arielle elise » arielle elise photography

a few things i’ve learned.

i’m still amazed and in awe that i have this precious gift. i am shaping and teaching a tiny life that will grow up and have his own little personality one day. my prayer is that he will be raised to see that his parents love Jesus. i want to lead by example. i want to treasure each and every day that i get to spend with my little guy, and i’m thankful for the lessons the Lord is teaching me through being a mom…

since leland has been born, i’ve learned to be extremely flexible with time. if i need to run an errand and don’t have the time after he drinks his bottle, then that is ok. i can’t just pack up and run out the door like i used to which is a lesson of patience. for someone who is super independent (like me) and like to be on-the-go….definitely, a lesson of patience.

…i will say though, that is not easy. at least not for us. it has it’s challenges. we went from two incomes- two salaries, to one. and let me clarify a little….neither jay nor i have college degrees. it’s not like jay has some amazing three number salary job that gives us this privilege for me to stay home with leland.  i could be working, oh yes, and have some money to live way above our means. you know, get a nice car, go shopping more often, get some fancy furniture, have some saving money…but i don’t think i’m doing that anytime soon. i’ve learned to be content. let me say it again: i’m learning to be content. :) to fix my eyes on the eternal. it’s not always easy. for years, i was able to use my money for shopping and things i didn’t really need but now i don’t really have that opportunity. funny thing is, a lot of that stuff i don’t need any way. and so, it is worth it. i know everyone has their own circumstances and i have a lot of respect for working moms.  for us, living simpler, doing photography from home and staying with leland is worth it.

before i had leland i thought to myself “i will never be one of those mom’s whose house has toys every where. toys all over the floor and bouncy seats stacked up in the baby’s room.” to me, maybe i thought i was better than to have toys everywhere. (sad, huh?) welp, guess what? in our house there are toys and leland’s things everywhere. i also thought i could get all of leland’s toys and clothes to be all vintagy and modern but i quickly found that too, was an unrealistic expectation.  this “i never will….”  mentality was really just my stinkin’ pride. my image- my son’s image…it was all a form of pride. i’m also learning to let this go and live life a little.

five years ago, i never imagined i’d be a mom at this age…it is amazing how His plans are not always our plans and yet how beautiful they turn out to be when we trust Him. i’m so thankful for this little guy- what a blessing he is! (psalm 127:3)



Such a beautiful post. Children are always a blessing and I’m praying when I become a mother, if that’s God’s plan for me and my hubby that I can too raise them to see Jesus in our lives. You have one adorable little boy, such a blessing. Thank you for sharing what God’s teaching you. Be blessed and keep writing, love reading updates :)

i agree with so much of what you said!! he’s a doll.

I’m not a mom, but even in newly-wed life I’ve said “I’ll never do that.” Guess what? I did. Haha. I’m sure I will find that true as a parent as well.

My favorite part is ” being a stay at home mom and living on one income is not impossible. ” love it! They grow up so fast, I could imagine someone else spending all day with my little ones :)

So sweet! I love this; and what a cutie!

I love this list, Arielle. Especially the never say never and my time is not really my time. I have a feeling God is going to teach me the exact same lessons when I have a little one some day! ;)

i love that you didn’t imagine being a mom at this age…it makes me curious to imagine where i’ll be in 5 years…goodness!

i love this. I can’t wait to be a mom. and have toys thrown all around the house . and be exhausted. and no me time. well i CAN wait but I’m excited for it

Wow, he’s beautiful! A gift you really have to cherish :) I hope I’m going to be a mom in a year or five

thanks for sharing your wisdom, beautiful girl!

helpful and challenging. : )

sweet lady! this post is so encouraging! i am with you on so many of those things – its amazing how having a little one changes so much. we are just getting ready to go from 2 incomes to 1 income & neither my husband or i have degrees. any advice/ budget tips that you have i would LOVE!


