Thursday, July 11, 2013

bura ellen on etsy

Today I have exciting news! I am finally opening my etsy shop! I have wanted to do this for years and I am thrilled to finally have it all together and ready!

My spoon necklaces are a lot of fun to create. I have been picking up old spoons for a while to start making these. One of the great things about these is that I get to spend some time with my daddy in the process. He has a great workshop. We start out with him cutting the handles off the spoons and then hammering the spoon flat (he's strong like that). We then drill a hole for the necklace and polish it. Then its ready to embellish. Michael's dad had an old set of metal stamps that he gave him years ago. I use those to stamp a word on the spoon and then add beads. Fun and unique.

I absolutely love old books. My collection is rather large. I have always been drawn to the sweet illustrations in many of them. I have been trying to think of ways to share these images because they are just too great to be stuck in a closed book. So you will find these one of a kind book image necklaces in the shop, too. This little deer one is particularly hard for me to part with.

I hope you will hop over and visit me in the shop! It opens at 11 a.m. est. today!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Back in November, my mama was diagnosed with cancer. In December she had surgery to remove tumors in her abdomen. The surgery was successful, with only cells remaining. We were told by doctors that the rare type of cancer she has does not respond to treatment, but that they were going to try and treat it anyway. About a month ago, half way through her chemo treatments, they did a scan to determine how her body was responding.

We didn’t get the news we were wanting. Not only had the cancer returned, but it had also spread. She was sent to a group of specialists who all concluded that there is nothing they can do for her. However, her local oncologist doesn’t want to give up, so she is two rounds into another type of chemo.

Reading those paragraphs seems so blunt, so matter of fact. But, really, there is no use in fluffing it up. It is what it is. Cancer. It is blunt and dark.

I have felt just about every emotion possible through this time. At times I am so proud of myself for being strong and believing for a miracle. At others, I have wallowed and found myself already in mourning. The balance is a difficult one. I know that I have to believe in a miracle, while at the same time accepting that she may not be healed. And that no matter what the outcome, God is good.

After we got the news that her cancer had returned, I came home in a fog. Complete desperation and sorrow. I came across a photo of her and my dad from a few years ago and I fell apart, almost as if I had already lost her. Later that afternoon I got an email from a friend. A friend that did not know the latest news or my state of emotions. It opened like this...

“Nurture and protect your hope for your sweet mom. Hope is a driving force. Hope’s power is in its ability to transcend logic, facts, circumstances… and time itself. Hope is a sweet gift from the hand of God.”

I fell apart. It was exactly the words I needed to hear. I had done such a good of job of hoping and I had just let it go. The email couldn’t have come at a better time.

Later that night, I got into bed and picked up the book I had been reading. I had started the book weeks before and, not having a proper bookmark, had just grabbed a piece of paper from my desk and tucked it inside. Weeks had gone by with me pulling it out and laying it aside while I read, always sticking it back in without much thought. But that night was different. I realized that the paper had always been upside down and I didn’t even know what was written on the other side. And I felt moved to turn in over to see just what piece of paper I had grabbed all those weeks ago. My heart seemed to stop.

Every Christmas my parents give me and my sisters the same small gift with money hidden throughout the present. This Christmas we each received a set of Rubbermaid containers. As usual, money was hidden throughout the containers, but this year my mama had decided to write a few notes and hide them as well.

On that night, I realized that the piece of paper I had tucked in my book, was the one on which she had written the word, “Hope.”

There, in my own mama’s beautiful handwriting was the word God was speaking to my heart. It washed over me. This beautiful, tiny little word with so much power. 

Hope, v.
1. To wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment.
2. To have confidence; trust.

Hope, n.
1. A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment.
2. Something that is hoped for or desired.
3. Trust; confidence.
{from the free dictionary}

The following week, we went back for a short visit, and before we left, Michael and I laid hands on my mama and prayed with her. A big prayer. A prayer that asked for a miracle.

Later that night, as I got in bed, I noticed Wonderstruck, by Margaret Feinberg, on my bedside table. I started it a few months ago and hadn’t read any more since our move. I felt like it was a good time to pick it back up. It didn’t have a bookmark in it, so I was just going to open it up and scan until I found where I had left off. The page I opened up to had two sentences underlined, “A prayer marked by faith is never about what happens on our terms or time lines, but God's. Faith-stained prayer brings us to a place of trust and hope.”

Hope. Again. Still.

I know that God is giving me hope. And I’m clinging to it. That I can trust him. Its really all I can do. Just live in obedience to Him and know that He is good. No matter our circumstances. No matter what happens with my mama. He is good. He is always good.

