A Tiny Flower

This hearty little flower inspired me today. It’s tiny, and easy to miss among the other plants and leaves, all vying for precious soil. It’s also extraordinary that something so small and delicate could survive last night’s freeze! And I’m inspired at how it’s not the biggest or the best, but it shares it’s tiny burst of lavender among all of the competition, clutter and chaos around it.

Sometimes I feel like this flower. There’s so many influences that the world throws at me… from the pressure of being the biggest and best, to the shame of feeling like I’m not doing enough… It’s easy to feel like the world is overtaking my tiny plot of earth, but this flower reminds me to keep trying and that it is possible to endure.

“No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, God will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character to do so … He will always stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them.” -George Q. Cannon

Happy New Year

What a year 2018 has been! Between my husband’s busy work and church schedule, my kid’s endless activities and my health, I’ve never felt more of an emotional strain. Supporting the lives of the 6 other people around me leaves little time for my business, my projects or doing what I want to do. And that realization was a difficult pill to swallow this year.

But that being said, I’ve also never felt more personal growth.

I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and in October, our prophet challenged us to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. Completing that challenge brought me so much strength and personal inspiration. At times when my children’s problems were more than I could handle, I felt peace with scripture stories about Helaman’s Stripling Warriors. When I was lonely from my husband’s travel and church schedule, I felt comforted and lifted up when read about the Jesus Christ coming to America. And when my heart ached from feelings of failure and betrayal, I found strength when I turned to the Lord.

It worries me sometimes that I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but it’s ok, because I know that as I stay close to the Lord and continue to read the scriptures, I’ll be able to handle whatever may come.

May 2019 bring you peace as well!

If you’re interested in how the Book of Mormon can change your life check out https://www.mormon.org/free-book-of-mormon

Or check out http://www.lds.org for more info!

Reality Check Wednesday

Tell me that mine aren’t the only kids who don’t clean their rooms.

Tell me that the hours I spend nagging them will pay off someday.

Tell me that I’m not a total failure since I clearly have not taught them how to clean better.

Then tell me not to throw away everything in here… because there’s a crazy vein telling me that if they didn’t have this stuff, then I wouldn’t have to clean it!

I typically make my kids clean their rooms, but they do a terrible job! (Dirty underwear does NOT belong in the toy box, people!) Once a month I go in and get everything back to ground zero. I shudder to think what it would look like if I didn’t!

How do you get kids to keep things clean?

The Little Lights

The other night, my little girl opened up about her trouble falling asleep. Occasionally she’ll come into my room in tears because she’s awake and no one else is, and it has really concerned her.

She sleeps on the bottom bunk, which is extra dark, and in our family, the bottom bunk is the least desirable bed to sleep in. I imagine that more often than not she’s sitting sad and alone in that dark room with just her thoughts.

My heart broke for her because I know it takes a lot of courage for her to come to me. I prayed for inspiration… and then I started thinking…

I’d been wanting to make a lighted garland for a while, but hadn’t gotten to it because I was unsure where to put it. But after my girl expressed her concerns the little lights in my creative mind turned on!!

So here is what we did!

I made this garland out of an old bed sheet and some lace curtains, and tied the fabric onto a string of little lights. We were lucky to find an outlet next to the bed, and I hung the garland underneath the bed slats of the top bunk. She can turn it on and off whenever she wants, and my sweet friend even recommended a timer so it will turn off after she falls asleep.

She loved it and happily said that when she’s awake she can turn on the lights without bothering the other two girls, so she can read some books! (I also kinda love that she’s turning to books when she’s bored!)

That night she fell asleep right away, happy and cozy under the lights, and it felt like a big win for this momma!

Stay tuned for a tutorial on how to make this super simple garland.

Now the other two girls want something special over their beds too, so I’ll be putting together some big plans for a sweet little girls room.

I wouldn’t have it any other way…

My husband and I celebrated 19 years of marriage last week!

I’ve almost been married longer than I’ve been single! (Yes, I was a baby when we got married!)

