Friday, December 28, 2012

ONE DECADE

Today, I'm out with my Love celebrating the last decade of our lives.

It's unbelievable to me that we're here. A decade sounds like so long, and yet I feel like it was just last night that I saw him across the room, had my friend casually "run into" him and introduce us, and I was gone. The moment he smiled at me... I was gone. I knew immediately that I would be his wife (it would take him a bit longer to figure that out... but I've figured out that's just his way...), but I had no idea what being a wife, HIS wife, would involve at that moment.

Because when you're young and looking into a pair of dreamy blue eyes, you're blinded... and that's good. If you knew, in that moment, all the ways your heart would be stretched and pulled, and trampled on, and lifted up, and held and hurt... you'd run. And with good reason!

Marriage is good... and hard. There are times when I've thought I was actually going to bust because  I love him so much. There are times when I've felt like I could seriously hurt him. He has made me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe. He's made me cry, too. He's held me; he's walked with me. He's amazing.

He is SO amazing.

He's my anchor. He keeps me from floating and he keeps me from sinking. I'm allowed to dream because he stays grounded.

I love him.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Good News, Glad Tidings.


"Good news from heaven the angels brings
glad tidings to the earth they bring
to us this day a child is given
to crown us with the joy of heaven

This is the Christ, our God and Lord
who in all need shall aid afford
he will himself our Savior be
and from our sins will set us free"

-This Is The Christ, Sandra McCracken

The words of this song make my heart ache and joyfully leap all in the same beat.
I'm humbled and I celebrate... and I sometimes have to catch my breath when I actually ponder the reality of this gift... "he will himself our Savior be and from our sins will set us free".






Friday, December 21, 2012

On The Menu: Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

3 Cups Flour
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
2 Sticks of Butter, softened but firm
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
2 Teaspoons Almond Extract

Whisk together dry ingredients in a separate bowl; cream together butter and sugar in a mixer on the low setting. Add egg and almond extract and mix until creamy. Add dry ingredients to the mix. 

Once dough forms, shape into a ball and refrigerate up to an hour. 

Once chilled, remove and cut out. Bake for 8-9 minutes (depending on your oven settings). 

I prefer chewy, cakey cookies so my cookies are pretty thick; for my perfect cookie, the key is to leave it in there just long enough to bake, but not quite to the point where it's beginning to brown.

Then I add icing (4 Cups Confectioner's Sugar, 3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder, 5 Tablespoons COLD water... some people prefer to use warm water, but I've personally always had it turn out better with cold.).

Then I almost pass out from the buttery, sugar goodness.

Have the loveliest of days!


Friday, December 14, 2012

The Daily DIY: Hanging Paper Lanterns


These Hanging Paper Lanterns are SUPER easy to make and are so pretty to look at.
Here's a short video tutorial to show just HOW easy.


music: "Oh Holiday" by Jules Larson

I used a translucent thread to hang these from our ceiling. You could also set these over mason jars with tea lights to create an actual lantern effect. I'm excited to incorporate these into the little ladies room decor... as they are much like me and enjoy having pretty things to look at all around them. 

Have a lovely, wonderful weekend!



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Something Special.

One week ago, we were laughing and eating and carrying on with one another.
Our Thanksgiving meal was over and families began packing up ready to make the trip home. My Thanksgiving has always included a short hour's drive down to Ark City to fellowship and eat with my Grandma's 12 brothers and sisters and their families.

As we leave town, we usually stop at the town's park which includes an old train engine and play around for awhile before we head home. And this year, we did the same.



One of the little ladies and myself had stepped off the engine to play on other parts of the playground, and soon my dad joined. My Love, the eldest little lady, and the little Mister along with my Grandma stayed and played on top of the engine. You can't see from this picture, but just to the right is another part of the engine where you can climb up... high, really high. And they did.

And then I heard my husband yell. And then my dad. And then the entire playground full of people let out the most horrific scream in unison. I turned around... knowing it was one of the kids. My husband was flying off the train and I looked down and saw my baby laying face down in gravel. And then he was in my arms. As I write this, I ache, finally FEELING the miracle that we witnessed that day. 

His mouth was full of blood, which I soon realized was from him biting his tongue. My husband called the police and an ambulance was there immediately. They were concerned, but not really acting TOO concerned. And then one more person asked again, "Where exactly did he fall from?". Jacob showed them; and then they were moving. One Paramedic kept saying that we had in fact witnessed a miracle that day and he just could not believe it.

My little baby was then strapped to a board, holding my hand tightly like a grown person would. I don't know why that struck me the way it did, but it did. He held my hand the entire way to the hospital, as we sang, "This Little Light Of Mine" and I whispered over and over to him how brave he was being. 

My Husband sent the girls home with my dad and Grandma, and then followed us to the hospital. Our oldest daughter was quite concerned with where her little brother was going (I later found out Grandpa consoled her and the sis with some ice cream!). 

