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Sunday, September 4, 2016

You Remembered Me... and Then Some

Last week, I had several days when I was so busy that I didn't have much down time with the family. I caught myself thinking, how can I fit everything in tomorrow? I went through my mental checklist. Did I accomplish a lot? Yes. I fed my kids and bathed the baby. I ran all the necessary errands. I got the kids to and from school. I accomplished my work goals. Yet, at the end of each day, it did not feel like I did enough. I began wondering what I could change so that the next day, I could do it all

Our little guy had his first run in with water balloons last weekend. Watching him pick up those slippery little balloons only to drop them and chase them around as they wobbled across the deck reminded me of myself somedays. We end up running in so many different directions, because our days can be just as unpredictable as those balloons.

I have this need to fulfill every role, perfectly, many women do.  We want to be the best wife, mother, homemaker, employee, etc. For most women, it has nothing to do with competition, or meeting other people's expectations, it has to do with the expectations that we hold for ourselves. For me personally, it has to do with my desire to know that I am being exactly who God gave me the capability to be

One of the things that spoke to me when I was at the women's conference last month was the idea of waking up each day, and asking "God, what is the ONE thing you want me to accomplish for you today?" I love that. The idea of tuning in to who the Lord needs us to be each and every day. One thing. It's so simple, and yet, there have been many days since I have returned, that I don't accomplish it. Instead of waking up saying, what one thing can I do for you, I find myself thinking things like, "God, can you give me a break today? I promise to knock out both assignments tomorrow, because today I am just too swamped..."

A little chaos is okay, because at the end of the day I get to be with the people that make it all worthwhile. Mdays don't always go as planned, but the outcome is always consistent. My family is healthy and happy. I handle my responsibilities, and then some. I love those in my life, and then some.

The banker decides to call back at the very minute our youngest has a blow out. Our daughter is so excited about something going on in her life and decides to fill me in at the very moment my husband, who happens to be traveling (again) finally calls. And yes, that moment when I had to stop typing up a document that had a deadline, because my son was certain he found chocolate in his diaper was stressful, but it's also a funny story that I'll never forget! The errand I fit in for someone today may have caused me to forget the load of laundry in the wash, but my service lightened a loved ones load. 

Maybe I woke up and left the house without giving myself enough time to pause and ask, "What one thing do you want me to accomplish for you today God?" But I ended the day asking, "What one thing did I do that pleased you today God?" And He answered me back, you remembered Me... and then some. 

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 Psalms 139:14, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What if We Remember These Words





















Last week, I went to my very first women's conference.  I was going to be 2,000 miles away from my family, and of course, before I left I considered backing out. I stood on the treadmill with my friend and told her a few of the reasons I wanted to cancel. For several months before, my head was consumed with what ifs.
  
What if I'm leaving our company at the time when we are the busiest? What if my kids need me? What if my husband forgets to put the game controller down long enough to fill a cuppy? What if something happens to me? What if I get to the conference and miss my family so much that I just want to turn right around and come home? What if...?

Of course, nothing like that happened, but do you know what did happen? 

I cried the entire trip, and those what ifs never left me. I felt God's presence each and every day. From the moment I sat down on that first airplane, to the very minute I arrived home and climbed into the truck with my family. The words were just flowing onto my note pad. I was so excited and so inspired. My chest was so overwhelmed with hope and gratitude, that the what ifs became...

"What if God really did choose ME to be here?" 
"What if the words that God puts into my heart, the words that I long to share 
with others, really are worthy and important?" 
"What if taking this trip, having this experience, surrounding myself with these women 
 is exactly what my kids need me to do as their mom?"
"What if, this time, instead of getting sidetracked by life and the what ifs, I stay focused on 
my writing?"

I pushed past my fears. I ignored the voices that had told me women don't travel without their families. I ignored the voice that said this money would be better spent on someone else, or on something else?

All of those tears that I shed these past few days, were tears of joy, of compassion, and of amazement. They were tears for Lysa Terkeurst when I listened to her speak about her near death experience. They were tears I cried when Suzie Eller told us about her trip across the world, that would forever change her life and the life of a woman battling breast cancer. They were tears I cried inside, 
as I tried to be strong for the woman at my table who told me she lost her husband after being his caregiver for 10 years and was faced with, "what do I do now? I want to write, but what if I'm not good enough?"

I packed my bags, and stepped into this experience with one foot in and one foot out, fearful that it might not have been for me. However, I walked away knowing that it was. I was chosen to be a daughter to my parents and a sister to my 5 brothers. I was chosen to drive through that rainbow with my grandmother over 20 years ago, during a moment when I was most fearful! I was chosen to parent these beautiful babies that God has so lovingly placed into my hands and heart. I was chosen to live in this house and love this man.  
I was chosen to ask one more what if...just one more.

