Thursday, April 30, 2015

UNWAVERING ACCEPTANCE


I appreciate the unrelenting compliments, I do. You, my friends, say the most profoundly kind things to me always in a season when I need to hear it most. Thank you. But the implications that this little family of mine is "perfect" or "incredible" or "amazingly loving" certainly isn't that way all the time. To be honest, it makes me cringe a little when you say those things because we sometimes fight. We are prone to saying hurtful things. We regularly misinterpret others' actions. We have been to dark places that the rest of the world will never see.

But we also love fiercely. -- And maybe that's what YOU see in us the most; I can only hope. -- We don't quit. We laugh and have an insane amount of inside jokes. At the end of the day, we stumble, get up and run back to Jesus. Because each of us know that without Him, the ugly would take over and the beauty wouldn't be able to shine. Ain't that what life is all about? Undeserved, unmerited grace. 



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

THIS + THAT

Preparing | for a major vacation with my family in the coming weeks. We are taking the kids, all four of them, to our favorite place on earth – Kauai. The kids are stoked and I have to admit, I am working on suppressing my excitement- not for the swimming suit, but the excitement of family time.

Reading | Made to Crave and taking it really slow. The words are simple, but reverent, and I am trying to glean a little bit of wisdom from it all.

Hoping | That spring will hold on a bit before summer strikes. I am not minding the rain we’ve had, but getting glimpses of warmer weather- here and there- makes me drea the 90+ degree heatstrokes.

Wanting | a front porch. We sorta have plans to revamp the front facade of our home and when we decide, I will fill you in on all the details!

Eating | lots of avocados.  I am an avocado-ian.  I love them.  I do. 

Enjoying | evenings with my family outdoors. we are more satisfied with life when we are outside living it. I see it work.

Stalking | 
this blogger. She photographs her life so well and makes me want to jump in and invade her space. 


Anticipating | my next hair appointment. I think I'm chopping it off. I might change my mind in the next six weeks, but at this moment, I have decided to go for it. 

Watching 
| Games of Thrown. Seriously? Yes, I’m one of those. 



Monday, April 27, 2015

GRACE


I will always beg for more from this little family of ours, but I still hope justice becomes our brand and mercy our calling card. I will also remember that some are far, far ahead of me and I am further down the road than others, yet we are all moving forward, navigating the narrow path.

So many of us are trying, and that deserves grace.


Grace is the beginning of freedom, and there isn’t a corner of earth that doesn’t need more of it.

So let’s give it.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

THIS + THAT

First up, don’t forget to link up with our #INTROFRIDAY series on Instagram here. You don’t have to say much, but definitely mention the hashtag so we can find you.

Last weekend, I attended a women’s retreat at church with one of my besties and otherwise lived outside because it's 70’s and sun!! Standing in the sun and breathing outdoor air is my jam. You?

This week was really busy, but highly efficient. I put together some great dinners with Hello Fresh which gave me time for other things with the family and around the house.

Speaking of house, I really need this. I love Target (no one’s ever said that before). I refer to it as the Promised Land without any hyperbole.

I helped pick out 9 Mother’s Day gift ideas here that are under $100. Do you like any of these? Shall I put a bug in your husband’s ear? I bet you didn’t think of that!

I saw this foot washing station idea on Pinterest recently. Something so simple yet ingenious! 

This is spot on. We’re going back to our favorite place on earth in a few short months and we’re taking ALL our kids. I love sharing adventures with them!

These are the cutest sandals. Bailey needs them. (Fine! She wants them! And who am I to deny her, especially when we wear the same size!)

That's all folks.  Now go and be fruitful.



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

LIFE IN PICTURES




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

HURTING YOUR MARRIAGE?


I have a confession -- I've been nagging at my husband a lot lately.

