Let me introduce you to Julie of Joy’s Hope. She is hilarious, random, fun, full of joy and always makes me smile. I first ‘met’ Julie when I purchased a Cora Messy Flower pin from her etsy store. After Jess’ daughter Cora Paige passed away, Julie jumped to action to help raise money for the playground being built in Cora’s honor. Julie made awesome Messy Flower pins – she took what she knew how to do (and do mightily well) and used it to benefit someone else. Julie donated the profits from those pins to the playground fund and she sparked a movement of other etsy sellers doing the same. I love that about her. She did what she loved…for someone else…sacrficially…it multiplied more than she could have ever imagined. She still does that kind of stuff all the time. She is generous like that. Another reason I enjoy her blog is the randomness…you never know exactly what you are going to get, but you always know it is going to be good. Meet my friend Julie…
Well hello, I’m Julie and it sure is nice to meet you.

I’m a nerdy, Jesus loving, recovering Diet Pepsi addict. I am all about flip flops on rainy days, English literature, going to the movies alone and anything turquoise. I can’t be in the same room as someone eating a popsicle and the smell of ketchup or bananas makes me gag. I used to hate the color pink, but now have a houseful of girls. I am married to a youth pastor, wish I was still a teenager and would go back to high school in minute. I am not ashamed to admit my love for Star Wars or the fact that I pretend that Dave Matthews is my boyfriend. I am a horrible sleeper, have a compulsive need to sew or bake something every day and fight with my A.D.D. on a continual basis. I hate talking on the phone, or talking in general, but am the best listener you will find, fiercely loyal and way too sensitive for my own good. I don’t remember the last time I was bored and having a day with nothing to do is on the top of my bucket list. I may or may not need to enter a twelve step program for spray paint addiction.

Which brings me to why I am here.

Ten.

When pondering what I would choose for my 10 in 10 topic, there really was no other choice.  Well, there are my ten inches of roots, or the ten dentist appointments I am currently suffering through, but honestly who wants to hear about that?


So I came back to one of my favorite things.  Spray paint.

Spray paint is happiness.  It is fast.  It is easy.  It is cheap.  You can change the ordinary into extraordinary.  Then change it again.  But most of all, how great is it when my thirty-ish self gets carded while buying it at Home Depot?  Seriously, cashier boy, you just made my day.


What can one do with spray paint?

What can’t one do?


1. Who doesn’t need a lime green canopy bed in the middle of a suburban running trail?

(photo by Drew B.)


2. Or a 1980’s-tastic Craigslist find, turned into a funky guest bed?


3. Dollar store trays?  Bring it on.


4.  An old broken camera?  Instant artsy sculpture.


5.  A cookbook holder? Coincidentally painted to match my favorite cookbook.


6.  My squirrel loving daughter’s pinecone collection?  From cabin to chic.


7.  Ikea frames?  Still waiting for pictures, yet still sassariffic.


8.  An accidental project?  Born out of the silhouette of said Ikea frames.


9.  Giant, easy and cheap wall art?  Done in one night while watching Man Shops Globe.


10.  A reminder of someone who changed my life?  Quietly comforting me in unexpected moments.

If per chance all of this bright Caribbean color makes me crazy in a few weeks, months, or years, I can always paint everything white or beige….

But that will never happen.


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  • Amy - Great post!! I never considered having a fling with spray paint, but after this post I am now considering… Love the ‘accidental project’!

  • amanda torres - To see TPW on here brings joy to my heart. I love Julie already.

  • Lesley - Love this post and I now feel compelled to go buy a bunch of spray paint! Love the canopy bed and camera, oh, and the wall art! Very cool.

  • Marla Taviano - You had me at turquoise and popsicle-crunching (UGH!) and a houseful of girls. LOVE this post with all its color. I NEED SOME SPRAY PAINT. Off to check out your blog!!

  • Gevay - You always get your paint so nice looking. I need some tips on spray painting!

