Category: Personal

Mager’s had a Little Lamb: Our Baby Shower!

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Over the weekend we celebrated the soon arrival of our sweet little bean with family and friends.

The weeks leading up to our baby shower, there were multiple times, and people who stepped up to help, that literally brought me to tears.

The love, support, excitement, and all the feels that come with anticipating your first child….

Yup, they were all there!

I’ve adored Cottonwood Barn since the moment it opened, and the couple who own it, Laura and Dan, have been nothing but amazing to me every time we’ve worked there or been in contact. When they agreed to host our shower there, I was like a toddler on Christmas morning, and I couldn’t have dreamed up anything more beautiful than the place we walked into to celebrate our little one. Words cannot describe how incredibly thankful and blessed we are for all the hands that went into making this celebration so epic for us. Not a detail was missed, and those same (hormonal or not) tears filled my eyes as I entered.. Our best friends, and family are to thank for this amazing day- we will always smile as I look back on.

We celebrated with a DELICIOUS Dashing Dish dessert bar (with my favorite, LEMON, and a few donuts, because let’s be real, what pregnant woman doesn’t like donuts?)

A drink bar, which also had my favorite, Lemon-mint water, and ICE TEA (this has been a HUGE craving of mine the past 3 months)

And the yummy food, which of course was a “baby-Q” since that has always been our favorite! Mamma Mager made waffle cone fruit cups, and the cutest ever watermelon baby carriage.

Mom, Mamma Mager, Katie, Em, Heather, Ashley, Lindsay, Daighna & Natasha… WONDER-WOMEN! <3 I cannot possibly thank you enough, and I promise you all get the first baby snuggles when SHE makes her debut this October. 

And thank you for EVERYONE who came out- near and far – to celebrate with us, in the heat, but with smiles on your face. We are still blown away by everyone’s generosity as we welcome this new chapter. Even if the gifts had me in stress tears when we came home, because I couldn’t figure out the car seat…or how to set up a pack ‘n’ play.

Parenting is a journey we are so excited to be on together, as husband and wife, and with all of you! <3

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and the little one still beating inside my belly,

Dayna, Matt & Little Bean.

{and special thank you to Daighna & Katie for capturing these photos for me!)

And let’s be honest, the reason you came, or are reading this now, is for the GENDER REVEAL we had you all waiting for!!!!!! 

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What this girl, who lost her dad, wants you to know this Father’s day…

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Last month I came across a beautiful article with a similar title, and it sparked something in me. Writing has always been healing outlet, and as I approach my second Father’s day after losing my dad, I knew I had to share a piece of my heart with every girl, or woman, who has lost their dad- expectedly or unexpectedly, because our hearts are tied together. In this life, finding hearts that have been through similar struggles, and letting them heal the part that is broken inside of you, is vital in your healing.

Everyone’s story is different.

We are built different. But the hole inside of our hearts when losing a dad, a parent, or a loved one, is the nagging reminder that everyday they are not there. Until the day, we find what was meant to heal that hole in our heart from the beginning. As I sit here in the studio, with pictures of my loved ones around me, including my dad’s senior photo, I ponder things I wish people would have known from the beginning, and things I wish I would have known the first year after losing him come flooding back.

1)   Forgive me with grace – Looking back, and still even now sometimes, there are days, that for some reason or another, I’m reminded of the smallest things about my dad. I see a dad walking with his little girl at the park, or  downtown, I witness a daddy daughter dance, or as he gives his little girl away at the isle and I cry. I still cry.  I have let myself be okay with that. I don’t want you to walk on egg shells around me when talking about your dad, or telling me about how he makes a point to take you out to dinner as a “daddy daughter” date. The first few months, this was hard, but it is beautiful. If you have that kind of relationship with your dad, that’s beautiful, and you should never be afraid to share that.

2) Everyone’s story is different – My dad and my story is completely different from most people’s. Our relationship was restored, through a life changing diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s. A bittersweet journey restored, and hand crafted by Our Creator as I knew he was NOT the author of my dad’s sickness, but if I looked towards Him, and His promises to me, He would turn ashes to beauty, (Isaiah 61:3), restore the lost time (Joel 2:25), and repay double for the heartache (Job 42:10). I had a choice, I could live in the past, or make the next however many years my dad and I  had together, the best that we had seen.

3)   Ask about him – Many people don’t know how to approach this one, especially as time goes on, or they never knew your dad they way you did. Especially people closest to us, they think that bringing him up will bring back painful memories, when actually, quite the opposite is true. I still talk about my dad. Regularly. Sometimes out of the blue. It’s okay. It helps us heal.  To this day, I still buy my dad a birthday, Christmas, and Father’s day card. We still think about them. It’s okay to ask about him. Please ask.

4.)  Don’t take yours for granted – This is a huge one for me, and quite honestly, the hardest one for me to talk about. DAILY I come across girls, friends, strangers, family, who take their dad’s for granted. If he’s always been there, set curfews, given you rules, PRAYED for you, helped you with finances, put car in your gas, called to make sure you got home safe (even after you are married), surprised you at work, bought or picked you flowers, hugged you just because, or called to say he loved you, you are extremely blessed. I didn’t experience much of that with my dad while he was here, but I SEE, I hear stories of this, and it blesses my heart. Even though my dad’s gone, a promise YOU can make to us girls who don’t have their dad around to hug, or say I love you back – is to appreciate him. Thank him. TREASURE those times. 

5)  MAKE time to MAKE memories – In such a busy world, and with division of all kinds attacking the very thing that was made in the image of God, Family is important. Your dad is important. No matter how busy, or how far- MAKE the time to see him. MAKE the time to surprise him by showing up out of the blue, or by cooking his favorite meal. Take time to discover his favorite meal. Laugh together, talk about the future, and the past. Just make the time.

6)  Take Photos – My dad HATED being in photos, and if you got him in a photo- it was usually with a grimacing grin (those who know my dad, know exactly the face). But you know what? We treasure those photos. We LAUGH about those photos. Because in 5, 10, 20 years when our children ask about their grandpa, those photos will be the only thing they know him by, and the stories that we tell from the times those photos were taken. Take even the hard photos. As my dad got sick, I continued to take photos. Not to be morbid, but to document the journey of us. To remember the struggle, but the beauty that came in the days where he could say my name, or the days where though he was weak, he was still one of the strongest men in my life. I have a photo curled up next to him, in his bed, from the night he passed. Not so I could show to others, but so in 20 years, when that memory may become faint, I can remember the worship song I was singing to him as I fell asleep next to him in his hospital bed. I can remember being woken up 3 minutes before he passed into a new life, and the way my mom and I held his hand as he went into heaven. That photo, though many could not understand why I took it, that photo will remind me of our last chapter, till I see him again someday- healed, restored, next to my Father in Heaven! Take the photo…

7)  No one can replace him – Though no one can replace him, there are days I wish someone would try. I always know my Heavenly Father is there, but there are days where I just need a dad. I want to call my dad and tell him how close that basketball game was, how the ref’s totally blew the Lions game, or…. the day we found out that he was going to be a grandpa for the first time. Those days, I wish someone was there. I have an amazing Father in Law whom I love dearly, and he has taught me so much. We have Godly men in our life, whom we trust and look up to- and I would call in an instant. But, the truth is, I hate seeing my mom alone, I want someone to be there, to try and take my dads place, knowing full well they never could, but to try.

8) Help someone else heal – I never knew how huge this was until this past year, when a little girl stole my heart, who had just lost her dad. The more I was there for her, and just loved her, the more I realized the healing that was coming to my heart, as hers was starting to open again. We would write letters to our dads, who ironically, happened to share the same name, and just talk about them. We would sing their favorite songs, and laugh about silly memories of them, and goofy accents they would talk in. That little girl brought me so much, and I am really writing this for her. As her mom may start dating again, for her to know, and be sure of these things. To always know her Heavenly Daddy is there to talk to on day’s she’s lonely- and that he did NOT take her dad away from her. That no one will be able to replace her dad, and that it is okay to let someone else in. To cherish the moments, and not hold them in, to continue to talk about her dad, like he is in the next room. To cry if it hurts, but not to stay in the place of sadness because so many future memories are robbed and lost there. The sting of being a daddy’s girl may linger, but there is hope.

9)  Find hope in Your Heavenly Daddy – There is a beautiful love letter from Your Heavenly Father, and from this, it shows His heart towards His children.

Don’t run from Him,

Don’t be afraid of Him… and don’t blame Him. 

10)  There is still hope for the future – This father’s day for me, is lined with so much Joy, as my best friend, my partner in crime, my other half, will be celebrating as a Daddy for the first time, as we are expecting our first child in October. I have always dreamed of this. Of having the chance to see the one I love more than anyone in this world, raise a family with me. Become a dad. Teach our son how to ride a bike, or our daughter her worth as a Princess in Christ. To date her, to love her, to be a coach for his little league team, to watch them play, to work through the teenage years. To pray as a family, to confess the word over them from the time they are created in the womb. This year, I have a new joy- seeing that unfold. Something that was so profound to me, and I don’t think he ever realized it- was when I told our Pastor that we were expecting. He said something that gave me so much hope, and flipped the coin completely on how I looked at things.

In the past, when the happiness having children came up in my heart, it was usually followed by the nagging thought in my mind was how unfortunate it was that our children would never know my dad. But on that day, our pastor shifted my thinking when he said…

“How exciting that your dad will get to spend the long side of eternity with his grandchildren.”

That was beautiful. It was a life changing moment for me. Something so simple. To realize, they WILL know him, not just through our memories, but when they meet their Creator someday…

Find Hope.

Cherish memories.

Make time.

This father’s day- don’t take for granted what you have, or live in the past of what you could have had.

