When reality isn’t so graceful.

If you scroll through Pinterest or Insta for any length of time, you are bound to see a sun-drenched room, a doting daddy, a beautiful, long-haired mama, and precious children all positioned perfectly for that moment in time. No one ever shares the moments or days before or after THAT moment. The picture cannot communicate the frustration heard beneath the parents’ smiles or the tears shed trying to get their little ones to cooperate. Perhaps, the dark circles under the mother’s eyes are photo-shopped out of the picture. Perhaps, the doting dad didn’t even want to be in the shot. Perhaps, the baby is currently sitting in a dirty diaper, and perhaps, the toddler hasn’t napped in days. But, for that moment, for the rest of the world to see, that family looks like they have it all together. And for people like me, even being fully aware of what it takes to get the perfect shot, my expectations are skewed. There’s nothing wrong with the photo itself, in fact, the photo should be praised for how it portrays a family, but it is my perception that is off. And if we’re being honest, my perception has been off for a few weeks.

Writing is therapy for me. Whereas I am reserved in speech, I am open in print. I don’t understand why God made me this way, and far too often I wish my mouth could convey my thoughts the way my hand types them. But alas, I am here, once more pouring my heart over the keyboard, bringing a slew of people I don’t know in, hoping and praying God takes these few words and uses them to minister to hearts.

Everyone tells you how insane life is with two under two. They share their horror stories and their sweet memories, and while their words were meant to encourage, I was often left with feelings of mommy guilt. Did we make a mistake by being “proactive” and starting to try earlier than later for a sibling for our girl? (Let me stop there and say, I fully know that fear is from the pit of Hell, the sweet baby sitting beside me, as I type, is by no means a surprise to my All-knowing God. She was brought forth at this time to accomplish His pleasing and perfect will.) Other fears like, how will I be able to give of myself to a busy toddler, a newborn baby, and a precious husband, all while taking care of my home and myself (in some way)? Will our toddler like her sister? When will I sleep and shower? How will J feel about a house full of girls? The list went on and on, I would lie awake at night swollen and hurting from pregnancy, savoring each kick, all the while trying to pray away the fears Satan placed in my head.

Then, Lettie arrived, and all those irrational fears subsided as I sat in a hospital bed watching my Star hold out her hands for her sister without even seeing her face. As I watched my husband hold both his girls, telling our oldest, his mini, all about her sister. As I smelled that sweet newborn smell, and felt her body match the rhythm of mine. My heart only grew, and for that moment, the image of my family rivaled all those images on Pinterest and Instagram.


Fast forward a few weeks, a massive kidney infection, a bachelorette party, birthday parties, graduation parties, a huge wedding, and a family holiday, a clingy baby, a busy toddler, a home full of projects, a new diet plan (to help Lettie), and learning a new routine, and this mama was left completely spent, sleep deprived, yet an insomniac, and feeling completely lost and out of control. Amid all the hustle and bustle of life, those baby blues had turned into Post-Partum Depression and Anxiety, and simply put at the moment of realization of what was happening, I felt low. Simply low and in a fog.



Those fears that had been put to rest crept back up, but this time those fears have been replaced with an identity crisis, a woman who feels her heart and her head are in complete contrast. A woman who is lonely but wants to be alone. A woman who wants to go and live life, but gets anxiety at the thought of seeing people outside her inner circle. A woman who is sick of laundry, but needs routine and order. A woman who likes her hair, but hates her body. A woman who seeks joy, yet feels a haze of sadness stealing the moments she expected. A woman who feels guilty for dealing with this during a time that is supposed to be filled with excitement. A woman whose home and heart look nothing like the graceful images on the computer or in Parents magazine, despite all her hopes and (unrealistic) expectations.


The reality is that my life isn’t so graceful. I am simply trying to keep my girls alive and thriving, while investing in my husband, and admitting to the fact that I need help and a change in perspective to lift this fog. I am taking the steps to get there:

  • Spending time talking with my Wonderful Counselor
  • Recognizing the need and asking for help
  • Communicating with my husband
  • Eating good foods (thank you dairy free)
  • Getting outside and being active
  • Finding order and routine amongst the mess
  • And being real with the world


The picture of my life doesn’t meet my expectations right now, but that doesn’t mean it can’t, and it certainly doesn’t mean that I won’t look back and wish for these days again. The beauty of this moment is that while my reality isn’t graceful, my God is abounding with grace. And it is only through the grace He extends me that I can be at peace again. How thankful I am to know His grace never runs out! Jesus Calling tells me He longs to make my life a glorious adventure. This ungraceful reality is all apart of His grand story, and even in the midst of my sorrow-filled fog, I still trust Him.

Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Isaiah 43:19 (msg)

Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. Psalm 37:5 (msg)

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:15-17 (NIV)



Round 2.

I am now a week away from being 8 months pregnant with our second daughter, and it amazes me how fast this pregnancy has gone by. In many ways, I keep wanting time to slow down. I have this amazing 16 month old who is only going to be my only baby for 8 more weeks. Little Star is active and strong-willed. Her daddy likens her to a “caged tornado”. In many ways she keeps me so very busy, but there are moments with her that have filled my heart with so much love it overflows. I don’t know if every little girl is this way at this age, but Little Star is obsessed with babies. She loves her baby dolls more than anything else. She points out all the babies when we are out and about. And she even cries when a baby leaves the room because she loves them so. As I have watched her become such a nurturer, my heart is put to rest, knowing the Lord is preparing her for her new baby sister, as much as He is preparing me.

I won’t lie, in many ways, I am terrified of being the mama of two girls. I am terrified I won’t have enough love to give the three people who need me most. I am afraid of being tired and frustrated and taking it out on my two innocent girls. I am afraid of losing myself in motherhood that I forget to be the wife God has called me to be, first and foremost. I am afraid I won’t get back in shape like I want to. I am afraid of trying to raise two young ladies who love Jesus and respect themselves in a culture that pushes everything ungodly at them.

Yet, when these thoughts invade my mind, my Savior comes in and brings me hope. He brings me hope through watching our daughter fall in love with every baby she sees, because I know she will love her baby sister. He brings me hope when my husband says he loves me and tells me how thankful he is for all that I do. He brings me hope through His word.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Every day, I am reminded that this beautiful, fulfilling job of stay-at-home-wife-&-mom, is almost impossible without the strength of my Savior. When I feel as though I have no more to give, He gives me the strength to keep going. When the duties of my job cloud the joy found in staying home, He fills my heart with His joy, and reminds me to count my blessings. I am so thankful for His Grace. I am so thankful for His Love. I am thankful for His calling.

As we begin to round the last curve of this pregnancy, I hope to hold my sweet girl closer and tighter during these last days of “just us”. I hope to remind my husband how thankful I am for his leadership, service to our family, and for the amazing ways he loves his girls. I hope to grow in my relationship with my Savior, trusting His plan everyday, and seeking His strength in order to fulfill the calling He has placed on my life.



This year will be our baby girl’s first Halloween, and I must say, I am more excited for this Halloween than I have been in a long time. For our first Halloween as a family, I wanted us to all be from the same movie, and what better movie to start with than Peter Pan! Because I am a first-time mom, and I have to capture everything, I spent a little time today capturing a few photos of our little fairy! With the help of her daddy, she was all smiles, and loved playing in the crunchy leaves! We are looking forward to a fun-filled, festive weekend with our families all together. Over the next few days, I will be attempting to sew my husband’s Peter Pan hat together, and put the finishing touches on my Wendy Darling costume as well, wish me luck!





Celebrate Fall.


With each new season, something stirs up in me to get outside, be festive, and celebrate the beauty of the new season. Perhaps my favorite Season Celebration is our annual Celebrate Fall weekend. There’s just something about the cooler weather, warm colors, pumpkins, changing leaves, and boots that make this heart giddy! This year, was my favorite Celebrate Fall Weekend yet! Over the first weekend of October, J, baby girl, and I set out to the Dallas Arboretum. Each year they do a pumpkin village that is just amazing. God was so good to us and gave us a weekend of perfect, and I mean PERFECT weather! The Arboretum was filled with happy families, children loving nature, and moms, like me, trying to capture each moment. Our sweet girl was excited, loved all the colors, and couldn’t have been more perfect for pictures, and my amazing husband patiently waited as I tried to grab the perfect shot.






