Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dear Fall

Well it's almost September. Sometime in the month, the first official day of fall will happen. And round these parts that means all of our fall decorations go up. The pumpkins, our bubbas {scarecrows}, hay bales, fall candles and wreaths. I don't care if it's 100 degrees on that day and we are sweating while we put it all up {like last year} it goes up on the first day of fall, no matter what!

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 I LOVE the fall months




 The Cool weather. Scarves. Boots. Chunky sweaters and skinny jeans.






 Fall candles. Caramel Apples. Costumes and Potato Soup
 

Pumpkins and Fall Wreaths Pumpkin Patches and Corn Maizes
Better Homes and Gardens

And after this incredibly hot summer, I am READY for it. 


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So Hurry up Fall.....




We're waiting for you!!


What do you look forward to the most for fall?


Speaking of fall. I'm making room for new inventory in the shop. New styles new colors.  So I've got a bit of an end of summer sale going on with select rings and earrings. There is only one left of most of the items. Good time to stock up on gifts!

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Also, thank you for all of your sweet comments and emails about my posts earlier this week. It means so much to me to hear from each of you and I read every single one. I am so honored that my words inspire and encourage you.


Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Enthralled

 Enthralled: To hold spellbound; captivate.

I don't remember where it began, but somewhere in the midst of growing up, I lost my confidence.

I can remember looking in a mirror as a little girl, at my freckles and brown hair. Then at a picture of my mom on her dresser. She was gorgeous. I didn't think I looked a thing like her.

I battled to find my confidence through high school, masking my insecurities with a mouth that often got me in trouble. Known for saying what I thought. Even if it hurt people. That was me. Like it or not.

In college, I struggled with my weight. I figured out how to lose it. Not in the healthiest of ways. I became obsessed. Working out, sometimes 2-3 hours at a time. Hardly eating. But I was fitting into sizes I never had before. I thought I found it then. My confidence. But I didn't.

I got married, to an incredibly loving guy who never made me feel anything less than gorgeous. And it's still the same to this day. 7 years later.

But my confidence in myself. My abilities. In who God made me to be. Still missing.

I had a baby boy on a cold day in December. I became a mom. Experiencing a love I had never felt before. A confidence I didn't recognize. Not in beauty or size, but in my new role. A mom. Those old insecurities beginning to fade as I saw myself through someone elses eyes.

I became pregnant with Faith. I fought. I cried. I pleaded. I fell in desperation. Every insecurity in who I was. All of the shortcomings that attempted to overshadow them....slipped away. Nothing else mattered. My babies. My children. My heart. They mattered.

I saw that little life slip before me. A life so beautiful. And with it came a different kind of love. A love for life. For others. For them to experience God. To see His Glory. His goodness.

I stood up again one day and looked at myself in the mirror. I saw someone beautiful. But I was still the same girl from years before. Freckles and brown hair. What was different now?

An inner beauty. One that had been found through trials and struggle. But. One that was found in Him. A confidence in who I am. Not because of what I look like or what size my jeans are. But because of the one living inside me. The one who says, I can. The one says I am.
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Beautiful.
Well Able.
Capable.
Equipped.
Called.
Purposed.
Loved.

The one who made me. Intricately. Specially.

All of those insecurities, He took them and he shaped them. Into something beautiful. Something purposed for Him and by Him.

He is enthralled by me. Captivated.

What an amazing, overwhelming truth.

And do you know what else? He is enthralled by you too.








Monday, August 29, 2011

Caught Up

Ever start feeling yourself getting caught up in a whole lot of stuff, that you don't want to be? You begin to feel frustrated, resentful, annoyed at all of these tasks and to-do lists and things left to do.

I started feeling that way yesterday.

I wasn't feeling well, but instead of attempting any kind of rest, I busied myself. I started cleaning out closets, making room for new sizes and new seasons. I'd climbed up and down the stairs multiple times through the day, cleaned up mess after mess, only to find another one.

Loaded dishes and cleaned up crumbs only to find new ones hours later. I'd tried to sit down and make a few new items for the shop, only to find myself having to get up half way through.

I tried to write out lists to update my inventory and see what supplies I need to order, only to find my to-do list covered in the crayon markings of an eager 5 yr old who is into spelling everything he can.

I've had this unrealistic goal to keep all of our laundry baskets empty with the clothes folded and put away. I would fold one load, get it put away only to hear the buzzer of the dryer going off.

I swept our wood floors multiple times. But some how more rocks and dirt would appear with every opening of the door.