The doctor and nurses looked the little guy over and over. A few scratches on his forehead and chin. No bruises; no broken bones; there was nothing visibly wrong. They had him walk by himself and he took a few steps, limping, and then stopped and began to cry. X-rays were taken and showed nothing. He was walking by himself hardly limping at all by the time we left the hospital. The fact that he was alive was amazing to me... but nothing wrong? That's Grace... powerful, wonderful, Grace.

Throughout this week, my Husband has said several times that our little boy is something special. And as parents, I think we all have that thought... but then every so often we get an opportunity to witness just how special they really are and how our Creator and Savior has His Hand cradling even the smallest of souls each and every moment.

And in that we are humbled with thanksgiving.








Saturday, November 24, 2012

vintage wear: Bows

This is one of my most favorite finds. First off, I think I paid $7.50 for it. Obviously, I love the bows on it; I also love the details on the top and the sleeves. However, as always, the length was so unflattering on me... so off it went!


I cut a few inches off making it hit just a bit above my knee which is what I always prefer. Add a sparkly gold belt, and some super cute heels and I have a favorite new outfit.

*SIDE NOTE* I wore this outfit to an outing at The Orpheum Theater where The Godfather Part 1 was being shown. As I was waiting for my date to catch up with me afterwards I was waiting at the back of the theater and a couple asked if I had dressed up for The Godfather. My reply was that I was dressed up because my three children were at home in bed and I was out on the town to which the man then said, "Huh... well, you look like a Corleone."


Thursday, November 22, 2012

And Be Thankful.

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."
H. U. Westermayer

Today, we are giving thanks. We are loving one another and those around us. We are thanking the Giver of all things for the many blessings and provisions we daily receive. Our bellies AND our hearts will be full by the end of the day.

And we are thankful.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

{Family} Lukoschat


Those young men made this afternoon session quite enjoyable! Lots of jokes told, lots of just laughing at one another... just being brothers.



I love getting to witness the love shared between families and getting the opportunity to capture it in an image and this session provided many opportunities.







{Family} Heinz


The Heinz family was so fun to work with. Those young gentlemen are just as charming as they are handsome, so you can imagine the afternoon I had with them! 


Ah! Those little faces kill me!!


The love shared between them is perfection. You don't find many families made up of mostly males that share the affection that this family did and I loved it so much. They definitely love their Momma!


And those Wildcats!




Monday, November 19, 2012

Cleansed!

I recently posted about a juice cleanse that I was doing. I did continue throughout the weekend and am so glad that I did. The evening of my last post had me feeling terrible... seriously terrible. The cleanse had not flushed out my systems the way that I had hoped, which made me consider that something actually was not working properly in my body (I've actually been saying this for months, hence the reasoning behind the cleanse in the first place!).

When I write that my systems weren't "flushed" I am basically saying that I did not go to the bathroom all week. Only having the juice concoction that I was drinking should have definitely made that happen. So, on Friday I began taking a mild laxative as well, just to see if that would help. Thankfully, it did. This, along with the two extra days of the cleanse, made me feel INCREDIBLE. I do feel like my systems were finally flushed out and I am amazed at how I feel. Even more amazing, I had not begun my cycle since having the little Mister (he's almost 18 months old!) and within two days, I had (with NO cramping, bloating, or fatigue!!! Whaaaat?!?!?!). Every ache and pain that I've been concerned about was gone. Just gone.

I researched adding solids back into your diet once your cleanse was over and found a schedule that looked good for me and slowly began adding solid food back into my diet; soft, cooked vegetables the first day; grains, the next (I actually had quite a few solid things that evening as I had some guests over and I DO NOT recommend that, bring it back slowly!!); dairy, the third day; animal meats, the fourth day; and I could begin eating fish the fifth day. I do feel as though my body reacts to either dairy or grains in an adverse way, so I'm hoping to keep those to a minimum (but seriously, I now notice how much of those two things are part of my daily diet, so it will take a little bit of tweaking for sure... totally worth it to me after doing this though!).

{Becky, this next section is for you!} I've always wanted a juicer, but after watching "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" I wanted one more than ever! So, I kept my eyes open, but they are so expensive and I just could not justify spending that kind of money (though in hindsight knowing just what it could do, it's absolutely worth the money). However, I follow Groupon and one day they had a Dash Juicer as one of their deals. It ended up only being $69 and I couldn't pass that up.


I love this juicer. It is so easy to use and even better, so easy to clean up. I also learned that this is one of the only juicers that will juice Celery (which was one of my ingredients) so I was quite happy about that. There's a great review here as well... if I didn't sell you on it, this lady will!

I'm not just happy with the results, I am ecstatic at the changes that it's allowed me to make. The ailments that were bothering me (that my doctor was unable to diagnose or really even help with) are just gone and I am amazed that our bodies are made the way they are. 

I'm a juicer for life.

She's HERE!