  • Erin - Great post, and great ideas! Love your blog Julie, thanks for sharing your life with us! And BTW, like Ashley mentioned, you are hilarious..

  • meg duerksen - where are the hockey masks? :)
    love ya julie.

  • alamama - Love her and her blog! Love all of the colors!

  • allison - Oh my gosh, what a great list! I’m already dreaming about my own Ikea frame display…

  • Kelly Clarke - Julie… I just read Joy’s story and it touched me to the core. I’m at work (I know I shouldn’t be reading blogs :), but I check Ashley’s every morning for a dose of happiness to get my day going) and I broke down crying. Her story stopped me in my tracks today and reminded me of see how blessed I am… Thank you so much for sharing your story and helping me to remember God’s grace!

  • ingrid blanchette - love this post and love her blog..follow it every day. i love her crafting ideas and love for jesus! i was 6 months pregnant and he is now in heaven….julie’s story is one that i go to often to help heal my heart.

  • stephanie - Adorable, as usual! That wall art is one of my most favorite things – Love her blog. :)

  • Rebecca - I love the pine cones. Now out with it, how do you prevent your fingers from cramping when spraying! I used spray paint on some vintage metal lawn chairs and my pointer finger was not happy with me.

  • Aimee - Instead of doing my two projects that are due next week and studying for a test, I will be hunting down pine cones today! Thank you so much for sharing your lovely creations!

  • Evie - love all that color! i am constantly going back and forthe b/t color vs white… it’s very exhausting and i am so inconsistant! but i LOVE this post!

  • Heather - everything she does makes me happy!

  • kate - i love someone who isn’t afraid of color…it makes me feel a little less like rainbow brite myself! just recently made a go with spray paint and loved it….i think it will soon be a new addiction… thanks for sharing all your blog finds ashley

  • huana - Love the colors,but most of all I love the hat your daughter is wearing on the first picture!Lots of fun!

  • Amy - I think I’m in love with the pine cones! My friend actually turned me onto your blog a few months ago because of your salty caramel cupcakes(fab!). I plan on making the cupcake pint jars for my sis-in-laws baby shower. Love your blog and the meaning behind it!

  • Kelly - Love! I had no idea spray paint could make so many things beautiful! I can already tell this will be one of my favorite blogs!

  • Angela - The pinecones! My son is always bringing home “treasures” like that when we go on walks in the neighborhood. He wants to keep them but I never know where to put them. We can SPRAY them and keep them out. That will SO make his day! (Even if the cutesy treasures turn into weapons later in the day. He’s a boy afterall!)

  • Marina - Great projects! Can you do a post on how to spray paint? I’ve just never had much luck with it, but I’m sure I must be doing something wrong. Just the other day, I tried to spray paint a bunch of picture frames (which were in perfect condition, I just wanted a new color). Sounds easy-peasy, but they turned out looking all drippy. I prepped the frames before painting and tried to do extremely thin coats, but nothing I tried worked. I ended up throwing them away. :( I need a spray painting tutorial!

  • Kristin S - What a great post!
    I’m a spray-paint-aholic but maily stick to black or white. I think it is time to break out!

  • Amy - I love Julie. So cool that she’s a guest on this blog that I also love :)

  • Mandy B - I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who listens to Dave pretending the song was written specifically for her. Great post Julie – thanks for sharing!

  • christy mandin - Oh man! Julie, I have that same cookbook holder (except not in that pretty color) AND I love P-Dub as well! She was my first ever ‘blog-addiction’ AND I got to meet her in Atlanta at one of her book signings! And, all of your ideas are sooooo cute! I guess I’ll be adding you to my favorites!

  • Shannah - LOVE it! I’m totally going to use these ideas for shoots in the future! :-)

  • Ms. Ranty Pants herself - White!? Beige!? BLECH. LOVE the colors. Beautiful and vibrant and fun.

  • Granny Sandy - Sure glad you are one of Ashley’s friends, would have hated to miss your 10 of 10. I love all the bright colors, one can never get tired of color. You have given me a couple of good ideas to run with, now, all I need is spray paint. Thanks for sharing.

