"Cease Endlessly Striving"

There is a stress that comes from desperation.
Trying to make it work.
Trying to be known.
I even find myself in a never ending cycle of *trying* to simplify.

It's like we, or I, am addicted to the struggle. In love with toiling. Hussling for hassle. Completely comfortable in being uncomfortable.

Last night, as I was helping my husband prepare for VBS this week, I tried to put into words something that I've been effected by.
A mother's work went underappreciated for so long, that it needed a radical "I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR" movement to remind those around us to be gentle, patient, and kind with us as we navigate these very tumultuous waters of motherhood. What we are doing is non-stop, friggin hard work. Notice us, love us, encourage us, serve us. But you see, what I think happened, is that agenda has been pushed so mother-loving hard (see what I did there? Eh?) that we can't quite keep our heads above that drowning message. All we see is "This is HARD," "CAN I GET AN AMEN FOR THIS SUCKAGE?!," and every creative way in the book to unite over #thestruggleisreal.
Because Lord knows I find apple cores all over this dang house when I swear there's no way that they can be rotting in 24 hours like they are, and I don't even know what I'd do with myself if someone didn't whine "Maaaaaahhhhhhhhm" every single day at 7:30, and FOR THE LOVE! my Diva Cup pouch is NOT where your tiny Pinky Pie goes. But I'm just saying... hold on a second. Because I think that I forgot that this is more than just exhaustion and chaos and crying and poop. I mean, it is A LOT of that. But somewhere, way, WAAAAAY back there, there was joy. There wasn't? Okay, well then, somewhere way, WAAAAAY deep inside you, THERE IS! I PROMISE. Hear me out. You might have to dig, and you may have to deny a lot of the comfortable that you have fallen into believing this lie that this is all work and no gain, but it is there. We can find joy in this sacred calling.

This year, as I've talked plenty about, has brought a lot of humbling lessons. Lessons involving reschedules, and refunds, and missed flights, and every ego ladened artist's nightmare - dropping my prices! (Okay, a lot of that was about money, but I'm still getting over this whole money allows me to do my art and my art makes me money and around and around I go...) But these lessons make you prioritize your treasures. For me, freedom comes in the parameters of boundaries. Only booking one Rockport client a month, only booking this city on this date, only working on my portfolio at this time. Recognizing and navigating those parameters has been trickier than I imagined, but it freed up a ton of time for me. For wife, mom, cooker, worker outer, teacher, me.
And then, I kinda realized I wasn't too happy with Wifer, Momer, Cooker, Worker Outer (okay, maybe worker outer, but that's not fair because that's all about me, and it's easy to love something that is entirely self serving) Teacher, Me. Because, like I've already established - shit's hard. I would legitimately rather send invoices and deal with "those clients" (insert my Fozzy the Bear impression where I'm all 'and all my clients are so nice and nobody had anything bad to say about them at all') than clean hummus out of the bookcase again.

But when I signed up to help with VBS (because when you've been going to a church since you were 15... you are *supposed* to sign up by VBS otherwise the self inflicted guilt will eat you alive!)   and my husband gently told me "You can best serve the church and our family by staying home with Phoebe this year" while he and the big girls went, I felt a sweet, sweet encouragement from the Spirit that reminded me He can be glorified here, at home.

I am aware that I have a minor amount of influence, and this weekend I noticed that my little ol' facebook page reached 5k "likes." And I know, not everyone sees most of what I post, and lots of people hide me because they are sick of looking at Phoebe's chubby butt (because there is something wrong with them...) So I wanted to do a little giveaway. I ordered this beautiful print from Ruth Simmons (Gracelaced Shoppe) for my home, and ordered an 8x10 for one of you too!

There are three ways to enter this giveaway
- Entry One - Comment on this blog post link on my Facebook fanpage "Mae Burke Photography"
- Entry two - Comment on this blog post here on my website
- Entry Three - Comment on this Instagram post (picture of Goethe quote on @maeburkephotography)

In your comments, I'd love to know, what's one thing you want to love to learn to do? Morning routine? Lice removal? Call your mama? grocery shop? Look in the mirror and be okay with that not "Victoria's Secret Body" you were so worried about? And tag a friend. Maybe they'll win and you'll get to see this print every time you head over to their house. On Thursday Morning at 9 am (Texas time), I'll throw all the names into a bowl and make one of those cute videos where the kids pull out the slip of paper and butcher reading the winner's name. Okay, at least I have every intention of doing that.. so... We'll see.
Giveaway is for US & Canada residents only, but who knows, maybe at 10k you international folks can get in on the fun too.

And because I've taken up so much of your time, here's a cute picture of Phoebe who stole cookies and ate them for breakfast. She is thinking "What else can I get away with that mama won't be mad at me for, but instead pick up her camera and frame me in a cat butt?" But I digress. Go win yourself a print of this Goethe quote.