#MomLife

'Quiet the Noise' Newsletter Series! | Limitless Motherhood

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My ever insightful sister texted this to me yesterday…

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…was anything ever more true?! If you just laughed or snorted or nodded your head, friend - you.are.not.alone.

It’s coming. The joy and excitement of the holidays! And yet, (uh oh, here comes the and yet) we are busier than ever during a season meant for slowing and savoring.

Let me start by saying I have zero intentions of adding more to your already fully loaded plate. Next week that plate will be loaded with Thanksgiving dinner yumminess, but will your head and heart match up with the spirit of the day? These are the things I ruminate over. I know, it’s weird.

But, here we are.

So, I’m creating a simple step for us. A way to limit all that noise, noise…noise!

And no, I’m not talking about little Cindy Lou making a racket down in WhoVille.

I’m talking about the noise from our newsfeeds, email accounts and piles of clutter. The holiday season can be so loud, and I don’t want that stealing my joy.

Because if we can limit just a fraction of the noise and stress coming at us, maybe we can find some space to breath. Just maybe there’s a bit of white space waiting for us to lean into. A pair of cozy slippers for our overwhelmed minds.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be sending out a short series of challenges in the Limitless Motherhood newsletter. These challenges are meant to give you one simple step to quieting the noise. This series will include 3 challenges, all sent out over the weeks leading up to Christmas. It’s my hope they will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to celebrate with intention!

Not on the list yet? Click below and join the newsletter so you don’t miss a thing!

The first challenge is coming tomorrow! Use the following hashtag over on instagram so I can find and cheer you on throughout the series this season!

#quietthenoise2018

I can’t wait for us to all find more white space this holiday season. Let’s end the year with purpose and a peaceful mind! Chat soon.

Best,

Erin

She Speaks Studio Top Takeaways! | Personal

If you ever get the opportunity to invest in a dream that’s so big you-can’t-say-it-aloud-because-OMG-it-is-terrifying….do it. Book the room, pack way too many shoes, board that plane, find a babysitter, leave before dawn…whatever it is you need to do. Make. It. Happen.

Hurricane Florence pushed back the date of the She Speaks Studio to November, and I had been anxiously awaiting it now for months.

She Speaks Studio was put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries, and if you have no idea what this organization is - I suggest you check it out if you’re looking for resources to grow in your faith.


This was the first Studio event and it was organized with instructional time, keynote speakers and hands-on workshop time. I signed up for the writing track and immediately made some amazing new friendships. I love how God cares enough about the details to make sure we were all sitting together at the same table!


Confession: I cried at least 395 times over the span of 1 1/2 days. Here are a few takeaways I never want to forget: 

  • Listening to best-selling author and speaker, Lysa TerKeurst, remind us that God does not want to be explained away, but invited in

  • When author, Suzie Eller said “when we hesitate in our calling, it becomes about us and not about God.”

  • The personal and heartbreaking stories of some of the strongest women I’ve ever met. Getting to hug them and process through some big emotions was an honor.

  • Having a mentor I respect, read my writing, look me in the eye and say “This is really, really good. Go write this.” #totallysobbed

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I am beyond grateful for this experience and I can’t wait to see how God is going to use it!

Curious what I’m doing? 

Join the Limitless Motherhood and come along for the ride!

Check out Instagram for more behind-the-scenes moments!

xo

Erin

What’s your Holiday-Readiness-Profile?

Happy Halloweeeeeen! 

Phew! Is anybody else already exhausted? It’s been a month of spirit days, Fall festivals, Trunk-r-Treats and class parties. I hope today you take a gazillion pictures of your baby or cat dressed up in something adorable! 

But after today, Moms, can we just agree to take a break? It seems everyone I talk to this month is beyond busy. I know we talk about rest and life balance, but October has. been. crazy. And it’s not looking like November is going to be slowing down either.

Is this break neck speed what we’re expected to maintain until January? Well, I guess not, because by then we’ll all be doing a detox of our diets and homes. 

I mean, I love you Fall - but can I just live my life like a normal person?

So, when is the rest happening for you? 