I mentioned in my last post that a new little lady would be making her way into this world very soon and she was here the next morning!! She's the tiniest little person that I've ever seen or held and she is perfection. I would never put her down if that was an option. She's wonderful in every way. My sister did SO awesome (and I hear my little brother was quite awesome himself... which I love to hear) and she was feeling great and up walking around by the time we came and met our newest family member. 
Thankfully, she only lives about five minutes away, so anytime I need a fix I just show up on their doorstep... which of course, they love.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cleansing.

This has been what my diet has consisted of this week... in juice form. For the last several months, I've felt as though I needed to do something to get my systems working properly again. I had watched a documentary called, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" and was sold immediately on juicing. The main reason being that you were still getting all the good stuff from your vegetables and fruits, sans the fiber... which is the healing part to your digestive system.

It has been a good experience for me. I realized a few things about myself and my eating habits that will hopefully stick with me. My goal was to do a five-day cleanse, but I think I may extend it a few more days as I feel like there is still work being done. I began this on Monday, and Thursday afternoon was the first time I began to actually feel hungry. I have realized that consuming more water throughout the day definitely helps. We'll see how the weekend goes for me.

So, if you're out eating a delicious solid meal this weekend, eat an extra little bite for me!

OH! And big news over at My Yellow Umbrella today! There are some SUPER exciting things going on... like... A NEW SHOP!!! This is seriously very exciting as a lot of hard work has been put into this and the blessings of that hard work are already being recognized (which I'm just going to get a bit sentimental here and say that I am SO proud of Alina aka one of the Sisters in this new endeavor! She has worked so hard and I CANNOT wait to see where this leads!!!)

OH and more big news!!! My newest little baby niece will definitely be here very soon... VERY soon!!!! As in maybe tonight!!!! I cannot wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's a lot of exclamation points, but there's a LOT of excitement going on here!!

Have the loveliest of weekends!



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

{Maternity} Lisa aka One Of The Sisters





I mentioned recently that my brother and sister-in-law are preparing for their little baby to get here, so obviously we needed to get some pictures of Lisa before that happens. Her parents are the property owners of the land where The Red Barn Outdoor Market is held, and at her shower which was also held there, we were able to sneak in a few photos.

The little lady should be here by the end of the month and I CANNOT wait to get my arms around a little tiny newborn bundle again!

Have a lovely day!




Monday, November 5, 2012

"I Made That!" Monday: Stuffed Monkey


A tiny, little lady in my life turns two today. We celebrated with her over the weekend and this was her gift. She's into Curious George right now, and she's quite the monkey herself, so I felt like she needed her own little pink monkey. After opening gifts, she carried her monkey and her little Princess Aurora baby around everywhere she went, so I think it was a hit.

PS: Making stuffed animals is a task... don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise.

Have a lovely day!

Monday, October 29, 2012

"I Made That!" Monday: The Softest Baby Bed on Earth


Potato Soup in Bread Bowls and a creamy Pudding dessert specifically requested by Mommy... and it was delicious!

Each guest decorated a onesie for the baby.

My newest little Love will be making it's debut in a month or so, and it was time to celebrate! My brother and his wife were not planning on finding out the gender of the baby until the birth, but she ended up needing to have a sonogram so the secret was tucked away in an envelope for them to open if they felt the need to do so. And there are a few of us who were a bit excited about this, and even more once it was revealed at the shower that IT's a SHE! I'd have been just as excited for a little boy baby as well, but now I know just exactly the kinds of things to be stocking up on for Baby.

For one of the shower gifts, several of us chipped in for a little basket and bedding. I had planned on making a quilt, but then I found the SOFTEST fabric on Earth and decided to go another route. My sister had told me they were decorating with a blue and brown palette, so when the softest fabric on Earth was also the perfect color it was purchased and was a complete win-win situation.





I'm very excited for this little lady to get here and to see what she adds to the mix as she will be the FOURTH female added to my brother's world... hahahaha oh, I love it so much. And him. 
{He is an INCREDIBLE dad... it makes me tear up just writing that because he seriously is just such a great dad.} She will definitely be loved so much.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

The 2012 HANDMADE SWAP


Lately...

It's been an interesting few weeks here lately...
For the last several months I haven't really felt like myself. I wasn't handling things the way I would normally handle things and just felt like a completely different person. So, I finally went to the Doctor. Blood tests came back fine, nothing too out of the ordinary except... oh yeah, he felt a mass on the right side of my abdomen and scheduled a sonogram to figure out what it was. The sonogram was almost a week later, and then the results weren't given to me until many days later than that. It was agony. However, the results came back fine with the sonogram as well. So, we figured out what it wasn't... but still no word on what it IS. I'm scheduled to see a specialist this next month to figure some things out, and hopefully we will. In that time though, it's as if a little reset button was pushed in my head and I all of a sudden was just back. It's very strange and so very interesting how our bodies work.

Through it all though, we were still working and creating and enjoying the beautiful Kansas days (which at times were slightly too warm for my taste in October)...



The girls are loving their school work and their minds are amazing to me. It's incredible how much they soak in... I am loving it as well.


