Baby Luke's Birth Story

Baby Luke’s Birth Story

08 August 2017 / 9:30 PM / Clements Hospital Dallas TX

Video by Rozlyn Tillman (@rozlyn.tillman)

Big life events never go quite as you would imagine in your head-- and baby Luke's birth story was exactly that. It was emotional, scary, hard, but hands down the best experience of my life. The feeling I had after he was born exceeded any feeling I have ever felt. No one can explain that rush of a mother's love you immediately have for this brand new little spirit.  I will cherish that moment he was placed into my arms forever.

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It was Tuesday the 8th (his due date) and I had gone to sleep with contractions and woke up at 6am with MUCH stronger ones. I was scheduled to be induced less than 24 hours later. But something told me he was not going to wait another 24 hours to meet us.

I told Ryan that this was it- "We are having this baby!”. He looked at me and said “Is this for sure go time?” (I had several waves of braxton hicks earlier in the week which lead to... no baby :). My face said it all-- he then quickly emailed his resident to let him know that I was going into labor! While I labored at home from 6am to 12pm, Ryan and I tried to do some last minute prep work for Baby Luke's arrival.

Because Ryan had been so busy with school he never got the chance to put Luke's dresser together. I remember in between contractions thinking, what is wrong with me?? Why are we still getting ready for this baby to arrive?? I felt a wave of anxiety, as so many thoughts were running through my mind. “Am I really ready to become a parent?” “Why am I such a procrastinator?”  “Can we really do this?'" “This baby deserves better!"

After counting the contractions until about four minutes apart, we hopped in the car and made our way to the hospital.

We were sent to a room and I was hooked up to a monitor. The monitor showed the contractions were coming every 2 to 4 minutes, and YES, they were strong! Ryan sat with me in the room as I made funny faces, said weird words, and struggled through the pain.

I was dilated to a 3 and they decided to break my water to get things going faster. They talked about how long first pregnancies take and how I could be in labor for 24 hours etc. etc. At this time Ryan said he was going to run home and take out Bernie (our pup) and finish working on the dresser. The nurse came in not too long after Ryan left, and she saw my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. She checked me and I was already dilated to a 6! I immediately called Ryan and he raced back over. The next time the Dr. came in and checked me- she said- "You are at a 10, complete, start pushing!” I was so thrown off! How did this happen so fast!?

I gave it a go--  I pushed for about 45 minutes and then we ran into some complications. Luke's heart rate started to drop and they immediately put me on oxygen. The Dr. decided to give me a 40 minute break to let me and the baby rest, and told me we would try again after the break.  I was nervous with this being my first time in labor, and of being so afraid that something might go wrong, that I was so nervous for Luke!  We were so close to meeting him. 

The time came when it was time for me to start pushing again. They took off my oxygen mask and I knew I had to give it everything I had. I had le bestie Larz, along with the nurse and Ryan, all at my head helping me push through the contractions. At one point I remember saying; “Don’t tell me I’m doing a good job,- just tell me to PUSH HARD!” I guess I do better in labor without the positive reinforcement!? Haha. 

I will never forget when the Dr. made the call to send up an ICU Dr. It had been 30 minutes of pushing and Little Luke's heart was continuing to drop -- I could no longer hear his heart beating through the monitor. The scariest sound in the entire world. My body was numb with fear and all I could think about was how I needed to get him out safely. Everything, everyone and every ounce of pain escaped from me. I gave the last pushes all my strength and the moment I heard a little cry was the sweetest sound I have ever heard.

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An intense feeling of love came over me, a feeling that I did not know I was capable of having.

My heart had already grew to let in this amount of love, I did not know was possible.

After being so afraid that there were going to be complications the sound of that first cry immediately brought me to tears. The moment he came out and I heard him cry - was so powerful. I held him tight and just repeated in tears "he is so perfect".

In a world where we preach "it's not meant to be perfect" (@bebonafide). This little angel and all the angel babies out there are 100 percent the exception to the rule.

How can a little bundle that you have not even met yet have so much power over you?

Though, I would say we may not have been the most prepared couple when it comes with all the gadgets and a nursery. I will say the love that Ryan and I have for this little miracle is more than any crib or dresser could ever hold. 