On top of it all, I have a big event coming up, where I will have my Splendor jewelry.  And it's all I could think about......Supplies to buy, displays to come up with, look books and price sheets...did I mention I'll actually be out of town for the show and that my BFF Carla will be running it for me? this just adds more anxiety to it all. Wishing I could be there. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, thankful for a friend like Carla.

The entire day consisted of  toys, cars, play-doh, blocks, crayons, movies,  graham crackers...all attempts to distract, so I could get my work done. But instead I felt like I was going in circles. Like a hamster on a wheel, not going anywhere but wearing myself out while trying.

I also hadn't eaten. I'd forgotten to somewhere in the middle of it all. Too distracted. Too tired. Too many thing to get done. Too caught up in it all.

The funny thing is, the kids and I stayed home from church. I hate missing church, but Mia has been really fussy the last couple of days. Running low grade fever off and on. We were all exhausted. I thought staying home would help us all get rested and ready for a new week. I was wrong.

The end of the day came and I found myself laying in the middle of Mia's room, while the kids ran, climbed and jumped over me. I was too tired to make them stop. I gave up. And being the fabulous mother that I am {{ wink }} I held in all of my worries, my exhaustion, my frustrations. I put on a smile.

But then Brandon got home. And all of those frustrations, all of the exhaustion? It all got taken out on him. I snapped at him. Blamed it on low blood sugar and not feeling well, but knew it was me. I hate when I make excuses for my own issues.

I was just resentful toward myself for not getting it all done. For not being able to do it all, and to do it well. The more I took it out it on him, the more angry I became with myself, knowing he didn't deserve it.

He didn't say a word in response to my frustration filled words. He simply went to the store for me and took both girls, came home, made us all dinner, gave them baths, put them to bed. All of this after his own long day at church and meetings. Without a word of complaint and filled with quiet love.

After everyone had fallen asleep. I sat in bed, typing out to-do lists on my phone. It was 1am. I was exhausted but my mind wouldn't rest.

I could hear Brandon breathing, in a deep sleep. That quiet love. It reminded me of God's love for us.

Then I started to pray...

And then in that quiet moment, the first quiet moment I had given to the Lord....He took it. He took that moment and filled it. With exactly what I was trying to achieve all day. Peace. Rest. Content.

This seems to be an ongoing lesson God has to teach me. I get so caught up in the tasks of the day. In trying to be it all and do it and do it all well. Even when I fall short, even when my flesh speaks out, He still loves me and waits for me to give just one moment. To surrendor it to Him.

I wish I would remember to do it. In that first flood of overwhelming emotions, I wish I could remember to surrendor it to Him.

Somewhere over the last few weeks, I stopped waking up early to pray and read. I started by putting it off one day, then the next day, then the whole week....Little by little my days became filled up instead with things to do and tasks to get done. Caught up in everything else but Him.

But this week, I have a new goal. It's not to check things off my to-do list. It's not to have the laundry done every day or the house perfect. It's not even to be super mom with loads of play dates and fun projects planned....It's one simple thing.  

Give God my first moments.  To just Be Still. Relax.

And then all of those things? They'll get taken care of.  I know this.


Help me Lord to remember to give you my moments. Each of them. To not only strive to be present with my kids and to cherish my husband and his love for me, but to first and foremost acknowledge you in each one of those. To strive to please you first. Always. 

"What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don't be afraid of missing out. You're my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself"
Luke 12:31 {Message}




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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yellow

This weeks inspiration prompt from Maggie {at Gussy Sews} was "your favorite color".  I love lot's of color. It's hard for me to say what my favorite is. But then I looked around my living room and kitchen I realized how much yellow I had in it. Little bits of it here and there.

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It's such a happy color. And brightens up any room. I go through phases where I love a certain color and then I get tired of it and switch it all up. Usually in time for a new season, so it works. Yellow has been the color I've added here and there over these last few months. I like how much it brightens up my chocolate brown walls in the kitchen and the dark floors and furniture in the living room

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When fall starts rolling around, I'll start migrating toward oranges, browns, greens, and reds. I love to switch decor in and out with the seasons. Do you do that too? Change out your decor for a new season?

 Hope y'all are having a happy Thursday! I'm off to serve the princess her afternoon smoothie. 
Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jumbo Blueberry Crumb Muffins

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I pretty much love anything blueberry and I love muffins too. So when I found this recipe for jumbo blueberry muffins, I felt heaven smiling down on me. These are so good and really pretty simple to make. Want to know my favorite part? You get to use these things:
They are pretty genius if you ask me. You don't need a large muffin tin, the foil liners do all the work for you. Just put them on a regular cookie sheet.
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I found the recipe a couple of years ago here. You'll want to click that link and check out her blog because you will find so many other delicious recipes. And she makes them easy to follow so you start to feel like you know what you are doing. Until you remember you don't. But you can pretend. You could even throw some flour on your face, I'm just saying. You could.

