October 05, 2017

Five Ways To Work Through Discouragement



Discouragement comes in many forms. Everyone faces it at some time or another. This post is specifically for the follower of Jesus Christ, but even if you don't claim to follow Him, I hope you'll find something here worth trying or relating to! 

1. Put your hope in the Lord! 
Whenever I feel discouraged, I really have to do a gut check and ask: What am I putting my hope in? My success? Whether or not I'm well liked? The things in my life I have to look forward to? None of these things are assured. It's fine to aspire to be successful, well liked, and to have fun things planned, but they can never replace the unwavering hope we have in a Sovereign Lord who has all of our days planned out, good and bad. (Pslam 139:16-"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.") Anything painful or even simply annoying that happens to me has to go through His plans first. That gives me so much peace. My hope rests in the fact that He created me for His glory, that I am looked upon with the Righteousness of Christ, and that He has prepared a place for me to dwell with Him forever in Heaven. If everything in my life falls apart, then I have enough with these things alone. 

2. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
I'm convinced that well roundedness gives our life meaning and depth. I'm also convinced that it helps fight discouragement! If you only have one focus in your life, whenever you face hardship in that focus, you're going to have a hard time. As a mom, if you put your entire identity in your kids, then things won't be very pleasant when one of those kids starts living a life of rebellion. If you're a business owner without outside hobbies, when trouble and challenges inevitably come, it might be hard to be motivated to pick up the pieces. If you're an athlete and you get injured, what else do you have to put time and energy into? I think having multiple hobbies and passions where you can hit goals is key. That way when you're not making the progress or having the success in one area, you have other goals you can reach. I once read something that encourages you to have at least three hobbies: one hobby that keeps you healthy, one hobby that makes you money, and one hobby that allows you to be creative. I love that! Without over extending yourself, find a couple of completely different hobbies where you can see yourself make progress. 

3. Practice gratitude. 
Gratitude helps us be content. Discouragement isn't always because of discontentment, but discontentment certainly won't help you overcome discouragement. Discouragement feels like you're losing. Gratitude feels like you're winning. Choose to feel like a winner by counting your blessings. Gratitude will turn what you do have into plenty. I also think God is so glorified when we practice gratitude because it reminds us that all good things come from Him. Thank Him for the big things and the little things...especially the little things.

4. Remember that your story is YOUR STORY. 
Your story is going to look differently than other peoples! It is for your uniqueness, but even more so for God's glory. Celebrate the uniqueness of your story because the hiccups and the plateaus are what make your story yours. The timing of your success is going to look different from others. Work hard and use your gifts in service to the Lord. (Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.") Instead of constantly dwelling on everyone else, stay focused on Him and what He wants to accomplish in you. It's like what I tell my little darlings who are always worried about what everyone else is doing, and are little tattletales as a result..."Worry about yourself." Don't compete with the flowers next to you...just bloom. :) 

5. Keep an eternal perspective. 
This is key. Simply knowing that the Lord can take anything I face and use it for a greater purpose, a purpose I might not even know until I stand before Him one day, makes so many things seem trivial. The truth is, we all will stand before Him one day. Whatever suffering you are facing will be nothing compared to the Kingdom those who are in Christ will inherit. Suffering lasts for a season (sometimes a long one, but nevertheless, a season). The future glory far outweighs the current struggle. (Romans 8:18 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.")

Discouragement sucks. But you got this, girl. And He's got you. 

xx,

Court


October 04, 2017

Leisurely strolls down the Target aisle...

Just kidding. Because there are no such things as leisurely strolls down ANY store aisle with a toddler. 

I wanted to try the new maple pecan latte at Starbucks so I got Jade a cup of milk to keep her from reaching and whining for my drink the whole time (and then drinking half of mine because I'm weak and usually end up sharing). It did keep her from asking for mine, but it wasn't such a great idea when she didn't want to hold it anymore and I was pushing a cart with two drinks in my hand, trying to move at just the right pace... too slow and her little hands start grabbing everything. Too fast, and well, what does that accomplish? I mean, I go to Target to look. I need to look. 
Can we just talk about her little pony tail for a second?! I can't believe it is long enough to pull back. Oh my heart... 