  • patti - I love how blog-lands collide. I’ve enjoyed seeing some of the other blogs I frequent featured here on Under the Sycamore! Have a great weekend!

  • Dina - I remember seeing/loving the bed on drew’s blog and the ikea frames? fab! off to “meet” you on your blog!

  • Peta - I found Julie’s blog via Meg’s and have been inspired ever since . More people need to embrace her attitude to life!

  • craftytammie - great projects, those colors are so happy! nice to hear i’m not the only one who hates talking on the phone and loves going to the movies alone!

  • Jenni Carlisle - Oh, how I love Julie so…let me count the ways! She inspires me in every way!

  • Lori - Love, love Joy’s Hope. Thanks for spotlighting such a fun, inspirational blogger! :)

  • Mara - great ideas! I am thinking I need to try out some spray paint!

  • Christene {WhipperBerry} - Spray paint! Can’t wait to give it a try! Thanks Julie!

  • Amber - what great inspiration! i think i shall go buy some spray paint. i could seriously turn my home around. hmmmm…what will i paint first???

  • Joy Andrews - I knew spray paint is pretty fun-but not as much fun as you just made it!
    Thanks!

  • The Sitting Tree - I love what you did with the trays!! I’ve been looking for an inexpensive idea for tiered displays, and this will work perfect!

  • blujeanmama - I must find an old broken camera IMMEDIATELY! Really cute post.

  • purejoy - oh.my.word. i have a new friend. adopt me!!
    mayonaise makes me gag (the smell, the taste and trying to spell it)

  • Anna - I also have a love of Spray Paint!! My friends all laugh; they don’t understand the addiction! Nothing better than a weekend spent recreating things you already love!

  • jessica h - I LOVE the spray-paint-tastic-ness! I haven’t embraced the stuff…yet….but today might just be the day :) I read your “what’s in a name” post. I just wanted to say “thanks” for sharing your story, sister~what a picture of a journey of grace~

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, I love, love, love Julie. She is amazing.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, I love, love, love Julie!

  • Crafty. | Here's the Diehl - […] #2 and 3: Kelli emailed me this post about spray paint, as she knows that my love for the stuff knows no […]

  • KWell - uR style & ideas R abSOlutlEfabUlous!!

  • Kimberly - I randomly found your page through Pinterest. Your page is lovely!
    Question: how did you paint the pine cones?

    -Kimberly

  • Four Weeks of Winter Crafts « Pyjama School - […] Painted pine cones. Orange pomanders. […]

  • Daily Delight: Easy Pinecone Holiday Craft Idea « Design Happens - […] hang it from a tree? No, smart alecks, I’m not going to tell you to do that. How about you spray paint them neon colors and arrange them beautifully in a glass jar instead? How cute would these be next to this playful […]

  • Pinecone Crafts | igoYOUgo - […] Colorful Cones […]

  • Pine Cones | House to Home - […] {via} […]

  • top 10 pins of 2011. — happy as annie - […] 8. pine cone displays. […]

  • Mimi - Thanks for sharing this joyful space!

  • gloria - Julie of Joy’s hope! Very fitting! Loved the color, brightened my days!!!

  • 13 Ways to Personalize the Ikea Scrolly Ung Frame! - […] Ung Frames Painted Different Colors on the Wall @ Joy’s Hope via Under the Sycamore […]

  • Sharlene Leatherman - I love your blog, you are so funny! You have a lot of awesome ideas, all of which are very easy for the “un-artistic” person. Thanks for sharing and giving me some great projects to try in the very near future!!

  • marcia whitney - Love the pine cones. Did you spray paint them? Too cute! GREAT idea.

  • Kathy - Love all the ideas. I’m off to the store to buy some cool spray paint.

  • Pam - I just want to follow your blog, but cant figure out how to do it! LOL

  • Little House. Big Heart. - […] (via) […]

  • christyna - Hey I love the pine-cone idea! What Kind of spray paint do you use on those?