I just love this little being with all my heart and I know that this little guy will forever challenge me, change me and push me. It will change mine and Ryan's relationship, but I know all this change will be for the better.

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We love you baby Luke! We are forever grateful to add you to the Barlow family.

Video by Rozlyn Tillman (@rozlyn.tilllman)

 

 

 

10 WAYS TO IMPERFECTLY IMPROVE YOURSELF

Lately, I've been feeling like I've been in a bit of a funk. My energy has been low, my motivation hasn't been as high and my healthy intake has been kind of mindless... as in, I eat whatever I feel like having without putting much thought into its health benefits. 

I've been telling myself that I need to make a change for a while. But my lack of motivation has been playing devil's advocate. I continue to say: 

"After this vacation, I'll be able to buckle down and focus more." 

"After the weekend." 

"I'll wait until I get that mind shift. I can't force myself or I'm not really gonna change unless I really want to."

Excuse after excuse happened. And let's be honest, this has been going on and off since I had my little Lila, who is now 16 months old. 😳😅

I needed to take my own advice that I constantly give to others and MAKE. A. CHANGE. 

 
 

Today is the eighth day of my mental and physical health journey. And it is something that I made a choice ahead of time. I mentally prepared for it. I know I'm not going to be perfect at it, so I am choosing to imperfectly improve myself, my well-being, and make a happier, healthier environment for my family as well. 

Since 40% of our behavior is habit-driven, we must take control of our ability to be self-disciplined, we have to control our habits. In particular, there are 10 habits that I am working to achieve every single day to help discipline myself. 

These are some things I did to prepare BEFORE I STARTED my own mental and physical health journey...and if you want to join in I will be your teammate! Because we are all in this together:

First, I went on Amazon and bought stick-on dry erase vinyl. I stuck it to my bedroom wall, where it faces me when I wake up in the morning. It may not be the prettiest decor in my room, but it holds me accountable from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. 

On one sheet I wrote my weekly, monthly and end of year goals. 

On the other sheet, I wrote my to-do list for the day. It is one of the most satisfying things to physically check off a box on your to-do list. It is very difficult for me to end the day staring at an unchecked box, so it gives me that much more motivation to get that box checked! Who's with me?

I categorized my to-do list by putting down my most important to least important tasks in order- or at least numbered them from most urgent to least. (Reason to follow)

Once you have commitment, you need the discipline and hard work to get you there.
— Haile Gebrselassie

Here are 10 habits I am adding to my everyday routine to bring more satisfaction, joy, and strength in my life. 

1. WRITE YOUR GOALS & TO-DO LIST IN A HIGH TRAFFIC AND VISIBLE PLACE.

 
 

2. WAKE UP EARLY

One of my goals was to wake up "early". 7:30am. 😂 I'm not a morning person, so that is early for me. But I decided that I was going to wake up before my kids and accomplish the top three things on my to-do list. Make sure they are the three things you feel are most pressing and will keep you feeling less stressed throughout the rest of the day. 

 
 

3. MEDITATE

The first thing I put on my to-do list when I wake up is a 3-minute meditation to get my mind balanced and more focused. A great app to use is Headspace, it's a wonderful tool to use, especially if you are a first-time meditator like me.

What is the importance of meditating? Meditating helps us to control our mind and thoughts and turn off our mind when we do not need it anymore.

If you are anything like me, I am not a napper. I go to bed too late and when I try to go to bed early, I toss and turn as my mind runs a mile a minute. Thought after thought consumes me to the point that I sometimes need to get up, make lists, write down my thoughts or even put my loose thoughts into action. (Which is why it is important to write a to-do list every day, so that I can relax and remember that I accomplished my most important things for today and I don't need to worry so much about the small things.)

Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

4. DO SOME PHYSICAL  EXERCISE. 

This has been my biggest hurdle since I had my last baby. I have worked a lot on my self-worth and in the middle of it, I got into this mindset of being okay with my body and the changes it has gone through, since becoming a mother. I would say to myself, "it's okay if I have a little flab, a few extra dimples and a little too much jiggle in my steps. I am happy with my body, and I don't have to obsess over the little things." 