We are still LOVING our Essential Cover from Swaddled Babe. It has so many uses, from a shopping cart cover, to a carseat cover, to a nursing cover. They are adorable! I wrote more about the various uses and the gorgeous packaging they arrive in here. There are other prints you can choose from as well...we have "Shiplap Rose." 

Swaddled Babe and I are teaming up again to offer you all a Flash Sale TODAY AND TOMORROW ONLY. Get your Essential Cover (or one for another mama you love) for $15.99 (regularly $39.99) with the code JADYBUG. Seriously, you need one of these in your life! The best part? Easily throw it in the wash as needed (as we did tonight because #spilledmilk). 

Hope you all are having a wonderful week! 

xx,
Court

October 03, 2017

Fleitz Pumpkin Farm

Happy October! It's been in the eighties and nineties here, but this past weekend it cooled off a little and felt like Fall, so we took the opportunity to go to the best local pumpkin farm. We love this particular one for the homemade donuts, cider, farm animals, hayrides, a play area for the kids, and of course, the giant pumpkins! 
How cute is this poncho that Jade is wearing? I randomly found it at Cracker Barrel a few weeks ago...seriously, sometimes they have the cutest kids' clothes! It's a poncho/cape so it will fit her for several more seasons!

The pumpkins were as big as her!



I just love her cheesy smile!





Their donuts and cider are amazing and there's always a really long line to get them. We got a box to take to our small group that met later that night. 

Happy Fall, everyone! 

xx,
Court

September 29, 2017

The Friday Five

Just a quick post on some favorite finds/happenings this week! 

My look for a Rodan + Fields business event I went to this week. It's rare when I actually get to fix my hair these days! I went home after work and before picking up Jade with the sole purpose of giving my hair some attention because it's such a rarity! (I'm wearing the Bellami Bambina 20 inch extensions in "Dirty Blonde."

I found this dress for $10 at TJ Maxx! It's perfect for work and business affairs. It's actually an Abercrombie and Fitch dress, which has had some really cute things lately! It seems they've really changed their brand and look around in a positive way. 

Another great TJ Maxx find were these eyelash stationary cards! I bought them for my Rodan + Fields business to send out to my Lash Boost clients.  

I am loving these distressed skinny jeans for Jade! I love dressing Jade in clothes that I would actually wear because I think it's the cutest when toddlers dress like miniature adults! These are by Cat and Jack at Target. 

I placed some vanilla tea lights inside tiny bowls of coffee beans, which was a Pinterest idea I've had pinned for awhile. I love the subtle aroma of coffee they give off when burning.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Thanks for reading! 

xx,
Court






September 18, 2017

Saturday Adventures and an 18 Month Update

Being away from my little one all day during the work week is tough. All you moms who work outside the home understand. But...they make weekends and holidays extra special and far from ordinary. 

During the work week, I try to get us out the door by 6:15. There's not a lot of time for morning snuggling and we certainly can't just take our time. Jade has become such a little snuggler and loves to be held and cuddled when she first gets up, so that is what we do on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Before we do anything, even before breakfast (but not always before coffee...), we just snuggle on the couch. Then after a few minutes, she will get up and walk me over to her highchair to let me know when it's time to eat! 

My favorite days include a slow morning where we don't have to rush off to anything, great coffee, and the perfect mixture of adventure and rest.  This past Saturday was just that. Jade and I started off our morning as usual with snuggles and breakfast and got ready to head to a local festival our town has once a year. They begin with a parade and have tents displaying local businesses, food trucks, outdoor games, and all the downtown shops and restaurants to go through. We sipped on iced coffees and grabbed lunch at one of our favorite Mediterranean restaurants. She is currently cutting two teeth so she was a bit moody and just COULD NOT be bothered with smiling to get her picture taken... good thing she's still pretty cute, anyway. :) Here are some photos from our day. 

Watching the parade. Poor bug had her fingers in her mouth a lot, since she's working on those two teeth. 

Love these two. 

I am obsessed with her little converse shoes! She actually LOVES shoes and when she's not walking around in mine at home, she wants to be wearing hers. 

She's reaching for a dog here...there were so many dogs out and Jade just didn't understand why she couldn't pet them! 