My friend, Erin, made an Asian Coleslaw for Book Club and it was unbelievable. I loved it and gave it my own little twist (and by twist, I mean I put it in a egg roll wrap and flash-fried it to a golden, crispy beauty!) and I crave it daily. Perhaps a recipe will be shared soon.

That sandwich is just pretty. Those tomatoes are from my Grandma's garden and were the juiciest, most perfect things I've ever tasted.

My beautiful camera bag that my sister made me was also one of the things stolen in The Great Thievery and the one that I would like to replace it with is still over $300. So, needless to say that is still not an option when I can easily make something just as practical... but even more beautiful. That's an old purse that I had in my in-house Thrift Shop, aka the basement, which was given new life with some foam and Chevron stripes.

DIY Mercury Glass... coming soon... possibly.

So much to catch up posting about: a Baby Shower where it was revealed that I am having another NEICE!!!, a beautiful family photo session, a HANDMADE SWAP, and more to come this next weekend!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Heart Of My Own Heart, Whatever Befall...

I've mentioned my love for the music of The Lower Lights before; their version of Be Thou My Vision has been on the forefront of my mind lately.






Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou My Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought; by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter; Thou my High Tower;
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise;
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven's joys, O bright Heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.


It is a beautiful Autumn day here and we are soaking in the wonderfulness of it.
Have a lovely week.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Most Favorite Part

First a short announcement: I have a camera, and a Mac (and I specify this as I have been working on a PC for the last few weeks which I am SO thankful to have had, but HALLELUJAH I HAVE A MAC AGAIN!)! I am complete (more on this in the future as well).

I'm ending this little series on Love with my most favorite verses of the chapter.

"it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things;
believes all things;
hopes all things;
endures all things."

And I'll just throw the next one in for good measure... "Love never fails...".

The first verse in this section is a reminder to me that I don't have to love, like, or even tolerate wrongdoing, but I can rejoice in truth, that's actually what Love calls me to do. I don't have to believe the lies that someone else believes that enables them to behave or act in a way that is wrong, evil, or even wicked.

What I can do is practice patience.
I can be kind.
I can plead with everything in me that I would be covered in humility and that it would spill out of me allowing me to empathize with the ill soul in my path.
I can rejoice in the truth that Love bears all things; believes all things; hopes all things; endures all things... and I, Nicole, don't have to. I can, and NEED, to practice each of those things, but I am not Love. Love can only work through me. And Love never fails.

Whew!

These haven't just been posts for me, just something to write about. It rarely ever is. I've been walking through these words. I've been testing them and feeling them. And it's been hard, and wonderful. This post has certainly been one that has shaken the depths of my own soul. My Mother-in-law used to say, "Ooh, I wish I could just shake her/him!" and it always made me kind of giggle... but I get it. Sometimes you need a good shake.




Saturday, September 22, 2012

More About This Little Thing Called Love...

First off, I would just like to announce that I am ready to have a camera once more... not the camera on my phone, but a camera... a real life camera. Perhaps the Insurance Adjustor reads this blog and will consider this as she works away on my list of things that were stolen. Yes, perhaps, she does...

Secondly, The Red Barn Outdoor Market Fall Edition was more wonderful than I can even write about. You can see photos here. The Vendors, the Musicians, and the food were so amazing and the part that I love most is getting to see the community built between people. It makes me happy in so many ways.

But, neither of these are actually the subjects of this post... no, because of the first (no camera), I'm having to actually write and share and be human. I prefer to post pictures, be a little standoff-ish and be more of a computer robot... just warming up before I get really honest.

I've been patient and kind... I have of course, been humble and refined in every word and deed... okay, so there are still a few kinks here and there... I'm moving on even so.

"It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;"

Well, this one just really stinks. I actually always prefer my own way; the grace and mercy that must be showered upon me to put this one into practice is unbelievable. I like doing things my own way. I want others to like doing things my way. And even if I do end up doing something someone else's way, I am surely not going to be happy about it. So, this one's going to be hard...

Why do I insist on my way? Because it puts me in control. I like being in control. Having to let loose of control means that I have to place trust in someone or something else. Oooh, and there it is... I have to trust. I have to place dependence on something other than myself. Ouch, that actually physically stung just a little bit  because I have some major trust issues. MAJOR, people. 

I obviously know that trust and love go hand in hand... like in a marriage... but I've never really placed the two together in other relationships. Like by trusting someone, by placing my dependence on them, is actually loving them... and allowing them to love me. And that's big.

Wow... well, I don't know how I ended up here and I'm not really sure that this will even make sense to anyone else on earth, but it has me thinking.

Also, as I was writing this, I found one of my favorite necklaces that I thought had been stolen. It was hiding in a jar on my desk... thank you to the Little Love who probably had something to do with this!!!!

Have a lovely, wonderful weekend! Mine will be filled with local Fall Markets, Potato Soup and the theatre!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I Am Everything Love Is Not.

