a multitude of gifts

christmas ornaments

{{The most adorable Christmas ornaments EVER…. complete with personalization and crowns!!! Swoon! … this anonymous gifter knows me well!!}}

Let’s be real.

People don’t have to like us. And, people don’t have to like our kids.

Because, truth be told, we aren’t always all that likeable and every kid isn’t either.

They don’t have to stick through the rough and tough, deal with the less than desirable sides of our personality, our awkward quirks, and the days we aren’t the most fun. We aren’t always all that likeable.

And, honestly, I know I’m not always that super friendly, incredibly kind gal who always has everything together. I can be very “hard” and bound to rules (when I want to be! lol). I’m not always easy to get along with, I’m not the funniest person in the room with the biggest personality. I’m a real and true introvert, creative, blunt, and mouthy kinda chick who has high expectations and expects everyone around me to work as hard and do as much as I do. But, on the flip side, I am also kind, giving, sacrificial, and sensitive. Sadly, the good doesn’t always overshadow the bad, especially when it should. I thank Jesus daily that grace abounds, that He has given me a heart to seek Him & follow the example He has set… to soften, to be more gentle, more patient, and more relaxed. So, I’m working on it.

In the meantime, I’ve had some die hard friends who have stuck by me, who have been there and done that with me…. I have friends who have shown up in incredibly major ways over the past few years, specifically during our adoption and this pregnancy. I’ve made some pretty awesome friends over the past year who have been more than wonderful….. Older relationships that have gotten sweeter over time, new relationships that are easy to embrace, the kind where you’re able to be transparent and give/receive encouragement & support….  Strangers who only know this little space and my Insta have been so encouraging in our journey. It’s been beautiful.

These people love me… love us… love our girls. And, for that I will never be able to find the words that truly express how it makes me feel. To know that there are people who’re invested in your children and genuinely care for them is indescribable. You’re proud, humbled, and thankful – because you know people don’t have to.

There’s a confidence and a safety felt when you know people love you – the real you. When you’re angry. When you’re sad. When you’re going through hard times and just don’t feel like it. They don’t mind the quirks, the effort, the clumsiness, the imperfectness of your being.

It’s beautiful….
And, just realizing that it’s exactly what is asked of us to do. Love our neighbor as ourselves… to forgive and to give grace and patient and endure the tough and not so fun.

Working on being all of these things when I don’t quite “click” with the person and when I feel it’s undeserved. Working on it because you deserve it. Because there are other friends, women, and mamas who are struggling, who aren’t always at their best, who have some growing and maturing to do, girls who need a friend.

… here’s to sisters loving on sisters. Day in, day out. Loving hard, loving gently, loving relentlessly and reliably… no matter what!

Post Jam: Taylor Swift Shake It Off (because it’s fun, ok?!?!)

 

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end of the year

So, if you know me, you know I love a couple of things – arts and crafts and personalization. I worked with many, many amazing people this year, but I wanted to share my gratitude to two of my coworkers who picked up my slack, poured in ideas, took great initiative, and truly eased the burden of so much “stuff” that had to happen this year. Enter Treat Greeting Cards. You know Shutterfly, right? You may have ordered Christmas cards from them like we have! …. Well, Treat a newer brand of theirs! This website and their products have absolutely stolen my crafty, personalized loving heart! The specialize in cards, phone cases, and mugs; fun, useful items like that! I went to order these two gals cards thinking I would just be able to add a picture and my own greeting/signature.  I was already stressing thinking I had to find a card that would communicate something close to what I wanted to say. I even feared I’d have to be uber creative in making a card “work” that really didn’t. But, when I say I personalized just about EVERY aspect of  these cards. Ya’ll I was in heaven. Heaven. Heaven. Heaven. The fact that I was able to personalize the message sent me over the moon!! Annnnnd, then they came on the day they Treat said they would. Yes, they give you an accurate delivery date and will even send the card to your bud or stud if time is of the essence. THRILLED. I mean. I couldn’t be happier! The gals seemed to really enjoy them and one of my other coworkers is already planning and creating cards for a few of her friends! I mean, who wouldn’t want their face with a personalized message on a card?!

Check these out! while simultaneously excusing my work area. I live/work/paint/etc here!! amy2dewalt2Yes, I threw in a little Aibileen from The Help!!

