Hi everyone! Today I am so excited to welcome Courtney Harris to OneThingAlone!
Courtney and I met at Cedarville University my freshman year. She talked me out of a tizzy: I was spinning in circles trying to explain free will and predestination for one of my classes. She listened patiently, called me out on logical fallacies, pushed me to explore my ideas more fully, and finally invited me to come to a place of rest. (Because really, Christian philosophers have spent centuries debating this; there’s not much improvement to be made in an 800-word essay.)
I appreciate Courtney’s laser-like focus on the blessings in life and her commitment to remember the little things that bring joy. I hope you’ll enjoy her interview and check out her blog too!
Asheritah Ciuciu: Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start your blog?
Courtney Lynn Harris: Sure! It’s such an honor to be featured here, Asheritah—thanks so much for this opportunity!
I am the (mostly) stay-at-home mom to a beautiful 2.5 year old little girl, and wife to my husband who is a law student at the moment. Law school has taken us to the northeast although my husband and I are from Colorado and Oregon, respectively, so we’re learning how to do this parenting gig without the close support of family.
Like most moms, I am semi-dependent on coffee and I tend to detest grocery shopping! (I’ve actually been able to get my groceries delivered since we live in a semi-urban area, and I love it!) You are about 100x more likely to find me reading a book to my daughter than doing crafts with her, so if she grows up to be an artist it will be completely in spite of me!
I started blogging as a way to chronicle the little things in our lives that I didn’t want to forget. I quickly learned that my blog was also a wonderful place for me to also process my thoughts, and I’ve since switched to posting both about our family’s life and my own reflections on mothering and motherhood.
AC: I appreciate your encouragement to be present in your child’s life even if it doesn’t look like the picture most parenting books portray. How do you celebrate messy motherhood in the day-to-day?
CLH: Oh, we have lots of messes! It is far, far from perfect! Usually the messier moments are when Audrey is hungry or tired and I am impatient. I don’t really think to pull out my camera to document those moments, but trust me, they are most definitely there!
I think I am learning to trust myself more as a parent and to find solutions that work for me and my child. I think books can be a great resource but I view them like a store—great places to pick up one or two quality items but not a template for how life has to be. I think God gives good mothering instincts to all of us—we just have to listen to them and to His word! (I’m working on both!)
AC: You’re a wife, mom, grad student, and blogger. Tell us how you dwell with God in the midst of the busyness. Is it the typical 30 minutes of quiet time in the morning or something else?
CLH: Honestly, this is something I really struggle with right now. Currently, I try to read a chapter in the Old and New Testaments while I am getting ready for the day, and also take time to pray for myself, my daughter, and my husband. I’d say it takes about 10 minutes and it’s a far cry from the wonderful, long quiet times I had in college.
I’ve tried different approaches to devotional time during my stint as a mom, from early morning to naptime to evening. I’m still not sure what works best for me but I know I feel the need to start the day with prayer—even if it isn’t as long as I’d like
I want so much to walk with God during my days, so I’m grateful for any reminders that turn my eyes to Him.
AC: Raising children can certainly put stress on a marriage. How do you protect your relationship with Alex while also being available to Audrey?
CLH: Two words: date night! Some absolutely wonderful babysitters have blessed us with the opportunity to get away by ourselves one night a week. Usually we keep it pretty simple and just get dinner and maybe go to a bookstore. But we find it absolutely invaluable to have the time each week to sit across from each other at a table and really talk about the deeper things that we are thinking about, or even just to enjoy one another.
We also put Audrey to bed fairly early (8pm) and even though we go to bed earlier ourselves, we will often have a few minutes in the evening to try to connect after she is down for the night.
AC: I love seeing the pictures you post on what’s going on in your home. It looks like you, Alex, and Audrey have a lot of fun in the day-to-day. Why do you think it’s important to chronicle the little things?
CLH: Because someday I want to remember them! My husband’s family likes to say “if you don’t remember, you forget.” It sounds obvious, but I think it is also profound. If we don’t stop to chronicle the things we want to remember we will forget. And I don’t want to forget. That probably all sounds a little cliché, but it’s what motivates me.
AC: Motherhood is a hard gig. Most of us have experienced that 2 am midnight cry of desperation. Do you ever have time for yourself? How do you live fully right where you are?
CLH: Yes! I try to make time for myself on a daily and weekly basis. Daily, I try to make Audrey’s naptime my rest and refreshment time. You’ll often find me closing my eyes for a short nap, or doing something that is restful and rejuvenating for me, like checking my favorite blogs or doing some of my own writing or reading. Weekly, I attend class one night a week, which is a fantastic opportunity to interact with other adults and take a break from two-year-old world. My husband also frees me up to head to a coffee shop most Saturday afternoons for time to rest, read, and think. I’m so grateful he does!
AC: How does writing on your blog stretch you and impact your own perspective, emotionally and spiritually?
CLH: I have realized that I process my thoughts through words, so I’ve found blogging to be an excellent way for me to figure out where I find the meaning in motherhood and what I think about how I am mothering. I have found that if I write something down (for example, about bearing with my daughter’s weaknesses) then I am more likely to remember—and practice—it in day to day life.
AC: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
CLH: I am passionate about letting mothers with postpartum depression know that there is help for them!
I struggled with under-treated postpartum depression symptoms for over a year after my daughter’s birth and it put an enormous stress on my marriage and me. I remember being scared of “failing” the postpartum depression questionnaire my OB’s office gave me at my six week appointment. While I apparently “passed” (I don’t remember them saying otherwise), the fact is I struggled with postpartum depression symptoms for a very, very long time after becoming a mom. I was weepy, angry, hopeless, and not sleeping well. When I finally got medical help, it was life changing for my marriage and my mothering. Getting medical help was one of the best things I ever did for myself, my husband, and my daughter!
If you think you (or someone you love) are not acting like yourself after giving birth, check out this easy diagnostic test and please, please talk to your doctor. You don’t have to feel like this and there is so much hope!
Isn’t she great? I am so challenged and encouraged every time I read Courtney’s writing.
But it was that last answer that gripped my heart. So often we feel like we don’t belong and we’re afraid to speak up. Whether it’s postpartum depression, a struggling marriage, shattered dreams, or anything else, can I encourage you to seek out community?
We need each other in this journey of life. We each need to surround ourselves with mighty women who speak truth into our lives and cover us in prayer and encouragement.
I encourage you to connect with Courtney on her blog at courtneylynnharris.com, on her Facebook page, or on Twitter.
Has God done something amazing in your life? Do you have an encouraging word to share? If so, check out the guest post guidelines. We’re waiting to hear your story.