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What I Learn

Why We Should Care About Having Fun

Stop what you’re doing and listen to the latest Journeywomen podcast with Annie F. Downs that came out yesterday. I’m not usually one to boss friends around, but trust me on this. It’s all about fun! As simple as the topic of “fun” sounds, the episode really impacted me.

Nashville based author and speaker Annie defines fun as “a shift in how you see the life you already have.” You mean I can think of the everyday tasks and “little” experiences I’m already having as fun?

Here’s a glimpse into Annie’s start to each day that I think we all can learn from:  “Waking up for me involves asking, ‘What is happening today, how is that fun, and what’s good about it?’Can I look at the life that God’s given me and find love and joy and peace in it?”

Can you imagine waking up every morning and asking yourself, “What’s going on today that will be fun?” Maybe you already do that. I don’t. This outlook reminds me of Christy Nockel’s quest to seek out “the glorious in the mundane,” which is something I feel God is nudging me to do lately.

But it’s not about having fun for self’s sake. Annie believes that her life’s calling is “to bring joy and fun into the lives of other people so that they will see God.” I love that. For more on Annie and the topic of fun, listen to her really, really good weekly podcast appropriately named That Sounds Fun.

And of course, listening to that podcast yesterday got me thinking about the everyday things in my life that can and should be fun. Today, that’s:

  • Feeling the cool fall air (something that’s new to us here in Texas) on a walk this morning
  • Doing yoga on a mat in the middle of my baby girl’s room
  • Writing a blog post
  • Going to the doctor’s office to check on Baby B.
  • Cozying up with a blanket, pumpkin spice tea, and a library book
  • Cooking dinner

Other recent/upcoming, everyday fun things I’m thinking about:

  • Going to the grocery store and picking out all kinds of colorful produce
  • Walking the trails near campus with friends
  • Organizing and setting up our baby girl’s room
  • Memorizing scripture
  • Seeing my belly grow beyond what seems possible
  • Attending childbirth classes (neeeever until now did I think this would go on a “that sounds fun” list)
  • Going on an evening walk with my husband
  • Dare I say it? Doing the dishes and wiping down the kitchen counters at the end of the day and facing a clean room in the morning

It’s your turn. What sounds fun to you??


What I Learn

Adventuring with Baby Bearden

There are less than 100 days until Baby B’s due date! Time is flying, but at the same time, I see and love how God is helping Alex and me savor this very sweet season.

Below, I answered some of the questions people most often ask. Not really. I just made up these questions just in case you wanted to know the answers. I also just want to remember these things.

When did you find out you were pregnant?

I found out on Alex’s birthday, May 20th, one week before we moved. While I hadn’t had any morning sickness, I woke up a few mornings that week feeling really thirsty and hungry, which was weird for me. And on my run the day before, I felt tired about 2 miles in to where I stopped running and walked home. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d cut a run short like that. It wasn’t like anything was hurting or wrong other than I just felt exhausted.

Anyway, on Saturday, May 20th, I woke up early to run with The Kenyan Way. We had plans to go to St. Arnold Brewery that afternoon to celebrate Alex’s birthday with friends, and I thought about how I didn’t want to drink beer on the off chance I was pregnant. So, literally the first thing I did at 5 am was take a pregnancy test. Within the minute, that little plus sign popped up and my heart skipped a beat or two. I walked out of the bathroom to rummage for a piece of paper in the kitchen and scribble “Happy Birthday Alex! (OMG)” on it to place next to the test. By the time I’d done that, Alex had gone into the bathroom and seen the test. He came out saying calmly, “Did you look at this yet?”

We both were pretty quiet as we drove to Memorial Park a few minutes later. I prayed a whole lot during that 10 mile run and just let myself go through all the emotions. Looking back, I think it was the best thing I could have done after finding out.

At 6 weeks, Baby Bearden was the size of a sweet pea!

How big is she now?

At 26 weeks, she is about 14 inches head to toe and 2 pounds. Depending on the pregnancy app, that could be comparable to a head of iceberg lettuce, scallions, or a Tickle-Me Elmo.

Here were are a couple of days ago at 26 weeks.


Watching her move around at my 20 week scan was one of my favorite moments ever!

At the risk of sounding cheesy, my favorite part is that there is a miracle growing inside of me. There’s just no denying how amazing God is to create life. I love that she kicks so often now. She especially wiggles and kicks when I am still – sitting with my feet propped up or when I’m laying down in bed. Knowing she is alive and doing her thing is such a comfort and I continually thank God for the gift. She is already a bundle of joy. I really do like the growing belly, though it seems to feel cuter and littler in the morning than at the end of the day.

Have you had any weird cravings?

No, unless ice cream and pickles count (not together…ew).  I’m more opinionated about food – how much, how often, what I eat – than ever before, and I *try* to eat mostly healthy. Alex is still waiting for an urgent “I need a Grande Chalupa meal from Taco Bell PRONTO” middle-of-the-night wake up from me. (He loves that place J)

What’s hard about being pregnant for you?

