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A new way to plan!!

I hope you all had an incredible Christmas. The WORD was made flesh and dwelt among us. Wow!! Let that sink in a bit. God sent His only Son to come to earth as a baby! He spent 33 years getting to know us…our joys, our sorrows, our triumphs and temptations and then He willingly went to the cross to bear each and every one of our sins. All of them. There’s not a single one that is TOO big for Him. He took them all to the cross so that we wouldn’t have to pay for them. So we wouldn’t have to try to live a “good enough” life. He is enough for us. We are not enough. But HE is. I hope you can rest in the promises that were given to us over 2000 years ago at Christmas and brought to fruition on Easter morning!!

I had a few moments this Christmas where it was like I was hearing the story all over again. And it was so good for me. It felt like the first time my ears ever heard of the amazing grace that God has given to us! Tears welled up in my eyes when I realized that even though I’m not perfect or worthy of His grace He still gives it to me. What a tremendous blessing! God is so good!!
Thanks for allowing me to share that with you all. I just feel like so many times we rush through everything these days. We don’t take the time to savor things like we should. It really started to sink in anew for me and I loved it. And I want to keep the feeling and the knowledge of the best gift ever alive!!
But now that Christmas is over people are going to be ready to move on. But let’s not move on too quickly or better yet, when we move on let’s take a little bit of Christmas into the new year with us. Let us continue to share the gifts of the baby Jesus with the world. As we move into the next year and start planning all the things let us remember to plan our time with Jesus. Our time in the Word and with a community of believers at our church. Let us plan to keep our relationship with Jesus forefront in our minds and on our tongues when we speak with those around us.
Cracking open a planner for the first time can be so invigorating for some and daunting for others. I have always loved the idea of a planner. I love the cute little sayings between the months and the year full of possibility. But lately new planners have been intimidating to me. I have felt like there is just too much unknown, too much structure and too much blank space for me to fill so I just clam up and do nothing. I started a new planner in October. I filled out one month and maybe one or two weekly pages and then NEVER used it. AH! And you know planners are not cheap these days (well, they can be many are not)! 

I stumbled upon my friend Kristin’s blog about bullet journaling and I was immediately drawn into it. I immediately saw the benefit and the way it was all laid out made me hopeful and not intimidated like most planners. Now, I will say, that bullet journaling is not for all types of people…just like regular planners are not for all types of people. But if you’ve ever struggled to keep up with a planner then maybe you should give bullet journaling a shot!

There are so many resources to check out in order to get an idea of what bullet journaling really is. I’ve only been bullet journaling for a few weeks so I’m not one to give ALL the advice but I just wanted to jump in here today to tell you to give it a try if you feel like regular planners just aren’t cutting it for you! You may fall in love with bullet journaling….and if you don’t love it you won’t be out a lot of money since the supplies for bullet journaling can be very inexpensive.

These paragraphs from Kristin’s blog are what convinced me to try it…”One of the best things about having a bullet journal is that you create it day to day. You don’t write your next daily to-do list until the last day is complete. Need to start a separate list or big project? Go for it. Just turn to a new page and start writing.

Here’s the other thing I love about using a bullet journal. There is no guilt in blank pages! For a perfectionist like me, this has been a complete game changer.
It used to be that when I stopped using my planner for a couple days and looked back on the blank pages I missed, I was overwhelmed by guilt and frustration – which meant I went even longer without using the planner. With my bullet journal? I can pick up right where I left off no matter how much time has passed. I just flip to the next page and resume .
The best way to experience the magic of bullet journaling? Just start. “

You can head over to my pinterest board for even more ideas. Since I just started bullet journaling myself my board is not extensive but there are plenty of pages to give you a good idea of how to start a bullet journal and some fun ideas of how to design some pages. But again, it doesn’t have to be fancy. Sometimes DONE, is better than PRETTY! I did purchase the Brainbook by Kalyn Brooke that Kristin talked about in her blog and it was very helpful to me. You may also find it to be helpful. It walks you through setting up your bullet journal and even gives you a bit of the history behind the bullet journal.

