Dear Whit :: 1 Year Old

Dear Whit,

Today, you are one year old!

How, in the world, has it already been a year? A little over a year ago, as we eagerly awaited your arrival, I wrote out my prayer for you – that you would be happy, healthy, strong, smart, adventurous, and curious about this world. God answered big time –  you are all of those things. (Though, I wish I had prayed a little less fervently about the adventurous and curious part – you have SO much zeal for discovering new things and I can hardly keep up!)

Just in the last few weeks, you have started to seem so much like a big boy instead of a baby. You’re walking – everywhere. And communicating (mostly to the dogs, but whatevs). You love to bark at your puppies. You shake your head no anytime we tell you “No, no.” You dance every time anything with any resemblance of a beat comes on. You have 7 teeth, and you’re working really hard on another one. You love meat and veggies – and you’re not so sure about sweet foods. But, you, you are so sweet and loving.

And you are so loved.

This past weekend, many of the people who love you the most celebrated your first birthday! You are truly such a reason for a celebration – a physical reminder of God’s love and faithfulness and miracles.

We had games and cake and presents. You had no interest in the cake – even though it might have been the best cake I’ve ever baked. For your birthday, we made you a playroom. And thanks to your friends and family, you have a bunch of fun new toys to play with! Thanks to everyone who celebrated our baby bear turning one!

It is amazing how much you have grown and developed in a year. You are such an incredible little human – and I am so proud and thankful to be your mama. It is been a year of joy and love, exhaustion and self doubt. But this world – and definitely my world – is better with you in it. I am so excited to watch you continue to grow into the person God created you to be.

Happiest of birthdays, baby bear.

Love you,

Mama

 

IF : Dalhart

“Our heart at IF:Gathering is to create tools that gather, equip and unleash women right where they are.”

And the team behind IF: Dalhart is so excited to be a part of that vision and help bring it to Dalhart. We hope you will join us, Friday and Saturday (Feb 3 & 4), for the 2017 IF: Gathering.

We have an amazing group of women who have already signed up to join us for part or all of the weekend. From all denominations, all walks of life, all ages. All are welcome.

Here are some details:

Location: Due to the size of the group, we have had to move from Purpose Coffee to Hillside Church – 409 Denrock Ave.

Times: The conference sessions are Friday, February 3, 6-9pm, and Saturday, February 4, 9am-12pm and 2-5pm. We ask that you arrive 15-30 mins early for fellowship, to get food and refreshments, and find a seat! The schedule is full and we don’t want to miss anything!

Please join us for any or all of those sessions. We encourage you to make this a priority, as it will surely be life-affirming and life-changing – but, we understand that life happens and kids are busy and people have to work and things come up – so join for what you can.

Meals and Snacks: We will provide dinner Friday night, as well as breakfast foods and snacks on Saturday. The group will break for 2 hours on Saturday for lunch on your own.

Please let us know if you are interested in joining. We don’t have an official registration or RSVP system so that anyone can come for any part of the conference – but we do want to make sure we have enough food for you! So, leave a comment or get in contact with us to let us know.

Bring your Bible, a journal and pen, and anything else you might need to be comfortable. We do have a limited number of goodie bags – first come, first served!

So, are you wondering, what is IF: Gathering anyway?

Well, broadly, it’s a global movement of women all over the world coming together to learn and grow and connect and worship. Specifically, it’s a women’s conference held each year in Austin, with great worship music and speakers. We will simulcast the event in real time, taking breaks for conversation and fellowship with one another.

Come hungry. Both spiritually and physically. And join us for this amazing event.

Dear Whitaker :: 7 Months

Dear Whit,

You, my baby boy, are seven months old today.

Seven whole months of your sweet cuddles. Seven months of watching you grow and develop. Seven months of love and delight.

Andrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams Creative

It’s so neat to see your thoughts and opinions develop. You are babbling up a storm right now trying to convey those thoughts. You say ma-ma-ma, da-da, ba-ba-ba, na-na-na, and (of course) goo. And if that doesn’t get your point across, you scream with all the force of your very strong lungs. Good times.

You are a well-documented fake cough-er and faker cry-er. And sometimes a fake laugh-er, letting out a single Ha. It’s pretty funny. Until you scream.

