I felt a little emotional as I stood outside amongst good friends. As if the room full of friends gathered around my table singing happy birthday as my two two year olds looked around in amazement wasn’t enough. I was standing outside after the cake, in a circle next to the bounce house my husband called + ordered the hour before the party, and I literally cried. Thinking about all the people who have poured into our lives, all the friends and community we’ve made way out here in west Texas. I would have never expected this almost 6 years ago when we moved here without a single friend. I loved that my play group was there with all of their littles, my parents + MIL along with my SIL and her two, I love that my dreamer dreamer girls were there – some that pulled their biggest out of school to come, and some who came without their littles, our business partners were there along with our neighbors, and some of our community group friends + “school” friends too. It was a big melting pot of the most important people in our lives out here in Midland and it was beautiful. The weather was stunning and God blessed us with amazing sunshine and the opportunity to finally get outside and be in his creation. what a day!
happy birthday party camp + asher!
[seriously yall, it's been a birthday MARATHON month!]
ok seriously, yall! Tiny Prints contacted me and the sweetest soul helped me come up with fun favor ideas for my Micky + Minnie themed party! I ordered these customer sickers and filled these lunch bags with all sorts of fun goodies: pencil, stickers, candy, and plato! Tiny Prints has some really cute new stuff for all of your party needs!
anyway, it was valentines day AND their birthday. made fun a fun morning, especially since their Bunni + GP were there when they woke up!
the weather was beautiful and Stephen ordered a Micky Mouse themed bounce house about an hour before the party. We had cake, chick fila, coffee punch for the moms, fruit, cinnamon rolls and a pinata! such a simple yet amazing day celebrating our two with those we live life with! So happy our Nani, aunt E-Beth and cousins Rose + Lawson got to come for the fun too!
I loved so much linking up with Tiny Twig last month to set some measurable goals, that I had to come report back to you! Seriously who knew that simply saying ” I will do this this month” really helped. I loved setting small, measurable goals too. makes me feel accomplished. so before I get into my march goals, let’s do a recap:
1. Make a Artifact Uprising book of my favorite instagram images of 2013 and get it printed
2. Finish my “anybody” series by writing MY anybody story
well, I did not finish this. I have written a lot of it in my head, and hopefully March will be the month!
3. Find a place to write people’s names that I’m praying for each day somewhere in my home that I can see easily
I love my new magnetic wall in my kitchen. I printed off pictures of most of our sponsored children and missionaries we support. I also printed their name + country on their pictures, and it serves as a daily reminder. not pictured, is I got some new dry erase markers and made a new prayer list in the shower! That has been really helpful too!
so as yall have heard me say, March is CRAZY month! I leave tomorrow for Created for Care then straight to Uganda on my #bloghope trip! [if you aren't already, go over to http://bloghope.org/ and subscribe!] when I get back it will be almost time for Hope Spoken! so my “goals” will look a little different this month.
1. tell the best stories possible every single day on my #bloghope trip. really push myself out of my comfort zone and ask God to give me HIS eyes to see.
2. finish up “my story of the unexpected” for Hope Spoken later this month. I’ve really been praying about how to end it – what challenge to throw out, and how to most effectively share the story God has [and is] writing for my life.
3. let’s just say I’ll try to actually write my “anybody” story this month too. hey, with all the long flights I should get some good writing time in!
4. our GOAL as a #bloghope team is to get 400 people to STEP UP to host Sole Hope Shoe Cutting Parties! We will be tracking this through this simple form HERE throughout our 10 day trip to Uganda. So follow along, and see how YOU could be a part of the amazing work Sole Hope is doing in Jinja, Uganda!
just as a reminder, these are things things I want to make priorities throughout the year:
- make a time each week for disconnect + rest
- learn to say no + not overcommit
- read + study the Word as many mornings as possible
- write a little every single day
yay for goals!
building others up.
tonight I sat around the room with some of my closest friends as we were at the starting line for a new study we are doing on freedom called Freeway. Each of us invited 1 or 2 friends, so the group as a whole didn’t know each other, but regardless it’s pretty awkward to “introduce” yourself to a room full of your closest friends that you do life with daily. when it was Holcomb’s turn, she was feeling the awkwardness too, so I stepped in and did the introduction for her. One of the other girls said, “wow, your friends really do know you better than yourself!” I mean how awkward is it to say, “well, I’m really creative…” but when your friend says it it totally is the most amazing sweetest thing ever. My turn was last, and like Alison, I didn’t know what to say. Jenna + Alison stepped in and did the introductions. I had to stop and tell them that words of affirmation was my love language – because my tank was getting full!