I just really love that I can write down exactly what I need and want to have in my planner. And there is no blank page guilt!! My planner is now my bullet journal and it holds all my important things not just my calendar. I don’t have to carry around four different notebooks anymore to keep all my lists straight. I am so glad I finally gave bullet journaling a try. Granted I haven’t even reached my first 30 days of bullet journaling I know it is a game changer and I expect to see myself still using this method to try and keep my brain in tact a year from now!!

Do you have a bullet journal? What are your favorite types of pages to make? I actually just started another instagram account too in order to keep all my bullet journal posts and information handy!! 


Good Eats: Disney World Edition

 I hope you all had an awesome Thanksgiving. I sure did. It was not a traditional Thanksgiving at all but it is one that will go down in the memory books for sure. My extended family and I went to Walt Disney World for 5 days of non-stop fun. My parents told us three years ago that they wanted to take us to Disney World in 2017 to celebrate their 45th Wedding Anniversary. We have been waiting a long time for this week to come and it did not disappoint. It would take me a while to tell you all the fun and exciting things we did, like walking, waiting in lines, riding rides, walking, going to shows, walking, eating good food and more walking. So today I’m just going to tell you about some of the good food we ate!!
We brought LOTS of snacks along with us to the parks each day, along with sandwiches or pb&j rollups. We also had our water bottles to use and refill. But we knew we wanted to get a small taste of the many good food options that Disney World has to offer. In the five days that we were in Orlando we got to spend all of them at the parks. It was exhausting but so worth it. We had park hopper passes and were able to visit all four park and we did Magic Kingdom twice, since it’s so big. There were 15 of us in our group and we were a little slow moving and it was REALLY crowded so we probably didn’t get to see everything that everyone really wanted to see or do but we had an incredible time none-the-less. And yes, the food was amazing as well.
We ended up doing two character meals, one other buffet and then our Thanksgiving dinner was at The Boathouse in Disney Springs. I never thought I’d be eating coconut shrimp on Thanksgiving but it was so delicious and I’m not really a big fan of turkey anyway. However, I did miss having pumpkin pie. So I’m just going to tell you what we ate at which park each day of the trip (besides the food we brought from home). And then YOU can tell me what I missed so that if I ever get another opportunity to go back to Disney World I will know where to eat first!!
We spent our first day in Epcot Center and it was such a fun day. We didn’t really get to sample too much food in the park because we were too busy waiting in lines and trying to navigate the park. But we did enjoy an amazing princess dinner at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. The kids loved getting to meet the princesses and having them sign their autograph books. The food was delicious and totally different from what I normally eat. We started with an appetizer buffet of various meats and cheeses. For dinner I had the pork shank with corn succotash and some polenta I believe. It was over a week ago I don’t remember what was all on the plate. We finished with some AMAZING desserts. A rice pudding, apple cake and chocolate moose. They also brought out an “Anniversary” plate since we were there celebrating my parents Anniversary. This meal was so delicious, the only problem was the kids were so distracted by the princesses they hardly even touched their food!

The second day we went to Magic Kingdom and while we were waiting for the festival of fantasy parade my husband went and got us some snacks. A mickey pretzel, some candied nuts and popcorn. The pretzel was so good, light, fluffy and just the right amount of chewy. I won’t speak too highly of the cheese cup that came with the pretzel, it was a little congealed and gloppy but it did the trick. Some mustard may have been better on the pretzel but it was still delicious.
The candied nuts were amazing and so good to finally taste after
smelling them all day long. 
The popcorn was what you would expect
popcorn to be…not too salty…just right!!

 A little picture of us after the parade…just for the fun of it!

 That night in Magic Kingdom we didn’t have dinner plans so we decided to have ice cream for dinner. We went to the ice cream parlor on Main Street and the ice cream was SO SO good. You can see my husband holding my bowl, two scoops in a waffle cone with chocolate drizzle. Amazing ice cream really. In fact when we asked our kids what their favorite food was at Disney two of them said this ice cream!! Plus, when you’re at Disney World you CAN eat ice cream for dinner!!

The third day we went to Animal Kingdom and we didn’t really try any of the food in the park. We spent most of the morning waiting in line to ride the Avatar Flight of Passage…which was TOTALLY worth the 2+ hour wait by the way!!!  It also rained that day so we just tried to stay inside at shows and we knew we’d be having a big dinner so we just ate our snacks from home that day. We went to Boma for an African dinner at the Animal Kingdom lodge and it was so so good. The buffet was filled with great cuts of meat, fresh veggies, soups and all the other sides you would hope for but everything was done in a traditional African style. Let me tell you if you go there and they have butternut squash soup please do yourself a favor and try it. It was SO amazing. The little desserts were super yummy too.

