Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry CHRISTmas!!

"And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
     {Matthew 1:21}

"For God so loved the world, he GAVE his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."    {John 3:16-17}

Happy Birthday Jesus!  I am saved by grace due to the gift of Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.
Celebrating the blessing and opportunity to give and to love well this season!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas cards

I love getting snail mail so as you can imagine, receiving Christmas cards is a very exciting component of the Christmas season for me!  Opening each card and discovering a family photo card or a personal note just makes me feel so happy!

In year's past, I typically handmade each card that we sent out to our family and friends.  Since having our little love, I have found the convenience in sending a photo greeting card mass-printed from a company.  It does take away a piece of personalization but I treasure the value in documenting the growth of our family and spreading cheer through the photos.

I do insist on printing the name and address on each card to capture a bit of personalization.  I saw the pin below on Pinterest.  I loved how it created the image of a package:
Original source:heart-2-home.com

 I decided to adapt the idea for addressing our Christmas cards this year.  Here is a sample of my creation:

Addressing each envelope is a sentimental occasion for me. 
I wrote the following post on Facebook regarding the event: 

I love addressing Christmas cards! Besides being a relaxing, creative outlet for me it is a time of reflection. When I write a family name my mind tends to be overwhelmed with memories and I feel so blessed by the special individuals in my life!

My parents sent out the following poem in their Christmas cards this year that really speaks the truth of my heart as well.

My Christmas List of Blessings

Every name's a touchstone
that leads me to a place and time,

Where God had used another's heart
to reach out and touch mine.

It may have happened years ago
or even yesterday,

But every person on my list
has changed my life some way.

Through simple conversation,
a warm hug or a shared meal,

Every person on my list
has helped me grow or heal,

Or laugh or love or learn or smile...
the blessings never end,

As God allows our paths to cross
as family and as friends.

So, please know that this greeting
is more than a Christmas wish,

It's a "Thank you"  card to God
for putting you on my list

For each and every one whose name
I've come to hold so dear...

Those who've shown me Christmas joy
Throughout each day of the year.

 I am so thankful to have a list of individuals to send Christmas cards to who have shaped and influenced my life. I am honored to call them my family and friends and wish them love, joy and peace this Christmas and always!

Friday, December 21, 2012

oh my!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I love that we received snow! From my understanding, the Midwest winter storm did not deliver like expected and that is just fine with me.  We received enough snow that I had to brush off my car but the sidewalks are just wet. The storm gets my blessings - beautiful but minimal accumulation that did not influence travel.

 I was able to capture my son's excitement on video when he witnessed the snow falling this morning; it made my heart so happy!  I'm not a huge cold weather fan (can you tell?!) but I would like just one snow fall accumulation that provides enough snow to take my boy sledding and experience his excitement...and then it doesn't need to snow again until next year! 

truth is

I haven't made a blog post in 19 days!  wow.
Just as the journey of life, my blogging has its seasons! Those that are faithful readers can attest to my absence at times and I am forever thankful that you continue to visit! I don't have excuses; just the truth.  Truth is my days are busy with a 21mo old - playing at home, trips to the library, play dates and snuggles come first.  Truth is sometimes nap time isn't long enough to accomplish my to-do list and blogging doesn't take priority. Truth is after bedtime I am often exhausted and don't feel my thoughts would transfer into a well written post.  Truth is this Christmas season I have invested a lot of time in creating items. Truth is I have lots of ideas and projects to share but it involves downloading photos, editing, and writing which takes up time that I sometimes choose to spend in different ways.  Truth is I am human and fail.  Truth is I still love blogging and sharing, so I will continue to post.  Truth is I miss blogging.  Truth is I hope you'll extend a little grace and continue to visit my blog and travel this journey with me.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


One of my all time favorite views during the Christmas season is that of our tree.  There is something so magical about the twinkling lights in a dark room.  Gosh, I love it! 