You’re starting to notice the dogs more and more. They usually make you laugh – when they aren’t doing a walk by face lick. You’re starting to pull their fur and ears anytime they are within reach though – and they have been such sweet dogs and haven’t nipped or growled at you.

Andrus Williams Creative

You love love love your jumper and your walker. Anything that helps you move. You’re also an amazingly proficient roller and scooter, making your way around the living room remarkably fast. You can sit up, but you have no interest in actually sitting. You are all about standing. And, you’re starting to pull up – mostly by grabbing the neckline of my shirt, my scarf, or my hair. Good times.

You’re finally getting a hang of the food thing. You love bananas, apples, peaches, pears, avocado, butternut squash, carrots, and broccoli. But, you were pretty offended when we tried to give you chicken and a taste of a french fry.

Andrus Williams Creative

This month, you went on your first long road trip out of Texas, to Crested Butte, Colorado. You saw snow and Fall leaves and mountains. It was beautiful. You slept great in the mountains and your hair didn’t stick up – Mama thinks we might need to move to the mountains.

Andrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams Creative

And, this month, you spent a lot of time at the Purpose Coffee building with us. You love saying hi to everyone, grabbing the tea towel from the roasting room and bringing it to us, interrupting people’s meetings, and banging into all of the furniture. But even more than that, you love spending time with the sweet and pretty ladies that help us at the building.

You keep us on our toes already – but you bring us so much joy. Your dad and I, we love you, little man.

For always,

Mama

Unity

I’ve never been a very good feminist. And I’m not all about girl power.

But, first with infertility, then pregnancy, and now with the birth of my first child, my life has drastically changed in the last few years, largely based on the fact that I’m the woman and the mom. And it has really made me change the way I see my gender.

Too often lately, I’ve had to say to friends, “getting pregnant, staying pregnant, having babies, and raising babies should be the easiest most natural thing in the world – and for too many women, it just isn’t.” And beyond it being hard and frustrating and heartbreaking – we feel like we aren’t supposed to think any of those things and that we aren’t really supposed to talk about it. So many of my girl friends are silently suffering about what they were biologically created to do. We feel alone and disconnected – because of things we are all going through.

I’m not down with that.

Connection and openness and vulnerability and unity have been on my heart lately. So much. It’s good for the soul. It’s good for you and your family. And that makes it good for our town, our country, our society.

As we’ve dreamed about how the new Purpose Coffee space in Dalhart could be used, I’ve wanted it to be a way to connect and unify women in this town.

I love that the space is already being used for book clubs, sorority meetings, baby showers, and club business meetings. Women are coming in with their girlfriends to catch up over a cup of coffee. Every time I see it, I can’t even describe how happy it makes me.

The Purpose Dalhart team met today to plan a few more events to help foster that kind of unity and connection. Here are the details – and we would so love for you to join us!

Community Women’s Bible Study

We will meet on the second Thursday of the month, both in the morning and the evening – so you can join us as your schedule allows! First up, we will be reading and discussing Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love.

If you’re able, join us for fellowship, coffee, and treats at either 9:30am or 6:30pm. Discussion will start promptly at 10am and 7pm. We will offer childcare for the morning session at the Hillside Kids’ building, for $5 for the first child and $3 for each additional child in a family.

Our first session will be on October 13, and will be a general fellowship, get to know each other, introduce the study kind of session. We will have books available, or you can order on your own. Then we will meet November 10, December 8, January 12, and February 9 to discuss the book. So, mark your calendars now!

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A Farm Wife’s Harvest Celebration

I don’t really know what to call this one. We laughed about “Ladies Night” – with $1 shots (of espresso). But, that’s not exactly what we are going for! 🙂

We just want the opportunity to encourage y’all. Whether you’re feeling like a single mom because your husband is working a billion hours with harvest, or you really are a single mom, or you just need a little love and laughter – stop by on October 27 for some Fall treats and a cup of coffee or tea and let us say “good job,” “keep it up,” “way to go.”

Please share with your friends and join us. We are so looking forward to connecting!

Dear Whit :: 5 Months

Dear Whit,

Well, I looked at the calendar today and realized I totally missed your five month picture and blog. Is this the month that everyone stops filling out their baby books?

Andrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeIt would make sense. You’ve gotten so much busier. Awake more. Talking more. Moving more. Eating more. Smiling and laughing more. Drooling more. So much more.