I really enjoy reading your blogs, especially this one. I can completely relate to where you are in life. I also thought when I had kids…”one day” that I would never have toys, diaper bags, bottles, blankets, pacifers etc…all over the house. I always wanted a neat and orderly house. Guess what? Our home has all of these things everywhere…I failed to mention what the car looks like ;)
And it is definitely a lesson of patience to do things around a baby’s schedule instead of your own. I was always a very independent person and would just run out the door for a gallon of milk or to the store to shop for a couple of things (that I didn’t really need, but wanted). I now find myself consolidating my trips and making lists of what I need, so that I can get everything in one trip. I’ve definitely become more organized and really value the few spare moments that I do have. This was really difficult for me, but like you said…”I’m learning to be patient”. It is definitely not easy though! Although life as a mom is not what it used to be by any means, it is so worth it and so rewarding! I wouldn’t change a thing! I love being a mom.
Your blogs are always encouraging! I enjoy reading them, they make you think about what is really important in life. God bless you and your family!

I was surprised that neither of you have college degrees. It makes me hopeful since right now neither does my soon-to-be-husband nor myself. It’s encouraging that someone else can do it and still be able to stay home with their little one.

I love your pictures. I’m glad you two are able to be on 1 income. I think about that all the time when my time comes, how much I don’t want to work and will have to go to 1 income.

I know it’ll be difficult yet trusting and relying on God while being able to enjoy every moment with your precious one is more than enough for me, I think.

I love your pictures…especially with his hat. So cute.

This is a great post. Everything you’ve said is true & I can totally relate :) Learning to be content is difficult for sure!

LOVE this post. It’s amazing what you learn through being a mother. The lord sharpens us and teaches us to be less selfish in order to be selfless mom’s for them! it’s a hard lesson though!

great verse, and great pictures!

Girl, I am in your SAME boat! OH how we could talk for hours over coffee :)

Such a cutie!!! Love his smile :)

my husband and I don’t have degrees either, so that issue has weighed heavily on my heart whenever I think about being a mommy someday. I know that I want to be able to stay home for sure! Sometimes it is hard to see that could be reality for us. I know the Lord can provide, but my mind likes to convince me otherwise.
Thank you for sharing this Arielle!
such an encouraging post to me!

very thoughtful and beautiful post, i love that you are a reflective person about such things!

this is such a beautiful and precious post. not only because Leland is such a doll, and the photos are gorgeous, but because of what you had to say. I love that you pointed out that you are focused on the eternal and not on the material. lovely. you are lovely and inspiring <3
~Andrea @

Anna Kennedy

These pictures are adorable!!

I agree 100% with each and every word you have said, especially the last two points. I am a stay at home mom and it is CHALLENGING. very very challenging. It is tempting to think about working and make more money for the family, but at the end of the day, it is so very rewarding to stay home and watch this little creature grow up before your eyes!

this is precious

excellent post <3

A HEARTY, “Amen” to the statement that it IS possible to be a stay-at-home mom and live on one income and I live in Southern CAL-I-FOR-NIA! I can DEFINITELY attest to that! Gregg made less an hour than I did when I was a Medical Records Assistant, before Leala was born, making $11 an hour. But I had experienced God’s provision when I was out of work for 3 months before I got that position, so I was able to live by faith that God could take care of 3 on one income too. At the right time, God provided a $1.50 raise, government grants paid for Gregg’s WHOLE university education, tax returns paid for the 2 bedroom apartment we had to move into by law (we were making a 1 bedroom work with Leala, but a baby’s on the way), a VERY generous lady from church has seriously been providing for ALL of Leala’s clothes since she turned 1… and I’m sure other things that I’m not remembering in this moment. Sharing 1 car (and now living walking distance from Gregg’s work and our church), not having cable or cell phones, and cooking meals at home so we don’t eat out saves us money. I get SO EXCITED testifying to how God provides for His will to be accomplished and it’s been exciting as He’s been answering my prayers to find more ways that I can save our family money. It’s on my heart to encourage moms to be open to the possibility that staying at home can be a reality too. I LOVE that you shared this!