The little coffee tart at the bottom of the picture was my favorite. The little cup that the coffee “moose” is sitting in is made of dark chocolate. Oh and the jungle juice that they served was super tasty also!

We went to Hollywood Studios on our fourth day and enjoyed seeing lots of Star Wars characters, the really AWESOME Toy Story ride and some fun roller coasters. We enjoyed some Mickey ice cream and my husband and I walked a little slower than the rest of our group who went on the Rockin Roller Coaster so we could grab a snack and a drink.

 That evening we went back into Animal Kingdom so that we could go to the Tusker House buffet and character meal. Again, the food was so delicious. The cold green bean salad was one of my favorites and roasted root veggies were amazing too. Even the chicken curry was delicious. I wasn’t very hungry so I didn’t try too much at this buffet and just left a little room for dessert. The bread pudding was pretty good and the chocolate moose tart was outstanding!
 (sorry for the blurry pictures…the light wasn’t very good in there)
Here is our whole group with Mickey!!!

 Our last day was spent back at Magic Kingdom and we got to explore the side of the park that we missed the first time we were there. We made sure to get our Dole Whip (I got a float) which was delicious and we also got some various snacks at the Big Top Souvenirs…some suckers for the kids, a cake pop for me, a chocolate covered pineapple on a stick for my hubby and a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie for later!!

And like I said earlier we spent Thanksgiving evening at Disney Springs at The Boathouse and the food and service were both excellent!!
So, tell me, did I get all the favorites? What did I miss. I really want to go back tomorrow but I don’t think it will happen any time soon!! But I’m really hoping somehow we can go again before all the kids leave the house!! Thanks for joining me on this tour of good Disney food!!
Connect with Jamie:
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Little House on the Prairie Birthday Party

When you have five kids and a small budget and not a ton of extra time you have to get creative with how you celebrate their birthdays. All three of our girls have their birthdays in October and it’s also our Anniversary month. So we decided a while back that we would make their birthday special by taking the birthday kid out to breakfast, then letting them pick what they wanted me to make for dinner and the flavor and decorations on their cake. We then let them have a big “friend” birthday party when they turn 1, 5 and 10. And this year my fourth child turned 5. How is that possible!! 
The theme she chose for her birthday party is an Autumn Harvest Party…and I would tell you all about it but the party isn’t until this coming Saturday. But I am VERY excited about her party because we have a family from church who has agreed to bring their horse so all the party guests can ride the horse. My girls LOVE horses so this will be a really fun surprise for them. We’ve been lucky with the spacing of the kids because there won’t be a year where two kids have big parties in the same year. But I will be throwing at least one party every year for a while!! And that’s okay because I love to throw a good “theme” party every once in a while.
I ask my kids to pick a theme early enough so I can start pinning ideas and making things ahead of time for the party. Of course I always run out of time and don’t get to everything I wanted to. This year I totally forgot to mail invitation so I had to do a Facebook message and that totally drives me nuts!!
Last year my oldest turned 10 and she picked a “Little House on the Prairie” theme and we had a really fun party!!! I love putting together parties and would love to do this for other people as well. I set up and “Olsen’s mercantile” in our patio and we played games and did some crafts. We asked the girls to dress up like Laura and Mary too. It was a great time!! 
Here are some pictures from her party.

My friend Kellee made the cookies and we used them as party favors!! She’s making some again this year for Abi’s party!!

Naomi asked for a pie instead of a cake and I think it fit the theme perfectly!!

The girls did a little painting…

and sewing…

And they all had some personalized gifts to take home!

They also played some games, drop the pin in the bucket and a potato sack race. 
The girls all had a really good time and I was wiped out!! It was so much fun creating these memories with these girls for my daughter…it was just a few months later that we found out we would be moving. I’m so glad she had this time with her friends!!

