Friday, August 02, 2013

new beginnings // taking risks

In June 2010 I decided that I wanted to find a place that I could put all of my crazy thoughts, dreams, and ideas in one place to call home. I started by writing about, well, everything. I threw in some tutorials along the way, wrote about Project Life, and even hosted a giveaway or two.  It was a good three years. I made mistakes along the way. I wrote too much and I times I didn't write enough.  
It's now August of 2013 and I have decided that I am in a place in my life where the memories of my family, and our dreams are so important. This blog plays a huge place in that memory keeping process. I also have decided, with the encouragement and support of Landen that I am going to take a huge risk and try to develop something that I love, which is a passion for design, paper crafting, scrapbooking, mini books, and graphic art.  I have played around with it and included it in our daily life for as long as I can remember. I've even created things for friends now and then, but I have decided to take the plunge and make a business out of it. 

With that comes this....

my new blogging home. I have been working tirelessly over the last month and a half to get everything moved over from this blog to my new one and get it all customized.  I also created my own shop:

which holds my three shop items to date. I have a new mini in the works as well as a fairly large project that I can't wait to share. 

It has been a mixture of emotions making the decision to switch homes. This blog has been a sounding board and I would be foolish to deny that I'm afraid that no one will be interested over at my new space. But that is a chance I have to take. Because this is my dream, and dreams are worth chasing. 

I would love if you visited my over at my new bloggy home. I would love if you would subscribe so I can feel like someone is interested in my thoughts. I would even love it if you would check out my shop and support my design efforts. 

This has been a great home and I am going to miss it dearly, but I am so excited to see what the next 3 years holds and the three years after that. This life is going on with or without us. It time we hop on and enjoy the ride!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Taking chances // the beginning

There are lots of exciting things going on around here.
Top secret things and some not so secret.
I am currently in the process of writing down my dreams and evaluating what it would take to reach them.
I am praying
and budgeting
and designing
and praying some more.
I am talking with Landen who is one of my biggest dream-supporters and we are working together in some very exciting ways.
I am trusting others and learning to trust myself more.
Who knows how this will all play out.
Only time will tell.
Here's to taking chances!

*The photos were taken in our neighborhood. There is a hot air balloon company nearby and they go over our house almost every weekend.* 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dear Eleanor / your feet

Dear Eleanor,
This is the letter I have put off writing. I'm not even sure why, as the ending of the story is perfect. Maybe it's because it brings up those same feelings of uncertainty, of a lack of control, of fear, that I don't like to deal with as your Mama. 
But nonetheless, this story is yours, and therefore it has to be told.

When your Daddy and I saw you for the first time, it was when you had been in my belly for 20 weeks. I was halfway through my pregnancy with you and we were so excited to see your little face on that black and white screen. When Mommy was pregnant with your sister we saw her when I was 8 weeks pregnant, but since there were no problems with that pregnancy, they decided I could wait with you. It was so exciting, we were talking about what whether you were a girl or boy, and if you would look like your sister or look completely different. 

When you popped up on that screen we were filled with amazement at how feisty you were (and you haven't changed a bit). We marveled at how your profile looked just like Adeline except that your nose was different. We wondered if you were a boy or a girl. We were in awe that God had once again blessed us with a healthy, beautiful, baby.

When we left the Dr's office, Daddy and I went out to eat and talked about you some more and looked at your cute pictures. We prayed and thanked God for all He had done for us. Mommy went home since I had taken a half day from work for the appointment but Daddy went back to work.

I was just getting settled in at home when I got a phone call from Dr. Bonar, Mommy's doctor. She said that she wanted to schedule another ultrasound for a month away because there were some concerns from the ultrasound. They were worried about your feet. You see, they couldn't see one of them. It wasn't showing up on the ultrasound and in the rush to get to her next patient she had forgot to mention it to us at the office.
She explained that it could be a number of things. It could be that you were simply positioned weirdly and thus your foot wasn't easily seen. It could be club feet, where your feet are twisted inwardly and would require multiple surgeries beginning soon after birth. It could also be that you simply didn't have one foot. 
I hung up the phone feeling numb.  Although I knew that what the Dr. had just told me wasn't life threatening, I knew that there was a possibility that you had something wrong with you. Something that could impact your quality of life. Something that would be painful for you to fix and very expensive. 
I called your Daddy and explained to him what the doctor had said and I kept up a very strong front until I heard the quiver in his voice over the phone, reflecting his own worry. At that point I broke down and cried for you and prayed that everything would be okay.
The next month was the longest month ever. At times, it was easy for your Daddy and I to forget about your feet, and at other times, I would get images of you struggling to walk and having one surgery after another in hopes of correcting the problem. I would imagine you never being able to ride a bike, or play with your sister. These times were the hardest. It was during these times that I clung to two specific verses that God placed in my heart.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb." Psalm 139:13
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart." Jeremiah 1:5