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The crumble part makes these muffin tops extra delicious and crunchy. So if you are a muffin top lover {and I don't mean the kind you get when your jeans are too tight} you will love these. I may or may not have only eaten the top off of about 3 of them. I sort of like to think I'm cutting calories that way.
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 I've always used blueberries but next time I'm trying them out with banana. 

Enjoy!

Jumbo Blueberry Sour Cream Crumb Muffins:
From Sara at Short Stop

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 stick cold butter, diced
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream

Optional fruit:
2 cups blueberries
2 cups raspberries
2 cups apples, diced
2 cups bananas, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and butter. Using a fork or pastry cutter cut together until crumbly. Remove one cup of mixture and set aside for crumb topping.

To the remainder, add eggs, milk, sour cream and desired fruit. Mix until combined.

Line a cookie sheet with foil. Place jumbo muffin cups on cookie sheet and fill three-quarters full of batter. Sprinkle each muffin liberally with reserved topping mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until muffins spring back when lightly pressed in the middle.




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2 Years-Remembering Faith

I am amazed at how God has been so good at connecting me to so many amazing people through this blog. One of them is Jami. She is a sweet friend. I love reading her wisdom, encouragement and insights. I was honored when she asked me to guest post on her blog today for her "We Encourage" series. Click here to go to her blog and read it and also take a second to read some of the other amazing words of encouragement by other women as well.


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I woke up with Faith on my mind and heart today.  I wrote this last year.  And I am feeling compelled to share it again today. Parts of me believe that talking about her, naming her, writing about her, telling our story and remembering her....it keeps her alive here on earth....her memory alive. And so I do.

For weeks and months after we lost Faith,  I prayed that God would show me my daughter. I don't know what I wanted....a dream---a glimpse I guess, into heaven. I wanted to see her again. See her face.

I never did have that dream.

But the day Mia was born, we had an instantly strong bond. It was as if I'd always known her. That's the only way I can describe it. I would watch her sleeping shortly after she came home from the hospital. Eyes closed, mouth slightly open. She looked so familiar to me. Was that Asher I saw in her? Her daddy? My mom? Bella? Then I realized, that was exactly what Faith looked like the night I held her.

God was giving me my glimpse into heaven. Showing me my Faith Marie again. In Mia. Her name alone Mia Glory, means our little manifestation of God's goodness and blessing.

This month was 2 years after I said goodbye to Faith, I sit in our playroom upstairs and watch my girls playing together. And I am full...consumed....with thankfulness, joy, and love.

Life is beautiful. God is beautiful. Always.

My sweet girls in heaven, may your mommy always live this life worthy of what you have taught me. May I always speak of your life and share your stories, in order for God's glory to be shown and evident.

Today, and always, I'm remembering our Faith....

Monday, August 22, 2011

Date Nights

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Brandon and I went out to dinner Friday night.  We try to get away for date nights at least once a month. It's less often than we'd like, but we'll take it. It's always nice to get away for a little bit and just focus on eachother. Not to mention we get to actually take our time and eat, as opposed to inhaling it in 5.9 seconds like we parents tend to do.

I love our date nights because they always get me re-focused on Brandon. And I think it's important to do that. It's so easy for me to get consumed in our children, and our home...taking time for just the two of us is essential.

I know we go through seasons. And we're in the midst of the season of being parents to 3 young kids. And they are our heart. We adore this season.

But in the middle of this little family of 5, is us. Just us. Brandon and Laura. We don't want to lose that. Because when they are all grown it will be just us.
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We went to one of our favorite mexican restaurants for fajitas.  I could tell our waiter was trying to figure us out. Every time he came to the table he'd ask us a different question.

From out of town?

On a first date?

Newlyweds?

.....We finally told him we've been married almost 7 years and have 3 kids.
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He didn't believe us. If only I'd brought the little photo album of pictures I have of the kids from birth to now that I like to bring out when asked about my kids. But I'd left it in my other purse. 