I also love the excitment our little love expressed this afternoon when we pulled out the tree and began to assemble the branches.  He quickly took on the role as daddy's little helper and distributed the branches.  Little love's favorite Christmas decoration is lights.  Lights on the trees, lights on houses, lights anywhere and everywhere; he is sure to say 'ights' whenever he locates one or more.  Oh the simple joys in life!

Husband did a fantastic job assembling and decorating the tree with lights.  Once again, this year we just placed red and silver non-shatter ornaments on the tree to help prevent heartache of a special ornament breaking during this season of life with busy children.  
It looks very pretty!  Another special feature this year is the addition of a train around the bottom of the tree.  It is definitely the highlight of the tree decorations following our new star topper we purchased at Bronner's.  I just love our little tree with the twinkling lights!

I am off to go enjoy the magic of the season!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Happy December!!

I am so excited for the Christmas season!  It is such a magical month and I love spreading the joy of Jesus!  

I am going to do my best to document our journey as we celebrate this month!

Today, December 1st, we took our annual trip to BRONNER'S CHRISTmas Wonderland  in Frankenmuth, Michigan.  It was our son's first time meeting Santa at Bronner's and it was quite the experience!  Does anyone know of a Santa photo contest?  We have a classic photo of our son and his death grip and screaming face in my husband's arms while he is trying to escape the presence of Santa!  

{Trying to excitedly persuade our son that meeting Santa could be a positive experience!}

After dinner, we ventured out to the Wayne County Light Fest.  Lights are our son's newfound favorite holiday feature.  It was fun to watch his excitement as he viewed the light displays.  We heard "ights, ights, ights" many times during our trip down Hines Drive!


Monday, November 26, 2012

give thanks...always

The Thanksgiving holiday season quickly becomes a memory as people race into the Christmas spirit following before their turkey meal.  I dislike that the spirit of thanksgiving can easily be characterized and associated with the month of November.  So, as an every day reminder, I decided to include the phrase "give thanks always" on a piece of pottery I painted at a moms night out a few months ago.  As my blog series "my thankful heart" comes to an end, may we be challenged to give thanks always; in every month, season, day, year and moment.

I painted the pottery piece yellow and then free handed the embellishment and 'give thanks always'.  The swirl design above and below the embellishment was a stamp available at the pottery location, Bees Knees.

my thankful heart - day #22

Today I give thanks to God for:
the incredible blessing of life

I have shelter over my head, food on the table and family to fellowship with. I am blessed to be a wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend.  I have a Savior and know I am going to spend eternity in heaven. I have been gifted with talents and abilities as well as a spirit of encouragement and kindness. I live an abundant life and my heart overflows with joy and thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

my thankful heart - day #21


Today I give thanks to God for:
 His faithfulness

God is God!

The truth is, on this Thanksgiving Eve, I know a lot of people suffering and enduring trials.  It is hard to look beyond the present moment and recognize God's blessings and be thankful. My encouragement is to look at your past and identify God's fingerprints; He has been faithful and He WILL be faithful in this season.  There are a lot of questions we will not know answers to this side of heaven, but His love endures forever and He WILL use all things for His good. Trust in the Lord and walk by faith; He will not disappoint!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

my thankful heart - day #20


Today I give thanks to God for:
the one my soul loves
There are so many things that have crossed my mind to write about my husband, the one my soul loves. I will try to just highlight a few.  I love to watch him greet our son and the joy that fills both of their faces.  I love that he is pursing his dream even though it has meant years upon years of education and training. I love to watch him interact with our son. I love that he is a man after God's heart.  I love being silly with him...we might never grow up! I love that he is passionate about people and caring for their needs.  I love knowing that at the end of the day, my best friend is by my side. I love that whenever he enters a room or I see him from a distance, my heart still skips a beat.  I love that music speaks to his soul and he shares it through humming, singing or his famous lip trumpet. I love that he can read my mind and knows just when I need to talk, cry or laugh. I treasure the time that we get to spend together especially since it is minimal in this season of life. I love that when I put my head on his shoulder, it feels like the 'perfect fit.'  Husband, you will always be known as my 'love' and I am so blessed that God made me for you, and you for me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

