Entitled to Coffee

Today I caught myself thinking, “I deserve a cup of coffee” when Hadleigh was humiliating me in Home Depot.

To back up, Hadleigh was having a literal throw-down on the floor. People were passing with awkward “You need to do something about this” or “I pity you” faces. The meltdown lasted. And lasted. We’ve always compared Hadleigh’s cry to a screeching baby pig, but with the volume of 10 piglets. If you’ve never heard a baby pig, go to your local petting farm and check it out. Your eardrums will be singed.

So there I was, and the Spirit was holding me back from losing my cool, and I was feeling this entitlement toward coffee. It was a seemingly harmless thought that showed the depth of my heart.

Sometimes we think we deserve things. We think we deserve the perfect marriage, dream job, or for me, an angel baby.

I immediately thought of Romans where we learn the opposite is true. We are actually enemies of God (Rom. 5:10) and deserve death (Rom. 6:23). Not even a cup of coffee, just death, eternal separation from God. That’s what i deserve. “But God”–these words encouraged me today, showing God didn’t leave us there. “But God demonstrates His own love toward sinners” through Christ’s death (Romans 5:8), but then expanding even more, He gives what only Christ, the Perfect One, deserves–His very own righteousness, presence, inheritance, and blessing–to His children.

Seeing my child today gave me a glimpse of who I am–needing No reward based on my behavior. I am no better than a tantrum-throwing, screeching piglet. And quite honestly, I can throw a good fit, myself. I NEED the Gospel!

Fear not, I DID get that cup of coffee, but not because I deserved it, but because I really wanted a homemade pumpkin spice latte. And, Hadleigh DID get disciplined with her beloved babydoll taken away from her for a while, as well as a good Gospel/Grace-centered 2-minute sermon. Though I’m pretty sure she wasn’t understanding most of what I said, it was a reminder to me.

Grace is abundant and beautifully undeserved.

So…

When Hadleigh came to me later and asked for kisses, snuggled on my lap and asked to play babydolls with her, God reminded me, it was His grace on display, not something I was entitled to. Any goodness in my life, even the breath in my lungs, can only come from the source of all good. Praise to Him, from who all blessings flow!

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A letter to my mini-me

Dear mini-me,

A part of me gets nostalgic every time summer comes to an end and we start buying school supplies. I totally connect with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail,” and melt at the smell of “bouquet of newly sharpened pencils” (especially if they are perfectly labeled with a label machine). I’m reminded of my elementary years. I LOVED school, and I say that with no exaggeration. I adored every bit of it (minus the occasional relational drama), and I honestly pray that you and your siblings would be lovers of learning, as well.

When Connor went to kindergarten, I was ecstatic. I wasn’t necessarily dying for him to get out of the house (even with you at home and Hadleigh on the way). I truly enjoy having you all with me, but I was beyond giddy for him on his first day of school. I did cry…in the car…and I blame my pregnant hormones 100%. You might have slight memory of that.

This year was a little different. You were so excited to go to kindergarten, but a part of me was aching inside. Perhaps it’s because you are a girl, sweet, with fragile emotions, or perhaps it’s because when I look at you, I see a mini-me. It’s probably a little of both, but I have realized seeing the “me” in you creates an unhealthy protectiveness. It’s selfishly motivated, like I could possibly change the bad that happened to me by trying to protect you.

Why do I do that?

I want to protect you, it’s my responsibility to protect you, and I promise to fight for you, but the problem comes when I place pressure on myself to insure your happiness at all times. It’s exhausting, dear one, and someday you might experience that with your own babies.

Somehow, I believed the lie that failure or sadness would harm you. However, if God’s desire is for His children to be more and more conformed to the image of His Son, then sometimes happiness has to take the fall, maybe even a big fall. I often pray protection over you, but when the unavoidable pains of life happen, as they always do, I need you to cling to this: You can be so deeply strengthened and shaped during the times you have no strength to shape yourself. That might just be the beauty of pain. It’s then that our self-promoting, self-seeking, self-protecting inner person crumbles, and we can only rely on God, Himself, to do something glorious in and through us.

So…

When you make a mistake and you get embarrassed, your face turns red, and you feel like crying, God can shape you. Let Him lift up your head so you can bask in His perfection.

When a classmate doesn’t accept you, and maybe even makes fun of you, God can shape you. Let Him remind you that you are His creation and lead you to those who are hurting, themselves, and need a friend.

When you hurt someone’s feelings, and you you feel the burn of regret, God can shape you. Let Him show you forgiveness and give you humility to ask for forgiveness.

When you face the choice to be brave or accepted, God can shape you. Let Him go before you and give you courage.

When you have to wait for something, something you really want, God can shape you. Let Him be your treasure.

In moments of despair, suffering, or frustration, God can shape you. In moments of sadness, anger, and error, God can shape you. In all things, God can shape you.

And let me walk beside you, sweet one. As your character is shaped, let me always walk beside you.

You are my beauty, and I love you very much.

–Mom

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor rulers, neither present things nor things to come, neither powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

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1 year, 2 months, 3 days ago…

…baby #3 was born.

I was reminded Sunday at our church’s ladies’ night out just how good moms are about reminiscing and re-telling birth stories.  I adore that part of being a woman.  I can almost cry when I hear the sentimental details, laugh about the crazy things that women scream at their husbands, and I hate to say that I am even intrigued by the stories about 48 hour labor and 10+ pound babies.  (It makes me more thankful for a 19 hour labor with my firstborn.)  I can honestly say I have no problem with the tendency that women have to “one up” the other women with how horrific their birth experience really was.   I love every bit of the competitive story-telling.

As I was driving home from the ladies’ event, I realized I had never shared photos that my friend and talented photographer, Jessica Mooney, took at the birth of Hadleigh Kate 1 year, 2, months, and 3 days ago. (***Side note: She and I have a quirky thing for numbers, so I thought she’d appreciate my posting this with a numerical reference.) I meant to post on Hadleigh’s first birthday, but that happened to be election day, so my mind was swamped with red, white, and blue thoughts.

My precious Hadleigh has been such a gift this past year, teaching us so much to depend on the Lord.  After our first two babies, Drew and I pridefully thought we had the parenting thing down, but Hadleigh has kept us on our toes from the beginning.

My water broke on a Sunday when my husband was a couple hours away, supposedly picking up the kids from a weekend getaway to their grandparent’s house.  In actuality, he was stranded a couple hours away with a flat tire, and the bolts were so tightly screwed that the tire-changing process was a little longer than normal.  He didn’t answer his phone. I laughed.  Several friends and family members didn’t answer their phones. I laughed. I finally got a hold of one brother who I thought was in DFW, but was actually going back to West Texas.  I laughed. My husband’s secretary and dear friend, Cindy, did get my message while I was on the other line, and she was the heroine of the day, rushing me 45 minutes down the road to the hospital.  When we were at a dead-stop in traffic on the highway due to the Cowboys game, we both laughed.  When I heard my parents (who share one car) had not one, but 2 tires (ironic?) that were to be replaced the next day and some other repair was to be done, I laughed cried. My doctor had the flu.  The hospital didn’t have the paperwork from the doctor.  Everything seemed so badly timed, but I think it’s times like those that, in hindsight, you can laugh again and praise the Lord because He, and only He, could carry you through.

I’ll spare you from the remaining details and save them for another ladies’ night out birth-story swap, but here’s the rest of the story in photographs.

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Can you tell Reece dressed herself that day?  Her “Lolli” said she was adement about this all-pink, girly outfit. I love the fact that she was 100% Reece that day, excited to welcome her sister in the most froo-froo way!

My brother, sister-in-law and sister were immediately at the hospital to help with the kids.  I’ve heard some silly stories from the waiting room. If only I had been a fly on the wall.

Oh, and I have no idea what that little playdoh creature is.


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Our friends drove all the way from Oklahoma to see us.  It made us feel pretty special, and gave the kids some company when the labor seemed to drag…on…forever.

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She was due to be born on 11.11.11 (and my numerical heart sank for a split second in time when my water 5 days early), but I guess she decided wanted to surprise me.  My numerical heart is trumped by my love of surprises. The timing was perfect. She was perfect. God was good.

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1 year, 2 months, 3 days later, she’s still surprising us, and God is still teaching us.  We are so blessed.

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Highlights: 10 months of senior portraits

As with the last couple posts, you know why I’m keeping it brief!

1.  A lovely girl who will likely see (and minister to) the world

2.  An Arboretum session, complete with beautiful smiles

3.  Don’t colorful balloons make everyone happy?

4.  How about a session at a cute boutique?  (Well, I really got distracted by the stuff I wanted to buy.)

5.  Mod, bright, and creative–that’s just a glimpse into this fab session!

6.  Senior guy + junkyard = greatness!

IF YOU WANT A PEEK AT MORE PHOTOS FROM THESE SESSIONS, SKIP ON OVER TO MY FACEBOOK FAN PAGE!

Highlights: 10 months of love and marriage

Just as with my family post, I’m sparing you once again.  Here’s a few of my favorites from the past 10 months sans blog.

1. How about an adorable wedding downtown Frisco with an elated bride and groom? Yes, please.

2.  This sweet day included a lot of very excited children in the wedding party, which meant shooting at 36 weeks pregnant was actually really fun!

3.  The English tea-inspired bridal session couldn’t have been more beautiful, and the fact that the bride and groom had the most adorable matchy-matchy names (Eric & Erica) made my heart happy!

 

 

4.  Yet, another wonderful name–Lemmons!  I couldn’t have been happier to photograph engagements, bridals, and a wedding, full of citrusy goodness!

*Side-note: I just had to include the “exit” photo because it had to be one of my all-time favorite memories at a wedding.  To continue with my goal to be brief, let’s just say that a man lit about 40 sparklers…and you can imagine how that turned out!

5.  To understand how amazing their love story is, you must realize that Jaimie is a cancer survivor.  The day was filled with praises and tears because of  the story the Lord had so beautifully written for them!

6.  Can you see the giddiness?  Melissa and Will’s day could not have been more beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

7.  Though I’m no golfer, I adored this golf-inspired engagement, as well as Megan’s glamorous bridal session in Fort Worth and wedding in Waco!  They are such a beautiful couple with beautiful families!

8.  Willing to go biking, hiking, and even kayaking, had they been open on weekdays, this couple was loads of fun!  Just wait until you see their fun wedding!

9.  These TCU fans bleed purple!  What a joy it was to photograph such a wonderful couple!

 

 

If you want a peek at more photos from these sessions, skip on over to my Facebook Fan Page!

Highlights: 10 months of families

To spare you from 10,000 posts, here’s just a few of my favorite family moments…

1. Little Ethan loved this part of his ONE year session!  I guess most boys would like a dirty old bathtub to play in???

2. What other session would correlate with the number TWO than these adorable twins?

3. These THREE make quite a happy family, don’t they?  Ok, enough with the number/word play.

4.  One of the quickest shoots I’ve ever had.  Under 15 minutes, and these boys were all smiles.

5.  One of the sweetest, most feminine shoots ever!

6. How precious are my old friends from Fort Worth?  I truly think they could be a Dr. Pepper advertisement!

7.  Yet, some more sweet friends from our old church!  The Gentry fam knows how to infect my blog with cuteness!

8.  I seem to have a theme going here…here are some more old friends!  The Russells had an incredible fishing-themed shoot last year.  Just you wait til you see their session I did just the other day!

9.  And how could I ever forget this fabulous session that went from

A. Nautical, beautiful, perfectly sunlit…

to

B. Crazy, wet, and perfectly awesome!

If you want a peek at more photos from these sessions, skip on over to my Facebook Fan Page!

Finally: getting back to the bliggity blog

I feel the need to direct your attention to my last post.

Yes, you read correctly. 10/22/11. Now that that embarrassing tidbit is out there, let me catch up on the last few several months in a brief paragraph.

I had baby Hadleigh. Drew became a pastor. We lived through Hadleigh’s reflux and colic and random hospital visits. My firstborn went through his first year of school and graduated kindergarten. We moved…cities, schools, churches, and houses. I ended my maternity leave and started back into photography. We remodeled our house (ok, only partially, but in big ways). We went without internet for 4 1/2 months. (Yes, people still can do it!) I changed my website to haileyerickson.com. Aaaaand that brings us to today.

Much has changed. We are tremendously blessed. Praise God!

FYI: I am about to post a series of blog posts so that you can see just a few details of my major-busy-no-time-for-blogging last several months, but for now, I thank you for your patience! Love and blessings to you! –Hailey