He then asked us what the "secret" was to being so happy and still being in love. I thought that was a funny question. "Still." I think it's sad that there's a perception of marriage that you can't "still" be happy and in love 3, 7, 10, 15, 50 years down the road. The truth is, you aren't in love in the same way you were when you looked into each others eyes and said I do. You're not. It's different. It's more. It's deeper.
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We both answered his question at the same time....The secret to still being happy and in love....

Me: "Just....Love"....as I gazed super cheesy over at Brandon.

Brandon: "Always keep God first"

.....Oh right, yeah, God. Keep him first. That's the secret. Sheesh why does he always have to be more spiritual than me.

Clearly that really is the answer. Because keeping God first is what has set the foundation for us. When life has sent us earthquakes of trials and shockwaves of struggle, our foundation has remained steady, strong, and secure. Because it's on Him.

And it's why we are "still" so happy and in love.

Some more random bits of information from the night:
---I don't usually take my camera with us on date nights. But I decided to this time. Funny how when you're dating you have a plethora of pictures together. Like every time we did something we took an entire disposable camera worth of pictures. I kinda miss those cheap things because then I was forced to develop and print the pictures. I ended up with boxes of pictures of us. I have a goal to start printing more pictures out and putting them in albums.

---The picture of Brandon is 1 of about 4. He always shuts his eyes when the flash goes off. So I end up with pictures of him with his eyes either closed or half open. Which results in him looking like he's had one too many.

---After I took the picture of the fajitas, the couple at the table next to us turned around, wondering why I'd just taken a picture of our food. So I started talking really loud about my career as a food critic. It's an exciting one you know. 

---Our waiter offered to take our picture. He couldn't figure out my camera and was moving forwards and backwards instead of just using the lens to zoom.


---We were supposed to go a to a movie after wards but it never fails that I always decide to get a redbox and go home instead. So we did. And we stopped at the store to buy diapers on the way home too. Easy on the romance, right? 

---Brandon bought me a bouquet of sunflowers that are sitting in front of me as I write. They are gorgeous and just make me smile. I was wiping up yogurt from the table earlier, and looked up to see them. They made me think of Brandon and how he "still" loves me so much.




What about you? Do you go on date nights? What is your secret to "still" being in love and happy?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Eight

I'm getting behind on these. Mia turned 8 months on the 29th of July. Um, whats that? It's August 19th? I know. But the point is that I'm keeping up with it. Which is more than I can say for their baby books. Major mom guilt there. But that's one of the reasons I love doing things like this. Did you know you can turn your blog into a book? Isn't that fantastic? One day I'll turn these posts into a memory book. That'll make up for the missing baby books right?

Here are 8 things about Mia at 8 months old
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1. Her eyes will melt you. They smile at you without her mouth ever cracking one of its own. They are just sweet.

2. She loves, and I mean loves bath time. I'm serious, it's like she hits the water and suddenly thinks she's a fish. She becomes even more wiggling than normal.
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3. She's starting to crawl. Not quite there yet but she is so eager to get around. She sticks out her tongue and concentrates hard. As if focusing on an object will cause her body to move towards it.

4. She's showing signs of being a picky eater. Not good. She isn't interested in too many things. Which makes it a little tough on me. P.S Can someone suggest a good cup or bottle to get her started on drinking from one? I've tried 3. She looks at them like foreign objects. How about tips to get her to actually drink from one?
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5. She's started clapping. Daddy taught her. Hang out with us for any amount of time and one of us will be in her face clapping saying "yay!!!" trying to get her to do it. Then she does and we all get excited. She thinks she's hot stuff around her. And she is.
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6. Lately when I go get her from her bed, she's sitting up, just staring at the door, sucking her thumb, holding her lovey bear. I realize this isn't exciting to you, but gosh darn if she just doesn't look so stinken cute sitting there waiting patiently. I need a picture so I can freeze that memory.

7. She is still wearing 3-6 months clothes. Petite little thing.

8. She's got one little bottom tooth.She has this one smile, when she does it, she looks like an old man. A cute one. But still an old man.
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In other news, we have reached the end of our first week of new school hours. Asher comes home exhausted and needs some time alone for a bit. I totally don't blame him. I would feel the same way if I had 15 other kids all up in my grill for 8 hours. He is doing really well though and seems to be loving it.

I gotta say also, that although I miss him, I have gotten more done around this house in this last week than I did all summer. I finally reached the end of our never ending laundry baskets {all 6 of them}, washed, folded and PUT AWAY {I tend to stop short there} It's seriously amazing what one less kid can do. And Bella's idea of fun is to pretend she's a mom, so this all works out peachy cause she just follows me around with her stroller and helps me.