  • Heidi Hinchey - You are not only hilarious, but talented! I had a bad day, got home & found your site….made me happy again! Keep on keeping on!

  • carpet installation - Awesome listings. Thanks for sharing!

  • Lysettecolon - Gratis ideas¡Like It,

  • Painted Pine Cone Decorations - 99Crafting.net - […] Source: Ashley Ann Photography […]

  • Jamie - Is there a specific type of spray paint that should be used? I broke my favorite camera last Christmas and have yet been able to part with it. I would love to turn it into an artsy sculpture :)

  • Viernes temático: Navidad - […] Piñas pintadas al spray y colores divertidos. Under the Sycamore. […]

  • evelenna - Inspiration in a pine cone, gonna do some in glitter. Love your creativity.

  • Some great ideas! | Jessicavdmark.nl - […] en je hebt hot mint chocolate. Het recept vind je hier. bron foto Alice in wonderland drankje! bron foto Zoek dennenappels en spray ze in een kleur! bron foto  nog meer cadeautjes in een […]

  • DIY Displays – Spray Paint - […] from Under the Sycamore and love u […]

  • DIY Displays - Spray Paint - Boutique Window - […] from Under the Sycamore and love u […]

I know you are all enjoying the guest posts…I am grateful for the blogging community. I have met some amazingly great women and there are several more that will be sharing with you here while I am enjoying a little time off with my family. I will respond to emails around the 18th, but until then I am trying to stay unplugged. I read an entire chapter of a book today and hiked a mile with a baby strapped to my back…thank you to the inventor of the Ergo baby carrier.

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  • Yanet - An entire chapter in one day??!! I haven’t done that in over 8 years! My oldest, of theree, is 8 1/2. Does that explain anything?

    Enjoy your time.

  • Jane - Good for you for taking some time off! Yay for a great hike. I have a baby wearing addiction. My absolute favourite carrier is the Scootababy. LOVE IT! I still carry my two year old in it very comfortably.

I have been following Jess’ blog for about 2 years now. She is the mom to two precious babies – Cora & Levi. You can see hundreds of pictures of both on her blog. Levi keeps her on her toes daily and sweet Cora is in the arms of Jesus. Following Jess over the past couple years as she journeys through motherhood and the loss of a child has made me a better mom. Jess makes me a better mom. I am blown away by her grace and steady faith. Plus, her husband is a farmer and Levi gets to ride on real tractors. Awesome.  She is an inspiration and I am so excited to have her guest post today. Read her post, but go to her blog and prepare to be encouraged.
ten in ten {needing a little help}
Do you have a little helper around your house? I do. His name is Levi. Levi is nine months old and he *thinks* he can help his mama with everything. It seems he is always by my side. And if he is not by my side, he is sitting on my feet, crawling up my pant leg, or wiping Cheerio slobber on the shoulder of my clean shirt. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
*
As moms we often long for a little time to ourselves or even just an hour of quiet. I do too (because I’m only human you know). But over the past two years I have learned a lot about cherishing the everyday moments. There are amazing moments like when I first heard the words ma-ma again…this time coming out of Levi’s mouth. There are difficult moments like when my little guy decided that standing up in his crib and screaming was more fun than taking naps. And there are moments that can be exhausting, like when my helper comes along and whatever I am trying to do takes twice as long. But, these are the moments I love. The everyday moments.
*
So in sticking with Ashley’s 10 in 10 theme, I thought I’d let you peek into some of our everyday moments to see ten ways my little guy is so helpful…
He helps me wake up in the morning–sometimes a little earlier than I had planned. But, I would rather wake up to this sweet face peeking through the slats of his crib over the annoying beeping of an alarm clock any day.
He helps me get ready. No long, relaxing showers for this mama. Can you relate? My little guy is usually at my feet as I scramble to find ways to keep him busy and try to fix my desperately needing to be washed hair.
He helps me do the dishes. I think Levi is as amazed by our new dishwasher as I am. Yes, having a dishwasher is a new thing for us. I just have to be careful not to wash his toys along with the dishes!
He helps me feel like an amazing cook. This is the face I get when his bowl is empty. Apparently the way I prepare his squash is so fantastic that he wants more ALL THE TIME. Or else he is just a really hungry little big boy!
He helps me in the yard. Levi LOVES to be outside. And he loves to crawl around and pick up anything he can find. I am suddenly becoming a pro at digging things out of his mouth…and prying dirt out from under his fingernails. He is all boy.
He helps me put away his clothes. Sometimes I end up refolding the clothes three times. Sometimes we end up with a bigger mess than we started with. But we have fun doing something mundane together.
He helps keep me company in the car. I love peeking over my shoulder and seeing his eyes peering around his car seat when I am talking to him. He is a great traveling buddy.
He helps me do the grocery shopping. I’m pretty sure he likes Walmart more than I do. And usually by the time we make it back to the front of the store, he has managed to eat my grocery list. Nice.
He helps me keep his daddy entertained in the evenings. I think they are going to be good buddies. And pretty soon I am going to have to watch out because now I have two ornery boys in the house.
He helps bring me to my knees. Being a mom is one of the most challenging yet amazing jobs I have ever had. And there is nothing like a child to cause you to fall on your knees at the feet of our Heavenly Father pleading for help. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with my responsibility as a mom. It is a job that no matter how good my intentions, or how hard I try, I can’t do on my own. I will get tired. I will get frustrated. I will mess up. I need the help of my Heavenly Father. And I need it everyday.
I lift my eyes to the hills–
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

