Gettin’ All Personal and Stuff

It’s no secret that praise & worship is a major passion of mine. Singing, leading, participating, etc. – all of it!! And some of my most intimate times with the Lord are had during times of spontaneous worship whether I am the one singing the lyrics or listening to somebody else – whether in a public church service or on my own driving in the car.

As I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this morning I came across a video from a Bethel worship service that was showcasing a recent spontaneous moment of worship. The words were simple, yet powerful enough to give me pause to take it all in: “This is the love that changes everything. He gives it freely.”

Often times we, in our selfish human nature, get so caught up in trying to be the best version of ourselves. We chase after our “destiny” instead of chasing after Him. We seek our “purpose” instead of finding our true purpose in Him. And I think praise & worship affords us the great opportunity of laying OURSELVES down and lifting HIM up. While earthly praise & worship will always be flawed to some degree because we are flawed humans, it is the purest form of God-seeking that I believe exists in the current church.

On a very personal note, there was a period of time not long after Little Man was born when I feared I wouldn’t be back on that stage participating in the praise & worship team. Which, I know, it really shouldn’t matter if I’m on stage singing or in the congregation. But, there’s a certain excitement and fulfillment that comes from being a part of something that you feel called to do!

We were in the middle of a difficult time of transitioning between churches: leaving one church that we had called home and served faithfully in for over 12 years. When that happens you begin to doubt your gut – that thing that told you it was time to move on. But, it’s just like God, to prove himself in a beautifully orchestrated way. We didn’t “shop” for a new church. We had one place we wanted to try and beyond that we had absolutely NO IDEA where else we would go if this place didn’t work out.

Thankfully, it just clicked. Not just that we enjoyed the service and the people, but the timing! Oh, how, perfect God’s timing was for this transition. The Husband and I, unknowingly, came into this new body of believers right in the midst of their own transition on the praise & worship team. This transition left us with an opportunity to jump in with both feet and get involved without delay. The Husband started playing guitar and I joined the vocals team. Since joining this team I have been privileged to be a part of some of the most powerful worship services of my entire life. There’s something about a room full of people all lifting up their praise to Jesus that gives me the chills. And those “chills” are my cue that the Spirit is moving and that song that’s stirring in my heart needs to be sung.

I suppose my encouragement to anyone reading this is to trust your “gut”. Sometimes it’s hard to hear His voice so we do what we think He is telling us to do. But I’m here to tell you that when He wants you to move in a certain direction He will find a way to get you there. The details of why we left our old church home don’t matter. That place will ALWAYS hold a very special place in our hearts and there are people there that we will never stop missing! But, the beauty in the newness of where we are now is refreshing and inspiring and has awakened things in both The Husband and I that have laid dormant for quite some time. Some we never knew were there in the first place.

We are exactly where we need to be: chasing after and seeking HIM and fulfilling our calling in the process.

And, just to be sure we get some Mompreneur stuff in this post, let me clarify that being a part of the praise & worship team is no easy task for a working/business-owning momma. On wedding weekends I work late, sometimes not getting home until 1 or 2 am on Saturday night. But I’m still up by 6:30 to get ready for church, feed Little Man and get him ready, and leave the house in time to be at church by 8:30 for rehearsal. Then it’s rehearsal time where I’m desperately hoping Little Man will catnap in the Ergo…most of the time he does. I drop him in the church nursery before service starts and then I go back to get him after praise & worship ends so that I can nurse him. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Mompreneur Tale: Volume 1

There’s nothing quite like your 9 month old son getting his first bloody nose by launching himself into the edge of your desk while you’re on a phone call with a client.

Here’s the scene….

I answer a phone call from my bride for this weekend. Side Note: I rarely answer phone calls while my son is awake…this story just proves why…but exceptions are made when the bride calling is getting married in 48 hours.

While she and I are talking on speakerphone I hear a big thump and I turn to see Little Man face planted into the bottom lip/edge of my desk. As expected, I had about 2 seconds of eery silence as I waited for the ear piercing cry that was about to ensue. I tried to reach my mute button on my phone in time but I failed.

