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Friday, July 1, 2011

Blog Friend Feature: The Mommy Matters

Photography is NOT my strong suit. At all. Which might explain why I fell in love with this week's Blog Friend Feature: she left me speechless with her gorgeous photos. Every time I went to her blog, I felt like I was getting a little stalkerish in my love for her photos.

But, then I read a little deeper and got to know Courtney from The Mommy Matters.  And while I'll always be jealous of her photos, I've gotten a chance to really see her heart. She is incredibly sweet, thoughtful, and focused on her family. I know you will love her, too. 

Before I just start running my mouth, I have to take a second to thank Shell for featuring me here today. It’s always an honor to be featured in someone else’s space…especially when it’s someone whose blog you stalk have been a fan of for so long. I’ve been a reader here for a while and I admire the community Shell has built around her site. I look forward to Wednesday’s every week and love knowing that I can pop over here to her corner of the blogosphere and share my heart without judgment. 

I thought a lot about what to write for this post. When Shell emailed me, I started making notes and trying to decide what I wanted to say. Of course, I want to dazzle you all with my fabulous way with words and all that, but I wanted this post to reflect who I am as a blogger and as a person. I like to think that I can be funny, though my attempts at humor are somewhat overlooked. I get a lot of those “cricket” noises when I attempt to crack a joke. In actuality, I’m just an ordinary mama, with a pretty extraordinary life.

But that hasn’t always been the case. 

It hasn’t always been my mindset…that I had an extraordinary life. 

For a long time, I was unhappy. I was depressed. I was stuck in some miserable form of existence where I didn’t like who I was, where I was going, or the people around me.

I like to think that my husband helped to change a lot of that. He carried me away from the little town in Alabama where I grew up, and showed me that there was a whole big world out there just waiting for me to explore. And my son. I can’t forget about my son. I owe so much of who I am now to that little guy: my budding career, my blog, my only-recently-realized ambitions and dreams. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to be, until I became a mom and a wife.

The journeys of marriage and motherhood have brought a lot of lessons my way (as they do to all of us).  But if I’ve learned one thing and one thing only, it’s that happiness is not a guarantee, it is a CHOICE that is made daily.

We have all been dealt different hands in life. We’ve all been placed in different locations, surrounded by different people, and given different circumstances...both good and bad. But what we do with those circumstances is up to us. 

We can either let them drag us down, hold us back and make us miserable.


We could learn from them, push through them, overcome them and come out better in the end.

I went through some dark and depressing moments in my life. I’ve been through things that other people couldn’t imagine, but I’ve come out on top. Sure, those moments were hard. Most of them brought me to my knees and left me wondering “why me?” And for a long time, I felt like I was at the bottom of my rope with nowhere to turn and no place to go. But, I learned that when you’re at the bottom, as low as you think you can get, the only place to go is UP.

So you move past the frustration and the pain and the heartache and you just keep going. I think Dory said it best in Finding Nemo. Sometimes, all you can do is to keep on swimming…just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…

You have the power to change to your own life. You hold the key to your own success. The only person holding back…is YOU.
*image credit: redbubble.com

The Mommy Matters

Please leave some comment love here for Courtney and then go follow her blog

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Blogger McKenna said...

I've definitely been there. Great to meet someone new. Off to visit Courtney.

July 1, 2011 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It is a hard place to visit and a terrible place to stay. I love her post.

July 1, 2011 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

What a great post. "Happiness is a choice", sometimes I should remind myself!

July 1, 2011 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

I love that philosophy of happiness being a daily choice - yes, yes, it is. Off to visit Courtney's blog!

July 1, 2011 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Ah the hard spot. I'm familiar with that place as well. I'm a runner, so I tend to think one foot in front of the other. But keep swimming works too! ;-)

July 1, 2011 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger angela said...

These are words that I will carry with me when the days get hard!

I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog :)

July 1, 2011 at 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Christine @ Quasi Agitato said...

Courtney I totally hear you. For me, I always knew what I wanted to do with my life but I only recently realized I was going about it the wrong way. I was trying to be who I thought everyone wanted me to be. The crucible of motherhood has taught me how to be myself. And not a coincidence I think that I enjoy writing now. I finally have something to say. Off to your blog!

July 1, 2011 at 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Mandi Miller said...

So excited that Courtney is featured!!!

July 1, 2011 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Evonne said...

I never really thought about it but yes, happiness is a choice. Sometimes you do have to just keep swimming to find it.

(this is the second time I've had that line from Nemo stuck in my head this week - ahhh!!!)

July 1, 2011 at 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Practical Parenting said...

Yes, happiness is a choice. Sometimes it feels like a hard choice to make, but it is a choice. I've been there before. I'm back there now. It's amazing how our children can make the world a better place and keep us going. I think I quote finding Nemo 15 times a week! Can't wait to visit...

July 1, 2011 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I loved her post. i can relate on so many levels. Heading off to check out her blog. Wonderful guest. Thank you.

July 1, 2011 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

I never looked at life the way Courtney explains it. If you really think about it happiness doesn't just happen, you have to make it happen. Great choice for a BFF, I'm going to check her out now.

July 1, 2011 at 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She sounds like a fabulous blogger - off to her site now!

