I’m attempting to make a photo book beginning with my pregnancy and ending with Vivi’s first birthday. I’ve printed out a few photos here and there and every time I do I’m genuinely shocked that they actually look good printed out and that hey, maybe I am pretty good at this taking pictures thing. I’ve organized them fairly well, I certainly have my favorites, but it seems everyday I add new favorites. They’re nothing spectacular or magical, just our everyday life. Going to the park, doing laundry, grocery shopping…pretty boring stuff if I’m being honest. My guess is that this book will be somewhere around 400 pages and you’ll need a comfy couch, a cup of cocoa and two or three potty breaks to make it cover to cover, maybe even a nap.

There’s just so many stories in all of these photos I take. I want to surround myself with them, wallpaper my walls with them, show them to complete strangers and wear them on t-shirts.

buddies.

A little over a year ago today I could barely get myself out of bed. My brain was swamped with so much muck and depression I couldn’t bring myself to use my camera let alone my words. Now I’m able to use my words and photos to pay my mortgage, pay my tithing, take care of my friends and take my husband on a cruise. (ZOMG WE’RE GOING ON A REAL TRIP FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN 11 YEARS WITHOUT LITTLE HUMANS.) It seems so indulgent, the things I’ve been able to do with this accidental talent, just today Cody had to remind me that if anyone deserves time together on a boat with all you can eat buffets and middle aged men with fanny packs, it’s us.

Us.

What a magical little word.

Us was almost they. As in they got divorced. They didn’t last. They broke up.

But we fought for us and we won.

It’s scary putting your whole heart and hope into something you’re not sure will hold you. Every night I take a little white crescent shaped pill and hope that it will carry me through the next day. Carry me above all the ugly I know is lurking down there at the bottom. Three years ago Cody and I traded hearts with tears across the center console of my car not entirely sure if either one of us was capable of such a grand and scary responsibility. He has held my heart with all the care and tenderness in the world and I can only hope he feels the same about me.

Every night I get on my knees and pray to someone I’ve never seen but I know is there. One year ago my prayers were filled with desperate pleadings. Please. Please let me feel better. Please make this hurt less. Please let me do better. Please give me another chance. Please take the sting of tears away from my eyes.

They are still filled with pleadings. But they are pleadings for others. Pleadings for those with sick kids, broken hearts or lonely souls. Pleadings that I will be able to do good while I am here and pleadings that I can stay. That this me, this wonderful self I haven’t ever known before can stick around, one more day, one more week, one more month. I promise to do good. I promise to make Him proud if He’ll just let this me stay.

My prayers are also filled with gratitude. Gratitude for the trials I’ve gone through, gratitude for the platform I’ve been given to share my struggles, to help others and to give words to some of the scariest emotions in existence. Gratitude for these two little healthy girls and this strong man I get to call mine. Gratitude for my house, my shutter finger, the sunshine, my cats, working kidneys and orange juice. Gratitude for new shoes, new babies and hope.

I am drinking in this phase of my life in furious gulps, hoping that by wholly immersing myself in it I’ll be strong enough to weather the storms when they come back, because they always come back. I’ve finally stopped living in fear of this phase ending, rather I have been squeezing every drop of beauty from every day until my hands are numb and weary.

miss vivi

Sometimes I am convinced that you gave birth to sunshine.” -Jessi

Cody is my world, Addie kept the sun from ever setting on it and Vivi brought it back to high noon.

 

Comments

  1. SO. BEAUTIFUL! Brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing your talents with the world. You bring sunshine to the lives of many.

  2. I love how you said, “I am drinking in this phase of my life in furious gulps” Some people don’t appreciate what they have…Girlfriend you do! Secondly, I love your photographs…to be honest you are one of the people that inspired me to go out and purchase a DSLR and give it a go. So for that ..I thank you!

  3. Your talent is words and pictures. I think I tear up at every other post you write, your words and pictures together are just beautiful.

