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My Life In Pictures

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“My life in pictures.” 

I happened on that catchy hashtag while browsing Instagram one night, and now I always use it because it’s kind of perfect.

 There are many days that feel blurred together, so many conversations, responsibilities, and interactions. (I called to make an appointment for one child today and when they asked me for the birth date… my mind went totally blank. He’s my kid, I promise. I just have no idea when he was born. #oops. #truestory)

These days start early and end late and are filled to the brim of non-stop needs and to-dos. Every now and then I wonder if I’m still going to be me when this season is over or if I will be forever lost in the beauty and struggle of motherhood.

I sit in groups and see people easily conversing, but my eyes are always darting around the room, my ears are always halfway open to the sounds of my own children in the crowd.

 Mothering never turns off. There is no “clock in/clock out” for this job. The community in my life has grown larger, as I more deeply appreciate the loving “village” of fellow parents around me. Women (and men!)  who are focused and united in love not judgement; compassion, not pride; and understanding, not criticism. People who lift up.

The depth and the rich love of marriage has taken on a whole new meaning. There are days when I am humbled by the gentle example of loyalty and love in my husband. There are days we look at each other across the table of giggling, shrieking children and think, “Are we crazy?!?!” (We know – some of you have thought that about us, too!! Haha 😘) There are those little pockets of time when we are alone, no little hands tugging or voices questioning, and we can remember all that is beautiful about the US, separate from them. 

In the quiet of the night, I look at all the faces, all the memories, all the little pieces of my life in pictures, and I realize… it is good. 

It is everything I imagined – more.

And it is full of love. 

Xoxo, Anna

PS. Speaking of pictures, if you’re interested in an up-close-and-personal view πŸ˜‰, these days I post more frequently on Facebook and Instagram, so hop on over and join there, too!! Xoxo

Today, One Day, and Always

Today, my loves, your world is safe, secure. Today your worries are about things like what color cup you want, and who gets to choose our bedtime story. 

Your hearts, so fragile and yet so resilient, feel love strongly and forgive easily. Your notion of evil is from stories and those vaguely ominous “bad guys” in your play together are still nothing more than shadowy creatures in your mind. 

Today, when you cry, your tears are easily dried with cuddles and kisses. Your frustrations can be quickly sorted, your smiles frequently won. 

Today, I will hold your hand when we cross the busy street, I’ll slow my steps to walk beside you, and my heart will smile and cry with yours. 

My love is yours, unconditionally and always.

One day your world will feel much bigger. Evil will have names and faces, and sometimes they will not be as far away as you used to think. 

One day your hearts might feel a pain that seems unimaginable, or be overwhelmed with fear. 

One day the words faith, forgiveness, love, courage, and integrity will take on new meaning for you, as you discover how each one matters within your own hearts. 

You will, without doubt, find yourselves tested to the limits of your strength, and just when you think you cannot go on… you will find a way. It is the struggle and the beauty of life. 

One day your worries will be over financial or moral choices instead of cups, and disagreements will be over relationships, beliefs, jobs and politics instead of bedtime stories. 

But oh, my loves, some things will never change. 

My hands will always be ready to help you, my heart will smile and cry with yours and as you find your paths along this beautiful journey of life, my love will be yours – unconditionally and always!

Xoxo, Anna

Damned or DeadΒ 

 

I can’t find the words. I try to find the hope. I try to see the good. But …. Michigan. Tennessee. Georgia. Dallas. Baton Rouge. 8 officers killed in 11 days.

Their guns are pulled out for a reason. Their guard is up for a reason.

Because they’re damned if they do and they die if they don’t…. and damned by public opinion is still better than dead in the arms of their family.

Damned by public opinion is still better than knocking on the door and telling her that he lied. He’s NOT coming home.

Damned by public opinion is still better than a sobbing wife being handed a folded flag, and tiny hands waving a final goodbye to a coffin that carries their father.

Damned by a public that will never understand is better than never going home.

To my husband and all his fellow LEO’s, DO good, BE the good, but never forget that in the end the sides are not based on political party, hashtags or media.

The sides are and will always be, Good vs. Evil.

Fight. Fight hard. And, oh my dearest, please – please – please – come home!!!

Xoxo,

Anna

No Regrets

No Regrets

The other day, a woman I know, a mother of 12 (!!!!), asked me how I was. “And how are all those beautiful babies?”

I usually just smile and say I’m great, but today I told her, “Mrs X, I’m SO TIRED. I’m always tired, and then I’m tired of being tired, you know?”

She smiled. She put a gentle, wrinkled hand on mine, and said, “I do know. I remember feeling exactly the same way. You’ll be tired for a while more. You will have days, weeks when you feel like there’s no end in sight. But I promise you, one day you will sleep uninterrupted, and they won’t need you this much.

You’ll look around and be surrounded by so much love, that YOU helped create, and I’m here to tell you, you will never regret a single tired day.”

Holding onto that today, you guys.

“Creating love.”

Holding onto that with all my heart.

xoxo, Anna

Not Just A Job

Not Just A Job

There’s another side to police life. There’s a part you don’t see in the media. There’s something they don’t tell you when they hand your loved one the uniform to wear, and the gun to carry.
They tell you it will be a difficult life, that there will be challenges, stress, and sometimes horror. You hear about the disappointment, the loneliness, and the frustration of a schedule that is constantly changing. You learn all too quickly to live with the fear of death or injury knocking at the door. It becomes routine to kiss him goodbye, and wonder if it was for the last time.

But they never told me that seeing his strength in the face of the unimaginable would make me love him more.

I didn’t know that all those nights spent lonely without him would make our time together infinitely more precious.