Our children are an incredible gift, entrusted to us by the Lord. Will you seek His help today for whatever challenges you are facing with your little ones? And as Ashley reminded us a few weeks ago, don’t forget to celebrate the everyday mundane moments.

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  • Jodi - Wow! I am sitting here crying because this has to be one of THE sweetest posts I have ever, ever read. I have followed along with your blog Jess and your story is heartfelt but also your strength and courage are truly inspirational.

  • laura - grateful for the introduction to you and your blog! and thanks for the encouragement…i’ll be looking to the hills this morning!
    p.s. i have a levi, too (13 mo.):)

  • Sadie - I am in tears. Your strength is amazing and I will for sure be following your blog from now on!

  • Melissa Barney - so adorable. Your lil guy is just so precious. He has such dark brown eyes. sooo cute.

  • Malinda - i’m glad i can type through tears. i’m a momma of 3 and it is easy to look at all the work and not the blessings. thank you for refocusing my eyes on Him today.

  • Beki - TheRustedChain - Jess, you are so sweet. I’m so proud of you!

  • Kristin Eldridge - Thank you!

    I have a little one around Levi’s age and just prayed that God would show me how to meet his needs today. Thank you for your post and remember to celebrate these moments. :)

  • amy - what a great post!!! what an encouragement exactly what i needed to read this morning….off to check out your blog and add it to my reader.

  • Kim York - So nicely put :) I too have been following the Macs since sweet Cora went into the hospital. She has been and continues to be an inspirationto me…and Levi is just adorable.

  • Stacey - This is just what I needed this morning…

    I’ve popped over to your blog and I love it already. I’m looking forward to following you over there. <3

  • Jill R - Terrific post with terrific timing. Thank you for giving me a little perspective as I start this new day with my little helpers!

  • Gevay - Thanks for the reminder that we can’t do this mom thing alone. I love Psalm 121:1-2. It’s a verse I hold on to as well.

  • Vicki - I remember when I first say the “pray for Cora” button on someone’s blog and clicked on it. I remember praying daily for a family, a beautiful little girl I have never met. I remember the day I read the post that she was in the arms of Jesus…where I was sitting, what I was wearing…and the drive to work that morning. Again, I have never met your sweet family and yet have been so touched. I just want you to know that I am a better momma to two sweet little girls because of you, because you shared your journey, because Cora was on this earth. Thank you. So good to see smiles on your faces again. Isn’t God good. Thank you. -Vicki

  • Staci - Beautiful post, as always, from Jess; and I love the pictures too! (Especially the laundry one!)

