Monday, March 4, 2013

Mary Beth {her story as a blogging mom}

Annapolis & Company  | Our Story

Hello schooners, I'm Mary Beth. I'm so thrilled we're getting this chance to "meet" through technology. I am 25 years old to date. I'm a homeschooling mum to my 3 schooners by day and a freelance photographer by night. I'm a lover of rainy days. Starbucks coffee dates with my husband. Vegetarian food. Abstract art. Foreign countries. Family time. Sunday worship services. The ocean. Anything coastal, stripy or nautical.

Annapolis & Company | Our Story

And I'm a blogger.

If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I would be writing and photographing for Annapolis & Company today, I would have laughed. Right in you face. 5 years ago, I barely knew how to send an email, attach Word documents, or add a friend on Facebook. I had just narrowly passed my basic college computer course with a C -. I certainly didn't know a thing about blogging, nor did I intend to.

But if you asked me now, I would tell you that I'm convinced God has a sense of humor when writing our stories. He has a knack of taking the useless and weak things of this world and giving them a purpose, a story worth telling {I Corinthians 1:27}. A story that tells His story. And gives Him the most glory.

Here is mine...

Annapolis & Company | Our Story
Annapolis & Company | Our Story

I grew up the second oldest of 14 children. My parents home schooled me all the way from K-4 to 12th grade in a very sheltered environment, surrounded by my family and our small circle of friends. Technology extended as far as our schoolwork on the computer and an occasional trip to the library to research something on the internet.

Our large family moved down south and shortly after that I began college, studying Nutrition. I learned how to send emails and attach documents from my college roommates. I was 17 years old. I began dating my now-husband as a freshman and we fell hard and fast for each other...hopelessly in love. We got married in August, 2007. I was 19. He was 21.

Life did not slow down and little did I know, it was just the beginning. The Lord gave us a family right away, becoming pregnant with our Emma Claire on our honeymoon in California. Shiloh came the next year. Keller came the following year and I miscarried a fourth baby in between. I was 23 years old.

I grew up quickly during this time...going from a college student, to a mother of three in just a few short years. I juggled several moves, a fixer upper house, long hours of work for my husband, several deaths in our family, and the ups and downs of pregnancy hormones and nursing. In a word, life was hectic and I knew we needed a change of pace. Somehow, some way.

We got the opportunity to move halfway across the country when I was in my third trimester with our youngest and we took it. Talk about change! This very east-coastener-fish was out of the water in Oklahoma. Stripped of everything familiar. Everything I loved. Everything I knew. And God, in all His wisdom, knew that's exactly what I needed. Weaving a story much better than I could ever write on my own.
It was around this time that my husband bought me my first DSLR camera and I impulsively began a small blog, For His Pleasure, based off of Revelation 4:11. It was everything a C minus-computer-class-student could muster. Barely readable white text on black background. Pictures the size of pennies. And writing that was all over the place. But as I wrote, I discovered a vacancy in my soul. A vacancy left from years of busyness and tragedy, pride and selfishness. And the more I wrote, the more I found I had a lot to say. It didn't matter to me if no one read it, I needed to get it out. For me.
So I plugged on.

Annapolis & Company | Our Story

I wrote and wrote and wrote. Our life parenting 3 babies in a 2-bedroom apartment, my walk with the Lord, recipes I tried, and small DIY projects. All the while, I had this tiny band of followers that would faithfully comment and encourage me to keep sharing and oh how I loved each and every one of them. All five of those dear souls.

Now it has been my experience that with change, it usually gets worse before it gets better. It stirs up the crud that has sifted to the bottom, the well-hid places of life, and when disturbed, it leaves you with a choice: to turn your head, or to deal with it. And while our life had stabilized by moving to Oklahoma, God allowed old storms and new storms to enter our midwestern world and it began testing our marriage, our belief system, and my own emotional well being.

And it was in that time of storms that God slowly broke down my barriers. The barriers I had built up of tradition and people pleasing. Pride and legalism. Anger and bitterness. Perfectionism and fear. And when I wrote, I saw myself like I would if I met myself. In black and white on a computer screen. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't escape it. I couldn't cover it up. All the acceptable behaviors and sacrificial convictions in the world were no match for the deep and dark sins I found swept in the corners of my soul. And for the first time in my life, I saw how much I needed God. Like, really needed Him.

Not needed Him at church when everyone else was needing Him too. Not needed Him at prayer time, just before a meal. Not needed Him when I needed to look good or look like I had it all together.

No. I needed Him every waking minute. I needed Him in parking lots when I couldn't walk into a store. I needed Him in the bathroom, when I wept on the floor. I needed Him in the mornings, when I didn't want to get out of bed. I needed Him when no one else was around to see me "needing Him".

And as painful as it was, there is something so comforting about needing. About being vulnerable. About resting in your Father's arms when you're too exhausted by the struggle. And when you rest. And hold His hand. And depend on Him. It's coming home.

And for the longest time I hadn't known where home was.

Annapolis-&-Company | Running
Annapolis & Company | Our Story

Meanwhile I wrote on my blog. I'm sure there were things I wrote that made no sense to people at the time. I'm sure I was very sporadic with my posts, as I went through a period of time going back and forth with whether to continue blogging or give it up all together. There were weeks where I couldn't find any words to say. Wounds were open and raw and I didn't understand my own place in the world, much less share that with other people. Strangely, my blog continued to grow. It seemed the one thing that blossomed and flourished during a dry and withering time in my life. And I'm not exactly sure why God allowed that.

But as I wrote and photographed the world around me, as I struggled to find sense in life, and as the Holy Spirit tenderly prodded my heart, the most incredible thing happened. I discovered how I fit in with the story God had given me. Like a soothing balm, my wounds began to heal, and forgiveness swept in. Aimlessness and depression gave way to purpose and clarity. For the first time in a long time, I felt the freedom to find beauty in the world. I felt freedom to find and appreciate the good, and not all the wrong.

And I poured that out on my blog. The little things. The big things. I wanted to celebrate them. All of them. For I learned that life is an experience. Seasons will always change and I will always be adjusting my sails.

Annapolis-&-Company | Landscape
Annapolis & Company | Our Story

I've been asked by people how I learned to take pictures with my DSLR and how I come up with the content I write. And I can honestly say: it has nothing to do with me. Only that God put it in me. He saw a C-minus computer class graduate with a depraved and struggling human spirit and planted a seed in my heart: to see the beauty in the world. To give up things that do not matter, and live life full and free. To embrace the story God gave me and write new chapters with the passions He puts in my soul.

Annapolis-&-Company | Shiloh

For it's our story. Penned by God, lived by us.


  1. Well said Mary Beth! To God be the glory.

  2. I enjoyed reading of your journey.