I didn’t realize that all the what ifs of this life would make the now so important to us both.

They never told me that even when I cried, I’d be so incredibly humbled by the character, the honor, and the compassion I saw in him, often challenged, but never broken.

In those dark moments, when the grief was too overwhelming and words meant nothing, when I watched him put his uniform back on, and strap his gun to his belt, his heart battered, but never weak – I would come to understand that this “job” is not just a job, but a call, and that we must answer it together, always.

He tends the city, while I tend our home. He looks death in the face – but in his children he finds life. He is surrounded by hatred, anger, injustice, and despair – but in his home, there is peace, faith, hope and love. Out there he is often doubted and disrespected – here he is honored and cherished.

He walks a path of constant uncertainty but he will always know this: here, in his home, is his sanctuary, where he is seen, respected, and loved.

My husband is a Police Officer, and I am proud to be his wife.

xoxo,
Anna

I Choose Love

I Choose Love

 

I had so many conversations over the last few days. Difficult conversations.

I was forced to consider things from a different perspective, and realized that the more open my heart is, the more room there is for love.

Right now the world is noisy and full of hate. But that changes one person at a time. We are the world.

Today – every day – I choose Love.

Be safe, be the good, come home to me – always!

xoxo, Anna

Only Good Is Here

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My heart has been so heavy these last few days.

I went through all the steps, but I honestly wasn’t feeling motherhood.

I wanted time to think, to grieve, to be. I wanted a few minutes alone. I needed to not be needed, just for a little while.

But… 4 kids.

4 kids too young to understand these feelings.

And then today I watched them playing, making “kid burritos” with a blanket, and their baby laughter soothed my heart.

Lost in play, so blissfully unaware of the things that adults find so important.

Life is simple. Love is simple.

There is only good here.

xoxo, Anna

You Are Not Allowed To Forget!

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You are entitled to say anything, do anything, be any kind of person you want. You are entitled to your opinions, thoughts and feelings. You are entitled to share them, however hateful or ignorant they may be.

You are not allowed to do it in front of me and expect me to remain silent. You are not allowed to post trendy, white-liberal, condescending statuses about “black lives matter,” while ignoring the fact that there are many, many honorable “black lives” wearing that same uniform you are cursing and threatening so violently.

You are not allowed to say “F*** the police” and forget that my husband and thousands others just like him do a job you will never come close to understanding from the cozy comfort of your living room, where you are free to analyze 10-second videos from the safety of your couch.

You are not allowed to crucify him and his brothers and sisters for the mistakes (real or imagined) of a few.

You are not allowed to call for the murder of “white cops” and rape of their “white wives,” and then tell yourselves that all cops are racist pigs.

You are not allowed to forget that I have seen my husband’s heart shattered by the memories of tiny, broken bodies he’s held in his arms; by the 8-year-olds who have been trained to kill, by the countless young lives lost in a savage, relentless cycle of violence within their own community.

You are not allowed to forget that for every mistake (real or imagined), there are hundreds more acts of courage, love, strength and honor that you will never see trending on social media.

You are never, EVER allowed to forget that this man you threaten, spit on, curse, mock and hate – this man is my love, he is my life!!!

Laughter and Dirt

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When I had just one kid, and then two, I spent much more time “creating” memories. We “did” each day, and to be honest, it worked for us. My kids loved the structure of our days, and so did I.

As we added a third baby, and now a fourth… I’m appreciating more and more the little moments in between the big ones. I still do themed fun days and Pinterest art projects and heck yes, food cut into shapes is totally awesome!! It totally tastes better that way! πŸ˜‰

Now I love that they create their own memories, too… that a little patch of dirt and some shovels can lead to giggles and stories and teamwork. I love that a few blankets and an animal mask will keep them playing contentedly for an hour. I love all that.

Life has gotten busier – but it’s a different kind of busy, the kind that feeds my heart and lifts my soul. There are bad days, there are sleepless nights. There are times I second guess every single thing I’m doing, and times I think I can’t possibly do this one more day. There’s all the same screaming and wailing, lost shoes, scraped knees and spilled milk as in every other home.

But somehow, I think that when they’re gone, and I’m looking back on these years with them, I will remember this: an afternoon full of laughter, playing in the dirt.

Xoxo,
Anna

Pray For Orlando – But Then Pray For This

peace

I will pray for Orlando. I will pray for France. I will pray for Syria, and Turkey, and Russia – and America.

I will pray for this world that will one day belong to our children.

I will pray for a world that is falling apart, a world that is blinded by ignorance and fueled by rage.

I will pray for a country left with an impossible choice between two evils. I will pray for it all.

But then I will pray for my own heart – because that is where it begins.

I will pray for the courage to do little things with great love.

I will pray for the wisdom to foster peace in my children, because those who do not know peace cannot bring it to others.

I will pray for the Love that only He can give. Hate is loud. Hate is boisterous. Love is quiet, but Love conquers all.

In the eyes of the world, we are powerless, you and I, in our little corners, living our little lives. But we are the world. Each of us, in some small way, brings light or darkness.

My hand will never sign national documents, but it will soothe my children and I will teach them gentleness.

My lips will never give great speeches that will rock a nation to its core, but they will speak words of love to my children. They are learning from me what love is.

My feet will never march bravely onto battlefields, but they will walk – silently – endlessly – giving, performing those thousand and one little tasks that make our house a home.

I will bring love here, I will bring peace here – and from here, it will go out into the world.

Hate is all around, but I believe in the good. I will always believe in the good.

It starts here. It starts now.

It begins with me.

xoxo, Anna