 We tried giving her a little flower to occupy her so she would look at the camera and smile...but no such luck! I think this is right before she flung me in the face with it... 


We came home and all three of us took a nap, which was GREAT! ;) And I actually woke up before Jade did which was also nice. I ended the day with a run with some friends in a park with a trail...we ran six and are trying to gradually increase our mileage. So yes, Saturday was the perfect blend of rest and adventure! 

Here's an 18 month update of our Jadybug:

  • She is starting to get CLINGY to me. When we're at home she pretty much freaks out when I leave the room, follows me EVERYWHERE, and is always putting her little arms around my leg. She is okay getting dropped off in the nursery on Sunday mornings, but has started to cry and cling to me when I drop her off during the week when I go to work. It makes it extra hard for this mama to leave her! I know she's fine once I am out the door, but I hate having to have her pried off of me and hearing her cry for me when I go. I know it's just a phase all kids go through and I am sure we will be past it soon enough. 
  • She is still obsessed with shoes. It was actually one of her first words, haha. 
  • She is also getting very interested in my jewelry, especially my necklaces.
  • She loves all animals and just wants all of them to love her too!
  • She does this thing where she moves multiple objects from place to place one item at a time. It might be the clothes in her hamper or the books on her bookshelf, but she will remove them one by one and start a pile somewhere else. Then once she has all the objects in a pile, she will start moving them again to a new pile, but only one object at a time... ??? It is so funny to watch and I just wonder what is going through her little mind. She seems to know exactly what she's doing and has a system and method for everything! 
  • Her favorite fruits are apples and blueberries.
  • We don't have a ton of toys for her, because honestly, she doesn't play with them that much! She prefers to play with "regular things," like my shoes, necklaces, her clothes, and the most random objects around the house. Of the toys she does have, she enjoys her stuffed animals, her books, any kind of ball, and this cat piano the most. 
  • She loves music, dancing, being chased, and playing hide and seek. 
  • She's in a weird phase where sometimes she takes two naps and then sometimes only one. I think she is in the process of dropping her morning nap altogether. 
  • She has a lot of love to give with frequent hugs and kisses! 
 
Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week! 


xx,
Court

September 11, 2017

Making Our Kids A Priority Without Making Them Our Identity



As moms, our kids are our world. Our kids should be a priority. I'm actually of the unpopular opinion that they should come after our spouses, but still, they should be one of the top priorities in our lives.


The problem is when they begin to shift from priority to identity. I see a lot of women who make their kids their everything, almost worshipping them. Maybe they are living vicariously through their kids. Maybe they need their children to make them feel validated as a person. Or maybe, with total pureness of heart, they've made martyrs out of themselves for the sake of their children. There is a fine line between the necessary sacrifices of motherhood and then complete martyrdom.


We are moms, yes. And that role is of the utmost importance. But womanhood is not defined by motherhood. 


We are beautifully complex, reflecting a complex God. God is a Father, but he is other things too: He is Love, Truth, a Son, a Spirit, a Helper, a Creator, an Author, a Savior...all of these traits and many more make Him Himself. To only define Him by His Fatherly role would be to miss out on all that He is.


We are mothers, but like our Creator, we are far more complex than that: we're friends, daughters, sisters, wives, CEOs, teachers, creatives, dreamers, readers, life long learners, ministers, entrepreneurs, comedians, athletes, bakers...but above all, we are Image Bearers. We need to stop solely defining ourselves by our children and our role as mothers. It's just as damaging to our children as it is to us. When we find our identity in our children, it does one of two things: 1. It teaches them that the world revolves around them 2. It puts unnecessary pressure on them to always keep us happy (that is NOT their job!) We don't want to add to the mix of entitled kids who think it's their parents job to keep them constantly entertained and happy 24/7. On the flip side, it is not our children's job to fulfill us emotionally and make us feel worthy and whole. You were worthy and whole before you became a mom. And you'll still be worthy and whole when your kids grow up and don't need you in the same way they once did. We can make our children our priority without making them our identity. Be a mom, but don't completely lose yourself being one. Self sacrifice is sometimes inevitable with motherhood...we know this well! Martyrdom is not.