my thankful heart - day #19


Today I give thanks to God for:
precious memories with my family

A few special memories have been placed on my heart this week.  One year ago today, was our handsome son's child dedication service at our church.  It was such a memorable day to have our immediate family and close friends surround us with their love and support as we committed to bring up our child to experience the love of Christ.  It was also a special day as we enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast with our dear family following the service. It was a celebration of our love and dedication to the Lord and our commitment to family. What a blessing it was to be together!
A second memory on my heart this week is that of the year anniversary of my grandmother's death.  It is unbelievable that one year has passed.  So many things remind me of her (esp. tea, cookies, ceramics and the kitchen) and I hold those moments close to my heart.   She was devoted to her family and raised six children who strive to be the best possible and to set and example for their children.  She has left a beautiful legacy and I pray that I can represent her well as I continue to be influenced by her life.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

my thankful heart - day #17

Today I give thanks to God for:
my parents

My love and appreciation for my parents has continued to deepen over time.  As I have embarked on the journey of adulthood and now parenthood, I have experienced life with a new understanding and give thanks for my parents and the role the have had in my life. I give thanks that my parents set boundaries for me.  I give thanks that my parents made sacrifices so that I could have certain things.  I give thanks that my parents taught us self-control.  I give thanks that my parents guided our choices.  I give thanks that my parents have always been there to listen and provide advice.  I give thanks that my parents were invested in our friends and activities we participated in.  I give thanks that my parents made us a priority.  I give thanks that my father worked hard to provide for our family and allowed my mom to stay home and care for us when we were young. I give thanks that my parents pray for me and my family.  I give thanks that my parents are an example of a committed marriage. In September, they celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary; a special love story that only God could plan and orchestrate.  They truly have been through the test of love: through sickness and health, joys and sorrows.  My parents have stuck through the peaks and valleys clinging to God's goodness; His love and the love they have for one another.  There have been great joys and heartache.  They have been through job loss, extreme medical conditions, and financial stress. They have celebrated successes in their lives and of their children including the addition of two grandsons. Through it all, they have encouraged, loved and depended on the Lord and one another.  I have learned much through their example and hope that I will also demonstrate the true definition of love - a life long commitment of seeking the other person's highest good. 
Thank you mom and dad for all that you are, have been and will be in my life.  Much love.

Friday, November 16, 2012

my thankful heart - day #16

Today I give thanks to God for:
my twin sister, Emily

Emily, you are my 'wombmate' and the bestest sister and friend I could ever wish for.  God created something amazing when he created twins. You understand me like no one else.  You can read my mind.  You can make me laugh until I cry.  You are very hospitable to me and my family. When life takes me in many directions, you are always constant. You encourage me to be a better person. You are dedicated to and an advocate for educating young souls. You always help me bring focus back to God. You can make me so mad I want to scream.  You have stood by me through every storm.  You are my 'chick-flick' movie companion.  You are the one who has traveled the most to visit me.  You tell me the truth even when it is hard.  You have helped celebrate every milestone I have accomplished.  You are known as 'auntie' to my little love. You are the one I can do heavy damage with in retail therapy. You support my dreams.  You make me think outside the box.  You laugh at me when I am silly & do random things. You are the one that I look to for advice.  You have no idea how incredibly blessed I am that God choose me to be your twin.  You are an amazing, talented, dedicated, sincere, fun-loving woman that I get to call my sister and friend.  I love you so much!

my thankful heart - day #15


 Today I give thanks to God for:
my daddy

Happy birthday to my daddy!  I will never be too old to be "daddy's baby girl"!  I am so thankful for the life of my father and the support he provides to me personally and to our family.  We truly learned the value of life following the car accident of a drunk driver and my father back when I was in the fourth grade.  It has been an experience that has changed our family and my father's quality of life.  My daddy is one of my everyday heroes; enduring pain and suffering silently on a daily basis while holding onto the hope of our future and the joy and mercy that comes with each new day.  I love you daddy and know that God is still writing your life story and using you to inspire others!