You’re rolling all over the place and scooting around the living room on your back. You still love to stand up and want so badly to take off running. But mama is glad that you’re still mostly immobile!

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We tried introducing some foods this month. So far, you think oatmeal is the most disgusting thing ever – which is strange given that I’ve eaten at least two servings of it a day since I first got pregnant! But you’re a big fan of peaches and avocado. I think we’ll try sweet potatoes next.

Andrus Williams Creative

You’re a pretty consistent sleeper (though, it’s hard to write that sentence given you woke up for the day at 3 am this morning!) and I think the key is the long afternoon nap we’ve gotten in the habit of taking. It’s mama’s favorite part of the day. Please don’t grow out of it for a long time!

Nap

I think this has been my favorite month yet. In many ways, this whole motherhood thing has gotten a little easier. Or maybe I’m a little more comfortable. Or maybe the smile you give me every single time I say “Hi Baby” makes it all worth it. Whatever it is – I’m so thankful and happy to be your mama.

Love you for always,

Mama

Dear Whit :: 4 Months

Dear Whit,

Dear Whit :: Four Months

Four months already… and officially a year since I first found out I was pregnant – and I am still completely amazed by your mere existence every day. And on top of that, so thankful that you are such a happy and healthy little guy – so perfect and truly a gift from above.

This month has been full of so many smiles. You start your day with a smile. Every morning when I go into the nursery to get you, you smile as soon as you see my face. My heart melts every single morning.

Dear Whit :: 4 Months

You’re still talking up a storm – but I must say you’re sounding less and less like you’re speaking English. Your oh goos and hiyas have turned into guttural screeches. Maybe you’re born to be a French speaker? And you’re definitely starting to understand volume and how to make louder noises.

Dear Whit :: 4 Months

You have totally mastered rolling over and keep trying to army crawl around the living room. You’re starting to get the hang of sitting up. But, you really just want to stand up and take off running. Your balance isn’t quite there yet, but your strong little leggies are able to support your weight pretty well. Like your dad, you are constantly testing the limits of your body and seeing what you can do and accomplish.

In fact, you continue to be e.x.a.c.t.l.y like your dad. His new joke is that instead of getting 50% of his DNA, you got 87%. Honestly, maybe more. Everyone who sees you comments on how much you look like him. You are strong and active and curious and determined like him.

FathersDay

We celebrated his first Father’s Day this month. I am so thankful that you will grow up with such an amazing man as your father. I love watching you interact together and know that he will teach you so much over the years (good and bad – ha!).

Whit – you are an absolute joy. We love you more than we knew we could.

Dear Whit :: 4 Months

Love always,

Mama

Cheers to 30

After six years of blogging toward 30, I’m almost there. Tomorrow, I reach this milestone that I thought was so huge when I was 24.

It has been a decade of figuring out who I really am, what I want to do, and who I want to be. I had to figure out how to adult and take care of myself. And now, how to take care of someone else. It was almost a full decade of figuring out how to really love and know someone else. It was figuring out how to really love and know myself.

And it required a lot of trial and error. A lot of change.

When I look back on the past decade, I’ve lived in 5 cities, and at least twice as many dorm rooms, apartments, and houses. I’ve traveled to four continents, somewhere around 20 countries, and met countless people along the way. I’ve lost friends and made friends. I’ve had not only several jobs, but several career paths – all abandoned for a volunteer ministry in Purpose Coffee and the occasional consulting work, stuck in between feedings, diaper changes, and naps. I’ve struggled. And succeeded. Fell on my knees in desperate prayer, and then again in overwhelming thanksgiving.

From sorority girl, to single in the city, to business woman, to farmwife, to stay at home mom. Just when I hit my grove and think I’ve got it figured out, life seems to change pretty drastically.

Through all of this change, I’ve learned a lot about myself. And maybe a little about life in general. As I look back on my 20s, here are some of my biggest lessons learned:

Everyone struggles. Your 20s are hard. No matter what path life takes you on in your 20s – whether you’re married with 3 kids, divorced, single, working, not working, still in school, living on your own, living with your parents, living with three other people in a single bedroom rental – it’s a tough decade. Even though it looks like your friend or that person on Facebook has it all together – I don’t think any of us really do yet.

