I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

3 Feb

notes from the blue bike :: blog tour

This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour, which I’m
thrilled to be part of. To learn more and join us, head here.

As part of the Notes From a Blue Bike blog tour, we’ve been asked to write about what it looks like to live slower, simpler, or with more intention. I have to be honest, as a currently single mom of four girls I struggle with this quest daily.

I have a friend who innocently suggested I find more margin {or white space} in my days. When first hearing her, I admit, I was pretty defensive at the statement, thinking … “Um, that’s easy to say when there are TWO of you managing the house and kids.” I know every situation is different, but I promise you … know matter how little you think your spouse does … when they’re suddenly gone, you realize how very much they actually did do.

Never-the-less, her statement has haunted me last few months.

Margin? White space? How?

With four girls and no one to help, it seems I’m running from crisis to crisis. At an appointment with one, while another calls from school sick, while I need to meet another at her appointment … this was my last Friday morning. And while the situations vary, it seems this is my most everyday.

Then there’s the age old statement, “You don’t have to do it all.” Or, “The dishes can wait.” Or when I post a silly note on Facebook and get the comment, “That’s what you have four kids for.” {meaning they can take care of the task I’ve posted about.}

Trust me … I’m no martyr! I definitely don’t try to do it all. I know my limits. And when the dishes can wait, they wait … or the kids take care of them. When I need to call it a day, I wrap it up and call it a day … after all, there’s only so much we can do in day. And when you’re struggling with MS, there comes a point in the day when you literally can’t do anymore.

I long to live intentionally! Heck, it was even my “one word” a couple of years ago! I long for a simpler time … like the times we were able to take a four week sabbatical to paradise!

So when Tsh’s book came along and I heard these words from her — “If slowing down meant a richer life, it would require our family’s attention, energy, and collaborative effort” — she grabbed my attention in a big way.

And while I admit, I don’t have it all figured out yet, I can admit I’m being called to lead my girls in a life of intentionality. The busy, crazy, and crises will still surround us … I may not always be able to create margin, but I’m learning it’s what I do with the margin that’ll make a difference in my life and the lives of my girls.

And so … whether you’re looking to create margin, slow down, live intentionally, or just create adventure with your family, Tsh’s Notes From a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World is worth every minute you take to read it!

{if you’re reading via email or rss feed, please click here to see the following video}

This book is about LIVING LIFE instead of life living us. ~ Tsh

Notes From a Blue Bike is written by Tsh Oxenreider, founder and main voice of The Art of Simple. It doesn’t always feel like it, but we DO have the freedom to creatively change the everyday little things in our lives so that our path better aligns with our values and passions. Grab your copy here.

Posted in gift idea, intentional, resources, review

24 Sep

orange you glad??

I have this friend who is a creative genius … like her pores ooze creativity {no exaggeration! just look at her website!}!

A few weeks ago, when I noticed her upcoming birthday on my calendar, I may have hyperventilated a little. Cuz seriously, when it comes to gifting to a pore-oozing-creative-goddess, what’s a I’m-fresh-outta-creativity girl supposed to do?

Needless to say, while aimlessly perusing Pinterest one day, I saw the perfect idea for my color-theme-loving-friend!

She loved it!

And the best part about this gift idea? It doesn’t just have to be a birthday gift. “Orange you glad …?” can be asked for just about any occasion!

And seriously, what is it about a basket full of one-like-color-goodness that makes a heart swoon?

Posted in birthday, creative, friends, gift idea

23 Jul

jewelry with a purpose :: giveaway

The Gracewear Collection inspires to celebrate the love and faithfulness of God by creating a Christian lifestyle brand of jewelry, clothing, and accessories that represents covering women daily in God’s protection, mercy, and grace.

I found the Gracewear Collection a couple of months ago and was instantly smitten! With a mission statement like the one above, how could I not be?!