Monday, January 21, 2013

a new year

Happy New Year! Twenty-one days late. I'm a little behind. Actually, way behind considering how long it has been since I blogged. Eek! September. Really?

A lot has happened since then. Some really great things. And some that break my heart. I will be sharing some of those things in the days to come. But for today, I just wanted to come here. To return to this little space of mine. Because I miss it. I really do need it and I hate that I have neglected it.

Its a new year. A fresh slate. And time to stop procrastinating and being lazy. Ooh, and I have some exciting news to share very soon (along with the catching up bits).  Stay tuned!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Blue Ridge Craft Weekend Giveaway

This past weekend I was able to spend time crafting in Blue Ridge, Georgia with these amazing women (from left to right):  LindsayAlisonAutumnAngieMelissaHeatherAmyStephanieJulieChrista

I can't wait to share with you all the fun things we made (and the fun we had), but first I must address something special for you. Upon arriving at the cabin, we were each greeted with a basket full of goodies. It was like Christmas! I mean, this basket had some fantastic treats! And lucky for you, we have one to give away! Here's a glimpse of what you could win...

Each of the items in the giveaway:
Ball Mason jar, wooden clothespins, wooden spools, scrapbook paper, 2 rolls of washi tape, supplies for geometric, wooden bead necklace.
And a special thanks to Baby Boy Bakery who provided yummy goodies for each of our swag baskets!

Enter through rafflecopter below.
The winner will be announced on Saturday, September 22nd 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

what i'm afraid to tell you

As I sit down to write this post, I think of how many times I have come back from a blog break feeling awkward about the amount of time that has passed. This time is really not much different. Except that perhaps the break was a bit different.
I love this blog, I love documenting things in my life and I like being a part of a community that encourages one another and learns from one another. At the same time, I can be overwhelmed at all that is out there. So many great blogs and bloggers. So much great inspiration and encouragement to be found. However, with all of that inspiration and encouragement, also comes feelings of discontentment and inadequacy. I find that at times it is easier for me to unplug in order to focus on the joys in my life.
I have found that even when I am unplugging and not engaging on the blog, I am still “writing” posts in my head. And over the last few months I have really started to figure out what my desire is for this blog. I knew that I didn’t want to give it up all together, but I also knew that I wanted it to be different.
Then came this post by Hannah (part of a collective of bloggers talking about “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You”). I have read Hannah’s blog for a while and always find it encouraging and I love our interactions on Instagram (as a side note...while I may have been absent here, I am quite active on seems it is a great way to blog without actually blogging). I was struggling with a post I wanted to write, but was unsure if I really wanted to share it. Hannah’s post provided just the push I needed (even if it took me more than a month to sit down and write this.)
So, what am I afraid to tell you? About two and a half years ago, after much prayer, Michael and I moved to Hickory, NC for a position that was available to him at a church there. The economy was already in crisis mode, so rather than try and sell our house, we decided to rent it. God blessed us with great renters who actually moved in the same day that we moved out. A year later they bought their own home and we went a few months without renters. During that time we had two break-ins at the house, one of which involved the burglar breaking the chandelier in the dining room with his head and bleeding all over the place. It was a stressful time of just wondering when the next crisis would occur with no one occupying the house. Again, miraculously, God brought renters. However they were unable to pay us an amount even close to the mortgage. At that point, it was so much of a relief just to have someone in the house and at least part of the mortgage being covered, rather than none. However, after just a couple of months, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to sustain paying rent in Hickory and the mortgage payment on the house in Atlanta.
So, we did what the mortgage companies tell you to do, and we tried to modify the loan, but they declined our requests after reappraising our house at a sickening low price. Our house was in a transitional area fraught with crime and mortgage fraud. We were then made aware of the option of a short sale and we were excited when we found an acquaintance who wanted to buy our house. So, last November we started the short sale process.
Here is where I will make the story short. We went through five months of paperwork, faxing, paperwork, banks being sold (unfortunately a home equity line was involved), more paperwork, faxing, a move back to Georgia (but not to the same area, so not back to the house), more paperwork and even more paperwork. You wouldn’t believe the amount of paperwork. Toward the end of the process, it felt like we were faxing the same documents every couple of days. The whole process was exhausting. I am not a very patient person and the waiting was like torture. But, I had such hope in it all working out in the end, that I just dealt with the frustrations.
At the end of April, with deadlines looming, I still felt confident it was all going to work out. The amount of the offer was fair for both the mortgage company and the home equity line bank. In April, we got a letter stating that the house would go to foreclosure on May 1. A week prior to that, we found out that all the items we had faxed to the home equity line bank had not even been assigned to a negotiator and that it was unlikely that it would get assigned and reviewed prior to the foreclosure date. We were shocked, we had been led to believe that someone was reviewing it.
I would love to say that at this point a miracle occurred and everything fell into place just in time. But, I can’t. The truth is our house was foreclosed on May 1.  And that is what I was afraid to tell you. The word foreclosure has such stigmas associated with it. I was afraid I would be pegged as one of those “irresponsible” ones. I do realize that foreclosures are much more common these days, but it still stings and it is still embarrassing. Did we buy a house that we couldn’t afford? No. Were we careless with our money? No. We've just found ourselves in a place with many other people like us, feeling the all too common effect of a troubled economy.
So where are we financially? Not the greatest place. A foreclosure isn’t exactly a blue ribbon on your credit report. I really had my hopes set on a short sale that would look a bit better on our credit report and settle our home equity line debt.  Also, even though this post isn’t about this, our income is at an all time low. But I realize that God's plan is much bigger than the one I had dreamed up. I have no idea what His plan is, but I do know that it is for my best. I know that great things will come out of our situation. Our lives are pretty amazing. Our marriage is strong and our kids are happy. I feel closer to my Savior than I ever have before. I have grown in many ways in the last six months. I have always been one to worry about money and I can honestly say that I am completely resting in Him. Don't get me wrong, I have moments of worry and sadness (read crying). I think that is natural. But, what is important is that I don’t dwell there. I have chosen to dwell in joy. Not just happiness that can ebb and flow, but in true joy that can only come from God. Ya’ll, He is SO good!