I can’t wait to share a little bit about Abi’s birthday party next month!! 
How do you make your kids birthdays extra special?!
Connect with Jamie:
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A Craft Room Tour

Hello friends!! I hope you are all having a great fall!! After two weeks of temperatures in the 90s it is finally starting to cool off again this week and I am so excited about that. Along with fall comes thoughts of upcoming gift seasons and for someone like me who makes the majority of my custom items around Christmas I needed to get my craft room completed. You may remember back in April I gave you a little tour of my craft room in its infancy. We had just moved a month before and I was just starting to put everything in place. Well, its’ been five months and I finally feel like my space is getting organized!! Yay!!
I have my tables in place and almost all of my items have a home. It is so much easier to make my custom pieces when I know where everything is. I also don’t end up buying as much because I know when I truly run out of something and don’t just buy because I can’t find something. I have been making a lot of necklaces lately along with some custom family illustrations and home illustrations! Feel free to check them out in my etsy shop!!
But without further adieu let me show you some pictures of my cleaned up and organized craft space. I did have to reposition some things to fit better than what I originally had planned but it works so much better.
Here is the before of my corner that was going to just be a desk for business paperwork and such….

But it is now my sewing area!
Here is the before of what I thought would be my sewing area and then my painting desk. I was thinking of doing a big corner desk but I’m really happy with the way this area turned out.

I found an old door at a garage sale for $20 and then got the two white shelves from Ikea. I put a piece of plexiglass over the area where the window is in the door. I wasn’t thinking of getting a door with a window in it but I really love it. I think it helps make the room brighter. The white shelves on the wall and the metal rod are from Ikea also. 
I love my “Maker” wall and am working on putting some more maker walls together as well…so if you’re interested in a trade let me know!! 
I found the old “pepsi” crates which store my paints at an Antique store in the area and I had purchased the black bookcases from Walmart and Target. 
I love this space so much. And even though I don’t have a window it doesn’t feel like a black hole!! I have more ideas for adding more color too! I’m not quite done with this space!

This is the before picture of my shipping station. It hasn’t changed too much but I have added a few things to the area!

 The clipboards hold my orders…order forms, paid and shipped. I have everything I need ready to go, all my business cards, pack ins and shipping supplies. It makes it so much easier than having to go digging for things when it’s time to mail items!

This wall is really the only one that hasn’t changed!!

 I still have to work on my closet. It is a huge mess and things are just piled in there but until I can get some shelves built in there it will just have to stay that way!! 
Thanks for taking a tour with me!
 Let me know if you have any questions! I would love to see your craft room…drop a link in the comments so I can check them out!!!

Connect with Jamie:
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Embroider Your Child’s Drawings

A picture is worth a thousand words…or so they say…actually I believe them. A picture can mean so much. But what about a picture drawn by your sweet child, grandchild, niece or nephew? Those pictures can be so precious. So they go up on the fridge and sometimes they come back down. It’s hard to leave them up forever even though they are so precious. But paper fades, gets ripped or wet and is no good anymore. I’ve found a better way to preserve my kids really “SPECIAL” drawings. You know the ones I actually want to have forever. 
Yes, you can take a picture of it and put it in the book but I have an even better idea. What about embroidering the picture and framing it for your wall?!! Sounds complicated? Nope. It’s not. If you know a few basic embroidery stitches you can have this precious art work preserved for all time (or at least as long as thread and fabric lasts…which is a lot longer than paper)!

Get a big embroidery hoop…and even if you have more than one drawing to do one hoop is enough because you’ll take the embroidery out and frame it…or leave it in the hoop and just buy more, the choice is yours. 
Next get some plain white cotton fabric and stretch it in your hoop. I like to do it “backwards” in the hoop because it’s just easier to hold the hoop this way (especially with the big 12 inch hoops). Then trace your drawing onto your fabric. You can use a window with sunlight behind it, a glass table with a flashlight or a lightpad/light table (I’ve used all three!).
Then keep the drawing handy as a reference and just get to work! I use a back stitch for the outline and satin stitch to fill in the big parts. Those two stitches are pretty easy and if you need a tutorial check out You Tube…it’s full of embroidery tutorials. 
Once I am done I take the embroidery out give it a quick press with a coolish iron and frame it. I like to stick my embroidered pieces onto a sticky backed tag board (which you can find at Hobby Lobby or JoAnns) so that the embroidery doesn’t loose it’s shape.
I have had each of my kids draw our family once they turn 5 or 6 and that is the picture I have used to embroider. It is fun to see our family in different stages through their eyes!! 
My sons is one of my favorites and is kinda what started this whole thing. He drew our family when I was pregnant with my 3rd daughter. So precious!! 
I plan to frame them and hang them in sequential order going down our hall with other family photos!! 
 Don’t forget to have your child sign their name and embroider that too (and the year and their age) so you can remember how sweet that was!!

