Love Them

This last weekend we took a little family outing to the mall.
We had a nice time and Gracie did great.
When I was putting her back in her car seat, I noticed that the people in the car next to ours were also getting ready to go.
I hurried up and got Gracie in and turned to go around to my side. 
“Sure glad you didn’t hit my car.”

It took me by surprise, but the man getting in the car was talking to me, and not in a very nice tone.

Yeah, I usually try to be careful about that”

“Wouldn’t have been happy, we just bought it yesterday.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yeah.”

Ok, so why am I sharing a stranger’s rude conversation with you? Because that rude stranger gave me a chance to practice forgiveness and love. To pray for someone that I didn’t want to pray for.

To write a letter to Gracie.

Dear Gracie,
People will say things that will hurt you. They will try to use words to cut you down and make you feel small. 
Don’t let them.
Don’t let them sow seeds of contempt or hate in your heart.
Love them
Don’t let them make you feel ashamed of who you are or try to change you.
Love them
Don’t answer back with a sharp tongue and hurtful words
Love them
Let God’s love and light shine through you. Be a leader with your words and use them to build others up. Don’t try to hurt those that have hurt you, but share Christ’s love and grace with them. In forgiving you will find Christ’s joy. To walk around with hatred or contempt for someone will make you burdened. Give it to God and lighten your load! Stay strong beautiful girl! You have power in the words you speak. Use them for good!

Lord, please help me to understand that the words I speak have lasting effects. Though they 
seem insignificant, the words I choose to use, and the way I choose to speak them have the 
power to either build up or tear down, to give life or to bring death, to encourage or to distract. Please help me choose words life-giving, encouraging words that filled with goodness and honor You (James 3:5). 
Love, Mommy
The above prayer was on that day’s card for the #PrayerDare journey that I am participating in. 
Very fitting for that day’s events. 
I can be overly sensitive. 
What that stranger said hurt my feelings and made me feel like I had done something wrong, even though I hadn’t. He made me feel small and insignificant in a way. Dustin leaned more towards the anger side than the hurt site. Either way, it was a challenge to love this stranger. 
In the scheme of things, this is not a significant event in my life, but it is an opportunity. An opportunity that God gave me to strengthen my walk with Him. To help draw me closer to Him and turn my contempt and hurt into prayer and love.
In all honesty, I still had a hard time praying earnestly for this stranger. Even though the thing he had said was so small, it was my only encounter and impression of him.
I know that there are bigger and harder prayers of love out there.
Thanks for starting small with me, God.

A Royal Daughter

Weekend Layers

I remembered to take a few pics this week of the outfits I put together to link up with WIWW.
These are my weekend outfits.
Saturday was a get some chores finished, and go out to eat with Dustin and Gracie day!
It wasn’t super cold, but still a little chilly, hence a sweater was needed.
We went to the mall solely for the reason of being able to get Miss G out of the house and have a place we could push around the stroller and she would stay busy watching everyone!
We didn’t even buy anything, and had a gift card for eating out! Check for more progress towards our goal of budgeting and having fun! 
Blouse: Maurices
Sweater: Old Navy
Necklace:Maurices
Shoes:TOMS
Sunday was time to go to church and visit with family and friends…and once again chilly. I found some bright pieces I like and layered! As you can see, I wore my TOMS shoes all weekend. It’s more noticeable on the black pair, but they are getting worn out from soooo much wear! I think I’ll just wear them until they completely fall apart and continue to show off that they are well worn and loved!

Shirt:Kohls
Skirt:Maurices
Shoes:TOMS
Have a happy Wednesday!
pleated poppy

                                                                         

Tuesday

I have been trying to post my weekly gift list on Monday.
You may have noticed that today is not Monday.
Today is Tuesday.
Ok, now that we are all clear that today is NOT Monday, let me explain why I am listing my gifts today.
Yesterday was a work day. A busy work day. 
Not a bad day, but a day where I was ready to get home and relax. 
I did 5 home visits and a home admission.
To put that into perspective, I usually do 4-5 visits in a day and that fills the day pretty good.
Admissions seem to take forever!
In the past I may have grumbled more (inside my head), felt upset that I wasn’t getting to go home on time, or be in just a plain old grouchy mood (inside, I try not to show it!)
Yesterday, even though I got home late, had a lot of charting to complete, and was feeling run down with the beginnings of a cold, I added a gift to my list.
Long work day.