something Rebekah Lyons talked about at IF was calling each others gifts out + speaking those callings over people, and I love that challenge. she says her mother told her recently, “ya know, I always knew you would write” and she thought that would have been nice to know in college when she was trying to pick a major! It’s the truth. I was so overjoyed to hear what my dear friends had to say about me, and it brought so much life and light. To know that they see me as a connector, they affirmed my hard word as a mother of basically twins, encouraged me in my writing and story telling and in my constant friend making. No, I don’t need to hear those things to know that they love me and appreciate our friendship, but it sure meant a lot to me.
you never know what people are thinking until they say it. they were embarassing me so much I said, “it’s like we are at my funeral and I”m dead and this is what yall are saying about me”. they did not like that analogy but it’s the truth! me + my bestie alison have been talking about that very thing. Why do we wait until someone is gone to say what we love about the? to affirm them and speak life to their giftings and passions? I don’t want to wait. I want to speak life over people, and tell them why I love them and how I think God has gifted them. I have friends that do that for me, and I want to be that kind of friend too.
what about you? will you take the challenge?
we had a baby shower for our good friend recently who is pregnant with twins! it’s her 3rd and 4th babies, so we hosted a little “diaper dash” for her. have yall heard of these? we set up a table and a cute little candy bar outside her front door and from 5-7 people came and dropped off diapers and took a little treat! While the dropping and dashing was happening, her best friends took the mama to dinner! It was such a fun night to sit around the round table in the back of one of our favorite local downtown resturants together. While sipping mexican martinis, and basically drinking corn queso, we talked a lot about “the everyday”. This group of girls – we are close. Our kids are all around the same ages, so we have play group dates. We went on a girls trip this past summer together, and these past few months we’ve had our bread + wine dinner/book club. We constantly have group texts going throughout the day, asking questions about potty training, sharing recipes, begging each other to come over for a dang glass of wine as it turns 5pm sometimes…, and just sharing life together.
but still - the every day, the day to day. what do we each do? what would it be like to be in each others homes, in the passenger seat of each others suburbans as we drive kids here and there, on the bar stool in the kitchen as we cook dinner, or on the couch as we just want to close our eyes for 2 min! How amazing would that be? My favorite part of this conversation is when one friend was trying to get the rest of us to be painfully truthful about how much tv our kids watch…”i mean, 2 episodes in a row? more than 2?” and almost in unison me + one of the other girls shouted “well micky mouse clubhouse is only 22 minutes!!” I can crack up just thinking about that again. There’s so much cristism, comparison, and condemnation in the “mommy wars” sometimes that it was so refreshing to stand outside Alli’s door as real humans. talking about our real day to day, and how the heck we do our day to day life with multiple little people at our feet all day.
So, every everyday is different for me. but they aren’t perfect. I do let my kids watch tv – I don’t know how I would ever wear makeup or have dinner on the table if they didn’t. I try desperately to be present with them all the time, but I’m not. I’m not perfect. and that night, talking about the real every day, it made me love my friends a little more for being real and honest.
“my studio” has transformed into the kids room. it’s still where my computer lives, and my favorite reading chair and I often love to open the blinds, turn the lamps on, and open my front storm door and let the light spill in and have lazy mornings at home together. Me drinking coffee, sometimes reading, sometimes on my computer, sometimes on the ground with the kids, but the kids always playing. playing in their kitchen, playing dress up, playing doctor, racing their cars, and most recently “drawing” with their new art easel. it’s our place + our time together, and I don’t ever want to let the moment pass and forget it. this is a part of our everyday.
join us Saturday night!
yall this is really exciting for me. I always try to make my austin friends feel sorry for me that they have all these friends that do super cool stuff…and I act like there aren’t people here that do super cool stuff in my small west Texas town…but that’s just not the truth!
a few weeks ago I was having a garage sale with Alison + Allison and some of those uber cool people were standing on my front lawn. and I thought…let’s do a fun fair trade night together! pretty amazing that in a small town there are more than a handful of us who work for or run groups that hand make fabulous things! and who’s workers get paid a fair living wage! just in case you didn’t know who all these people were…let me introduce you!