July 1, 2011 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger Kir said...

off to visit your site, but wanted to tell you how much I Related to this, how much I feel that my life really started when I found love and then my path to motherhood.

Your words were fantastic and real.

thanks again, Shell, for giving me a new "friend"


July 1, 2011 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Emmy said...

Sounds like my kind of gal! Yes, happiness is a choice- I love that

July 1, 2011 at 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Okay, this post was exactly what I needed this morning.

Well, this post and a donut.

But nothing's perfect.

July 1, 2011 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger NotSoNormalMommy said...

Greatly put Courtney!! I would say I am off to visit your blog, but I visit both you and Shell daily anyway, so:) Good post!!

July 1, 2011 at 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Okay, I officially take back my complaint.

I just went into my office kitchen and someone had brought in donuts!

Apparently life is perfect, I withdraw my previous assertion to the contrary.

July 1, 2011 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Courtney K. said...

Thank you for the kind introduction, Shell! I definitely would never consider YOU stalkerish (especially considering how often I click over to your site. Ahem). Just know that the admiration and kind words are mutual! :)

July 1, 2011 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love your perspective on life, you are SO right!! I'm so glad you've chosen the better path. Wonderful to meet you here.

And I'm a fellow photographer (well, aspire to be anyway) so I'm off to check out your wonderful photographs!! :-)

July 1, 2011 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Mrs G said...

You can choose to be miserbale or choose to get your happy back. It might be tough but the end is totally worth it. Keep swimming :)

July 1, 2011 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Oh I adore Courtney! I've been "stalking" her for a while now:)

July 1, 2011 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

What an honest and triumphant post!
Great pick, Shell...off to visit her now :)

July 1, 2011 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger KSK said...

Very inspiring! Off to visit her space!

July 1, 2011 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger MommaKiss said...

SHELL! True hidden gem here, I was unaware of such talent. Def going to visit, Courtney! Love your swimming analogy - oof, if that ain't the truth.

July 1, 2011 at 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great pic! She sounds amazing. I have met so many awesome bloggers with this feature. You are the Queen of features and link ups. =)

July 1, 2011 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Mom of 12 said...

I love Nemo! Those are some of my favorite lines. The kids love to pretend they can speak "whale."

July 1, 2011 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger MrsJenB said...

I'm so glad you're the BFF today because I really needed to read this. Thank you for sharing this message - it's so, so true.

July 1, 2011 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Hall said...

Yes, being happy IS a choice each and every day! I too quote Dory often. Great post and nice to "meet" you, Courtney!

July 1, 2011 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Very good advice and glad to see you featured here today Courtney.

July 1, 2011 at 3:04 PM  
Blogger Rach (DonutsMama) said...

Great advice! Dory is a very wise fish. Thank you for sharing your heart today and for being so honest!

July 1, 2011 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

Beautiful post! I think that's so true! I sometimes get stuck thinking that I'll be happier when this or that happens, but I know it's how we handle the process of getting there that's important.

So I will choose to be happy today as a fold my mountains of laundry. :)

July 1, 2011 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

"Happiness is a choice" I think I need to frame that!

July 1, 2011 at 4:09 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Thanks for this. It means more than you know. :)

July 1, 2011 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger michellespann said...

I choose happiness every single day. I've been there....the bottom of the barrell - asking why me? And you are right, the only way to go is up. I love this post :) Going to follow your blog :)

July 1, 2011 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Totally agree with Courtney! When I read this post, I vowed to smile and make it a "happy" day!

Going to check out your neck of the woods now!

July 1, 2011 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Renee said...

What a great quote, "Just keep swimming." Sometimes that is all you can do.

July 1, 2011 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

All so true! Off to check Courtney out!

July 1, 2011 at 5:31 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

So glad to see Courtney here - she's a great writer and an amazing photographer!

Thanks for sharing your story here. It's so much better to listen to Dory and just keep swimming! :)

July 1, 2011 at 6:44 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've been having a really rough time with some news I got yesterday, and I think I really needed to read this post. Thank you for the reminder that happiness is a choice in all of our lives. :)

July 1, 2011 at 7:48 PM  
Anonymous molly said...

I do love the sentiment that happiness is a choice. I really do. Unfortunately, for people with mental illness, it often isn't.

However, in a way, I choose to be happy every time I take the medications that keep me well. So that counts right?

Glad to go follow a new blog. And a love looking at great photography too because it inspires me to be better!

July 1, 2011 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I just recently found this blog, and love it too! Great feature and excellent post! :)

July 2, 2011 at 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Paula @ Simply Sandwich said...

I've been following Courtney for a while now because of her "happiness choice" and sweet spirit! Great choice Shell! :)

July 3, 2011 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Happiness is most definitely a choice and I am so glad that you made that choice!!! Thanks for sharing!!! Off to visit your fabulous pictures!!!

July 3, 2011 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Missy | Literal Mom said...

Congrats Courtney! I'm already a follower. And I agree with Shell - you are such a good photographer1

July 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Blue Cotton Memory said...

In parenting we so become so much more than we ever imagined! And it is so true - about those challenges - what they do to our lives is our choice - isn't it! Beautiful inspiration!

July 5, 2011 at 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

Happiness truly is a choice.

July 8, 2011 at 8:19 PM  

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