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  • Do you desire a life where you know and live your inner purpose? That instead of floating through life you know exactly what your true desires are and living to your fullest potential? Do you feel like what you are longing for is just hidden under the surface and once you discover it there will be no holding you back?

    Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of.

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Four years ago, over looking snowy ski runs while enjoying a gin and tonic in a bubbling hot tub, I told Mister that I felt that I needed to host an event where I brought women together and somehow they would be inspired. I had no idea what it would look like or what exactly I would talk about, just that there was a pressing on my heart to do it. Being the amazing supporter that he is, he encouraged me to do it. And so I did.

Every second Tuesday for almost a year I held an ‘Inspire to Be’ event at a café in a city near Vancouver that was convenient for everyone who attended. We discussed life, dreams, aspirations, failures, and that week’s highlights and low lights. Deep lasting friendships were made through these evenings and I look back at them fondly. I hosted them until I left for Europe, and then completely forgot about them!

Recently that pressing came back, and so did all the memories of the Inspire to Be evenings. I began planning inspiring evenings in my head while I walked around the seawall. I envisioned what I would talk about, what kind of woman would want to attend, I even dreamed what kind of food I would offer. They were all just dreams, thoughts swirling around asking to be executed. And they would have stayed that way if someone hadn’t told me I needed to pick a date and host the event. And so I did.

Last Thursday, as the rain clouds came through and blanketed the city in a warm grey haze, six beautiful and wonderful women entered my home and I hosted my first event.

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The evening was amazing. My living room was prepared with with layers of candles, a vase of fresh peonies sitting elegantly on the coffee table, and a newly acquired cake stand with a fresh chocolate cake stood next to gluten-free cookies and chocolate mousse. There were gold dessert forks and art deco napkins to add a graphic element to the softness of it all. Silky calm piano music played in the background to complete the space of beauty and elegance.

They slowly trickled in as it began to rain, and I handed each one a glass of champagne to which we toasted with to welcome the evening.

I was nervous and excited, but somehow composed, like I was supposed to be there, in that exact moment in time.  I began by inhaling a calming breath then explained how the evening would proceed. We started with each woman telling their story – from wherever they felt the need to start up until that day. It was a beautiful moment of guards coming down and being vulnerable.

Once each woman had shared her history the last one perfectly lead into the evening’s discussion of designing your ideal day. We sat around sipping a delicious Pinot Noir while discussing different elements of our day, the struggles of limiting schedules, the demands of children and work. Pen and paper met, fingers and iPads took notes, they all went to work and what came out was truly beautiful. Someone said they didn’t need to do it because it actually made them feel worse, like they were constantly striving for something they could never achieve but reminded them to live according to their core desired feelings. Another said they needed to have events that they scheduled weekly instead of daily, as their schedules were too hectic that scheduling life daily would cause more chaos than peace. Some where able to work through their entire day and identify exactly what they needed to change to make everything happen.

There was resistance and doubt, but we worked through it. There were questions of financial worries and strain to which each person had their own view on finances and spending and interacting with money that feels authentically them. There were discussions of dreams that were different than their partners, and somehow my answer was exactly what they needed to hear. We are the catalyst to the vision of our family, and if you’re in a good relationship, all he wants to do is make you happy.

We ended the evening with discussing some bigger life dreams. With communication, designing the right steps to get you there, and making sure your dream is aligned with the desires of your heart, your dream, or a version of it, will come true.

The night slowly came to and end and as they were putting on their shoes I brought Isla out to say hello. With her in her white pyjamas and sleepy eyes, we hugged them goodbye. I was reminded that we’re in this together – we’re a team, each woman who came inspired others but also left inspired. It was exactly how I wanted it to be.

I plan on hosting intimate group coaching sessions, in my home, throughout the year, where women come together to deepen their desires through living life with intention and designing the life of their dreams. If you’d like to find out more about these evenings, please check out the group coaching page.

Space is limited as it’s hosted in my home in downtown Vancouver, but if you’d like to receive information about the upcoming sessions, please register below. There is no commitment needed to register.

           
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Images provided by Jenna Richard and myself.

Please check out the group coaching page for more information or register below to be the first to know about the next event.

