Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thankful Thursday

"Prayers go up, and blessings come down" -Yiddish Proverb

It's been too long since I've done a Thankful Thursday post; my post today is simple and easy. But oh, so meaningful. I'm thankful that my blessings are too many to count, and I'm thankful for prayer. For all of my friends who pray for me in every situation. For all my friends who I see pray for one another. For the prayers that I can say for friends, and feel that even when I can do nothing else, I can do that in their favor. For prayers that I can say for strangers that I've never even met, and know that God is still listening with the same intensity as He does when I'm praying for those who are dearest to my heart. For the prayers that get answered. For the blessings that come from prayers.

Kevin, my fiance, and I were having a conversation via text message today. The topic at the moment was my health situation, because I've been getting more and more frustrated lately. Kevin said that I would be well in God's time. I don't know why God has this planned for me, but I certainly know what I can do about it. ;)

"Prayer is not a woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action." -Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Life: more tests and trials

Clearly I've been absent for awhile. So much has happened in the last few months. It feels surreal when I think about it all. In a nutshell, I got engaged, I bought a house, I was homeless for two weeks, I moved into the new house, I adopted two new puppies, I transferred jobs, I continued with school, and I got desperately ill, though not in that particular order.

At times I felt like I was being tested beyond my limits, but clearly my limits are more far-reaching that I had imagined, because here I am, still standing, still breathing, still living. I'm not sure what the purpose was for this journey, but I certainly was reminded that my faith and my family will get me through any and all trials.

The worst of these was the turn in my health. Almost overnight, I went from an active working, hiking, playdate-going, girls'-night-outter, road trip-taking, photographing, crafting, studying, reading mommy to barely being able to stand on my own two feet without tipping over.

At first I mistook my own symptoms for migraines and asthma attacks. I would have these weird episodes where I suddenly wouldn't feel well, and often my throat would get very tight, I'd get short of breath, and my head would hurt very badly. As time went on, the episodes got more frequent and more severe, and I became nauseous and dizzy. Then my hands and feet started to swell and I noticed my heart would race, but I would be extremely, ridiculously fatigued.

My first trip to the emergency room led to a diagnosis of migraines. My second, to asthma. My third, I was hospitalized, because they realized there was an issue going on with my heart. I was admitted to the heart floor of the local hospital. I was released on my fourth day, without a diagnosis or treatment, and had to be readmitted the next day. I was there for three more days, and again released without a diagnosis, but this time with a plan to try to find one.

I was ordered a holter monitor by my cardiologist and was supposed to wear it for 30 days. Two weeks in, my doctor did a "tilt test" and was able to positively diagnose me with vasodepressive syncope and sinus tachycardia. Whew. I was assured that this condition, while terribly uncomfortable and inconvenient, is not life threatening. I will have it for the rest of my life, and I have yet to find a successful treatment, but having a diagnosis is half the battle, and I am very grateful for that.

Now that I look at the clock and see that it is officially Thanksgiving Day, let me also tell you how terribly thankful I am that I have been blessed with my wonderful, loving family. My fiance, Kevin, has remained faithfully by my side through all of this. Our four boys continue to be the light of my life. My mom, my brothers, my grandparents, my best friends, my etsy family, my church family- all continue to be there for me, to love me, to support me, and to guide me. I can only hope that I fulfill as purposeful a role in their lives, as they do in mine.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ink Tattoo

On a recent trip to Denver, Colorado my friends Stacey and Eric of Ink Tattoo invited my boyfriend and I to stop in and spend the afternoon with them. I accepted with great anticipation and could not wait to meet my Etsy friend in person for the first time.

Stacey and Eric set us up with two of their very talented artists to give us tattoos. I got a cross I've been wanting for several years, and Kevin got his arm tattoo touched up, and added to his back piece. We were both thrilled with the results!