Let’s agree to take a collective breather tomorrow on November 1st. And before we get caught up in the mania of the holidays - let’s consider how we’re feeling. How we feel come November sets our mood and tone for the rest of the season. There is a wide array of where people fall on the holiday-readiness-profile (yes, this is a real thing…that I just invented). And there are LOTS of strong feelings involved. 

It’s my understanding, that most folks fall into one of three categories. Which of these profiles best describes you?

  1. Christmas Champion: You were made for this season and glitter runs in your bloodstream. You LOVE it all and want to start even before the pumpkins are off the front porch. 

2. Mixed Emotions: You dabble somewhere in the middle. Christmas music by mid-November, but you don’t get a tree early because you’re a respectable person. 

3. Holiday Purist: You believe in the purity of one holiday at a time. You’d like to completely digest your turkey and stuffing before hearing ‘Santa Baby’ while at CVS. 

Whatever profile rings true for you, can we agree that being considerate of others is what matters most? Let’s not shame or Grinch anybody, but we can respectfully realize that others don’t share our opinion.

Here’s a fun graphic to help us remember that this season is for everyone! Send this to someone who might need the gentle reminder. ;)

Christmas Prep

That’s right. You do you, friend. But at the same time, love your neighbor and give everyone some grace. God knows we all need it right now.

And now that we’ve named our own feelings, we can live more authentically this month. Knowing my own heart and approach around the holidays alleviates some of the anxiety I have this time of year. And I’m guessing you might feel the same.

Comment below and let me know which profile fits you best!

And then, go eat some candy and watch Hocus Pocus for the 5th time. You deserve it.

xo

Erin 

Let’s connect on Instagram!

Why Regina George Scares Me | Limitless Motherhood

Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from my monthly newsletter, the Limitless Motherhood. If you find yourself nodding along, sign up for these encouraging twice-monthly emails! Or send this link to a friend who needs to accept a compliment because she’s all things amazing.

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“I really love that new rug. You did a great job decorating this room!”

 

“Well, don’t look in the kids’ bedrooms. SUCH a mess.”

 

“Love your haircut, you look so pretty!”

 

“Glad you didn’t see me an hour ago, ha!”

 

“What a great party! You outdid yourself planning the details.”

 

“Oh, I found everything on Pinterest. There’s no way I could think all this up!”

 

When someone offers you a compliment, what’s your initial response? If you’re anything like me, you might:

  • sidestep that compliment with the skills of a verbal ninja

  • make a joke in which my looks or abilities are the inevitable punch line

  • thank the person, but always with some limiting “but…” so they don’t think I think I’m better than everyone (perfect logic - right?)

  • be as self-effacing as possible…I wouldn’t want to appear "snooty"

  • boomerang the compliment and immediately redirect the focus back on the other person

Enough is enough.

Why do I feel the need to belittle every kind word thrown my way? For the majority of my adult life, this has been my automatic response. Afterwards, I’ll replay the scene in my mind, and am embarrassed that I still respond this way. 

When I have graciously accepted a compliment before, I do so with a smile, eye contact and a direct “thank you!” Even if I feel a little sick in my stomach the entire time.

It doesn’t always make a difference who delivers the compliment, a stranger, friend or even my husband. My response is usually the same. In my jumbled brain, the act of humbling myself against the onslaught of a compliment protects me from becoming *gasp*….a snob.

Ridiculous, right? As if accepting a genuine compliment makes me appear egocentric and pretentious. My ugly fear of being perceived as a Regina George is its' own inner Mean Girl.

Recently, I’ve noticed how my six-year-old daughter responds after I compliment her. 

 

“Did you make that all by yourself? Wow, you’re so creative!”

 

“Thanks! I really like it.”

 

As simple as that. She accepts and enjoys my compliment. She allows my words to wash over her fill her emotional cup. 

Why can’t I always do the same?

My daughters are watching and listening. If whenever their Mom is complimented and she brushes it off, what will they learn? 

  • They will learn to limit themselves. 

  • To downplay their gifts and abilities. 

  • They might listen to their own inner mean girls.