As a mom and a business owner you suffer with that mental tug of war between being heartbroken that your child is hurt but also embarrassment that a client was caught in the cross hairs to be a witness. So, I rushed to get her off the phone by telling her I’d call her back in a few minutes. She heard the crying. I’m certain she understood. But still, the businesswoman in me hates that I had to do that.

As I picked Little Man up, I notice his nose is bleeding. This must have been some fall, I tell ya!

Five minutes later, Little Man is hardly phased. But GOD FORBID I try to clean the dried blood from his face. Good grief kid!!

I called my bride back within a few minutes while Little Man sat on my lap with his paci in his mouth, still sniffling from the remnant tears. Life goes on, right?

Anyway, that’s my textbook Mompreneur moment of the day. What a crazy life we lead!

And now the kid doesn’t want to be anywhere except on my lap which makes writing blog posts very hard as he’s constantly reaching for the keyboard.

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P.S. I’m anticipating many more tales like this to come. Look for Volume 2 to be posted sooner rather than later.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

When It Rains, It Pours

I could say I mean this literally considering the amount of rain and bad weather Oklahoma has gotten recently. But, for the sake of this blog post, I’m talking figuratively.

Where shall I begin?

…my business email is only functioning at about 50% right now

…my outdoor wedding this weekend is having to be restructured due to recent and impending rain (pair this with the email issue and you might catch a glimpse of my current state of frustration!!)

Shall I go on?

…I am struggling with a head cold

…which I have now passed on to Little Man

…to make matters worse, Little Man is teething

…therefore, Little Man is sleeping minimally

Can somebody please pass me an adult beverage laced with Nyquil? Nevermind, I’m breastfeeding. Sigh.

That is all, my friends. That. Is. All.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

The 11th Commandment

Thous shalt sleep! <—-Don’t we wish God had included this for us tired working mommas? Perhaps, then, we wouldn’t feel so guilty for collapsing in bed whilst the house remains a mess in one way or another.

This past weekend has always been a big one for my family. The Husband and I have our anniversary on May 8th which often coincides with Mother’s Day Weekend. Speaking of that, it was my first Mother’s Day!!

On Friday we both took a 1/2 day off of work to celebrate our anniversary. We started by getting up early and going to breakfast with Little Man. Then we came home and got him down for a good nap while we tied up some loose ends in our respective jobs. Then we spent the afternoon as a family at the zoo.

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Can we talk about the awesomeness of baby-wearing for a minute?! I don’t wear Little Man crazy often…just when it’s necessary for convenience. But, when he’s sick of the stroller and it’s nap time and you’re nowhere near his crib, the Ergo is a God-send!! I may not have gotten his usual 75-90 minute nap out of him but 10 minutes against my chest and he was out like a light for a quick 20 minute power nap – just enough to take away the crankiness. 

After the zoo, we loaded Little Man up and dropped him off at the grandparents’ house for a sleepover. The Husband and I had big plans for a nice dinner out and then going to a movie (which we pre-purchased our tickets for).

Dinner was great. Too great! We both got in the car after leaving the restaurant and just sighed in exhaustion. Now, it probably didn’t help that I had 2 lemon drop martinis with dinner but, we were celebrating! Nonetheless, we were totally lame and went and got our movie tickets refunded and headed home…to SLEEP!!! No joke, we were in bed by 8:10. I had to wake up at 9:30pm to pump but I was right back to bed by 10pm.

How is it that having children is so exhausting? People, I have a baby that has been sleeping through the night since he was 12 weeks old. I know, I know…some of you probably hate me for saying that 🙂 But, seriously, he sleeps 11-12 hours on his own every night. So, I wonder why I’m this tired. I feel guilty for being this tired when my baby sleeps as much as he does. Especially since I go to bed myself at a decent hour (10-11pm) most nights. But, being a mom, I just accept that this is the way it is. The day in, day out of caring for him, attending to his needs, entertaining him, feeding him, you name it – It’s easy for us to forget that mental exhaustion is REAL! And too much of it leads to physical exhaustion. I suppose there needs to be a balance so as to avoid this exhaustion. And being a working mom makes it really hard to find the right balance of exerting your mental capacity for your work and for your child without letting it take a toll on your body and, frankly, your marriage.

