the life that builds us | love burt living | real married life

i was reminded of a time not long ago in my marriage that was incredibly hard for us.
i wanted a baby more than anything.
and my husband wanted me back.

i was gone.
i was lost in despair of not being able to conceive our child.
ethan was sad, too, and still we have no idea why. but he was more saddened that i had left him. my heart was overcome with sadness and selfish desire that i just emotionally checked out of being his wife and became a hollow shell.

one night with an aching heart he asked me,
“am i not enough? if God never gives us a child, am i not enough?”
and my heart broke.
his eyes.

last night i read first samuel chapter one verse eight and my heart broke all over again for this husband in the story, and was what reminded me of our story. hannah’s husband says to her, “why do you weep? and why do you not eat? and why is your heart sad? am i not more to you than ten sons?”
poor hannah. barren. tormented.
poor elkanah. missing his wife whom he loves deeply.

i’m punched in the gut.

remember when i was grateful?

remember when i adored my gift of ethan burt as my husband and i just snuggled him and smelled him and promised to do life with him and whatever God has in store, whatever comes our way, we would do this together? it was so easy to say in that moment of romance and love, when nothing bad had happened yet. day one of marriage is so easy.
 

it felt like a lie, really. my promises.
ethan was remaining faithful on our vows while i was ready to just do whatever it took to get me what i wanted, this perfect baby of us i had created in my mind, for myself. i would justify it and say obviously it was for us, e will be the perfect father (which i still believe is true) but it was all for me. my happiness. my desire to mother. my adorable baby filling me up with joy.
i had forgotten ethan. my promises. our oneness.

i was caught. found out. ethan saw through me.
i took my eyes off of our promises and our faith. the focus was one hundred percent on me alone. first i was hot with anger. then i tried to justify it and find a way to make what i wanted OK and even good. then i melted into God’s grace and love and was granted forgiveness.

that was an extremely harsh, freaking rough time in our marriage. and it lasted a couple years.
it is hard to come back from such selfishness.
ethan is patient. the Lord is gracious.

and back to today. years later and i still cannot conceive.
sure, it does feel at times like why me?
i don’t know, and now i don’t care as much. wonderfully so.

on a walk one afternoon during the healing time, hand in hand with my husband, the Lord sent his words on a sweet breeze that told me he loves me so much for this to be my story.
don’t you see, my daughter, he said.
trust. let go. live. i love you. i am faithful.

it’s not for me right now. maybe ever.
but what is for me today is this amazing marriage. constantly flowing with the most intense love. repairing every day from anything that’s ever been done wrong or hurt us, as we carve out our selfishness and replace it with our work that was set before us to be ours.

my life is not my own.
i did not know how much that process would hurt.
i did not know, either, how beautifully worth it it could be.

if i’ve given my life and soul and heart to Christ, which i claim i have, i cannot have both.
God has been faithful. i have been ungrateful.

this new morning i see his mercy. i feel it in the air.
his mercy is new for me, this morning.
gratefulness fills my lungs.
the sweet smell of morning.

ethan and i have traveled well beyond the years of me weeping and him not being enough.
i am endlessly thankful we made it through that time. but it is a part of our story. it did happen, it did take its toll on our hearts, our marriage. but we have been repaired, body and soul, together as one. and it has created a stronger bed of foundation for the many more years and many more hardships that will certainly come our way.

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i'm done waiting | this if life | love burt living

i am not waiting. i am living a life right now.

this is the thought i had this morning.

because we are all always waiting. and while we’re waiting we complain. and after we are done waiting we have new complaints. i see it over and over and over again. i don’t know many people who wait gratefully there is always something wrong with whatever our life is right this very moment and we’re always waiting on the next thing. but as i’ve experienced, at the next thing there is then the very next thing. and so on.

i remember walking into this house for the very first time. i could barely breathe because it smelled of dog urine. bad. the walls were orange. orange is probably my least favorite color and this was a very bad orange. also the white walls were actually brown from smoke and i looked at my husband like there is no way in hell you want to buy me THIS house, right? but he reminded me that changes can be made and smells can be removed and just imagine it empty. and also it was the cheapest house on the planet so we pretty much had to go with this one.

so we walked and dreamed and i opened a window to breathe. my favorite room of all is my now office. it had nasty carpet and a huge closet. the closet doors were mirrors so i took a photo of us standing looking in the mirror. i knew in that room that this would be our house. we had looked at a few others and they sold the minute we looked at it and i decided i loved it. of course. but no one wanted this house. ha! sold! to us! yay. homeowners.

i remember telling ethan i would just be happy here. thankful and happy. we lived with his dad for a while before that and i was terrified of the basement laundry room. this home would be mine and ours alone and the laundry room was in the utility room which was perfect and zero scary! the promise of just being thankful and happy quickly wore off when we moved in and everything was up to us to fix and we have zero skill or money to fix it. what changed? i forgot to just be happy and thankful like i said i would. i realized that i needed a prettier laundry room and cuter bathroom tile. more more more. i need changes. i need something that isn’t what i have.

i was always waiting for a baby. when our family would start. pretty much since year one of marriage. i enjoyed fully the first two years of just us but now it’s time to make this love turn into a new human to enjoy and grow up and be our little creation. and it’s now year seven. and still no baby of my own. i forgot to remember that i’m not promised a timeline that will please me. and in this time of despair i forgot to remember i told my husband he was enough. and i would love him and whatever comes our way. and just be thankful.

