NEW SPACE.

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Hello my sweet friends!  This is just a little post to let you know that I’ve MOVED!  Yes, as of late November, a wonderful and creative girl named Leia combined my WordPress site with my photography site.  It is magical and my heart is feeling so very settled.  You can access my new page HERE.

Or visit my website at http://www.elizabethdonelson.com

I’m not sure how long I will continue to keep this site live.  A part of me is here so it seems almost impossible to just let it go.  But another part of me is feeling fresh and new and very very alive [which you can read all about on my new blog].

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support.  You, my readers and friends, are much much more than this to me.  You are my inspiration.  You are my family.

God bless.

Elizabeth.

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tuesday.

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I was driving home today and it suddenly hit me that this year might be the first year in my 26 years of life that I’m secretly, semi-excited for winter, and it kind of scares me to admit it.  There was something about the setting sun reflecting off of the very first snowfall of the year, however, that made the view from my window completely breathtaking.  My freezing body had subsided for a moment and for the first time in weeks I felt at peace.

I felt like myself.

As you know, there have been  a lot [i mean a lot] of changes happening in my life right now.  To spare you the details of the last few months I’ll just fill you in by saying that I’ve had quite the job changes and reversing those changes, an increase in clientele, and I’m officially 12 weeks pregnant.  Our baby is the size of a lime and well, out of all of the chaos, this just fills me with so much joy!

Until this point, however, I was struggling emotionally with some areas of my life which in turn affected my ability to see happiness in the present moment.  I felt like a part of myself was missing and I could not for the life of me figure out what, or even why for that matter.  I woke up sad.  I went to bed sad.  I wasn’t enjoying writing or reading or vinyasas – all of the things that make me, me.  And so I prayed.  I prayed before I rested and when I woke up.  While I was running and during every free moment I had.  I prayed by myself and with others.  I worshipped.  I cried.  I tried, with every ounce of energy I had left to give praise even when it seemed impossible.  Looking back on the last seven weeks of my life I’m almost certain that I asked for God’s help more often than not.  I found myself feeling impatient and weak and although it was difficult to see all of the good in my life, I just kept praying.

What I’ve learned through all of this is infinite.  It goes even deeper than the lime-sized life that slowly continues to grow inside of me.  It has taught me that God is more certain than any piece of doubt we ever feel.  He is greater than even the best moments that will ever occur in our lives, and he works in a way that somehow turns our weakest points into our strongest ones.  I told myself that I never wanted to experience the last two months again.  I’m rethinking this now, however, because it was during that time that I learned and accepted that God’s plan and the time he spends working on us each and every day are moments to be cherished.

Life is adventure.  God is adventure.  And this is my prayer to you.

sweet potato meatloaf and a selfie.

Yesterday, I got home from work and laid on the couch until the moon shined in on me.  I felt exhausted.  Like I had been hit by a bus.  Worthless.  I went to bed angry with myself but woke up to a devotional that reminded me that slowing down isn’t always a bad thing.  In fact, we can probably learn more about ourselves and this world a whole heck of a lot more when we’re not rushing around like all of the people on Black Friday, even though I might be one of them.  This morning, I sat in traffic.  It was dark outside when I was walking into work.  For the first time in five weeks I looked at the sky as I walked up the pavement.  I could see the shadows of a field for miles.  The moon was still shining, just barely.  And the sky was the most beautiful sapphire blue I had ever seen.  My whole perspective changed in that moment.

My whole day was better for the sole fact that I listened to myself breath and I traveled slowly, lightly.  It was another long one, but a perfect one at that.

So tonight I went for a long run with my fur child, thought about the babe in my belly, and made sweet potato meatloaf.

Oh, and I took a photograph because photographs make me happy.

Sweet Potato Meatloaf.

Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs ground turkey, approx.
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 heaping tbsp Italian seasoning

Directions
  1. Roast or steam your sweet potato. It will soften up a lot faster if cut into small cubes. Feel free to leave the skin on, but you can also peel it off if it’s not your thing.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mash sweet potato in a large bowl with a fork, and add turkey, onion, garlic, honey, egg, flaxseed, salt and spices. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. (Hate to admit it, but using your hands works best!)
  4. Place your mixture in a greased meatloaf pan.
  5. Stick in the oven and bake for about 50-55 minutes. Cover with tinfoil if necessary to avoid burning the top.
  6. Enjoy with your favorite steamed vegetable >>> steamed cauliflower with thyme in our house.

news.