Then… Two more of my favorite things in the entire world – painting and personalization collide…. Every single cheer or classroom gift I’ve given my kids has been an initial, a personalized picture frame (complete with their name & photograph!), SOMETHING with their name on it… and, I’ve made it myself. With attempting to not make it look homemade. lol. 

This year, my vision for my cheerleaders’ gifts were chalkboards. And, as frustrated as I was about the paint pens not making precise, clean lines – it does kinda look like chalk. I had to seriously fight my inner perfectionist and not focus so much on what is “wrong” or why it isn’t perfect and delight in the fact that it looks just like what I wanted it to look like. (Doesn’t life just work out that way sometimes?) I love that the black paint has a slight, slight shimmer to it, too!!! Annnnnd, I didn’t get paint of any furniture or carpet this time!! Woooooot!!!

Here are a few of the finished “chalkboards” aleshadanielle And, then my heart was happy.

… cheers to finding new ways to love on those you love and appreciate most!!!
(And, you still have time to love on your kiddos’ teachers, your fave coworker, classmate, teammate or WHOEVER before that very last day of school!!!)

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… close & open

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 20131216-172503.jpg

I always get really sentimental around the end of the year.
I believe it’s because my birthday is in early January, and I feel as if I have the opportunity to end one calendar year and begin another, fresh calendar year before I’m ushered into a new birth year.

I like it that way.
Almost like walking into your home after it’s been cleaned. You just feel better.

Everything sparkles.
There’s no clutter.
Everything is put in it’s proper place.
The need-nots (a new word I just made up for things you don’t need) are tossed.

When you clean house, you have an awesome opportunity to really see.
You realize what you don’t need and what you do. You find things you forgot you had but really valued….. And, you have so much more space.

You get rid of things you thought you needed.

The older I get the more I realize how much stuff I don’t need…… And, I’m embracing the freedom that comes with not being bound to so much stuff. Stuff (for me) is fun shoes, clothes, bags, vacations, lots of friends or likes on Instagram, multiple retweets on twitter or double digit comments on a Facebook status, anything new, & everything girl.

Ehhhh…… UNNECESSARY STUFF.

We are so good at collecting and hoarding so many things that we really don’t need, but are horrible at getting a good grip on the things we do need.
I can be horrible at getting a grip, but so wonderful at collecting and buying and making!

This year, I want to end this calendar year with a good grip on understanding that stuff will never satisfy. I enjoy likes on Insta & the back & forth on Facebook, but at the end of the day, and in the grand scheme of things…… Those posts mean nothing.

We work hard at making sure the pictures or status’ we post are “likeable”- that they look as if we’re having fun, or focused, or whatever we’re attempting to convey at the moment. The right angles, the right filters, & perfect wording get us what we’re looking for —> confirmation, validation, attention, conversation, etc. Emotional responses that make us feel accepted.

But, a few minutes pass and it’s over. It’s done. Friends & family forget about your post, mindlessly scroll right past it, or just plain don’t like it. They aren’t in the mood. They didn’t find it funny. They’re mad at you. They are uninterested. They logged off & never saw it. And, there goes our confidence. And, quick.

My point.
Stuff never satisfies. Not for long. Never fully. There’s no longevity. No true depth.

But, in Christ.
We find all that we’re looking for and more than we ever imagined existed. A perfect protection. An incomprehensible peace. And, a forever friend.

He isn’t going to forget about us three minutes after we come to Him. He won’t ever scroll past us- he sees us. And, he truly cares for us. He doesn’t miss a beat. He became like us, but he is not like us. He loves us in a way we won’t ever understand. And, gives us a comfort that will have us calmly riding out any storm we find ourselves in.

I want to grip that. Yea, I know it logically. I know it better now than I did before. But, I want more.

But, I’m always craving more. More of his peace and comfort when he’s taking me through…. I want to trust Him mightily. When He tells me not to fear and do not worry – I want to believe without a shadow if a doubt that I can in fact not worry. We can NOT worry. We can NOT be afraid. But, not by our own power. We have to trust Him.

We can notfear. We can not worry. We can trust Him. And, believing Him is the only way to do that.

That life of hope & encouragement begins with a choice to accept what Christ so freely gives.

I want to end and begin with an unwavering heart.
There’s safety in the shadows of His wings. And, I need to find myself there because Lord knows I’m scared.

… here’s to pushing further away from the need-nots and choosing to cling closely to the giver of everything good.

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