           
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On our five year anniversary I sit and think back about all the goals we set for ourselves – some failed and some achieved and am amazed at the beautiful life we’ve created together, you and I my love. I think back on all the adventures we’ve had over these five years, and how we’re still just newlyweds in the course of our marriage.

I think back to that moment just before we first saw each other on our wedding day, and how still I get butterflies in anticipation for you to walk through our front door. How you never let go of my hand that day, and no matter how many cities we’ve weaved in and out of in this world, you’ve never let go of my hand since.

I think of our vows, and even though in the past I had wished we had written our own, I know that us repeating the vows from generations before us is a tradition now etched on our hearts. How when you slipped two thin diamond bands on my right hand as a nod in your Polish tradition and I slipped a tungsten platinum band on your left hand there was no doubt it was ‘for until death do us part’.

I think of our first dance, a beautiful waltz with lifts and turns, it was a moment where everyone faded away and we danced together just you and I. How since then we’ve created an intimate dance between the two of us, one that only our souls know. The steps are complicated and difficult, we’ve tripped each other up and we’ve pushed each other over, but no matter what we sweep each other back into place to dance together again…with my right hand placed in your left and our hips swaying to our own beat.

I think of everything we’ve done in these past five years, my love. How much that day was the start of our beautiful beginning, and how it propelled us into creating the life we’ve always wanted to live. I can’t imagine a better man to share this life with, and to this day I’m so proud that you are mine and somehow magically I love you even more than I did five years before.

All images from our wedding photographer Jamie Delaine. To see our full wedding coverage, click here.


It’s her 5 month birthday today, and after much consideration I’ve decided to publish her birth story along with some images that were taken. After she was born I’m so happy I took the time to write this out, because 5 months later the experience is tainted a little bit with the love and admiration I have for her.

Short story:
We had a home birth
My water broke before I had contractions
I labored for 5.5 hours, including pushing
We had the best birth team ever including two midwives, a doula, and a midwife intern from the UK
Mister was the best pillar of support I could have ever asked for.
We were completely surprised we had a girl.

We wandered around the city ducking into stores to avoid the rain. Call it mother’s intuition but I had a feeling that it would be our last weekend alone, so I cherished every moment and held his hand as we moved in and out of crowds and sat on furniture and enjoyed sharing a grilled cheese sandwich from mama’s food truck. It was his first experience and it is one I will both always remember where we sat under cover at Robson square as we watched couples and young children skate on the outdoor rink.

As dusk began to envelope the city casting a pink glow on the mountains we decided to call it a day and began to make our way to the grocers. We wondered once again up-and-down aisles searching for the best meal for us to prepare. He suggested a meal full of salmon and roasted asparagus. I shook my head no and playfully decided we should have spicy Indian. They say spicy food is supposed to start contractions – I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. As we made our way to the checkout and contemplated one more item I turned him and said “I think my water just broke”. He stared at me with confusion and a little bit of wonder and asked if I was sure. I was sure. He finished up at the check out while I quickly made my way to the car. As we drove home I quickly called my midwife and doula to let them know that my water broke. They both were in a little bit of disbelief and assumed I wouldn’t go into full labor until morning. Since they said nothing would happen till morning I enjoyed the quiet of the evening and was able to remain calm despite knowing that my doula was currently attending another labour.

My midwife suggested that I relax myself with a glass of wine and soak in a bath. I typically would have taken it but instead I chose to spend the evening with my love knowing once again it would be a last time together, just the two of us. We moved around the kitchen like two old souls who knew each other intimately. As we put together a dinner of spicy butter chicken I smiled at him thinking how funny that just a few hours ago we joked that this meal would start contractions. The night fading we cheered to our baby arriving soon and enjoyed our meal over a glass table and stem less wine glasses savoring the moment. We slowly made our way to the couch and stared at the view from our 32nd floor windows overlooking the city while looking at each other in disbelief that soon our baby would arrive. Just before 11:00PM we brushed our teeth and washed our faces before climbing into our bed with fresh sheets, hoping to get a good nights rest. We knew we would have a homebirth, but just in case, our hospital bags were prepared and sitting by the door.

Mister had been fighting a cold and had taken some Neocitron and had fallen asleep immediately. I slipped on my eye-mask hoping I would get some sleep before the first contraction. As I rolled over to get comfortable a half hour later, I felt my first contraction. I went through a few uncomfortable cramps before getting out of bed to take some Tylenol and gravel to help relieve some of the pain and help me sleep. Neither of them did the trick.