 Another great way to use this technique is on tea towels. 
Have your kids draw on a piece of paper that has been folded in half the long way and just embroider it near the end of the towel. I actually had my daughters class do this one year for an auction item. Each kid drew a scene representing a different month of the year and we had a “Year of Towels” with their sweet drawings embroidered on them!! It was time consuming, I won’t lie but it was a big hit and brought in a lot of money for the school!!

I can’t wait to see your kids drawings embroidered!! 
Please share with me your projects when you do work on them!
Connect with Jamie:
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Upendo means Love

Hey there friends, Jamie here. I would like to take a moment today to introduce you to an incredible woman. Unfortunately I have never met Karen in real life but I pray that I am afforded that privilege some day! This (pictured below) is Karen. She lives part time in California and part time in Kenya.
Karen did mission work in Kenya for three months back in 2014 and since then her love for the people and especially the children of Kenya has grown. She had such a desire to help the children that when she returned from her mission trip she founded Love Without Borders. You can read all about how it got started on their website.
sole purpose is to mobilize others to join us as we look after widows
and orphans in their distress, as mandated in James 1:27. All of our projects
 are focused on providing life-giving hope and sustainable solutions to
impoverished women and children. Karen continues to serve as the
missionary for Love Without Borders, dividing her time between Kenya and
the United States. “

While Karen is in the United States she spends some of her time working on getting things ready for her trips back to Kenya. Recently she posted about the needs of the boys and it was so awesome to see the community here coming together to purchase supplies that she could take to the Upendo home and deliver to the boys. You can be a part of this ministry too. Karen is always willing to take donations towards the boys and the home through the 501(c)3 organization.

One easy way you can support these precious boys is by participating in the Upendo Box. If you are crafty, have your own etsy store or just like to make things you can participate. I have been blessed to participate two times already and I’m beginning work on my next item for the Christmas box. You just need to make some items and then Karen assembles everything in the Upendo Box and sells them. You along with other makers would be making a beautiful box of gifts. These boxes are then profit for the ministry and ultimately the Upendo Boys. The boxes go on sale in late November and are filled with Christmas goodies that you can keep for your own Christmas gift or give to others. I know it’s a little early to start thinking about Christmas but it will be here before you know it.
Later this week Karen is heading back to Kenya. You can follow her journey and learn more about this exciting and inspiring ministry through her Instagram page. Just go follow her on Instagram @lovewithoutbordersinc  You can message Karen if you are interested in participating in the Upendo Box and if you’re not a maker then follow along so you can buy a box in November! You won’t be disapointed. 
And please pray for these sweet precious boys and Karen’s ministry to them. 
“For whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.”
-Matthew 25:40
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The One About Joy, Grief, Loss and Guilt

Mother’s Day brings so many emotions. Some of us who are mothers are so excited to be celebrating the little people in our lives who brought us to this point, while also realizing what it means to be a mom and being thankful for all that our own mothers have done for us. Maybe you didn’t really have a great mom, someone who didn’t lead by example or didn’t show love, which brings a whole new set of emotions. Sometimes Mother’s Day is too hard because of the loss of your own mom, or the loss of a baby that would have made you a mom.

This past Mother’s Day was a little emotional for me as I learned I was expecting baby number six only a few hours before. I was filled with joy and guilt. I was apprehensively excited to learn that I was pregnant and I knew my kids would be super excited because they have been asking me when they would get their next sibling for months. Yet, I felt guilty because inside, my head was swimming with “what” questions. What am I going to do with six kids, when I feel I can hardly handle five? What are people going to say when they find out? What kind of vehicle am I going to have to get to fit the whole family? What am I going to do about my possible job? What? What? What? And those “human flesh” “natural response” questions made me feel guilty. They made me feel bad because I knew with those questions I wasn’t trusting God. I was letting my earthly life dictate how I responded. Over the next couple of days I simply let the fact sink it. One more mouth to feed. One more sweet baby to cuddle. One more tuition to pay. One more sibling to love. And I kept coming back to “what’s one more?” And it made me happy. I was learning to love the idea of six kids. I mean plenty of women have had six kids and live to tell about it…and love it…why did I have to be any different?

