farmhouse?! The wood stove she told me heats their entire home (awesome!) and they have COMPLETELY redone the home themselves. No hired help, just them. She and her husband have been married for three years and says they haven't vacationed since their honeymoon.
"We took a trip up north in his old rust bucket of a truck. We planned a five day trip touring the Upper Peninsula and ended up in Copper Harbor Bay the third day, in a quaint cabin. My husband looked at me and said, "You know here my favorite place is?" Where, I asked. "With you and at home!" We headed straight for home the next morning, because it's just where we both longed to be. We don't vacation or drive fancy vehicles. We have a few beat up trucks that he has built on his bolt and he's turned every bolt on them. We don't go out to dinner anymore, more than once every few months. We invest all our pennies on this home, where we are the happiest. This is his grandparents home that we have fixed up, and we did it while each working full time. My hubby wouldn't even change his boots when he came home, he went straight back to work making this house our home. We both dream to fix some fences this summer and hopefully get some animals to raise with our growing family."
I have photographed a LOT of people, and therefore a lot of women. I find a common thread amongst us all: we don't really feel all that beautiful, and we are in actuality pretty hard on ourselves. That's another reason I wanted to launch this series--because I want to help you as women feel gorgeous, if even for thirty minutes, and to help you feel a little more confident. I asked Morgan when did/does she feel the most beautiful and this was her response:
"I felt the most beautiful pregnant with each of the boys; primarily from the third to eighth month...and then I struggled with feeling big and miserable." (I totally have been there!!) And she said, "I really feel beautiful when my heart is full and happy. Life has its' ups and downs, but when my husband comes home from a long day at work and he has the babies giggling and I have dinner ready on the table, I feel THE happiest and most secure. When my hair is a mess and I have zero makeup on, he'll look at me and tell me that I'm beautiful. THAT'S when I feel it. It's always when I least expect it; his love is the icing on a cake to make me feel so loved and radiant."
Her sons, Auburn who will be two in February, and Woodrow who is three months, are just wonderful. There is something about following someone on social media and only seeing tiny glimpses of their live via virtual squares, and then getting to MEET them and the people in those frames--well, it's just incredible. My sister in law accompanied me on this trip (it was an hour drive, not too shabby but I greatly appreciated her company!) and as we pulled up, I was giddy with delight. Their dog Wyatt was literally just waiting on the porch, wagging his tail, and I felt like we had been forever best friends. When I got to wrap my arms around Morgan and squeeze her tight AND meet her tiny little humans, I was so ecstatic. Friends, this is the part of social media that I adore: getting to meet the wonderful people you connect with and establish life long friendships/relationships with them.
I asked Morgan what she hopes to instill in her children and she replied:
"I really hope both boys have a kind and forgiving heart. And that they will have ambition to do ANYTHING that they set forth to do. I want them to have the tenacity to fight through life's ups and downs, and to never allow life to break their spirits and endeavors."
Morgan has been running The Whitefarmhouse Blog on Instagram for a little over a year. With almost 50k followers, I'd say she leaves QUITE the impression on people who stumble upon her page. You can view her blog here, and check out some behind the scenes of her daily life. Morgan is a wife, mama, nurse, wonderful designer, and a sweet friend to many. What an honor it has been to interview her for this series.
Give Morgan some love in the comments below and don't forget, YOU can nominate a lady for this series!! Think of someone who deeply inspires you, who you believe has a story the world needs to hear. And thank you again to my sister in law Beth, for journeying with me and helping be the Baby Whisperer that she is :D