Enough is enough

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If I can be honest here, I wanted to name this post, “When life hands you a Shit sandwich”. But choose not to.

Y’all. Life has been just that lately. Last week was the snowball week. Started with one thing, moved right on down the line to the next crap thing to the next crap thing. And then ended yesterday with me forgetting about a photoshoot. Seriously. I just forgot.

I’ve had some super big things happen lately that’s really taken up a lot of my headspace. And not in the good way. Consuming almost every thought I’ve had for almost two weeks now.

And I woke up this morning with the thought, “This has to stop. Enough is enough.”

I’m unfortunately one of those people that lets things play out in their head 100x. Like last night when I talked to my sweet client on the phone after I forgot about them. For the next two hours I played the “what if” game with myself. What if I had just checked those messages earlier, what if I would have just seen my camera back all packed up and ready to go, what if I had set an alarm. I was a mess.

Here’s a real shocker: I can’t change things that have happened.

No matter how much I will it, there hasn’t been a time machine invented, so I’m out of luck.

Life does this to us. Gets in the way, hands us shit sandwich after shit sandwich. It’s just the way it goes. BUT.

And that is a big and beautiful but…lol.

We have the choice to look it in the face and say, “No. No more”.
We get to choose whether we let something consume us from the inside out (bad things) or we just let them go. Giving it up to God.

Something I didn’t do until this morning.

I know. A mess.

But that release. That finally just saying, “God, please take this because it’s too much for me anymore”. Was amazing.

Will I still feel terrible about my shoot, yes. Will thoughts keep sneaking in about last week, yes. But I’m choosing now to say that it happened and I have to move on. Because there’s a whole life waiting for me to live and I can’t if I’m constantly wrapped up in what happened in the past.

So here’s to taking those sandwiches and throwing them right back at life.

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Be that happy

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This. Is pure joy, ya’ll.

Like, nothing else in the world matters joy.

I need that. And thank God this little girl brings it to me.

Having a baby does a lot to you. Emotionally, you’re a crazy person. Physically, you want to go back in time and slap your size 4 self for ever saying “does this make me look fat?” Mentally, you wonder if you’ve been removed and placed on a different planet. Or again, a crazy person.

But it also brings you so much joy.

Because if you can’t look at a baby smiling in a swing and not be happy, there’s something wrong with you.

I need to choose this happy more. This grin from ear to ear happy that Em has 99.9% of the time. Life is easier and more fun when you’re happy. Look it up, I’m sure that’s a fact.
In a world where there’s so much to be unhappy about, or in my case lately it’s been annoyed it. People, things, situations (looking at you Kaepernick…aka bonehead of the decade). I know I run the risk of beings super cliche right now but I’ll say it anyways, we’ve all got a choice when we wake up in the morning to be this kind of happy, or not.

Do I think we need to disregard our feelings, or not show emotion, no. But I do think it’s silly to let things spiral into a whole day wasted on cruddy feelings.

I get into my own head a lot. Sometimes I blame the fact that I don’t get a lot of human interaction…ok with humans that talk in complete sentences. I think about things, people, negative situations way too much. At the risk of sounding like a crazy person, lately I start singing a child’s television show theme song to stop. Doc, Mickey, Sesame Street. They loop around. I know this is nuts but it helps. Also makes me think of Em, also makes me stop thinking and dwelling on things, also makes me happy.

We all need to come up with ways to get the crap out of our heads. A song, a run, cooking, whatever it might be, find it.

Because we all need to be this happy. Life is too short (there I go clicheing again.) to let it all bother us so much. I’ve got too much to be thankful for, you have too much to be thankful for to spend the day unhappy.

Then He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. – Matthew 18:3

Children just see the happy. They have the utmost joy in sitting in a swing for 10 minutes. Like nothing else in the world matters.

Joy. Happiness. Joy.

Can we all just turn and run from responsibilities, of course not. But we can view them differently. Like we’re about to get on the swings, squealing with excitement. I think it’s juts all perspective, ya’ll.

I want and need this happy.

 

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10 Things I learned in August

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#1. Planning a first birthday a big deal.
From decorations to invites. I’m fine with admitting that I went over board. Because you’re kid only turns ONE once.

#2. Giving your one year old cake is not a good idea.
Yes, the cake smash is adorable. But y’all. Em was up three hours past her bedtime that night. Not worth it.

#3. You can’t “get” everyone.
It’s not that I’m a giant people pleaser, but I try to get people. Like, “oh, I totally get her”. But I’ve learned this month that I just can’t. And that’s ok. People are going to do things you don’t get, that might hurt your feelings. And there’s some times nothing you can do about it.

#4. Giant Balloons are always a good idea.
Would I have picked out the 4 foot Elmo myself? No, but thank goodness daddy did because Em loved it more than any of the toys she got.