You see, I’m a minimalist and he’s a hoarder. I despise clutter and Pete accumulates piles of paperwork and mail on the kitchen counters until it antiques. I like to rid of things as we outgrow them or otherwise don’t need them, while he saves everything he’s owned since college. I like an organized garage, while he is quite content stacking bicycles on top of boxes on top of garden tools. We are both well aware of these character traits – it’s no secret. But man, does it get my water boiling to trip over a pair of his shoes or knock papers onto the floor that have piled a mile high on the kitchen island.

Then today, out of nowhere, a colleague voluntarily began spouting off negatives about his wife and it impacted my perspective profoundly. From his facial expressions alone, I gathered he’s not her biggest fan. He went on to express a “dreadful 2-hour drive” he’ll have with her tomorrow night, and while I listened, I couldn't help but feel sorry for her – her husband…speaking of her that way. Referring to her as “demon wife.”

You know, even though it would be preferable and polite for my husband to pick up after himself, in the great scheme of things, he is doing things mostly right. And he most certainly does not talk about me in *that* manner. I’m pretty sure he loves me, respects me, and honors me. But still. Knowing that I might be brewing resentment in his soul is devastating to even think about.

There are quite a few people in hopelessly bad marriages, yet most are perfectly capable of happiness. Do you find yourself nagging your partner a lot? Or do you find yourself saying your partner never does X or always does Y? If you answered yes, that may be the thing that’s ruining your marriage. Your nagging is more destructive than you think.

Being married over a period of time, we tend to get comfortable. Some get bored. Sometimes we become unhappy with ourselves. Or sometimes we get down over our circumstances like money issues, unemployment, or pregnancy loss. Whatever it is, we’re usually making our spouse the fall guy for our unhappiness. And the thing is, you may not even know you’re doing it.

Spend a little time each day and try to focus on his or her goodness. Do it until it becomes part of your everyday routine. And chances are, you are investing value into your partner…into your marriage, that will be returned. I know it’s cliché but you will ‘get out of it what you put into it.’

At the end of the day, marriage is saying “I love you too much to be without you, even if you drive me crazy!”



Monday, April 20, 2015

YOUR PARENTING SUPER POWER?






Has anyone ever asked you, “what is your parenting super power?”

I’m talking that ONE thing you REALLY really get right. Go ahead and think about it for a minute…
It might be hard to come up with your THING at first.


Having trouble? Rather, it seems like we remember every single failure, does it not?

All those times I was too tired for ‘just one more book, mommy’. The dinner that was so overdone that my kids voted to call out for pizza instead. How about this one: Have you ever temporarily lost your kid among the clothes at a department store… and I nearly went insane, screaming his name like it was my last breath. My toddler was oblivious the whole time. I found him by following the sound of his giggling.

So why don’t the successes jump to mind as quickly?

Did you come up with that THING you rocked as a parent? Are you great at dealing with sibling rivalry? Are you amazing at teaching your kids to read? Did you teach your whole neighborhood of kids how to ride a bike?

Kids struggle in a lot of areas… there are plenty of things where being a great parent will only get you so far. You can’t prevent every accident. In many cases, you learn as you go.  Maybe they have a learning problem; maybe they find they’re bullied in 4th grade; maybe they have massive allergies or other health or mental health issues.

I’ve watched plenty of parents deal with all of the above. When your kid is struggling is often when you have to dig deep and find the parenting superpower called patience. Because YOU can’t do a whole lot of anything but wait and love and encourage in so many of children’s experiences.

But really, what is YOUR super power? Share one thing you are good at.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ADVERTISE WITH AMHE

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

LIFE IN PICTURES






Tuesday, April 14, 2015

FORGIVENESS


Do you believe in chance connections? It’s becoming more and more common for me to have experiences with strangers that leave me emotionally gutted. Recently, I was at the San Francisco airport, flying home, when a lady and I got to talking. I mentioned being over-the-moon about seeing my 4 kids and husband, when she mentioned having 4 grandchildren she hasn’t seen in quite some time. I asked if they lived in another state, and sadly she responded, “no, they are only an hour drive from me.” To avoid meddling, I remained quiet, and about a minute later, she went on to say, “It’s me.” I responded, “I doubt that.” She rebutted, “No. Really it is. I’ve made some mistakes in the past and treated her husband badly. And now they’re uninterested in seeing me.”