What if starting today, and every day after, we choose to remember these words...

This is my journey. 
I was chosen to live this life.
I choose to live it well. 
I am enough. 




















(...and on a side note, I did cry a little when I watched a video of my little guy playing 
with his daddy and sister, and when my dad sent this sweet picture of him napping with 
the baby. Seriously, how cute is this? All wrapped up in pompo's arms :)

Did you wake up with any what ifs on your mind today?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

An Average Day



On an average day one might find me sitting at the kitchen counter making a few banners, sipping on coffee while my toddler quietly plays nearby.

Okay, not really.

Today, I had plans to drop the kids off to school, grab a latte and leisurely clean the house before the hubby got back in town. 

Oh plans, you never quite work out exactly the way I hope.

I ended up getting an email from work, and worked on paperwork for more than half of the day, and that's okay, because honestly, I love office work. 

However, I had to snap a pic of what my house looks like on the days that I'm filling Etsy orders or working from home. 

This little guy tears it up! 

Not quite as luxurious as I picture my days in my head. Luckily, baby is usually willing to "tean ut toys" when I ask. We picked up all of my little guys messes together, and I hustled to get the house in order and smelling fresh and clean.

During that time, I got to hear the "Cha-Ching" sound twice. Which is a big, Yay! Just this week, I mentioned that I'm hoping to ship a banner to each of the 50 states within the first year and what do you know, I added a new state to my map less than 48 hours later! 

Don't you love that we can send hopes out into the universe and blessings fall down?! God is so good.

Then on my way to pick up the older kids, this happened.

Baby wanted to wear sunglasses like mama and gave me the cutest pose ever, & yes, my face is chopped off because I am a no makeup, sloppy hair, old T-shirt wearing mess today, but that's okay. 

I got some work in, made a little money, loved on my little guy (we chased each other around, giggling a lot today) and I got most of the house cleaned all before it was time to pick up kids.

Today, may not have went according to plan, but it was a good day.

Most days are.

"It's not what you do, it's how you do it. 
It's not what you see, it's how you see it. 
It's not how your life is, it's how you live it."

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Within These Walls

Today, our home was placed for sale. That means, that today, we open our hearts to "whatever comes next." I love new adventures, hope-filled endeavors, anticipation, promise and change. Yet, as that "For Sale" sign went up, there was also a twinge of sadness. Because, while I love change, I also love the comfort of what's familiar, and this house is familiar... so familiar.


This house holds 8 years of memories for me. There are so many untold stories of what happened "here" and "there," moments that will forever be tucked away in my heart. 

As I look out this front window, I feel gratitude. 

I can remember the first time I visited with my girlfriends. We admired this beautiful, bachelor pad of a home, and I remember thinking 'what I could do to these walls!' Before I knew it, our wedding cake was sitting on the kitchen counter and we were placing a slice into the freezer for good luck.

So many memories flood me. Like hanging streamers for celebrations, blasting music while the girls and I cleaned, welcoming my husband home from work, helping kids with homework at the kitchen table, and sending my stepson off to college weeks after bringing a new baby home to love.


In this kitchen, I've made hundreds of pancakes and tortillas, baked thousands of cookies and dinner rolls, and poured countless cups of coffee and glasses of wine for family and friends. This kitchen is filled with memories of late night conversations, dinner time prayers with the kids, and quiet evenings created for "just the two of us."

In that living room, we made funny videos for Nana, watched movies like Mega Mind and Back to the Future over and over again, hosted sleepovers for cousins, and played Trouble and Yahtzee with grandparents. I've given many hugs, sprayed lots of sunblock, applied dozens of band aids and filled back packs with school supplies time and time again.

Inside of these walls, we have shared so many moments with loved ones - many that have passed on. Together we have laughed, cried, danced, fought, made up and laughed some more. 

We filled these walls with life. 


In this backyard, we designed our own little slice of heaven. I'll remember the hours spent lounging by the pool, while the kids played ball and practiced diving. I'll remember the day my mom, my daughters and I spent the morning planting flowers by the pool, and the moments with my husband cleaning and sprucing it up. We filled the backyard with orange jubilees, a mandarin tree, a cats claw, bird of paradise, roses and more.  We turned this backyard into our private paradise.


Oh, and the memories we made on this front porch...

I remember the girls and I pushing the baby on the swing. I remember trying to shape one of the bushes into a heart as we laughed the entire time. I think of the countless times I swept rocks off the porch, pulled the wagon to check the mail and the excitement we felt every year as we hung up holiday decorations.