we have so many passions. i want to teach free yoga and work in a nursing home and still be a wedding photographer and possibly write books. ethan wants to teach people about nutrition and go to school to become a biochemist. and i want all those things for both of us. but when? it takes time and how? and can we do all of this? and how long will it take because i want it NOW.

i'm always waiting for my disease to disappear. or for this to get easier to deal with. the unpredictability of this chronic pain and disease. the disappointments and the confusion and the exhaustion. i forget that some of my very favorite life memories are around the pain that we go through. and ethan reminded me sweetly last night. some of his most precious treasured memories are nights like last night. which was him taking care of me and carrying me around the house to the bathroom and bedroom. wiping my face with a cold cloth and telling me i'm ridiculously beautiful even in this pain. which is stupid and so sweet. and gives me smiles and something to hold on to while i try to sleep. 

we want more business. we want to finish this house. or we want to sell it and buy something else. or sell everything we have and buy a tiny home or move to europe for a year. our hearts are tugged daily by the children in need of parents. are they supposed to be ours? are we being selfish and not getting kids in our home because we’re just not sure yet or we don’t know if we’re supposed to change our lives to settle and sacrifice for kids? maybe we already have a calling and a mission and we are distracted by the idea that we need to be parents because it’s more the norm.

waiting. wondering. what to do. what’s next. what’s happening. what is the purpose of the wait.

i think it’s not really waiting. it’s just life. we confuse ourselves by thinking we are waiting. but really we should just be living. because every single day is a day of life. and we don’t know if we will ever get to what we’re waiting for. so what is today? a waste?
just what is your life about today.

there are joys and sorrows of each day. we could wish them away but they won’t go.
each new day there is a choice. and each new hour of each new day there is a choice.
we get so many chances. 

and i’ve decided that i’m done waiting. i’m in a full life right now. as is.
and i just want to be kind to people and see people and let them know that their life is something today, too. just because it’s a day and theirs is a life.

i mean, it’s been three years and my house is still undone. not even one room in this place is completed. but what does that even matter? what is it for? i have learned more about myself and this life living in this crazy mess then i probably would have if everything was perfectly in place and complete.

and i’ve found out more about purpose and calling and mission by not just being given a baby when i wanted one. there’s so much more to navigate through and i wouldn’t have if i was just given everything i wanted when i thought i wanted it.

and i may never get to do all the things on my list and maybe ethan won’t either but each day of striving for betterment is not a day wasted at all. and each day together is a precious gift. absolutely made more clear by the untimely death of my father. why in the world do we think we will be the ones to never hurt, never suffer, never lose and never die? it’s the one thing we can actually all count on happening. so, your choice.

and i may never cure this disease. but i sure as heck am going to learn everything i can and take the best care of myself to ensure i have amazing quality of life. already in two years i have improved so much. maybe, one day i will be well. also, maybe not. each day. one day at at time. 

it’s not an excuse to be lazy and unproductive on the things that need to be done or things that need work and must move forward with, it’s just freedom to let myself live today and not be waiting until i’m better or more successful or have a family life figured out.
it’s just today. and that’s enough.

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the one about breaking || self-love || dangerous prayer

it was the middle of the night. a storm woke me up. 
i tried to wake ethan but he just waved his arm at me and turned over to the other side of the bed and put a pillow on his face. this man can sleep so soundly. more soundly than anyone i know. mostly because i don't/haven't lived with anyone else to know. so i got up myself, unplugged the important things and tried to get back to bed. i sort of tried to go back to be in secret knowing the spirit loves to wake me at this time of night and keep me up to write but also not wanting to listen. because sleep and blankets and bed. i laid back down knowing i had a choice to get back up to write something spirit led or ignore it and toss and turn for the next four hours. 

i'm never really used to this feeling. 
i hope it's always this way. although i never understand the timing. 
i guess that should make sense by now at least. 

a few nights ago i told ethan i didn't have a book to read. there's always this in between book phases and he can tell now before i even mention it because i stall before bed and he asked me this time, do you have a book to read for bed? no! how did you know!? i asked, wide-eyed. 
i could just tell he said. i think i was pacing the living room and kitchen. i think he meant, you're supposed to get some sleep so i can have some quiet around here. although no, because he actually is too selfless to think that. but he does enjoy some quiet. which i am never. 
so he introduces a book he has wanted me to read for a while. the timing is so great. 
ethan is really patient. 
he really has the best ideas but he keeps to himself until he sees an opening or feels the timing is right. i don't like the pressure of someone handing me a book with all their hope and dreams of it changing my life and being perfect. he has found this out about me as i sweat-read other people's book recommendations. he is wise and waits for that window and then has options ready for me. he had two books in mind and used a calm voice and let me choose. he's good. 

immediately appropriate book. 
it's all about the Holy Spirit. 
the breaking of the outer man and the release of the sprit, is actually the title.
i am only on page fifteen and i have underlined, arrowed at paragraphs, and felt very deep, real things. the whole dang thing is everything already. let me just share the genius so far. 
grab a coffee and let's dig in. also, fall is coming. so obviously i'm very happy.
i think the happiest thing to wear is an oversized sweater. 

