November 21, 2011

reflection: he's been here three months

morning walk, originally uploaded by AnnieLaurel.

sleeping three month old, originally uploaded by AnnieLaurel.

snuggle love, originally uploaded by AnnieLaurel.

These three pictures taken this morning are in honor of today being our son's three month birthday. He and I rise hours before the rest of the household so this morning we set out on an early morning walk to celebrate preceded by a little front porch bouncer time, something that is soon to be a scarcity with the cold mornings ahead. Then after taking little A to preschool I crawled back into bed for a morning snuggle with little T and reveled in the sweet bliss of studying a sleeping baby's face and movements- the little jerks, shifting eyelids, occasional hints of a smile, the arms stretched over head, a sight that just completely melts a mother's heart, no other words for it. I am grateful to be where we are, past the swirly early days and yet still so much ahead. The blessing of all of this is never, ever lost on me.

November 8, 2011


smiley2, originally uploaded by AnnieLaurel.

To be able to connect with this little one through sound and sight is astounding. We already had the sense of touch connection going on but the reciprocity in a sweet smile and gurgle is astounding.

September 2, 2011

July 29, 2011

reflection: this sweet one


here she is: the big sister-to-be, the apple of our eyes, a three-year-old beautiful, spirited, compassionate girl who spends a good part of each day rehearsing all of the ways she will care for her little brother once he arrives. here she stands amongst the flowers she planted with her godfather in the section of his garden he created for her just after her birth, such a wonderful metaphor for what we are embarking upon together as a family now. i am not sure when I will return here but wanted to take a moment before the coming birth to reflect on what an honor it has been to mother this sweet child over the past years and how much I know I will learn from her as she steps forward into her new role in the family. oh how we love her so.
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March 21, 2011

to usher out the winter and welcome the spring...

we are leaving wednesday to float in the turquoise waters i dreamed of in a post awhile back... it is really happening! will return with images and words from that time in a week or two.

March 8, 2011

honoring a season of restoration

restore, originally uploaded by AnnieLaurel.

these past few months have linked up to comprise a season of restoration. a dear friend asked me this past weekend about whether I had moved forward with a concept I had eluded to last year (creating meaningful ways to acknowledge and work through the steps of restoration, reflection, creation, and connection). it hit me in that instant that I have been so embedded within a stretch of restoration myself that I had not once removed myself from it enough to see that I was in it. I had completely forgotten about these phases of life I had begun to define and explore. only now that I am emerging can I see where I have been (this type of experience happens so much in life, perspective comes in hindsight). Instead, I thought I just had nothing to say, nothing to write, nothing to create. I now see the dawn and the coming of a time of reflection- a time of writing and wondering and honoring and awaiting. but today I want to pay tribute to the gifts that the past few months of restoration have given me.

I have slowed down. each day I have forgone some sort of household chore or seemingly important commitment for some treasured time amongst these pillows and quilts. while countless crafts projects and calls from the camera lens and the laptop have taunted me I have not been returning their calls. And while I occupied this space of restoration, alot of the time it didn't necessarily feel good. sometimes it felt like paralysis, and yet isnt that what always happens before the next dawn appears? Yes, it is falling right in line with the coming of spring and the comfort of being well into the second trimester of a pregnancy, both tremendous blessings in themselves. but it also comes from reaping the benefits of surrender and the satisfying feeling of some hard lessons learned.

the image below is from a book given to me recently that I adore. my dear friend pointed out this particular image, maybe as a gentle reminder, regardless, as a loving gesture. It is from a beautiful book called collect raindrops. I plan to feature more images from it as time goes on.

save your strength, originally uploaded by AnnieLaurel.

February 20, 2011

and the walls come tumbling down

Walls come tumbling down, originally uploaded by paral_lax.

click on above photo for photo credits on flickr

i have been avoiding this space for awhile now, blaming my absence on lingering illness or fatigue or lack of anything worthwhile to say. then the urge will rise in me to make an attempt to connect here and I quickly suppress it because I feel....scared. too tired. not ready. inadequate. like i am still searching and coming up dry. and yet the more time passes the more daunting the task of mining these emotions feels. so I decided today to open the valve just a little bit to release some of the pressure and see what happens. maybe a trickle comes forth or maybe a flood ensues.... i will wear waders.

i am pregnant.

and am now resisting the urge to close the laptop after those three words.

those words are so charged for me, so charged for any woman who carries them in her heart. for me, what is first to arise is the past, in a huge tidal wave. the lengthy journey of infertility frought with loneliness,fear, confusion, and invasion. I still wave that tattered flag with (albeit wounded) pride. I weathered that storm for almost 5 years and when the rains stopped, a beautiful healthy girl had come into the world. and for the first year of her life I felt immense, constant gratitude that my daughter was here and that my world had become somehow complete. but then desire began to reappear at the door, in a dangerously mutated state, and I did everything I could to avoid the sound of those bony knuckles tapping.

i had my girl. how could I begin to allow myself to feel entitled to the dream of another child joining our family? and so I began to revert into my old mastered pattern of building a maze of walls around and between my heart and mind and spirit so that i could distort and deflect the sound of the growing call of my deepest darkest heart.