  4. Gorgeous, Casey. All of it.

    Steph

  5. That was truly beautiful.

  6. I rarely comment, but love to read your blog. Thank you for sharing your experiences so movingly. I’m so happy that you are able to gulp down the beauty and joy right now!

  7. Beautifully written – you touch hearts with your words, your actions and with your life’s love, struggles and joy…thank YOU!

    You are an amazing gift to this world!

  8. Beautifully said! I’m so happy for you, and thankful for the blessing of your writing.

  9. Simply beautiful.

  10. Amanda Ryan says:

    ugh. crying.Real tears at work… Casey I believe you owe me the name of a mascara that wont run when I read your blog in public :) Love it.

  11. whether you intend to or not, you keep spreading that sunshine all around you, constantly warming my heart

  12. I love this, one of my favorite things that you’ve ever posted.

    xox

  13. I love you. This? Awesome.

  14. You made me cry. But, that’s ok. xo

  15. Sometimes you wear your heart in your words, Casey.

    Love this and love you.

  16. And now you brought the sting of tears to my eyes.
    I could just give you a big hug right now.

  17. That was beautiful!

  18. Gosh, Casey.. You have such a way with words, it is truly beautiful. You are a gorgeous soul! May we all find happiness such as yours and you continue to find joy in every ounce of life. I must go wipe the tears now, as thr ugly cry has now subsided…

  19. Dang you’re amazing. Your words, your art, your heart…amazing. I’m very blessed to know you and to be witness to so much of the good that you are doing.

  20. You’re such a beautiful writer Casey. And a beautiful person too!

    You’re going on a cruise together!? I’m so excited for you. You two definitely deserve a vacation together!

  21. casey, you are beautiful inside & out. thank you for sharing your heart with me & the world.

  22. Beautiful.

  23. One of your best. I’m so happy for you that you are feeling the joy!

  24. Sitting in my car with tears streaming down my face. This is so poignantly beautiful. Thank you.

  25. Casey, I don’t even know to formulate the words to tell you how touching that was. How you do so much good. How just having this little respite in the day to look at your gorgeous children and think about mine, and read your beautiful words and relate them to my own life makes a difference.

  26. My heart is full for you. I am so happy for you.

  27. I adore this. I’m so glad you’re getting such joy right now. Because you’re right, things will happen eventually that suck. But if you can look back at even just one photo from this time. There’s enough joy in each of these to last you through the night.

  28. I love you with my whole heart. And there is no one that deserves happiness more.

    cordoza

  29. It’s so wonderful to see that someone can get better. It gives me hope… :)

  30. You deserve the light and I am so happy it’s found its way to you. Big love.

  31. Beautiful. All of it. And you. And them. Wow.

  32. LOVE.

  33. Enjoy it and get used to it Casey because you deserve to feel the way about yourself that others feel about you. We <3 you! xoxo

  34. Oh my gosh Casey, if anyone deserves Happiness with capital “H” it is you.
    I am so happy for you, and for all your success, and for your joy. (Your last line made me tear up)
    Have fun on your cruise!

  35. You have a way with words, Woman. That last sentence… Beautiful, emotional and visual. You touched my heart. I keep coming back here because I like your style so much. I totally think we’d be awesome neighbors IRL… In a totally non-stalker way, of course.

    Be proud of your talents. They are yours, you’ve made them and nurtured them. Being proud doesn’t preclude being grateful though, which is one of the many reasons I admire you and your writing.

    Enjoy that cruise! Wowza!!

  36. I read your blog all the time, but have never commented… actually never commented on any blog. But, I just wanted you to know there was just something about this post that touched me so much today. You have such an amazing way with words. People like you make this world a better place. Thank you for that.

  37. oh my lord, she’s beautiful. And your writing is beautiful. I’m glad you’re so much better…and a cruise! How lovely. I only wish I could rely on God that way. Maybe someday. Maybe.

  38. I come back and keep re-reading this post. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve read on the Internets. One of the very most beautiful. It fills me up again every time I read it. I think you gave birth to sunshine too and then she gave birth to you.

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