I'm Jessica, the owner of Under the Sun Photography, most days you can catch me chasing my lil son on our family's homestead and fixing up a meal that'll stick to more than your bones., along with baby goats by my side. I love everything about my rural South Texas, our heritage and way of life makes it one of the best places to live, raise a family, and practice photography. Sit back, grab a cup of coffee and feel free to scroll through my blog. Mi casa es su casa. 

Meet Jess

How child-like wonder can make you happy during quarantine

Personal

I have been right there in your shoes. That awful feeling of anxiety. You know the kid of sickness that you feel in the deepest pit of your stomach? Triggered by frustration, and continuous overwhelm of financial worry? And you’re sitting there on an unending repeat wondering, “Why?”

“Why does life have to be so hard?”

It’s not a great feeling to have and boy, does it feel nearly impossible to get rid of those vibes. We’ve been right there with so many of you. J.T. & I have seen much turmoil in our lives, especially with farming and ranching. In farming there are so many steps in each day, then so many months before you can even attempt to have a great harvest. You see where I am going? Even in one task that seems like a simple repair can turn into unexpected setback, alone just to get only one thing accomplished of the 1,000 things on your to-do list to felt like nothing short of a complete act of God.

In the past, we would do everything right from planting, irrigation, spraying for disease, hog control, etc. Then luck have it overnight mother nature would take it all away. All of it gone. Usually just days away before harvest. Imagine hours and months of endless work to simply mean nothing. Nada. Zip. Don’t care – gone. Just kiss that crop goodbye.

I am in no form or fashion comparing the coronavirus to anything we have been through. Trust me, this is completely awful and a pandemic unlike any of us have ever seen. However, we have been through adversity and turmoil. And the one thing I have noticed with social media is so many are struggling emotionally. As we all know social media has a bad habit of showing perfection over reality, time and time again. Where so many have their joy robbed on a daily basis due to the ongoing and endless comparison game. Making the emotional state of health of so many even harder.

I’ll never forget that feeling of just feeling lost.

But I’m here to tell you, you will make it one way or another to the other side. I can’t tell you how, that’s between you and the good Lord above. However, during our moments of adversity we can choose to be either fearful or we can choose happiness. Yes, because happiness at the end of a day is a choice, and it is a choice you can make happen.

Also through adversity this is God’s view of giving you personal attention into your life, saying, “I see you, do you trust me? “

You don’t need Starbucks, Target, fancy meals, or rocking “outfits of the day” to make you happy in this moment or in life for that matter. (All which are places and things I do love but I have and can live without.) I know us moms, a bag of popcorn, gift card, and 2 hours to roam Target kid-free sounds like practically heaven. But, believe me it’s not what you have to have in order to be happy. Nor will it sustain your happiness long term.

Trust me, I have to tell myself or have JT tell me this same advice over and over again.

Happiness is a choice.

I’m no guru or professional on this subject but hey if I can help just one person with this post then my soul will be oh so happy! I have defintely had my cloudy/rainy days, but I am here to tell you can learn to dance in the rain.

So how can we promote happiness through a time like this?

Same as what we use to do before. Search within and find your child-like wonder. No matter how upset I am, J.T. can always find a way to do something completely childlish and put a big smile on my face.

If you haven’t met my husband, he’s 6’2 and just turned 30. Just a few months ago he took over the kids bouncy house at a 1 year old’s birthday party. It not only made me laugh and smile but literally about a group of 30 people lit up as well. Then 2-3 other Dads hopped in and took over the bouncy houses as well. Proving laughter and finding your inner child can make for a great path to happiness. Especially, during times that are where elements of our life are completely out of our control.

Unleash your child-like wonder

Since we have been under quarantine, I have had my 4 year old son, Parker home with me for the last several weeks. As a parent, I knew I couldn’t just sit home and dwell on the virus, or how it impacted my business since I have had reschedule weddings and sessions. I had to turn and look at this time at home as an opportunity. Think about it, you’re being given time. Many that are deemed essential businesses aren’t even allowed to have what we have with our families. Seriously, medical field, grocers, first responders, you guys are the worlds super heros right now.

So when you look at this from an outside perspective, you can see how truly lucky we are. I want to get back to work just as much as anyone else, trust me – but that power is not in my control. But I can control my actions, my mindset, and how I spend my time at home.

Now I ask for each of you to turn the TV off, stop reading the news for a moment and let’s unleash your inner child. If you read this and think it’s silly, good! That’s what the whole point is, I want you to be silly, have fun, and get your mind off of today’s worries.

Are you ready?

Below I have put together 20 ideas on how to evoke your child-like wonder. Be a kid! Do you remember what you were like when you were 5/10 years old? Carefree. Just go and be silly with it. Deep down we are still those kids, you might feel “silly” but hey that’s the whole point. Forget your troubles at the door and just be a kid for a minute or two.