After our tats were done, Stacey and Eric invited us to their house, where we ate and chatted, sharing stories and laughter and had a most fabulous time. They even showed us around their press, where they make shirts for InkWear. We got to see some of their shoes in progress, but those are not from a press. Each pair is unique and completely hand drawn, and they are absolutely amazing. I have a pair with orange lillies and every time I wear them, people must know where I got them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Celebrating Life

If you read my last post, you know where this is coming from. Being faced with a tragic loss forces you to choose how to look at life; become sad and passive, or appreciate everyday and take it as a gift. Not that everybody who knew Sara isn't still grieving- that process will continue on for quite some time. But it has also caused me to take the time to enjoy life and my loved ones.

Since losing Sara I have prayed every day for her and her family, that she knows how much she is still loved and missed, and that all those affected find peace and hope. At the same time, I have tried to find magic in the little moments again- something that is easily lost in the everyday hustle and bustle and the demands and stresses of day to day life.

I have taken my children camping and fishing, where we explored the wonders of the outdoors, including all the pinecones and bugs that any boy could ever want, and practiced casting fishing poles and reeling them in, but mostly reeling them in because let's face it, playing with a string that winds quickly around a hunk of metal by turning a handle is very amusing when you are three or five years old.

We went outside on an unseasonably cool summer night and decorated the sidewalk, collecting the attention of the neighbors driving by and slowing down to admire their artwork.

We turned dinner into a project, allowing the boys to heap on piles of cheese and olives and pepperoni onto dough and make their very own mini pizzas that they ate with pride and vigor.

We spent time playing in the water at a friend's house, splashing and laughing and enjoying the time outdoors (and perhaps testing the weight limits of inflatable water slides).

We celebrated birthdays, because life does go on and it's vital to recognize that each milestone deserves to be recognized, not only because it is special to each individual, but because each one is an opportunity to be with family and friends, and because every opportunity to spend time and make new memories and share your love should be seized.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

To you, Beloved Sara

My last blog post was for my boys' birthdays. Just a few days after celebrating the births of my children, we unexpectedly lost another very important member of our family. My brother's long time girlfriend passed away May 19, of an accidental gunshot wound. Sara was beautiful, vibrant, friendly and funny. I was always amused at how she interacted with my brother, putting up with his antics and throwing her own right back at him.

Sara deserves some enormous angel wings just for how happy she made my brother. He loved her to pieces and I know he always will. We all will. She had an amazing heart that made its stamp onto your own heart when you met her. Sara, until we meet again. I miss you and love you always.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to My (not-so) Babies

Birthday cakes, candles, wishes:

This month I wish both of my boys a very happy birthday. Here they are making their birthday wishes as they blow the candles out simultaneously on their cakes (of course Mommy made her own wishes for them both). Braeden had a skateboard cake; all too fitting since he has waited two years to be allowed to have a skateboard. Tanner had a Thomas cake since he still loves all things "choo-choo" but especially Thomas.

Tanner celebrated his birthday first, turning three on May 4th.

Here's my Braeden, who turns five today, proudly showing off his skateboard.

There go my babes. Among my wishes for them: to always find friendship in brotherhood, to learn to live side by side, and to lean on each other when they need to while respecting one another as individuals. May this wish continue to hold true.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Is it Thursday again already? Really, where does the time slip away to? The minutes seem to be slipping by more and more quickly these days, which gives me cause to wonder if I'm making the best use of the time I'm given. Each day is a gift, and we never know when that gift will be taken away from us.

Which brings me to the point: I'm thankful for all the moments that make up a day, which make up a week, a month, a year, my life. And all of those various moments are encased in choices. Some people aren't fortunate enough to have numerous opportunities every day to make choices for themselves. For those of us that are so blessed, I am grateful for the choices and the lessons, the opportunities for growth, and the miracles that lie within them.

Do I allow myself to give into the frustration and be upset about the challenges and difficulties that I face, or do I choose to handle them with grace and a clenched smile and face them head on?