During that time we’ve battled through 10 years of infertility, 7 big moves, 5 kids in 5 years, 11 surgeries and hospital stays, deaths, tough jobs, finishing our education while trying to raise a family and loads of other things that I thought would never happen!

I’m so lucky I’ve gotten to go through it all with my best friend.

Marriage is tough, and I can see why people avoid it, but going through all of that has made me stronger. And going through all that with my best friend has made us stronger.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Our Holiday Home Tour

This Christmas season has just flown by and I can’t believe it’s almost over!

Just wanted to share some of the Christmas decor we’ve done in our new home this year!

This garland is from a company called Grandin Road. I wanted some texture in the garland so I added some eucalyptus sprays and sparkly sprays.

I made the Merry Christmas blocks 3 years ago with my sweet sis-in-law! The other side says “Happy Halloween”.

Most of the ornaments on our tree are handmade. But we also have a bunch of fun white pieces we’ve picked up over the years. I built the tree crate last year, and love using it to hide the cables and tree stand.

I also built the star this year!

The high cupboard above the oven is a little difficult to reach so it stays empty. I think it’s only purpose is to hang a wreath.

This tablecloth was an old curtain that I found in the discount section of At Home a few years ago. Confession: I can’t remember why, but one year I cut a square out of it… but if I fold it just right, it works as a table runner and you can’t even tell!

Several years ago I was really into quilting. I had a lot of fun making the Santa Clause wall hanging and this felt like a good spot for it.

We’ve had this nativity for 16 years and I’ve always struggled with finding a good spot for it until now! It finally has a home on the table behind the couch.

My sweet grandmother made that little throw blanket about 11 years ago for my son’s birth. Confession: I haven’t told him that it’s his because I’m afraid he’ll want to keep it on his bed, and I really like it here!

This is one of the views when you walk in our front door. This shot was really tough to get! The wall color pulls a lot of yellow. Im still working on my photography skills.

This Room is designed to be the formal dining room. But my hubby was adamant that it should be the piano room. I’m glad I listened to him because this is a nice spot for music. Confession: I find myself playing the piano in here more and more often when I should be cleaning and wrapping presents.

I gave the front porch some flea market-style Christmas love, but had to bring it all back in when it started raining. A white rug on the front porch was a terrible idea as well, but it was fun for the picture!

The master bedroom has become the wrapping station. Right now it’s filled with boxes and tape and paper!

The girls bedroom is very dark and long. It’s tough to get a good photo. All of the kids have mentioned they don’t like how dark the bedrooms are, so I plan on painting sometime next year. Can you spot the real life in these pics?!

Last night one of my girls said, “So is this our home now?” I laughed so much, but I kind of understand. We’ve moved 5 times in the last 10 years and the idea of staying here long term still hasn’t sunk in! This feels like a nice resting spot that we’ll leave in a few months. I have to keep telling myself that this is real!

Thanks for taking this little tour with me! You’re always welcome to come for some hot chocolate and games!

Wishing you a wonderful, safe Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Another chapter to the “Layers” Chair

My sweet mom has always loved this chair, and even wanted to buy it at one point! But since I owe her everything, I decided that she should have it, and wanted to make it a Christmas present for her.

The only problem was how to get it across the 1181 miles separating us!

I’ve heard that other furniture flippers ship their furniture, but when I looked into that, the cost was astronomical.

Then I got the bug to make the drive and go visit for Thanksgiving. I flew my sister out to help since my hubby was traveling, and together we rigged this little system up for moving the chair.

We wrapped it in blankets secured with packing tape. Then covered it with painters plastic sheeting to keep it waterproof. Then we wrapped it with Saran Wrap for extra protection. We cinched it down tight with clamps and rope and were very proud of ourselves.

Not gonna lie, it looked a little white trash.

After three hours of driving however, it looked a lot more white trash.

The wind ripped the plastic to shreds!