A week after my positive pregnancy test I started spotting. It wasn’t much, just enough to heighten my awareness that something could be going on. My kids and I were traveling back to Tennessee to spend a few days closing out the school year they started there and to spend some time with friends. Since I had not found a doctor yet in Missouri I decided to see if my OB/GYN in Tennessee could get me in, to see what was going on. It turns out I had a subchorionic hemorrhage. My dr said it could just absorb into my body or it could lead to something else…only time would tell.
Two weeks after my initial spotting I started bleeding heavily. So heavily in fact that I got scared and drove myself to the ER 25 miles away at one in the morning. Turns out that I didn’t lose too much blood and they sent me home and asked me to follow up with my new dr in the morning. After following up with my dr she scheduled an ultrasound so we could see what was happening with the baby. My emotions were still pretty numb. I didn’t really feel anything other than curiosity. I was wondering why I didn’t feel attached or like something serious could actually be happening here. Wednesday morning I went for my ultrasound but the tech would tell me nothing. I had to wait to hear the words from my doctor later that afternoon…”the baby didn’t have a heartbeat”. Ugh. Like a punch in the gut, this baby that I didn’t even feel or have symptoms from was now pronounced dead. It still didn’t hit me…it still didn’t register. This life that I was starting to feel happy about and also feeling like maybe it was better if I wasn’t pregnant (because again, I’ve got the world in my ear) was now no longer living. This baby that would have brought so much joy to our home, would now never get to meet its five awesome siblings this side of heaven. This baby that I originally felt could have been an inconvenience (because I am human) was no longer with us. And all I felt was numb. I felt like I should cry. I felt like I should be mad. I felt like I should have some sort of emotional reaction but it was as if when the doctor told me that my baby had died that she told me the grocery store was out of cheese puffs. And once again the guilt flooded in.
We told our two oldest children and it really hit me when my daughter said “but you haven’t even seemed sad”. Ugh. Gut punch. Guilt. Round three. I told her that I am grieving in my own way. After talking with my doctor we decided to wait and see if my body would pass the baby naturally but scheduled a D&C for two weeks later since my husband would be out of town the whole next week. I never noticed anything but my bleeding had completely stopped the Sunday after my ultrasound. So, on Tuesday June 21st I went in to the hospital for surgery. I was so worried that the anesthesia would kill me even though I have been put under before. I am good at irrational fears!! The night before surgery I stayed with friends who live close to the hospital since I needed to be there at 630am. I posted something on one of the Pastors Wives groups that I am on so that they could know to be praying for me. The responses started flooding in but I did not read them right away.
I came out of surgery successfully and my doctor told me that I had already passed the baby even though I didn’t know it. And honestly that brought me some comfort. I was glad to know that my body knew what to do and that God’s plan was perfect even though having surgery could have been avoided. I took the day to rest and slept a lot to get the anesthesia out of my system. During one of my awake times I decided to go back to my Pastors wife group and update them on my surgery. I started reading the words they wrote and the flood gates were opened. “I’m sorry for your loss”…”Praying for you as you grieve”…”I too have had a miscarriage and a D&C”…”Praying for you and your family as you experience this pain” over and over these women started sharing their stories of loss and saying they were sorry for my loss. THAT is the moment this all became real to me. The tears came easily and maybe it was the exhaustion from surgery but I think it was God revealing to me what really just happened.

