When she speaks encouraging words.

I woke early Friday morning to catch a 7:30 flight that would take me from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City to Dallas, all for the glory-ness of Hope Spoken. It had been a l o n g time since I traveled to a blog conference. Long like almost 18 months, but I was equal parts excited and nervous. My sister-in-law flew in the night before and Bauer & Maxwell kept her busy on Friday (although rumor has it Bauer slept all day). I imagine the two of them just soaked each other in :) I love so much that she is here right now with us a couple more days.

So much great happened over the weekend in Dallas. Great speakers. Great food. Great friends hugged. Great mental rest. Great-full.

hope spoken maggie whitley

Ashley of The Vanilla Tulip + Casey Wiegand + Ruth of Grace Laced

It’s almost hard to type this out, but then I re-read my notes and decide it to be true: my most memorable moment from the conference is when Shauna Niequist spoke on “more love/less busy”. And yes, I was taking notes because it was just that good. And one more thing, can I be honest with you? What Shauna said on Saturday totally had me in tears… for most of her time on stage. What she shared was so inspiring:

- Dr. Henry Cloud said it first, “No” is a complete sentence

- Doing more and more and more will not bring you more

- Will saying “yes” allow me to live a less frantic life?

- Exodus 18:17-18

- Psalms 16:5-6

- Mark 8:36

- Luke 10:38-42

- Don’t be afraid to: become irresponsible, stop hustling, be the person God created you to be, stop being frantic

hope spoken maggie whitley

Joy Prouty + Dee of Red Letter Words

But a close runner up, my second most memorable moment from Hope Spoken, is being able to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. There is just something so fulfilling about spending time with women that desire to know God more. When she speaks encouraging words about Him, they stick around for quite some time.

hope spoken maggie whitley

Many asked me how I was handling being away from Maxwell — this was my first overnight trip without him.

So to be honest, it was such an easy weekend for me. I knew Maxwell was loving his time with his aunt Tiffany. I knew he was going to go hiking on Saturday. I knew his Sunday afternoon was going to include church and the flea market (and turns out, also a trip to the cupcake shop).

But perhaps the real reason I had such a great weekend is because everyone in our family wanted me to be gone. Their support blessed me. They knew this time away would be so good for my heart, not just my mama heart but my Maggie heart, too.

And Hope Spoken it was.

Getting ready for Hope.

bauer-max-cooking-maggie-whitley

I’m beginning to prepare my heart for a big upcoming trip to Dallas later this month. It’s been a while (18 months?) since I last traveled to a blog conference, and even though it’s a little scary for me to think about leaving my little boy at home for the weekend, I’m also really looking forward to it. It’s good practice for me for the big picture, right? :) I’m super excited to attend Hope Spoken, and my prayer is that the conference is a blessing to many. I’m so proud of the gals putting on the conference, they are so inspiring and brave and solid God-seeking mamas. And something else I’m excited about? Having a little Maggie time for the weekend and soaking up lots of time with this sweet friend.

Are you going? Leave a comment if you are and say hello! :)

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Let’s see… what have we been up to these last few weeks? Aside from getting my newest handmade venture — Caroline-made launched, not a whole lot. Turns out launching a new shop takes a lot of energy and time ;) I’m finishing up a big post sharing my inspiration for Caroline-made, where the name comes from, all of that exciting stuff. Click over and take a peek, if you haven’t yet? I’m so happy with the final designs of everything inside the shop. CM is a fun mix of color and practicality.

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It has rained for days, days, days! Which is incredibly unlikely for Los Angeles. With the rain came wind and cloudy skies, something else we’re not used to. And I know, poor us… most of you are experiencing never ending snow — don’t hate me for complaining about the rain ;) It seems to have passed, which is great because Maxwell’s birthday party is going to be outside on Sunday. My parents are flying in for the week. It feels a bit surreal to be celebrating One Year with our son. And oh, those long days of labor before he was placed in our arms — those memories haven’t left me just yet ;)

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What has been inspiring you lately? I’m always curious how inspiration appears to us all a little bit differently. Are you inspired by music or a book or a certain color? Maybe a visit somewhere special? I’ve been going to a mom’s group/bible study for the last couple of months and ohhhhhhhhhh my goodness, that weekly meet-up has been the most inspiring of all the things I’ve tried in the past. Who knew sitting down with a small group of other moms (all stages of motherhood) could be so life-giving? I’m definitely hooked :)

los-angeles-sunset-maggie-whitley

The beauty of Hope is that it knows how to meet us just where we are. For me this has been an upcoming trip, planning a birthday party and committing to a weekly birthday party.