Do I sit idly by and watch my children play with the same toys that they've played with a dozen times already this week, or do I seize that moment to put their shoes on their constantly moving feet and take them outdoors and blow bubbles the size of their heads and listen to their giggles of delight?

Do I cry tears of sorrow for the very close friend that will move away next week, or do I cherish the memories of all the moments that she has been in my life and made it a little more special?

Today I went out to my rose bush, with the intention of cutting some roses to put in a vase in my kitchen. The rose bush sits on the side of my house near the street, where everyone driving past can see it and appreciate its beauty, where the bees can buzz and pollenate, where the sun can soak the petals in warmth.

I chose instead to leave the flowers intact. To let them continue to grow and thrive as they will rather than disturb the path of nature, because that's what I'm grateful for at the moment in my own life.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Quaint Quotes

Recently I asked my Etsy friends (have I mentioned how much I love and adore my Etsy friends lately??) to share some of their favorite quotes with me. They obliged, of course, and now I want to share some of my favorites of the bunch with you.

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterwards. -Spanish proverb

Here is a test to see if your mission on earth is finished... If you're alive, it isn't. -Richard Bach

If you would only have the faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could move mountains -Matthew 17:20

Life is raw material. We are artisans. We can sculpt our existence into something beautiful, or debase it into ugliness. It is in our hands. -Cathy Better (This quote is featured on the above photo, which will be available as a print in my Shultzie shop later this week.)

The forest is magnificent, yet it contains no perfect trees. -Gye Fram

I learn more from the experiences I hate than the ones I love. -Wally Lamb

We are the product of the choices we make, not the circumstances we face. -Roger Crawford

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. -Walter Winchell

The road to success is always under construction. -Lily Tomlin

Fall seven times, stand up eight. -Japanese proverb

Never place a period where God has placed a comma. -unk.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A few of my favorite things...

...from a few of my favorite Etsyans

With the economy unfortunately being what it is currently, I, like so many others, cannot treat myself to many of the beautiful creations that I find on Etsy. So I heart them for later, collecting my favorite items and favorite shops and making a mental wish list. As I do so, I drool over the talent that I find and want to share some of that talent with you.

1. A teabowl from one of my dearest Etsy friends, Elizabeth, of happylake. I am blessed to own several of her gorgeous creations. She is currently taking a little vaca from Etsy, but you can still browse through her sold items to see a sampling of her most beautiful clay work.

2. Too cute! This suncatcher from another friend who is near and dear to my heart, Jessica of beadbug00. I own several of her glass pendants and I would love to have this in my kitchen.

3. This painting epitomizes beauty. Painted by a very talented and wonderful woman, who is referred to as Jan the Great by those of us who know and love her. You can find more of her wonderful watercolors, as well as fantastic vintage finds in janeleven.

4. Thanks to the pink family, I have sworn off all manufactured soaps. I will only only only use handmade soap after using pinkparchment's soap for the first time. No soap-in-a-kit here. This stuff smells good enough to eat, lathers like no tomorrow, and lasts forever and a day (and much of it is vegan friendly). I don't know how they do it, but I hope they never stop!

5. Rhonda's lovely work, such as this cute bunny card, certainly fits in a cozy loft, or cabin, or country kitchen. Adorable and made with love! (When you visit her shop, don't forget to link to her new owl-themed shop!)

6. The seababes are not new to my blog, but they have many eye-catching new works of wearable art in their shop, such as this uber-gorgeous amethyst ring.

7. Check out these unique earrings, made by hemlock- so orange, so springy, they'll make you so glad.

8. Dellane of rainwolf shares her unique perspective of the world with us via her photography. I absolutely love this print that she captured while visiting Katoomba (how fun is that to say?!).

9. These whimsical Victorian earrings by jessi are just my style. Simple is elegant.

10. I can't help but adore these fun shoes by stacey of inkwear99! Truly tattoo inspired, they remind me of my lilly tat on my foot. When it's too cold for flip-flops, I'd love to have these warm my feet.

