mama always told me.

Hi, friends! You may have noticed when you made your way over to the site today that this blog now lives under a new URL: thisbeautiful-life.com. Welcome! “This Beautiful Life” came to me so effortlessly when I started this site, and now seemed like the perfect time to make that the focus and the namesake of this blog in its entirety. And it is so fitting that we kick today’s post off with the thought of beautiful life, because today marks the birthday of my very first role model, friend and support system from (literally) day no. 1: my mom.

This is the first birthday of my mom’s that I’ve truly spent not living under my parents’ roof, and it feels a little different for me. As I’m sure many mothers can attest to, my mom’s birthday was always overshadowed by something. For us, it was Valentine’s Day — my mom spent many birthdays of hers helping us put together candy bags for our classmates in elementary school or helping us pick out the perfect gift for our high school sweetheart (which we pushed off until the last minute, of course). But today, from many miles away, my mom’s birthday feels more important to me now than ever — and I guess that’s because with each passing year, I come to understand a little more vividly how much she has done over the years to make sure that I ended up where I am today.

I’m the oldest of four daughters, which means 1) my parents always had their hands full and 2) the example my mom set was how she would shape the lives of FOUR little girls. She has never accepted defeat or let her circumstances define her, and sometimes I look at her life compared to mine and I realize that every goal she has ever set for herself had to do for the good of her kids, not for her own benefit. When I look at my life and think about the fact that I am college-educated, have a job that I love, married someone who treats me well, and love the Lord with all of my heart, I can trace every single thing back to the values and the discipline instilled in me by my mother. Not only that, but I look back and see how hard she worked to put my sisters and I through college so that we could live a life that she couldn’t.

I would love to say that many people have a mother like this, but I know that our family is blessed beyond measure for such a rare gem. She is a picture, albeit an imperfect one, of Jesus: carrying us on His back, paying the penalty so that we could live a life we didn’t deserve, shouldering a responsibility that He didn’t have to accept as His own. And for that, I am so very grateful. She has taught me to be kind, yet strong; humble, yet confident; loving, yet honest. For all of my Gilmore Girls fans, she is without a doubt the Lorelai to my Rory — my very best friend.

So here’s to you, Mama. You make life bright and special, and many times, you just make life make sense. You labor with love and you stop at nothing to meet your goals, and you’ve never once forgotten to remind us that God has a plan, and we have to trust Him. And if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that He has done a magnificent work in you — I pray that there are even greater things ahead.

A few of my favorite shots (young and old) below. :)

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