But then, something changed. I went back to the gym more than one time in a month! I was working out with my husband, doing squats and box jumps, when that feeling of accomplishment, power, and strength came over me. I missed that feeling. I didn't know it until that moment. A voice came in my head and it said: "you're back". It was the most satisfying and motivating feeling I've had in a while. But let me be honest with you, this feeling only lasted for a few days, maybe even hours. It was still hard for me to get my butt to the gym every day... it actually took weeks until I got my white board and physically wrote down my goals. 

I made exercise my weekly goal. It was my goal to go to the gym 5 times this week. I wrote M, T, W, TH, F, S all with boxes below them for me to check off after each day. Not only did I go to the gym 5 times last week, I went 6! So I'm feeling pretty proud of my self-discipline and commitment. The check boxes are working!

 
 

5. BE PRESENT

This is always a hard one for us all. With the whole world at our fingertips every second of the day, emails coming through, social media constantly popping up in our heads, wondering about what everyone else is doing, and constantly thinking of the next thing we need to do. It is so refreshing and eye-opening when you stop. Take a minute to look around you, actually look at people in the eyes and simply Be. All. There.

Funny enough, the "Presence" was testing me as I was writing that last paragraph. My daughter, Haven woke up early from her nap and came running in to hug me. As I held her in my arms and showered her with hugs and kisses, she then asked me if I could "please color with her". My immediate thought was, "I will after I finish this blog post." But then, the exact thing I was writing about and preaching about was there to test me. "This blog post can wait, I said to myself." and with a definitive "YES!" I followed Haven to her coloring table and we shared some one-on-one time that we rarely ever get these days. 

I could have missed out on such a sweet, memorable moment with my daughter. And I'm so thankful that I chose to be all there. One thing that I have tried to do since I had my girls was to not work when they are awake. I work during naptime and bedtime, that way I can be more present with them during the day. I know sometimes things come up and I can't always do that, so I set a timer for 20 minutes to spend completely with my girls. To be 100% there with them, and it has really helped with my mom guilt.

 
 

6. GO ON A DATE WITH   YOUR BUDGET. 

Putting together a budget and saving a certain amount of money before the end of the year was on my Goals list. This was a topic that Cory and I have been putting off for far too long, and even when I had it on my to-do list, the box stayed unchecked for two days. You know how much it pains me to see an unchecked box, so it shows how much I didn't want to look at our finances and figure out a budget and set a goal to save X amount by the end of the year. 

Back story-- I grew up in a family of 8 other brothers and sisters. So money was a constant topic of conversation with my dad. Better yet, the words "We don't have money for that" echoed through my head. It wasn't that we were poor, but we definitely weren't rich and my parents had to be frugal. When we went to the fair or an amusement part, we brought our own food in, there was no way in hell we were getting some kind of special treat there, unless we bought it with our own money. If the refrigerator door was open for longer than 10 seconds you would hear my dad's voice from the other room yelling "close the door, you're letting all the cold air out!!". It was like he was lurking around every corner to make sure to tell us to turn the lights off, to open a window instead of turn on the a/c, etc.  So I decided a long time ago that I never wanted to live with so much strain to be frugal and tight with my money. If I wanted to do something or buy something I was going to buy it without constant worry if I had enough in my bank account. That is why I started babysitting as soon as I was old enough. I made my own fliers and passed them out throughout the neighborhood. The day I turned 15, literally on my birthday I had a job interview at one of the only places that hired 15-year-olds, Wendy's. I have been working ever since and worked all through college, just so I could have my own financial freedom.

 
 

With that being said, it's hard for me to have a lot of discipline when it comes to my budget. Not that I go crazy and max out my credit cards, I have actually never had credit card debt. But, it is important to be more aware of your spending habits and where your money is going. I am trying to spend smarter rather than mindlessly. So we officially set up a budget last night, made some cuts and now have a plan for where our money is going. 

7. EAT WELL. BE WELL.

I'm going to be real honest with you, I haven't really gotten myself to this part yet this week. Mainly because I was making a lot of changes, to-do's and goals this week I didn't want to over do it and make myself feel too overwhelmed.

First and foremost, I do not believe in crash diets. I believe in lifestyle changes. My biggest problem is that I don't eat enough, if at all in the mornings. I eat random snacks, bread, little treats and/or a salad for lunch and then, for the most part, have a pretty wholesome meal for dinner. Then, after the girls go to bed I indulge in a treat. So it's not like I have horrible eating habits, but my problem is making time for me to eat something, filling and healthy. I also spend way too much money on Starbucks and their little Bistro Boxes, you know, the ones with the apples, grapes, two boiled eggs, bread and peanut butter? Yeah, those are a staple in our outings.