The agent came over the intercom and asked the passengers to start boarding. I hugged my new friend so tightly – like I would an old high school mate I hadn’t seen in a while and whispered, “I hope you get a second chance.”

Forgiveness is the biggest game changer of all, folks. And I cannot help but encourage those who will listen, to try it. I don’t know the in’s and out’s of your personal story, but I know what it is like to have someone, particularly a family member, hurt your heart and that of your family’s. I've mentioned this a few times, but personally, our family has carried a set of battle scars inflicted by an in-law of mine, and forgiveness has been anything but easy street. Repeatedly we forgive, and repeatedly she offends. I believe our presence is now a reminder to her just how ugly she's been over the years, and now it's developed into a habit she can't stop. The latest gut punch was opting not to include us in her son's birthday festivities, but telling everyone else that she had, to save face. These stealth-like antics of hers are oh so frequent, and sadly, we've grown accustom to them.

I recently read that forgiveness doesn’t sit there like a pretty boy in a bar. Instead, it is the old fat guy you have to haul up a hill. I laugh when I think about that, but it’s true. It’s grueling. It’s ugly. It is blood, sweat and tears. Yet necessary if you ever want to fly again.

Say the words, “I forgive him/her for [blank] and I wish him/her well.” Each time you repeat this, the negative emotion attached to the memory will diminish. Soon it will be gone forever. There is too much goodness, too much love, too much possibility to go on feeling animosity. Enough of it. take away the need to be right, to be the winner, to nurture the injury like a little pet, keeping it safe and thriving and growing. Now add grace – undeserved maybe, unexpected perhaps. Persistent, warm, selfless mercy can turn even the biggest ship around. Let us live in the wide open spaces we’ve been granted, and laugh and dance and celebrate and notice the ordinary little wonders we are conditioned to minimize.



Monday, April 13, 2015

GUEST, BEX @ THE BUTCHER'S NICHE


How did Butcher's Niche blog come to fruition, and what do you write about? 
In 2013, I was newly married and needing a hobby. I already read a lot of blogs so I decided to start one of my own. 

At the beginning, I talked about my wedding. But I quickly ran out of things to talk about so it changed into a lifestyle blog with a big emphasis on the style. 

What is your most visited blog post and why do you think it was so successful?
This one  This was the first real style post I did that I was extremely proud of. This outfit is full of versatile pieces - swing skirt, basic t, and statement necklace. Plus, everybody loves cobalt even after all these years. 

How do you balance blogging with day-to-day life? Any advice for the newbie blogger?
I try to find a good balance. Between social media, creating good content and all that comes with blogging it's hard for all of us sometimes. The best thing for me was when I started treating it like a really cool job and gave myself time limits. From 8-10 I blog and then I go back and engage with readers from 6-7 - or whatever works that day. Which goes right into the best advice for a newbie . . . don't listen to others people’s advice. Sure they may know of a good plug in to use or may have a good promoting schedule to use, but just because your favorite blogger says to do it or not to do it doesn't mean it'll work for you. The best bloggers out there are the ones that stay true to themselves. 
  
What big Spring time project or adventure do you have coming up?
My husband and I just moved from Indiana to Florida. Until we know our area we've moved into a small rental property, so I was worried that my crafty and renovating would have to stop. But I've figure out some really exciting furniture projects that I'm about to get started. And we've planned our first trip home :) 
  
As a fashion blogger, what are your top 3 go-to clothing/accessory staples?
I think it all comes down to the basics. If you've got a good pair of shoes, a basic white t that fits you well, and a fun pair of shoes. You're set to go. You can accessorize and add to that to come up with hundreds of different looks. 