I have been a reader of yours for a while now and it is not hard to see what a great and whole-hearted person you are! Leland is so blessed to have you as a mom. Keep it up :)

Leland has such a sweet little face! I love when you share your thoughts on being a stay-at-home mom because I too will be a stay-at-home mom… and I too am learning (even as a stay-at-home wife) that God is shaping me to embrace the meaning of “less is more.” It’s a major blessing to have the opportunity to stay home, but it’s also a major challenge to learn how to live on one income. It’s an encouragement to know that I’m not the only one facing these types of challenges!

Such a sweet post and such a sweet little boy!

This is so beautiful.

And he is SO adorable. I could just eat him up. For real.

The part where you talk about never say never is something I struggle with. The whole my kid will never act x, y or z. I just have a pride issue. I think what we don’t realize before we have kids is that they will act out, they are kids. Then we try to teach them right from wrong.

I appreciate your honesty! It means a lot :)


aww…. Leland is so stinkin’ cute! ;) love the post and the pics!!! :)
by the way, i was just wondering what denomination (sp?) y’all are (presbyterian, non-denominational, reformed, etc)?

Giving GOD the Glory!

This is so true! I’m still learning these things as I stay at home with my 17 month old little girl. It’s a constant learning process and some things you never master, you just have to keep striving. Your little boy is so adorable.

amy day to day

Hey there! Recently stumbled across your blog, and have fallen in love with it! Your love story and wedding is so beautiful! Love reading about your adventures as a stay at home wife and mom to that adorable baby! =D

Love this! Especially the “never say never”—so true

Wow … deja’vu’ I tell ya! This brought back memories of my little family … much of what our lives were like, and what we went through in our earlier years, are written here in your words. Thank you for sharing this, Arielle! Even after all these years (28) we’re still living on one income, and it is definitely doable … hey, with God, all things are possible, and He enjoys proving it over and over again! No college degrees here, either. We knew in advance that I would quit my job as an oral surgeon’s assistant, and I did so about 2 weeks before our little guy was born, never to regret the choice to be a stay-at-home-wife/mom, and to home school Ian. Hubby has a small business installing wood flooring .. been doing that ever since we met. It’s not always consistent, so I started selling handcrafted soap/candles about 10 years ago, to pick up the slack … {now I’m off on this photography adventure and we’re waiting to see where God takes us with that}. Yes, there have been challenging times, but they drew us to our knees where we found that God is such a loving and faithful Provider of all things, physically, materially, but especially spiritually, and we’ve learned over the years to choose what is most important. I love how God is showing you those things, too, Arielle … press on and you’ll find that the best is yet to come! And of course, I adore all these images … now, how can you not want to squeeze that little guy … he is so full of cuteness, and truly blessed to have loving Godly parents like the two of you! :) Have a beautiful day!

Love ~ Deborah
P.S. This didn’t show up the first time, so I’m trying to submit it again … sorry if there are two from me!

I feel you! I felt the same way before my little one was born and now I’m off of my high horse and realizing being a great mother and wife has nothing to do with perfection! Love the post!

What I think is wonderful is that you’ve learned these lessons at your age. I don’t mean that to sound awful, but do you know how many young mothers there are out there who still think and act as if the world revolves around them? I admire your selflessness and your care for your son. It appears that you’re a wonderful mother.


thank you so much rachel! (and congratulations on your new little guy…he’s adorable!) it is so awesome to read from other moms and how they are learning the same lessons as well. very encouraging… i love being a mom as well and i had no clue how much it would teach me… learning to patient is definitely not easy for me but i guess it’ll take time :) we have the advantage of being a mom pretty young which i think will be a huge blessing as we get older!

thank you again :) many blessings to you & yours!