"we have to be clear that the first obstacle to our work is ourselves, not other things. 
if our inner man is an imprisoned, confined man, our spirit is shrouded and not easily released. if we have never learned to break through our outer man with our spirit, we cannot work for the Lord. nothing frustrates us like the outer man. whether or not our work will be effective depends on whether the Lord has broken down our outer man and whether the inner man can be released through our broken, outer man. this is a very fundamental issues. the Lord has to dismantle our outer man in order to make way for our inner man." 

"in order for the inner life to be released, the outer life must suffer loss. if that which is outward is not broken, that which is inward cannot be released."

"our very being has to be broken by the Lord. the Lord's life is well able to spread over the whole earth. however, it is locked up within us! the Lord is well able to bless the church, yet his life is imprisoned, contained, and blocked in us! if the outer man is not broken, we can never become a blessing to the church, nor can we expect the world to receive God's grace through us!" 

"but the trouble with us is that we murmur as soon as we suffer a little hardship, and we complain as soon as we suffer a little defeat. the Lord has prepared a way for us. He is ready to use us. as soon as His hand is upon us, however, we become unhappy. either we argue with Him, or we complain about everything to Him. from the day we are saved, the Lord has been working on us in many different ways for the purpose of breaking the self. we may or may not know it, but the Lord's goal is always to break our outer man." 

next comes the most beautiful, most dangerous prayer of my life. 
"Lord, for the sake of the church, for the going on of the gospel, for You to have a way, and for the sake of my going on in my own life, i commit myself unreservedly and unconditionally to Your hand. Lord, i gladly put myself in Your hand. i am willing to let You find a way to release Yourself through me." 

this is so necessary because, 

"we cannot have the same flavor after the Lord has dealt with us for five or ten years. we must allow the Lord to have a way through us. this is the Lord's basic requirement." 

why do people remain unchanged after being dealt with for years? 
why have i remained unchanged?

wowza. that's a lot to feel. and a lot to unpack. 
and i don't know why the Lord has put it on my heart to share with you such deep, incomplete thoughts of mine as i unpack this in my own life. maybe because when i obey, they are not my words but his. and they may bless one somebody. i hope. 

i hope to find so much from this book. about God. about me. 
so far i am finding the scary truth about my outer man. 
maybe i dabble in releasing the inner man but i stop at the first bit of suffering. 
the unhappy feeling pulls me back. the comfort addict lies and i believe there is something better than God and His ways. 
because this type of upside down living feels wrong. 
and the others are right. 
living for self isn't wrong. it's good. and the lies spiral and everything true grows weak and loses its flavor. my tastebuds deceive me. and so i shrink back into the crowd. lose my voice and eat donuts. 

i don't want to do the work on myself. but here, i cannot be used. 

self love. 
comfort addict. 

"self-love is the root of our problem" 
"we have to remember that all misunderstandings, complaints, and dissatisfactions arise from only one thing - secret self-love." 

"jacob was dealt with by God again and again, and he met with numerous misfortunes."
"jacob's outer man was broken. in his old age we see a beautiful picture."

but, i don't want anything bad to happen to me. 
self-love. 
comfort addict. 
i don't want my story to be that i lose my husband or i can't have babies or i lose my babies. 
self-love. 
comfort addict. 
fear. 
unknown. 
misunderstanding God. 

"when our outer man is smitten, dealt with, and humbled by all kinds of misfortune, the scars and wounds that are left behind will be the very places from which the spirit flows out from within. i am afraid that some of our brothers and sisters are too whole; they have never suffered any dealings and have never changed in any way. may the Lord be merciful to us and set a straight course before us. may we see that this is the only way. may we see that all of the dealings that we have received from the Lord during the past ten or twenty years are for achieving this one goal. therefore, we should not despise the Lord's work in us. may the Lord truly show us the meaning of the breaking of the outer man. unless our outer man is broken, everything we have is in the mind and in the realm of knowledge and is useless. may the Lord grant us a thorough dealing." 

i am too whole. 
i must break. 
so out of my wounds and scars the spirit can flow out from within. 

a season of despair || God is still good || love intensely

"you're in a season of despair" 

ethan said this to me just a few days ago. and i'm finally letting it sink in. he's right. and i've been not allowing the fullness of that sentence to be real to me. 

i don't think any of us truly knows how we will respond when tragedy hits our lives. i had no idea what would be happening in my heart days and weeks and now months after the death of my dad. but here i am breaking down nearly every week. deep sobs. uncontrollable. 

ethan has seen a new side of me. i've seen a new side of me. and we are now experiencing a new type of life together. he has experienced much tragedy in his life time but that was all before me. i didn't get to be with him through that. i sometimes imagine him as a small boy and wish i could've been his best friend then. even now as a grown man i love seeing little glimpses of him as a boy as he shares stories from his childhood. how cute he must've been. but the sadness he felt and i wasn't there. that's heartbreaking.  i can't stand that i wasn't able to be there for him. to comfort him. to hold him. as he holds me now. i am thankful in a whole new way as he is here for me during this time. 

and this makes me think of all the heartaches out there. every person has experienced some loss. and if they haven't, just wait longer. it's coming. and i don't even mean that to be discouraging. it means that we all don't have any time to waste. why are we ever mean to another human when there's so much pain and suffering going on? how could we? we don't always have the time to learn about the person's story before we can change our minds and then be kinder because we didn't realize they just lost a kid or parent or best friend. why not just assume some loss or hurt or rejection of some kind has taken place and just be nice?