#5. There’s no escaping the Florida heat.
I’ve tried it all but I’ve been in a constant sweat for a month now.

#6. Family pictures are defiantly worth it.
And I’m not just saying this because I’m a photographer. But I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have these pictures to look back on. Were we sweaty messes? And did the session only last 20 minutes because Em is one. Yes. But so so worth it. Side note. The above picture is from my sweet friend, Mindy.

#7. I love the Olympics.
I had no idea how much I did before this years Olympics. It’s all we watched for two weeks and I loved every minute of it.

#8. There are so.many.sports in the Olympics.
Twenty eight to be exact.

#9. An almost walking tiny human is terrifying.
I can’t imagine what happens when she’s actually up all on her own.

#10. Spending time with your people is what matters most.
A lesson I think we all know, but need to be reminded of every once in a while.

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The most important job

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Being a mom is a job. Do I think it’s the best and most fun job on the planet, you bet. I might not get paid in dollars, and to be super cliche here I’ll just say it. I get paid in giggles and kisses.
But this is my job.

From the minute I open my eyes, to the second they close.

This weekend we had Em dedicated at church. She of course flashed that giant smile of hers to the congregation, and was the best baby while it all went down.

I have to be honest and say that I don’t remember what the pastor said. The whole day was such a blur and I think I was on emotional mommy overload.

But thank goodness for little sissy’s who videotape the whole thing. Or record…whatever the kids are calling it these days.

I just watched it back and cue the tears.

“Father bless this vibrant and energetic little girl, Jesus spread your strength and courage on her, and bless her in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. And bless these parents Lord for the job you’ve given them”. 

I don’t know about any other parents, but this job brings me so much joy and terrifies me all at the same time. I’ll go ahead and say it. It’s the most important job out there. It’s certainly the most important job I’ll ever have. The choice I’ve made to be a parent, that any parent has made, is huge.

I’ve thought a lot about Ems future the last couple of days. I rented a book on Steve Jobs from the library and told her I wanted her to invent the next iPhone. I realize that no matter what she does, or how much or little money she’ll ever make I can only ask one thing of her.

To love Jesus more than anyone, or anything.

And it’s my job as her mama to show her what that looks like. So that one day, I pray sooner rather than later, she can make the decision to do the same.

“Love God, your God, with your whole heart:
love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got! 
Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts.
Get them inside of you, and then get them inside your children.
Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street;
talk about them from the time you wake up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.
Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder;
inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.”
-Deuteronomy 6:5-9 MSG

 

Is it a lot of pressure on me to make sure my children come to know the Lord so they’ll spend eternity in Heaven with me? Yea. That sentence in fact has so much weight.
But ya’ll. I am honored to have been chosen to be Emily’s mom and get to do this.

Do I want to be a cool mom (and not a regular mom), you bet. Do I want to be known as the fun mom in the neighborhood (who makes the best chocolate chip cookies?), you bet. But.
I’d give up all the cool points and cookies to make sure my children come to know Jesus.

T for time out. If you don’t get the phrases in parentheses I don’t know you.

Some people think it’s force full to push their beliefs on their children. And while I can understand that logic, I want to make sure I use words only when necessary when it comes to Jesus, and always let my actions do the work. We’ll read the Word together but I won’t shove it down throats. But in the end, if it means heaven or hell. I’m going to turn blue in the face if it means pointing them to Jesus.

Being a parent comes with a huge job.

One that I’m honored to have.

 

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I love Snapchat

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I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t love Snapchat. Seriously.

There’s just something so…normal about Snapchat.
It lets you into peoples lives without perfectly curated images. Without perfectly edited photos.

It lets you see people as old women, dogs, pirates, and fat nerds (one of my favs).
Snapchat lets go of what we see as the norm for social media, and lets us be, dare I say it, ourselves.

I love being able to see the mess in your kitchen. Because it lets me know that the dishes piled in mine are ok. I love being able to see your kids with funny filters, because I know I’m not the only one who does it.

I love getting to see my friends in the elements.

Snapchat does away with the pressure of being perfect, and y’all. That is a huge relief to this mama.

I wrote some more thoughts over on Motherhood Inspired! Go check it out!

And come find me on Snapchat: megwestmoreland

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Letting go of expectations

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We were having a really good “family outfit day”. I got a shower AND had some mascara on. Clothes were ironed. Em was in a dress. It needed to be documented.

We got a selfie stick for Christmas that we’ve never used and I whole heartedly believed this could become a thing. This Saturday Selfie with the Westmorelands.

This is what we got.

Clearly Em, wasn’t interested. Obviously Sonny didn’t realize how cute my (FIVE DOLLAR) dress from Target was. And he’s also blocking the really cute elephant on her dress.

I huffed and puffed and “I’m done”d. And then looked at the pictures and laughed.

