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7.22.2014

Introducing Baby Darla


Two weeks ago, on 7-7-14 our sweet little girl FINALLY entered the world, 11 days late and full of light. She has been such a source of hope and joy in our lives. After a long labor and a day bathed in happiness at her safe arrival, we named her the next morning.

It took us a long time, a lot of list making, a lot of praying and some quality time with her to finally name this sweet bundle. We wanted her name to mean something and we wanted it to fit her.

DARLA MANASSAH

Darla means "Darling One"
Manassah means "The Lord has made me forget my suffering"

The day I found out I was pregnant, the Lord gave me the name Manassah. Manasseh (Biblical Spelling) was the name of Joseph's first son, born after a lifetime of affliction. When he entered the world, the Lord had brought Joseph into a life of abundance and redemption and the blessing poured out on his life had made him forget all the hardship. How great of a God do we have that He can redeem us that much? I changed the spelling a hair, to make it more feminine :)

Darla came to us during a time in our life where there seemed to be little hope. Things had gotten hard and we had entered into a long stream of events that caused a lot of pain. When I found out she was to come to us, I wept tears of hope. She is our beacon.

We had several first names picked out that we really liked, but when we saw her face, none of them suited her. I had written down the name Darla months before she was born, just as an option, but Hunter never really liked it. It was thrown out almost immediately. The morning after she was born, I watched him bounce her around the living room, the sunlight flooding in. I had already read through the list of our favorites and we discarded them all. Hunter asked me to read some of the "outliers". I read off the name Darla and he said, "That's it! That's her name."

Then he looked down at her and said, "Hey Darla."

Welcome her with us!




6.24.2014

My Internal Struggle With Social Media and the Changes I'll be making as a New Parent


During our baby moon a few weeks back, Hunter and I sat down and enjoyed some frozen chai at an outside table on a quaint little street downtown Amelia Island, off the coast of Florida. I was on an emotional high since our time together had been complete bliss and as I was sitting there, I began fantasizing about kissing our baby's sweet face, as we had just recently seen her via 3D ultrasound. And then like a record scratch, Hunter interrupted my happy trance when he said out of the blue, "I'm not sure I'm OK with you posting pictures of our baby on Facebook." I was all, "Huh?"

Did this guy just tunnel his way up from under a rock?

(By the way, it's important that I mention that he is not involved on any, single social media site whatsoever. So, in that way he is an extremist, which is why I was totally defensive at first.)

He explained, "I've always been fine with you posting whatever you wanted because it was stuff about you, you know? But this baby is part of me...and I don't like it." I sat and thought about what he was saying and asked him to elaborate his feelings on the topic, since it was just so strange and foreign to me. Who doesn't post stuff on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or...you name it?

So he began.

And his thoughts really, really challenged me. He asked my why I would have "friends" on Facebook that I haven't seen or talked to in years and years (hello, high school!) or why I'd have any "friends" on there at all that aren't super valuable to me who I make an effort to connect to, at least somewhat often. "It makes sense," he said, "that you'd want something like that (referencing fb) because of long-distance relationships that mean something--like close friends and family. Beyond that, it's just vanity."

VANITY?!? I almost fell out of my beautifully uncomfortable rod-iron chair.

"Why is everyone so obsessed with sharing their lives with people that don't really matter to them?" he asked. "Do we just want everyone to see how unrealistically and seemingly perfect our life is?" I thought about that statement. Then he continued, "Also, I hate when I run into an old acquaintance in town and they ask me about something that happened a few days prior and I'm all like, 'How did YOU know my wife got a new car? I haven't talked to you in 5 years!' And it turns out they saw some post or photo on Facebook. And then, then I feel like I lost my privacy." He continued, "I think it's vanity. People only share the best photos of themselves or their kids or their life, as if to say, 'Look how awesome I am! Look how cute my kids are...they are cuter than your kids for sure. Look at how great my life is! Do you hate yourself yet?' It's not the way that stuff should be used. If you are going to use it to connect, you should connect. And if you want to share photos of your life, it should only be for the purpose of connecting and sharing with really important people in your life who miss those moments, not virtual strangers."

I almost didn't know what to say or think. Everything he was saying was ringing true to me. Why do I have so many Facebook friends...most of which I will never, ever talk to? For a long time, I thought it was because I used Social Media as a great tool for growing my photography business and for growing my blog. And it IS a great tool for that. But you certainly don't have to compromise your privacy or your husband's privacy or the privacy of your child to grow a business. People can "like" my business page without being a personal fb friend. And once I sat and thought about it, it was a little creepy imagining practical strangers peeking in on my life THAT I POST INTO THE VIRTUAL WORLD (so they aren't really creepy...I put it out there after all). So all of this to say, is that it made me question what I AM DOING. Not what others are doing. If I put it out there, then it's free game. So I need to monitor what I put out there. Duh.

But I also need to monitor my Facebook and Instagram, especially since I share personal photos and such on there. It made me realize, that as a parent, you have to weigh the pros an cons of exposing your child to the social media world, and you have to decide what makes you comfortable.

After thinking about it for a long, long time, I decided that I am going to scour my Facebook friends log and be critical about who I'm sharing my life with. It's not to be exclusive, it's to be honest about who I'm connected to. I don't need to share my life with someone I haven't talked to in 10 years. It makes no logical sense at all. Beyond that, if I can't manage to use Facebook properly (according to my own standards) I should probably not be on there at all.

Social media is a great tool and a really fun world, but I'm convinced that wisdom in this area is really, really important. It has made me question all avenues of sharing, even this blog. I need to really sit and think about how much of my life I want to put out there and what I want to keep for myself. Will my child find it weird or awesome that they were posted all over the internet when they were tiny and without a choice? Will it not matter at all? Will it bother them? Will they feel unprotected or exposed?

I'm not sure. Just lots and lots of thoughts swish back and forth as I try to figure it out in our crazy, connected, insta-world of over-sharing.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on this?




6.20.2014

29

Shhh...I'm welcoming myself to my last year of living in my 20's.

No, honestly, I'm so ready to be 29. I feel 29. I'm embracing it wholeheartedly. It is definitely odd to be this "on the brink" to giving birth (39 whole weeks, ya'll) on my very own birthday. It definitely makes me feel like a grown up and definitely makes this number feel more appropriate than it would otherwise.



Looking back, my 28th year was a doozie of failed relationships and complicated emotions. But it was also a year of blissful pregnancy and expectancy. Looking forward, I have so many hopes and excitements about being a mother, even though I'm refusing to fly too high into the clouds. I'm choosing to stand on earth and be "realistic" about the challenges of motherhood and parenthood (the solo part and the team work part--they are their own entities). But none the less, even with feet firmly planted, they will be moving. I'm choosing to be like David this year, where it says:

David danced before the Lord with all his might.
--2 Samuel 6:14

That's what I want for year 29. A year of dancing. And dancing through all circumstances-good, bad, hard, easy, blissful, miserable--a time of rejoicing and blessing the Lord for all He has done in my life. What He has done for my soul, I might not ever be able to express rightly. How He has redeemed my marriage and given me a hope, I will be on my knees forever in gratitude for. How He has won my heart with the most surprising and loving ways, I will always be surprised at and found sitting in stunned awe for. So, I hope I've buried the Kleenex box for a while and find myself two-stepping and white-girl-snapping before Him instead. And I hope I do it mightily.

Now, come on out baby girl, it's time already!
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