I’m not saying I have the answer. But, I am saying that I recognize this and am going to try better. So that maybe next year when The Husband and I celebrate our anniversary we can manage to stay awake long enough to watch a movie together!

I think part of the solution is building in time to our day to do something for ourselves. Even if it’s just 30 minutes to take a hot bath or to sit on the back porch and read a book. Sometimes this really helps me relax and, in turn, makes me a better wife, mother and business owner. I just need to get better at making time for this on a daily basis. Here’s hoping!

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

When The Husband’s Away…

It took me a few days but I think I’ve finally recovered from my first wedding back this past weekend! It was as long of a day as I remembered from my pre-baby wedding days. The proof is in the leg work (I think it’s obvious which day was the wedding day)…

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But, it did feel good to be back. Except for the part where I forgot the boob attachment pieces for my pump so I couldn’t pump. Yyyeeeaaaahhhh…no bueno. I went over 12 hours between feedings/pumps that day. Never again. Never. Again.

Moving on.

Little Man and I did get in a really good nap time together on Sunday afternoon which was refreshing especially since he doesn’t usually sleep well when he’s not in his crib. But he actually snuggled with me for a nap in my bed for 1.5 hours!!! Then we all got up and had a wedding to attend for one of The Husband’s co-workers. It’s not often I get to be a guest at a wedding.

I don’t think I’ve introduced you to The Husband yet…

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The Husband was out of town on business yesterday and overnight last night so it was Little Man and I on our own. I already had plans to head down the highway for a few site visits I had scheduled for an out-of-state of bride. So, Little Man and I had a little road trip together. I know I won’t have the freedom to let him tag along with me to meetings much longer since he’s probably just a matter of weeks away from crawling. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

It is nice, on occasion, to have an evening completely to myself. It’s just in my DNA – I absolutely LOVE alone time!! So I got Little Man down for bed and then I had some pizza, diet coke and I veg’d on the couch while eating a really-bad-for-you dessert. Because sometimes you just have to, right? It was glorious indeed.

Today, back to the daily grind.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Ready or Not

This weekend will be my first wedding weekend since July 25th of last year. While I’m so thankful for an amazing staff that managed all of Erica Weddings clients in my absence and for all the quality time I’ve had with my Little Man, this day came even quicker than I had imagined.

And, just like old times (i.e. pre-baby!), my office kicked in to high-gear this week in preparation for tomorrow. Little Man spent a lot of play time like this while his momma worked.

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I don’t like doing this during his wake time a lot but when you’re back to the grind sometimes you just have to do what you have to do to get things done. Side note: please ignore the disaster area that is my office!! I need to do some serious cleaning in here but who’s got time for that?

So, tomorrow I will head out the door around 1pm leaving Little Man in The Husband’s care for the whole day. I’ll spend the day outside in this gorgeous weather we are having. I’ll be helping a sweet bride & groom with the most exciting day of their lives. I’ll pump and then I’ll watch the bride walk down the aisle. I’ll watch the happy couple share their first dance and then I’ll pump. I’ll watch their guests party it out on the dance floor and then I’ll pump. Do you see a pattern here? Oh how my life has changed! And then the night will end and I’ll get home around 1am knowing full well the beating that my body took that day. And, finally, I’ll wake up at 6:30am with full boobs and a full body ache. I’ll get ready for church then wake Little Man up. And, with any luck, he’ll take a nice long nap that afternoon when we get home so I can catch up on my rest and put my feet up.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Embracing Imperfections

You know what really sucks about coming home from a vacation? Catching up on….well, everything!

Unpacking turns into 27 loads of laundry. Groceries are either non-existent or everything has expired. All that work that I said could wait until I got back now haunts my every waking moment.

All of my imperfections are slapping me in the face as I try to keep this household, this family and this business afloat.

Just breathe. Prioritize.

Side Note: Yesterday afternoon I realized that I hadn’t showered since Saturday. SATURDAY, people!!!  Immediate priority #1: personal hygiene. Sometimes us busy moms need to be reminded of this basic need.