I'm just sayin, I'm kind of not complaining about this new set up. And I don't think Brandon is either when he opens his stocked drawer of clean underwear and socks. These things really matter to him apparently.

Happy Friday Everyone.
Don't forget to head over to Jessi's and enter her giveaway. Also the code "naptime" will get you 15% off your order in the Splendor Shop!  I just added some new items today, so check it out!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just she and I

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These last couple of days since Asher started school, Bella and I have had a lot of time together. Mia still takes good naps, so that leaves us with plenty of time for each other. And I can tell she loves it.

It's just she and I

I have vivid memories of rocking Bella to sleep as a baby. Of feeding her and singing to her. She was a snuggle bug. My sweet baby girl.

She has this freckle on the back of her arm. When she laid on me as a small baby I used to look at it. Hidden in a spot on the very back of her arm. Loving that there was a small bit of her that only I probably knew about.

I got pregnant with Faith when Bella was just under a year. After that, things were a blur of emotions. Up and Down. I, physically, emotionally and mentally, was so distracted during those few months.

I look at that little freckle now and my mind flashes back to that time, of her being so little. I watched her a lot today. Watched as she gently took care of her babies. Feeding them, pushing them in the stroller, putting them to sleep. I watched her as she made shapes out of play doh and colored in strawberry shortcake.

I watched as she tucked her long hair behind her ears, while it continued to fall forward into her face. Such a big girl. Such a sweet, beautiful girl.
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After the boys leave for work and school, she climbs into bed with me and we talk just a little bit before we both drift back to sleep. We sleep until Mia wakes up. We make smoothies together. It's her favorite thing to do. She hands me what I need.

She helps me with Mia as much as she can as we get her dressed and we practice her clapping.

She waits outside Mia's door for me while I feed her and lay her down for her nap. I come out of the room to see her waiting with a book. Patiently. No pushing to go first.

She follows me around the house as I make beds, start laundry and pick up. She helps me. She loves to.
 

It's just she and I.

I think God has such a sweet way of gift giving. Of redeeming to us what was stolen. For me, it was time with just my Bella girl.

But now? It's all we have. Together.

I'm overwhelmed at God's goodness. He doesn't always pour out lavish gifts, or make outrageous gestures. He just subtly, in completely catch you by surprise cause it's just what you wanted, but didn't know how to ask- ways.

He's the perfect gift giver, isn't He?

And I'm grateful for the one He has given to me. That which was stolen from me has been restored. Just like His word promises.

He knew just what I needed in this season and just when to give it to me. Time. With my sweet small freckled, little girl.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Center Aisle

When I first started this blog, I really had no idea what I was doing. My love for writing has always been in me and of me and just me. I can remember many times sitting on my parents bed as I read them something I had written. The same response always came...

"You should be a writer one day, Laura"

They were always so encouraging. So motivating. They empowered me with their words to go after what I loved. They still do.

Don't we all love to get encouragement? Affirmation? Acknowledgment? Some of us can try and pretend we don't need any of that. We put up a front that says, I'm confident enough in myself. I don't need validation from anyone else. If thats true, then well, pin a rose on your nose my dear cause you are better than I.

Sure, writing a post here on this blog, it may not seem like a lot to some of you. But let me tell me, for me, it's taken a bit of struggle. I've never been one to put myself out in front of people where they could critique, analyze....and dare I say...Judge.

I didn't play sports. Not because I didn't think I could, but because I was afraid of what other people would think. Afraid of failing in front of others. Afraid of setting myself up in front of other people, only to fall. Stumble. Mess up.

Then what? Would they laugh at me? Even worse, would they laugh behind my back??

I remember walking through Target one time by myself, years ago. Way before I had mastered the art of juggling multiple kids in 4 inch heels, along with pushing a cart and sipping a Diet Dr. Pepper. I was wearing some boots that were a little tricky to walk in, but by gosh, they looked good. I tripped and fell right in the middle of the aisle. Not one of those hidden aisle's either. Not the like towel aisle or card aisle, no the very large center one that runs right in the middle of the store.

Lot's of people were around, and not one of them stopped. They scattered actually. I imagine to try and hide their laughter. Cause I mean the fall was far from graceful ya'll.

One lady, one Target employee stopped to see if I was ok. She was completely serious and very concerned with whether I was ok. But do you know what I was mostly concerend with? whether she was going to walk away and laugh at me. If she was going to laugh at me, I wanted her to laugh right there, with me. So I told her to. I told her it was ok to laugh. But she didn't. Which made the situation even more akward.