How about you? What is Hope for you?

“The bag.”

bag-maggie-whitley

Last night I knew I would have a few hours all to myself, to do anything I wanted: read a book, answer work email, take a long bath, watch a movie, sew something for myself — or even go to bed early. And while my body probably wanted me to go to bed early, I decided to try one more time to sew something. For months, and I’m not exaggerating in the least, I struggled with my inner self to be able to create something. The idea has been in my head, but every time I sat down to sketch some ideas or pair fabrics (or even cut into fabric & begin to sew) I hadn’t been able to translate what I was thinking. I kept thinking if I did something different: spend more time outside, surround myself with inspiration, pray or read my Bible more, stop thinking about being creative, talk about how I was feeling — surely my creative intentions would come to me. Right?

But they didn’t.

And I was feeling so, so, so, so discouraged. For months. Discouraged!

I mean, I had flat out stopped trying to skirt around the fact that I wasn’t feeling creative when I talked to our moms on the phone. I couldn’t hide it any more, and I didn’t want to.

Zack and I had some good talks yesterday, and one of the things I remember saying was, I’m not sure how long God wants to lead us down this road of difficulty but what I do know is this: we need Jesus.

Without going into all the details, life has been difficult, and it was surely overshadowing my creative process.

So last night, with a few hours all to myself, I decided to try once more. I grabbed some fabric I had been saving and went over the pattern (that has been inside my head for months) one more time. It couldn’t hurt to cut into another fresh fold of fabric, I thought.

I was just about desperate, but not desperate enough to totally give up. I took my time sewing — and time it did take — but as I crawled into bed last night I knew there were a few pieces of “fabric guts” from the bag I finished sewing. What has once been considered trash is now sitting on my desk as a lovely reminder of what happens when you mix patience and time with Jesus.

The bag that I’ve labored over for months? The bag that made me doubt if I had even a fat quarter of creativity left in me? The bag that humbled me over thinking God could ever be done using me (or you) for His creativity?

It is sewn, and I feel so free.

The owner of my heart.

maxwell-gussy-sews

these days I can’t take a photo of Maxwell without catching him mid-thought ;)

Not to get all mama // sappy // “this motherhood thing is so hard, isn’t it?” — but, I’m about to get all mama, sappy, “this motherhood thing is so hard” on ya. We have had some great moments this week. Some really happy, heart-melty moments. Maxwell is growing like a little weed while still maintaining those perfect rolly-polly thighs ;) And he’s climbing on everything and calling Bauer by name (at full volume). Max calls out, “ba! ba. ba. ba! BA!” and it’s seriously so so cute. At first Bauer used to run away whenever Max crawled near him, but now Bauer waits it out a few minutes before running away. Poor dog, he can only handle so much 10 month old baby.

Ten months. Yes. Oh my. HOW? :)

So right now, as I type this, it’s Wednesday night, and it’s been a patience-trying week. I know to step away when I need a little reset, but it’s so hard when you’re looking at a 12 hour day of potential patience resetting. Zack’s working on some really crazy commercials so he’s spending a lot of time at work. It’s OK though, I’ve got a nearly empty bag of mini chocolate chips nearby ;) We made it through another day of play and baby jabber. The apartment is quiet and all of my really sappy mama moments are hitting me in waves. The first happened the other day as I was rocking Maxwell. I always pray aloud for him/our family when I rock him at night, and that particular night I decided to pray for Maxwell’s future wife and the little baby she’ll be holding in her arms some day. And I lost it. Totally lost it. Hot tears were pouring down and I couldn’t stop crying. These babies God blesses us with, they certainly are precious.

My second mama sappy moment happened tonight (Wednesday night). We’re working on establishing a bedtime routine for Max, along with teaching him to self-soothe. Yep, there’s a lot going on here — told ya (wink). I had the idea to set my Pandora app to the children’s lullaby station and then I settled in to nurse him. First the app played Kiss the Girl from The Little Mermaid and I thought, “Oh, that’s exactly what happened with Zack and I… it all started with a kiss (and now I’m holding a baby (hehe)).” But then the app played The Circle of Life from Lion King. And then (!) it played Hundred More Years by Francesca Battistelli (the song is below). That song is known to wreck me into the sappiest of messes.

Hundred More Years by Francesca Battistelli on Grooveshark

I couldn’t help but snuggle Max a little bit closer. I don’t know exactly why God choose me to hold the title “Maxwell’s Mom”, but I’m awfully grateful. His conception and birth has brought me to my knees many times, but really — the wonderful part is I know I’m not done praising God for the miracle Maxwell is; the owner of my heart.