on gratitude

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

Gratitude is FUNDAMENTAL for living a fulfilled (creative) life.

The more gratitude I have, the more I appreciate the work I’m creating. This in turn gives me that craving to continue to create.

It helps me to see the beautiful things in other people, the beautiful things in my own life, and to capture them with the filter of gratitude (which of course is a magical recipe all in itself!)

My driving force used to be photographing those things in other people that I wanted documented for myself. I would take a photo and think ughh! I wish I had a photo like this of my own family. But that lack of gratitude and coveting left me hungry, and the searching for meaning and creative fulfillment (along with lifelong fulfillment) was unsuccessful.

Now I feel thankful to be able to witness. To be able to have the opportunity to document. It’s part of my life, too. Your story now becomes part of mine, and I am so, so thankful.

I can only experience this transcendent goodness when I am actually HERE. Living this life. Sitting with myself, my thoughts, my heart. Aware.

I am not about the hustle. There are things that need to be done, sure, but it’s a quick way to get burned out and lose all the magic and feeling and meaning that was so strongly lighting that fire within yourself to do anything useful in the first place.

If I want to feel gratitude, feel like what I have is enough, I have to sit with myself. This is why you can find me at the beach at least once a week! I sit with the waves and my thoughts and my heart and watch the sky turn colors and I leave completely renewed. You might not live by a beach, but I’m willing you can find a forest! Or mountains! Or a quiet room, porch, windowsill, field, area with open sky, etc. What feels like church to you? What feels holy and evokes the absolute best out of you?

Whatever it is, find it. And sit with it.

Be. Receive. Give thanks.

only one

This post has been a looooong time coming. I’ve hesitated.

No. Don’t put your heart out there like that.

No, do it! You should say something.

But what about the repercussions?

So on and so forth. You get the idea. But if you’re reading this, then you can probably guess that the angel (or devil) on my shoulder spoke loudest.

I have an only child.

I get a LOT of feedback on that, almost daily. It’s gotten better in the past year or so, but it used to be that I couldn’t go to my mailbox without my neighbor asking me, “So when are you gonna give her a baby brother?”

Or hearing people chime in and say “But she needs a sibling!” or “Well you’ll want to hurry before there’s too big of an age gap” or my personal favorite, that “Only children end up dysfunctional”.

My life story is far from being fully written, but to anyone who might be concerned: I absolutely CAN have an only child! And so can you.

Who wrote the rulebook anyway? One is too few. Three, (definitely more) is too many. So two children is apparently the socially acceptable, normal number of children allowed to be had or else the world will cease to turn on its axis the way it’s supposed to.

Aside from the fact that this is absurd, and coming from a well-functioning person who was raised as an only child myself (with the exception of my half sister who is 18 years older than me), it’s extremely hurtful.

I know some people only truly care. I know they ask, comment, suggest out of love. But at the end of the day, it STILL hurts. What if I were someone who was struggling with infertility? What if I were someone who had other causes, stories happening behind the scenes that you weren’t aware of that did not allow me to have any more children? What if all I could think about all day, every day, all my heart yearned for was to have another child? To give my only a sibling? I have been all of these things at some point or another, but whenever I heard a tip from an unknowing passersby (or family member. or friend. or church member. etc etc) it felt like salt pouring into a wound.

Aside from that, what if I were someone who only CHOSE to have one child? What if I did something so crazy as to ask to not be fit in a box? I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am married. I do not have a big family. Those things can all coexist peacefully. I don’t fit into a box, and nobody else should feel they have to, either!

This post is also out of love, a call to awareness, a voice reaching out into the abyss hoping to reach an ear who may need to hear it. I am with you. You are not alone. It really, truly is okay to have only one child. It’s also okay to have many children. Or none. So long as you take care of those God-given babies, who am I to judge?

Below is my best friend (muse) and her family, who have chosen to have more than one child and I love them in spite of it ;)