I saw this on Pinterest and it reminded me of my father's life journey:

God is good

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

my thankful heart - day #14

Today I give thanks to God for:

I absolutely love to feel the warmth of the sun on my face.  Looking out my window at this present moment, the sun is displaying rays of warmth and beauty. I love it!  If you know me well, you know that I am often cold and the change from summer to fall and fall to winter are not always delightful to me.  The shining sun is a welcome blessing to me.  Unfortunately enduring winter in the Midwest, we don't see the sun on much of a regular basis and that saddens me.  So, today I will be thankful that the sun is shining and warming my soul!  I am also thankful as the sunshine reminds me of the love of our Lord.  Psalm 119:27 states The Lord is God, shining upon us.  I am thankful to be reminded the warmth of the sun on my body represents the warm welcome and comfort I find in the Lord.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

my thankful heart - day #13

Today I give thanks to God for:
our home

In 2008, my husband matched into a general surgery program in Michigan.  This was a very exciting and busy time in our lives. In three short months, we got married, went on a honeymoon, my husband graduated from medical school, I completed my 5th school year teaching kindergarten, and we moved to a new state. It makes me exhausted just thinking about it but we survived and live to joyfully talk about it! We strongly considered purchasing a home but God had better plans for us!  We honestly looked at dozens of homes, had an offer not accepted, and just continued to feel uneasy about the situation. One God detail led to another, and we found ourselves at our current apartment community office touring a 2bed/2bath apartment.  We negotiated a deal and signed our lease within the same day.  With the housing market, economy and uncertainty of my husband's future career, it has been revealed to us time and time again that purchasing a home was not meant for us in this season of life.  Today I give thanks to God for the shelter He did provide for us; our apartment.  With creative storage and organization, I have done my best to make our apartment functional and a safe haven for our family.  It will always hold a special place in our heart as each 'first' memory is made  - the home that we brought our first born son home, hosting family and friends, hosting Thanksgiving in 2012, and many other life events.  I will continue to give praise to God for knowing just what we need in each season of life.  Our apartment is a perfect space for our little family in this moment. 
  I give thanks for a kitchen and the opportunity to prepare food for my family and share a meal together.  I give thanks to God for our pantry which stores food; meaning we have the resources to feed our family. I give thanks for a living room where we can gather together to play and spend time with one another.  I give thanks for 2 spacious bedrooms that store our personal belongings and give us separate space. I give thanks for our bed and our son's crib that we get to rest on a comfortable surface.  I give thanks for 2 bathrooms that provide the resources to be sanitary, properly dispose of waste and model good hygiene.  I give thanks for our furnace; that we can warm our home to a comfortable temperature when it is cold outside.  I give thanks for our closets; that we have clothing, shoes and space to store items.  I give thanks for a washer and dryer inside the apartment; that we can have clean items to wear and use all in the comfort of our own home. I give thanks for my crafting space; that I am able to have a space to use my talent of creativity. I also give thanks for my in-laws who are storing my teaching supplies and other items. 
Oh how I thank you and praise you, God, for providing for our every need.

Joshua 24:15 
As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Philippians 4: 19
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Monday, November 12, 2012

my thankful heart - day #12

Today I give thanks to God for:

Technology is unbelievable and I am amazed at the knowledge God has blessed individuals with to create and improve the features of technology.  I am thankful for my television and dvr.  I might not record many shows, but I do have the opportunity to do so if I wanted. I am thankful for our blueray and the opportunity to watch movies and the many other features I am not knowledgeable about.  I am thankful for my alarm clock which wakes me every morning. It still functions well after 13years of use! I am thankful for my cell phone which gives me the opportunity to talk to friends and family as well as text them.  I am still living in the stoneage as I do not have a smart phone but I am thankful for the device and it's capabilities. I am thankful for my  laptop that allows me to do work, store photos, explore the world wide web (do people even say that anymore?) to be inspired and educated, listen to music and communicate with individuals in my life. I am thankful for Skype which allows me to talk with my long-distance family and friends.  I know my little love is also thankful for Skype as he can call his Granddad any time and get to say hi and see him via his phone. I am thankful for our itouch which provides music, Internet, calendar, games and other applications.  I am thankful for my camera which allows me to capture moments in time and have a visual document to cherish. I am thankful for my video camera which allows me to replay special moments in my life.  I am thankful for my GPS which helps me locate places and arrive at my destination in the quickest route. I am thankful for my baby video monitor that allows me to see and hear my little love while he is in his crib. I am thankful for the technology in my car that allows me to start the car in advance and open my doors and trunk hatch by the push of a button. Even though I might not have the latest and greatest version of certain technology items, my life has been enriched because of their capabilities and I give thanks.  I wonder what will be introduced next?

food for thought

Firm believer. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

my thankful heart - day #11

Today I give thanks to God for:
the military men and women who have served our country 

Veteran's Day...the day in which we honor those that have served our country.  I could not be more proud of those who have dedicated their time and talents to protect The United States of America.  
A friend posted the following on Facebook this morning that really resonated in my heart and mind:

Only two defining forces ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American soldier. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom. I'm eternally grateful for both.

May we each be more mindful in showing our appreciation to those we know and those we encounter in our daily lives who have served or are currently serving in our military.  For what they endure for us, we can kindly do a little act of kindness for them.

Today I remember these special people who have served our country:
My grandfather, George, who served in the Navy.
My grandfather's brother who served in the Navy.
Matt's Granddad who served in the Army.

Matt's PawPaw who served in the Army.
Matt's uncle, Denny, who served in the Army.
My uncle, Bruce, who served in the Army.
My uncle, Denny, who served in the Marines.
My cousin, Ty, who served in the Marines.
My cousin's son, Jake who is currently serving in the Marines.
My brother's best friend from childhood, Charlie, who served in the Army.
My friend, Kev, who is currently serving in the Coast Guard.
And the list could continue with people I know from high school (Aubrey) and people I know from college (Brian) and a friend's sister's husband (Jesse)....

Saturday, November 10, 2012

my thankful heart - day #10

Today I give thanks to God for:
family members who travel to visit us

In 2003, my husband and I moved to Michigan from Illinois for husband to complete his residency.  It has been quite the journey to say the least and we are so thankful for our family's support; specifically their willingness to drive 6hours to Michigan and visit!  Now, I must state that the birth of our little love has highly influenced our family's visits the past 2 years...but we are thankful nonetheless!
Last weekend, we hosted Granddad and had a fun visit with him.  This weekend, we are currently hosting Grandma Bev and Aunt Beth. Our home has been full of laughter & activity and it brings joy to my heart.  We are truly blessed that we have such loving, fun-spirited family members who want to come and spend time with us. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

my thankful heart - day #9

Today I give thanks to God for:
my son

Today my little love is 20months old! Unbelievable!  I am so thankful that God choose me to be the momma of this handsome little man!  The journey of motherhood/parenthood has really been a time of learning and growth.  I have become more aware of the way God is in every detail of our lives.  There are so many life events and milestones that have occurred in our little love's life and I am just so thankful that the Lord has seen us through each one and will continue to do so.  I am thankful for the safe delivery of our little (big) love who was born via c-section at 37wks due to his size of 9lbs5oz.  I am thankful for God's healing hand in the journey of little love's heart murmur.  I am thankful that my little love sleeps well.  I am thankful that my little love is a fantastic eater!  I have yet to find something he won't eat!  I am thankful for the precious smile that highlights my son's face the majority of the day. I am thankful for my little love's sweet spirit.  I am thankful for the special bedtime routine of singing and cuddles every night.  I am thankful that I have the opportunity to stay home with my little love and experience his daily growth and learning.  I am thankful that my little love is a momma's boy and makes me feel so special on a daily basis!  Man, I love that boy!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

{gift giving} girlie necklace onesie

In true spirit of celebrating my creativity, I would like to show you the gift I quickly made during nap time today for a birthday party tonight! {woah, talk about last minute! But if you know me well, my best work is done in the 11th hour...}  The party we attended was to celebrate the 1st birthday of husband's co-worker's daughter.  The theme was princess and included cute decorations, theme-related games and of course a tiara cake! We had fun at the party and enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate the life of Aleha.