Since one of the items stolen from The Great Thievery of 2012 was my camera, and my phone doesn't seem to want to share any of my photos, words shall be written!

So... patience and kindness... how did it go? For me, it went quite well; and then I awoke. The three lovely little souls were also awake and in full gear... as always. Though each time I did act out of impatience and unkindness, I did think back to what I wrote. That counts for something, right? I long for the moment when my first THOUGHT is one of patience and kindness follows in word and deed. I am not there yet, I can tell you that.

Diving right in... "love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude." Easy! I'm so awesome at this loving others thing, I put everyone to shame! Oh... heh heh... or perhaps I don't even come close. Synonymous with envy are the words jealousy, covetousness, resentment, and uh-oh... discontentment; oh dear, this post is going to get real... quick. This recent thievery that took place in our home was not welcomed in any way. Our doors, shut tight and locked well; our windows, sealed and locked. We were not in any way just allowing someone to come in and take the earthly things that have been given to us; yet daily, I allow the enemy to come in, steal my soul's joy, and run with it. And chasing him down to get it back is nearly impossible, it usually just has to be replaced by my Insurance...the One who guarantees my protection and safety. If only I could rest always in where He has me... oh yes... I want to be there.

Boastfulness, arrogance... two things I DESPISE with everything in me; yet two things that come oh-so-naturally to me. Humility is not a comfortable place for my soul to rest because it takes effort to rest there (which is actually an oxymoron). My soul actually prefers the cushiony, down-pillow-like comfort of arrogance and boasting about my own awesomeness. It's pretty painless, I know all the right words to say, and I've been doing it a loooong time, so I'm good at it. Humility, on the other hand, can sometimes just downright hurt... because I'm not good at it. Exercising every so often produces achy muscles just as often; exercising daily, builds and strengthens muscles. May I daily exercise humility...

I looked up the definition of rude (because I'm geeky like that and want to know what words actually mean so I can then awesomely throw them into a sentence to impress everyone around me... okay, this post/reminder of what I truly want to desire, will probably have to be read daily... several times...UGH.) and here are some results:
1. lacking in refinement or good taste
2. showing a lack of manners or consideration for others

This seems easy enough; be refined and considerate of others. And then I read the first definition of refined: free from impurities. Well, this stinks, because I'm impure to my core which means I will have to daily, momentarily ask to be made pure. This actually doesn't make my Things-To-Ask-For list that often. And though being a wife and mother provides me with plenty of opportunities to be considerate of others, I actually usually like to consider myself first... I may not always act on that thought, oh but believe me, it was there. Ugh... those dang thoughts get me every time. I want to be pure.

And I thought practicing patience and kindness was going to be hard...

PS
The Red Barn Outdoor Market is ONE WEEK AWAY!!! If you are local, please come out and enjoy the amazing Vendors, Musicians, and food that will be there. I really am not sure what to expect this time, however, the feedback from FB and being out and about gives me the impression that this could be a really wonderful, enjoyable day. That gets me excited.

Ooh, and one more thing... I added My Etsy Favorites to the sidebar. There are so many great shops through Etsy who have owners who are passionate about what they create and I love that. So, you can see different items of mine that I "favorite" on my site.

Have a beautiful, wonderful weekend!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Things Of This Earth...

Yesterday, began as most normal Fridays do for us; breakfast, brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc...
Almost every Friday for the last several months, you would have found me at home. I don't ever make plans on Fridays because I usually clean house. Every so often we'll head out in the afternoons, but even that's a rarity, as I prefer to have the kids at home resting and preparing for the weekend.
For some reason, yesterday morning we decided to go out looking for some garage sale finds; and then we went to the park for lunch, though my plan from the beginning had been to go home to eat lunch.

Once we arrived home a couple hours later, I soon realized what our garage sale-ing and picnic-ing had protected us from.

We arrived home to find our door kicked in, furnishings moved all around and I immediately saw that the computer was missing from the desk. I looked up and saw into our room; clothes everywhere, the bed moved... Without skipping a beat, everyone was shuffled out of the house and adrenaline kicked in.

It makes my heart beat faster even as I type now. I caught my breath and ran to my neighbor's house. I called the police; I called my husband. I talked to more neighbors hoping that someone had something to offer. A neighbor said they noticed a tall, white guy in khaki shorts with no shirt on loading stuff into an SUV, but thought it was another neighbor, so they thought nothing of it.

I stood outside with my three small children and waited for almost an hour for the police to show up. My husband actually saw two police down the street from our house and asked them to come help. (I have SO many words that could be said about this, but will keep those to myself and stick to the subject at hand!!)

My brother and sister came to help with the kids, and I eventually just took them over to their house hoping the little Mister could find a place to rest as he was exhausted.

I came home to the same mess, except there was now dust from where the Officer had taken fingerprints. I looked over to where the computer and my camera sat and thought about all the many pictures I would never see again... my babies births, vacations, birthday parties, Christmas', family pictures, and just the daily moments... ugh... it makes me ache even now.  However, Facebook, this blog, our family blog and friends and family have similar pictures and the people in those pictures are safely tucked away in their beds right now, and I am thankful.