I began this blog, for a pure and simple reason. Because I felt called to. Because there was a gentle nudge in my spirit saying "write it all out" Laura. All of those thoughts, feelings, emotions, words....they aren't just for you. They are meant to share. Share them.

I struggled with that nudge. That pesky nudge. For months. I pushed it away. I ignored it.

Until the day that I couldn't ignore it anymore. The day we went to the hospital and found out we had lost another baby. My precious Mia Glory's twin. At 14 weeks. Jett Samuel.

That very day, I opened up my computer and I began to write. I didn't know who I was writing to. I didn't know where God would take this blog, I really still don't. I just knew that I was doing what I was supposed to do. Writing it all out. Doing what I love. Sharing, writing, connecting. But in a way that's hard for me.

In fact I have a confession. Since you know, we're being open and all....I have gone back after publishing a post and deleted it. Sometimes days later, sometimes moments after, sometimes in the middle of the night. I let the fear of what people would think, take over.

Afraid of being so open, and letting people in too much. Letting people in gives them the ability to judge. To decide. To critique.

But you know what else I learned? Opening myself up, letting people in? It also gives people the opportunity to be blessed, to be encouraged. To be empowered in their own way and to be inspired. Thats what this about.


That is what I take from this space of mine. I stay true to myself. I try not to get caught up in numbers ... the game that it can become, and I just stay true to myself. To the person God made me to be. And with each post, each step, I become more confident in that person.

But guess what? That didn't come easy, and it didn't come from people. I had to learn, that my validation for writing whatever God put in my heart, did not come from people.


See, what I write, who I am, and what I have to say? It's no different than before. God just needed to show me where my value comes from, where my identity lies, and who I get my affirmation from.

Him.

That doesn't mean my heart doesn't still fill with so much appreciation and love when someone comments, or compliments, tells me in person, or emails me that my words touched them. It make me so happy to hear those things. But it doesn't make a difference on whether I continue to write. Because it can't.

People, our emotions, there emotions, things of this world...it's too unsteady. Up and Down. Tossed around like a wave in the ocean. How could we ever stay fixed and grounded on those things? We couldn't. And some don't. It's why some walk away from whatever they're doing. Some say, I can't do this anymore. Or worse, some don't ever try.

And he wins. The enemy. He keeps your talents and gifts for himself.  

Locked up in you. 

Last night I took some time to visit a few blogs that don't have many followers. You know the ones that you don't hear about or even know about. But they are the same kind of people. With the same kind of heart. Hearts that are looking for validation. For encouragement. Hearts that are putting themselves out here in this little blog world. With their writing or their creations, or recipes. Beautiful people. All the same as you and I.

I took just a few minutes to write a couple of comments on them. It didn't take much. Just a few couple personable words. To encourage. Because I know what its like. I know what it means to feel that bit of inspiration to keep going.

That one person, taking one moment, to say just one word. Wherever it may be, in whatever form it may be in. There is so much more than our own little world. So many people seeking, longing for love.

They and me, and you, we're all out here on this center aisle in the middle of a crowded store.  Don't scatter.

Find them and then let them find Him in you.






Monday, August 15, 2011

First Days

Last week, I found myself crying as I rocked Mia to sleep one night. I was thinking about how fast they grow up. How it seemed like I was just rocking Asher. I went into his room and watched him sleep for a little bit. Sprawled across his bed. He's never been good at keeping still, even in his sleep.

And as I watched him, I prayed. It was more of a conversation really. Asking God how it's fair to give us these precious kids, these little human beings who enter our world, grab hold of our hearts and then ask us to let them go. Little by little. Phase to Phase.

"Not Fair" 
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It was the only way I could express what I was feeling.

As soon as the words passed through my mind, the Lord quickly responded. "Cherish the time you are in".

I'm usually good at this. Events in my life have taught me to savor. To treasure. To close my eyes and be present.

But somewhere in the past few weeks leading up to Asher starting school, I found myself grasping to hold on. Struggling to make time just stand still for a bit. Memories of him being "little" seemed to be everywhere. It didn't help that the kids got into a kick of watching home videos. Videos filled with my precious babies, waving bye bye and saying "gah" for ball (asher at 9 months).

But as I watched him sleep that night and heard the Lord in his gentle reminder to just stop and be present in the moment, to cherish. I realized that I was being sort of..... I don't know....selfish.
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I can't help but see myself in the hospital room after having Faith. Holding her little body in my arms. Being present right there in that moment. Taking it all in because I knew it would be all I would have. Those moments with her. Even though she'd already passed away, only living seconds, I held her, I named her and I took her all in.

