anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Poems of Motherhood | February Edition

Since I've known what poetry is, I've always been writing it. I don't claim that it has ever been any good, but it's something that I've needed to do. I remember being in college and getting close to some girls in my poetry class that we had in the spring. I went home for the summer and ran into them in the fall and asked about their poetry. They hadn't written any since that class had ended, even though (in my opinion) they wrote much better poetry than me. I couldn't imagine going months not writing. It's something that I almost have to do, but also something that I enjoy. 

Through the years I have written all kinds of poetry, mostly sad/angsty poetry about boys and breakups, but I have loved writing about Everly and Motherhood, so I'm planning to share these kinds of poems once a month or so!


I want to remember
the swirl of your hair at the crown of your head
the split where a cowlick will grow
at the top of your forehead
just like mine

the way your hair turns golden in sunlight
your fighting arms
sweeping and scooping in

fingers opening and closing
like prayer
or tucking your thumbs in fists

I want to remember
how tiny you are
the little "O" you make with those perfect bow lips
like you're taking the world in sips


Today you fell asleep cuddled up against my chest
as if my heartbeat was the only lullaby you needed
I let you sleep there
kissed the soft spot on your head
letting you know that you're safe with me
as close as you can be on this side of my skin


You always flash smiles as you're falling asleep
slipping into dreams

but, today you smiled a real smile
looking at me 
while I reminded myself that these days are

you'll only be this tiny once

I'd rather spend these days looking at you
drinking you in
than looking at the glass screen in my hands

Today I held you
I watch the sunlight turn your hair gold and red
And your eyelashes lay delicately against your cheek
I thought about the day we brought you home
The music playing in the car
Your dad and I crying because you were finally ours
I thought of the stories I would tell you
The ones I would write for you
These moments are my new adventure
A story I didn’t think the ink would actually become a reality
But here we are
Me holding you
Because I was afraid
Your skin seemed too cool
I couldn’t see your heartbeat
So I had to pick you up
To hold you
So I could remember that this is real


I painted a moon for you
Edged in flowers, a Poppy 
For my Poppy girl 
We wrapped you up in swans
A reminder that something beautiful can grow out of something ugly
Then I carried the little bundle of you 
From bassinet to bed
To my arms. 
I watched you sleep
Wondered if you were dreaming of flowers
Or moons
Of things you have never seen. 
I have never seen something like you
You are details sealed together 
as unique as a Super Blue Blood moon
As snowflakes and lip prints

You were a puzzle piece that fit inside me
For nine months
Changing and carving out a place in my heart
No matter how you grow and change
You will always fit there

Thanks for reading! Do you write poetry? How do you make sure you remember the little beautiful moments?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

How I Use a Prayer Journal

A few weeks ago Brian's little sister was in town with her family. It was fun because his sister had a baby girl only two months before we had Everly, so they finally got to meet each other. While they were here her husband brought up that they had to speak in church that Sunday and Brian's sister's topic was her prayer journal. 

I have tried keeping a prayer journal for years, but have never found a way to be very consistent. While I do feel that I connect best through writing, it just takes a lot of time to write out your prayers every day. I also tried another setup that I'd seen on Pinterest, but this also seemed to take too long. However, when we started talking about what her prayer journal looked like, it sounded like the perfect set up for me. Basically, you just pray like you normally would, but then afterward write down any impressions you get. It gives the Lord space to talk back to you. I modified the idea a little bit and have been using it for a few weeks now and it has worked out so well for me. 

There are three basic parts to my prayer journal.

1. Prayer Roll
I got this idea after Brian talked about how our ward has a prayer roll. I had never occurred to me that I could do that as an individual. Prayer rolls are something that we have in our temples where we write down the names of people we know that are struggling or sick or in need of some extra prayers. So each Sunday I sit down and I think about who in my life might need extra prayers for the week and I put their name on my prayer roll. Then when I am saying my prayers I look at the list and make sure that I include each of them. I don't use this journal all day long, mostly just for my morning prayer.

2. Concerns
I don't know if you've read Present Over Perfect by... but she has a beautiful chapter in there about prayer. She talks about pouring out the vinegar to get to the oil. In other words, telling God all the things that you are concerned about, the things that weigh heavy on your heart. Once you've done that then you can get to the rich oil. The good part that we crave. So again, on Sunday I write out my concerns, the things that are weighing heaviest on my heart. It helps me focus on what I can work on to fix them as well as just getting them out there. There is something so therapeutic about taking my biggest worries and giving them to God knowing that if I can do something about them, then he'll help me to fix them. 

3. Inspiration
I put this on the back of my page and throughout the week after my prayers, I write down what comes to mind. Then I make a conscious effort to do the things that I write down. Because I use this journal every morning, I see what is on the list that I haven't done yet and it reminds me to keep working on accomplishing those things. Some examples are, text a friend, plan a night to hang out with so and so, get back into writing, start doing family history... Sometimes I'm unsure of whether or not it's just me making up things that I want to accomplish, but as long as it's a good thing I put it on the list.

This past Sunday in church one of the speakers talked about how when we pray we should not just tell God our problems, but ask ourselves what we can do to fix those problems. So I also try to listen for inspiration with the thought in mind of how can I help fix my concerns? Is there anything that I can do to help those who are on my prayer roll?

I also include in my prayer journal what I need to be praying for Brian about. We still do couple council every Sunday and one of the questions we ask each other is how we can pray for them that week. It's really easy for me to forget what Brian has asked me to pray for him, but I want to pray for him, so this helps me to see it and remember each day.