  • They’ll believe that self assurance is conceited. 

 

Clearly, this is not what I want for them - or for myself. There is a time and place for teaching our children humility, but they also need to learn the art of accepting a compliment with grace.

The next time I receive praise, I’ll accept it with a smile and a genuine thank you

No side stepping or Regina-phobia allowed.

 

Best,

Erin

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Fall Favorites! | #MomLife

1. Powersheets - If you’ve not heard of Lara Casey, please let me introduce you here! She is the creator of the highly successful and inspiring Powersheets line of planners. These are planners that help you achieve your daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals.

She preaches progress over perfection and I can certainly relate to that! I love the Tending Lists so I can see all my September goals at a glance. It sits with my daily planner on my desk and I can check in when I’m feeling a bit scattered. Even me, a B-Type personality who resists structure, THRIVES with this planner. She’ll be launching the 2019 line soon - so check it out!

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2. The Enneagram - You guys, when I discover something this amazing - I.go.deep. I’m not sure where I heard about the Enneagram first, but I’ve always been a fan of personality assessments and profiles. There are 9 personality profiles and everyone falls into one number or ‘wings’ with other numbers. It’s fascinating! I am all about knowing myself better AND knowing more about the people in my life. The more we understand, the better and more purposely we can love others well.

Clearly, I’m super enthusiast about this topic. With that hint, can you guess my number?;) Curious? This is the link to the quiz I took: Explore Your Type.

3. Chili Recipes - We’re not big sports fans in my house, but we do love an excuse for warm and cozy food. I love trying a new chili recipe each Fall and tweaking favorites to make them even tastier. If you’ve been making the same recipe for years, consider adding different beans, spices, peppers, pumpkin or sweet potato. The options are endless and super yummy. If you have a go-to recipe, share it in the comments below!

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4. Real Pumpkins - I know this one sounds strange, but after taking The Nester’s Fall course I am a changed woman. Instead of using all plastic or fabric pumpkins in our Fall decor, I’m on the lookout for real pumpkins instead. I’m looking for quirky, unique, statement pumpkins. If you’re out and see a good local spot with several - holler at me!

5. Cardigans - Honestly, these are a year round fav and I don’t even own many pullover sweaters. Cardigans are perfect for layering and I crave a variety this time of year. Even with my capsule wardrobe, these act as ‘extras’ so I’ll snag one or two new ones each Fall. Not sure what a capsule wardrobe is? I shared my experience about it on the blog, HERE!

What are you loving this Fall?! I’d love to know! Chat soon, friends.

Best,

Erin

Finding Imperfect Balance this Fall | Limitless Motherhood

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In July, I launched the Limitless Motherhood Newsletter. Twice a month, readers get a short and sweet note straight to their inboxes. These emails offer encouragement for Moms who want more from their lives.

It's my hope these emails will inspire, motivate and help other women feel a little less alone. Even in a world with so many social media platforms... we still crave real connection with others. The Limitless Motherhood is my answer to all the noise. If you haven't yet, I hope you'll join us!

A fresh newsletter is coming tomorrow where we'll chat about how September feels like the new January. If you've been feeling conflicted over this new season, or even if you're ready for aaaall the pumpkin treats - it's okay to own that. I'll also be sharing a list of my current favorite books, podcasts, movies, and products if you're on the lookout for some inspiration this Fall! 

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When you sign up for the newsletter, you'll also receive Finding Imperfect Balance: A Guide to Getting Unstuck, no Matter your Season for free! This is a 5-page printable that helps you emotionally and physically prep for Fall. With a handful of purposeful questions and space to brainstorm, it's my hope this will help Moms feel more equipped this season! 

Take a moment before this busy season starts and consider what really matter right now. Not what's important to someone else or what's on Pinterest. It's not about finding perfect balance, because I'm not convinced that really exists. It's more about purposely choosing to hold on to just a few things instead of everything. 

If you're already signed up, your guide will be delivered in tomorrow's newsletter. Be sure to use our hashtag, #limitlessmotherhood so we can connect on Instagram!