It definitely takes good prioritization when you’re a working mom. But, I feel like a Stay-At-Home-Mompreneur requires prioritization to the maximum amount. And, despite my momentary lapse, I’ve always felt like I’ve done a pretty good job of prioritizing my life…at least when it comes to the big things.

The big picture of priorities in my life looks like this:

  1. God
  2. Husband
  3. Son
  4. Work

Now, within each of those pieces falls about a million tiny little tasks to accomplish on a daily basis. But, I’ve found that when I keep the big picture in focus, all the tiny pieces fall into place much easier.

The true struggle for Entrepreneurs is that we deal with the blessed curse of allowing our work to define us. It’s so easy for us to find our value and self-worth wrapped up in our businesses. Unfortunately, when this happens, everything suffers. Our familial and romantic relationships become secondary and, over time, can dwindle down to non-existent. Our health suffers due to lack of sleep and high amounts of stress. The list goes on. But what I realized a few years ago that was a game-changer for me is this:

Erica Weddings is what I do. Not who I am.

Who I am is an imperfect child of a perfect Savior, a wife and a mother. Just saying it is a weight lifted off of my shoulders.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE what I do and I’m blessed beyond measure to be able to do it. But if I let it take precedence over my God, my husband and my son, then I become tired, burnt out and resentful. I know this because, unfortunately, I’ve been there and I hope to never be there again.

So what does this prioritization tangibly look like day in and day out? For me, it’s waking up with my son around 7am and enjoying some time with him. The Husband may watch him for a bit before he goes to work and I’ll get a few things done around the house, reply to a few emails, etc. Once The Husband is gone then it’s Little Man and I against the world! When he is awake, I’m with him – soaking up every minute. When he naps, my butt kicks into high gear (showers, work, dishes, laundry, eating, cooking, etc.). And when The Husband gets home, work is done!!! He helps get us through our bedtime routine and Little Man goes down for bed around 7pm. Then The Husband and I have the whole evening to ourselves! We are usually just lazy couch bums but we like it that way!

You may look at everything I laid out above and see my priority list and wonder, “Where is God in all this?” I wonder that myself sometimes but I guess the answer is: God is IN everything I do, all day long! I squeeze in my quiet time whenever I can during the day and I’m singing praise & worship music pretty much all day every day. That’s one of the extraordinary things about Him: keeping Him #1 is so simple. All it takes is a genuine love and appreciation for who He is and what He’s done and you’re golden…you can’t help but meditate on His greatness.

No single day is perfect. Some days the laundry doesn’t get done. Some days my email inbox has one too many emails left unanswered at the end of the day. Some days (or 4 days in a row!!!) I forget to shower. Some days I get stuck on a phone call with a client and my son is stuck playing alone on the floor with his pacifier to keep him quiet.

Bottom line: I’m not perfect. But none of us are. So, we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. Thank God that His Son was perfect for us so we don’t have to be!

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Mothering, Entrepreneuring and Vacationing. Oh My!

This week, the Husband (Russ) and I are preparing for our first real vacation since our son (Rory) arrived. Really it’s a business trip for Russ but he gets to bring a guest and it’s all expenses paid to an all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya Cancun so we’ll take it!!

But it’s requiring a lot of plan-ahead and organization on my part for 2 VERY BIG reasons:

1. Erica Weddings has TWO weddings this weekend, while I’m away.

2. I’m a nursing Momma. Need I say more? But I will…

The weddings taking place while I’m gone are not of huge concern to me. I have an amazing staff who I trust to get the job done and represent my brand well in my absence. But the breast milk issue. Has there ever been a subject matter more stressful to a working mom than the issue of breast milk? Keeping supply up, pumping milk, storing milk, keeping milk fresh in travel, getting milk through security (specifically in another country), etc.

I’ve done my research. I know the TSA guidelines. I’ve spoken to other mommas who have done this exact same thing and the vast majority of these women have nothing but positive experiences to share. But, if I’m being honest, I have this awful, dreadful nightmare on replay in my head that I’ll be watching over 100+ oz of my pumped milk being thrown in the trash as I try to get through security at the Mexican airport on my way home. Just the thought of this possibility makes me well up.