When I look at my kids now, I want to do the same. Hold them. Forever. Keep them safe. Close. Always in front of me, so nothing can ever happen to them.

But I realize I can't do that. I realize what a selfish thing it is really. To want to keep them with me always. Because they find such joy in stepping into new. In learning. In growing. In thriving.

And I do too. I want nothing less for them. But my selfish nature. My memories. They tug at me. They tell me to guard my heart. Guard them. Keep them close.
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.....the next day, as I cleaned up down stairs and listened to the kids giggling up stairs, I continued my conversation with God.

You hear that God? They are so happy here. They love eachother so much. They take care of eachother. They are safe here. I can see them, know what they are doing. I can protect them from any hurt. How can I do that once Asher starts school? He won't be with me all of the time. What if someone hurts his feelings? What if he's not good at something and no one is there to encourage him the way only I know how?
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"Not fair"

Then I heard it again..."Cherish." And again the vision of my sweet Faith in my arms. Then it hit me.

Asher *gets* to go to school.

He is healthy, energetic, smart, funny, incredibly sweet, thoughtful, compassionate, aware of others feelings. He is so perfect. So full of life.

Instead of looking at it like a time of sadness. Like a time where I am "losing" him, I started looking at it like a time of excitiment. Of privelage and blessing. Of life. And the beautiful memories it is full of. The reasons to celebrate. So many of them.

I am blessed to see my son start this new phase. I am blessed to watch him grow and thrive.

I watched him this morning, walk confidently into school and sit down in his chair. So brave. Not one tear. I was so proud. We've done a good job. He's mine. He will always be.
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and I didn't cry.

Not until I walked out and the classroom door shut behind me.

Then I cried.
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Cause I knew. This was a new day. New beginnings for my precious son. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


My Sweet Asher,

Today was your first day of school. Yesterday I washed your sheets and put an extra cushion under your sheets so you would be extra comfy and sleep well. I tucked you in and prayed for you and for your first day of school. But I didn't cry. I was excited for you. I told you Jesus is always with you and He holds you in His hands. 

You said "Mom, don't go, just tell me 3 more words." 

You were trying to get me to tell you another story. Procrastinating bed time. Always have. 

I held up one finger, "I"... then 2 fingers "love"....then three fingers "you". There you go, 3 words, I said smiling cause I knew that wasn't what you meant. You laughed and rolled your eyes like you do when you are teasing me. "Oh Mom".....and with that I walked out of the room. I didn't linger. I wanted to stay. I wanted to climb into bed and snuggle you all night long, keep you close. But I knew I couldn't. I knew it was time to walk out and know you were ok.

You climbed into bed with me around 5:30am. I didn't fall back to sleep. But you did. I listened to you breath. I praised the Lord for my sweet, healthy 5 year old kindergartner.
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You didn't want to get up when it was time. You wanted to stay warm in my bed. You didn't want to tuck your shirt in either. Or have your hair combed. Have I mentioned you are not a morning person?

But mom knows the trick. Chocolate milk.

You and Bella and Mia laughed and laughed and played the whole way to school. Mia just learned to clap. Yesterday. We all love to see her do it. That little girl has brought us all even closer, than we were before. You love her so much. The night before, you told her you were going to miss your Mia Glory so much. I told you not to worry, Me, Daddy,  Mia and Bella will be here waiting for you like every other day. And we always will be My Love. Always.
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You were so brave and so proud walking into school. I pray you never lose that confidence. I pray it is always protected. And I know it will be....by the only one who can protect it. Not mommy. Not daddy. But Jesus. He holds you in His hands. Always.

We took some pictures and then I said goodbye. I didn't linger. I knew it was time to walk away and know you were ok.

I love you my sweet boy. My heart is full today. For you and for all that God has done and is going to do for our family.

We are blessed.
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Happy first day of school, my sweet lovey boy.

Love, Mom.

P.S Bella is making you a card right now. She said it says "Dear Asher, I love you. We are coming to get you soon and I love you so much. And we will never go to jail"
She's prophetic you know.

I love you.

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is steadfast and confident!
I will sing and make melody.
Psalm 57:7



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Splendor Trunk Show

So, Friday night, I had my first "trunk show" for Splendor. If you read this, you know I was kinda nervous. I get that way about anything I'm doing where I don't know what to expect. I know it sounds RIDIC but I didn't know anything as far as how I was going to do my table set up. I just put some things together, made some frames for display, grabbed some of my decor from around the house and hoped it would all come together. I had a general idea in my head, but without having done it before, I really just had to hope it would turn out like I imagined.
For some reason that makes me really nervous. Not knowing what to expect. Even in the little things like that. I like plans because then I can kind of guess what might happen.