Of course every gift needs a corresponding card!  I made the 1 card with some scrap card stock and cut a "1" using my Cricut.  I then added some baker's twine and called it complete!  This was definitely a "less is more" project. Today was my first attempt at creating a girlie necklace onesie.  I think it turned out so adorable!  I wish I could see darling Aleha when she wears it!  I heat transferred black fabric circles and then adhered a magenta fabric flower I made.  I just love all the cuteness!  There is a reason God gave me a boy...as I would blow the budget quickly on clothing and accessories! 

my thankful heart - day #8

Today I give thanks to God for:
my gift of creativity

It brings joy to my heart to use my gift of creativity. I love creating!  My passion for creating began as a young child.  I can still remember one of the first stamp sets I received for Christmas from my Aunt Marcia.  My passion for creating has intensified throughout my life. Crafting is my outlet to reduce stress, do something valuable, and spread joy through my creations. I have dabbed into a lot of areas of crafting including home decor, paper-crafting, sewing, drawing, implementing art in the classroom when I was employed as a Kindergarten teacher, jewelry making, stamping, etc.  God continues to grant me opportunities to use my passion to bless others through teaching classes, sharing ideas, and creating items for other individuals.  In the process of creating, either a decoration for my home, a scrapbook of memories, or a collection of jewelry, I try to embed each item with love; making it a unique and special creation.  In the last two years, my newest endeavors include the creation of this blog to share and document ideas as well as selling my creations on etsy.com.  It is so rewarding to use my talents to inspire others.  Thanking God for my creative mind and blessing my hands to create beautiful work.  Please consider supporting my passion and sharing my resources with your family and friends.  Thank you for supporting my love of creativity!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

my thankful heart - day #7

Today I give thanks to God for:
the sound of my husband's alarm clocks

I understand that my family and close friends probably can not believe that I just wrote that as something I am thankful for instead of something that I strongly dislike.  I must admit that it is slightly surprising to myself also but as I wrote in the last post, I am trying to find God in all the details. So today, I am finding something positive about the rooster cawing, the garbage truck backing up and the pager beeping sounds I hear every morning at the butt-crack of dawn. 
When I hear my husband's alarm clocks sounding, I am thankful he spent the night in our bed and not working overnight at the hospital.  When I hear my husband's alarm clocks sounding, I can give thanks that he has a job he is waking up for and that he is willing and able to provide for our family.  When I hear my husband's alarm clocks sounding, I always wake up first and have to wake him up to turn the alarm off.  I am going to try and be thankful that I can be his 'helpmate'.  When I hear my husband's alarm clocks sounding, I want to have a better attitude and give thanks for another day. I want to praise God for the opportunity  to live for him and share his love.  Do you give thanks each morning for the blessing of another day?  Let's try not to grumble at the sound of the alarm but give thanks and commit to living another day striving to be more Christ-like.
Lamentations 3:22-23 states: "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
**Disclaimer - I was reviewing my documented posts from last year during "my thankful heart" series and came across the exact post listed above. Just this morning I was reminded how annoying my husband's alarm clocks are as I am shouting at him to turn them off.  And then I read this post and God reminded me I need to change my annoyance and be thankful instead! So, I copied and pasted the message and hope tomorrow I can express my thankfulness instead of shouting!**

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012

Please use your right to vote today.  What a blessing is the opportunity for the citizens of The United States of America to have a voice in electing our government officials.  Do the right thing and cast your vote!
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