Last week our pastor posed the question (in my words but really close to his), "If God doesn't give you what you desperately want and what you think you need, is HE enough? If He isn't, then when that thing does come, it won't be enough."  That truth blew me away. Earlier that same day, Michael had said that one of the most important lessons in our situation is that we have to believe that GOD is enough, no matter what else we have (or don't have). We have to live a life in which God is enough. And we strive to live that truth.
At the beginning of this post I mentioned that I knew that I wanted something different to come out of this blog. I want to be real. And this is about as real as it gets. I want this to be a place to find inspiration, yes, but also for it to be a place to find encouragement and truth even in the messes. I hope that wherever you may be right now that you can find the hope and peace that only God can provide.

I am not saying this because I am in need,for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Philippians 4: 11-12

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

simple joys

Here in our new town, we live just up the road from the very small local airport. We pass the runway on our way home. Several weeks ago, as we were heading home, we noticed several planes and gliders waiting to go up, so we pulled in next to the runway so we could watch. The kids loved being so close to the planes taking off. OK, so did Michael and I.

We recently happened to drive by when the local skydiving chapter was meeting at the airport and people were parachuting left and right. It was so fun to watch! And all the colorful parachutes made quite a beautiful sight!

A few days later we saw more planes taking gliders up...

It is still so amazing to watch the gliders as they soar through the air without the help of an engine.

Watching these planes and gliders has become one of our favorite things to do. We get excited when we drive by the runway and see that they are out. Last week we drove by just as a plane passed right in front of us to land.

We really are enjoying this simple little joy we have found in our new town. What are you enjoying these days?

Monday, February 27, 2012

birthday number nine

I love this fella. I can hardly believe that he is now nine years old! And like many nine year olds, he loves Legos. Not a day goes by that I don't find at least one stray Lego brick somewhere in our house. As a matter of fact, I can see one right now on the kitchen counter. When I asked what theme he wanted for his birthday, I was not surprised to find that he want a Lego theme. So, like so many others, I started pinning ideas.

I found this banner idea here. I downloaded a Lego font, then colored around each letter with a yellow marker and then cut around the yellow to give the letters the yellow border. I then pasted them on red cardstock and threaded them onto black ribbon.

Before we moved, I found these candies at my favorite bulk food shop. I went ahead and bought them for the party. You can even snap them together!

I decided to use them as cupcake toppers. I think they are so cute!

Now, for a dose of reality. I was so excited when I found this cake idea on Pinterest. Click on the link for the full effect. Now, here is my version of said cake. People, it was hard. I don't know if I just become incompetent when icing is set in front of me or what, but my cake did not turn out like the photo in that link. But, you know what? I asked Larkin to come look at it and he was so excited. He told me it was awesome. And that is good enough for me.

Plus, it tasted great. The lesson here, moms? If it makes your child happy, then you have accomplished your goal. Don't be hard on yourself if your cake wouldn't fly on Cake Boss.

I really did try to get some shots of Larkin opening his gifts, but there was such a frenzy, I could hardly get near him. When I was finally able to get down on his level, I sat right down into a drink that someone has spilled. Good times. I love how excited all the kids get, even when it isn't their party!

All in all, it was a great day. Larkin was surrounded by people who love him and wanted to celebrate him.

linking up with

bits of splendor monday
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...