that's what i want. i'm seeing people in a whole new light now. maybe it's called compassion? i had less before. 

i know what my dad would want. i know he's rejoicing and experiencing God's full glory now. but i don't care sometimes, because in my selfishness and pain i want what i want. i want my dad around. i want to hear him laugh again. i'm so glad for smiling photographs of him because i can really hear it when i see it. man, grief sucks. i made updates to our wedding website last week and it actually made me so angry. it will be the first of the new things he won't see. i knew he would share the site and say something in all caps and with LOL's in the wrong place and asterisks instead of apostrophes and words about how he's proud of me.
he won't see my new website. 
he won't see us finish our house. 
he won't see our babies. i don't get to see his face when i tell him the names of our kids and him be really confused and not get it. or pronounce them correctly. he would come up with awesome nicknames that make sense to him and no one else. it would be so freaking endearing. 
he won't see me healed from lyme disease. and get to ride bikes together like i have always prayed about since he started bicycling. i wish i could've ridden with him. 

what i'm learning is that all of this is OK. and i want to feel ALL OF IT. 
yes. i want to FEEL all of it. i really do. i hold back from writing because it always welcomes all the comments. mostly i am fond of them and thankful for them. but they are also hard because people give suggestions or fluffy phrases. and i am so beyond fluffy phrases about death and heaven right now. 

i know Truth. and i am SO thankful for Truth. my God is Good and Sovereign. and i am comforted by my heavenly father. but i'm also a human and sometimes i get pissed. i'm just a broken kid. trying to figure this life out. and pain sucks. and feelings make me break down, pull on my hair and drop to my knees. it's a good, difficult process. and only with God will i come out on the other side BETTER. better because of death. how beautiful. God makes that possible. 

death can be beautiful because if it makes people live better while they're alive, it makes that death have purpose. if i can better myself for this world because i lost my dad, then there's more meaning to this death. and more meaning to life. 

when i see our beautiful brides dancing with their dad to brown-eyed girl, my heart rejoices. i cry a little bit at the beautiful moment happening, feeling blessed to witness it, and also at the sadness in my own heart. 

i would like to share two of my favorite things from this whole process. 
i will share others later (because there is so much goodness in all this sorrow that needs to be shared!) but for now, just two. 

1) a friend told me that all of the attributes that have been shared about my dad, are ones that i have. i think this means the most to me. all the good things about him. the crazy fun, the little quirks and things that only make sense to him, the never meeting a stranger, etc. i am those things because of him. what an honor. to be like him. 

2) a journal that says in huge letters "IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY" 
and inside my favorite page says "so, this is my life. and i want you to know that i am both happy and sad and i'm still trying to figure out how that can be" - stephen chbosky. also, the background color to this page is mustard yellow. surprise gift. 

i get why people are happy and sad all the time now. for the rest of time. when you have loss but live on, there are so many good things left that you get to experience. but you're also sad. because your person is no longer there with you. 

happy and sad. it's a strange place to be. but most of us are there. at the same time. and we need each other. to heal. to be comforting hearts. to share the load. i believe this is another example of how we can rejoice and mourn together. 

last night i was incredibly blessed by one of my all time favorite weddings. i didn't know it would be going in and i really don't ever try to have favorites but some humans just capture my heart in a way that is so surprising. and this family + group of people did it. i just watched such beautiful, full life dance all around me. the most thankful hearts beating. i got to be a part of such beautiful joy. it was such a gift. it was bringing me back to life and i didn't even know i was dying. i was hardening and this wedding softened me. i am forever grateful. 

i am thankful for death. i didn't want it to happen and i miss my dad terribly. for the rest of my life i will miss him. my whole family will. but i am thankful for hope in Christ. i am thankful for eternal life. i am thankful for the Good News which is truly truly good. that i will see dad again. and even more, it makes me want to renew my relationship with Jesus. to dig in deep to scripture and learn about how to live the best possible life here, to serve others, make them feel welcomed, beloved and know their life has a beautiful purpose. 

and i know my dad would certainly want that. he lived his life trying to do just that. 

confessions of a wedding photographer during wedding season || bethany burt || my heart

watching other photographers start out thrills me. i remember four+ years ago when i really wanted to just do this full time and it was scary and thrilling and i felt sweaty a lot. and it felt impossible and stupid to try. and now i do this. it's my full time gig. and it's still scary and thrilling. and i still sweat a lot bec i'm nervous all the time. but it is also magical and worth it. and it's beautiful to be asked advice because it means i'm doing something right. and i sought out people who i thought were doing it right to ask them to cheer me on and come along side me from the beginning. some did not but some DID. and the ones who did are still my friends today, cheering me on when i call crying because i cannot even do it anymore. because they know i can. and should.
so now i get to do that for other newbies. and i very much enjoy it. as long as they are far far away from me. mostly kiddin'. 

also, helping a brand beautiful newbie photographer takes me back to my roots. and i am there today. just digging in deep and staying there for a while.
will you travel back with me? do you have coffee? iced today, for obvious reasons. 

i remember ethan believing in me. just absolutely telling me i can. and me giving him a face with all the wrinkles and doubt looks. 

