Featured Guest Blogger: Hip Hip Harper Rae
I am so excited to introduce the Hope in the unexpected© readers to my friend Laurie of the Hip Hip Harper Rae blog. Laurie and I met through instagram. Noticing our messages were similar, she contacted me in hopes that I might contribute a piece to her blog. While we were both eager to collaborate, it took 6 months for the collaboration to happen--not because we didn't want it to happen, but because we were waiting for His divine timing! Last night was truly special because I think we both realized it was the beginning of His glorious plan to share such an important message.
I must confess that yesterday's Facebook Live Q&A was the first face-to-face interaction I've had with Laurie. I think it is obvious, but I just fell in love with her sweet spirit. (I'm fairly certain that if you take a few moments to watch the playback, you'll find yourself falling in love with her too.) Laurie shared such beautiful encouragement and wisdom in our conversation. While our stories may differ, her words really spoke to my heart. I hope you’ll consider catching the playback, but if not, read on to learn more about this precious young woman and why I feel God ordained this collaboration here on the Hope in the unexpected© blog.
Jessika: Have you always wanted to be a writer? Tell us a bit about how God called you to writing.
Laurie: I’ve always been a writer; however, I just recently realized I am a writer. I have stacks of journals and prayer journals from over the years. Also my career has been in PR and marketing, so it has involved a lot of writing. It wasn’t until experiencing the birth of my first child that a desire arose to share my words and my story more publicly in the form of a blog. After taking that step and publishing my daughter’s birth story, the support and response I received was so encouraging. I knew God was using my story to reach more people than just what He was teaching me. I’ve now been writing on my blog for almost 2 years and have no plans to stop.
Jessika: What is the inspiration behind the name of your blog, Hip Hip Harper Rae?
Laurie: Hip Hip Harper Rae is about celebrating the journey you are on. Shortly after my daughter was born, my sister realized that Harper Rae (my daughter’s name) sounded like Hooray, so “Hip Hip Harper Rae” was coined and became sort of like my daughter’s brand. I love how celebration is now tied with her name and reminds me to be thankful for the little and big things in her life. My expectations in motherhood were turned upside down with Harper’s at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. But what I’m learning is life can still be wonderful and beautiful, it might just look a little different now. By sharing my story I hope to help others celebrate the journey they are on.
Jessika: What is the mission of your blog, Hip Hip Harper Rae?
Laurie: My journey into motherhood landed me on a path I did not expect. With an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis for my firstborn and a premature birth at 32 weeks with my second child, I know a thing of two about dealing with the unexpected. But now I’m finding new ways everyday to celebrate the journey I’m on and I want others to celebrate the journey they are on! On my blog you will find stories of the importance of family, friends and faith. You will get insights on joy, celebration and perseverance through the unexpected.
Jessika: What can readers expect from your piece that will be featured on Hope in the unexpected©? Can you give us a teaser? Who is the piece to? What is it about?
Laurie: My piece for Hope in the unexpected© will share more about the at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis we received for my firstborn. I talk about what it felt like to get this life-altering diagnosis and how God taught me a very important lesson in the early months of my daughter’s life. Although my life was going to look different than I envisioned, something very important didn’t change. And this brought me so much hope and joy in the unexpected.
Jessika: What is one thing you want readers to take away from your writings?
Laurie: With my daughter having Down syndrome, it can be easy to buy-in to the lie that she is behind, but the truth is she is on her own beautiful timeline. Embracing her timeline liberates us from comparison and disappointments. It brings so much joy and celebration for meeting even the smallest milestones. I’ve learned it’s not just about embracing her timeline, but that we can all benefit from embracing our unique timelines. I hope that my readers can celebrate the journey they are on and learn to embrace their timeline because God’s timing is perfect.
Be sure to check back Saturday to read Laurie's exclusive piece for the Hope in the unexpected© readers. In the meantime, you can read more of Laurie's pieces by subscribing to her blog Hip Hip Harper Rae or following her on instagram.