Thursday, March 24, 2011

Levels of love

For week three of our "Blessed Life" I was reminded of what love is.

On Monday I had a visit from a girl I barely knew. But sitting on the couch, I found her to be easy to talk with. Probably because hitting common ground with mothers usually takes only a minute or two. But our kids were similar ages, our husbands were of similar type, and our struggles as mothers were real.

That day I remembered that having things in common brings people together. Not only does it unite us but it also sustains our relationships in the midst of our differences.

Love came back on Tuesday with a text. "Available today at noon" it said. Unlike the other girl, I knew her enough to feel connected with. The basics were already out of the way and when she came over we went a little deeper then where we have ever gone before. Speaking out about God and our relationship with him.

That day I remembered that love is spiritual. It is more than a feeling or a drive, it is a constant connection that had been joined by the very hand of God.

On Wednesday, I went out with a long time friend. We had watched each other grow in every area of our lives. I knew her. I knew that for her to feel special she didn't need a crowd. That she enjoyed change more if I held her hand and that she was in a season of discovering her own sense of style. I knew her enough that she didn't need to tell me what she would want for her birthday. I knew her enough to feel it.

That day I remembered that Love sees and knows every detail of our lives. It is the one who listens to the heart beat of our soul and knows even the smallest desire.

Thursday I went to Women Mentoring Women. As soon as I walked in, I felt welcomed. It was as if each person there saw me for all I could be, instead of every thing I wasn't. It was as if every walk of life, every season, and every road merged together to make it acceptable to be on. No one was out of place, because we were in a place of love. We were in God's house.

That day I remembered that Love encourages us to be who we are, where we are at, and where we are going. To see how our differences have the ability to create an interest and then produce a strength of empowerment to boost us forward.

On Friday, we had our friends over. They were a couple we had a lot of history with so it was exciting to have them come by. They were a laid back type so we sat by the fire and lounged on the couch, it felt as familiar as it would have with family. It was as if we were able to take off from the moment we left off from, without even missing a beat. Laughing and talking as if we had just been together yesterday.

That day I remembered that love is comfortable. It is familiar and easy to be with it.

On Saturday, we hung out with friends. They were a couple that had similar interests with both of us, so we cruised around downtown. Going out for lunch, grabbing a cup of coffee, even fitting in a little bit of shopping. Of course the men pretended to complain the whole time, keeping up to their image....I guess. But none-the-less, they helped us in our adventures to find a couple of amazing things.

That day I remembered that love explores. It enjoys discovering new things and having new adventures. When even the simple things are some how made exciting.

On Sunday, it was just us and our family. We enjoyed breakfast together. Watched T.V for a bit. And took a nap. Nothing was special. Nothing was different. It was just us. But yet all the same did it remind me that most importantly Love is, the everyday.

God is Love, Hope.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bumble Ally

When I met Maria I was struck by her genuine love for children and it didn't take long to see that her designs were inspirations that came from the very the core of her heart. It seemed that every part of her creativity echoed in her designs for Bumble Ally. As if the very work of her hands was the work of Jesus flowing out her and into the work of her needle. I couldn't be more blessed to not only know her but to share her experience of God in a different way. A way where the care of a child could stir up a delicate rose. Beautiful. Colorful. Purposeful. Would be one way to describe my friend. Thank you Maria, for making Bumble Ally more then a label but a place where things are just as gentle, simple, and pure, as you are. A place that embraces the season of children instead of overwhelms, bringing a sense of joy and lightness to each step.

I am excited that you have invited me to be a part of your vision. That you want to feature my new designs in your next line. That you believe in me and my ideas. Know that, each piece that I created, you inspired and I can't wait to see how you will bring to life a place where modern boys pair up with vintage girls. Children that live in the 21st century but embrace the past generation enough to respect both.

Vintage for her

Head band


Modern for Him




Looking forward, hope.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Following hope

The second week of our financial peace looked a little different then a brand new sewing machine and cash in an envelope. But, all the same it came as another surprise from God.

It started on a Friday when I came into the shop, lunch bag in one hand, kid in another. It was a typical kind of day for me and I was excited to tell him that "We finally did it!" We, for the first time made our budget by not getting by with less but seeing how many opportunities we have been given to have everything.

Life was good for us, but it was about to get better. Because, as I handed him his lunch sack (unusually prepared the morning of) he announced that he wouldn't be eating it that day. He, my husband was sustaining himself from food. And then, as evening rolled around, I couldn't help but ask the question why?

Leadership he said, and although it came both unexpected, it had also been awaited. A leader, was exactly what I had been praying about. Some one to initiate daily prayer and be an example in devotion and scripture. Some one who would guide us through the storms by the quickened hand of God. And as my list of expectations grew in my ideas of an ideal "leader" I began to feel convicted. Quickly I realized that God had actually been waiting for me.

He had been waiting for me to have faith in my husband. To be some one that would walk along side of him and his ideas, instead of see the impossibility in them. And as I looked into his eyes I saw a motivation that walked right into his heart and was not letting go. I saw the kind of faith that settles in and doesn't kid around. By the look on his face, I knew that he was ready to trust in the Lord and I was finally ready to trust him.

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. Whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." Jeremiah 16: 7-8


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Macaroon Monday

The thunder accompanied the rhythm of the rain. My feet were propped up on a window sill, as I sat comfortably on a wooden chair, leaning against a fluffy pillow. The blanket was warm from the heat vent underneath me and nothing could have felt more satisfying then the tea. It was a perfect blend of cream, earl gray, mint and caramel. Rich in taste but light in texture, kind of like the macaroons I was munching on.

The moment seemed as intense as my day had been, but also, just as much had it felt planned. There had been something more then just a downpour of things to do, and I couldn't help but feel my body being held by the gentle grace of God. It could have only been him who gave me the energy to clean my house that mundane, Monday morning as I ran around with a fresh burst of urgency, seeing to it that everything was just so.

