Tuesday, December 31, 2013

YEAR OF MAYBE



I’ve heard people talk about a “year of yes,” a time to accept every invitation, to take every opportunity, to grow and risk and live fully. I’ve also heard people describe a “year of no,” a time to focus, to weed out, to de-clutter and calm down and live simply.

I have found myself backed into a corner these past 2 years, by saying yes to too many great things. I piled so many commitments, projects, and wonderful opportunities on my proverbial plate, and I have a tough time juggling it all. But everything on my plate was something I enjoyed. So, it was a bit of a pickle.

As the holidays make the talk of resolutions triumphant, I turned the page on a new calendar and decide to declare this my own year. My year of "Maybe."

But I sense that changing my yes-girl ways will be challenging. Having to respond with only a “maybe” and promise myself to think about it and give my answer soon, is going to force me to find balance. And maybe even teach me to say no.

Although, just this morning, I caught myself saying, “yes, I’d love to!”

[SIGH]

Are you quick to say yes or no?





Sunday, December 29, 2013

LOVELY LITTLE THINGS | MATERNITY LOOKS I LOVE

maternity blues


Firetrap collar top, $40 / Dondup sleeveless shirt / J Brand 3401 leggings-style maternity jeans / Accessorize ballet flat / GĂ©rard Darel shoulder bag, $400 / Marc by Marc Jacobs watch / Giani beaded jewelry, $44

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Merry Christmas, lovelies!


:: 50% off ad space using code: HOLIDAYSALE ::





Thursday, December 19, 2013

THIS SEASON IS DARKEST FOR SOME


It was a strange at first -- this man stops to talk with our family on the plane home from Colorado. I sorta pushed myself back in my chair because he was so intimate about our personal space. We, a worn, post-vacationing family, corralling a 2 year old in a cramped compartment. This man picked us. Even thanked us for the moment we shared with him.

Just sitting down to write this post nearly brings me to tears. This man just wanted to revel in the laughter of our kids. Delight himself in a high five and fist bump with our 2 year old.  Remove his thoughts from his own reality for just a few short minutes.

He had lost his father that morning.

And I saw him. Not with my eyes, but with my heart. And I hurt for him.

People put up all these beautiful photos on their Facebook or their blog, and it’s easy to think that someone’s life is perfect or charmed. But oh! how imperfect life really is.

I have friends facing loneliness. Divorce. Depression. Infertility. And some facing issues not to those extremes, but in the thick of whatever their day brings, it sometimes feels like the world is crumbling around them.

And the cold hard truth is that these people are dealing with brokenness in tougher ways than me. I am self-centered thinking my temporary fatigue and occasional discouragement measures up to much. To allow the beauty of my days to be clouded by long to-do lists. Or worry about there being enough space in our house for our soon-arriving baby boy, when that man on the plane faces an empty chair.

Oh, Mandi, but Jesus wants to love you through the acute and the chronic brokenness. Don’t run from it. Live wide open. Cry if you need to. Be honest and brave.

So true – how often I forget. Give yourself permission to just be before Him, friend.

If this season is dark for you, know that joy will emerge. Healing will come. Because Jesus is your ultimate source of peace.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  -Matthew 5:4




Thursday, December 12, 2013

TOO MUCH STUFF

We're leaving tomorrow for Denver. Squeezing in a little annual snowboarding before baby #4 decides to make his entry into the world next month, or thereabout. If you could see my suitcase right now, you wouldn't trust another thing I say. I don't know why I'm fretting about what to bring, because in the end, I'll just throw it all in there and wait for the weather to inspire what I need to wear. My internal heater is revved up with all this baby weight, that perhaps I won't be cold at all.

I'm a nervous nelly about traveling this late in my pregnancy. I'm considering kicking back a mini wine bottle to ease my nerves. But only considering. I couldn't be more excited to see a few wonderful friends, specifically Tiffany from The Dwelling Tree. We've been virtual friends for nearly a year, I guess, but we've never had the opportunity to physically spend time together. I can hardly wait to shower her with hugs and all kinds of southern love.

On to more important biz-ness...

My overly stuffed suitcase makes me realize something -- most of us have too much STUFF. And the more we have, the harder it is to keep tidy. This year, more than ever, I've learned the beauty of purging. Just get rid of everything you don't love. Or need. Typically, we wear only 10-20% of what's in our closet. Here are a few tips to go along with your new love for purging:

  • Take better care of what you have. Use Woolite. Hang dry. And like I'm still trying to teach my husband, wash like fabrics and colors together. Don't wash your yucky bath towels with your office attire.
  • Use good hangers. 
  • Organize your closet. My clothes have always been organized like a rainbow, and I feel it helps me dress quicker because I know exactly where to look to find a shirt to match these pants.
  • Stop over-buying. My husband is notorious for having 10 shirts with similar colors and styles. (Does it sound like I'm picking on the hubs? Don't worry -- he knows his habits humor me.) When you find a piece of clothing at the store, you might want to think on it first. Go home and check your closet to ensure you don't already have something similar.