These verses brought comfort to me over and over again and reminded me that God was in control of your body and that He loves you more than I ever could.
You are also surrounded by powerful prayer warriors sweet girl. There were so many people praying for you. Praying sweet words of healing over your little body and precious words of comfort over your Mommy and Daddy. You are blessed to be loved by so many amazing servants of God. 
When the day of the ultrasound rolled around, I woke up feeling so nervous and yet, there was a sense of peace around us that I can't explain. As the ultrasound tech rubbed the gel on my belly and began the ultrasound your Daddy and I held hands and watched, both scared to death, and yet comforting one another silently. 
It seemed like forever before the ultrasound tech began to examine your limbs. She found one hand and then the next. One foot, and then...
the other foot. Perfectly straight, perfectly positioned. Perfect.
I remember hearing those words "the feet look fine."
So simple, so calm, and yet so profound. While they bore no significance to her, they were everything to us. Your Daddy let out the breath he had been holding and I let out a big "Praise Jesus!" A weight I didn't even know existed fell off our shoulders. You were fine. 

Immediately I sent out a text and posted on Facebook the ultrasound of your feet with the simple words "Her beautiful, perfect, feet." Only a select few even knew that there had been a concern but I didn't care.
We called your grandparents and they were so excited. Your Grandma McGee however stopped me in my tracks when she said that "God had performed a miracle and healed your feet." You see, your silly Mama's thinking was off. I was thinking that since you feet were fine, they must have always been fine and it was just a misunderstanding from day one. But your Grandma made me stop and think. What if your foot was clubbed on that ultrasound? What if it was missing? What if, something had been wrong, but by faith and prayer all had been made new and right? Baby girl, we will never know what your little foot looked like on that ultrasound at 20 weeks, but what we do know is that God had performed a miracle by the one at 24 weeks.

So what do I want you to take from this? Sweet child, I want you to know that you have been prayed over since you were conceived. You have been given a gift, perhaps even a second chance. I want you to run like the wind and remember the prayers that allowed it to happen. I want you to walk for Christ and thank Him for all He has already done for you. I want you to look at other people who God may have had another plan for and remember that His plan for you could have been different. I want you to know that you are blessed.  

When you were born, the first thing I wanted to do was just like every other mother - I wanted to count your fingers and your toes. But this time it was special. When I counted your toes, I was reminded again that they are all absolutely 

I love you baby girl.
Yours forever,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Eleanor / newborn photos

One week after we brought baby Eleanor home we had the pleasure of welcoming our photographer Lydia into our home to take her precious newborn photos. It was only a year ago that we were taking the same photos with Adeline.  This time the photos were much easier on Mama, since I wasn't recovering from a c-section, but a little harder on Adeline. Since she had 4 teeth coming in at the same time she was extremely whiny and miserable so we had the family shots done at the very beginning. Afterwards Daddy took her to the grocery while I stayed behind to take more photos with Eleanor. You can clearly see how bad Adeline felt in most of the pictures. 

 One thing is for sure, Adeline loves her little sister and loves smothering her with kisses. I can't wait to see their relationship develop the older they get. 

Daddy with both of his girls. 

I love both of my little girls and I love that Eleanor look more like me.

Eleanor was awake for the entire photo shoot. She is always very alert and active and I'm glad that these photos reflect that. 

Lydia always does a wonderful job. I'm so glad we have been able to capture our precious girls at the very beginning. 

Monday, July 08, 2013

Dear Landen / you are 30

Today you turn 30.


Thirty years. Where does the time go? I can imagine you as a little boy, your big eyes taking in everything around you with the same curiosity I see reflected in your eyes today.  I can see you as a toddler, much like our own sweet Adeline and your little mini-me.  I can see you running around jibber-jabbering away to anyone who would listen.
Fast forward a few years and now I see you in the grocery store, as your mom has told me so many times, and you are checking all of the vending machines for money that someone else has left behind, definite signs of your very frugal adulthood. 
Your high school days were spent mostly on the run. Literally. Between cross country and basketball your days were full of activity. You excelled at cross country and went on to get a scholarship that sent you to Cumberland College.
I can imagine you on your first day of college. Scared, and wanting to go home, but so full of ideas for what you could do during your four years in that place and thinking of all the ways to make those ideas happen. I can see you meeting you new people, chatting them up in the cafe or the Grill. Passing people on the via-duct and waving a friendly hello. I can see you rushing to practice so that you weren't late...again. I can see you studying your bible in your dorm room and asking God to show you what He wants for your life. 
I love thinking about what you were like before I met you. Sometimes I wonder just how much our little girls are going to be like you.
When I look at you now, I imagine you taking in all the wonder of new things with our own little girls. They share your big, curious, eyes and I can see the same curiosity reflecting in their eyes that I imagine you had at their age. I imagine you taking them to the grocery store and teaching them to look for the best price...not on the sticker, but the best 'unit' price. I hope you teach them to have your frugal ways unlike their Mama.  I imagine you running around the neighborhood with them helping them develop their stride and breathing techniques. I imagine you sitting with them doing school projects helping them develop ideas and find ways to make it the best project ever. Leave Mama to do the pretty stuff, you will always be the engineer in our family. 
You are 30.
You have lived 30 full years full of lots of exciting things. But you are just beginning. You are still growing, and wondering, and inspiring others around you. You have many more friends to meet, and things to see for the first time. You have more miles to run. You have accomplished much in your first 30 years, as many people will attest to both personally and professionally, but you have much more to accomplish.  You have more studying to do, both academically and biblically.  You have so much more.
Thirty seems like such a big number, and while it is, it represents so much in both of our lives. As exciting as your 20's were, I can't wait to write you your 40 year old letter and see all of the fun and exciting blessings you received in your 30's.
Live strong darling, these are the best years of your life.
Your Sweetpea