Not wanting to wake Mister I went to the bathroom and closed the door to labour alone. Throughout my pregnancy I always knew that I would find myself in the bathroom so it felt like the most comfortable place to be. During the mild contractions I downloaded an app called icontraction to help me time them and keep my mind off of the pain. It worked wonders.

For two hours I labored and moved through each contraction on my own in the solitude of our bathroom. I thought my labor would consist of time in the bath or shower but neither of those things happened. I labored through each contraction swaying back and forth breathing in the only way my body knew how.

After those two hours I was exhausted and all I could think about was getting some sleep. So I quietly tried to crawl back into bed as to not wake Mister, but right in the middle of me getting into bed I went through another contraction and happened to wake him up. The look on his face was quite astonishing; I would have laughed if I could have. But I was so happy he was finally awake, I really desired a hot pack on my lower back but didn’t have the strength to walk to the kitchen to warm it up myself.

While he heated up the heatpack I headed back to where I felt the most secure, the bathroom. Mister came back to support and help me time my contractions which were over a minute long and averaging 3 minutes apart. Because my doula and midwife thought I wouldn’t have the baby till the next day, I wasn’t sure if what I was feeling was active labour or early labour so I decided to just do it alone.

After Mister and I worked on laboring together for about an hour and half I had a moment of clarity in what I believe was a transition period. I knew I was moving into the pushing phase of my labour and suggested to him that he call our doula and midwife again. This was close to 2:30 in the morning. As soon as he picked up the phone to call them my contractions were one on top of the other and I wasn’t able to talk anymore so when he told them my contractions were 90 seconds long three minutes apart all I could do was shake my head no. Thankfully my midwife was intuitive and asked to listen to me going through a contraction and once she heard me attempting to cope through the most intense pressure I’ve ever experienced, she said she’d be over immediately as they were definitely closer together. When he hung up I had a moment of panic, what if I wasn’t as far along as I thought I was and I was making them get out of bed for nothing?

Adam wrapped me in his arms during my moment of panic and told me not to worry but to rely on my body “just do what feels natural”. It was exactly what I needed to hear while I sunk into his arms and just focused on listening to my body.

Our midwife arrived and prepared the space for our birth with the fresh sheets and large pillows. I felt myself completely relax into the mattress while holding onto Mister’s hands. My doula was amazing. She knew exactly how to position me to help me deal with the pain and I could hear her calming me with words of encouragement while Mister held me close.

After some time of pushing they announced that I needed to slow everything down. That was the most difficult thing they could have asked of me, but somehow my body knew exactly what it was supposed to do. I looked at Mister for support and his eyes were glistening full of excitement and awe. I knew without a doubt that I was the most amazing woman he had ever seen. With one last breath I felt her slip out and I was washed over with the greatest feeling of relief and joy.

I looked down and saw a beautiful pink face confused by what had just transpired. Between her cries she stared at me and I knew she was mine and I kept on repeating the words that were just said to me just moments before “you are safe, you are loved”

I was looking at an image of my younger self; she was a miniature version of me. I looked up and announced “We have an Isla”. We were gifted a beautiful little girl that we instantly adored. It was a moment of apprehension and hesitation all in one, I so wanted to hold her and kiss her all over, but at the same time I didn’t. I was so unbelievably scared by what was before me.

Once everyone had settled down and we settled in, we said goodbye to our birth team. They left us tucked in our bed, the three of us under a clean white duvet. I expected that we wouldn’t get much sleep – everyone talks about how all they want to do is stare at their new baby, but we smiled at each other, slid her up the bed so we wouldn’t roll over and all drifted off into a deep sleep.

While she slept all day, we eventually woke up and invited our parents over for lunch. They were surprised to find us well rested and at home, and it was exactly how we wanted it. We popped champagne, we passed her sleepy body from one person to the next, and we shared secret smiles telling each other how proud we were of the other and of her. There was so much joy in our living room that day. So much love being poured on us and on her. So much of everything, that even to this day I can’t describe exactly how it felt to see such a tiny person make so many people so incredibly happy.

