No kids!!

Our family

IMG-7276This is something that I have wanted to get on paper & share with the world for a while now. After having a great time taking full advantage of a snow day, which is extremely rare for where we live. Everyone is all tuckered out & ready for bed early, leaving me a great opportunity to just that. I don’t have a spectacular tutorial to dazzle you with, or any wise parenting advice to share with you. What I do have to share with you is realness. A genuine transparency & a chance to connect as human beings. I hope you enjoy.

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IMG-7274IMG-7277“WE AIN’T GOT NO KIDS!!!!” used to be our motto & favorite saying in between another couple that we are close friends with. Yep, that was us! Two young people in love, feeling like we had the whole world, & all the time in it, ahead of us. It is such a great thing to be young & have the freedom to do whatever you want to do! We loved it! We loved it so much, that maintaining that feeling was what we wanted in life. KIDS?! NO WAY!! We were never giving up our freedom to be tied down with children. We didn’t want to be “those” people, the people that had their identity consumed by being parents.

I’ll have to admit that when I found out that I was pregnant, I was a tiny bit devastated. I felt like my life was over. My thoughts immediately focused on what I would lose. I had to give up all the “fun” of going out to the bars and drinking. I had to quit smoking. I had to give up the pursuit of a career, & I had to give up the freedom to be as selfish as I wanted to be. I felt like a sixteen year old girl who had unintentionally gotten pregnant & “ruined the life that I had before me”. Except, I wasn’t sixteen. I was quickly approaching thirty & (unknowingly) needed to do some changing.

It took me a good few months to come to my senses & begin to feel a little joy about the life that I had growing inside of me. Slowly, but surely my mind and heart began to open like a morning glory basking in dawn’s first light. At this point acceptance was such a relieving feeling, then came full surrender to God’s plan for motherhood. Not too many days after accepting the impending changes coming in life, something went wrong. I sat down on the toilet to pee & realized that I was bleeding. I just “knew” that I was having a miscarriage. I immediately called my mom, who confirmed my suspicions. Devastation washed over me once again. How could this happen? After finally coming to terms with the fact that I DID want to have this child, & I DID want to be a mother, the opportunity I was given was suddenly being snatched away. This was real devastation, not the immature, selfish emotions that I experienced upon discovering that I was pregnant. I was too shaken up to drive myself to the hospital, & it would be a couple hours before my husband could get to me. So I waited. That was possibly the worst two hours of my life. We finally get to the hospital, only to face more waiting. What I knew was going to be the worst day of my life, suddenly turned joyous at the arrival of good news, that I did not expect to get. We had not lost the baby! & I was free to again bask in the newfound joy that I had in knowing that I was going to be a mother.

It was all (well, not all) uphill from there. Aside from the horrors of being uncomfortably huge, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my pregnancy, mentally & emotionally preparing for motherhood & the immense amount of joy & love that would take over my heart. My baby girl is now two years old, & from the very moment I saw her, I knew that she was the best thing that could have ever happened to us! I don’t mean to be corny, or cliche, but it is just the honest truth. Not that my life with my husband pre-baby wasn’t great. It was totally great! We would often look at each other & say “I love my life with you babe”. But having a child let us in on something we would never have been able to experience without her. I remember telling my mom that we didn’t want to have children. Her response was “If you don’t have any kids you will never know how much I love you.” Then I shrugged it off, thinking that it must be some corny mom thing that didn’t pertain to me. Now I know. Once again, my mom was absolutely right. There is no love like the love that a mother or father has for their child ( I believe that this is why God calls us His children, but we will save that for another day). Not only has our beautiful daughter, Onyx, given us the ability to experience this massive love & joy, but she has inspired us to become better people. Becoming a mother has helped me start to understand unconditional love. Selfless love, where you don’t just say that another person’s feelings & needs are more important than your own, but you actually live it every day. Motherhood has brought me a sense of patience that I never had before. It has brought me a toughness & a willingness to endure things I never thought possible (natural childbirth tends to do that to women, lol). It has given me a reason to stop procrastinating & get off of my ass & do better at life. Because she is watching me-I can try to tell her what is right & wrong, but it will never mean anything if my actions do not match. Most importantly, motherhood has given me confidence, which has been what I was always missing in life.IMG-7279IMG-7280IMG-7283

E902E682-B359-4494-BE07-F4B227B48243I would love to say that the moral of this story is “Have kids, even if you think you don’t want any. Because you are wrong & they are the greatest gifts ever!!!” But, there is no moral to this story & only you can make up your own mind (unless you’re like us & God says “Nope, you don’t get to choose. You are indeed pregnant.”). I just wanted to share a little bit of my heart  with you. I hope you enjoyed it, & the photos from our lovely snow day.