This week is the week to start really disciplining myself to choose healthier options. I'm planning to do the following things:

  1. Only have 3 sweets a week
  2. Instead of having "cheat days" I will have 3 cheat meals on different days. That way I won't feel like a total failure for a whole day. 
  3. Drink more water (90 oz a day)

8. HELLO, GOD.

Spirituality is such an important part of my life. It helps me to know that I will always have someone by my side no matter what I'm going through. I'm going to be honest, I have not been as good as a could be at talking to my God, reading scriptures, or sometimes even putting forth much effort to recognize His hand in my life. But the amazing thing about my belief of God, is that he is always reaching, always there to comfort me and is a constant listening ear when I need someone.

There have been many times of trial in my life where I have felt more sorrow than I thought I could bare. But when I reached for my God, I could always feel him reaching back. For me, his presence in my life is something that keeps me feeling loved, important and guided in my decisions. 

There is a quote by C.H. Spurgeon that says, "To trust in God in the light is nothing, but trust Him in the dark- that is faith.

 
 

I am a firm believer in these words and I feel that in order to keep that faith strong, I need to keep a closer relationship with God. Therefore, I have made goals to talk to him in the morning and night and try to reflect on one verse a day. Since doing this, I have felt more compassion, gratitude and love for those around me, and that makes me happier person.

9. GRATITUDE

I feel that when I am not being fully aware of what I'm grateful for, I am constantly looking for more to satisfy me. The habit of gratitude helps move us away from constantly wanting what we don't have, and towards appreciating what we do have. When we do this, some remarkable shifts begin to occur.

Gratitude reaches so much further than we think. From improving our mental health, to our emotional well-being, and our spirituality, gratitude can do so much. But most importantly, it helps to move us away from a state of lack and towards a state of abundance.

Lately, my husband and I have been in a stand still when it comes to advancing in his career and where our family is supposed to be. For a while I have been caught up in how we aren't where we both thought we should be. We don't own a house yet, all while most of our friends are buying their first home, settling in and really starting their family journey. We are surrounded by very successful people who seem to have it all. So it is easy to get caught up in the comparison game and wonder when we will get to that point, asking, "why is it so much harder for us?" 

Now, I am decided to make a shift in my mind. To be more grateful for what we have accomplished and where we are now. If we work hard, with a grateful heart, things will work out despite all the confusion and twists and turns life can bring us. 

 
 

10. SLEEP

Sleep is directly connected with our ability to discipline ourselves. When we get the proper amount of sleep we have so much more power to get things done. As I'm sure you've noticed that when you don't get enough shuteye your mood is greatly affected. And if you're anything like me, I drag through the day, I'm more moody, shorter tempered and my ability to focus is like a dog on a walk (squirrel!). Our diets are affected as well as our overall health.

Studies indicate that people who are deprived of the proper amount of sleep on a regular basis are at a greater risk for certain diseases. Our lack of sleep has a great impact on our immune system.

 
 

While we all know, that getting more sleep is better for our well-being, why is it so hard for us?? I could tell you the studies and facts of lack of sleep all day long, but until we get to the bottom of why we aren't getting enough sleep, we can't change it. So for me, I have the following problems:

  1. I stay up for at least and extra 45 minutes mindlessly scrolling through social media, reading random stories and pretty much procrastinating until I can barely keep my eyes open.
  2. As a parent, I don't really get a lot of "me" time. So night time is the only time I can relax and focus on work, watching a show, reading a book, and/or talking with my husband.
  3. WORK. As I mentioned above, I don't have a lot of time without my girls around. I don't like to work when they are awake, so I work when they nap and when they go to bed.. Therefore, leaving me to work late at night sometimes. 