Why so emotional for me? Well the breastfeeding moms certainly understand…no explanation required. For everyone else, here’s some background. I’ve breastfed Rory from day one. He’s never had any formula (no judgment to the formula mommas!!). I built up a great freezer stash in the early months of his life which I’m so thankful for now as it’s gotten me through some dry spells AND it’s enabling us to take this baby-free trip. BUT, taking this trip will be wiping away my freezer stash completely. There’s no way I can breastfeed up to the 1 year mark as planned without coming home with a fresh stash of pumped milk to put in my freezer. Enter these 100+ oz I will be pumping while I’m in Mexico. THIS milk is critical to my sons nutrition – I need it to supplement in the coming months as my supply goes through it’s peaks and valleys. I know having to supplement with formula will not be the end of the world. It’s just not my Plan A.

Maybe everything will be fine and I’ll breeze through security on my return trip home. But, until it actually happens, I’m going to worry about it.

I’m fully prepared with my breast pump, pump supply cleaning materials, insulated carry-on bag, breast milk storage bags, travel gel-cool packs, print out copy of the TSA guidelines regarding this matter and a copy of Rory’s birth certificate (in case I need to prove I actually have a baby). But if any of you Mommas have any experience with this that you can share I welcome it!! Every positive story relieves my stress a little bit.

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Did I Really Choose This?

I have moments of doubt daily. Moments when I wonder why I chose to own my own business instead of working for somebody else. I mean, I have a college degree. I could go get an office job where I’m paid a comfortable 5 figure salary. A job where I can clock out at 5 and work doesn’t follow me home. A job where clients and customers don’t have my personal cell phone number to be able to text/call me at all hours of the day and night. A job that gives me all major holidays off. A job that gives me Saturdays off! Oh glorious Saturdays how I miss thee!!!

The other option would be to not work at all. I always wanted to be a mom and now I am one. I work from home so I have the privilege to earn an income and take care of my son. But the income isn’t critical to my family’s well-being. We don’t NEED it. So why do I keep on keeping on? Would I be fulfilled being just a stay-at-home mom? A lot of women are…I admire them. But is that me?

So these moments of doubt and seeming regret creep in. Then, without ever seeking it out, I manage to come across something that reminds me why I DID choose this. Today, it was a bank statement.

You see, I keep ALL of my bank statements for my business. Every. Single. One. I don’t know why. I know it’s probably completely unnecessary but, at this point, it’s habit and I’ve built up quite a collection. As I was adding my most recent bank statement to my binder, I saw my very first business account bank statement from September of 2007 right there on top. This 3 page statement outlines one transaction for the entire 30 day statement period: one $300 check deposited. It was my first payment from my first official Erica Weddings clients. I remember making that deposit and I suddenly recall how far I’ve come as a business owner. Never mind the fact that it disgusts me how little I was charging but, I digress.

So, how far have I come? FAR!!! I was still living at home with my mom when I started my business. I was 23 years old. I had just graduated college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (focus in Meetings & Destination Management) and I had a Training Certificate from the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants under my belt as well. I still held a full-time job as the Administrator at my church. I wasn’t married (although my husband and I were dating). I had no kids. And I was just young enough to have the guts to do just about anything to build my business. Only those things which were ethical of course LOL. Things like walk into a wedding vendor networking event where I didn’t know a single person there and I had ZERO weddings to showcase except for the few I had done for friends, pro-bono, in the years prior.

That’s where I started. Where am I now? Well, I am now working my business full-time. I am a founding member of a local wedding vendor networking group (The Tulsa Wedding Society) that has grown from 5 founding members to over 30 of my hometown’s most elite wedding professionals. I employ 6 girls on my staff/team (all part-time). I have completed nearly 150 weddings. My company has been featured on national wedding blogs and in magazine publications that have a very wide circulation in my home state. And I get multiple calls/emails every week from young girls looking for jobs. I own a company that people actually want to work for?!?! Is this for real?

So, today, I’m thankful for that bank statement that reminded me of how far I’ve come. It’s all the motivation I need to make it one more day in this crazy world of entrepreneurship!

Now to folding my son’s laundry while he naps. Oh wait, I hear him. He’s waking up. DANG IT!!!!

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma