March 6, 2014
1. If you are spending your time on it, it better be worth all of your effort. Or you maybe shouldn't be doing it.
2. This living room makes me swoony.
3. And so does this one! Would you LOOK at that hot pink coffee table that you could totally DIY yourself?
4. I did this to my bedroom in high school to try to connect with my natural inner self (this was also the time period wherein I listened to Enya, Enigma, and didn't eat meat or shave my underarms). I love this amped up version with the netting above and fur beside. Too cool.
5. Oh be still my heart!
6. Love this gold eye liner.
7. I am intrigued by using the plow pose as a treatment for insomnia. Wonder if Bryon could bend into this?
8. Vintage hardware makes everything better.
9. Love bangles like this one.
10. This furniture upcycling project makes me swoon.
11. Gorgeous hair.
12. Mothers, please know this. PLEASE.
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March 5, 2014
I am so, so proud of Hayley’s heart. She approached me late last fall because she wanted to make a blanket for her aunt’s upcoming baby.
Be. still. my. heart.
And then she asked me to help teach her how to sew so that she could contribute to the blanket... and she asked me to sew the rest.
Be. still. my. heart.
*It’s been a lifelong goal of mine to teach all four of the children to put a bit of themselves into everything creative that they do – to hope it, to dream it, to make it with their fingers or their voice – and then to eagerly give that gift which includes a part of their heart, to someone they love. This is why ‘handmade’ means so very much.
And so Hales arrived one day with enough blue and gray minky fabric for 2 crib-sized blankets. I had never sewn with minky before because the rumors are awful; minky is the absolute devil to stitch because it is slippery and makes a holy mess everywhere. But having the minky gave me some direction at least. I fussed over details for many weeks. It became sort of an ordeal.
If I’m being honest, my heart was sitting out on a cold and scary New York apartment ledge about these blankets. They became very symbolic to my heart because the whole request meant so much to me. I was so concerned the blankets wouldn’t be ‘good enough’ and I wanted them to be just right for Hayley. I wanted to make Hayley happy and make her family happy, and because I’d be sewing more of my own heart into them with every stitch, I felt strangely at risk. Would feelings about me as her stepmother cloud Hayley’s beautiful gift? I have to say, there were times when it was hard for me to be Jesus about it, pinning minky on the floor and fussing. But I prayed it out and God got my heart to where it needed to be. It finally occurred to me that it only mattered if the blankets were good enough for Hayley and for me. We were about to have a whole experience together. And we would stitch as much love into those blankets as God would give us!
Once I had that epiphany, everything went so smoothly. With Hayley’s blessing, I selected white flannel fabric with itty, bitty, blue polka dots for the front of the blankets and gray acrylic yarn for the ties. I purposefully kept the blankets super simple and full of opportunities where Hayley could help. We did not use a pattern. We used blue minky on the back of one and gray minky on the back of the other.
Once the fabric sandwiches were made and turned right side out, Miss Hayley got to work on the floor with me. We strapped our hair back and put on a wedding show. She helped with the pinning and the repining and the unpinning (there was lots of pinning). She learned how to thread a darning needle with yarn (lots of times) and how to line up her knots. She learned to stitch them super tight because a baby could be chewing on them. She asked lots of questions and we practiced division because, duh, why not with all of those knots right there in our hands? We had time to jaw about boys and cooking and her new glasses, too. Hayley is the best at sneaking in soft puppy licks of quality time like that. Hayley patiently worked on her blankets beside me for hours.
After our knots were knotted we hit the machine. Hayley was fabulous! She was eager to power that sucker up and was very interested in the mechanics of the walking foot while she used the pedal. She asked a hundred questions and I found myself completely forgetting what I was ever worried about because clearly, this whole experience was more than good enough for the both of us. My heart was grinning! I felt like the luckiest mama ever to be sharing this with her!!!
It just so happened that the blankets were finished on her aunt’s birthday. After finding the perfect box, Hayley picked out some wrapping paper from the closet and made a birthday card. We folded and wrapped and then had a quick lesson on curly ribbon string for good measure.
When Hayley left our house that afternoon, she was glowing. GLOWING. She beamed from ear to ear, just like my heart. She said she was proud she had the idea to make something using the love in her heart and then finished it. She carried the gift out to the car and giggled the whole way.
Late that night I considered our project and I was humbled. I texted Hayley to thank her for allowing me to help her make the blankets. I told her how proud I was and how much I loved her. She sent me a huge THANK YOU!!! back and my heart flip-flopped sideways in my chest. She told me that her aunt cried when she unwrapped the gift and held the blankets in her hands. In fact, she said Hayley’s blankets were the best gift she’d ever gotten.
Well, oh my. Now THAT is handmade heart right there.
But I think maybe I’m the one who got the best gift out of the whole ordeal instead.
February 28, 2014
Three years ago we made a marriage covenant in a clearing in the woods. The trees were heavy with snow and the sky was bright. It was 18 degrees that day and enormous, fluffy flakes fell gently all day long, like Narnia. I love that we made our covenant in such a unique place. I also love that every time it snows big, fat flakes my husband says, “It’s Narnia snow, Dear,” and we share a look that remembers that afternoon underneath our ‘wedding tree.’ It is such a beautiful memory.
I don’t know if my husband thinks of our wedding day whenever I wear the blue stadium coat that I wore over my wedding dress, but I do. I think of sitting in my car with Melinda at the wheel and the little girls in the back. We sang Lincoln Brewster’s ‘Today is the Day.’
I am so proud of what Bryon and I have accomplished in the past 1,095 days. Of course I haven’t blogged it all because believe it or not, I don’t share everything. Plowman was totally right; it is the hard patches that knit your marriage together the tightest. I love each and every experience we've had. It's been a really good 1,095 days.
God remains at the helm of our family. He is our Savior and our protector. I am in love with how my husband holds my hands at bedtime to pray. I love how we've grown as a Christian family. We continue to look for ways to grow as a Christian husband and wife every day. I know this has been the single most important thing in our marriage.
Bryon Ray is my best friend and I know without any doubt in the world that I am his, too. That is an amazing feeling. I know that when he leans against me in the kitchen or puts his head in my lap, he's needing me. When he spills his work guts on me, that is needing me, too. When he fills my car with gas and gets the kids ready for school, that is taking care of me. That man makes a hero's effort to listen and to learn me, too. He's won my heart forever.
We communicate a lot! We argue more than I thought we would in the beginning. But now that we’re settled into Us, I wonder how couldn’t we? We are both strong and stubborn. Additionally, we've both been hurt by our ex-spouses deeper than any wound, and come back from that having learned a million lessons. Defense is a reflex sometimes. It’s hard to put your pride down when you’re talking to your forever spouse (as opposed to the ex-ghost in your head) but we’re getting much better at it now. There is nothing flimsy about us or our love. We are all in and that means thick passion to the hilt. It feels good. And making up is my favorite.
Having ex-spouses is a complication that is unique to remarriage. It would be disingenuous of me not to mention this, or to talk about how we've handled it because it is huge. I can tell you that neither of us was prepared enough for this complication in the beginning. Having exes is irritating no matter what kind of people they are and their involvement can become destructive to a marriage. That's just the truth of it. The past 3 years has felt like a training class, part storytelling and part jujitsu. We’re still learning. We try to be proactive and defend our boundaries. We've learned to jealously guard our marriage because exes can assume that old intimacy still exists. There can be a tendency to 'take advantage' sometimes. Old ghosts resurface. Prayer becomes like breathing. We've learned to press on and be merciful anyway. We forgive continually. And we make the best decisions we can together, in consideration of our family first. I cannot reflect on our three years without recognizing the two people who have STRENGTHENED OUR MARRIAGE immeasurably. Both Bryon and I were hard-forged; we lived ugly before. We scraped and clawed to cling to hope and the promise of love in the middle. And now we stand solid together because of the hard patches we've knit up and survived together.
Boundaries are important in any relationship. Identify your values and protect them before anything else, People, because the devil preys. I can assure you that if something crosses a boundary in our marriage, we both react like ninjas. Sorry, worldly temptations – you can’t have us or our kids. Sorry, dishonest friend – I don’t think so. Sorry, porn – you don’t belong here. Sorry, person taking advantage - no thanks. Neither one of us allows the other to be taken advantage of or bullied anymore – like, ever. We protect one another like WHOA. I love that. You can’t mess with just one of us; it doesn't happen. You get both jujitsu ninjas and we’ll both be smiling and holding hands when we show up at your door, too. We operate as a team; we are ONE. *Knuckles, Babe.*
He still makes my panties end up in the ceiling fan and I went to work with a hickey this week. So there is that. And That would make the paint peel off of the walls it's so fabulous.
You know what? More than anything, we are HAPPY. Like, wow happy! Of course there are gloomy days and please do note the aforementioned patches we've navigated in the past 1,095 days. But really, Jesus, thank you. We recently wandered around a bookstore for an hour for absolutely no reason and laughed and made faces until we cried. We returned home from a dinner date and shot moose together for 2 hours. We PLAY and hold hands all the time. We encourage one another, even if that means being tough on each other. We try to serve one another the way Christ intended. That, I've never had - and that, I really, really appreciate.
Three years later and I am overcome with gratitude for this man and for our marriage. We share a beautiful family, which we parent together without exception. I am so grateful for the way God has blended all 6 of us. The seams are all His doing and boy howdy, they are tight.
I'm such a lucky girl.
February 27, 2014
1. I have two kids that swim against the grain a little. They are 'weird' and I don't want them to change a single bit. Because being a little weird is being AWESOME. It's what God asked us! Be different, be an individual. Don't follow the "in crowd." Love, love, love weird. We all have a freak flag, people. Just just can't be afraid to fly it.
2. Ahem. Yes.
3. Cakies always has the cutest crafts. I LOVE this. It is a wire hanger, bent, and covered with yarn.
4. Gorgeous living room.
5. Oh, I love this one, too! Look at that ceiling and the fanciness of it all... paired with that ginormous skull. Bwahahahahahaaa...
6. I used to wear a baseball hat all the time in high school and after. It was a JCrew color block wool cap and I have a senior picture of it. I love this black/charcoal version. I wear one when I golf, but seriously may need to look into this again. I miss my hat.
7. Love this pony tail and the long, shaggy sides.
8. Dear awesome lipstick, please come into my life. Amen.
9. Love this outfit. A lot.
10. Would you note the awesome DIY on these skinnies? This chick chopped the extra length clean off at the ankle!
11. While I'm not about revealing my breasts in public, I do love this combo. I think there is a lot of great inspiration here: the hair, the denim, and the black underneath. A deep vneck would accomplish the same feel, I think. Love it.
12. Why, hello darling hair.
13. Of all the homemade books I've seen on the interwebs, a family recipe book may be my most favorite of all. I am suddenly inspired to thoroughly interview Nana.
14. I am 100% in love with this tattoo and placement. WOW.
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February 25, 2014
February 20, 2014
1. While I don't scrap often anymore, I still adore a great font. Free fonts, HERE
2. This reclaimed wood headboard. WOW.
3. If you aren't reading www.vintagerevivals.com, you should. DIY pendant lights, HERE
4. Wendy, didn't you tell me you macrame? Ever make something like this? I am in LOVE with woven textiles.
5. Summer is coming. I can feel it trembling under the snow (probably shivering from the cold). I love this tee. A lot.
6. This is my favorite Free People necklace. It does weigh a ton and my husband has to put it on/take it off for me, but I adore it.
7. I was thrilled when I found this breakfast suggestion from Ree Drummond. Roasted zucchini and summer squash with tomatoes and eggs. Paleo and delicious!
8. If there were ever a television couple that would make an amazing real couple (you know, if they were single and stuff) it would be Mer and Der. LOVE them. Such chemistry.
10. Ladies, look at the ankles. They're ripped off. Amaze.
11. I adore Bethany Menzel. She's got a great blog and a wonderful heart for The Lord. Plus, her style makes me swoon. Love her hair here!
12. Wanted: Maxi dress plus slub cardigan.
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