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Featured on MovingBabies

Four Takeaways From My Social Media Fast




President Nelson issued several challenges during his address at women’s conference. One of them was to partake in a social media fast. He said “I invite you to participate in a 10-day fast from social media and from any other media that bring negative and impure thoughts to your mind. Pray to know which influences to remove during your fast. The effect of your 10-day fast may surprise you. What do you notice after taking a break from perspectives of the world that have been wounding your spirit? Is there a change in where you now want to spend your time and energy? Have any of your priorities shifted--even just a little? I urge you to record and follow through with each impression.” 

When he shared this I was immediately relieved. I had taken a break from social media this summer when he issued a week long fast for the youth of the church and I was starting to feel like I needed to pull back again. Over the last ten days, small moments have produced great change in my heart and hopefully will continue through my actions. 

I wrote down things that stood out to me during this time and some of them were obvious while others were things that surprised me. I realize everyone has a different opinion and experience, this is just mine. 

First, I realized how much time I spent with social media. I don’t just mean the scrolling part. I mean the time I spent thinking about what others might think if I shared this or that (crazy, right?) or comparing myself to what I saw on my feed. Social media brings out all the insecurities in me! I probably knew that deep down, but it came to the surface big time.  It hit me that so much of social media was truly wounding my spirit. 

Second, lack of connection. I used to think that Instagram was a way to stay connected to people who lived far away, family, friends, etc. FALSE. Maybe people will see kid pictures or Instagram stories and know a little clip of my life and vice versa but that isn’t quite a genuine connection. Getting away from social media helped me realize that the time I was spending there was disconnecting me from my kids and those in my life that I had real relationships with. I reached out and talked more to people instead of a “like or comment” here and there on a post. My kids and I played more. I was present with them. Real connections were made. 

Third, I had time. I used to think I didn’t have enough time to get everything done: cleaning, cooking, scripture reading, time for myself, etc. WRONG. I was wasting time on my phone. When that went away I was able to read, not only my scriptures, but books I thought would never get read. Try three. In 10 days. None of which took away from time with my kids. I got things done and my kids got more time with me. Time that I am ashamed to say I would sometimes waste on social media or my phone. 

The last thing I want to share about is the spirit that I was able to feel. Removing social media and other negative media influences allowed the spirit to be with me more. I was able to be a little more patient, calmer during times of struggle, happier, and I received more promptings that were small whispers from the Holy Ghost. My heart was full. I found myself being more grateful and kind. 

Was I perfect? Absolutely not. Is social media the reason for all my struggle? No. I learned that like most people these days, technology and media has a greater influence on me than I ever realized. My priorities have changed. I don’t know exactly how much I will participate in social media from now on. 

I needed this. I am grateful for this. Now it’s up to me to take all these things and put them into action. 

A Season For Everything





You know those days where you feel like they drag on forever and you wonder if you’ll ever get through it? Like, I remember the first few newborn months. Days where I felt like I was never going to sleep again. Ever. And then things would slowly start to click. The baby would nap or take a little longer stretch at night. I remember with Lizzie that I felt like her 30 minute cat naps would be the norm and one day she took two naps for an hour and a half each. She pretty much does this every day now. Anyway, my mom has always told me that “this too shall pass” during all those pull your hair out, scream into your pillow moments and quoted one of my favorite verses from the Old Testament: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) 

 A few days ago it hit me like a ton of bricks. Lizzie and I were looking at books. She isn’t an avid book lover like her brother, but she grabbed a book I hadn’t touched in probably a year. It was one that I have had memorized forever because Brecken wanted to read it 85 times a day—that is not really an exaggeration. My mind instantly remembered those days, ones that seemed to drag on and I actually felt sad they were gone. Brecken is three and Lizzie is one. So basically tomorrow they’re going to college. Each stage with kids has its benefits and challenges and we are getting to the point where we get to sleep at night and our kids can eat and play somewhat independently. We are also to the phase of tantrums, time outs, and fighting over toys. It hit me how fast this season of life as a mom of young kids is passing by.