Thank you to Morag from Apple Blossom Families for the amazing images from her birth. As well as a huge thank you to Dawn at Pomegranate Midwives, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without your support and encourgement throughout the whole pregnancy and birth.


My whole life I’ve been searching for my life purpose. One time I thought I was to be a missionary to the far places within Africa, I once thought it was to design beautiful interiors, I also thought it was to take beautiful images of women and help them see their beauty. Those were all part of the journey, but were never my purpose – they were the vehicles for me to drive while slowly revealing what it was.

The funny thing is, it has been sitting in front of me, always asking me to pay attention to it. Always asking for more. I could never understand why I couldn’t turn down the noise.

For the past 8 years I have been working at it, developing it without even knowing, going down many different paths but somehow always leading back to the same result.

I always assumed it needed to be complex, something no one else would be able to do. But instead my life purpose is something so simple, it’s no wonder I didn’t see it.

The greatest thing, is how right this feels. The moment I identified what my life purpose was, this peace completely washed over me and I was able to sink in deeper to my truth.

Here it is:

Blog.
Write for other’s to read, to enjoy, to be inspired.

Does it surprise you?

I was finally able to answer why I haven’t given up, even when I’ve gone seasons without publishing a post. It finally made sense, why when I was in those seasons of not publishing, how blogging was always on my mind, how my heart yearned to publish another post.

What if no one ever reads anything I post?

I’m okay with that. When I push publish a blog post that I’ve been writing there is a softness in my heart that goes deep and expands to every inch of my body. It’s like my body has been given permission to exhale all the pent up energy it’s been holding. Pressing publish is the most freeing action of the process.

What if a million people read what I post?

That terrifies me, honestly, it does – but it doesn’t matter. My life purpose is to keep blogging and share my life, what is on my heart, and to inspire myself and other’s to go after their dreams.

What does that mean now?

I’m not sure where it will take me, but I’m much more open to sharing now. Everything was calculated and researched before this revelation. Now I’m excited to pour out my heart and share as much as I possibly can.

It feels so good to tell you this!

It also feels good to know what my life purpose and also a relief to know that it isn’t complex or difficult to pull off. That a million other people can do exactly what I do, and it’s okay if I’m just apart of the blogging community. I don’t need a banner flying or a parade down the street proclaiming my life purpose.

It’s okay that it’s a simple thing – I love it this way!

I wanted to tell you first before I share this publicly on my blog. I am always thinking of you when I write a post or when I don’t.

I’m not telling you this to make myself feel better, or say ‘Look what I did!’. This isn’t my intention at all. I’m sharing what is on my heart, as if you were sitting in my living room with that cup of tea you’re holding and you had just asked me what has been on my mind lately.

And since we’re sitting together, sharing. I’m curious, have you discovered what your life purpose is? Was it standing in front of you the whole time, was it a relief to have it revealed to you? Are you still wondering what it is? Do you have any inclination what it might be?

I would love to know, please share.

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  • June 10, 2014 - 10:27 AM

    Joanne - It’s really awesome that you’ve figured out what your life purpose is and I love that it’s so simple. Sometimes I know I tend to think that my life purpose has to be something life changing like “world peace” or something along those lines. But it doesn’t need to be that way. It could be as simple as just being a wife or being a mother. Or anything. Just depends on what season in life we’re in. I’m still trying to figure out what my life purpose is. I’m praying that once I figure it out, I’ll feel content and at peace with it. I might already know what it is but still feel a tug somewhere…..
    Thanks for sharing your life purpose. :) ReplyCancel

    • June 11, 2014 - 7:39 PM

      Lesley - Yes Joanne, I completely agree. Your life purpose can totally change depending on what season of life you’re in…or it can stay the same!ReplyCancel

  • June 10, 2014 - 11:00 PM

    Tanja - This is very interesting… Would you say inspiring others to follow their dream is closer to your purpose and blogging is just a way to do that? Or would you say the blogging is the actual purpose?

    In our case, if we weren’t photographing people, but doing something else, our “why” (or purpose) would stay the same… Photography is just one way to do it. It’s about what you want to be remembered for… The thumbstone exercise our coach gave us was very good for that: “what do you want people to remember you for?” Do you want to be remembered as “Here lies Lesley, she was a great blogger.”?