I can't wait to get to know you better! Thanks for being here. xo

 

Best,

Erin

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Permission to Dream | #MomLife

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Whatever you’re dreaming about, big or small, it all counts.

Sometimes I still feel like I’m a ten-year-old dressed up as an adult, trying to fool everyone. Trying to prove that I’m a for-real-grown-up person. As if it’s a sham and at any moment, a REAL adult is going to ask for my ID to prove that I’m who I say. But instead of an ID, I'll just present them with a handful of pocket fuzz, paper clips and stale M&Ms.

Do you ever feel like there’s something you want to do, but you’re waiting for permission? Maybe you analyze this desire from every angle. Maybe you talk with your friends and your sister and seek everyone else’s opinion. 

Maybe this dream you have is so vast and consuming, it feels impossibly selfish. It feels indulgent and extra. You know you’ll never get permission, but it still pulls at you. 

Moms, why do we keep waiting for permission?

If there is something stirring in your heart, nobody is going to give you permission to pursue it except yourself. I believe that stirring is a direct calling from your maker, but if you believe differently… it’s still a feeling we should follow. 

Maybe you dream of…

  • being Room Mom for your kids this year

  • starting a side hustle by selling crafts on Etsy

  • traveling to another country with your family

  • learning how to play the violin

  • taking a watercolor class

  • launching a blog

  • learning to cook the perfect veggie lasagna

Whatever you’re dreaming about, big or small, it all counts.

We sometimes wait, squash down our own wants and decide this is just “not our season”. I must have said this at least a dozen times in my lifetime. And maybe that’s true. Maybe you have a new baby and your main goal right now is sleep. I get it. Your health and life commitments must sometimes take precedent. But this season won't last forever. 

Can I challenge you not to shelf your dream forever? Can I encourage you to write it down? Say it aloud. Let it sit for awhile in your heart. Because there is no other person who will give you permission to seek out your dream. It has to be cultivated within you and then released to the world. 

What’s holding you back? Friend, consider this your signed permission slip. You're a grown up and you get to decide about your wildest (or tamest) dreams.

I can't wait to see what you do next.

Best,

Erin


If you're searching for more encouragement, join the Limitless Motherhood! You'll get two short and sweet emails a month filled with inspiration and resources on living our most fulfilling lives as Mothers. Chat soon!

5 Year Biz Anniversary + A Treat! | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

I blinked and it's August. How does this keep happening?!

You guys, it's one of my faaaavorite weeks!

TWO exciting reasons: 

1. It's my birthday week, yay! 

2. It's my business anniversary!

That's right, it's officially been five years since I launched EAP and I'm pretty stinkin' excited, humbled and honestly.. kinda shocked. If you had told me ten years ago this is what my career would look like, I would NOT have believed you.

Do you ever wish you had a time machine so you could pop back to the beginning and tell/teach/lecture your younger self? This is certainly how my brain works and I have frequent conversations with future Erin too. #soundscrazyIknow

If you are an EAP Family, be sure to check your email this week! I'll be sending out a special 'thank you' treat and if you know me well... it has to do with caffeinated beverages. #basic

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If you are NOT on the EAP Newsletter - then let's fix that! You'll get seasonal updates from me about mini sessions, availability and special offers. So, maybe like 3 or 4 emails a year? Nothing spammy, promise. ;)

Sign up here!

 

On another note, can I get sappy for a moment? 

Truthfully, I am phenomenally humbled by the families I serve. Your trust in me and the grace you extend is WHY I have been doing this for five years. The flexibility and blessings this offers my family are endless.

Thank you for being here. I'll never take your trust for granted, friends. Big hugs! 

xo

Erin

'Limitless Motherhood' Newsletter! | Free Guide: Finding Imperfect Balance

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I’ve always considered myself a multi passionate person. The things I loved as an 8-years-old, are mostly what I still hold dear. Thankfully though, I no longer collect those smelly Strawberry Shortcake dolls. #sostinky

I was the kid reading with a flashlight under the covers at night. As a moody teen, I was scribbling poems and singing along to show tunes on my Discman. I became an English major, and then a middle school teacher. 