With our love,

The Grays.

P.S. My “Weird Mother” shirt is one of the many awesome designs by Drawings By Nicole.

Peep her other designs on Instagram or shop her store.

Turn, Turn, Turn

Our family

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If you are now, or ever have been in the past, an “oldies” music fan, then you probably already know where this is going…The song Turn! Turn! Turn! was made a hit in 1965 by an American folk rock group called The Byrds. It’s a song that I have heard played many times on the radio in my mom’s car growing up. As a kid, it was just another catchy sixties tune that I was used to hearing, but now it has much more meaning.

There is a lot of truth in the lyrics of that song. I swear, each time a chapter in our lives comes a close or we experience a big change in life, the dj that lives in my mind insists of making this song a part of my mental soundtrack! All jokes aside, it has been a great reminder of hope when things may not be going our way. I am sure of the fact that the biggest reason that this song resonates with & uplifts me so much is that the man that wrote the lyrics, Pete Seeger, took them straight from the first eight verses of the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. I absolutely love when I find out that a truth that I learned as a child was born from the Word of God, even though I may not have realized it at the time.

For those of you that may have no idea what I’m talking about- maybe you have never heard the song or read the verses. Either way, me writing all this is pointless if you do not know what I am talking about. So, while I would love for you to find a bible (or a bible app) and read the entire chapter of Ecclesiastes, for now, here are the lyrics to Turn! Turn! Turn!

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die

A time to plant, a time to reap

A time to kill, a time to heal

A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

 And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down

A time to dance, a time to mourn

A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate

A time of  peace, a time of war

A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn,turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose

A time to rend, a time to sew

A time for love, a time for hate

A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.

Those of you that have been following along on our journey know where we started- with an idea & a passion to “live the dream, every single day”. We started with risking a big move from Florida to Alabama (not that it was a big move geographically, but we were risking a lot mentally & emotionally to come back to a place that we thought we had left behind.)  & big ambitions to make a living as quail farmers. To take back the time that we had been forced to give away to consumerism & the idea of what the “American Dream” has become, & give that time to our family. While the core values of our dream & ideas remain, our journey has changed course. The idea of us being some kind of farmers didn’t quite pan out like we had planned, but we are okay with that. Actually, I’m smiling as I am typing this because the idea that we were ever going to be satisfied with that choice is comical- not to put down farmers or farming, I think it is a wonderful necessity of life and I am grateful to them. But, this change in course is a very welcomed change and I personally feel relieved. Even if everything would have worked out “perfectly”, I don’t think it would have been what we wanted. Right now, we don’t really know what time or season it is for us. We are not lost, we are just simply waiting. And we are not down & out. We are rising. We are hopeful & even excited at the anticipation of what the next season in life brings. And we are still “living the dream, every single day”, because that never had anything to do with a profession or geographical location. It’s more of an idea. An idea that love & time spent with the ones you love are life’s treasures to be pursued. An idea that everyday can be the dream, if  you let it- enjoy God’s blessings big & small, & to love what you already have.

I felt the need to share this with you all, because when we started this journey I made a promise to all those chose to peek in on it. A promise to “deliver an interesting story”, and I have failed you miserably. This past year has definitely had some rough patches in it! There are so many things that I thought that we were going to be able to do & share with you that just didn’t happen. Partially because we didn’t get to do all the “things” & partially because I let negativity steal my ability to share with you, and for that I am sorry. I won’t make you any more promises, but I can tell you that I know that the plan that God has for us is far greater than what we could have ever tried to plan on our own. I hope to share with you what’s coming next. Want to see?

With our love,

The Grays

P.S. We thought this would be a great time to share all of the incredible images of our family that were captured by Natalie Wippler, we hope you enjoy them. She is truly talented and our family always considers it an honor to be photographed by her.

Please take a minute and check out her instagram or visit her site nataliewipplerphotography.com.