Once the fast food dinner was eaten, a few more breaths had been caught, and the Littles were nestled in their beds, I finally made it into our room. It was overwhelming. I knew different treasures had been taken, but once I began picking up the pieces, I realized just how many. The diamond bracelet given to me from my Love just moments before we said "I do"; the birthstone ring given to me from my parents when I turned 16; the gold chain necklace and bracelet given to me from my deceased mother-in-law... and many, many more. Sadly, many that were taken were also unique and handmade by many of my friends. We realized later that my old piggy bank that sat on my husband's dresser was missing, a pocket knife with an anchor on it that I had given my husband along with a few other personally valuable items were also all missing. Little earthly treasures that we valued... thankfully, the man I said "I do" to is sleeping in our bed right now; my parents are a phone call away; and my mother-in-law is at Home where our souls will one day be together again.

As I prepared to go to bed, I looked over to the broken lock and thought of the two guns that were stolen. Our earthly security had been broken and taken from us. I was clinging (and I do mean white-knuckled clinging) to the hope that my Security and my Peace would continue His protection through the night and the upcoming days and weeks as we try to regain that inner peace that allows you to keep moving. As I laid there in the dark, I knew we were safe, but sleep was nowhere in sight. I couldn't shut my eyes, but I didn't want them open either. Thankfully, the Littles needs distracted me several times and exhaustion finally just kicked in. And a new morning came as it always does.

This world can be a hard place at times; there are, unfortunately, evil souls who do their best to wreak havoc and spread despair.

My soul is weak, but stands firm in Hope; it is weary and anxious, but finds rest in Peace.

My body and my mind... are still pretty ticked off.



Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Photographs: A Baby, A Birthday, A Little Local Flair




This weekend brings: A Birthday Party, some Lovebirds to photograph, and a family luncheon.
Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Thing About People...

... well, that's just it... they're people.

We aren't like dogs who completely overlook offenses as long as you scratch their ears and throw a stick.
We aren't like cats who find your leg, arm, or face and nuzzle into it asking for attention when they want/need attention.

Nope. Instead we let our feelings get hurt and we rarely let people know what we really need.

And not everyone has a blog where they can spill out their emotions hoping all their family and friends read it and then just know what to do. {Don't worry (or for some of you, don't get excited), I'm not about to do that.}

None of us were created to be alone. I mean, look at Adam and Eve... the first human being needed a companion... because the animals weren't doing the trick. But on the other hand, we also weren't created to suck the life out of people with our dependent neediness! When you find that perfect middle ground in a relationship, it's something to behold.

And getting to that point can be hard; it can be painful; it can be humbling. Because to get to this point in a relationship, sometimes you have to put feelings aside... and communication is key.

Sometimes you have to look past a person's face and really look into their eyes to see what's going on in their heart (ever notice how many people don't make eye contact...).

Sometimes you have to ask people what's going on in theirs.
Sometimes you have to tell people what's going on in yours.

We all want to be known, to be loved. Even the most independent of us, want someone to know us so well, they know just how to love us... even if we only let that one someone do it every so often. We still want it... and need it.

And some people are just better at this than others. Some people just know how to make you feel good. They listen to your every word. They laugh with you when things are funny. They're not afraid to be sad with you. And they always know just what you need to hear, or when to give you a hug.

They love you. Not "They love YOU"... but, "They LOVE you." They LOVE people in general. They humbly put themselves aside, and in doing that, they create space to genuinely love those around them.

And they don't humbly put themselves aside never caring for their own needs. In fact, most of the time their needs are met BY loving those around them because they have a sincere interest in and a desire to genuinely spread Love.

It seems so simple. Yet there are so few who can really actively do it. Because initially putting yourself aside is not fun. Not even a little. We want what we want, when we want it. And it's hard to think that someone else's needs could take precedence over our own. But...

Love is patient and kind;
love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things;
believes all things;
hopes all things;
endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-6)

Eegh... I may need to work on a few... or all of these things because at some point in my life here on earth, I want to be actively spreading Love... in every moment I'm given, not just every so often.

It's exercise. It takes training. But eventually it will just become second-nature. Oooh, I long for this day (there's probably a few others around me longing for this for me as well!).

Start small this week... practice patience and kindness. It will be hard. You'll think to yourself, "Eeeasy. I'm so patient and kind to people."
And then you'll get around people.
Don't fret! Just practice... and just keep practicing until you get it. And even once you have it down, you're still going to have to practice.

So, this week practice patience and kindness.
We'll meet back here; same time, same place... okay, probably not the same time, but definitely same place.

Spread Love, friends.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Snapshots


Goodness! These make me smile... over and over again. Have a magnificent weekend!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Market and some CUTENESS!