These are my solutions to work on:

  1. Put my phone in the other room so it doesn't tempt me. Put my journal by my bed instead and write about my day, my gratitude and loose thoughts. I tend to have a hard time quieting my thoughts. So if I write them down, it will be easier to have them out of the way when I'm trying to actually go to sleep.
  2. Do some breathing exercises after the girls go down for bed. Try to relax the mind for 20 minutes and set an alarm for when I should begin my nightly routine. (Wash face, brush teeth, write in journal, talk to husband, pray, sleep.) I know this isn't going to be easy, but when you make it a priority and really discipline yourself to do these things, it will get easier. 
  3. If you don't do it one night, or even a few nights, don't let it ruin everything. Just try again the next day. Like I said previously, be okay with imperfectly improving yourself.

If you can instill these 10 habits into your life, you can create the foundation for achieving your goals, but most importantly let this be the beginning of a happier, healthier lifestyle. 

Join me in this journey and share your experience by tagging @bebonafide!!

 
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Focusing on the good.

Let's Get Real. Most days are spent with second or third day hair, no makeup and the comfiest clothes possible around here. Most days are also spent on the couch or doing chores and prepping for baby to arrive. Most days we eat breakfast for dinner because that is all I want. Most days are not glamorous. 

Today we are getting real here on Love,Lo. I like to keep this blog upbeat and uplifting for the most part but my goal has also always been about keeping it real around here. Life is definitely not always shiny and pretty and happy. It is always a treasure but it is not always fun. The last couple have months have proven to be just that. With a lot of ups have come a lot of downs. Did you know it takes multiple trips to the DMV, customs at the airport and multiple emails sent and phone calls made just to register a Canadian vehicle here in Utah? No? Either did we. We still have yet to figure it out. 

Did you know that if you try to get your Utah license because your Canadian one is expiring you first have to get your learners permit and then take a driving test? No? Either did we. 

Did you know that you can go to a dentist and he will tell you you suck at taking care of your teeth and you need a root canal, crown and 10 fillings and when you tell him you worked in the dental field for 5 years he will say "good for you but teeth don't lie" and so you go elsewhere and ends up you have two fillings that need to be done instead? No? Well..I knew this one was very possible but I've never experienced it. I spent the entire day bawling and thinking I needed dentures...

So there's life lately in a nutshell. At eight and half months pregnant I am not only trying to get ready for this baby but I am also trying to figure out all of the above. Then all of that stress caused some worrisome contractions and a night spent in the hospital. Not so much fun.

Life is beautiful but it is certainly not perfect! And the thing is that it's just not meant to be. We all have our day to day struggles. Some more than others but still trials. Still moments in life that are anything but beautiful. Especially when you ugly cry through them. 

And although it is MUCH easier to focus on these trials and focus on the frustrations of life, it is far better to try and focus on the good. It is much more comforting to have faith and realize that it will all work out in the end and go day by day.

Here are my positives.

We have such a healthy and active baby whom we get to welcome into our little family so soon.

We have a ton of support from friends and family that help us along the way or just know how to make me smile when I am feeling down.

Not being able to drive anywhere has really kicked my mommy butt into gear and forced me to really get in there and get all baby needs done and ready!

We found a new home to move into that we LOVE and even if the move in date is basically our baby due date…we will make it work and we are lucky to have a home to be able to raise baby H in!

WE ARE HAVING A BABY IN SIX-ish WEEKS!!! and that is just amazing!

So…life isn't perfect but it sure is a journey! Let's all do our best to keep it real around these parts so we can all help each other out! 

Thanks for getting real with us Lo! We love seeing another side someones life, the side that we can all relate to. I hope you can start driving real soon! Motherhood is such an important part of life and we are so happy for you and your new little family!

Go check out more from Lo on here site here > http://www.tippeecanoe.com

Let's Get Reallllyy Real.

BonaFideConfessions_BrooklynPowell

Bona Fide. Being Real. 

Ummmm ok. 

But if we are being real, then let's be really real. We often have a mask on, a perfected side of ourselves that we show the world. It’s hard not to with all the social media platforms at our finger tips, photoshopped & airbrushed models we see when we are checking out at the grocery store in our sweats, & not to mention the insane amount of pressure that subtly makes us feel inadequate in every way… it’s hard to feel good enough, worthy enough, & loved enough just as we are! Now more than ever, we get a front row seat into other peoples lives & it would be impossible not to compare ours to theirs. “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

-Steve Furtick

We have our perfected side, the side of ourselves that is the least like our truest self. We have our “real" side, the side that we share when we want to open up, get deep, be vulnerable. Then we have our really real side that we rarely share with anyone. When we can share that part of us, the really real, ugly, stuff that might make people think of us differently or even gasp… that's when we are really living bona fide. There will always be a constant flow of things around us that make us feel like we need to be more, do more; but when we can take off the masks, filters, & edits (no matter what people might think)... that's when we are living true to ourselves. Living with nothing to hide, & vulnerably sharing the deepest parts of our insecurities, in hopes of helping someone… that's when we are being true to ourselves.