Frequent potty trips. I’m no stranger to drinking lots of water throughout the day and therefore lots of bathroom breaks, but it has gotten out of hand. Also I’m starting to wake up more during the night needing to change positions (and of course to use the bathroom) and with lots of thoughts swirling around in my mind.

How are you feeling?

Physically, I feel great. Sure, by this point, there are a couple of things I could complain about (see above) but overall I feel really good. Also, I’ve felt uncomfortable running at times over the last few weeks and so have begun to walk/run more. I’ve also started doing some prenatal yoga, which feels relaxing and wonderful. I plan to stay active, whether that’s with running, walking, yoga, swimming, whatever, as long as it is safe and not painful.

Emotionally, I have had a handful of out-of-nowhere heavy cries, mostly in front of Alex. He is awesome at letting me cry it out and not making me feel crazy. Being pregnant is stretching me spiritually, which I think is probably just a glimpse of how motherhood will stretch me. When faced with something I’ve never experienced before (in this case, growing a baby, laboring, and becoming a mom), I tend to worry. But God, He is SO gracious. Over and over He shows me that if I will just look into his face and trust in His goodness, no matter the outcome, this doesn’t have to be so scary. And He has provided awesome mom friends to speak truth about this season and help prepare me for what to expect in labor and motherhood.

Do you have a name for Baby B?

No. Naming a child feels like a huge responsibility and is more difficult than I ever thought it’d be! Alex and I have a running list of our favorites. At this point I think it could be fun to narrow it down to two and wait until she’s born when we can look at her and decide which one fits best. J

How can I pray for you?

I would cherish your prayers for a full-term, continued healthy pregnancy and delivery. Most of all, please pray that I will trust Jesus with each little and big thing that comes along and that our baby girl will someday too. Please pray He continues to grow Alex and me in wisdom and in our marriage and prepares us for the journey of parenthood.

Thank you for sharing the joy with us!

I want to acknowledge that while baby talk and bump pics can be full of joy for some, they can bring heartache for others. For those who have experienced loss, infertility, or are in the hopeful yet uncertain season of longing, I just want to say you are not alone, and most of all, God sees you and loves you deeply.



What I Learn

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

It’s been fun rediscovering a love for reading these past few months. I told you already about my beloved new library card, and it still makes me so excited. If you’re in a reading slump or on the hunt for some fresh options, dive into one of these five:

She Reads Truth: Holding Tight to Permanent in a World That’s Passing Away
Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams

I read this book after hearing one of the authors on my favorite podcast. Myers and Williams share their stories in alternating chapters and weave them together beautifully by showing that even though our circumstances are all very different and constantly changing, there is ultimately “One Hero and one Story” that does not change. This was a life-shaping read for me. Also, I was 7 weeks pregnant and bawled a whole lot.

Whether you are on a mountain or in a valley in your life right now, this book is for you. I’m not usually a repeat reader but I want to read this again soon.

The Magnolia Story
Chip and Joanna Gaines

Be still my heart. I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard “Fixer Upper” fan, mostly because I don’t have a TV, but I’ve walked my fair share of miles on the treadmill in the gym just so I could catch Chip and Joanna work their magic in Waco.

After reading their story, I have so much respect and love for the Gaines family. Their faith and philosophy on family and home life is sweet and inspiring. If you read this, you may feel less sad about the end of “Fixer Upper.” Maybe.  I hear that the audible version of this book with Chip and Jo narrating is really wonderful.  

Harry Potter
J. K. Rowling

I didn’t start the Harry Potter series until I was a junior in high school, soon before the 7th and final book was published. I loved them then and now. It doesn’t matter if you’re 10 or 100; the series is full of whimsy, suspense, and fun! So far I’ve re-read the first five and am taking a break to read more adult-y books. Oh, I will return.

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes
Shauna Niequist

At the risk of sounding bossy, READ THIS BOOK if you’re at all interested in food, hospitality, or friendship. I love how each tiny chapter tells a meaningful story from Niequist’s life, and most are followed by a recipe. This read came at the perfect time. I’m so interested in hospitality and want to make every recipe in the book. So far I’ve made Blueberry Crisp, Breakfast Quinoa, Green Well Salad, and White Chicken Chili.

I also adored Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect, another memoir-style that deeply challenged me on what’s important in life and how being less busy can help us “accomplish” more.

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
Pamela Druckerman

This was an interesting read. The author compares American and French parenting when it comes to things like meals, child care, crying babies, and bending – or not bending – to a child’s every whim. It’s not a “how-to” book on parenting but provides a glimpse into Druckerman’s experience of French culture, which I appreciated.

The downside: I felt like she made sweeping generalizations about both cultures. (French people simply don’t snack between meals? French babies sleep through the night earlier than American babies? French children aren’t picky eaters?) I took those with a grain of salt. The book as a whole provided some techniques to chew on, and I liked her quirky writing. Two out of five stars.

Now I’m reading Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler and Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and enjoying them both so far. What are you currently reading? Comment below. I’d love to hear!