he took me to best buy. it was easter weekend, i don't know why, but it was. 
we had been going to best buy for a few months and just dreaming. you guys, i love this story so much i can't even handle it right now. i wish you were here to see the stupid smile on my face. it would infect you with happiness and we would giggle. so we go to dream at best buy. we met an awesome girl that worked there and we had been meeting with her a few times each trip and we would tell her our dreams and she knew everything about cameras and also shot weddings herself. it was so fun. well this trip was different but i didn't know it yet. *insert another foolish grin here* we were just dreaming and ethan asked me to pretend money wasn't an issue and i could just get anything i wanted today. i loved this game. so i grab a canon body camera. a lens. and another lens. i said these, please! and he turned around to our new friend and said "we'll take these today, please" and i shriek cried right there at the camera display in best buy. one of the best surprises of my life. ethan is so smooth and good at surprises. but then i of course freaked out about money. he said he didn't care. he worked hard for it and it's mine. and to let him enjoy buying this for me. and to shut up about money. and to JUST BE SURPRISED AND TAKE IT. he told me to have fun, learn my camera and get to working on this dream. he's never looked sexier. i'd never been more scared. 

in the beginning it was all about my style. just finding my groove. 
within two weeks i announced i was a business. obviously. wasting no time, ridiculous go-getter bethany. man, she's cute but she's nuts. 

i booked four weddings in my first two months. the next year we had sixteen weddings. then eighteen. then twenty. now over twenty-five weddings a year. wowza, i'd say i'm really doing this. this is so good to me to actually write it out. i don't do that often because it sounds all braggy. but also, what's wrong with sometimes being a little bit braggy? i work hard. i'm proud. it's OK! 

back to today. now. 
today i feel : 
in the mess of the wedding season i have migraines nearly every day because SUMMER HATES ME and i have Lyme disease. i have SEVEN weddings currently to edit, shooting more each weekend + engagements sessons + bridal boudoir + all the traveling + everyone wants just a few more images to preview. i'm not a good enough photo blogger. i have too many ideas and not enough health or time to do them. wondering if everyone is happy or regretting hiring me. PLUS ALSO a cute husband to spend time with and be nice to and feed daily. and missing friends and family. i kinda lose it. i just lose it. my little anxious brain cannot even deal. i am a people pleaser and so naturally i feel like a ginormous failure every morning when i wake up from june-october even though i am not behind on deadlines. because somehow even though there are agreed upon deadlines, i've already failed and missed the made up deadlines in my own head.
i believe this is the actual definition of crazy. 

um, okay. those are a lot of feelings.
these feelings are overwhelming and feel very real. 
but i need to remember what is true over what i am feeling due to anxiety and pain.

i'm just a person with a really awesome job that gets a bit stressful for a few months. but i wanted this. i worked and work hard for this. i enjoy this. i am good at this. i love this. and it is going to be okay. photos make people happy. it's going to be okay. 

who knew that i'd be here today? i didn't. i dreamed it. but i forgot for a bit along the way. i let anxiety and business and stress and expectations ruin me for a bit.

it is so good for me today to go back to where i was with that starter kit camera my husband worked so hard to buy me. to remember that day under the shade of a huge tree with my grey flats with the bows on them writing in a notebook about what i wanted to do in one year. goals. meeting with new brides for coffee i wrote. sharing married life together and loving our husbands i wrote. never taking marriage for granted i wrote. doing a great job at capturing their real life love. i wrote so many beautiful goals. 

but today it worries me that it's only about just work. just getting photographs out to keep people happy. but i don't want that. i want the soul connection. the meetings with brides back. it's gotten too business-y. to cold. when did that happen? how do i get it back? that's what i want to work hard for. that's what i want to fight for again. like in the beginning. 

it makes me nervous as heck to write stuff like this. my brides read my words. future brides can find my words. but i just want to be honest. i just write. it's just what i do. and i am just a person with real emotions and real struggles. and i miss what was. i ruined it somewhere along the way. but the beautiful thing is that i can change that. i can rebuild. 

it was never really about the photographs to begin with. the photographing got me to the people. and with the people is where i want to be. photographs are just what happens after the connection has been made. for the story to be told. i get to make art out of people's lives through a still photograph. that's what i love about what i do. that's all i want to do. 

can i just blame pinterest for all my resent problems with wedding photography? wink.

i am giving myself permission to get back to who i was. and what i was about. 
maybe i needed to go through this. you know, begin all pure and innocent then get completely effed up in the mess of the industry only to come back more beautiful than ever. refined and confident in my art form. 

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on being thankful. || detoxing and lyme disease and marshmallows || bethany burt || my life and my song

every day is not super perfect and great. can i get an amen already?

i am a person who chooses joy. it really does come easily for me because i'd much rather be happy than miserable and i finally realized that it's a choice. some days though i admit, it's just really freaking hard to choose the correct thing. 

today i need a lot of correction. 

i hate that this morning. 

it would be so much easier for me to just not write today. not be honest. 
hide away like i want  to and just wait for a day when it comes easier to me to be happy and thankful and sweet and kind. 

but then i remembered that this is what will make good writing. helpful writing. 

and so here i am. writing words for you. and writing words for me. 
to just be thankful. because it probably could be worse. and one day, maybe even soon, it might be. so just look to something bright. and onward we may go. 

i woke up with very angry feelings. 
i want the world to feel sorry for me because lyme hurts and it is living inside of me jacking up all of my organs and immune system. and now i can't even kill it effectively and efficiently because we've discovered mega gut issues. so, great. i can't even just have lyme disease. i even fail at killing lyme. also do you know what else sucks? mostly what i feed myself is the problem. and the problem is that i love to feed myself sugar. i am so pissed at sugar. but i still love it. gimme. 

so i'm on a journey to create a healthy body. it's so annoying. and frustrating. i have to eat broccoli instead of brownies and i have to learn how to get sweet potatoes down without gagging. or adding brown sugar and marshmallows. 

i love my husband so much but his discipline and self control with food makes me batty.   

overall, obviously i want health. 
i want to be healthy enough to fight and kill this lyme disease. 
i want to be healthy and know my body and give it the nutrients it needs to thrive. 
i want to be healthy enough to grow a human one day. 
(another way God is protecting me and revealing himself to me. if i had gotten pregnant in the last five years like i've wanted for myself, my bebes would have lyme. so thanks, God. and sorry again about my tude and impatience)
i want to not be addicted to sugar. 
and i want to give the sugar industry the middle finger. 

so this morning i just freaked. i literally said cuss words at my darling fluffy cat. 
she did ruin my leggings with her claw, so she kind of had it coming. but it was over the top. 

yelling is my thing when i break, i guess. 
my poor husband. i hate that i yell and scream in anger but i literally feel like i can't help it and it just happens to me. and i especially hate that out of control feeling. what i hate most in those moments is that i absolutely had the opportunity and choice to not make that wrong decision. but i did it anyways. and felt horrible afterwards. it's so annoying to know that i chose rage and mean words over gentleness and kindness. you know what proud feeling when you don't behave like the worst version of yourself? yeah, i missed that feeling today. remorse is all i feel. 

this is detoxing. these intense mood swings.
this is saying goodbye to sugar and getting my life back. or started. 
but it SUCKS. the process sucks. 

i've become the worst version of myself. i'm pretending to be nice when i really just want to say "SCREW YOU WORLD" and be alone to cry and curse and hate everything. 

i hate how invisible lyme is. i hate how people roll their eyes and think i'm being dramatic and making symptoms up. but most of all, i hate how i feel about the world and people when i'm focused on hate. 

i want to be a thankful person. i do not want to allow hate in. i don't want to become a person who hates and only has mean words. 

but today is really hard to be thankful. 
so what do i do? 

i think remembrance would be helpful. 

remember when you were home alone for hours while ethan worked two jobs and you couldn't even get myself out of bed? 
remember how you couldn't hold a job and got fired twice and cried for months and now you own a photography company and can work hard and work from home and rest anytime you need? 
remember how far you've come? 
remember how good coffee tastes? 
remember how many people DO get you? 
remember how some restaurants have fresh flowers on the tables and you love that? 
remember how someone bought you an entire piece of furniture for your office because she knows how bad pain is and how a place to rest besides being stuck in bed would be so nice? 
remember how handsome ethan is and how he doesn't even think you're gross when you're on week three of diarrhea even though that's really gross and everyone would agree?
remember how learning new food is actually fun? and how sweet ethan is about your cooking? and how impressed he is when you take better care of yourself? 
remember how you can have SOME sugar, you just can't be crazy sugar lady anymore so everything really will be OK probably? 

so yeah, things are bad today. i hurt too much. i somehow have diarrhea and constipation. my neck and head are so heavy with pain i can't keep them up for very long without support. i have a lot that i would just like to complain about. and i would also like to keep listing them so you can feel sorry for me. and maybe have something to be thankful in your day for. 

but my life is fantastic. i had a full, rested weekend with friends. and even though i had to fight through a migraine and still act nice in public, i got amazing food and coffee and fellowship out of it. 

this is my life. my beautiful, chronic pain filled (for now. see, positive vibes) life.
there is so much to be thankful for. 

today you could focus on the bad. the very real, very difficult things about your life and your day. 
but i just hope to encourage you to be thankful anyways. seek it out. find it, because it is there. it is better to spend your energy on bright, happy things than a few dark, annoying things. our lives are meant to be lived and lived well. there's no time to be negative. the choice is ours. 

and, another bright side; i can still have some sugar sometimes. and when i do, it's in my coffee. 
my favorite at please & thank you in louisville, ky. 

thank you for ganache lattes and more marshmallows, please.

random nights with friends || the best stuff on earth

walks, back yard hangs, picnics in the park.
frozen pizzas for dinner because no one can be bothered to cook. who has that kind of energy?

the other night was about sitting near the windows while it pours down rain with the windows open and naming our future children. also, celebrity trivia and which books are helping our spiritual walk. this is how our people live. they get us. they just get it. the first two years we lived in danville we (and when i say we i most definitely mean i) tried to find all the friends. as quick as possible. all the people we met at church were going to be our people. and then it so did not turn out that way. it did and it didn't. and it was really rough for me. and then it was annoying how long it took me (or is still taking me) to get over it.
yikes, sorry ethan b. love you so much, ya saint. 

all my favorite authors write about supper clubs and drinking wine with your friends on the back deck and beach parties, joined family vacations, and raising babies together and i'm all like WHEN CAN I HAVE THAT? WHY HASN'T THIS HAPPENED YET? WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE ME? and then i remember that it starts somewhere. and forcing it never works. or so i'm just now learning the very hard way. 

finding friends who will stick around and take the time to get you so deeply can't just happen over night. and it's really hard to establish this during the years of becoming. that's what i think the twenties are. all of us twenty somethings are just trying to figure out who we are going to be. and that's really difficult when we're growing into different people than we were even six months ago. some people cannot handle who you become. or don't want to give grace while you're fumbling through your twenties. it's rough and painful. and burning people happens and it's not always fun and we're not always the best versions of ourselves. but thankfully, time helps. and slowing down and dropping expectations is also key. 

and so, slowly and sweetly, there are some people sticking around. and they are marvelous human beings. we're keeping them. and we're nurturing these relationships. making sure our people know they mean so much to us and we are excited to grow together and some day vacation together in ireland with our beautiful babies. 

money || hashtag blessed || bethany burt || conviction

i started writing this over a year ago. 
i know this because my online journal keeps track of the date. and it says april 4, 2015. 

this means i've been ignoring this for a whole year. 

it's time to get out of my comfort zone again. i've become too comfortable. 

i used to be a really big spender. you know, when i had my parent's money. 
then i married ethan burt. 

i didn't know how it was going to go for a while there. he would tell me no and i thought that was really cute. but then i realized he really meant it. and turns out, it and he has been the best thing for me. i've learned so much over the last six years. mostly i've learned a lot about my flaws. it's been a challenge to change, but really a welcome one. when i grow and change for the better, i become more attractive to my husband. i find that to be very enjoyable. and i feel better about myself as well. i've become a lot less worried about outward things, and far more interested in the inward. 

but then i get back into my comfort zone. i think it's okay to eat brownies and ice cream every single day for a few months and then feel awful about myself and remember how long it takes to work off sugar after the age of twenty-five. and i go back to my old spending habits and think i deserve it and then i'm sad that we can't afford to help people or buy more things i want. 

i live in this really weird in between world. it's weird living this american dream. i feel so convicted about it. i don't feel called to sell all i own and move to a foreign country. but i know i am not called to just enjoy and get more for myself. keep building my own walls up and never go outside and help others. i only ever help someone else if i'm already taken care of fully myself. i never give until it hurts. i stop way before then. is it okay to want a new kitchen? sure. maybe? is it okay to buy the brand new car with the hefty monthly payment because it's the newest, bestest and prettiest? i don't know. probably not? is it okay to purchase more clothes for myself and still complain about my life on a daily basis? is it okay to just stay in my rich life and never learn about the way other people live? is it okay to just keep getting for me and living up this hashtag blessed little life that i get to live?

i just don't know, you guys. 
i don't know where the line is. i don't know. but, i do know that for where i'm at right now in my heart, i need a change. 

i really desire more for myself than other people right now. 
i complain about my life and i worry about myself too much. 
i want. and i want. 
and i don't know what my neighbor needs. 

a friend and i have decided to not spend money for one year. 
and that very same day i went out and bought forty dollars worth of new work-out clothes. 
because all of my leggings have rips in them. because of the brownies. 

it's really difficult to not spend money. but i think that's because we've gotten ourselves into this ridiculous mess that we really fool ourselves into thinking we really need something. like a gas station soda or a large latte from the coffee shop. or the new yoga clothes. or the meal at the restaurant instead of the cheaper one we could make at home. or the new kitchen tile because the old stuff is super ugly. like, you guys, i care so much about my ugly kitchen. 

when i think that the "tiny amount of money" spent on me purchasing a large latte for myself wouldn't actually even help anyone else in my community or another country, i've become part of the problem. because then if that tiny amount of money wouldn't even help, then also the money for dinner out and over priced drinks out and celebration weekends away also won't help. so i might as well just spend that money and not send it anywhere. not use my time or my money anywhere. except for on me. 

we obviously have to buy food and pay our bills. but what about all the extras? and how much of our bills are actually the extras? i just want to consider everything. i want to be intentional about every single thing. i used to hate people like me, and now i am one of them. i put full blame on ethan b. he knows it, and he's so proud. i'm proud too. i love what how he is, and i love how he plays a role in changing me for the better. i would love to say that we think of other's first and tell you the good places our money is going. but i'm battling my self and it's going to take time. 

i have no idea how i feel about this right now except i want to know if i can budget some brownies and ice cream into this year of no spending? 

i am so excited to work through this. i probably stopped writing this one year ago because it was a mess and didn't make sense and i wasn't sure how i felt about it. and i wanted to be a writer that made sense and had prettier sentences and was careful enough to make sure everyone understands just what i mean and then no one would ever be upset and no feathers would ever be ruffled. but i am one year older now and i'm less worried about the mess. i'm willing to share it. and embrace it myself. this is the weird confusion and raw emotions of how i'm feeling right now. this will be a journey. and i won't sugar coat it. because sugar is the real problem.
that delicious jerk. 

so i'll keep y'all posted. 
for now, have any of you fasted from spending? how did it go? did you blog about it?
because i would love to read your words about it. 

xo,
bb. 

why does buying new shoes always feel so right? 

why does buying new shoes always feel so right? 

life with chronic pain || also, marriage vows || love burt living

living with chronic pain is not something i like to talk about a lot. 
in fact, i really hate it. 
i feel like there's never a way to talk about it without sounding like complaining. 
sometimes i do just want to complain about it. but it doesn't do anyone any good. 
and there are so many people who are so worse off than me. 
i don't want to be that annoying girl that complains about her aches and pains. 

chronic pain is such an invisible jerk. 
there are only a handful of people in my life that i feel actually "get me" and get "it"
just so very thankful for those people. 

and one of those people is my husband. 
after being sick (violently. ew) all day & night yesterday, he cleans it all up, me all up, and
is so still cheerful. then we wake up and the cat got sick. like, what's she puking about?
and he immediately jumped out of bed to take care of it for me. 
he's my hero. 

the last few days have been incredibly hard. 

ethan explained it as a wild card. 
we had an amazing day sunday. 
please understand, even an amazing day includes pain.
but, it's just not as bad. and that is what we call AMAZING. 
he's never said the wild card thing before but i think it was really necessary and it really sunk in. 

i am. i'm a wild card. 

 it's so hard for people to understand. 
sometimes that really really makes me mad. sometimes it hurts me. 
sometimes i get it. like, i hate that it's not understandable. 

sometimes i can do fun things on a tuesday. 
 sometimes i'm bed ridden until thursday. 
sometimes i have a great coffee date with a friend in the morning, 
and i spend the afternoon on the bathroom floor. 
like, it's not any fun. at all. 

i have a really good life. 
and i'm super thankful for it. 
and i know that there is a purpose behind all the suffering. 
i'm thankful for the way my pain gives me perspective. 
i feel like i actually live a better, more fulfilling life because of it. 
which sounds weird because some of my days feel entirely wasted on being too sick to move. 

currently we are working on some answers. 
and we're closer than we've ever been. 
i'm not fully ready to talk about that yet but i think i will soon. 
i love sharing my life. 
it's time i shared some of this more difficult stuff.  

but this pain stuff is something i like to try and ignore altogether. 
and then people are confused when i can't help them move boxes or
why i cannot physically pick up their beautiful kids. 
why i have to sit on firm chairs instead of "comfy" couches
and why i hate their scented lotions & candles. 

i'm a wild card. 
unpredictable. 
in invisible pain. 
you don't see the bad stuff that ethan has to put up with here at home. 
the scary nights and the "i think i'm going to die" (or i want to die) ER visits. 

doing normal, every day things hurt me. 
like laundry. and dishes. 
scrubbing freaking floors. i hate my dirty floors. but i can't even clean them myself. 
and just sitting still. 
my body aches. 
my head constantly has pain. 

so many people offer me things that have helped them, and i've already tried them. 
that's probably another reason i don't talk about it. 
like, i can't tell you how much i do not what to hear any more about what oils will help me. 
i appreciate the heart behind it, but no. 

this is the truth of my life. 
i'm in pain. constant pain. 
it just varies in severity. 

i'm thankful for the really good days. and i do my best to stay focused on them. 
i (try to) embrace the joy through the pain.  
i have so much to be joyful about!  

speaking of joy : 

his goof face. 
I ADORE. 

he's the best. 
like, thanks for the best partner of all time, God. 
nailed it. 

he laughs with me when i cannot move from the kitchen floor. 
and he draws me a bath even tho i get out in five minutes and feel bad for wasting the water.
he holds my hand by the side of my bed and tells me calming things until i am fast asleep. 
he puts new couches together at 11pm and rents really cheesy girl
movies for me to have on in the background of a rough day. 
he holds my hair back for me. and takes care of all the gross things. 

he's never mad at me when we have to cancel plans or i just give him like look like "i can't even"
and he relaxes into what our evening will be : him taking care of me and me being miserable. 
he's constantly OK with whatever happens. even gets excited about the new plan of just going home and resting. even makes it fun. like pizza and a movie and me curled up in a ball. 
never ever disappointed in the unpredictable-ness of my pain.
he hates seeing me in pain, it hurts him, i know because i can see it on his face. 
but he sure makes everything fun for me. even the worst days. he's so good.  

today was much better. 
wow, so much better than yesterday. 
yesterday was probably one of the worst days i've had since 2012. 
we keep track. 

so today, tho. 
i was able to move around the house better. 
and that new couch i was telling you about?
it folds out into a futon because we're young and hip like that. 
so we had one of those amazing moments when everything lines up perfectly and we have no where to be and nothing to do and the house is still and all you can hear is the rain against the windows. so we napped. napped the heck outta the whole morning. 
i needed the rest and so did he. probably more than me at this point. trooper.  

as we laid there and i felt his sweet hand on the back of my neck i realized
we are right in the middle of living out our wedding vows.  

he is doing such a great job at being married. 
i have never known anyone who remembers wanting to be a husband from the time he was a six year old boy, but that's my husband. he studied people and he watched married lives. 
and he knew exactly how he wanted to be. 
and right now, with me, he's living that out beautifully. 

some days i feel like there's a lot of "for worse" happening. 
a lot of "in sickness" days. 
but they are to be celebrated as much as the "better" and "health" days. 
he promised me he would cherish all of the types of days we would have together.
 years ago, he vowed them to me. 
we both did. 
with huge smiles on our sweaty faces. because it was june. 
we put rings on and we celebrated like crazy. and ate cake. 

now we're living it out. 
and i am amazed at how great marriage can be in all of the times. 

 my husband is incredibly good looking. 
so, there's also that. 

on our little couch in our messy, completely undone and chaotic house,
we're making a life together. 
memories are happening. our marriage foundation is getting stronger. 
& i'm so thankful for this painful life.