My really real side is something that my husband, who is my best friend & safe place, doesn't even know about me. Not because he would be mad or angry… no. It really has nothing to do with him. It has everything to do with me: my heart, feeling entitled to more than what I have, the need to feel good enough, worthy enough, pretty enough. It’s a reflection of how I view myself & the brokenness that is there. 

I have always struggled with wanting to be smaller & prettier… beautiful. My senior year in high school, I battled with an eating disorder that was damaging in every way. It took so much away from me. Looking back, this struggle brought me to my greatest strengths, but only because I let my struggle became my story, that I shared with the world in hopes of helping even just one girl. At one point, my eating disorder was my really real side & it was a secret that I was ok with taking to the grave with me. But we grow & change, & our deepest secrets die if we don't keep them locked up inside behind the masks, filters, & edits. I have shared this countless times & I am not ashamed by it. But if I am getting past that & down into the dirty stuff in my life right now… although it doesn’t look the same, I still struggle with body image, beauty, & control.

If I feel ugly, it can completely ruin my day & in a split second I question my beauty all together. But isn't beauty more than the way we look? How can I question my beauty based on something that is the smallest factor of true beauty? "If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies... how very different our ideals of beauty would be." 

It seems like I am living a bona fide life… when you look at my Instagram, you will see an "honest" feed about my struggles with type 1 diabetes, my dreams to have kids someday, inspiring quotes, & a handful of picture of myself........................ that I have edited to make myself feel more beautiful. If I take a picture & I don’t think I look good enough, I don’t hesitate for one second before I am editing it to make me look "better"! I have my own set of scary standards... that usually include making myself smaller, patching my pimples, & defining my freckles. It started out harmless, I would edit my arms just a little bit or make my the curves of my stomach smaller, but a little here and a little there & over time it has altered my perception of beauty. 

Every time I edit a picture, whether to make my arms a bit thinner or my waistline more narrow… I am saying I am not good enough the way I am. Yet, I don’t believe that at all. Oh, it's just a little nip & tuck on my arms (just a little)… it can’t hurt anyone. True, maybe it won’t hurt anyone, but it surely hurts me & my view of myself. It hurts the control we have to inspire girls to think of their bodies as beautiful no matter what shape, size, or weight they are. I am passionate about telling girls that they are beautiful & unique & perfect just the way they are; but for me, it's different... it's not enough. If I don't think I am pretty without nipping and tucking my arms, then how do I expect them to feel pretty in their own skin.

Absolutely no more! I want girls to be able to look at me & really see me “imperfections and all”. I want my life to be an example that we don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. There is so much unique beauty in each of us, if we just open our eyes & search for it. None of the photos on my instagram or blog or anything for that matter will be re-touched. Raw. Honest. Finding the beauty that is already there, without the need to re-touch it. Finding beauty in my imperfections instead of editing them away.

Feel good about the unedited version of yourself.

Let the world see you without filters.

Be rooted in truth, rooted in self-love, rooted in confidence.

Put yourself out there & be the reason the worlds perception of beauty is changed.

Accept your flaws & imperfections.

Be proud of the things that make you unique.

Love your curves or lack-there-of. 

Be YOU.

Live genuine. 

I think Jennifer Lawrence (from the movie The Hunger Games) is beyond beautiful, but I would be silly to think it was her outer beauty alone that drew me to her. She is beautiful, but the confidence she has in her body image, that really draws me to her. In an interview she said, “In Hollywood, I’m obese. I’m considered a fat actress. I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I don’t want little girls to be like, 'oh I want to look like Katniss, so Im going to skip dinner'.” 