We drove 12 hours the first night from Dallas to Denver where my sis-in-law lives. We got in at 3 in the morning, slept for 4 hours, got to give hugs to family, and took off again.

Since we were worried about bad weather on the Vail pass, I opted to drive through Wyoming since the weather just appeared to be rainy.

The chair was fine, but once we hit the rain we decided to stuff the kids in the back and bring the chair inside.

I️t was one jam-packed car with 5 kids, two adults a dog and a chair!

The weather was terrible in Wyoming.

They even closed the freeway down in Lyman!

I️t was a tender mercy, however, when we learned that we had some family in Lyman. They let us crash their home that night and we were so grateful! The next morning we got up and since they were driving to Salt Lake too, we followed them into the valley!

Thankfully, through all of that, the chair survived! Mom was thrilled!

Do you remember how I found layers and layers of fabric and dirt when refinishing this chair? I always wondered if the thick layer of dirt and dust on the bottom layer indicated that it had made a long dusty journey on a wagon crossing the plains of Texas.

Well now this chair has a few more miles on it and more history to its story.

My Self Reliance Journey

I’ve felt prompted to share this experience for a long time, but my fear of judgement has held me back. I’m sharing it here now to quench the nagging feelings I’ve had, and hope you can read it with an open mind!

I’d like to share my self-reliance experience and how it strengthened my relationship with the Savior.

At the beginning of this year I set a goal that I wanted to learn more about how I could involve the Savior in my life, but I wasn’t sure about how to do that. In February I was sitting in Sacrament meeting and really listening the prayers and the phrase, “That they do always remember Him” really jumped out at me and I realized that was an area that I could improve on!

On a good day, I’d wake up, read my scriptures and say a prayer, but then the minute I started my to-do list I’d forget the Savior. And unless something bad happened that day where I felt like I needed to pray for help, I wouldn’t think about Him at all. I felt like something was missing in my life, but I didn’t know how to fix it.

One of the things that may have been keeping me from “always remembering Him” was my small business. A few months earlier I started a decorating business, and while the work was exciting, it lacked focus, and to be honest, was completely unprofitable. I had even been praying for guidance of if I should even be continuing the business.

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and they’ve just begun developing a new Self-Reliance Program. It’s a 12-week course that has 4-10 hours of weekly homework, and there are 4 different courses for people to choose: Starting and Growing my Business, Personal Finances, Find a Better Job, and Education for Better Work.

When I first heard about the Self Reliance Initiative, I secretly wanted to join, but feeling guilty about how much time my business was taking me away from my family, I just dismissed it and didn’t tell anyone that I wanted to attend.

A few weeks later a member of my bishopric contacted me. He said as they were praying about who they should ask to attend, my name kept coming up. I felt it was a tender mercy from the Lord, and the first of many times over the next 12 weeks that I would have confirmation that the Lord was aware of me.

Through promptings from the Holy Ghost, I signed up for the “Starting and Growing my Business” course, and one of the first things we learned was that that Spiritual and the temporal are one in the eyes of God. D&C 29:34 says, “Wherefore, verily I say unto you, that all things are Spiritual unto God.”

That really resonated with me. “All” is a pretty encompassing word! And I thought, if God cares about all things, both spiritual and temporal, big and small then surely he would care about my teeny-tiny business. And surely I could call upon him for help with my business!

I began learning about consecrating my business to the Lord, and what partnering with the Savior could mean for my business. As I began to ask God for help, I began to receive inspiration! In the 2nd week of the course I received inspiration that business needed to be incredibly simple, and I began focusing my efforts just on furniture refinishing. I prayed over everything. The big things like what my business name should be, and the small things like how to repair a broken dresser drawer.

I did all of the homework even when it was scary, or didn’t seem to apply to me, and that opened doors professionally for me that never would’ve happened had I not been keeping those commitments. And as I relied on the Lord, I received personal guidance and direction, I was able to avoid pitfalls, guided to specific clients, and my business began to grow!

