Tuesday, January 17, 2012


This afternoon I was invited to play dollhouse and instead of saying, "in just a minute" or "let me finish folding these towels first," I choose to say yes.


For thirty minutes I forgot that I was 30. Instead, I got to be 3 again and enter into their little world.
It was lovely.


And what a little, little world it is. We are into all things miniscule right now. The smaller the better. Little dolls, tiny furniture, and even little craft pom poms.


Caroline has become quite attached to this purple pom pom she found in some left over school supplies and has affectionately named him, ball-ie, bally, balley
Maybe we'll just go with Ball. E.


It is quite hilarious and she takes it everywhere, even sleeps with it at night (much to my chagrin) Do you even know how hard it is to find good old Ball.E. when he gets lost in the covers at 2 a.m. and we can't go back to sleep without him???)
Do you spy him in the tea party above? (sitting in the blue round chair with his sister, Baby Gigi). I kid you not, I couldn't make this stuff up.


But it was fun and my towels didn't run away while I was playing. In fact they were right there waiting to be folded when I got back to my chores.

Blessed be childhood, which brings down something of heaven into the midst of our rough earthliness.
Henri Amiel

Monday, January 16, 2012

sewing workshop update!

Just wanted to let you all know that two spots have just opened up for the sewing workshop this weekend! :) The workshop this Saturday is one of the beginner ones and you can find out more information here.


There are also a few spots open for the smocking Sip-N-Stick on the 26th. I'm really really excited (and maybe just a little nervous too) about teaching these ladies to smock.


While the weather was frigid this weekend, we all hunkered down and just hung around the house. I used my down time to get some supplies ready for this workshop and to brush up on my smocking skills to get ready to teach it next week!


If you are interested in coming to one of the workshops you can check out the Get Your Stitch On Workshop blog or you can send me an e-mail at getyourstitchonworkshop@gmail.com.
I'm really looking forward to meeting some of you soon!

Friday, January 13, 2012

It is well with my soul

In November, we got all gussied up and headed over to an old family farm in Lexington so that Lucas could snap some photos of the four of us. What a super special treat, I’m telling you! We all had so much fun with Lucas. Anna Cate will now tell you that her two favorite things are 1) weddings and 2) photo shoots. I think she would die if she new Mr. Lucas got to do both...at the same time...for a living! We have decided we have to build family pictures into our budget so we can do this every so often. (And if you are looking for somebody super talented and fun to work with, give Lucas a call. seriously, hands down, the best of the best.) And maybe this goes without saying, but all of the pics in this post are ones that he took (and two up there in the header too).


He has no idea what a blessing he was to our family and how much I treasure these photos of the four of us right here, right now, in this sweet season of life that we are in. 2011 was definitely a year I will always look back on with bittersweet memories; lots of laughter, many tears, growing closer as a family and learning to lean into the Lord with each step that I take.


Last week I was flipping through old pages in my journal. I hadn’t read back through things I had written earlier in the year, and I was humbled at just how specifically God had answered almost every prayer I had written on those pages. It certainly didn’t feel like He was answering prayers as we were living out our days in 2011, but looking back I can see His providence in all of it.


My heart has amnesia and I forget the lyrics to the songs that He has already taught me, ones that I thought I knew by heart. I question and I flail and I loose heart. I doubt His goodness and His grace when things don't feel good and circumstances don't work out according to my selfish desires.


Last January, while on our church's women's retreat in the cold, snowy mountains of Hendersonville, I heard one of the ladies speaking about how she claims a Bible verse for each day. So very naively, I decided I'd claim a verse for the year. I landed on Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.

I think the "Be Still" part sounded great to me and I just disregarded the rest. Honestly, I do. Being still sounded like a great invitation to rest, a welcomed permission to slooooow down. Goodness gracious I had no idea what I was asking. To claim a verse and invite the Lord to show me what it meant.


So I returned home and went back to living life as I had always known it to be. God was part of my day, a quick "hello" in my quiet time or in brief worship as I sang along with the radio, but not part of my whole day. I did not need Him to carry me, to cover me with His grace because my heart felt raw and exposed.


But then He showed up to make good on our deal. He would teach my heart what it meant to know what Psalm 46:10 means. To live it out, in the flesh, to fight and claw my way into understanding what being still and knowing really means.

In the course of the next few months, I came to dread the text from Will that read
Call me asap.
I never knew when the next ball was going to drop:

"Can you talk?
The doctor just called.
It is melanoma.
I won't know how invasive until he sees the pathology report."

Be still and know.

"I'm so sorry sweetie, but Dandy just passed away."

Be still and know.

"My job circumstances have changed and I think now is the time to go off on my own and start my own business."

Be still and know

"It's Caws. She's gone.
It happened sometime early this morning while she was asleep."

Be still and know

As we packed our Christmas decorations up last year, I was so sure that we would be celebrating this Christmas as a family of five. And month after disappointing month, realizing that our desires were not part of God's plan for us right now.