If I told you, I thought I was beautiful I would be lying. I have a hard time loving myself & not being critical about something... anything! Yeah, sometimes I feel cute or pretty, but more often than not, I look in the mirror & wish for a different body. Sometimes when I look at my arms I wish the “reshape” tool was a real thing so I could make my arms look how I think they should. How totally screwed up. Typing those words out on my computer, makes this real, really sad… there is no one else in the world with a body just like mine & I would be willing to throw it away to have a different one, someone else’s; one that's no longer unique to me, one that fits the mold. 

I knew when the girls behind Bona Fide asked me to write a post for their blog, that I was going to have to get really real. Get down & dirty into my little secret. But, oh how thankful I am for it. I knew when I started to write, I would have to be true to you & to myself, & with that I would have to make a promise not to re-touch my photos no matter how bad I wanted to. 

Bona Fide: (adj) not counterfeit or copied.

Real: (adj) fact, actual, true

Genuine: (adj) not fake, not pretended, undisputed credibility

We all have struggles & insecurities, & I choose to bring them them out into the open, so that you know you’re not alone. We have an opportunity to kill the worlds completely altered ideas of beauty & replace them with ideals of grace, self-love, confidence, & honesty. From here on out, what you see is what you get, & I will intentionally aim to fall in love with every inch of my body... un-edited & un-touched. 

You are beautiful JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

You are good enough JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

You are loved JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

You are ___________ JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

 

xoxo, Brooklyn Powell

www.thepastelfox.com

 

Brooklyn— I think we all can relate to EVERY WORD you said. Especially myself. Thank you for getting vulnerable, raw and bona fide with us! We are so inspired and happy that you were bold and brave enough to tell us your "secrets". Body image is something that we all struggle with, including men and even children! It is so important for us to be real with ourselves and this world that promotes perfectionism. Because at the end of the day, none of us our perfect and we are striving to be better each day. Let's make sure to feed our minds with healthy images and thoughts about ourselves. We are all unique and beautiful, and like Brooklyn said, you are beautiful just the way YOU are!   xo | Laura

Brooklyn also created a FREE DOWNLOAD in our shop that says "love yourself just the way you are". Thank you, thank you for creating this free print for us all to be inspired and live by!

Beauty of the Bounty

    
 
       
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	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}     "I drank a whole French press of coffee today every day this past week. They say that too much caffeine in a mother’s milk supply can sometimes cause an upset stomach in babies who are breastfeeding. My boy must be immune to the effects (‘atta boy, Judah).  My life is glamorous. No really, I mean it. I mean it in the way that most days my Dolce & Gabbana light blue is my 3-month-old’s spit up, my mascara can be recognized as flaked gifts from the Sand Man himself, and instead of channeling Donna Reed’s meat and potatoes on the table every night at promptly 5 o’clock, I can be found clambering about the kitchen fiddling with smoothie bowls and kale chips because that’s all I can spare time for. Darn you Donna Reed. When I say my life is glamorous, I mean it in the I just drank an entire French press by myself and wouldn’t trade it for anything kind of way.  I’m a full-time mom, a full-time wife, a full-time free-lance artist, and a full-time new business owner. On top of that I dream of being a women’s pastor, author, and coffee-truck owner. Oh, and I think I would like to have another baby in there somewhere. I am bonkers, and I genuinely believe all these occupations, titles, and dreams will flourish. I also believe that the road there will be ugly.  Four summers ago I worked on an organic produce and flower farm deep in a valley, nestled story-book like in the Smokey Mountains. I held tiny seeds in my palm, let the darkness swallow them, and months later ate their bounty as they emerged out as some kind of beautiful. Some kind of beautiful post a some kind of ugly journey.  Worms, competing roots, dampened and soiled black pressing in from every angle. The things that shaped them. The things that strengthened their own root systems, their own stalks, their own fruit. Their worms likened to the spit-up that has currently set up camp on several portions of my ponytail. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  That’s how I (try to) stay real. That’s how I (do my best to) stay bona-fide. I let the muck be muck because I trust the process. I don’t compartmentalize my life, I just let it flow as one big adventure. I trust the tears, and the sleep-less nights, and the dreams that everyone says are too big for my own good. I trust them to be my frenemies, the necessities in the tempering. I trust that they are in and of themselves the worms, the dark, chilly soil, the rooth-less neighboring root systems; that they are the very things, the very grounds in which my fruits, my beauty is meant to be deposited.  Don’t get me wrong; there is a lot of doubt, harnessed negativity, and brief moments of baking-until-there-is-no-more-flour-sugar-or-butter-left-in-my-kitchen along the way. The wormy moments, the ones that will make it worth it…and the ones that give me a lot of great baked goods in the process.  I trust in the beauty of the bounty and trust that the unseen is often much better than the seen, the glamour that only you can see. I also trust in the power of freshly baked cookies.  I trust in the process because my God, how great are those moments when you break through the darkness, and see the blue sky again for the first time. The moments where you ache for life’s pause button because it is all so sweet. Where dreams become realities and you see the fruit of perseverance—whatever that looks like for you.  The secret? Claim it all as glamorous. The good, the bad, the down right ugly. It’s YOUR life after all. Let it be alive, regardless of the season. Oh, and eat a lot of cookies (and kale chips) along the way."   - Brittany Kelly, Editor-in-Chief of Field + Bone Magazine