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dear Eleanor / one month

Dear Eleanor,
Hello sweet girl. You are one month old today. One month. How does that happen? How is it that one minute you are being placed on my chest for the first time and I am taking my first glances at your sweet face and the next it is one month later. You are so graceful and so small. And so calm.  You are the perfect example of peace. Everything you do is peaceful. From the way you move your hands so gracefully, to your bright eyes that take in so much wonder. Everything you do amazes me.
You are so different from your sister, baby girl. I love that about you. I love that you are your own person and that you are challenging me as a Mommy in new and exciting ways. You only wake up one time a night and I appreciate that about you so much. It's like you know that I need to get my rest so I can take care of you and your big sister everyday.
You are nursing so well and we are really in a groove with it. You are a porker sweet girl! You eat so well and I have had to start supplementing some formula into your diet because you like to hang out and eat for a long, long time! It makes it hard to take care of Adeline too, but you are dealing with it like a champ. You are gaining weight and your little body is filling out into a healthy, chunky, little lady. It's such a good feeling to know that I am providing for you.
You are having some issues with acid reflux, and more than once I have had to change the sheets or wash the couch cushion covers after you have thrown up everything you have eaten. I don't want you to have to go on medicine so we are trying to work it out on our own.
You like to be held and cuddled a lot and I am happy to do it! I love the way your sweet little red head rests so perfectly on my chest. I love the way you sigh so sweetly as you sleep. You have such a humble spirit.
Your big sister loves you so much. Every morning when she wakes up she runs to find you and slaps you with a big ole' kiss. She loves to hold you and wants to feed you your bottle. You love your sister too.  You get so bright eyed when you hear her voice and you deal with her 'lovings' so well.
You went to Mammaw and Pappaws for the first time this month and got to meet a lot of your aunts and uncles at your cousin Nathan's farewell party.  You didn't cry or whine at all while everyone loved on you. I can tell that you are going to be so loving.
I am in awe of you everyday. I knew that I would love you sweet girl, but I had no idea that I would love you so much. You and your sister are everything to me and I love each day that I get to wake up to you. I want to cherish each sweet little moment I have. I want you to know that I would do anything for you, and that you have been the perfect addition to our family. You have my whole heart.

Love forever,
Your Mama

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer Reading: The Outcast- A review

Happy Thursday everyone!
Instead of doing my regular Guest Scrapper series today wanted take a few minutes to update you on how my summer reading is going and to share one of the books that I just read and LOVE with you as well.  

At the beginning of the year I made the decision to force myself to read more. Reading has always been such a passion of mine, but like many other things it was the first thing to be put on the back burner when life happened.  

It just so happened that it was around the same time that I found out that The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim was going to be released during the summer and I immediately knew that I had to have it!

When I found out that I could pre-order the book and receive it days before its actual release I jumped onto Amazon and snatched it up. Two days later there it was in my mailbox and as soon as I got the girls down for their naps I made my daily cup of Mother's Milk tea and curled up on the couch to dive in.

It's been a while since I have found that kind of book.  You know the one, the book that from the minute you read the first few pages you are so sucked in that you can't put it down.  The book takes place in Tennessee and the main character, Rachel, has found herself in one of the biggest trials of her life. As the mother of an illegitimate child and a member of the Mennonite church, she has been rejected by almost everyone she loves, kicked out of the community, and she finds herself raising her son, who will soon face his own battle, with the help of Ida Mae, an older lady who takes her in and allows her to work in her country store.  Rachel's twin sister Leah and her husband Tobias play integral parts in the story, as well as Tobias' brother who stole Rachel's heart a long time ago.  Jolina does an amazing job of telling Rachel's story through Rachel's eyes as well as through the perspective of Amos, Tobias' father who recently passed away and is overlooking the plot of the story from his place in heaven.  

This book is a beautifully written tale of love, forgiveness, and the grace of God and how it works in our lives.  Through trials and tribulations you see how Rachel and the other characters in the book are changed for the better by allowing God to work in their lives. There were several times while reading this book that I found myself moved to tears and I found myself crying as I closed the book and wishing that the story continued.  

If you are looking for a book to read this summer that will both inspire you and challenge your faith you really need to grab this book off the shelf.  It is all the major bookstores and you can also find it on Amazon.  If you have Prime shipping you can get it in just two days with free shipping! 

So what are you waiting for? GO READ THE BOOK Y'ALL!

*I have received no compensation for reviewing this book. The opinions are completely my own.*


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