  • a pocket full of posies - simply one of the most beautiful (truth filled) posts I have ever read!!…have been so Blessed by Jess and her precious family, and the gift of following their amazing journey! Truly inspiring!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Many Blessings!
    Jill

  • Karen - I LOVE this post Jess! You have so beautifully written a way that all moms can see each situation in a different way. It is frustrating to not be able to take a two-minute shower in peace or do a quick chore that now takes three times as long because of our helpers but it definitely helps when we look at the situation from a different perspective. Your pictures of Levi are great. He is definitely all boy and I could just gobble him up. What a sweet baby!

  • Amanda - Jess, this is BEAUTIFUL!!! I am so proud of you and excited for you that you got to do this guest post!! Thank you for the reminder to go to my knees much more often than I do. Love you lots! Oh, and seriously, your photos are getting more and more amazing.

  • Ashley - I just got really confused when I saw the Macs on AAP blog!
    I love love love Jess & her family. What an amazing story!
    My 14 month old has a Cora dress & wore it to a wedding over the summer—she got soooo many compliments!!

  • tara - i love this! it’s just what i needed to hear this morning.

  • Becca - Love your post, Jess! I have a 13 month old “helper” and I love her to pieces! I lost my other baby girl a little less than a month ago (I was 5 months pregnant with her when she went home to be with Jesus). I’m so grateful for both my babies and how each of them has taught me in totally different ways how to be a child of God.

  • amy j. - You have been a blessing to so many people, Jess! You are amazing. And Amanda is right… your photos are becoming amazing, too! (My favorites are the car seat one and Levi’s face looking at Joel from the bathtub!) Love you! :)

  • Kristine - I stay at home with our 8mo. old baby (when did he get so big?). Many days I ask myself, “What did I do today?” Thanks for the gentle reminder to take each day as a blessing. Children truly are a blessing from the Lord. Only He knew that our “surprise” would bring so much joy.
    Looking forward to reading your blog. :)

  • Amanda - my littles have been bringing me to my knees all morning.
    Love your pictures Jess. Truely you are an amazing mama!!

  • Heather - i love jess! her strength and grace are inspiring to me every day.

  • Urska - LOVE the last picture of you and Levi. Will need to copy it with my little Olive, 8 months. You blow me away with your humility. Thank you.

  • Kate A - This was so well-said, simple and sweet. Just beautiful.

  • maryliz cawley - Thanks for your post … brightened my day and have forwarded it on to my dear friends who I know will appreciate it. xoxo

  • amy - This was beautiful and there are tears in my eyes. The pictures made me laugh and the last one made me cry. Amen to the fact that motherhood brings us to our knees asking for help and thanking for the blessing they are. Thank you for the post, I needed this reminder today!

  • Celia - She hit the nail on the head! Loved her post. And yes, our Heavenly Father has given us the greatest gift (besides salvation) and we need Him to take care of these gifts!!! Have a wonderful day!

  • amber - I love the macs. I feel like we should be real friends:). I love that her baby boy is one month younger than mine & I feel like I’m seeing my own life played out on her blog. I love that seeing sweet Cora’s face on her blog each day reminds me how precious my own first born daughter is & how I should cherish each moment with her & her baby brother. Reading her posts reminds me always what a treasure it is to walk this crazy, wonderful road with my kids. And I love her for reminding me! I love this blog for the same reason…

  • Jen - Nothing to say except this was needed today. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Ms. Ranty Pants herself - What a great reminder to appreciate the small things. Jess’ son is so adorable. Such chunky-chubbiness that makes you want to squeeze him into a big bear hug. Thank you for sharing. Wonderful, uplifting post.

