Wednesday, January 31

Turning 27 ♡ + 10 steps towards personal growth

     Well hey guys! At the beginning of this month was my 27th birthday and the start of a new mindset search and season for me. I think most people have the same sort of feelings on their birthday as they do on New Years (thinking back on the last year and all of their hopes and goals for the year to come, etc), but with my birthday being so soon afterwards I've always just felt the overload of both milestones all at once- which actually I've really loved in the past, but this year I really needed to take my time and work slowly through all my hopes and plans and ideas and expectations.
     My biggest goals for age 26 and 2017 was to simply be more present, to slow down, to let myself breath, so an easy breezy January (especially with a baby coming soon and when the rest of the world is sharing crazy lists of goals and resolutions) was just what I needed.

Obviously, because I'm about 65 weeks pregnant nowadays, I want to clarify that these photos were taken for a styled shoot by the lovely and incredibly talented XAN CRAVEN before I knew I was expecting:) See more of her work on her WEBSITEINSTAGRAM, and FACEBOOK. ♡

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     This year's birthday was another quiet family day, except my gang and I hopped into the van after breakfast and drove for a little while to meet up with some of my distant family. After the kids were down to sleep at my brother's house that night, I had the first little bit of quiet time to think and reflect.
     Richard had brought me some doughnuts that I'd been really excited about (Krispy Kremes!), and then he'd gone on a walk with one of my nephews, so I was alone in the basement in a silent house as I realized the last minutes of my birthday were ticking by.
     I laughed a bit at how pathetic I might look, sitting on my own in the dark at a table with my box of birthday doughnuts, but it was nice really.haha I closed my eyes for a few minutes to better picture moments from the last year that had really shaped where I am now.
     I thought about the times I felt SO proud to be a mother and then the moments that I felt like I was failing my family in every day. I saw moments of such intense heartache that I couldn't stand or breath, and then moments of such sweet joy that I'd never expected to feel again. I saw family trips and ocean waves, piles of raked leaves and late night pizza parties. I could see berry smoothies and card games, dancing in the kitchen, and that positive pregnancy test:)
     Being the pregnant emotional mess that I am I couldn't help but cry big tears of gratitude for how much happiness my little family has felt even after experiencing the worst tragedy we could imagine. Anything and everything rough and rocky or scary we gone through since then is so pale in comparison. Richard and I and the kids, we've all learned and grown so much in the last year, and it makes me so excited about what the rest of 2018 will bring. These kids especially are just so strong and resilient and mature, and they have so much purpose when they wake up every day, excited to begin again, it's really inspiring.

     I took out my phone and started taking notes (an almost daily habit I have in the evenings to help me clear my thoughts before bed). That night I started a list of little manifestations, I guess? Steps that I wanted to make towards becoming a better. But for myself, for the New Year, for being 27, for all of it. Not big expectations, just little mindsets shifts that I wanted to nurture. Weaknesses that I wanted to make stronger. So here are an even ten things that I wrote down (because I'm OCD like that) in case they make you think of something that you may want to adapt or tweak in your own life:

10 steps towards personal growth

  1. Design the life you love. Take control and really focus on the most beautiful life you can imagine for yourself and your family. Keep your eyes on what you want to manifest and let the laws of attraction come into play.
  2. Learn to meditate daily, morning and night. This will help you to live with intention and purpose by taking the time to focus your thoughts and emotions on what is really, truly important. Start each morning with clear goals, and then wrap up the day with gratitude and knowledge that you did your best, and you're exactly where you're supposed to be.
  3. Rethink your tribe. Bring only people into your life who reflect who you want to become and who help bring out only the best in you. Gently release those that hold you back or drag you down.
  4. Open up your mind. Spend more time alone without any distractions for your mind or body, and push yourself to be more receptive to the present moments. Spend less time talking and more time listening and reading and learning. 
  5. Stop and forgive yourself. There is absolutely no benefit from letting the past weigh you down. Your old mistakes took a part in where you are now, and have helped mold you into someone who can now have empathy and compassion for others who are or have walked a similar road. Look at each painful memory or moment as just another milestone that you've overcome, proving to yourself just how much you can handle, and then let it go.
  6. Look deep inside. Write down any personal habits that you know aren't healthy for one reason or another, and then change them! Get rid of them, sell them, break them, stop them. There are things in your life that just aren't working and aren't helping you be your best self, so stop them. Today.
  7. STOP COMPARING. Looking at others and mildly ascertaining thair behavior or actions in your own mind (for better or for worse) may help you improve yourself, but using the successes of others to beat yourself down will do nothing but hurt your spirit and dull your own shine. You cannot and do not want to be that other person. You are you, so why not focus on being the best version of yourself?
  8. Never let anyone else define you. Not a close personal friend, not a distant relative, and certainly, absolutely not a stranger on the internet. No one but you can live your life and can understand your mind and your position except yourself. Bullies don't stop with high school, and the world will never stop trying to put you into a box. The more you blossom, the harder they will try. Don't ever let that happen. Realize that their actions towards you are nothing but reflections of how they feel about themselves, and then move on.
  9. Use daily affirmations. Write some down on your own or look up ideas if need be, but reciting positive affirmations to yourself daily, out loud, will reprogram your brain away from unhealthy beliefs and negative thoughts that can fill you up and take over your mind. 
  10. Take care of yourself first. You cannot pour from an empty glass. If you want to be available to uplift others and support others, you have to have enough strength to hold yourself up first. Take time daily to do something that is healthy for your physical and your mental well-being, and you'll see the positive changes reflected in your ability to do more good for others.

     Alrighty, I could keep going now that I'm on a role but I'm going to stop there:) Thanks so much for reading if you've gotten this far, and I would love to hear any affirmations or motivational thoughts or words or ideas that you're focusing on this month or this year, so please share! Also, I'd love to know if any of these ideas stand out to you in some way?

     P.S. I'm sitting here with a little bowl of chips and salsa and man my fingers really love typing, and the clicking of the keyboard really sounds so great this late at night.haha 

Be back soon!


  1. Happy belated birthday!
    You´re about half my age (-ish), have twice as many kids (soon!) and are a million times more grounded and put together. I love reading your thoughts and every day life and strengths and vulnerability (on those occasions you share them). I wasn´t even a mom at 27 and I´m still figuring it out day by day. It´s exhuasting. Or maybe I just feel like that today, tomorrow I´ll be stronger again. I´ve read through your list several times now to try to find one idea that stand out to me but they all do, equally. Man, I have some work to do. Thanks for sharing <3

  2. I love your dress. Where is it from?

  3. What a lovely post. You are is so important to forgive yourself and let go of who you used to be. Everything that happened in our pasts allowed us to become the amazing people we are today. Everything is a lesson and a step forward.

  4. Such a sweet blog post! You have such a beautiful heart, Emily. Your family is such an inspiration always!

  5. Thank you for this post it is so great! You are an inspiration to me and I just love reading your posts, they are always so encouraging! Thanks again and keep them coming!

  6. Hello! I am a new reader in your blog and I speak seriously when I tell you that I spend a lot of the night reading your blogs (insomnia) and believe me in a short time I have learned a lot from you, your history and experience ... it's amazing how brave you are ... I never thought that an instagram photo that I found out there would take me to a person like you. Thanks for sharing your words. for a person like me they are very valuable. Blessings and happy late birthday.

  7. Very motivating post! I am 26 and just married but can definitely relate :) My biggest rules are.....

    1) Learn to say NO if it doesn't suit your needs
    2) Stop needlessly apologizing

    Here's a list of personal rules I'm trying to live by:

    All my best,

  8. Happy birthday and I love the thoughts you got down - may 2018 be the best year yet!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  9. Wonderful sentiments of reflection. I am closer to the 10 rules now,after reading your post. Thank you for sharing and we look forward to more updates.

  10. I JUST saw your news, congrats! So happy for you. I haven’t been on IG in almost a month, was surprised I couldn’t find you. I think I was blocked, and I’m not sure why. I’m not a big IG’er so it was surprising to me. Either way, blessing to you and that precious little one.