I will be completely honest and say that I did not savor or enjoy the first several months of Brecken’s life. I loved being his mom and him. I really struggled with post partum depression and it brought my lifelong anxiety to a whole new level. I was also still teaching. Once I got help for my depression and anxiety, it helped. A lot. When I was able to sleep a little more, I felt even better.  I hated being away from him and missing those little moments. Sometimes I just felt disconnected. For me, the day I was able to stay home was the day I started to really enjoy motherhood. That sounds awful as I type it. I just struggled as a new mom and always felt like I was just barely keeping my head above water. With Lizzie, I made it a point to slow down and because I was home, I didn’t miss those little extra bonding moments that I had with Brecken. I was able to give both my kids consistency. Now I know many working moms who handle new baby life way better than I did. I envy you! Each story is different and one day I may rejoin the ranks of working outside the home. For now, this is my season at home. 

I look back on some of the different seasons I have had: high school, college, married life with no kids, first baby, and now staying home with two. I wish I could help that girl avoid bangs or feeling less than because of fear of what others might think. I’m grateful for all the experiences I was able to have. I laugh at how I used to think I was tired before kids and I really can’t remember what I did with all that free time?! All I know now is that I am striving each day to be present. In the moment. Love on my kids and enjoy them at each stage. It’s a blessing and a curse, this whole growing up thing. 

I guess I just needed a reminder that there is a season for everything and I am going to enjoy them.



Living That Beach Life, Our Best Life

It is no secret that I am a proud southern girl and I love going home every chance I can.  We spent two glorious weeks in North Myrtle Beach with my family and some great memories were made.  The kids and I flew out for a week and Brandon joined us for the second half of our trip to celebrate Lizzie's Birthday and vacation as a family.

Typical "traveling" pictures: not seen -- the epic meltdowns that were had by both children!



I have no words. 
What is your perfect vacation day? Adventure? Relaxation? Sleep? I'll tell you what we did pretty much every single day and it was heavenly.

I would get up early before the kids and workout.  My parents live in a neighborhood perfect for running, so I took full advantage of that.  When the babies were up we would either go straight outside to the pool or head out to the beach.  After a few hours we would grab lunch at the house and it would be nap time.  My amazing parents would usually watch Brecken and I would go sit outside at the pool.  Alone.  ALONE!!!!  I know, a miracle.  The late afternoons were always out at the pool.  We sometimes went out to dinner, but mostly cooked at home.  I told y'all, I am a lazy vacationer.  Give me sunshine, the beach, and I'll be one happy girl.

I have pictures to share below, but I will say that my intent on this trip was to be present more.  I didn't capture every moment because I was making memories with my family! I will never forget them, photographed or not.


                          


     







My kids thrived on vacation.  Lizzie and Brecken both love water! Brecken became really comfortable swimming around on his own with his puddle jumper.  As a former lifeguard/swimmer I was so proud of his progress.  Maybe the olympics will be in his future. HA! I don't have many photos of him swimming because a lot of days he would just jump in the pool.  Naked.  Yeah.

   



When Brandon joined us, we were all beyond ready to see him! We celebrated our Lizzie girl's birthday (see this post) and had more days like the ones I described above.  Out of the two weeks we spent there, there was one day of rain and we spent it out shopping at the outlet mall.  Perfect vacation, right? Well, maybe not exactly a vacation.  I am a firm believer of the word trip when it comes to travel with children.  A few of my friends came down and one of them told me, going on 'vacation' is simply taking your children to a new location to watch them.  Nailed it.  Sometimes it is nice to get a change of scenery, but it also comes with time change, new sleeping arrangements, etc.  



The last thing I have to share about our trip were the gorgeous family photos that my cousin Paige took for us.  If you live on the coast of NC/SC please look her up! (IG: psinkphotography)  She took these beauties in about 20 minutes of complete chaos and wind that seriously could have blown me over.






















We are lucky to be able to travel to my childhood vacation spot each summer.  I love making memories and creating traditions with my kids.  They love going to the beach!