thank you so much scout! i definitely have a long way to go but i’m thankful for the lessons motherhood is teaching me! :)


thank you linka! :)


this is SO encouraging to read! once again confirmation and a blessing to read from someone who has already been where i am today. i feel like the Lord has been placing others in my life who are older than i so that i can look up to them and the lessons and advice that they can give :) some days staying home is a lot easier than others while other days i am ready to throw in the towel and go find a job. the biggest lesson so far has been contentment :) like you said, choosing what is most important spiritually!

thank you for the encouragement!! many blessings to you!



thank you natalie! :)


thank you amy! :)


thank you so much abby! we are non-denominational :)
blessings <3


thank you delaney :) totally know what you mean!


thank you becky :) i totally agree….it is a major blessing but also challenging!


yolanda i loved this!! you really should write on your blog about this some more :) i am always blessed by how faithful (and how you never seem to complain) about being at home and living on one income. it is difficult- especially with a tight budget…but you are so right….it really is very possible. i have heard that s. california is SO expensive too! i love the encouragement- it means more than you know! :)


thank you mary! :)


i totally agree….very challenging but very worth it :) blessings to you!


thank you so much andrea :)


” I know the Lord can provide, but my mind likes to convince me otherwise.” me too ;)

thank you for the encouragement amylou! <3


haha! definitely :)


i definitely agree! thank you chelsea :)


yes it is! :) but i suppose it’s worth it ;)
blessings cory!


thank you so much emily :)
hope you’re having a great week!


haha- if you have any advice/budget tips i would love to know as well! ;)
thank you for the encouragement- i definitely think going from 2 incomes to 1 is so worth it!
blessings to you!


thank you debby :)


thank you ashlee!
btw- absolutely love your pictures from greece! :)


thank you katy! :)


thank you so much for the encouragement amy :) blessings to you!

This is such a beautiful post and so inspiring.. I can’t wait till these sorts of things come to pass in my life, this, to me is success. I especially love that you made a point about living off one income with a wee one. My parents did the same, my dad on a small salary and my mother stayed home, and now so many women I know are rushing back to work straight away so they can keep affording the things they were used to before starting a family. To not need this so urgently is a wonderful philosophy and a great model! x

your little guy is so adorably chunky cute =) praise God!

And only the Lord God through the Lord Jesus can give us peace that surpasses ALL understanding. Amen!

You’ve got a great blog and a beautiful son.
I am a young new father and can relate to this post.


lol! so are we!!! ;)
Giving GOD the Glory!

My Beautiful Life

You are spot on about all of this. We too, decided for our family, we would rather go without “things”, and choose one salary, and be able to stay at home. It was hard because my job had great benefits, that are hard to find these days. Also, the never say never is so true. I was gung ho about daycare. Signed up months in advance, plunked down my deposit (the good ones are reserved months in advance), and when it was time for him to go, I couldn’t do it. Thankfully hubby was on board, and we made the decision to choose to stay at home. My car will be approaching 200,000 miles in less than 40,000 miles, but I don’t care. We don’t have any credit card debt, and we have learned to be content with what we have. Beautiful post, Arielle.

this is such a beautiful post. first, leland is gorgeous and second, im proud of you for being a good mom and dedicating your time to care for him. im not married yet, but i used to think that i wouldnt want to be a stay-at-home mom, but now im seeing through all you faith-blog moms how awesome and important it would be to spend those crucial early years with my children at home. no one better than their mom to teach them about Jesus and to lead them by example. I’m sure God will take care of you and your family as you have chosen to honor Him.

I seriously can’t get over how ADORABLE he is! What a sweet little guy, and you are such a good mama. <3

this little guy is suuuch a cutie!!

This is a wonderful blog, could you be interested in going through an interview regarding just how you created it? If so e-mail me!

It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people for this subject, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and the rest of the website is very good.

An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me breakfast due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this subject here on your blog.

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