This front door led to many small excursions, like nightly bike rides, walks filled with hot cocoa and Christmas lights. It led to hikes on the nearby mountains.


I think of all of the people that we have welcomed through this front door.  So many families have come and gone, and I realize, that one day we will welcome another family into this home. A family that is not familiar to us. A family that will recreate these rooms and play in this yard. A family that will breathe their own life, and love and promises into these walls. 


One day, our home, will become theirs, and we will set off to finish what we have started. We will continue to create a lifetime of moments. Each day will be a new adventure and each adventure will become a memory just like the one before it. The best thing about memories is that we can make them anywhere, and the best part about our home, was never the house itself, it was the love that we created here, within these walls, together. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

14 Days of Love: For Foster Kids


Well, it is officially the first day of February! Mmmmm hmmm, the month that is known for LOVE! Anyone who knows me, knows I am not afraid to be sappy & this sappy girl is super psyched that Valentine's Day is just around the corner! I believe that Valentine's Day is a day that gives us the opportunity to spread love to all... our spouses, our children, our friends, our families... anyone who is dear to our hearts.


I am honored to have partnered with a great organization that makes a difference in the lives of some littles that are near and dear to my heart, foster children. Recently, I have been in contact with the founders of FOREVER KIDS and I was touched by the energy and passion behind their organization. When foster children are removed from their homes they are usually given a trash bag and told that whatever they can fit into the bag, they can take.

As a foster family, we were saddened to see children arrive with a grocery bag filled with a few articles of clothing, and a toothbrush. Most times when children arrived at our home, the clothing they came with, was the wrong size or dirty and worn. When I hear about the things that foster children have to endure it always breaks my heart and I am always left thinking, it would be nice to do more...

So when I heard that Forever Kids Organization purchases suitcases (and fills it with a few character building tools) and gives them to foster children to carry their belongings in, I was inspired. The children are given a gift that they can call their own as they transfer to a temporary home and in many cases, from home to home... to home. I also learned that many older children who end up in group homes have been so grateful to have these cases, because they are able to lock them and keep their makeup, money and other personal belongings safe.


I really believe that this is a great cause and I hope that you do too! I love the idea of reaching out locally! I am hoping that together, we can raise enough funds to donate suitcases to a group home here in Arizona!

The girls and I kicked off the fundraiser this weekend at Dr. Bucks Wild West Show in Buckeye, Arizona & now the online fundraiser begins today! We'd love to have you help us spread love and compassion to these children. Visit the online campaign, share this on your page or email the link to friends!

14 Days of Love can be found HERE 









Thank you!





Thursday, January 21, 2016

Love the One You're With

Totally feeling this one today. 

From taking care of our littles from sun up to sundown, to tagging items for the next art festival, to working, to adding a few ingredients to the slow cooker to feed my family, to working on several side projects... 

I'm in the groove.

And okay, maybe a little tired.

Mostly, I'm just buzzing around...  

Happy.

I was so blessed to see my mama and aunt hustle when we were younger. Helping their husbands run a business, raise a half a dozen kids (each) and take care of so many other things. In between company errands, house cleaning and meal prep, I'd see them take the time to help others out. One took the time to volunteer at her kids' school, the other would drive a family member to a doctor's visit. They were devoted to their families and always busy.

What I remember most is that in between the hustle and bustle, they made time for the things they loved and they always had each other. When the work was done, and time and money allowed, they'd craft, sew, bake, design a garden, and scrapbook. They shopped together and when their kids were older, they'd sneak away to get a coffee or to work out with a fitness trainer. 

They had big families, full days and content hearts!  

I truly believe they had happy households, because they also took the time to love themselves. These days, I am blessed to know so many wonderful women and mommies! From those that work outside of the home, to those who work in the home, to those who volunteer, to those going back to school or pursuing side passions...

Cheers to you mama.
The one who is doing what she feels is best for herself and her family.   
The one who is making her world, her own. 

Yes, girl, OWN IT.

Embrace your choices and your goals and your life.  

Own your struggles and your experiences and your successes. 

Embrace your girlfriends and your family. 

Own the way you spend your days. 

Yep, I adore this saying, and no, it's not because I consider myself a #bossbabe, lol, but I do love the concept. I love the idea of women embracing their lives and the things that they are passionate about! 

I love the feeling of being obsessed with my life. 

I love getting through the hard times and coming out stronger and happier. 

I love everything in this moment &&& the possibility that tomorrow can be even better.

Well, I'm signing out for now, but in the meantime, I recommend that in between the dishes, the paperwork and the diapers, you find a little time in your schedule to do something that makes you feel refreshed!