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  • Writer's pictureShelbi Bailey

"Courage is a Decision"

I thought it might be nice for me to journal each week on my blog to remind myself of life's victories. In my business, in motherhood and marriage, and spiritual thoughts. Honestly, I feel like I lost myself when I lost my son. It's not to say that I am worse. I just don't even know who I am anymore outside of a mother surviving child loss while trying to also raise 2 extremely wild toddlers. I used to have such strong opinions. In an education course the other day the teacher asked that we all think of what things "fill our cup", and I couldn't really think of one thing outside of my family. Not because it isn't there, but because dang if it isn't hard to consider your favorite snack while your toddler is screaming and you are cleaning up cat puke. So, in light of this discovery, I think writing weekly will remind me of my own strengths and my joys in life. I know they happen because I truly am happy! I just don't ever force myself to pause to consider them. Anyway, here goes! Tuesday, I met with the (soon to be) Coxes about their upcoming wedding. In the beautifully descriptive words of Zoolander, they were "really really really ridiculously good looking". So, lucky me! Their wedding will be a breeze. So, duh, WIN!

After that I met my best friend, Jaxon, for a girls night and she let me have a good little cry over my baby in Heaven. We laughed about our dumb cats. We lamented our different fertility struggles. We ate about a billion calories. It was exactly what I needed. Win! Wednesday, I had a photo shoot with the Christoffersons. Jared is a Dentist in town and Katie is a Stay at home miracle worker. Jared was very kind with his dental advice. I'm not scared of the dentist, but I am scared of disappointing people and these teeth are 3 pregnancies deep in need of a clean... He reassured me that even dentists need to have dental work done every once in a while! haha! Katie

was one of my first friends when I moved to Cheyenne. She is the kind of person that you could meet once and love forever. I feel like every time we meet up we pick up right where we left off like nothing. Her dad was my bishop (church leader) when I lost Henry. He came to our house and cried with us, and it truly felt like Christ was in the room crying with us. I never knew how impactful something so small could be. So, now I love Katie and her family and will always want to do their family photos whatever my schedule looks like. Julie, her oldest daughter, kept popping her hip and thinking of new poses. She is hilarious! She was like a true Fancy Nancy. It was a perfect evening! (So, much Winning!) Thursday, I had a no show and I was so disappointed. I was disappointed in the woman that no showed and in myself. Then Friday, Brianna showed up on my doorstep like a real life angel. Brianna asked my schedule a week ago and set up a family photo shoot. When she came by, I just loved her. She has the most beautiful smile and the sweetest disposition. (In the words of the "Donald", "We are going to win so much, you're going to be sick!") Friday night we had a family night. I have been trying to think of fun family traditions now that Ellie is old enough to be excited about things like traditions. We surprised Andy with dinner in a pumpkin and various assorted chocolate dipped desserts. Then we had popcorn in bat shaped buckets and watched the original Addams Family tv show. If you haven't seen it in a while, gooooooo! Now! Watch it! It's hilarious! Even Ben loved it. I got the idea from Dating Divas.

Ellie helped me make these treats. She thought it was so cool.

Ellie and Benny felt so special helping me make a "surprise party" for their daddy. On Thursday we bought all of the supplies. When we got home Ellie said to Andy, "Um... We only bought dinner..." She was so sly! haha! I don't think we fooled him, but he did love all of the treats. We had a lot of fun! Saturday was chilly, but not too bad for October. I was reminded of Miss Congeniality, although she was talking about April, when Miss Rhode Island is asked to describe her perfect date. "That's a tough one, I'd have to say April 25th. Because it's not too hot and not too cold. All you need is a light jacket." It wasn't my favorite weather for a senior photo shoot, but it wasn't bad for October in Wyoming. So, I was very excited! And the pictures are gorgeous!

After pictures we rushed to a Halloween party hosted by one of my friends, Sandy. It was so much fun! We played family Feud and when Andy and I went up against each other he tried to cheat so I tackled him. Unfortunately he was still able to cheat because I don't have much girth about me. The boys won all of the games, but it was still fun. I love the Walton's. They are so happy and fun and so extremely busy, but so easy to be around. Finally we ended the week with a peaceful Sunday. We went to church, which is always the best and the worst part of the week. Getting ready for church is always a disaster, which was compounded this week by the fact that our power went out. We have a tree in the back of our house that rubs the power line on occasion. When it's really windy it blocks the power to the half of our house that controls the heat. We should probably cut down that tree, but we live a few blocks from a major road and that tree helps block out yucky views and noise. So, it's staying as long as possible! Side note: Black Hills Energy is incredible. They sent a guy over within 15 minutes of our call. The first time we called it was in the middle of the night when it happened and they were there at 1am and finished with warm heat by 2am. I love their customer service! Anyway, eventually we made it to church. Andy and I teach the 12 and 13 year olds. We love it! We usually have a pretty small class, but this week we had 7 kids that were all really smart and really funny. When I think of things that "fill my cup" teaching those kids has got to be on that list. It is so exciting to me to see them get gospel concepts. We learned about how we are asked to live a higher standard, but that shouldn't stop us from having fun. It was a great lesson! Before the lesson I was able to chat with a girl that used to be in our class about babysitting for us on occasion and her mom said that was fine. So, score! We love date night and my poor sister is probably getting burnt out on babysitting for us. Camille is super sweet and a great girl. Then last night after the kids went to sleep, Andy and I had a date night in. We listened to a Keane concert on youtube while we ate Oreos and played Call of Duty. Unconventional date, but super fun. When we lived in North Carolina the second year we were married we would play video games together every night. I'm not super into video games, I only know how to play 2 games, but I love learning how to play for Andy. We have a lot of fun together. It's funny how my marriage doesn't look anything like what I imagined it would be, but it is so much better in every way. This week was difficult at times. There were many tears and a lot of doubts. I often get nervous that I'm not where I'm meant to be. Am I doing what God wants in my life? Is all of this effort with photography for not? Photography is scary because it takes a lot of courage to put my art out there for the world to judge. Winston Churchill said, "Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision." I don't want to allow others to dictate my happiness or my life. Instead, I am choosing to be courageous and put myself out there. To learn and grow and include others in my growth. I am excited about this journey I am on.

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