I was visiting a local boutique I’ve become obsessed with, when two of the Gracewear Collection representatives met me just inside the door. They asked if I’d be interested in seeing their line of jewelry … ummm … shiny? oh you bet!

And then they shared the story and vision behind it.

Ephesians 6:10-18.

Putting on our armor. Our fightin’ gear. Our weapons.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with THE BELT OF TRUTH buckled around your waist, with THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS  in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from   THE GOSPEL (shoes) OF PEACE In addition to all this, take up  THE SHIELD OF FAITH, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take THE HELMET OF SALVATION and THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT ,which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:10-18 {NIV}

Lastly, from owners Mary and Wendy:

Our vision is to share with women about the gift of God’s Grace, and His promise that there is absolutely NO sin – great or small -that His Grace will not cover. God calls us to be ambassadors for Christ and to let His love and light shine through us. We must be spiritually dressed for the battles that we face everyday – not to draw attention to ourselves, but to bring glory to God by reading His word and sharing His truth and righteousness with others.

And because I believe so strongly in this message — not to mention the jewelry is beautiful! — today I’m giving away the 18″ gold plated necklace pictured in the photo above.

Giveaway details:

One winner will receive the pictured 18″ gold plated necklace from the Gracewear Collection

~ leave a comment {any ol’ comment}
~ tweet the giveaway {but come back & leave a comment}
~ facebook the giveaway {but come back & leave a comment}
~ instagram the giveaway {but come back & leave a comment}
~ blog the giveaway {but come back and leave a comment}

Now through Friday, July 26 – midnight {est}

Posted in gift idea, giveaway, shopping

8 May

teacher appreciation and a lil’ bit o’ crazy!

So awesome, right?!? The teachers loved our teacher appreciation gift this year. Practical with some funny thrown in for good measure! What I loved most though? It was a no-brainer for me and I was oh-so-very-thankful for that this year. I’m currently drowning in the craziness of life, and no-brainer, fun gifts are exactly what this worn-out momma needs!!

Our school does teacher appreciation on one day … it’s not a week long thing. On Wednesday of Teacher Appreciation Week, the room moms arrange to have baskets outside the classroom doors for the kids to leave gifts. For Hunter’s class, one of the parents suggested the kids also bring in a flower for the teacher and teacher’s aide … that parent left a vase outside the classroom to collect said flowers.

Teacher Appreciation Wednesday was also plant-growing-salad-making-teaching-moment-day and each of the kids were assigned to bring in something to make a salad. Hunter was assigned 24 cherry tomatoes.

One of the other girls had a field trip to attend and needed a “sack” lunch. And well … I don’t know, all I remember was a crazy, tasmanian-devil-like whirlwind of a morning. I was shoving stuff at Hunter explaining who to give stuff to and where to leave it {she also had the front desk administrative to leave a gift for}.

Between making breakfast, a sack lunch, explaining gifts, flowers, letting dogs out, water bottles, vitamins, papers signed in book bags, general morning craziness … and let’s not forget … a photo for Instagram! …

When I finally returned home from school drop-off errands, guess what I noticed in the fridge?

24 cherry tomatoes. Humpf!

{free download available from chickabug.com}

Share some of your “crazy” with me?

Posted in creative, gift idea, pinterest

9 Jan

teacher gift :: note folio

I’m all kinds o’ excited to share this project and gift today! Mainly because it includes some of my own crafting! And just as important – it includes the support of a crazy, wonderful organization – GlobalGiving!

A beautiful friend gifted me with one of these lovelies a couple of years ago, and I’ve been yearning to create one myself ever since. Well, I finally bit the bullet and did me some sewing!!

I made a total of seven folios … counting teachers, aids, and tutors, we had 5 “teacher” gifts, plus I made a couple more to give to friends.

I love, love, love the way they turned out! And as soon as I get some more time, I think I may be making a few more … you know, just to have on hand!

{folio pattern by JCasa Patterns}

Posted in charity, craft, creative, gift idea, giving