Losing a baby, even during the first trimester, even when they are only 6 weeks formed is still a loss of life. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13 makes it clear that God is the one giving life in the womb…it’s not just outside the womb where life is easily seen…but God gave us life…and then God took it away. I have no idea why. I don’t pretend to understand. I don’t listen when people say “yeah, well at least you have five other kids”. No, this was a loss. A loss of life. Grief comes and goes. Different things hit me at different times. I suspect it will always be this way. And yes, the grief I am experiencing is different that if it were the loss of one of my kids whom I have gotten to know outside the womb…but it is still grief, it is still loss. The loss of this baby makes me long for heaven even more.
I could sit here and say, well, maybe I lost this baby to make me more grateful for the ones I have. Maybe, I lost this baby so I could share my story. Maybe I lost this baby so I could sympathize with mothers who have lost babies. But I don’t want to sit here and say those things. I don’t know why I lost a baby. I don’t know why God gave and God took away. And that’s okay. I can ask him when I get to heaven. But I want you to know that I understand a little more about this certain grief, this “club” that no one wants to be a part of. Even though my baby didn’t have ears and couldn’t share its gender with us just yet it was still a baby. I am sorry for going into so much detail but I just wanted to share my story with you. I don’t write this story fishing for sympathy, I don’t like to draw attention to myself, I just want my story to be told so others know they are not alone.
Maybe you have experienced this grief and like me didn’t know how to name it. Maybe you didn’t have people around you saying they were sorry for your loss. Maybe you haven’t told anyone about your loss. I want you to know that it was a baby. It is still a loss. It is okay to grieve. God is with you. I also wanted you to know that if you’ve experienced grief like this it’s okay to cry, yell, and ask questions. It’s okay to wonder why this happened. But remember to cling to Christ. He is your hope. He provides the comfort. He is your shelter.

For two years I have been making cards to help parents who have dealt with this grief. I didn’t know I would one day end up needing to make a card for myself. But if you have experienced infant or child loss I would LOVE to send you one of these cards. I normally only do the cards in October during child and infant loss awareness month but since this is so raw for me right now I wanted to offer the cards to you now. Please send me an email (purejoycreative at gmail dot com) with your details (name, address, child details, color preference) and I will get a card in the mail for you. Please put “memory card” in the subject line. I can also write out the name and dates of your baby if you have a later term loss or infant loss. I am so sorry that I am writing out these cards because it means that another sweet precious child of God was taken too soon but it is my way of saying those lives matter too. God cares about all those children as well. God is the creator of life and death was never part of His original plan. Thank you God for sending Jesus so that we could all live with you forever in heaven because of the pain and suffering He endured on the cross.
I am so sorry for your loss. Rest in peace sweet babies. My husband wrote a letter after the loss of our baby and it really sums up what we feel and believe about all of this. We would be honored if you would take some time to read it. You can read it HERE!
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FREE Graduation Printable!!

Can you believe school is over…or almost over? The year has gone super fast!! Well, with moving and switching schools for the kids right at the beginning of the 4th quarter it has seemed to go even faster than normal. It is tough to switch schools and curriculum at the end of the year but my kids were rock stars and they made it work. We told them to focus on getting to know some friends, the teachers and routines. We wanted them to do their best but we made sure they knew we weren’t too worried about their grades. 
I made a printable for the graduate in your life. It would be appropriate for a high school or college graduate. Use it as wrapping paper or frame it as their gift. And even if you already gave them their gift, this is FREE and a good encouragement for those who are starting new journeys!! We all love a little real MAIL don’t we? So send your graduate some mail with this inside!! The download link is under the photo.
Download the printable HERE
I also have a couple of printables over on my blog. Feel free to go check them out and download them as well!


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a craft room dream come true