    I’m just hearing the voice of our coach in the back of my head when I read your post… He’d ask: “Why do you blog?” “Why is it so important for you to inspire others?”ReplyCancel

    • June 11, 2014 - 7:37 PM

      Lesley - Tanja, thank you for asking! I’ve given it some thought and still think that writing/blogging (however you want to say it) is my life purpose. I can’t promise that I’ll inspire anyone with my writing, I’m writing for myself mostly. If my tombstone read at the end of my years “Here lays a great blogger, Lesley Stefanski” I’d be okay with that – thrilled actually!ReplyCancel


I wake up and enjoy moments of yoga while the sun streams through our bedroom window. These moments alone, while Isla and Mister gets ready in the other room, prepare my mind and body for the day and I find so much delight in them. Once I am finished he hands me my morning latte and kisses me on the lips. I still get shivers and long for him, even eight years later.

Around noon I am walking around the house singing to Isla when Mister walks through the door. I hand her to him as he pushes me out the door to spend time alone – he’s booked me a surprise massage as an early Mother’s Day present. I drive slowly, soaking up how my body responds to being alone and realize that when she is with me I feel more confident in myself than ever before – I miss her. As my body relaxes under skillful hands of my massage therapist, I finally begin to turn of my mind to just be. The smell of lavender takes over the room while oil is soaking into my skin – I find myself completely relaxed and feel the kinks and soreness from my body being removed.

We drive away from the city towards the suburbs with fresh ice cream in a paper bag. As we enter my childhood home my youngest brother greets us with a huge smile, ‘Happy Birthday!’ we exclaim while handing him the ice cream. As we share stories and laughter over the home made pizza I realize that this spring it has been eight years since I made the decision to leave the philosophy of my youth and trek out on my own. As we celebrate my brother turning 24 I flash over my 24th year: the tears it brought, the hard decisions, and what became the most magical meeting of my life that has lead me to living a life I truly love.

Finally at night we do our nightly routine – I crawl into bed first and then a few minutes later he crawls in after me. He pulls me close and we cuddle under the blankets his body wrapped protectively over mine. We lay there until one of us gets too warm then we both kiss and move to our own cool sides. As we settle in he says his nightly ‘I love you’ and I ask him if he remembers the first time he said that to me. We lay there in the dark holding hands remembering that autumn evening where he told me with so much confidence and truth that he loved me.

Friday morning I find myself connected again to my mat and the sun, after Isla has gone down for her morning nap and Mister has already left for work. I stretch and pull my body into poses it hasn’t been in for quite some time and I feel it resist but mold itself just as I need it to. While Isla naps I tidy up the house and just enjoy more time alone. I find myself with my notebook and my pen finds the page again – writing and writing about anything and everything. A fear comes out…it’s about social media and I find myself once again wrestling with the privacy of my life and feeling like I need to be more open.

After a hot shower I prepare myself for the day before my dad comes for a visit. It has been years since the two of us spent anytime alone and I anticipate our day together. I place Isla in the pram and before I can even buckle her up, he’s standing at the end ready to push her away. We make our way to Gastown before settling on Nelson the Seagull for lunch. He tucks Isla and the pram right up next to him all the while commenting on the ‘very odd decor and eclectic customers’. As he enjoys his sandwich he is is astounded that lavender is used in cooking and baking and we laugh and enjoy each other’s company while taking sips of water from our mason jars. We have a lovely afternoon and continue our conversation on the seawall with take away coffees in our hands while he enjoys pushing Isla past all the other mothers and grandparents enjoying the sun.

After my dad leaves, Isla and I spend time just relaxing before putting her down for the night. When she has her final cry I open my laptop and write my thoughts out and am so happy with what has been released from me. I love being a Mother, and it feels so good to finally say it.

Mister comes home late but I’ve had such a lovely day of conversation with my dad, Isla being as sweet as can be, and writing as much as I can that I am in the best of moods. I prepared him a dinner of freshly baked salmon, a large salad and roasted asparagus, I see the love and pride in his eyes as I dress the table for him and present the meal. As we finish the evening off with a glass of dark red and listening to my new favourite piano composer we talk late into the night about love languages and communication. We fall asleep with our cups of love completely full, over flowing.