How about your desk? Better yet, your kitchen island? Does it look like mine -- in a state of I CAN'T FIND ANYTHING? If your counters are pristine, we can no longer be friends. Or maybe we can be friends if you move in with me and keep my counters tidy.

So my advice about papers: Throw it away!

I'm nothing, if not the pot calling the kettle black. And being the hypocrite that I am, my paper needs sorting, filing, and tossing. But the skinny is this: you don't really need that much. After having lost a lot after my divorce, I learned to survive fairly well on very few things.

  • Make your Smartphone earn its keep. We don't need to keep every graduation announcements, invitation -- plug those calendar events into your phone and set an alarm or reminder.
  • Catalogs -- throw those babies away! You're most likely able to find them online.
  • Bills -- set up automatic bill pay!
Do you have any tidying tips to share?






Tuesday, December 10, 2013

LET'S BE FRIENDS BLOG HOP

Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!


A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 43rd Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

Join us every Tuesday at 9am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!

The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of All My Happy Endings or The Dwelling Tree. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Mandi about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!

Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news! 

 photo BlogHopButtonFinal_zps99116d5e.png
 

***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

Meet your hosts:

The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'

All My Happy Endings: Blog, Bloglovin'
  
and your co-hosts:

I am Mrs. K: Blog, Facebook
Simple Moments Stick: Blog, Bloglovin'
Back Home Again: Blog, Bloglovin' 
Artsy Cajun: Blog, Bloglovin'

***This weeks featured post from last week's hop:



Oh, yum. Have you met Heather and Matt at Notes from the Nelsens? They are adorable! I love so many of the recipes they post. This one definitely caught our eye. I love pasta. Especially on cold days like today, where it is zero degrees outside! I want to try making this. Thank you Heather and Matt for your yummy culinary skills. 

Go check out the awesome couple at Notes from the Nelsens. They have great giveaways, fun DIY tutorials, and awesome recipes! 

Keep posting awesome content! You make it so fun for me to read all your posts! 

*Remember YOU can be next weeks winner! :)




Friday, December 6, 2013

DREAMS ARE NOT ALWAYS PRETTY PICTURES


A lot of the time, when we think about our dreams, we only see the highlights, the pretty pictures, the golden light streaming through the windows and the joy of achieving what you have worked for all that time.

But the truth is, dreams are hard work. And they have shadows, too. They are full of struggles, confusion, failure, drudgery, dust bunnies, neglected children, neglected health, being broke, lonely days, detours, breakdowns of many varieties, long stretches of silence, block and giving up.

But if this dream is really your dream, if you love the journey, not just the idea of accomplishment, if you love the work, then trust yourself, trust that when you come back, your dream will be waiting for you and you can climb your way back onto the path. But, it's hard. Don't think it will be easy. If you really want this, and you have lost your way, you will have to claw your way back, regain the ground that you lost inch by inch. But believe in your dream and believe in yourself, because it's that belief that makes the dream possible, even when it seems like it isn't.





Tuesday, December 3, 2013

LET'S BE FRIENDS BLOG HOP

Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 42nd Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

Join us every Tuesday at 9am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!

The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of All My Happy Endings or The Dwelling Tree. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Mandi about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!

Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news! 

 photo BlogHopButtonFinal_zps99116d5e.png
 

***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

Meet your hosts:

The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'

All My Happy Endings: Blog, Bloglovin'
  
and your co-hosts:

I am Mrs. K: Blog, Facebook
Holli's Hoots and Hollers: Blog, Bloglovin'
Simple Moments Stick: Blog, Bloglovin'
 My Show Amanda: Blog, Facebook


Don't Judge Me: Blog, Facebook
Back Home Again: Blog, Bloglovin' 
Artsy Cajun: Blog, Bloglovin'

***This weeks featured post from last week's hop:


I have to say, I am having a hard time picking a winner each week. After reading so many of your amazing posts, I stumbled across this post. It made me cry. It is so beautifully put, and moving. Any parent will relate. Even if you are not a parent, this is a heartfelt and lovely read. 

I so relate with this post. Recently, I have been amazed with how difficult parenting is. This was a heart check for me. One of my favorite parts of this post reads: "You get in the way of me.  And that, really, is actually the biggest inconvenience of all.You make abundantly obvious the futility of living a life that revolves around me and is all about me and ends with me."

Check out the blog The Jelly Jars, written by 3 sisters who are trying to preserve their sweet lives on one blog. There is some beautiful content on there.  

All of you- thank you from the depth of my soul for the fabulous content you are sharing! What talent, and how fun is it for me to go through all these posts and read! I have been blown away by all of the posts you put up. I am LOVING getting to know so many of you through your lives, recipes and tutorials.

*Remember YOU can be next weeks winner! :)





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