Be still and know


It has been painful. All of it. Some days I feel forgotten and unloved. I feel like throwing my hands in the air and waving like a crazy woman, "Here, Lord, down here. Do you see me? Do you even realize what all we are going through right now? Why, why, and again WHY?"

The pain has made my heart tender, and though not at all what I would pick for myself if given the choice, it has been a beautiful mess because I have grown in an intimacy with Him that I have never known before. I walk around with a throbbing heart that can only find relief in His presence. In being still before Him.


A little verse that I thought would unlock permission for me to relax and rest has taught me so much about my own selfishness. About my own sense of entitlement; how ugly it is and how much that I exercise it on a daily basis. About patience and that waiting on the Lord produces a patience which leads to practicing contentment. And what a rich abundance contentment can be for those who truly find it and can find rest in Him and what He gives.

About living with an open palm instead of a closed fist. In learning to accept the good and what appears to be bad (the things we don't understand) as His love for us.


Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.

I had just been focusing on the first sentence, but silly me, there are two more. The greater part of the verse was the part that I chose to overlook at first. That when we are still before Him, we can not help but worship Him, exalting Him among the nations and in the earth.

I can no longer worship on Sunday mornings without tears. His grace is real and it is tender. Slowly I am learning how to sing in praise, It is well with my soul. There is so much more I am still processing from the things He has taught me this past year and I'm sure this isn't the end of all I'll have to say.

As December came to a close and I realized it was time to pick a new verse, you can understand my hesitancy at picking anything at all. In fact, I told Him that I wasn't, and if there was something He wanted me to learn in 2012, He was going to have to make it loud and clear as to what verse it would be.

And wouldn't you know, He did.
And I baulked, stubborn and unrelenting. But He persisted.
Over and over again He would put this verse in front of me until I could no longer argue my point. So now, in fear and trembling, I begin this new year, much like a timid doe stepping out of the forest, just waiting for the shot to go off:

But now, this is what the Lord says
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Isreal: "fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine."
Isaiah 43:1

I know, I know, I can only imagine what 2012 is going to be like.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Printable form

oops! Turns out you can't print the form that I shared in the last post.
That is what I get for blogging at midnight.

This one should work if you click the link at the bottom

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

just two things.

Can you believe tomorrow is Thursday? This week is flying by! We are all well and stomach bug free **knock on wood**, back to our regular shenanigans. When the entire family takes a day off like that, it really throws the rest of the week off.

My birthday is mid-March, so I have approximately 2 months left to get my act together to be a bone fide organized adult. I promised myself last year that 30 would be the age that I would finally become a real adult (cue Pinocchio "I'm a real boy, a real boy!") and train myself to do the things that real adults do. You know, things like keep my sock drawer organized. Put my jewelry in a real jewelry box so that I don't find myself franticly searching Wal-mart for a $4 fake pair of pearl earrings
every. single. time.
I get dressed up for a formal event (which in all honesty doesn't happen too terribly often around here.) But still... it is the principal I'm getting at here.

In keeping with this goal that I set for myself, Will's parents gave me two books for Christmas that have revolutionized our household. Not kidding. That may sound a little dramatic, but I'm going to share two little things I've learned from reading these books that has helped me to become more time efficient in running this house and more productive with my time (two very adult-like qualities, wouldn't you agree?)

our day 4

If you haven't read Tsh Oxenreider's book, Organized Simplicity, it is worth a read. In the first half of the book, she talks about reasons why we should simplify our lives. I agree almost whole heartedly with what she has to say and let's face it, just the crisp and clean book cover alone is enough to get you motivated at the start of this fresh new year.

One of the tools she provides in the book is something she calls a daily docket that is to be filled out each evening before you go to bed. I modified her example to fit my personal needs, but the idea is basically the same. I'm a list person and I love to fill in paperwork (nerd!) so getting to fill one of these puppies out each night makes my heart go pitter pat.

I think I may have it printed up as a notepad so that I can have them readily available all the time.
These are usually the things I would list out on different pieces of notebook paper each Sunday before a new week would start. One for menus, one for my weekly to do list, another for a cleaning schedule. I still have those lists, but they stay in a binder (but that is another post entirely by itself.)

This is what today's looked like:
I love that I can see everything on one sheet and that my day looks somewhat manageable (and the page is just cute to look at.) Just three household chores and I'm done with the house for the day? Bam! I can deal with that.
Pretty self-explanatory, but it really helps keep me focused on what I want to accomplish for the day. So there ya go. You are more than welcome to use my version or create one for yourself if this is something that would help you too.

On to the next thing that came from this book:

our day 6

Holy Boule recipe! Where have you been all my life?? This glorious, magical book has taught me that I can whip up a batch of dough in lit-tra-lee 5 minutes with no kneading and have fresh bread all week long with no other prep work.
Beeeeautiful I tell ya!