"I drank a whole French press of coffee today every day this past week. They say that too much caffeine in a mother’s milk supply can sometimes cause an upset stomach in babies who are breastfeeding. My boy must be immune to the effects (‘atta boy, Judah).

My life is glamorous. No really, I mean it. I mean it in the way that most days my Dolce & Gabbana light blue is my 3-month-old’s spit up, my mascara can be recognized as flaked gifts from the Sand Man himself, and instead of channeling Donna Reed’s meat and potatoes on the table every night at promptly 5 o’clock, I can be found clambering about the kitchen fiddling with smoothie bowls and kale chips because that’s all I can spare time for. Darn you Donna Reed. When I say my life is glamorous, I mean it in the I just drank an entire French press by myself and wouldn’t trade it for anything kind of way.

I’m a full-time mom, a full-time wife, a full-time free-lance artist, and a full-time new business owner. On top of that I dream of being a women’s pastor, author, and coffee-truck owner. Oh, and I think I would like to have another baby in there somewhere. I am bonkers, and I genuinely believe all these occupations, titles, and dreams will flourish. I also believe that the road there will be ugly.

Four summers ago I worked on an organic produce and flower farm deep in a valley, nestled story-book like in the Smokey Mountains. I held tiny seeds in my palm, let the darkness swallow them, and months later ate their bounty as they emerged out as some kind of beautiful. Some kind of beautiful post a some kind of ugly journey.

Worms, competing roots, dampened and soiled black pressing in from every angle. The things that shaped them. The things that strengthened their own root systems, their own stalks, their own fruit. Their worms likened to the spit-up that has currently set up camp on several portions of my ponytail. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

That’s how I (try to) stay real. That’s how I (do my best to) stay bona-fide. I let the muck be muck because I trust the process. I don’t compartmentalize my life, I just let it flow as one big adventure. I trust the tears, and the sleep-less nights, and the dreams that everyone says are too big for my own good. I trust them to be my frenemies, the necessities in the tempering. I trust that they are in and of themselves the worms, the dark, chilly soil, the rooth-less neighboring root systems; that they are the very things, the very grounds in which my fruits, my beauty is meant to be deposited.

Don’t get me wrong; there is a lot of doubt, harnessed negativity, and brief moments of baking-until-there-is-no-more-flour-sugar-or-butter-left-in-my-kitchen along the way. The wormy moments, the ones that will make it worth it…and the ones that give me a lot of great baked goods in the process.

I trust in the beauty of the bounty and trust that the unseen is often much better than the seen, the glamour that only you can see. I also trust in the power of freshly baked cookies.

I trust in the process because my God, how great are those moments when you break through the darkness, and see the blue sky again for the first time. The moments where you ache for life’s pause button because it is all so sweet. Where dreams become realities and you see the fruit of perseverance—whatever that looks like for you.

The secret? Claim it all as glamorous. The good, the bad, the down right ugly. It’s YOUR life after all. Let it be alive, regardless of the season. Oh, and eat a lot of cookies (and kale chips) along the way."

- Brittany Kelly, Editor-in-Chief of Field + Bone Magazine

Wow. We are so inspired by Brittany's heart and perspective. It is so easy to be discouraged when we can't see past the soil surrounding us. But a little more growing and there are beautiful sights ahead! Just keep hanging in there, find the glamor in every not so glamorous day, and head on over to her blog at fieldandbone.com. You won't be disappointed.