We just moved about a month ago. We hadn’t moved in 5 years and one year before that was a local move. This move was tougher than the last, since we moved 5 kids this time…and all the stuff. Oh my, so much stuff. We did our best to pair down and donate and pass along a lot of our unused items. It felt so so good to get rid of so much. But when we got here I realized we didn’t get rid of nearly enough. So a lot of our stuff is just sitting in boxes in the unfinished part of the basement…and that is fine, for the time being. I’m going to have to face the facts and go through it all eventually. There aren’t any boxes in our main living areas any more. Last week I finally got the boxes emptied and out of the girls closet and we moved the boxes out of our basement family room into the storage room. It makes it feel so much more like home without boxes lying around every where. Our basement storage as you can imagine is a mess though! Eventually we will tackle that!
One of the best things about our new house is the basement. Half of the basement is finished and as I mentioned before half is unfinished, but works great for storage. There are also two bedrooms in the basement. My oldest daughter was so excited to find out she would be getting her own room!! And I was ecstatic to find out that I would be able to use the extra basement bedroom which has no windows as a CRAFT ROOM!!! So, yeah, no windows…but a CRAFT ROOM! I will take what I am blessed with! So the process of setting up said craft room has been a lot trickier than I imagined. So much of my stuff was spread throughout three different rooms in my old house that now I have to figure out a way to make everything flow in one room. I have taken to pinterest and created a board just for my dreams of how I want my craft room to look and feel. Obviously I won’t be able to implement ALL of the ideas I have pinned but it’s a great way to find some ideas for things I didn’t think of on my own. I am still in need of a desk and some closet shelves but I feel good about where I am at and I am able to work in there so that’s good. I will share some pictures with you so you can maybe get some ideas for yourself…but please know this is just a couple of weeks unpacked and still a huge mess (which I’m not really showing you).  I have dreamed about having my own craft space for YEARS…so I am not trying to rush through the set up and organization of my room. It’s a work in progress and will take some time. Especially finding the perfect dresser to hold up a door as a desk top for me! So excited to have the space and I think my husband is SUPER excited to get all the craftt supplies out of our bedroom!!
And remember that my craft room budget is slim to NONE!! So I am using things I already had and making my own items. Until a craft store picks me up and helps me furnish my room (in my dreams) it may look a little like a college dorm with a hodpodge of mismatched furniture and storage items. And I am okay with that for the time being. I will work on a cohesive look once I get all my big furniture items (which I have to save up for a buy with cash!!) So, please don’t judge my non-magazine worthy craft room. I am just elated to have the space!!!
When you first walk in your can see my wall of embroidery hoops and back on the other door (that leads into the storage part of the basement) is a shoe organizer full of office supplies.

This is on my desk with my essential pens, scissors and other items ready at hand.

I made this washi tape holder out of two chick-fil-a containers and two empty bobbins!!!

My closet holds my bookshelves and I hope to eventually have my husband build some wall to wall shelves so I have a little more space.

This is my desk area and I’m still working on organizing everything but it’s a place to work for now. Since this was an old sewing table there’s a big hole in the middle of the table so I plan on getting a big piece of wood to cover the entire table!
The top of my shelf next to my desk holds all my markers and paint brushes. I love the use of the glass jars and it’s fun to see all the colors all the time!

 I just have a card table set up for now for my painting area and hope to eventually make a big corner desk for this area. To the left will be my sewing area and then where the card table is now I will have a painting desk.

This is my shipping area. It is situated on top of a big filing cabinet that holds all my original drawings and other items nice and organized. At least one place is organized.

So there’s a little craft room tour for you. I hope to come back in a couple of months and show you the transformed beautiful craft room. I can’t wait to get some things up on my walls. I would love to have a couple of  “maker” walls full of art by other people so if you’re up for a trade let me know! Until then, happy crafting friends!!
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“Oh, The Places You’ll Go” Graduation Gift Idea

I hope you are all having a great February…it’s almost over!!! How is it possible that February is almost over? Crazy. Well at this rate it will be the end of the school year and summer will be before us. So here’s a little idea of something you could do before the school year ends.
I thought today I would share with you a little something that involves a little bit of planning ahead but honestly almost no time at all to prep an awesome high school graduation gift. The earlier you start this gift the better but honestly it doesn’t matter too much how far your kid is in school…just start!!
I bought a copy of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” for each child that is in school. I will purchase more for my other kids once they start school. So I have three copies of the book because three kids are in school. Each kid gets their own book that I have their teachers sign at the end of the school year. The key is, the kids do not know that I am having their teachers sign these books for them. It will be so fun to give these books filled with notes from their teachers at their high school graduation party!! 

 To take it a step further, my friend Kristen from Joyfully Thriving goes through the book and adds scripture passages to the pages in the book. She writes in certain passages that go along with the story. I can’t wait to use her free download and go through my kids books to add the scripture!!!

So go ahead and order this book and get it ready for your kids teachers to sign at the end of the year. It will be here before we know it.
 Also, if you want you can order one that my friend Kristen will write the scripture passages in it for you if you’d like!!!
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