Real life mom moment: this was so much better.

I think as humans we expect a lot out of life. And I believe we should…to a point.
I had envisioned the cutest little family photo in my head. Perfectly lit outside, everyone looking and smiling. We had just had the best day, I’d say something about it in the caption on Instagram. And this is what I get. I know now, that this was perfect.

If we hold ourselves to these expectations of what we think life should be like, we’re going to miss out on what’s right in front of us.

If we think we need to have a perfect family photo every Saturday, we’ll never get it. I almost think that’s Gods way of being like, “Yo, chill out”.
And I’m thankful for that.

Sure, are perfect family pictures wonderful. You bet. But the one’s with closed eyes and babies heads turned, are so much more fun to look at.

I find myself doing that in life a lot too. Whatever the expectation I had, most of the time isn’t at all what actually happens. If you had asked Megan 10 years ago what she expected her life to look like, I can promise you this wasn’t it at all.
But holy crap am I glad those expectations weren’t met.

I believe that we find true happiness in realizing that expectations are meant to be broken, or not set at all. When you’re dead set on an expectation, you’re setting yourself up for failure if it doesn’t go exactly as such. And that’s a lot of weight. Going through life expecting it to look a certain way, trying to make sure everything is always lined up and perfect.

At least I’m tired thinking about that.

So here’s to letting go of expectations. To doing life with less weight attached to it. And to way more “Saturday Selfies”.

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When you hit “Follow”

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I don’t care how old I get, or how many “followers” I get, it’s always a crappy feeling when you figure out someone has “unfollowed” you or “unfriended” you.

I know I’m not the only one who’s figured this out.

And here’s the funny part, I unfollow people all the time.
Especially lately.

Social media is a wonderful thing. I will always choose to see the good in it rather than all the bad. Yes, occasionally I’ll need a break from it.
Like last week (maybe a post on that later).
But then my feed was flooded with the Cleveland Cavaliers (THE WORLD CHAMPS BABY) and I smiled again.

I’ve struggled though on social media, and blogging with the numbers game. How many followers, who’s reading my blog, comments, no comments, shares, likes.
It becomes exhausting.

With those hearts popping up or notifications, as humans we look for those now when ever we hit publish. On a blog, on a picture, on a share. We need to know that people saw it and liked it.

I also know I can’t be the only one who checks Instagram way more after posting a picture. Humans live off of the “yes I like this”.

I was slapped in the “I unfollowed you” face this week when I realized someone unfollowed me on Twitter, Instagram, and unfriended me on Facebook. The trifecta.

It was a really crappy feeling.

Because when you hit “Follow” by someones name, you’re saying, “Yes, I like you. And I want to see into your life. I want to know how you do things, I want to read your opinions, I want to see all the pictures of your cute babe”.

But then when you unfollow someone.

You’re saying, “I don’t agree with you, you don’t make sense, your posts are frustrating me, we’re just too different…but your baby is still the cutest”.

As a human, I want to email that person and ask flat out why they “don’t like me” anymore. Because that’s how I feel. It stings. It makes me wonder what I posted that made them upset, because I can’t wrap my head around someone just unfollowing me and Em (jk jk).

We’ve all seen peoples opinions lately on just about everything.
Gun control.
Homosexuality.
Human life.
Politics.

It’s exhausting.

Sometimes I think about making cover photos and about me sections simple so people know exactly what I stand for.
Jesus lover, Wife, Mommy, Pro-lifer, 2nd Amendment Supporter, Republican (although that’s a pretty loaded word these days), Wine Enthusiast, Vaccinator.

I know this is coming off like I only want to be friends with people who share the same opinions as mine but that’s not it at all. One of my very best friends has the poplar opposite opinion on just about everything I do. But it works because we respect each other.

And that’s where I think we’ve lost it.

Instead of just respecting people for their opinions, we just “unfollow” or “unfriend”. Myself included.

We go from saying, “I want to see into your life”, to “I don’t want to be friends”.

I’m not sure how we get back at this point, other than prayer. I know that sounds so cliche. But.
At some point we have to realize that we’re all in this together.
That we’re allowed to have different opinions and shouldn’t be divided just because of them.
That we all have a voice that we’re allowed to use.

And also.

That if someone does “unfollow” us. It isn’t the end of the world.

 

 

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Win one for the Dads

Dear LeBron and Friends,

I can’t say with certainty that you did this on purpose, but I think we all know you knew what you were doing.

Game 7…on Father’s Day?

It’s almost like we couldn’t have written a better ending if we tried. Ok a win would ultimately be the best way to end this story, obviously. But this lead up you’ve done is pretty great.

Here’s the thing though.
I don’t want a win tonight just for me, because of all the sports, this is the game that has my heart.