I’ve been bursting to share that we have a sweet little baby growing in my belly.  It was the most wonderful birthday surprise for us both and to be totally honest, it still hasn’t fully hit me.  But then I have a random emotional outburst and I can smell my kitchen from football fields away and I all of a sudden think to myself that yes Elizabeth, this is very very real.  I am 10 weeks along and I’m learning every day.  I find myself thinking about new life and how fragile it is.  How sacred and tender and how I have already gained such a soft spot in my heart for this baby.  I didn’t think that I could ever emotionally and physically feel so much joy and I was never expecting such uncomfortable changes to feel completely breathtaking.  But they do.

It was the Saturday before my Birthday.  Caught somewhere between fear and excitement I cried into the arms of my husband and thanked God for this beautiful blessing that is growing inside of me.  My initial thought was my own mother.  I wondered if she felt similar to the way I was feeling when she learned of my existence.  I wondered if her heart was racing and if her body was all of a sudden feeling extremely beautiful.  I hope, with everything inside of me, that I can give myself to this baby as she did with me.  I felt my husband’s embrace.  I could feel his tears stream softly into my shoulders.  They were the warmest yet most fragile tears I’ve ever felt.  He pressed his lips into my ear and expressed his happiness with words and breath.  I am safe.

In that moment, my life changed.  Our life changed.  We are going to be parents.  This man who consistently wraps his arms around me each day was no longer just embracing me.  His words were no longer ones that I could only hear.  And his crooked smile was not sending security into only my heart.  I wanted to stay in his arms forever.  I felt protected and humble and so happy as I always do yet I felt so completely different; I felt it so much more.  I had never felt so much love for one single person and in one single moment in all my life.

My husband and this tiny baby have completely swept me away and I think I’d like to stay here and feel this magic for awhile.

Three weeks have passed since my first doctor’s visit.  While there is a lot of changes occurring in my life right now, most of the time I find myself feeling completely at peace.  I think there is a special kind of freedom that exists when you know you’re growing a child.  You gain infinite love.  You’re sensitive.  And every new feeling comes with a tiny piece of fear protected by an incredible amount of strength.  The kind of strength you never really knew you had until now.

Sometimes, however, I do feel anxious about the prospect of being a mother and being responsible for another life.  I worry about my job and if it’s something I’ll be able to handle.  I wonder if God hears me crying, laughing, and filled so deeply with confusion that I just start crying again.  I ask him why he is putting me through so many changes externally that what’s happening internally can bring fear rather than joy.  Maybe God knows that I’m most sensitive to him when I’m pregnant and He’s choosing to do the majority of his work during this time.  Maybe change, the one thing I’ve struggled with all of my life, is actually his gift to me because no matter what is happening in my life and in yours, Jesus Christ will stay the same yesterday, today, and always.  Maybe this is what he’s teaching me.

There are a lot of things that I’m still learning and there is going to be many moments where the answer will remain hidden, but I do know this.  God loves me. He wants me, He adores me and I’m trusting that he is faithful.  I’m not a mother yet [but I sort of am] so I’d like to end this post with a piece of advice that I’ve discovered in this short time.  The fear and worries, the tears and amount of work that exists in creating a life.  Don’t carry them all.  For the only thing worth carrying, is what’s resting inside of you.

This is when life will really transpire.

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trail mix.

I’m starting a new job tomorrow.  I promise you, with my whole heart, that I’m still a strong believer in chasing your dreams and leaps of faith.  One month without working full time, however, has taught me that there is a time for everything you dream about happening in your life that God has already planned out no matter what emotions you are feeling.

Photography is my job.  It will ALWAYS be my job.  It’s the foundation of my dreams and has ultimately made me a harder worker and a more patient woman.  Building a business takes time and within that time I still need to put a lot of focus on my family and what’s best for us as a couple.  This job was one that I could not pass up.  The hours, the schedule, the benefits, the fact that my sweet Lord has given me an opportunity to work full time while still having my summers completely off [hello wedding season] is more than I could ever ask for.  It’s a job that I’m certain my heart will find comfort in.  It’s a job where I’m interacting with people and youth and there is a part of me that believes that it will open up many opportunities.  I will still photograph [a lot] and I will still write [a lot] because ultimately these two things are what make me shine.

But a girl’s gotta eat.  And shop.  And save up for a new camera!

I had a mouthwatering urge for homemade trail mix this morning and so off to Target I went…please, please enjoy.

1 bag of dried pineapple, 1 bag of sliced walnuts, 1 bag of unsalted whole cashews, 1/4 cup raisons, 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips, 1 cup unsalted whole almonds. Mix together in a large bowl and separate into glass containers while trying your absolute hardest not to indulge in one.