I heard a theory once that if we could put everyone’s life on a clothes line – with our struggles and joys honestly spelled out – and you could go pick whichever set of circumstances you wanted – we would all go back and pick our own.

So just because you don’t have it together yet, it’s not worth it to beat yourself up – or to pretend like you actually do have it together. Embrace the mess. Be truthful and vulnerable. Connect with people who are right there in the middle of the mess with you.

You lose friends; you make friends. I’ve hurt people, and people have hurt me.

I’m sorry. That we couldn’t communicate. That we didn’t have compassion for one another. That I held onto anger or resentment. That I wasn’t a bigger person.

I’m sad. That we drifted apart. That our friendship ended. That I don’t even know the person I used to care so much about.

But I’m thankful for the season you were in my life. You impacted me, taught me things, shaped who I am today.

I wish we were in a place to just put it all behind us. But, it’s also okay that we are different people now. And sometimes the damage is irreparable – and that’s life.

I’m thankful to start a new decade with only fond memories and no more hard feelings.

There’s power in asking for what you want. This was one of the most important things I learned. In my early 20s, I spent so much time trying to figure out what other people wanted that I often forgot to think about what I wanted. And even if I did know what I wanted, I wasn’t brave enough to say it.

I finally worked up the courage to say what I wanted at work, in terms of responsibilities, hours, and salary. And I said it. Put it into the world. And they said okay. And it came to be. Hmm, that was easy.

Since then, there has been such empowerment in figuring out what I want, saying it, and making it happen. Whether it is through prayer, sending positivity into the world, or making a concrete plan to make those desires come to fruition – knowing what you want and saying it is half the battle.

I can’t force it. Piggy backing on knowing what I want…. I’ve also learned that I can’t force myself to want something. My head can know something is the best choice, but if my heart doesn’t want it, it’s not happening. (For example – I know that exercising is really important and the best choice for my health now and in the future. But my heart isn’t having it. And I cannot force myself to do it.)

So many of my 30 before 30 goals ended up not being in my heart. And they so didn’t get accomplished. I didn’t even try. And that’s okay – I learned something about myself in the process.

And at the same time that I didn’t accomplish so many things, I accomplished a lot in my 20s. When something is in my heart, I suddenly have all the self-discipline and determination in the world. It will happen.

As I conclude this tumultuous decade, I’m proud of what I have accomplished and of the effort I put into learning, experiencing, working, traveling, loving. I’m at peace with what didn’t come to be. And I’m so thankful for the many blessings I’ve had along the way and the help and support from friends and family.

I’m not particularly excited about being 30 tomorrow, but I’m really happy my 20s are coming to an end. I’ll start 30 tomorrow knowing who I am, confident in my marriage, with amazing friends and family beside me, and so thankful for this little life I lead.

Cheers to 30.

Cheers to 30.

 

Dear Whitaker :: 3 Months

Dear Whit,

This has been quite the month. Ups and downs. Lots of firsts. Lots of smiles. A few tears. I think this month we both started living a little more consciously, instead of in the newborn/postpartum haze fueled by adrenaline and instincts. Getting out of that haze has meant things were so much more enjoyable – but also a little more difficult since neither of us are on autopilot anymore.

WMW

The month started with the pediatrician telling us you might have cystic fibrosis. And then 24 hours called and said nevermind. (Word to the wise – don’t tell a sleep deprived brand new mom that her baby might have an incurable, life-threatening disease unless you’re pretty positive.) Praise the Lord that you continue to be healthy, growing like crazy, and getting stronger every day.

WMW

This month you rolled over for the first time. You had been trying so hard all month long and finally got it. I couldn’t believe the amount of pride that swelled inside of me as I watched you accomplish this task! You, on the other hand, acted like it was no big deal.

You slept through the night for the first time. Thank you, baby, for the uninterrupted sleep! We started sleep training, and you’ve done great so far. Your dad and I feel pretty dumb that we didn’t do it sooner. We’re all a little happier and a lot more rested.

WMW

You went on your first road trip, to Farwell. You meet lots of cousins, went swimming, and hung out with your grandparents. I was away from you for a whole day for the first time (and we all survived to tell about it – even Nana and Grandpa James). You went to church for the first time. And to the farm for the first time. And to SAMs for the first time. Really important milestones.

You’ve started laughing. One day, you said, “Hiya!” So I told you that ninjas say hiya, and your daddy would really like you to be a ninja. You thought that was hilarious, and let out a real chuckle. I almost cried it was so cute.

