This was my last full month of work before maternity leave started! Insert all of the hustle. July was also all about humbly embracing the fact that it takes a village. The everyday tasks have grown increasingly hard this final month of pregnancy. We learned that my iron levels have dropped significantly, making regular responsibilities challenging. Wayne’s school schedule became more demanding, as there was either an exam, quiz, paper, chat, lab or group project due… every day. I’m so proud of his diligence and perseverance, but I miss him. The everyday tasks have required a lot more intentional planning ahead of time since Wayne isn’t as available.
This is where that authentic and intentional community comes in. This month has been run by our people, our village. My brother, our microchurch and our friends here have been persistent in fighting to find a place to help, not allowing us to even ask or to say no. It’s that raw and vulnerable type of friendship. Whether it’s taking Ethan to daycare, picking him up, babysitting, cleaning, taking Ethan across town for swim classes, cooking, bringing me coffee… or just being with us, our people have been with us in this season. This is what Jesus meant when He called us the body of Christ… the culture of commitment for each other and others.
Our microchurch celebrated the third of July with BBQ and games. Wayne and I have two farmhouse tables in the back porch that seat most of us as we share a meal under the market lights. This is what summer is all about!
The next day, we celebrated my favorite holiday with some friends and ended up being at their house for almost 12 hours just chatting, eating and playing games. We were just missing Wayne.
Cow Appreciation Day at Chik Fil A was a hard day for me. Ashley, Ethan and I rode together and meet up with her family at the mall food court. Ethan was not a happy camper this day and went full-blown tantrum. It was the second time Ethan had behaved like that in public and I will be real with you… I was very much embarrassed, exhausted, frustrated and on the verge of tears. Thankfully, Ashley’s family is no stranger to children (she is one of six) and they all stepped in with help disciplining, diverting and chasing Ethan as if he was their own. They didn’t react to the tantrum, but instead took the time to encourage me and make my efforts feel seen, even though I didn’t want t be seen. There was a sense of comfort and freedom there. Motherhood is beautiful and motherhood is tough. I won’t sugarcoat it to plant seeds of deception that it is always easy. Maybe both Ethan and I were a bit hangry because after eating, everything seemed to calm down and we could even smile for a cow picture.
While Wayne is away for school, my brother co-parents with me. My 22 year-old, college-student brother chooses to gladly involve himself in the discipline and care for Ethan. A good thing about Wayne’s schedule is the fact that he has Fridays off from work, so he gets to visit Ethan at daycare during lunch or sno cone days (below)! I love all three of my boys.
Baby girl love from around the country! Some of my closest friends with the most distance between us sent over packages for baby. Ethan has loved opening them up.
A few months ago, a women’s ministry (IF: Gathering) released a study book on friendship. They asked for women to send in pictures of their friends to grace the pages with real people. When they released the book, we realized that not only were some of our pictures within the pages… we made the cover! WHAT. So, when the two ladies to my right (below) were in town, we re-created the pose on the cover. I didn’t want a baby shower, I just wanted quality time with my girlfriends. Ashley planned and executed a girls night sleepover with this sweet group of friends.
Something interesting I’ve realized about friendship is the intentionality of one to invite the stranger in… I had no connection to any of these ladies outside of Ashley. When I moved back to Gainesville, I was pursued and invited in to this group. Here we are years later, celebrating the life of my daughter. (*fun note: that pretty woman to my right was in the room when I delivered Ethan, and would totally be delivering my second if she wasn’t a rock star midwife in Savannah!)
Look at this fabulous charcuterie board Ashley put together in minutes… minutes. We spent the night catching up and eating ice cream.
The next morning there was a breakfast buffet and “Momosa” bar.
Being that it was the last month of work before maternity leave, I was up late many, many nights. I wanted to give myself two weeks before the due date to rest, so the hustle was real and the clock was ticking! Once all of our client work was completed, Tori and I did a little summer cleaning in the office, which felt sooo good!
The MP team got together for a meeting to prepare for maternity leave. We prayed, we ate and we finished the meeting ON TIME! While training and prep work has been happening for months one-on-one, it was the first time we were all together going through every detail. After the meeting we hung out around the coffee table and chatted for hours. Quality time is my love language! If there was a 6th love language, it would be food.
More celebrating happened for baby girl Carney! Some of my microchurch lady friends got together for a PJ girls night! My village! They put a mattress in the middle of the living room and threw pillows and blankets everywhere. There were donuts, a hot dog bar, coffee and Diet Coke. Essentials. They asked me the hard questions about this season, so that we could end the night praying over every desire, struggle and moment.
As a gift in this season, Ashley had me set apart a weekend. Not knowing what we were doing, she coordinated a complete Marie-Kondo-styled overhaul of our home. She served me in a way that was really hard for me to accept, as our home was not in the condition I would want for someone else to clean. It was definitely a moment of vulnerability I was uncomfortable with, but so grateful to have someone hold my hand as I stepped into it. She knew she couldn’t ask me… she would have to actually plan it. Lord knows I wouldn’t have agreed to let her help me like this. We treated ourselves to boba tea and pedicures after a long weekend of cleaning, nesting, organizing and everything else in between.
I helped make pasta from scratch! Well, mainly Ethan and Ashley made the pasta…
Look at this cutie and his makeshift apron.
FRESH PASTA IS ALWAYS BETTER! (*don’t worry, that’s not my wine below)
There are other moments with friends not pictured here, but the memory of servanthood and quality time is embedded in my heart. This month showed me the radical love of Jesus through the people in my life. Radical love in the grand gesture and radical love in the ordinary, mundane moment. Overwhelmed by the power of the pursuit of Jesus in my life… in our lives. Tank is full.