So practice self care.

Find activities apart from your children that make you come alive.
Love on your husband.
Buy yourself the jeans that make your butt look good..without the guilt.
And please, for the LOVE, let your kids be bored!

Why am I writing this? 


Because I know how easy it is to start to lose yourself once you hold that precious little one in your arms. 


Because I want my daughter to have a strong mom to look up to, with the security of knowing that it's not her job to keep me happy.


Because I know that I am actually a better mom when I'm "Courtney," than when I am simply, "Jade's mom."


And finally, because I need this reminder more than anyone.


Thank you for reading! And please answer this question, because I want to know: What do you do for you?



xx,
Court


September 05, 2017

Saying Goodbye To Summer In Black And White

 Today (Labor Day) felt like a regular summer day, but after today it looks like temperatures are really cooling off. I love fall, but I'm not like most girls who obsess over it. In fact, I'd take summer over fall any day. But summer must inevitably come to an end, so I am looking forward to the crisp air, trips to the pumpkin patch, a great cider and donut combo, and pumpkin flavored goodies. Today we took advantage of our extra day off and slept in, then took a trip to Barnes and Noble for Starbucks and time to look around at books. I picked up some books for Jade to give to her at Christmas time. I LOVE children's books so much and had a hard time limiting myself! She loves looking through her books too, which makes my heart incredibly happy! I'd rather spend money on books than toys... kids grow out of toys so quickly and they just cause clutter. But books stay special for such a long time. Plus, I've always heard that the best way to spark a child's interest in reading is to have an abundance of books around...fine by me!! :) 


These pictures are from when we took Jade to the drive in last weekend. This was kind of a risk for us because we knew it was going to be WAY past her bedtime and that there was a chance she would just be tired and cranky and not make it enjoyable. But we also knew there would be a chance for her to love it. I am SO glad we decided to go for it. We took her to see "Leap" and it was an amazing experience! This was her first movie and we figured taking her to the drive-in would be a better option than taking her to the theaters since she would probably be loud. She absolutely loved watching the movie. She giggled, bounced, and clapped her hands during so many scenes! She actually WATCHED it too, and it was such a cute movie! It was so much fun to watch her excitement and to see it through her eyes. 

On another note... I've missed blogging. It's something I do for me in the midst of life's busy schedules and various demands. But it's definitely something that makes me happy. Sometimes I get insecure putting myself out there, but I feel like I really need some kind of creative outlet that I do because it fills me up, not because I'm obligated to. So with that, I want to post more consistently. 

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Labor Day weekend. Thanks for reading!


xx,
Court

August 21, 2017

One Day You Weren't A Baby Anymore

I don't know when it happened.

But one day you transitioned from a baby to toddler. Every day you are less of a baby and more of a little girl. 

Today your daddy noticed how your hair is starting to drape down the back of your neck. I put it in a tiny ponytail the other day and died at how grown up you looked. Tonight you were snuggled on my lap as we watched videos of you from this past winter. I marveled at the stark contrast between the baby in the videos and the little lady in my arms. You giggled as you watched yourself play and babble. I giggled at the kick you got out of it. 

I recently read an article that put our fleeting time together in perspective. Summer number one was honestly a blur because we were trying to get the hang of life together. And now summer number two of 18 is over too, just like that. It is still a blur because it was over in the blink of an eye, but we made priceless memories and you showed us more of yourself. 

This summer you took your first airplane ride. You felt ocean sand between your toes and suddenly decided that you hate vegetables. You were relaxed by swimming pools and lullabies. You were thrilled by your cousins. Your tantrums became more terrible and someone *may* have told me that your terrible twos have started early. You started calling our sweet kitty cat by his name...and then every other animal (dog, cat, or squirrel) became "Gun-der" too. You started freely sharing your affection with puckered lips and "mmmmm's." You danced...a lot. At every summer party, we knew it was a given that you would gravitate towards the music so you could bounce and clap your hands. 

We discovered just how goofy you are and lovingly began referring to you as "the CEO" because of the way you walk with such purpose and talk like you are barking out orders. Your goofiness and confidence are my favorite things about you right now. I hope you are always silly and always as sure of yourself as you are in this season. I also love how you cackle when you laugh and how your skin is still baby soft. These are the things I am holding on to, the things I don't ever want to forget. 