WMW

And we celebrated my first Mother’s Day. Thank you for the new patio decor – so thoughtful of you. I am so thankful for you, little man, and so happy to be your mother.

Happy 3 months.

Love always,

Mama

rePURPOSE

Can nesting happen AFTER baby comes? Because I’m pretty sure that’s what’s happening.

I worked all the way through my pregnancy, right up until the week Whit was born. And I just didn’t have the energy for true nesting. Now, having been cooped in my house for almost three months – the urge to really nest is setting in. To clean. To organize. To streamline. To simplify. To get rid of. To sell. To donate.

As I look around, I have nice things, that I like, but they just aren’t right for me anymore. Clothes that don’t quite fit right. Shoes that are a little too snug. Purses that I never use. Decor that no longer has a home. Things that I don’t want to just give away – but that I don’t want taking up space in my life anymore. They are sitting in closets, waiting to be loved again. To be given a new purpose.

A few weeks ago, I was telling my mom how I wished someone would host a charity garage sale that I could send my stuff to. And then I realized I’m involved with a charity doing some pretty amazing work around this world. Hey, why don’t I have that garage sale?!

And so, we are having a multi-family garage sale this Thursday, with all funds going to Purpose Coffee and our efforts to care for orphaned and vulnerable children around the world. (There are additional garage sales happening across the street – so lots of shopping to be done!)

Thank you so much to those who have donated to the garage sale, giving us a wide selection of sizes and styles! Shop clothes, home decor, kitchen goods, kids stuff, and more!

Shop for a PurposerePURPOSE

As I’ve gone through my things and found so much that I don’t mind parting with – it really got me thinking. This needs to be a life change for me.

I want every aspect of my life to have purpose and to be meaningful. And that extends to the things I own. I want my home to reflect our style and personality as a family. I want my closet to be filled with clothes I want to wear. I want my storage closets to house loved items.

So, I’m trying a new avenue to clear out these items that don’t quite fit my purpose. The online store, rePURPOSE, will feature only new, like new, and very gently used goods, with all of the funds going to Purpose Coffee’s Child Wellness Fund.

Follow the rePURPOSE account on Instagram for regular updates. I’m happy to ship or can arrange local pickup. I hope you’ll find something and give it a new Purpose in your life.

My first sale is in honor of Memorial Day this week, featuring red, white, and blue outfits, with items starting at just $5!

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Purpose: Dalhart

Since we welcomed Whitaker to the world just over two months ago, friends, family, and acquaintances frequently ask some of the same questions: “Don’t you just love him?!” “How’s he sleeping?” and “Are you opening a coffee shop?!”

So, let me answer those. Yes, he’s a dream. Sometimes he sleeps wonderfully. And, no – at least not yet.

It’s the last question that needs a little more explanation.

A few days ago, I posted a progress shot of the building we and some friends are renovating to house Purpose Coffee in Dalhart. We hope that this new space will make it easier to shop, sip, roast, and ship. So, it will be a shop. And there will be coffee. But it’s not a coffee shop.

Purpose: Dalhart

Instead, it’s a space to further the mission of Purpose Coffee, and the dreams we have for the company. We will roast and ship from the location. And will have limited hours that we are open so that the community can more easily buy coffee and purpose-driven goods.

It will be a space to organize and host events, tastings, and expand the reach of our annual charity run and pancake breakfast (hoping to host this in September, so be looking for more details!). We will be able to share updates about our projects and the great works that are being accomplished, all because there are a lot of coffee lovers out there.

But, it’s also more than just an office space for Purpose Coffee.

For a long time, I’ve had a dream, a hope, a prayer, that Purpose Coffee could be a tool for individuals to find and pursue their spiritual passions – indeed, to find their own God-given Purpose. And, I’ve dreamed, and hoped, and prayed, that it could be a tool that unifies and excites the various church bodies in Dalhart. That instead of focusing on what differences we have, we can bond over a cup of coffee and focus on the commonality we have in Jesus. So, we want Purpose: Dalhart to be a community space for fellowship, for learning, for prayer, for worship.

Admittedly, it’s a fluid concept, waiting to be molded based on God’s plans. And I can’t wait to brew some coffee with friends and see just what those plans are.

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