Dustin may have heard a sigh or two as a charted and sniffled, but I also tried to be thankful and find the joy in this gift. 
I have a job.
I have a job I enjoy.
I like the people I work with.
My job is fairly flexible and I only work two days a week and get to be home with Gracie the rest of the week.
Thank you God for a long work day.
172. Soft, squishy and kissable Gracie cheeks
173. Peanut butter fingers and face
174. Coloring with whip cream
175. Droopy eyes
176. New projects
177. Pretty materials
178. Pasta necklace
179. Fingerprints everywhere!
180. Squeals and funny noises
181. Laundry
182. Cousins close in age and right down the road
183. Flexible jobs
184. Fun with other moms and babies
185. Fish
186. Snow on trees
187. Long work day
With Easter right around the corner it was time for mommy and Gracie to make some colored eggs! 
Since Miss G is only just one, I opted for paper eggs! 
 
 
We pulled out some of daddy’s shaving cream, found food coloring, cut out some paper eggs and threw on a bib for some messy, squishy, manly scented fun!
 
This was very simple and Gracie had lots of fun spreading around the shaving cream. After the first attempt to eat it, she actually listened when we told her it wasn’t for eating!
 
The food coloring worked fine, but even with a bib on, I have decided it is time to invest in some washable finger paints!
 

 
Here are instructions to make your own easy Easter eggs!
 
You will need:
Paper-thicker paper will hold better. I used a thicker piece of scrapbook paper
Shaving cream
Food coloring or finger paint
Spatula
 
  1. Cut out your Easter eggs and lay out to apply shaving cream or tape to surface for fast moving hands.
  2. Place dollops of shaving cream over eggs.
  3. Put desired colors onto shaving cream and spread using hands for messy fun, or a utensil for less messy fun!
  4. Clean messy hands, face…etc, before your little on runs through the house and spreads Easter egg joy all over the furniture, rugs or other stainable pieces.
  5. Removed excess shaving cream with a spatula and hang to dry
 
There you have it! Nothing to it!
Now hang up those colorful and simply made Easter eggs and enjoy!
 

 
 

Letter to Gracie

Dear Gracie,

Thanks for being a mess. And not just a little messy. Thanks for being dig your hands in, grab a fistful, smear around, try a taste, pour over head kind of messy.

It’s beautiful.
You’ve shown your mommy so much about exploring the world through all the senses. About taking the time to examine something over and over again, find something new about, and delight in it. 
You know those smears all over the kitchen fridge? You’ve done a great job putting up all your animal magnets and telling me what they each sound like.
You remember the peanut butter that got smeared on mommy and daddy’s bed sheets? We sure had fun wrestling around on the bed…peanutbuttery fingers and all!
You remember when you threw food colored noodles all over the kitchen floor? That was some squishy fun as your ducks swam through the noodle “water”. 
You’re a mess
You get right down in the thick of it. Take each moment and give it all you have. 
Thanks for showing mommy to live in the moment and praise God for the joy the messiness can bring.
Stay this way.
Learn. Explore. Create. Find your joy and praise God.
And maybe we’ll work on not throwing food on the floor…



Hope Springs

New Life
New Projects
Hope Springs

For behold, the winter is past, 
The rain is over and gone. 
 ‘The flowers have already appeared in the land; 
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. 
 ‘The fig tree has ripened its figs, 
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. 
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, 
And come along!’ ” 
Song 2:11-13 (NASB)

Spring?

So here I am to post another momma style outfit and link up with WIWW.
It’s the first day of Spring!
It’s 30 degrees…
Oh well, that’s Ohio!
In attempts to be Spring-like, but not freeze to death, I wore a long maxi dress and then layered, layered, and layered!
Scarf: H&M (one of my favorite cozy scarves!)
Dress: An old maternity dress from Kohls that I belted
Paired with black tights and black long sleeve shirt from who know!

Headband: My own creation. You kind find something similar at my store.

Shoes: TOMS-definitely in love with TOMS shoes!

Mommy and me style! Pink sweater dress on Miss G, with black leggings and a black jersey infinity scarf. The scarf is a new design that I’m working on for some upcoming spring scarfs in my etsy shop.So excited!

Happy first day of Spring!
And all you Ohioans..try not to freeze out there!