After the Arboretum, we drove over to the State Fair of Texas. There we enjoying the petting zoo, the little farm, Fletcher’s corn dogs, and our first carnival ride!





We ended the day in our comfortable hotel room, with a tired baby, and worn out feet. That night, we all ended up getting 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep! It was wonderful, and was the perfect preparation for our morning at Ikea! After Ikea, we made the quick trip home, full of bad-for-you food, countless memories, and anticipation for all the fun to come!

You made me so happy, God I saw your work and I shouted for joy.

Psalm 92:4 MSG

Baby Girl.

As most of you know, Jordan and I are welcoming a baby girl into this world in November. I have sat down many times to write about pregnancy, my visions of motherhood, and everything concerning baby for weeks now, but have never been fully able to express the right thoughts.

Jordan and I desperately wanted a baby- 36 weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about my desire to be a mom, the fears I had about never getting to be one, and learning how to fully trust God’s plan. It is by no coincidence, that I am 36 weeks pregnant now. I had to give all of my fears and desires to the Lord before He would make me a mommy. Getting pregnant had to happen in His timing, not my own!

These past 36 weeks have been nothing short of pure bliss. I was blessed with an easy first trimester, 3 bouts of morning sickness was about it! For the second trimester, I was in a nesting mood! With the help of my precious mama, my house has been organized and the nursery has been painted. Jordan and I ordered our nursery furniture as soon as we found out we were having a girl, and have put it all together! I could not be more pleased with how everything has turned out. And with the third trimester, I have loved watching my belly grow and feeling her kicks and hiccups!

Starting in August, the nursery was brought to life with the gifts from all of our showers. My former place of work threw me a surprise going away party/ baby shower. Each person from our bank took the time to add their own special detail to the shower. I had never felt more loved by a place of work in my whole life.


August also brought the gift of my best friend and maternity photographer, Ariana, into town. Air literally came from San Diego just to take my maternity pictures! We had never really spent time as just us (because we have 8 other best friends!) before, and I must say, after spending a week with her, I have come to not only love her more as my friend, but also as a woman seeking the Lord! Air, you will never know just how much your visit meant to me!

randle photography 2014_freelen maternity-13

randle photography 2014_freelen maternity-26

randle photography 2014_freelen maternity-55

randle photography 2014_freelen maternity-73

September started with the trip of a lifetime to The Happiest Place on Earth! This was Jordan’s first time to Disney World, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. We spent the week with my parents, visited every park multiple times, and ended up falling even more in love. Perhaps my favorite part of the trip was being able to pick out our daughter’s first Christmas gift! It is so much fun being a parent. After our trip to Disney, Jordan and I came home and then left again to spend a week in Lubbock. We celebrated my 24th birthday and were showered with so much love from Southcrest! I was actually born while my dad worked at Southcrest many years ago, and to be showered with love from the same people who showered my mama with love 24 years ago was such a blessing. I will forever cherish the memories made during my week in Lubbock!




October has been such a wonderful month so far! Our home church here in Burleson began the month by showering us with gifts to where the nursery has been finished! Now we just lack a beautiful baby girl, and her photos in frames! Each person who has hosted a shower, or given a gift to our sweet girl has blessed us more than they will ever know. I feel so honored to bring a baby into a community of people who already love her so much!



This past weekend, Jordan and I finally had a weekend open to do whatever we wanted! I really just needed some time with my precious husband! We spent a day in Dallas enjoying the beautiful fall foliage at the Arboretum, made our baby’s mobile, slept in, and spent some time with church friends. We have finished our birth class, and are busy finishing the last few things around the house in preparation for our sweet girl. These past few years as just us have been a dream. Together we have moved, traveled, bought a home, started a mini-farm, fought, laughed, and grown to love each other even more. As we prepare to bring our sweet girl into this world, I pray we will be parents of prayer, parents who seek God’s face before all else, and parents who create a home of peace and harmony. This pregnancy has been one of the highlights of my life. I have enjoyed every second, every kick, and even the little aches that come from our growing baby. As this time in my life comes to an end, I cannot help but give all praise to the Giver of Life! Thank you Lord for this precious gift! 4 weeks until we meet our beautiful baby girl!