Spoken Words.

Words.  I love them unconditionally.  I love how they can soothe and heal.  I love their ability to create stories and how they go hand in hand with photos.  For this I am thankful.  I love how the simplicity of a handwritten note can change your day or maybe spark a light that was beginning to dim.  I love that basic prints can twist and twirl into beautiful fonts in a matter of seconds.  I love them in books and songs and how they look on paper.  I love that in a world of constant change they will always have meaning.  The sound of them captures me like nothing else.  I love them so deeply that sometimes I’m too afraid to write them down.

I love them for everything that they are.

The sunrise was later than usual this morning.  I reached for the tiny button on my phone and a bluish tint lighted my room.  The time read 7:04 AM.  Usually I wake when Nick leaves to hunt but today was different; my eyes were heavier than the blankets that covered me and I slept.  I could hear Beretta in the guest room and because she can easily entertain herself I wanted to rest a bit longer.  I decided instead to say good morning to my chocolate child.  My feet pressed into the cold carpet, my eyes remained part closed.  She was laying on her belly, her tail was striking the carpet joyfully as if she knew I was walking toward her the entire time.  Smiling at me ear to ear, a good morning it was.  She didn’t have a toy or a bone.  I wondered why in the world she was happily resting in the one room she never goes into.  It was spotless.  I kneeled next to her, kissed the fur between her golden eyes, and noticed a tiny white book that had fallen from the shelf behind her.  GOD’S CREATIVE POWER, it read.  Right next to me, there it was.  Perhaps the only reason God led her to that room and to that shelf and shortly after brought me there too.  I spent the morning reading the book that I had once tucked away and caught up on everything that I had once learned.  I sat there amongst pillows and puppy paws and read how releasing the intentions of God by the words of your mouth can undoubtedly change your life.

Spoken words program your heart to either success or defeat.  I read and I took notes.  I highlighted different areas of the already marked pages.  I focused on reading the words yet I wanted so badly to scream them out loud.  Everyone should read this, everyone needs to know what I’m reading.  I asked myself to slow down and trusted that my comprehension would touch just one eager soul.  From the time we are born, spoken words are programmed into our brains and as we grow older we begin to understand that while every voice should speak truth and kindness, this is not always the case.  I, like many people, often catch myself saying words I don’t mean or even words that I wished I wouldn’t have said at all.  It’s easy, however, to express our feelings through them and what we are feeling is not always kind-hearted.  What I’m beginning to learn is that no matter what we are feeling or wanting to express, our spoken words directly impact what happens in our lives.  We can never take them back, we can only move forward.

Our voice, the words we use and the breath that supports them, are relative to every part of life.  Goals, careers, relationships, growth, self-esteem, and personal values are all effected by the words we speak.  Maybe you want to be healthier but aren’t sure where to start.  Maybe there’s a relationship with a friend or a spouse that needs mending in your life and you’re not entirely sure how to fix it.  Maybe it’s your career and so badly wanting something different.  Maybe you just want more.  Maybe it’s personal and you’re unable to defeat a thought that keeps occurring in your mind.

The answer, my friends, is in your words.

No matter where you are or what you’re going through, speak positivity and kindness.  Speak with energy and ambition and watch as others around you light up.  Be their light.  Speak hope and love and truth.  Speak life and the absolute wonder that it is.

Spoken words program your heart to either success or defeat.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.

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a first.

have you ever had an idea rest heavily on your heart and without even thinking it through you move forward with it?  i’m sharing my first ever video today.  i questioned whether or not i should share it because my original reaction was outright laughter.  i think it’s easy to pass judgment on ourselves, however, and going delete crazy with the photos in our albums is often a first reaction.  i also think it’s easier for us as humans to find faults in our bodies and ideas rather than the beautiful souls we really are.  i’m learning that loving your body goes much much deeper than what we physically look like and i’m learning that sometimes ‘bad’ photos and videos might actually be the most meaningful.  my basement is disgustingly unfinished and my dog is more of a yogi than i’ll probably ever be but i couldn’t find it in my heart to retake another clip.  this is me.  it’s who i am and it’s the first 13 minutes i’ve every watched of myself where i realize that even though the sequence is terrible, the feelings in my heart are true.  teaching others to be well and live well fills my soul to the brim and sometimes just throwing it out there might be enough.  maybe it’s a good thing, to post the things we often want to delete.  we might surprise ourselves.