Preparing for The Red Barn Outdoor Market is in full swing! This means a few things for me... my mind has just a few more things than usual swimming around in it... uh, like the 56 Vendors that are participating this season!!! I'm so incredibly excited, humbled, and feel so blessed by work of my Creator's Hands. Through this opportunity, I'm learning so much about people, business, myself, and just life in general. It's incredible.

And then there are the people who are always on my mind...


That little superhero is turning three next week. Un...be...lievable. Goodness, they are cute... and full of life! I've been enjoying them so much this week. They're all at growing points in their lives that are so exciting and {mostly} enjoyable. Just being able to see them interacting with one another is one of the most enjoyable and entertaining parts of my day.

So, the Creative in me is working together with the Business Woman in me to get some things done in these next few weeks to provide people with an incredible experience! The Mom/Wife/Teacher/Playmate/Sister/Daughter/Friend in me... is trying to keep up!

And I love it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Photographs: Instagram'n it up

Top Left to Bottom Right: Wynonna Judd concert with my closest long-time pal who happens to love Wynonna... a lot./ 'BE AWESOME TODAY' sign made with duct tape and vinyl letters/ Out on the town accessories/ Fudge and Fudge/ Trying to contain Little Mister/ Vintage Banker's Chair... steal of the week at $7.50/ The little ladies and I imagining.


I mentioned in my last post that I love Instagram. I need you to know though that I LOVE it, love it, LOVE IT.  It's my new kick, and I hope it stays around for a long time.

PS: I'm still on a "Vintage Find High" from finding that chair for $7.50... YEAH, SEVEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS!!!!!

PS2: My friend and I had tickets on the back row on the floor at the Wynonna concert... not 10 minutes into it, her assistant came over and asked us if we wanted to move to the front row. I bought a Wynonna Judd cassette tape in eighth grade... so I knew the words to, uh, three songs... but you better believe Wynonna Judd didn't know that because I don't care who's on stage playing, if I get to sit on the front row at a concert, I am livin'... it... up!

Have an ever so lovely weekend!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Daily DIY: Instagram + Washi Tape Calendar


I love Instagram {@sheislaughing}. I love having my camera with me, but honestly with three littles hanging on me, jumping on me, and wanting me to hold them, my phone just has to be able to do the trick most of the time when we're out and about.

I received this Instagram Calendar as one of the gifts from the Handmade Gift Swap that I did last year. I've had several ideas of how to display it, but nothing really came about, until... 

I was picking things up around the house and looked over and saw the calendar sitting near my Washi Tape (um, yep, you guessed it... The Plaid Barn) and had the brilliantly simple idea to just tape each month together and then hang it on the wall (I used the Command adhesive strips).

I love it. It hangs perfectly on the wall in the room off of our kitchen, so I see it all the time. And I smile every time I see it.

You can make your own Instagram art here (there are so many options!), and get some pretty Washi Tape here (as well as lots of other awesome crafty supplies!). This was a great gift, and now I can't wait to make my own personalized Instagram art. And Washi Tape may be my new addiction.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Two Things I Love:

{You can read about just HOW much I love The Plaid Barn here.}
Giveaways.

And guess what???
 THE PLAID BARN is hosting a GIVEAWAY!!!

In celebration of how awesome the first six months of business have been,
they are giving away a Fuji Instax 7 + five twin packs of film!!



There are 4 ways to enter to win, 
so head on over here for your opportunity to win.

And if you haven't already, 
while you're there be sure to sign up for their incredible daily deals!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On The Menu: Zucchini "Spaghetti" and Marinara





That Zucchini up there was probably close to 18 inches long!
My brother and sister have a garden this year
(actually ALL my brothers and sisters have gardens this year... and I do not!)
and grew this gigantic one along with a few others.
So, several family members received some Summer goodness,
and they still had plenty for themselves.

This little guy hung out in the produce basket in our kitchen for a week or so,
because I wanted him to serve a great purpose and be used for deliciousness.
Then one evening,
we had different scraps of this and that but nothing to really be used together for a complete meal...
and then I looked over and saw him.
And we both knew the time had come.

I had just stopped by a local farmer's market for some tomatoes
so the creative juices,
as well as the tomato's,
began flowing.


Marinara:
Chop the tomatoes into small chunks and place into a quart pot. Add a couple minced cloves of garlic, basil, and salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. After boiling for several minutes, bring to a simmer and let simmer until sauce thickens. This could take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour depending on how saucy you are. Check and stir every so often until it is at the desired consistency.

Zucchini "Spaghetti":
Turn oven on to 350 degrees.
Use a cheese grater and begin grating the Zucchini*. Once grated, place in a bowl and add a little bit of olive oil, enough to cover the top or so, add some minced garlic, basil, salt and pepper to taste, and then mix together covering all the strands of Zucchini. Place in a roasting pan, and roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice in between. The strands will soften and the mixture will shrink considerably, and it will be perfect and taste wonderful. Once the strands are softened, remove from the oven and serve with the Marinara and Parmesan.