You're not a baby anymore. You're a brave, loving, and curious little girl. You are joy personified. 

You make me so proud, little one. 



August 18, 2017

Marc Jacob's Eye-conic Palette Review




This is me playing with Marc Jacob's new eye-conic palette while Jadybug naps.  I was ecstatic to receive this gorgeous eyeshadow complimentary from Influenster. 

I have always loved makeup, but I honestly consider myself an amateur when it comes to applying it. I'll admit that I am pretty clueless about products and techniques. BUT that doesn't mean that I don't love trying new things! I've always loved neutral shadows, so I was excited to receive the palette in "Glambition." 






Here's what I love about it: First of all, the colors go on smoothly. I could gently swipe my shadow brush, just getting a little bit of shadow on my eyelid, and it really made my eyes shimmer... a little bit goes a long way! The shimmer is glamorous without being too over the top. It's a great everyday shadow, that still makes you feel a little extra special. The best part was that by the end of the night, my eyes looked exactly the same as when I took these photos... the shadow didn't crease and it still looked like I had just applied the shadow.

If I have any constructive criticism at all, I did notice that the shadow seems to be a little loose. I've noticed this more recently, so it didn't loosed right away. But now that I have had it a bit longer, the shadow seems loose and gets tossed around in the container. But other than that, it is amazing! I love it! 

I also used it for a little bit of contour and highlighting (Is that even a thing with eyeshadow? Oh well... it's a thing for me!) and love the extra glow it gave! 

Has anyone else tried this product? Any other products that I need to try?!

xx,
Court

August 16, 2017

Swaddled Babe's Essential Cover: The Most Versatile Accessory for Mamas of Littles.

Mamas of littles, I've found the most versatile accessory around: the Essential Cover from Swaddled Babe. I've seen similar products on the market and have always wanted one simply for the versatility. This cover is everything...it's a car seat cover, a nursing cover, and a shopping cart cover! 

I was so excited when Natalie from Swaddled Babe reached out to me because I know so many moms who would love one of these! Her Essential Covers are priced SO reasonably AND her prints are adorable. I chose the "Shiplap Rose" print...I had a hard time choosing which print I wanted because they are all so cute!  

Jade and I took a trip Target yesterday and got to test it out as a shopping cart cover since that is how we will primarily use it until it's time to add another little one to our family. Jade loved it and giggled the whole time! 
  



I wish I had this when Jade was itty bitty to use as a slip proof car seat cover...it wraps around it perfectly and actually STAYS! 

Here I'm showing how the swaddle works as a 360°
nursing cover...we are past the nursing stage, but I look forward to using it this way with my next little one. 

It came packaged so gorgeously. This would make an amazing gift for a new mom! 


Swaddled Babe's Essential Covers are priced reasonably to begin with (especially for the quality, customer service, versatility, and pretty packaging!) HOWEVER, they are offering an amazing deal to you all: Today and tomorrow ONLY (August 16-17), you can purchase one for $15.99 (regularly $39.99) with the code JADE16 . Order as many as you want at that price for a flat shipping rate of $5.99. You can order your own here

With all of it's uses, which way would you be most excited to use it??

xx,
Court

Thank you to Natalie from Swaddled Babe for gifting me with one of your beautiful Essential Covers!

April 23, 2017

Spring 2017: More Family Photos!

We did a quick outfit and location change for the second half of family photos by our friend, Levi.  I love that Jade came out of her shell a little bit for the second half...she had woken up from her nap right before we began the first half and seemed a bit camera shy (which is so unlike her)... but you can see more of her joyful spirit in these! 
Jade's romper is from Tea... I had never heard of this store until my mom picked this up for Jade's birthday. I think it's so adorable. She'll get a lot of use out of it this summer! 


This one might be my favorite! 

A Jadybug sandwich :)







It was actually kind of a windy day, and I have to laugh at all of my baby hairs just making their presence known! Darn postpartum hair! 



And now the hard part...deciding which ones to have printed for our home. :) If you're in the Toledo area, make sure you book a session with Levi!

xx,
Court