It could have only been him who filled my day with peace as my sewing project acted up for the next several hours, knowing that the determination I would need exceeded all of my human tendencies. I did not give up, or slow down, instead it felt like I had gained potential. So, taking him along on my adventure seemed like a good idea. Might as well, do this laundry we never get to....I told the Lord. And then, when we finished that up too, we sat by the T.V and ironed all the wrinkles out from another heap of procrastination.

By the end of the day I had a clean house that was washed, organized, and cleaned all the way through. I had clothes in the closets, on the shelves, and on the hangers. I had a fridge full of groceries and a pantry that was stocked all the way to the top.

Looking back on everything, I was grateful that he knows about, not only my plans for the day but also the unplanned things of my day. That the urgency, delegation, time-management, and organization of a day that could have only been gained through him. And as the next few days pulled in some unexpected surprises I saw how his hands had gently pushed me so that the rest of my week would not be consumed by my obligations to my schedule but by the opportunities in being available.

So there I was. Sitting by the window, enjoying my macaroons.

Simple Almond Macaroon

12.5 oz almonds (blanched or natural)
5.25 granulated sugar
8.8 Room temperature egg whites
1 tsp. almond extract
20 oz. powdered sugar
pinch salt

In a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, grind the almonds and powdered sugar until fine and powdery (at least 5 mins) Meanwhile, in a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until just foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar in a stream. Turn the mixer up to high and whip until a stiff meringue has formed. Having a peak is important, but do not over beat. Instead, when you see that you are reaching a peaking point, beat in short increments until a sturdy peak is reached.

With the mixer running add in the almond extract. Remove bowl from mixer stand and gently fold in the sugar and nut mixture. Using a piping bag fitted with a wide tip, pipe the macarons onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Aim to create circles the size of quarters. Bake at 300 F and remove when the macrons have turned golden and are set on their "foot", approx. 8-10 minutes.

* When macaroons bake it is okay to open the oven after a couple minutes to check on them. This is done by lightly touching them with your finger. They are set as soon as soon as they do not wiggle on their "foot".

*Also, weight is the better route to take, but, I have also done this by oz. It is not as consistent but it does work.
Measurements in ounces. 2 1/3 cups almonds, 6 egg whites, 5 cups powdered sugar

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Baby Hudson

What I love the most about this table setting is the delicate eloquence. To see the fragile tenderness in each piece was important to me when I expanded on the character of each item. But even despite the search for this collection I love how it portrays itself so effortlessly in the stillness of the table. While in the meantime, the mirrors create movement with the light.

Fun as it was, celebrating little Hudson was the most important. To make him feel welcome. To make the coming of life be as extravagant, special, purposeful and amazing as he will grow to be. Because he will be so loved by a family that desired him and a God that created him. S0, we welcome you in the blessings of a day when we celebrated you, a blessing all and of itself.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart (Jer. 1:5)

Welcoming, hope.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Craft Room Surprise

This is a written testimony of an amazing person that felt lead by God. That took action and allowed god to work in my life. To build my faith, once again. To trust him, again and again. Thank you for your generosity.

With another short sale not going through we were settling in our home for the third time. As a settler, I wanted to give my craft room some love and care and luckily I found everything I needed around my home. After piecing it together with no expenses at all I was excited to have my new space finished, especially because we recently decided to buckle down and go on a financial adjustment.

It was something that we felt our hearts were being lead to do, something that we had been aware of just not acting upon it. Because to be grateful, meant to stop being selfish, to stop promoting ourselves, protecting ourselves, and providing for ourselves. That instead, as grateful people we should be the ones to give. And even though we liked the concept of it, being thankful was not a category that met our finances.

Wanting to see the opportunity in offerings, I calculated the numbers and the fact was that we have not been able to meet our budget in a month. Unsuccessfully, we went over each and every time to a point of hopelessness. But this week, I knew it was going to be different because this time as I tallied up the dollars I saw that it was possible to spend less. That week we came out fifteen dollars short, and although I was disappointed that we couldn't give more I did feel like we accomplished something. But as I settled, God didn't.

On Friday, the first knock on my door came earlier then my expected guests. Knocking on my door with every intention of being a surprise. Anonymously proclaiming himself and the glory in my life by surprising me with something I could have never allowed myself to buy.

The sewing machine had all the bells and whistles. So extravagant that I was even scared to open it. Frightened that it might not be real, that it might have been a mistake, or that I might not even deserve it. So I gave it a couple of days before I felt ready. By then it was Sunday.

I opened it up carefully, not to break or loose any parts. I sat in my craft room and laid everything out. I looked at the manual and hoped that I wouldn't screw anything up. And in the end I still couldn't believe it. So I sat there. Waiting.

What I found was an envelope, simply put in a sandwich bag that was holding a pair of sewing scissors. Originally, I thought the envelope was holding the scissors in place so I didn't even bother to look inside of it. But for some reason or other, I felt prompted to open it then.

Inside I found sixty dollars, and before I could even put a category to the money I already knew it wasn't mine to have. Quickly, I went to my notepad that had the 15 dollars circled on it. It was the same 15 that had disappointed me earlier. Except now, became my confirmation, because the amount that I was so sure we needed to give was an offering of 75 dollars per week.

It was our efforts that he saw and it was the heavens that truly cared. A God that believed in me so much so that he rewarded me just for trying. And in the end, I saw a God that confirmed his voice to me, a God that knew how to encourage me, and a God that would help me.

We would sure need him because the next two months we had a lot of change coming our way, and in a way I would much rather be living out his plan, instead of my (so far failing) plan. But the best way to put it, is that there's nothing like being surprised by God.

Confirming, hope.