  • Gabriela - I’ve been reading your blog for nearly a year, and I’ve been strongly tempted to comment before: your post about why you’re not working anymore, your post about other mothers who feel stressed and depressed because of “mommy blogs” and the post about enjoying the mundane. But I’ve never felt the pull to comment as strongly as I feel it now.
    Maybe it’s because I spent a lot of time crying yesterday when I read Cora’s story. I found the post while checking your tabs, and I was undone. I live in Spain, I will never meet this brave family, and they will never met me, but I spent many minutes crying for them, and for that beautiful child. I feel jealous for their faith and for their resilience, and I can only whish them all the possible happiness. I now see they have Levi, that pretty much sums all the happiness possible.

  • chantelle - bloggng is so cool , I too have followed Jess for about 2 years! ALL Jess’s post are this sweet and she is a super Momma-nic to know mylittle boy is not the only one who eats shopping lists! And don’t worry about washing Levi’s toys in the DW, I once washed a banana peel and threw out the cloth! Mommy brains are funny!

  • BriBedell - I have been reading Jess’s blog for awhile now too. I love her ability to stay positive and faithful even through her most challenging times :) she’s a great role model for young mom’s like myself!

  • Elisabeth - I need to hear that every single day. The one thing I’m sure of since becoming a mom is that I can’t do it on my own strength–I need Jesus to work through me to love my little guys and to give me patience and just to remember that parenting is about loving and teaching them, not about getting through the day. Thank you for a wonderful post! Also, I thought my youngest was the old child in the world who would repeatedly eat grocery lists. It’s reassuring that other little men share his goat-like appetite:)

  • Alice H - He is adorable. Great post! How old is Levi?

  • Amber - so true Jess! i first found your blog/story from meg d’s WHATEVER blog. :) love seeing photos of your “little helper”! what a sweet heart! i have my own crew of helpers and can relate to your post today on so many levels. what an inspiration you are!! great post thanks for sharing.

  • Lauren - Jess, I too have been reading your blog for about 2 years now. I just wanted to say thank you for your inspiration to be a good parent and try our best to enjoy each moment. They go by so fast!!

  • Megan Sanders - What a beautiful post. I so needed to be reminded of the fact that even the mundane is beautiful with these babies in our lives. I cant wait to go check out your blog, your writing is stunning!

  • emily anderson - i so needed to read this today…well, everyday.

    thanks for that.

  • Bridget Spruill - This is a MUST read for all Mom’s. Thank you for this today:)

  • Becca G - Thanks Jess for refocusing my attention today. I’m a Mom to one spitfire of a girl who is constantly sending me running to Jesus(some days I simply want to run away!).

  • Shanalea - I am learning how to enjoy the mundane and enjoy the kids without putting on them my expectation for things to look nice and pretty. I have 4 boys and life is going to be messy. I am learning how to enjoy the messiness.

  • Stoich91 - What a sweet post! 😉

  • meg duerksen - love you jess.

  • Tricia - A more inspirational mother is hard to find. Thank you for your 10 in 10, Jess.
    Thank you for continuing to share with us.

    ? xo*tricia

  • tamara - Such a sweet post. Makes us treasure the gifts we all have. Thanks for your inspiration.

  • Rachel - Wonderful post, Jess! Love reading all about Levi :-)
    My sweet boy was born in January, too! Boys are somethin’ else!

  • Rachael - Lovely Post!

  • CharlaL - that is so sweet!!!!! Thanks for sharing, reminding and inspiring!

  • Danielle - Beautiful! I definitely needed to hear this!

  • Lori - You are such an inspiration to me daily, thank you for being you. And Levi is absoltely adorable!

  • Amber - Love this post and your heart to cherish even the simple things with your little man. (Who, I might add, is absolutely adorable!) Your “everyday” photos are a sweet reminder of His blessings, and something I know you’ll cherish even more someday when Levi is bigger than his momma and he’s the one scooping you up in a hug.

  • jessica h - thanks! great to be encouraged by another Mom who is looking up to the hills for strength, too…your little guy is too cute!!