11. Fantabulous Carribbean tikis! Goat has many wonderful soaps in her shop (my personal fav is the pomegranate tiki) but the tikis are her hallmark.

12. Erica, of sierrapelonacrochet, is famous for filling treasuries with her adorable angel cats and hearts. She has other eclectic crochet creations as well.

13. Solange, of xbutterfly0318x, has recently reworked her shop using only the very highest quality silver and gemstones. Owning several pieces of her jewelry, I can attest to the quality of her workmanship and the beauty and originality of her designs, and would love some of these beautiful pearl hairpins. Truly inspiring.

14. The most unique polymer clay creations out there are made by clayitagain- this baby is made entirely of polymer clay (and a lot of love).

15. Rhody (Rowdy Rhody as we lovingly call her) makes the cutest wreaths I've ever seen, like this Easter one, which would cheer up absolutely any neglected doorway in your home.

16. Some people have to practice talent, and some people are born with it. If you are running your own Etsy shop at 14, you are born with it, such as Sandro does with his varying and unique creations such as this candle- yup, candle, not an actual edible dessert.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I have so much to be thankful for everyday, but today I am most especially and fantastically grateful for my boys. They are a bubble of joy that bursts into my life every morning and refuses to pop even when they lay their tired little heads down at night.

Since Tanner hadn't been feeling well for the last five or so weeks, his demeanor had been less outgoing and smiley (which also happens when a person hasn't slept well in weeks and weeks). Within a day of surgery, you can see his usual self reemerging. He is laughing and dancing and Braeden is quite thrilled to have his little brother back, as well.

I'm thankful for the boys even when I leave the room for 23.7 seconds and come back to discover their "body art."

I'm thankful that Tanner finally let me give him a haircut (I thought I was going to have to start giving him a ponytail or braids every day for how long it was getting). Though I wouldn't think for a second to complain about those long curls.

I'm grateful that they have both taken such an interest in art. Particularly Braeden. The other day he got the watercolors out and began creating the most beautiful painting (I intend to print it and list it in my shop under his name). Yes, he watercolored the carpet in the process, which I think just makes him a true artist. ;)

I'm thankful to have boys that are happy and healthy and full of obnoxious amounts of energy. When I'm too exhausted to keep up with it, I can record it for others to enjoy:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday Update

Tanner's surgery is done and was successful. In about ten or fifteen minutes they had the right eardrum lifted and the tubes in both ears. He will start more antibiotics today, and start eardrops in his left ear today and in the right ear in a week. Then hopefully he will have another year illness- and pain-free (in his ears anyhow).

He woke up from the anesthesia fighting mad, just as last time. The anesthesiologist said he would expect nothing less, though, especially from a two year old. On the way home he mellowed out and took a short nap.

Tanner is a fighter. He fights having his ears checked, his temperature checked, his weight and height checked. Last time he got Rocefin (the antibiotic injection) he managed to grab hold of the needle while it was in his bum and drag it through his skin. So it was no surprise to me today that he grabbed his IV and yanked it right out of his hand. They wrapped it up to stop the bleeding and to minimize the bruising.

By the time we got home Tanner woke up and was ready for a snack. He had some cheese and crackers with a little bit of milk, and once I made sure his tummy was settled enough he had a popsicle. He was walking around like a drunk little man for a bit, but he's less wobbly now and I suspect very soon it will be difficult to slow him down.

Thanks once more for all of the prayers and support. I suspect that he and I will both rest easily tonight. Oh, and my antibiotics have finally kicked in and I can feel the strep throat getting better. Amen!

A couple more updates very quickly. They will test Tanner's hearing when he has his follow-up in about a month. We will know then if his hearing has returned. Also, they gave Tanner some medicine before the surgery that made him sleepy before they took him to the O.R., and the Dr. said that will also obscure any memory he may have of the surgery. He supposedly won't remember anything from the time he got that medicine until the time he got home, which is comforting to me.