Lately, I feel a deep calling to communicate and encourage.  I want to come alongside other Mothers on their journeys. Offer notes of encouragement and maybe a helpful tip or two I've gleaned over the years. 

Although nothing will change with the portrait side of my business, I DO have a way you can follow along on this writing journey with me.

I’ll be sending out two short newsletters a month where I share resources, encouragement and gentle insight for Moms who are feeling stuck or overwhelmed. It’s my hope these emails will be a light in your busy day as you try to do the next right thing. We’ll chat about balance, getting unstuck and thriving in our day-to-day lives. The newsletter is called Limitless Motherhood, because that is exactly what I want for us! 

lim·it·less

adjective

without end, limit, or boundary.

When you sign up, you’ll immediately get access to a special free gift I made just for you. It’s called, Finding Imperfect Balance: A Guide to Getting Unstuck, no Matter your Season. In this printable pdf, you’ll find a roadmap for getting unstuck this Summer. Whether you’re feeling lost in many areas of your life right now or just need a quick reboot, I hope this guide will help direct your next right step. 

We still have at least eight weeks of Summer to go. Whether you’re a stay-at-home Mom, running your side hustle or working a 9-5 schedule this Summer, there is still LOTS of time to thrive right where you are!

Moms, I hope you’ll grab the guide and join the conversation.

Let’s grow stronger together! 

- xo Erin

Summer Favorites! | #MomLife

Summer Favorites for Moms

Happy 4th of July, friends!

Today, I thought it would be fitting to share a short list of what I'm loving this Summer. :)

Maybe your list looks the same or you could add to it?

Here's what's making me smile lately: 

1. Sparkling Water - You guys, I'm becoming quite the sparkling water connoisseur. I've tried several different brands and here are my current favorites in no particular order:

  • La Croix - orange and tangerine are amaaaazing.
  • Bubbly - current fav!
  •  Polar - so yummy...
  • Trader Joe's - love the raspberry lime cans!

2. Coola Sunscreen - I've been using this brand of sunscreen on my face for a couple of years now. I love that the daily facial moisturizer has an SPF of 30 and smells like cucumbers. :)

3. Picnic Dinners - Not sure what to do for dinner tonight and loathe turning on the stove in the Summer? Picnic dinners are giving me LIFE right now. Pull out all the bite size foods from the fridge and make a hodgepodge on the table. Lunchmeat, cheese slices, olives, chopped nuts, veggie slices, dried fruit, hummus, pita chips and plenty of fresh fruits are just a few options. My kids LOVE this. They get to pick their favorites and I don't overthink it. 

4. Podcast marathons - While the kids are busy, I love to pop my earbuds in and listen to my favorite podcasts. Folding laundry is a great time to do this or during an early morning walk. My current favorites:

  • RISE podcast by Rachel Hollis
  • The Simple Show
  • The Alli Worthington Show
  • The Lazy Genius
  • The Next Right Thing with Emily P. Freeman

5. Netflix - Remember when we had to watch commercials? The WORST. Send me your favorite Netflix suggestions, I need some new binge worthy choices. :)

6. Quiet Mornings - Working at home and balancing the kids is always a season of change for me. Every Summer I get a little bit better...a little more grace-filled...and a little more intentional with my planning. Five years in and I'm thriving by waking early most days to work before our day starts. It fills my soul and keeps me caught up on edits and all things EAP. 

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7. Gratitude Lists - During some of these early mornings, I write down everything I'm feeling grateful for. It sets my mindset for the day and fills my emotional cup. I can remember that list when I'm feeling irritable or generally ungrateful. A few items on the top of my gratitude list:

  • Coffee with almond milk
  • The friendship my daughters share
  • My latest fiction read
  • Charcoal face masks (hello, oily Summer skin...)
  • Air Conditioning (praise...)
  • My husband's flexible schedule this Summer 
  • Colored pens and highlighters #nerdstatus

What are you loving this Summer?

What is currently blessing you in this season?

Drop me a note and lemme know! I always love hearing from you, friend. :)

xo Erin