What sort reaction do you think I get when I serve potato broccoli soup for dinner?
Gee, mom. We're just having soup for dinner?
But serve that same soup up with some freshly baked bread and wowza! that soup instantly becomes a delicious meal. (and your children no longer sound like they belong in an episode of Father Knows Best)
Very Atlanta Bread Company, if I do say so myself.

I make a batch of dough on Sunday evening and stick it in the fridge. From it I can make 2 loaves of fresh bread (so yummy you'll forget you aren't at the Macaroni Grill), 1 pizza and 1 calzone. Hmmm... soup, pizza, calzones? Sounds like super SIMPLE meals to me! :)
I wasn't going to share the recipe because I would have scruples about that if I were the authors, but lo and behold if I didn't find it already on their website here.
If you enjoy fresh bread, the book is worth the buy because it has all kinds of recipes and variations to try on pastries and other types of breads.

Wala! So there you have it. Just two things you can use to make life a little easier and/or organized.
Now go forth and simplify your life!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Monday

So this picture pretty much sums up our entire day today from 7 a.m. this morning until the girls went to bed at 6:30 this evening. The only thing you can't see is Will curled up on the floor of his office in a fetal position.

our day 3
Anna Cate woke up with a tummy ache which we quickly realized (surprise!) was the dreaded stomach bug.
dun. dun. duuuunnnnn.

The three of us stayed in the den the entire day (except for my trips to the back of the house to check on Will and bring him some Gatorade and saltines every hour or so.) Anna Cate on the couch, Caroline playing with her toys, and me plugging away at our never-ending pile of laundry and working on sewing up some pants because we seem to have already grown out of the ones we bought this fall. But most of the day was spent just holding Anna Cate and rubbing her back.

our day 2
When she wasn't in my lap, she spent the entire day curled up on the couch just like this.
I think she only moved twice.
Poor sweet thing. She was miserable.

our day

Sweet thing #2 decided she wanted to try her turn at being sick as well, but it only lasted about 30 minutes when she realized being still when you feel COMPLETELY FINE is about as much fun as peeling grapes.
But we made it through today and hopefully tomorrow will be a better one.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Digging Out and Digging In

Woo hoo!
New Year + Fresh Start = 8 bags worth of stuff to donate to Goodwill


I think my house lost about 20 pounds this week and it feels great! Slowly, but surely I have been digging my way out of the clutter that has taken over out house. No room, closet, or drawer has been left untouched. It makes me sick how much time I waste taking care of our stuff. Toys, clothes, paper clutter and dishes are the biggest culprits. When I'm reading Little House on the Praire to the girls, I envy Ma and the fact that each person in her house only had 1 spoon, 1 cup, and 1 plate that needed to be cleaned. Really, think about it? How much time do we waste each day taking care of things that have no eternal value?

How many bottles of soap do the girls really need in their bathroom?

And if I had less stuff, I would have more time to spend with my family, in the Word, and with others serving and loving on those who need it most.

So 2012 is going to be the year of
(cheesy, but catchy, no?)

LESS of doing real dishes so that I can say YES when the girls invite me to their tea parties.

LESS extra-curricular time commitments so that I can say YES when Will wants to invite friends over at the last minute.

LESS clothes & towels to wash and fold so that I can say YES to an extra bedtime story or an extra 10 minutes at bath time.


I mean really, look at that face. ;)
Who could say no to "just a few more minutes mama?"


I fear that being so busy and concerned with managing the stuff, I'm rushing through the mundane, missing these most precious moments I've been given with my family.

I'm also resolving myself to digging in and being more transparent and open here on the blog. Most of my favorite blogs I read are because the ladies are open and honest about life. I don't know them personally, and probably never will, but their words stick with me and minister to me throughout the day. They allow a glimpse into their weaknesses and imperfections, and He is glorified through their writing because His power is made perfect in our weakness.


About a month ago, I received the sweetest e-mail from a blog reader in Alaska. The Lord had already been tapping on my heart, asking me to open up and share things He has been teaching me this past year, but I have been stubborn because it is easier to write about the fun stuff like crafting. And let's be honest. It is also a lot less scary.
But since I read her e-mail, I've been thinking a lot about how much our thoughts, words, and testimonies can encourage and impact others, even those we do not know.

I'm sure there is more I'll have to say on this topic of transparency, and I hope I can successfully dig in and loose the fear of putting myself out there. But it is late and I need to spend LESS time here on the intranet so that I can say YES to something fun in the morning with the girls!

Christmas Catchup

Before we can move on into 2012,
let me first document the last of our Christmas celebrations for future reference.

1. & 2. Surprising the girls by getting them out of bed after they had been tucked in to look at Christmas lights 3. Reindeer pancakes 4. Delivering our four "Christmas wishes" 5. Crafting foam gingerbread houses 6. Wrapping presents (this year was just simple bags and tissue paper so my little elves could help) 7. Salt dough ornaments 8. Picking out an ornament for this year to go in their special ornament boxes

I was great about taking video of everything on Christmas morning this year, but failed to pick up my camera for some still shots. So that's a wrap on Christmas 2011!