And lastly, here is Tanner showing off a couple of souvenirs I found when I went to change him for his nap. He is still looking like a bit of a drunkard here, lol:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hugs & Prayers

For the last few weeks me and my boys have received lots of hugs and prayers and well wishes. They are so appreciated and make us feel loved and I would love for them all to continue for a few more days. On Wednesday, April 1st, Tanner will have surgery for the second time.
He had his first surgery in December 2007 to place tubes in his ears due to infections that couldn't be cured with antibiotics. He had one ear infection immediately after his surgery, but his tubes did their job and the infection was cleared.
However, one of his tubes fell all the way out about two months ago (which happens as children grow and the tubes no longer fit) and the other remains half in and half out of the ear canal.

Both ears have become infected over the last month and a half, and the doctor originally said that they were bulging. Tanner received a round of oral antibiotics, followed by a round of antibiotic injections, with no improvement. He was sent immediately to an ENT due to his history. By the time he saw the ENT last week, the right ear, in which the tube has completely fallen out, has become damaged.

The eardrum in his right ear was sucked down by the amount of fluid and pressure, and is now "stuck." This will be repaired before the new tubes will be placed in his ears. He currently has complete hearing loss in this ear, and decreased hearing in his left ear. This may perfectly well be temporary. However, we won't know if his hearing is restored until more hearing tests can be done about a month after the surgery.

My baby is a trooper, very seldom complaining, though very often wanting just to be held. Tanner continues to live with the pain and discomfort that this causes. Sleep comes difficult to him, and unfortunately codeine keeps him awake rather than helps him to rest. So the only thing that I can do until surgery day is continue to hold him and pray for comfort and for a full recovery.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday Post

My blog has needed an update, and since I came to the conclusion that it is indeed Thursday (after having to actually ponder that for a few short moments) I thought it a perfect time to do a Thankful Thursday post. Today, I'm thankful for my sore muscles. It means that I am active and productive and most importantly, that the class I attended at the gym last night actually worked and falling off the balance ball a few times was worth the effort.

I'm thankful to have a yard for weeds to grow in. Not that I love the weeds, but it means that I have a place, however modest, for my children to run around and play in. The backyard in particular provides a wonderful place for them to play croquet. And on a side note, pulling weeds goes a little ways to letting you get some of your aggressions out. Not as good as the batting cages- let's not get carried away, but there is a certain satisfaction to pulling on a weed and feeling that stubborn root rip right out of the ground.

I'm thankful that my poisonous oleander plants that grow just as bad, if not worse than, the weeds, at least produce pretty pink flowers to look at. There's something serene about a flower that blooms from a tiny bud, whether it's on an elegant rose bush or on this wacky plant. I'm also thankful that having the lawn forces me outside, where I can appreciate some of the things that I may miss otherwise. For example, these little guys:

...actually, they were fairly large. I found a handful of them crawling around on the top section of the house, near the attic. A couple of them measured as big as six inches long. They were neat to watch crawl around for awhile and gave me a good reason to go grab the camera and procrastinate about the weed pulling for a little while. ;)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Ponytail for Beautiful Lengths

Last week I cut my hair. I had just celebrated my 30th birthday, I needed a change, and I wanted to do something good. So I went to my stylist and asked her to cut off a minimum of 8" of my hair. That was the requirement for Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program.

In the past I have donated my hair to Locks of Love, which is a wonderful program for children suffering permanent hair loss. However, this time, I felt inclined to give my hair to this program, which makes wigs for women who are going through treatment for breast cancer. According to their website, eight percent of women are at risk of refusing treatment due to the fear of hair loss. Having a stylish wig can change this very scary fact, and it takes only six ponytails to make one wig. 48 inches of hair. That's all it may take to help one woman face her fears head on and feel better about herself while doing it.