I love my walls. I need my walls. they support me. they protect me. they defend me. but what i have discovered is that they also lie to me. and sometimes it is in the way that a best friend lies to you: nobly, with the best intentions driving their deceit. but other times they lie to you to hold you back from your own strength.

and so here i am. 15 weeks into a surprise pregnancy that entered our lives intimately, ushered by grace. and as I am discovering more and more with each passing day, there is no power stronger, or more gentle, than grace in its ability to tear down those walls.

i know myself. i will build them again. but i will remember to leave out the mortar.


p.s. i know that a couple of you who might read this may be close friends who I have not shared this news with yet and who would expect to hear this type of news from me directly. I ask for you to respect how I have chosen to share this and hope that you trust the strength of our bonds enough to know that not sharing this one-on-one with you does nothing to compromise my love for you.

February 8, 2011


stompin through the village, originally uploaded by AnnieLaurel.

I am just back from a whirlwind of trips to visit family and friends. we took the little one to visit grandparents and great grandma and then went on to DC to explore the nation's capital. this past weekend I traveled to NYC with dear girlfriends, and amidst the hubbub and swirl, we reconnected and celebrated our sustaining, enduring circle.

today i am pondering the concept of grounding. what it means to be grounded, to seek grounding in your life, and to share a common grounded sense. I have experienced alot of metaphorical flight myself lately (as well as physical) and have sensed that same feeling amongst some of those I hold dearest lately. here's to a smooth descent.

January 24, 2011

prayer journals

prayer journals, originally uploaded by AnnieLaurel.

a collection of some of the prayer journals made by a group of remarkable women while on a retreat in montreat this past weekend, a time for 23 mothers to reflect and connect. it was a gift to have the opportunity to sit and talk and be crafty, while setting intentions for more dedicated prayer time in our own lives.

January 21, 2011

a winter evening's walk

eve walk, originally uploaded by AnnieLaurel.
how it lifts the spirit
cold sharp breath
unfolding the tightest of recesses
light shining
clouds playing the sun's muse

and upon return home
the warmth greets you
and envelops you
your cheeks aglow
and energy restored
a blessing it is to
venture and return

January 18, 2011

a little boost

For a little boost I highly recommend setting out on a stealth camera mission and seeking out things you have never seen before. thank you screen door, you do it every time.
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January 13, 2011

(extra)ordinary moments

(extra)ordinary moments, originally uploaded by AnnieLaurel.

i have spent so much time in my home lately feeling under the weather and sick of the weather and it felt good today to pull out the camera and see how much ordinary beauty lies within these walls on any given day if I just shift my perspective. the little one sits like this at least twice a day to eat her cereal, her current favorite food. she savors each little bite, bops and bounces between spoonfuls and shares little anecdotes of life here and there. she has begun to "tell stories" and we never know what we are in for now. this week she told her dad that she "was chasing a fish and I pulled his tail and he said he was hungry so I gave him a sandwich". i am so grateful for our emerging daily round table discussions.

January 5, 2011

2011 Word of the Year

isla mujeres, where I long to return.

Last year was the first year that I have set a word of the year. It was at someone else's prompt and I came up with "UNHURRY". At the dawn of 2010 I was in a state of recovery from meningitis and was in search of ways to make changes in life that would promote better health and peace in my day-to-day life. It was time to listen to the most honest friends in my life who were willing to tell me what I didnt want to hear, that I needed to slow down. way down. and for the most part I did. many days I still possessed "a hurried mind" but I worked hard to be in tune with the acceleration and figured out ways to put on the brakes. I can say that I was present throughout the majority of the year and while some real challenges came my way, my "unhurrying" served me well in sitting with them and allowing the emotions to rise and release.

Now 2011 is underway and I have felt great resistance into getting into the swing of things and have felt stuck in what I wanted to bring forth into this space. I had committed to myself when I began this site that it would not be another place of clutter in my life, I would not post out of obligation or expectation, but would listen to what I would want to offer up. and yet there is something to be said for expectation, it kicks you in the butt when you get lazy or lose confidence or direction. and sometimes just climbing in the saddle destiny unbound is the best thing you can do. so today I mounted and my word of 2011 showed up for me, blazon and ready to behold. TRUST. trust in my body, trust in the universe, trust in intuition. trust in the cycles of health, emotions, and nature. trust in what dear loved ones tell me that I sometimes just can't hear. trust in prayer. and trust that i will again one day soak in turquoise salty water under sunny skies feeling healthy and strong and eat fresh fish with my toes in the sand. just declaring this trust makes my lips taste salty.

Please share your word(s) of 2011 if you would like. its not a resolution, just an intention. xo