  • Nicole - I follow you on your blog as well but this post is just beautiful. I have 3 little ones and you just reminded me why I love being a mom so much. Your Levi has GOT to be one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen…the squash pic is just priceless! Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

  • Carolyn - Thank you. I was so encouraged when reading this (and Emily’s entry from the other day). I appreciate the honesty and sense of humour used when talking about motherhood. Even though I live half a world away, it is such a beautiful reminder that mothers all over the world have many of the same issues. I love being a mum, but sometimes the isolation and ‘sameness’ really gets me down. So THANK YOU Ashley, Emily, & Jess for the lovely reminder to appreciate the everyday and unlovely moments too. By the way, I read Cora’s story and cried (and cried). I then went and hugged my 20 month old daughter. God is really using you ladies as a light for His goodness. Thank you again.
    – Carolyn (in Australia)

  • Susan Caing - very inspiring! specially the last part, indeed being in our knees in the feet of our Heavenly Father makes all mother stronger.

  • Susan Caing - very%20inspiring!%20specially%20the%20last%20part%2C%20indeed%20being%20in%20our%20knees%20in%20the%20feet%20of%20our%20Heavenly%20Father%20makes%20all%20mother%20stronger.

  • Kelly - I truly believe that *both* of you, Ashley and Jess are inspiring me and being examples to me in how to be a great mama as I navigate these uncharted waters. Thank you for letting God use you to be examples that those of us reading can see and emulate. None of us have it all together but when we can all realize that we’re not alone in our struggles and need to get on our knees as you said, Jess and when we can copy each other in our strengths, what a blessing and a force! Jess, the pic of Levi looking around the car seat is breathtaking. I too agree that a baby waking up even early is soooo much better than an alarm clock! And I love the bath picture so much because my little guy makes that same little expression and I dearly love it! Kelly

  • k&c's mom - Following you over here, Jess. LOVED the pictures. My favorite was Levi in the tub with your husband looking at him. Prayed for your “talk” this morning.

  • Nakesha Morgan - I just cried for the last hour reading about Cora. Thanking Jesus for my precious babies sleeping soundly right now!

  • Marla Taviano - What a BEAUTIFUL post, Jess!! Love it!

  • Andrea - Jess, I’ve followed your blog for nearly two years… you continue to inspire me with every entry, thank you!

  • Ruth - This was beautiful and such an encouragement. I need every reminder that I can get to treasure every moment, even the mundane ones. Thanks!

  • Toni :O) - This has to be one of my favorite posts by Jess. I’ve been following her for quite a while now and her strength and faith just amaze me. I heart her family so very much! Great, great, GREAT post!

  • Lori - The Mac’s blog is one of my must-reads. Thoughtful, kind, humble. What a woman. :)

  • Natalie - My 8 month old son cries every time his bowl is empty too! I made up a song I start singing when there’s just a few bites left as sort of a warning. It’s entitled “good things sometimes come to an end…” I’ve read some of your blog and really appreciate your eternal perspective. 2 Corinthians 4 has always encouraged me through life.

  • Joy Andrews - Thanks so much!

  • purejoy - dang. as if i didn’t love you enough already, jess!! such fantastic photos. i’m in awe of your beauty as a mom. what a lovely post!

  • Lauren - Jess just beautiful! I have followed your blog for over a year and I visit daily. You truly lift me up and remind me who is in control. I lost my son’s father and have been going back to school to finish my Special Education degree as a single mother to a 4 year old. Through all the hard times I have kept my eyes on the Lord and he has led me to where we are and gave me strength along the way. I am almost finished! Thank you Jess for your beautiful light that shines through on your posts. You have two beautiful children…what blessings Cora and Levi are. I know you miss her every second….I pray for you daily! One sweet day we will all be together again! 😉

  • Sarah Wallis - I have read Jess’ blog since sweet Cora was healed in Heaven and I just love her perspective on things. This post was beautifully written and I just kept thinking of the Little Critter books. It reminded me of those stories that are Oh So Sweet!!! :)

  • Chris - Lovely post. And Levi is just a doll. Thank you!