FOLLOW BEX VIA ALL HER SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS:



Thursday, April 9, 2015

CREATED TO BE A MOM






Perhaps I’ll go into it another day – why adoption has been in my heart since the 9th grade. But way before I ever married, I knew I wanted to grow my family by adoption – God willing.

I’m fully aware there won’t be rainbows and unicorns lining the path, and that it will be a long, and sometimes grueling process, but it has always felt like my calling. Never have I known what I wanted to be when I grew up, except…to be a mom.

He created me. He knows the depths of my heart. And if He wills it to happen, it will be.

I wait. I listen.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

LIFE IN PICTURES




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

GUEST, DARBY @ LIFE WITH THE HAWLEY'S

Hi All My Happy Endings Readers!  Thank you for letting me visit with you today :-) I'm Darby and I blog over at Life with the Hawleys.  I pretty much blog about anything & everything.  My blog is a hodge-podge collection of our lives, recording our comings and goings, infertility & parenting, faith, foodie adventures and recipes, travel, dog tales, musings, photography, craft projects, home renovations, and home decor. See? Pretty much everything!Hawley_57
While I may share a lot of about our lives, I'm definitely NOT a fashionista or beauty blogger; not even close to my forte haha.  However, as with most things, my favorite beauty products seem to evolve as I evolve.  Once I became a mom my beauty regimen changed drastically.  Today I want to share my 6 favorite new mama beauty products; however, while I use these as timesavers now I still fully endorse them as great products for women at every life stage.
ALL of these products are under $10!
ALL of these products save time!
Who doesn’t’ want more time & money?!
Okay buckle up, here are my 6 go-to beauty products:Six Beauty Must-Haves 1. Dry Shampoo- Oh my stars this is a lifesaver!  I’ve tried dry shampoo before & never really been satisfied.  Previous dry shampoos have had such a strong odor that I develop a headache throughout the day or it leaves gray streaks in my hair (seriously the last thing I need is gray hair!).  So when Chelsea at The Perfect Catch recommended this dry shampoo I was honestly skeptical, but still desperate enough to try it hahahaha.  I’m not sure Chelsea knows how much she has saved our mornings with this little tip; thank you!  This light-weight dry shampoo smells amazing, but not too strong.  The dry shampoo quickly absorbs oil while still leaving my hair soft, and keeps my hair looking fresh even on days when I don’t get to wash my hair (which as a mama with a young baby this happens often). 

2. Shower Cap- I don’t know if you would consider this a beauty product or not, but I’m including it.  So I was using the dry shampoo for a while and I kept getting these little humidity curls around the side of my face.  When I was washing my face in the shower some of the water would wet my hair and it would totally mess up my second-day hair-do.  It took me a while to realize that I just needed to wear a shower cap in the shower on days where my hair wasn’t going to be washed (duh!).  I wash my hair every other day, and on days where I’m not washing my hair I protect it and keep it dry by wearing a shower cap in the shower.

3. E.L.F. Makeup Mist- I know that I’ve pushed this product before, but I’m still obsessed! :-) This beauty repeat offender is a great way to set your makeup.  This mist is kind of like hairspray for your face.  I can apply my makeup in the morning and no matter how much playing or cleaning I do during the day, it is still going strong at the end of the day.  You apply all of your makeup and then lightly mist your face (2-3 pumps).  The mist helps to keep your makeup in place all day long so that you don’t have to reapply for touch-ups.  Since I started using this mist my makeup is as fresh in the evening as it was when I applied it in the morning, eveeeeeeeeeeen if it was a 14 hour day or it was 90 degree Houston weather.  I’m a believer in this stuff!

4. Tea Tree Essential Oil- (also know as Melaleuca alternifolia) I’ve posted about my Miracle Skin Care System before & mentioned Tea Tree Essential Oil.  This stuff is awesome!  If you haven't jumped on the essential oil train, you should start with this one.  I’m over 30 but I still have these annoying hormonal acne flare-ups here and there (typical regions for hormonal flare-ups are on the lower cheek/jaw line and chin). To quickly, and painlessly, clear-up a break-out, I dab a little Tea Tree EO on the area of interest 2x a day.  The Tea Tree EO will clear up a break-out within 24-48 hours.