Listening and Listing

My writing of gifts seems to come in waves. 
One afternoon I write down 5. 
Then the next few days I forget to write them down.
Next afternoon, another 3, and the ones I remember thinking the day before.
Have I found the perfect system of finding my joy and thanking God for the gifts he has given me?
Maybe not.
But what I can truthfully say is that I have become more intentional, purposeful, and joyful in my choices, thoughts and actions.
Writing my gifts, thoughts, and bits of life on this blog has opened new doors for me and allowed me an outlet to challenge myself to new things, to seek God harder and share Him more openly. I have always been better at writing out things and thinking them through, rather than putting them into action in front of an audience. 
Here in the blogging world I can write my thoughts out and then offer them to an audience. I have already found a few things I have to be aware of as I continue this journey. 
  1. Finding the worth of my blog in the number of followers I have. Sure I want a good audience. I want to feel like people enjoy and are uplifted in some way by what I write. I guess I want to feel validated. Then I remember, that if this blog helps just one person, brings a smile to one face, helps me grow my relationship with Christ, or make connections with other Christians…well, that right there is valid.
  2. The internet is wonderful in allowing for connections to be made. I have already connected with many other Christian bloggers through the Influence Network. I can support and give back to different organizations through the internet and in general, use it as a very useful spiritual tool and a way to connect. But this should not be my only way to connect, give back, or fellowship with other believers. This is the challenge. Today the world is small. I can seemingly have it all in reach as I sit at my computer. And this is the myth that I have to remind myself is there. To challenge myself to step out and continue to grow those connections with physical interaction and physically giving back and participating. By being physically and spiritually present right where I am, and where it is needed. Pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone hurts. It’s scary, it requires change (not historically so great with change). I like to know what’s going to happen and what will be required of me. Isn’t it just easier to play it safe? Can’t I just maintain status quo and be ok with that? But as daughter of Christ, I’m not satisfied with that. This joy blog has already challenged me. Challenged me to share, to be open, to strengthen my walk with Christ. The next step is to continue to push further. To honestly seek out His will and (this is the hard part) LISTEN.
And now comes the listing part

154.Gracie chowing down on hard boiled eggs
155.Little legs running through school halls
156.Grandma close by and willing to babysit
157.Branches that sway in the wind
158.Waiting/finding patience
159.Prayer
160.Stillness
161.Reaching out and lending a hand
162.Husband that tends to the fireplace to keep house warm
163.Spring robins
164.Babbled words
165.Clingy hands
166.Small turned up nose
167.Flower pot that promises blooms
168.Our overall good health
169.Green pancakes
170.Uplifting music on the radio
171.Challenges at work

Basement Decor DIY

Our basement has been mostly finished for over a year now.
This is easy to keep track of that due to the fact that I was pestering Dustin to complete it before Gracie was born.
Thankfully it was finished in time and Gracie’s bedroom did not have a 50″ TV in it. 
But I have neglected putting much on the walls. I probably should have taken before pictures, but when I want to dive into a project there is no time for before pictures! It’s a get it done and take pictures later kind of thing! Inspiration struck and now our computer desks no longer stand alone with blank and wanting walls. The best part is that I was able to decorate with things I already had! These projects took very little time and skill and even if I had needed to buy the materials, I think 10 dollars probably would have covered it. The large wall got a splashing of black and white butterflies, while the adjacent wall now holds chalkboard pictures frames with sticky note To Dos and Goals. Read on for simple DIY instructions, and use your imagination to picture blank red before walls!

Butterfly Wall

Pinterest. Need I say more? These fun butterflies came from an idea I found on Pinterest. The original idea was for over a headboard in a little girl’s room, but I thought I could make these work for a basement family room. I used different patterns of black and white scrapbook paper and the pattern available here, to cut out my butterflies. I made one random butterfly with Gracie’s name all over it to stick in the middle. Tape on the back of each butterfly keeps each one in flight on the wall. Simple, easy, and gives a little life to the wall.
Chalkboard Frames

This is all you will need for your chalkboard frames:
Old frame. Had found some a while back for a dollar or less at a thrift store!

Chalkboard Spray Paint. Already had some in the garage just asking to be used!

Chalk. Ok, I did buy this…but I think 87 cents was worth it!
All I did was spray paint my frames and let them dry over night. I then rubbed chalk over them as instructed and wiped clean. I put some fun little patterns on the frames and they were good to go. They are hung on the wall with command hooks so they can be easily removed.
The smallest frame holds a taped in family pic
My 2013 goals arranged on sticky notes!
My To Dos 

Now I can use these frames as sort of a command center for myself and attempt to keeps things organized in a pretty and simple way. The sticky notes can be rearranged as needed and keeps my thoughts and lists close at hand. And just so you know, this is the first time I actually thought out and wrote down some 2013 goals (hey, it’s only March!) and I love having them there out in the open. May have to write a future update on how those are coming!
Goal on getting organized in progress!