Saturday morning I wake up to the sounds of Isla talking to us from her room. I roll over and realize she let us sleep in a half hour and thank her, then roll back over hoping Adam will get her – it’s my mother’s day! He continues to sleep on his side of the bed so I hop out and sweep my daughter out of her bed and into my arms. I wouldn’t be celebrating this day if it wasn’t for her, so I willingly prepare her bottle before feeding her from my breast. As she suckles, tears well in my eyes that she is mine, that some how out of everything I’ve done in life God has decided that I’m enough to be blessed by her. I find myself spending a lot of time near her, wanting to soak her up as much as possible. Thankfully she loves to cuddle that she willingly obliges.

Mister prepares me a healthy breakfast, even though he wanted to go out to buy fresh pastries, I asked that he just prepare with what we have at home. I wasn’t in the mood for sweets and I also knew he had not planned his time appropriately and didn’t get me a card. It hurt, to deny him and myself. After breakfast I continued to get more antsy as I realize that he doesn’t have much planned. He does his usual Saturday morning tasks so I go to my sanctuary, my bedroom. I find myself in the bathroom trying to hold back tears. I try to rationalize the emotions I’m feeling – postpartum hormones, period hormones, expectations I shouldn’t have hormones. In the end I just know, I want to be celebrated. I don’t need lavish gifts just time and effort put in so that I feel special and that my day is special as well. He finds me in our bedroom, and I know he can feel my mood as he is much more attentive by rubbing my back or pulling me close on the bed. As we cuddle I hear him start to breathe deeper and the tears come again, running down my face while they pool around my ears. When he asks what I’m thinking I find my courage and tell him that his work takes too much of his mental space, that when he can’t plan his time correctly so that he has everything he needs to celebrate me, it makes me feel like I’m not worthy of his thoughts. I feel horrible telling him this, what if he has something amazingly planned for the afternoon?! But he doesn’t.

I shake off my sour feelings, there is no use in dwelling on it and decide, that no matter what, it will be a lovely day.

We drive out to South Granville to do some window shopping. I desire to have Isla as close to me as possible so we carry her in our arms in and out of stores and up and down the street. Every where we go she is admired as she smiles largely for strangers; I can see that she completely makes their day. I am so honoured and proud to call her mine. As we walk around West Elm we find the perfect settee for our office, the settee we have been searching for for months, the couch that put me into labour four months ago when we walked around the city in search of it. We make the decision to purchase it and I am astounded, here I am purchasing an item from West Elm! I’ve always felt too poor or not cool enough, yet there I am. We continue our way into Anthropologie and purchase two more mugs so that we all have a mug with our first initial and one with our last name. L.A.I.S. – I.S.L.A!

He prepares me a fabulous dinner of roasted honey glazed duck and a heirloom tomato salad. We finish off the evening on our new settee watching the latest episode of Mad Men and Game of Thrones. As I fall asleep later that night, I feel completely loved and cherished, despite how I felt in the morning.

On Sunday morning, officially Mother’s Day, I carry Isla around the house and he presents me with my Mother’s Day card. ‘To someone special on their very first Mother’s Day’. It’s perfect. My phone alerts me all day as I receive message after message of good wishes from friends and family. I feel loved, cherished, adored.

We head out, once again, to Surrey to celebrate my mom. I present her with a beautifully wrapped present in chocolate colored paper with a white satin bow. Anticipation floods me as she slowly opens it and when she sets her eyes on it I can see her hold back the tears. A beautiful quote on cardstock: When I saw you I fell in love and you smiled because you knew – Arrigo Boito and then next to it a framed picture of me holding three week old Isla. Simple, yet perfect for her.

Later in the evening I throw a wide brimmed hat and my large sunglasses on and I take Isla in her pram to head to the field to watch Mister play in the evening sun. I lay a white muslin blanket on the ground for us to sit on and am filled with so much awe and pride as Isla sits in my lap completely content to watch them play up and down the field. Out of the corner of my eye I see other teams look at us, we are stylish and put together sitting elegantly in the middle of sweaty gym bags. I see the other women who came to watch their husbands and am thankful that I take the time to look feminine, even on the soccer field. I feel that I am living out the best version of what Motherhood means to me, not because I have to but because I want to and it feels good. Oh so good.