Pursue grace, and find hope.

blessings, dayna

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Your Children May “Hate” You | A Mother’s Day Post

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I’ve spent many years thinking, dreaming really, of the kid of mom I would be. Do I have what it takes? What if I don’t? What if I do? What if I’m THAT mom… or what if, at the end of the day, the end of my life, this was my true calling, my true purpose in life. The question that is inside most women, that scares them, is not what if I don’t have what it takes, what scares them… what scares me… is what if I DO?

What if I DO have what it takes.

There is something I have learned from the amazing mothers I call friends, the amazing family of “mamma’s” I married into, and from my mom.

Being a mom never means perfection.

It never means you’ve arrived,

and it may never mean you  “feel”  like a “good mom”

The struggle is real, the question of,  “could I have spent more time,” “Should I have said no, said yes,” taken them to that school?” fed them that,”

yelled less, played more, worked less, vacationed more?…

The answer is this, no.

There may be days where your children act up, where they may “hate” you or throw a fit over what color cup you give them, but the reality of it is,

You’ve done incredible.

You ARE doing incredible.

I’ve seen from a distance, and up close –

and I’ve seen under pressure, under circumstances that no family, no woman, should have to go through.

I’ve seen strength in the midst of the scary unknown.

I’ve seen peace, in the midst of discipline.

I’ve seen hope in the midst of brokenness and heartache.

I’ve seen thriving marriages after 2,3,4+ children.

I’ve seen some these woman, in their best, and some quite maybe at their absolute worst- and when I think about the incredible job they are doing,

or they have done- I get emotional.

They make me feel something.

What they make look so effortless to me, many times, on the inside, they are going through silent storms of not feeling good enough.

Feeling lonely- afraid, unsure, and doubting the impact they are making on their children.

But then, there, in the midst of the chaos, the doubt, there’s a moment. A moment where I witness them in their absolute best.

In their “ah-ha” moment…

Telling my mom- that she was going to be a grandma for the first time, after two days later to be diagnosed with breast cancer- the HOPE she has, the strength, the fight, and gentleness about her.

Witnessing the birth of two of my best friends in the entire world, become moms- for the first time, and holding that miracle we use to play dress up and dream about as little girls.

A beautiful friend, building a life with the hunky farmer boy of her dreams, raising 3 beautiful kids, feeling on days like giving up, but the unspoken bond the 5 of them have, leaves me inspired to pursue that as we start a family.

Striking a GOLD MINE of a mother in law- the mother of my husband, who spent years, since the day he was born, praying for his future spouse. Knowing and believing that someday, she would encourage him in his walk with Christ, and together, they would have a marriage designed to pursue the Kingdom of God, and raise a family to do the same.

Watching a little boy and girl, now look to their mommy, in the role of mommy AND daddy…. The pressure that she may feel, defiantly not giving herself enough credit, but knowing in the deepest place of her heart, that her husband would be enamored at the way their two beautiful babies run into her arms, with smiles and spirits that light up the room.

These women, these families, OUR mothers, and the family we are starting now, as I celebrate my “first mother’s day”- help me remember, that I may never feel “ready”.  I may never feel like a “perfect” mom- or like I did enough, or am doing enough. But I know one thing…

I will love gently, seek wisdom, learn selflessness, take the time, believe the best, have the hard conversations, set boundaries, but most importantly,

Pray for them, to be a mother and father who pursue the things of  God as we look to HIM to raise our children, and…

We will BE there. 

We may not always be a FRIEND to our children, there WILL be days we miss it, day’s they may “hate” us, but as we pursue the process over perfection, and the Lord as our provider, we will BE there, all there, which will look different from each mother’s journey- because it will not be theirs, but OURS.

To the Mother’s we celebrate today, and every Mother around the world, may you feel the gentle love of your Heavenly Father cheering you on, and leading you to push forward on days where you don’t think you can…. Remember, you are doing incredible….

You ARE incredible.


Yes, you…. 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day.

blessings, dayna


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Letting Go

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There comes a time when letting go is vital.

Letting go doesn’t mean forgotten, it’s not a sign of weakness, and it doesn’t mean the hole in your heart from missing someone is gone.

It simply means, the healing has begun.

It means choosing to hold onto, and treasure the memories you made when that loved one was here – instead of missing them to the point of grief.

There comes a time, when letting go is vital.

When focusing on the glorious reunion when you see that person again, becomes more real than the reality that they’re gone until that day.

Remembering, never forgetting, the imprint left on your heart. The sound of their voice, the embrace of their hug, the laughter, their fight,  and the moments that when you close your eyes you can still feel them next to you.

Today, I am doing just that. 





Celebrating –

The anniversary of that day my daddy went to his Heavenly home.

Today, we’ll continue with our tradition of writing letters to him. But this year, 2 years since our goodbye, with a renewed joy in knowing I will see him again.

Knowing, that healing is mine, as I’ve given my heart a chance to be made more than whole by my Creator.

As he reminds me that that daily, they’re cheering me on in my goals, in the everyday routine, as they smile down at me, anticipating the day he’ll hug his little girl again.

Love you daddy- Keep shining.

Always, your little girl


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