  1. Have a pillow fight – yep, grab a pillow and toss it at your loved one. They might look at you funny on the first pillow toss but they’ll likely laugh on the 3rd or 2nd. Trust me, again age doesn’t matter here. Also I’ve used paired & folded socks on J.T. especially when he’s napping and I’m about to put away laundry. Not that long ago the balls from a baby’s ball pit, they’re pretty comical. My parents have even joined on this before laughing throughout the kids playroom.
  2. If you have Nerf guns… nerf gun wars. We just expanded our nerf gun collection. Parker and the girls have literally laughed for hours on this. Who knew shooting foam darts could be so fun? Then when I got tired of being shot at, I sent them outside. Five minutes later I see the 3 of them chasing and practicing their aim on our the guineas. Comical stuff! If you’re feeling really brave water gun fights are a known Easter ritual in our family. J.T. & his cousins always started this every Easter … up until a year or two ago they stopped, the main reason? Everyone started having more and more kids. Cold water and babies don’t mix.
  3. Bake. Nothing is more magical to a child than taking basic ingredients and making something delicious. It can be literally anything. If you don’t have eggs, use apple sauce as a replacement. Also you haven’t done this right if you don’t lick the bowl. My favorite is when Parker asks me, “Mama are we going to make some pupcakes?”
  4. Race around the yard with your kid or spouse, yes you heard me rifght.. race. P and I have raced back and forth from the barns. You don’t have to be fast, it just has to be fun. Also you need to yell out, “last one is a rotten egg”. Like I said, evoke your true inner child here at all costs.
  5. Fly a kite. Something so simple, but it’s so wonderful. There’s truth into the Mary Poppins scene “Let’s go fly a kite”. One of my friends this week said she did this for the first time in years and almost started crying. Why do we deprive ourselves to be adults all the time?
  6. Make family movie night happen – now this isn’t just sitting on the ol’ couch we’ve all seen. In a child’s eyes this needs to be new, grab an air mattress, blankets, pillows, popcorn, drinks, and everyone sit together. We use to do these every Friday, and when I got busier we stopped. Now we have brought it back and keeping it. We watched “Onward” and P loved it, and we did too.
  7. Play with your dogs. Throw the ball, try to beat them to it. Talk in your high pitch puppy parent voice. Do all the silly things with them. They’ll love you for doing so.
  8. Get out under the stars. When I would get home at 2 am from a wedding the stars were absolutely beautiful. Breathtaking on our farm. But I never stopped to appreciate them until last week. Parker & I and the girls dragged the air mattress to the yard. We got ice cream, blankets, and we played a game of “What do you see in the stars?” The girls would say, “Birthday hats” or “Butterfly” and oh my, Parker’s answer was my favorite! “Mama, look a cockroach!” They did this for hours, I had bistro lights up and they also played in the yard endlessly. Then the rest of the barn crew joined in.
  9. Color, draw, paint. Yep, sit and color. With P, I have made making his name fun by trying to draw the letter “P” with different colors. Make monster trucks, whatever they wanted. It’s 10x harder for an adult to try to think of what to draw, don’t be literal just pick up the pen doodle and have fun with it.
  10. Tending to a garden. I don’t have a great track record despite being a Farmer’s wife so I hear all of you that say you have a black thumb. But, since we planted our seeds on March 1st I cannot get over how we have taken care of these sweet plants every day. Parker’s eyes light up to see that what started from a tiny little seed is now a large plant. He’s so proud of our little garden and loves to nurture and care for them every day. It’s been a lot of fun and therapeutic for me too!
  11. Jump in a puddle. What better way to dance in the rain than jump in puddles? Parker and his little legs will run as fast as he can and jump into the biggest puddle on the farm. 10 extra points if it splashes above your knees! Again, don’t just watch your kids.
  12. Put a puzzle together. We haven’t done this yet, but I know we have a puzzle somewhere in this house that could be done… along with my wine.
  13. Read something that you have been wanting to but never have. Right now I am taking time to read one of my new personal projects, I just began an individual bible study. I used to do this back at Tarleton State as a student and I loved it. So now I have found one I can do on my own and in hopes that I keep it part of my routine, post corona virus.
  14. Sit out on the yard in a lawn chair… without your phone. Check in with what’s around you in the present.
  15. Have breakfast for dinner. J.T. doesn’t like this too much but man I love breakfast for dinner. Fried eggs, pancakes, bacon… insert the heavenly accord. Or you can J.T.’s favorite version – cinnamon life cereal.
  16. Make a volcano. We had a science kit, but you can also take a mound of dirt and fill with baking soda & vinegar.. viola you got yourself a volcano. You can add food coloring to make it look like lava.
  17. Take chalk out to the sidewalk or front porch. Make whatever you want.
  18. Play card games or dominoes. This I hadn’t done just yet but I do love a good game of 42. It’s been a while since I have played but man it’s a lot of fun. Also our good friends taught us about liars dice, and it’s pretty great one to play. You’ll need about 30 dice though.
  19. If you have ponds, tanks, go skip rocks on the water.
  20. Go out and walk in search of wildflowers at your local park (if it’s allowed) farm, or ranch.

How do you know everything is going to be okay?

Honestly, I am unsure of God’s plans we all are, but one thing I do have it faith that everything is going to work out and be okay. And you know what? It always has. If you need further assurance reference 2 Corinthians 4:8-12 below.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

Again my heart goes out to each of you. But know the best is yet to come. And in the meantime, be a kid and worry less when you can.

Love you all !!

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