Not only did my business begin to grow, my faith was also strengthened. I began to pray over everything in my personal life. Rather than waking up and asking for help to “have a good day”, I began to pray for help prioritizing my to-do list so that I could be more productive and find ways to help others. I prayed over things like how to best clean the grout out of my tile floor, and what meal to make for my family for dinner. I prayed for inspiration on helping my kids with a homework assignment, and even for help to clean up a paint spill.

And I began to receive answers!

Answers that I know wouldn’t have come had I not been asking, and listening!

Dallin H. Oaks said, “Self Reliance is not believing that you can do or obtain anything you set your mind to. Rather, it is believing that through the grace, or enabling power of Jesus Christ, and your own effort you can do or obtain all of the spiritual and temporal needs of this life that you require for yourselves and for your family. Self Reliance is evidence of your trust in God’s power to move mountains in your life and the strength to triumph over trials and afflictions.”

I know I’m still a long ways away from being able to “always remember Him”, but I do know that I need him every hour. And I also know that as I pray over everything in my life, that small and the big, I will receive guidance and will be just a little closer to being able to “always remember Him.”

I know that God lives, and that He loves us more than we understand. He wants us to be happy! He wants us to succeed! He wants to bless us!

I know that when we put our trust in him and rely on his will, have faith, work hard, and keep his commandments, we will be blessed and He will move mountains in our lives!

Kool-aid 

Well, I’ve officially banned the use of Kool-Aid in my home! 

Yesterday one child asked to make it and I said yes, (against my better judgement) and when it was ready the child decided he hated it. 

Meanwhile another child decided to help herself and within 5 minutes of the offense brew being made, it was all over the table and floor and my woven grass placemats!! While trying to mop it up, the original child managed to break my brand new mop! This same child broke the old mop just two weeks ago! 

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t handle all this very well. In fact I literally threw the towel and went to bed. But not before throwing away every packet of Kool-aid in my house and banning it forever. 

I also threatened my husband within an inch of his life should he ever buy it again. (I don’t think it sunk in very well because he was laughing at me.) 

With You…

My husband and I have been pretty transient in our  marriage and have moved consistently every 2-3 years for work. For a girl who lived within a 2 mile radius her whole life, moving that much was tough for me!

The first move took us away from all our family, then another move left us renting our home out while we lived 800 miles away from it! The most difficult move happened when when the twins were only 3 weeks out of NICU!
After a while, I began feeling like putting down roots would never happen, and it was easy to get frustrated about being so transient. I spent more time than I care to admit, crying about how often we move, about leaving houses I fell in love with, and about not knowing where my kids would attend high school.

We’ve been here for 3 years now, and true to form, my husband’s company has been talking about where they want to send us! First it was Florida, then Arizona, then Tennessee, then Colorado, then Arizona again. And all the while I wanted to get closer to our extended family, or just stay here! It was an emotional roller coaster!  It was 6 months of being excited about one place only to have it pulled out from us again!

Then two months ago, I was walking through Hobby Lobby and passed a sign that had this saying:

With You I Am Home!

Those words touched me, and I began crying right there in the store! It was as if a million thoughts spoke to me at once and it made me realize what is really important.

The location of our house, whether we rent or buy, the decor, the schools, and even how long we live there just isn’t what’s really and truly important.

It’s who I live with that counts.

My home is about my family. The bond and connection I create with my husband and my children are far more important than the location of my home. If everything I owned was gone tomorrow and we lived in a box, we’d be home because we’d be together. It’s my family that truly matters.
I should’ve bought the sign right there, but my little DIY mind thought I could make my own and do it better! I found the wood at Lowes, painted it white and hand painted the letters.

I gave it to my hubby as a Father’s Day gift to show him that I’m willing to go wherever his work takes us. That I’m done crying over our transient lifestyle, and that the location of my home isn’t the most important thing.

These words remind me that it doesn’t matter if I live in a house for 2 years or 10 years.  As long as I’m with my husband and my family, I will be home.