Noonday Collection..oh wait? you’ve already heard of them?
No.41 is a ministry that was started in rwanda in march 2012, and i got to be a part of it when i was living there last year. we took 32 girls from our local orphanage and village and taught them the culturally relevant trade of sewing. our “office” was our living room, then turned into our back house. the bags that our sweet girls sew (that will be available for purchase) provide one meal a day for one year to a secondary school child in our village. (for one- 41.. get it?!) we started the feed program one year ago this month, and started feeding 870 students +36 teachers, and now one little bitty year later, the enrollment has raised and we are now feeding 1,200 students and teachers a day. the headmaster even said our school now has the highest national exam scores in the district. (!!!!)
there are so many ways to get involved, and i would love to chat more with you about that if you’re interested! or maybe you’d like to hear about the girls that stole my heart and how we’ve seen them grow, the HUGE ways God showed up when we had no clue what our next move should be.. or the time i fell off a moving motorcycle. that last one doesn’t have anything to do with the feed program, but it really is funny.. now that i’m ok, at least. really, there’s so much to say and i’m ready to tell you all about it. i’m so excited to share this with you guys- can’t wait for saturday. xo.
here’s our website for a less condensed version of our story and eye candy:)
We started Scarlet Threads in 2009 when we were living and working in rural China with a small orphanage. We met some amazingly talented artisans struggling to eke out a living for their families, and at the same time, we saw children abandoned, in some cases, due to medical needs that their families couldn’t afford to treat. The orphan-care work we were doing, while vitally important, felt more like a band-aid to the deeper problem of children becoming orphans because their families couldn’t afford to care for them… and we wanted to feel like we were doing something about the root issue — poverty.
So, we started Scarlet Threads, partnering with Deng Jia to make beautiful anthro-style aprons… we’ve since expanded to other artisans working with other materials, and when my husband and I moved to Midland, we began working with local Burmese refugees to create an ADORABLE line of custom children’s clothing. We have a whole lotta different products now, but in every case the items are beautifully crafted by an artisan who is paid fairly while working in their home so they can care for their family. We’ve also expanded our efforts to include a fundraising program for adopting families and a grant program to help families with the high cost of adoption as well.
We see our artisans as our partners — not as our charity projects — and we are proud to connect you with their beautiful handiwork. We are so excited to meet all of you in person at the event next Saturday and show you the amazing things they create. As a very special treat, we will have all the samples from our Chin Collection Fall Line on sale!! This is a one-time chance get some adorable handmade children’s clothing crafted right here in Midland by Burmese refugees at some great prices!
To tide you over till Saturday, check out our website:www.scarletthreads.org
Africa Bridges of Hope
We share the love of Christ with the poor, orphaned, needy, and destitute in the Heart of Uganda’s capitol city, Kampala, by standing in the gap for children who would otherwise have no HOPE. Africa Bridges of Hope provides food, clothes, daily needs, and most importantly education through the help of people like you. We believe the Hope and the future of African nations depends greatly on the next generation of leaders. We desire to be a part of raising that generation in a family and love filled environment where Hope can be restored where it was lost and community can take pride in the future of their country.
We sell African jewelry and crafts to support our mission in East Africa. The children that we sponsor make our very special hand woven paper beads to contribute to their school fees. We have items ranging from Coconut carved necklaces and earrings, porcupine quill sets, hand carved serving spoons, bowls, baskets, drums, sandals, apparel, and much much more.
and music by Jami Stotts of Restoration Farm
is a ministry that brings Hope, Equipping, and Restoration to single mothers and women through biblical and life skills training.
The mission of Restoration Farm is to provide Christ-centered transitional housing to women and children and restore hope by meeting their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs while equipping them for a self-sufficient future
“…be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.” Isaiah 58:12
Restoration Farm is located in Midland, Texas. We accept applications for women with children under the age of 6. Our mission is to provide Christ-centered transitional housing to women and children and restore hope by meeting their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs while equipping them for a self-sufficient future. We do this through providing affordable housing, spiritual mentoring, career mentoring, financial counseling & budgeting, Restoration Farm family dinners, and training in boundaries, nutrition, parenting, and housekeeping.
See ya soon!