I want a win tonight for my dad.

For the man who’s waited fifty two years for a Championship in Cleveland.
For the man who’s watched season after season.
For the man who’s motto has been, “There’s always next year”.
For the man who taught me about the game, and every other sport too.
For the man that taught me to stick with Cleveland despite all the losses.
For the man who I’d call telling him, “I can’t anymore with this city dad, I quit!” And his response would be, “No you won’t, you’re from Cleveland.

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I’ve only been on this earth for twenty seven years, but I’ve watched a lot of close calls with Cleveland. I vaguely remember the Indians in 1997. I remember wearing an Indians sweatshirt and having a Chief Wahoo tattoo on my face, for my third grade picture because we had made it. And then we lost.
I remember sitting in the living room watching the NBA finals in 2007, wondering how on earth this was happening. To make it so far, just to loose again.
I went to a baseball game the night you, LeBron, decided to take your talents to south beach. I’ve had my heart broken a lot, but dang bro. That one stung. I put you on hate list. I’d also like to point out how terrible it was living in Florida and being a Cavs fan. Those heat fans came out of the wood work.

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And then when you came back. I’ve got goose bumps writing it. Getting the call from my best friend (also from Ohio) and hearing her say, “Meg, he’s coming back”, will be a moment I’ll never forget. Conveniently enough, I was in Cleveland with my mom visiting family. That night we went to the Indians game, and saw your face back on every billboard with the words, “I’m coming home”. That heart break you caused us seemed to be healing.
And last year. Ugh. Last year. I could taste it. The trophy was there in Cleveland. Only to be raised by the Warriors.

SO HERE WE ARE AGAIN, LEBRON and Co.

It’s only 10 am and I’ve already cried. I get that some people reading this are going to think I’m insane. I get that the Warriors bandwagon is so full they’ve had to get a bigger bus. People just don’t get it unless their from Cleveland. And I understand that. From the looks of it, LeBron, I think you’ve done an incredible job of making the team, Kyrie, Kevin, Jefferson, Tristan, JR, Timofey, Channing, Shumpert, realize what this means to the city of Cleveland.

What it means to you.

What it means to my dad. 

So guys, winning the NBA Championship for Cleveland on Father’s Day would really be great.
If you don’t, we’ll all be here next years.

But if you do…well, I almost can’t think of the right words that would describe that feeling.

Please just do it for my dad. For all the Cleveland dads out there, who have instilled in their children this “legacy”, if you will.
Who have cheered season after season for the Cavs, the Indians, and the Browns. Do it for them. They really, really deserve it.

Sincerely,
A Clevelander, born and raised.

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The City Beautiful

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Orlando.
Massacre.
Orlando.
Worst shooting in American History.
Orlando.
Terrorist attack.
Orlando.
Nightclub shooting.
Orlando.

I stared at these words all day yesterday on the news and social media, almost in disbelief. This is my city. My home. This nightclub is five minutes up the road from where my baby girl was born. These are my neighbors. This is my city.

It would hit me in waves.

I wasn’t just watching a city over seas. Or across the country. I was watching news anchors standing on streets I drive past every week. Giving interviews to the Mayor of my city, getting remarks from the Chief of Police for my city.

I cried. A lot yesterday. I cried for these victims. For their families. Who unlike me, woke up yesterday morning wondering if their daughter, son, brother, sister, were alive. I cried that there was a group of innocent people who were wrongfully targeted. I cried because this is the world that I have to raise my baby in. And I just don’t understand it.

I hit every emotion in the book. I was sad. And so so angry at these people. These terrible people who hate us. Who want nothing more than for all of us to be dead. And that’s a hard pill to swallow.

I don’t know a lot right now.
But here’s what I do know.

I know that Orlando is a beautiful city. Full of beautiful, loving people. I know that God is stronger. That He mourns with us and He has us wrapped up in His arms. I know that America is going to come together and take a stand against this terrorism.

I know, that we must not point fingers at each other right now. No matter what our views are on guns, homosexuality, or politics. We have to come together. Because that’s what they want. They want us to be at odds with each other.

But we’re bigger and stronger.

I love where I live. This is where I’ll raise my babies. And I’m sure as hell not going to live in any kind of fear because of this.

There’s a long road ahead to get through this. But we will. Because this is America.

Orlando, I love you.
To the all the first responders: there aren’t enough words to describe the gratitude I have for you.

 

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Making Disciples

I think sometimes there’s too much of an emphasis put on a mission field being an actual location. Like South America, or Africa. We focus so much on the fact that we have to get on some sort of transportation to get there.

But I have to disagree.

Our mission fields are our homes. Our offices. Our grocery stores. Our mission field are our lives in general.

I wrote a post for Motherhood Inspired on this topic and I’d love for you to hop over and read it!

You can check it out here!

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