You see how God uses anything to work through your weakness? I am learning how to let go and just be confident in my abilities and just do it. Even in things like this

I also happened to have planned it at the end of what turned out to be one of the busiest weeks for our church as we turn part of our building into what will now be our new school. So some of the people who are always there for support and would typically have come, weren't able to. 

I texted B something dramatic like "no one is coming" {I knew I was exaggerating but I needed some reassurance that it would be ok and he always balances out my drama}

He texted back "It's going to be fine babe. Don't stress. Just have fun and enjoy the night. Remember your platform and make the most of the oppurtunity!"

.........See? Balance. I need some more of that. Good thing I married him.
So I put everything into perspective, ate a muffin or two to comfort myself {emotional eater?} and decided to just enjoy it no matter what. I couldn't control the circumstances of Who, What, When and Where but that was OK. {Did I really just say that? Who am I??}

And I did. I had such a good time. There was a great turn out and I had so much fun talking to and meeting people who loved my things. Honestly it really did remind me what I love most about opening my shop, which is connecting with people. It has become such an avenue for meeting and talking with people I wouldn't normally have had a chance to.
And it's teaching me that in stepping out in what God has for me, He meets me in those places of my own weakness and brings favor, grace and ability.
I've had numerous emails and questions recently asking about my shop and the steps I took to get here. All I can say is to just take it one step at a time. If God has placed something in your heart- a thought, an idea, or even just a desire to create...Do it as unto Him and not to man. Don't get so concerned with what people will think that it controls what you do. Or worse, keeps you from doing them.
I had such an amazing time. I know that although it was one small step in dying to myself and all of my insecurities, it was a big one in my trust and faith walk with God.
 
Now, can I just show ya'll my best friend? We've been friends since the 8th grade. We spent our high school summers laying out in her pool, eating too much junk, singing loudly to the Dixie Chicks in her car. I got in fights for her cause she was too sweet to speak up for herself and we were always getting into trouble for talking in the hallways during class.
 
We used to spend hours talking on the phone. Now we are lucky to complete a sentence over someone needing more tokens at chuckecheese, or their nose wiped and shoes tied. We go to each others kids birthday parties, and meet up for play dates at the pool.
 
She's been with me through it all, the birth of my 3 munchkins, the funerals for my sweet babies. She's always there for me and means so much to me. She is beautiful inside and out. I Love you Carlita {she hates being called that and I know it :) }

I got caught up and didn't remember to take any pictures during the show, but this was after wards with some of my sweet friends who came.
 
Oh, the girl to the right?---the gorgeous skinny minny?--- is my 5 months pregnant little sister. My older sister lives in Houston, but she is just as supportive. Love them both so much.  My 3 sister in laws weren't able to make it but I know if they could have, they would have been there, and that is enough for me. Monica, in the black tee made all of the desserts--cake balls, whoopie pie and lemon bars. So good. Mallory, on the other end was one of my first customers, always so supportive and sweet. She also has a knack for designing cute things like invites and birth announcements. She just opened an etsy shop. You should check it out {go here}

Oh and this is mom. She was kind enough to host it at her house. In fact she's the one who encouraged me to do a trunk show. She is my biggest cheerleader. I am so thankful for her!
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Thank you to everyone who came out. Meant so much to see each and every one of you there. I was both -blessed big time and relieved (that it was over, hehe)

*If you are local and looking for information on future trunk shows or to host a Splendor Trunk Show,  Contact me at bitsofsplendor (at) yahoo (dot) com.


As for What I'm Wearing?
Flowy Top- Target 
Flesh colored Cami {you'll need one, top is see through}- Forever 21
Skinny Jeans---Express. My most favoritest jeans in the whole world. These babys are fit to my body. They love me and I love them. We are one. 
Bracelets are from all over and just a mis-match of whatever. I like eclectic-ness in my wardrobe. One of them is a brown leather braided one that has my name on it. It's my favorite. My sister got it for me years ago from Disney World.
 Gold hoops are from Target, big Hoops are a staple. Always.
Sandals--Grabbed them from my mom's closet because silly me brought super uncomfortable shoes. But they are from Target {same ones as the tangerine ones I had on in the post from Monday}
Polish on my toes--Mint Sorbet from Sally Hanson {you need it}