5. Big Sexy Powder Play-  This product is perfect for getting volume.  It is a weightless & odorless powder that you sprinkle into your hair and then shake it in with your fingers.  A little bit goes a long long long long way; you don’t need much to get your desired effect; I don’t think you’ll ever get to the bottom of the bottle.  I sprinkle this in at the crown of my head to give me a little poof.  If you’re a hair teaser this will definitely help you get some volume.
6. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Polish- I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to go get a manicure and I certainly don’t have the time to wait for my nails to dry if I do them myself.  In fact, I hate to waste time even painting my nails if I know that it is going to chip off so quickly because I’m constantly washing dishes.  This polish goes on fast, dries fast, and stays on.  My favorite shades are grays and neutrals these days.
So those are my favorites these days. 
Tell me more though!
What tricks and tools do you have?




Monday, April 6, 2015

WIFE'S PRAYER FOR THE MARRIAGE


Bless your marriage by praying for it. Praying for your husband. A wife’s responsibility and privilege is to pray for her husband. Earnest prayer for your husband is good for him, for you and the spiritual health of your home (Proverbs 31:11-12).
Satan desires to destroy your husband, especially his character and his leadership in your relationship. Trust God through prayer as you daily surrender your husband and marriage to the Lord’s wise, loving care.
Lord,
Thank you for loving me. For loving me that you provided me a companion, so that I don’t have to live this life alone. I pray that I can love like you love. I pray that I can be patient with my husband live with endurance. If there is anything from my past, present or future that contributes hurt, pain, bitterness or negativity that could harbor my marriage, I ask for help in letting it go. Help me rely on You for healing and restoration. Keep our eyes open for only each other. Help is to be an example of joy, contentment, romance, trust compassion, and encouragement in the eys of our children.
Amen

Sunday, April 5, 2015

MOTHERHOOD






Motherhood is skipped showers, kinked necks and piles of laundry. Sometimes it feels just like that, while other times it feels like an extraordinary honor. It's daily choosing to thrive and practicing the mindset of the latter with the help of Jesus.

You wonder, when you only have one, how you will be able to love another. Or another. or another. It simply shouldn't be a concern, since it happens without an effort. The warm skin. The baby grunts. It all beckons you to love. As if we couldn't fight the urge to open our hearts to love one more - we just can't fight it. God created it that way.

one thing mommas don't have t worry about it finding the room to love "one more." I have friends who are pregnant with their 2nds and 3rds and still wonder "how" and "if." Sitting here, with my four kids beside me, sends me back to a time where I couldn't imagine or dream how rich my life would be -- four kids later. And these friends are on the brink of it. I am so excited for them!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

BEING YOU


Isn't it great to be an individual?

To have unique experiences

To love specifically

To know what you know and do what you do

in only a way that you can?

I relish my individuality. and I hope you do, too. I hope you never ever try to be anyone else but yourself…because the world needs more authentic hearts.





Wednesday, April 1, 2015

ODE TO 37


Today I'm 37.

In my 37 years, I have managed to find an incredible, hilarious, and supportive group of people to go through this life with me. The “stuff” of life isn’t where I measure my success, it’s in the people who show up when there is good to be celebrate or hardships to be faced. And in that department, my riches are many.

I welcome 37. Every day I ask God for another day, another year, and a lifetime to see my children grow up…. to have the chance to love my husband as a very old man.

I want to enjoy growing older. To laugh a lot along the way. To build my wealth in people. And to live purposefully and with intention. My twenties were tumultuous -- a roller coaster of discovering myself, often fun and mostly unstable. But here, in my thirties, I have found a treasure I spent most of the last decade wishing for. I don’t know what trials and lessons lie ahead, but today, I am savoring the warmth and comfort of feeling content.




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