I feel like I am constantly learning how to pray better and how to feel more connected to my Savior. I feel like prayer has always been something that I have struggled with, which is why I am always trying to work on making it a habit as well as something that I want to do and look forward to. It's probably something that I will need to work on for the rest of my life, but I'm ok with that. 

How do you make prayer more meaningful for you? Have you tried a prayer journal? What has worked best for you?

Click HERE to get your free printable. I've included a half size and a full page layout. 

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Blessings of the NICU

We started off our parenting journey pretty rough. Everly needing to go to the NICU honestly wasn't even on my radar. Even though one of the main reasons that I wanted to have our baby in a hospital (yes, I toyed with the idea of home birth in my mind) was because I wanted that safety net of doctors and people on hand, I never thought that I would have to use it.

So when Everly went to the NICU there were a lot of things that I hated. Most of those things I went over in Everly's Birth Story post, but today I thought that I would detail some of the things that made our lives easier because Everly was in the NICU.

1. Both Brian and I got a decent amount of sleep since she was born.

Because you can't have the baby in your room, and it really isn't feasible to go to the NICU for every feeding through the night, we got at least a 5-6 hour stretch of sleep every night. The nurses don't even want you to come down to every feeding. They encourage you to skip at least one night feeding and sleep and recover.

2. Access to lactation specialists.

I was really worried about breastfeeding Everly since I didn't get the chance to spend that first hour with her. They emphasize how having them latch within that first hour helps lead to breastfeeding success and I didn't even see her the first hour of her life outside the womb. I also knew that generally, you can have a lactation specialist come to your hospital room and help you learn how to breastfeed, but I never had Everly in my room.

Down in the NICU there were several specialists that I was able to work with. They came by and made sure that we were learning how to breastfeed together. Not only that but they taught me about how to establish my milk supply. They told me that I needed to get a 4-6 hour stretch of sleep every night for best milk production, had me pump after every breastfeeding to establish my supply, and told me about how much I should be aiming for in order to have enough throughout our breastfeeding in the months to come. I would have had no idea about any of this if I hadn't been in the NICU. I probably would hardly have pumped at all if I had just had her and started nursing from the beginning.

3. She always knew how to take a bottle. From anyone.

Because I couldn't feed her those first few days, between me being sick and not having my milk come in yet, Brian fed her a lot and so did the nurses. In fact, pretty much the whole time she was in the hospital I would breastfeed her and then they would give her a bottle while I pumped. I generally only fed her from one side because the only way to check and see if she was making her goal of what she had to drink every day was by weighing her before and after I fed her, which wasn't completely accurate. I wanted to be sure she was "getting credit" for what she had to drink, so I fed her and then let her take the rest from a bottle.

Because of this, I've always been able to leave her with Brian or my mom or anyone I trust if I want/need to go somewhere. She's been fine to take a bottle from any of them and she'll still take a bottle from me (which I heard can be hard because they would rather breastfeed).

4. I learned how to leave her.

I'll admit, this was maybe the roughest way to learn how to leave your baby behind. It was hard to be separated from her from the very beginning. However, because of this rough start, I was able to leave her with other people. Brian offered to let me have one night a week for self-care (I HIGHLY recommend this) to do whatever I wanted and get out of the house. Since I'd already had the practice leaving Everly for several hours at a time, it was no big deal for me to leave her with Brian while I went out with friends, or with my Mom, while I went to the dentist. Both because I had to leave her and because of the nurses encouraging me to rest and recover, I was able to let her be taken care of by other people, so I can take care of myself. It also has made it so that if I wanted to leave her with someone so that Brian and I could go have a date night, I've been fine to do that.

5. I learned how to accept help.

When she was born and they took her away, it was out of my hands. I didn't even get the chance to ask for help. She was in the NICU and I couldn't walk. I needed help just to see her. People had to bring us meals. Brian had to help me get in and out of bed and help to get to the bathroom.

I lost a lot of pride when Everly was taken to the NICU, but in a good way. I learned that letting people serve you sometimes does as much for them as it does for you.

6. Everly learned how to sleep through sounds and how to sleep on her own.

A lot of people gave me advice to vacuum near the baby. I think I would have been a little afraid to do something like that if I'd just taken her home right away, but because she was in the NICU I knew that she could sleep through a lot. I'd been there when people were coming in and out and alarms were going off and people were talking. She was able to sleep through all of that. So I knew that she could sleep through it. In fact, the day that she came home, we moved her bed (while she was sleeping in it) and hammered in some nails on the wall above it. She slept through it anyway. In fact, when people came over to visit and she was sleeping, I had to encourage them NOT to whisper.

Also, I knew that she could fall asleep on her own. She didn't need to be held or rocked or any of that to fall asleep. All she needed was to be swaddled and laid down. When she came home she was held so much that she started to believe that she couldn't fall asleep without being held so I had to retrain her a bit, but I'm sure it was nowhere near as hard as it would have been if I hadn't already known she was capable of doing it.

7. The NICU tribe.

It's a club. One you never want to join, but it has some of the most amazing and kindest people in it. Everyone is rooting for each other to succeed and we all hope that we never see each other again (or at least until the reunions they have once a year) because that means that their baby is out of the NICU.

There are so many hard things about having a baby in the NICU and all things considered, we are very lucky that she wasn't sicker and didn't have to stay there longer than a week (even though it felt like a month). I'm grateful for all the nurses and doctors in the NICU that are capable of keeping sick and tiny babies alive and I pray that I never have to go back there again, but I am grateful for the good things it gave us.

Thank you so much for reading! What blessings have you seen from a hard experience?
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