One of my other sisters recently made a meal similar to this (when my eyes looked over at that Zucchini, and my mind remembered how delicious her meal was, I immediately had to have it, so I used what was on hand to best re-create it!), however she just used sliced Zucchini. I chose to shred this to make my children (and my husband) think of it more like Spaghetti. It didn't work. I very much enjoyed it, though. It was a very light, fresh, Summery meal.

*TIP: When I do this again, I will peel most of the outer skin from the Zucchini. The pieces that were mostly the skin, became a bit too brittle and crunchy in the roasting process.

What are your favorite ways to use a giant Zucchini?



Monday, July 30, 2012

"I Made That Monday!": A Productive Week


I found myself in project mode last week.

Two pillowcase dresses for two little ladies.
These are not actually pillowcases, but SO simple to create.
I have STACKS of fabric pleading to become
the wears of the tiny fashionistas around here.
I may even get really crazy and make myself one.

A leather flower.
Oooh, this has been a dream in my mind since I began creating these hair pins,
and I have to say that this one is my favorite yet.
That mustard color and those white vintage gems together make me smile...
every time I look at it.

Arm Candy.
I had seen a wrap bracelet in a local shop here and SWOONED over it.
It was so incredibly beautiful.
It was also $40.
I could not spend $40 on a bracelet.
Fortunately, a few weeks later,
some fellow crafters and I worked our magic little fingers to the bone
to create our own.
I BEGAN the bracelet one evening,
worked on it for a good hour and a half to two hours,
and finished it a few days later after spending at least another two hours on it
(Granted, I am a perfectionist.).
That wrap bracelet I saw in the local shop here...
worth every single penny.

Custom Canvas Art.
This is so simple, 
and such an easy way to create words throughout your home.
I had originally seen it done here,
and then began seeing it all over Pinterest.
The original one I saw is actually a Paint-By-Number painting picked up at a thrift shop,
with Vinyl lettering placed together to make the quote and then painted white.
Mine is actually a canvas,
painted with colors that I chose,
Vinyl lettering over that to create the quote
and then spray painted with a glossy white paint.
Let the paint dry for the afternoon, or overnight,
and then peel away the letters.
My Love created a video of our life together put to the music of "Stand By Me";
this will hang in our room.
I may be going overboard with these soon.

Also, plans have begun for the 2012 Fall Red Barn Outdoor Market.
The musicians are lined up;
The food Vendors are tweeking menus;
and the Vendors are registering and preparing.
If you are local, come!
(and even if you're not... ahem... Becky! It's worth a little weekend trip.)
It is magical.

Get creative today!



Friday, July 20, 2012

{Maternity} Bryan & Kiera


The little guy still being knit together in this belly
may not ever know the extent of his parent's joy because of his existence.
The prayers that have been lifted up for him are too numerous to count;
perseverance, faithfulness, and love have taken root in the hearts of many
because of his story...
The rejoicing that will take place when he enters this world will be breath-taking
(just imagining it gives me chills!).

And speaking of breath-taking...


Kiera's outward beauty doesn't even come close to
the loveliness going on in her heart!
She is amazing.
Their little guy still has a few more weeks to go,
but the peace that springs forth from his momma is unshaken.

Bryan and Kiera,
thank you SO much for allowing me to illustrate just a few chapters of this story.
When I say that I cannot wait for him to get here...
I mean...
I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Thursday, July 19, 2012

{Babes} Jonas


In celebration of his first three months on Earth,
Baby Jonas donned a little cap and his best onesie,
thought about what his future holds,
loved being loved on,
and wondered just HOW long he must endure this crazy lady with a camera.
He endured.
And good gracious! Look at that face.

Monday, July 16, 2012

"I Made That!" Monday: Rose Cabochon Pendants


Let me fill you all in on something...
Each morning I wake up to some crazy little munchkin people running into my room;
they cuddle and snuggle and jump and finally realize that they are ready for breakfast
and just start saying over and over, 
"I'm ready for breakfast, I'm ready for breakfast...".
So we're up and at em' pretty quick getting breakfasts made and bellies filled.
However,
in the time that they are cuddling and snuggling and jumping,
I am usually checking emails...
looking for one very special,
very exciting email...
each morning.

It's my daily deal from The Plaid Barn.
The Plaid Barn is a website that offers you an
AMAZING DEAL
on some kind of craft supply or DIY kit each day
at FRACTIONS of their normal costs...
seriously like up to 90% sometimes!
For someone who LOVES a deal
AND
has an addictive personality...
well, you can just imagine.

These were actually two different daily deals:
(which also came with an epoxy cover...
the girls and I have already made some Mod Podged pendants and used those...
and they are CUTE!)
and
the Tiny, Petite Rose Cabochons.

I saw these sitting together one day and decided they would combine
and be the perfect little afternoon project for me.
I painted a few of the pendants,
but loved the look of the wood for some of them.
Then I just glued the little cabochons on,
and the connector for the chain,
and voila!
And I still have some left over...
so some sisters may be getting some treats soon,
we'll see.

Be lovely today!!