I was able to donate 9.5" this time and will continue to donate my hair every other year as I have been for the last eight years. It's such a small thing for me to do to help another woman in need.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Heart Day Hike

Come with me. I'm taking you to the place where I have found my peace, my balance, my serenity. It's on the mountain. It's in the mountain. It's in every stone that creates the path to the top; where my feet pound and climb and let the negative energy melt away. Finding my footholds, I forget about the stress that led me to the mountain. The scenery takes my breath, and my worries, away.

Especially the unexpected sights that befall my eyes, such as the snow on the Pinnacle Mountains in the distance. Very much in the desert, very much full of brush and cacti and strong saguaro, and then lovingly dusted with beautiful white powder.

I sit and I take it in. And I sit some more. I don't want to leave. It is amazing and I don't want to leave my peaceful spot. There are flowers growing on the sides of the rocks at the tip top of the mountain. I look down and see lovers sitting on a blanket at a lower plateau. I see birds soaring. I see clouds bobbing across the sky. The sun is a warm blanket and the wind blows gently at my ears.

But leave I must. Hang on; it's going to be a bumpy ride. It's worth every second, though. Just breathe and let the blessings fill your soul. Hold my hand if you wish. After all, we have to get to girls' night out, where chatter, laughter, good food, the batting cages, drinks, and good friends beckon. ;)

This is the way down, but I will be back time and again.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


It's time to share the newest promotional flier from CAKE.

If you don't know, CAKE stands for Creative Artists~Kick-ass Etsyans. And the CAKE group is exactly that; a group of incredibly talented, awe-inspiring, friendly, motivating, supportive, artistic, and helpful women. (One day, we very well may have a male join CAKE, but until then I can brag about what a wonderful bunch of women we are, lol.)

In the last year, several of the members have been through life-altering events. Others have been through very difficult hardships. But we all continue on, moving forward and looking to the future with hope and prosperity in our hearts.

I am terribly pleased to announce that on January 30 one of our members became a first time Mommy! Judith and her husband welcomed son, Matthew Ian "Bugsy"- her shops will be on vaca while they spoil their adorable little boy for awhile, but please visit all the other shops for an insane amount of creativity. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Women-preneurs Galore Blog Giveaway Featuring seababejewelry

Sea Babe Jewelry is one of my favorite Etsyans- well, technically two of my favorite Etsyans, because Kristin and David work as a team. They caught my attention on the Etsy forums as a wonderfully friendly and helpful pair, and their work is intensely inspiring. I ordered a custom ring stack for myself as a 30th birthday treat, and I couldn't have been more pleased.

The three silver rings are each a different texture, and I chose champagne (natural) diamonds. The result is simply stunning.

Sea Babe has been featured- deservedly so- in Etsy's Storque and also in magazines and blogs. Currently, you can find a blog feature/interview with a giveaway at Women-preneurs Galore.
You can read Kristin and David's own blog here, where they are also currently doing a very sweet giveaway!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thankful Thursday Post

When I did my first (and only- until now) Thankful Thursday post, I thought it would be sweet to do one weekly. Then my boys got colds. I was up all night with them. Then I got a cold. Then my cold turned into bronchitis. Tanner's cold turned into ear infections. And Braeden's cold turned into strep throat which turned into scarlet fever. Are we a talented bunch, or what?

We managed to have a fabulous Christmas despite being under the weather (we spent Christmas Eve at urgent care, and New Year's Eve at the doctor). When we missed church, church came to us in the form of our pastor, his wife and one of their sons. It was so heartwarming to have them come bring us their well wishes, and a few surprise gifts.

My cookie mix turned into.... nothing. It stayed in the pantry. My Christmas cards turned into Happy New Year cards. And later, I found out, a treasury that I was featured in by pinkparchmentsoaps was turned into a Front Page (and I made front page again today, which turned me into a giggly little girl).

I enjoyed the company of my family, my friends, and my Etsy peeps. I think I love them all equally, lol. My life is full, my heart is bursting, and I am *almost* always smiling. And I just want to say thank you to everybody who is a part of my life and my world.