November 30, 2014
September 30, 2014
If you didn't already know it, I'm a reader. I love to read! But I especially love to read when a story can take me out of my own world and into another. Non-fiction won't hold my interest for more than a day, but a novel can hold a place in my heart for a lifetime. I like to stagger my reading, a challenging read followed by a much lighter tale, but recently, light reading is about all I can handle.
And sometimes the most surprising enlightening thoughts can come out of a light read. Like the quote above from the book The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera. This book keeps reminding me that life is about the little things, not big enormous things we tend to think are most important.
I've had a lot of big things happen to me this year - - I became a mother; I moved to a new home; I lost loved ones; I took on a new position at work; I had several good friends move to new cities. That's a lot of big life changes in a relatively short amount of time. And yes, at times, I'm feeling completely overwhelmed by how complicated things can be. But this book...it's helped bring life back into focus around the small things, the simple things. Because a life made up of all the small things doesn't seem nearly as scary to navigate as one made up of the big complicated things.
September 22, 2014
You guys, I did it! I actually added some new things to my shop. I got this burst of creativity and this need to create just took me over. I'm excited to share a few new designs and some great color combinations with you! Head on over to the shop and check them out!
September 15, 2014
My dad used to always tell me to "keep my chin up" when I was down about something. So, it's only fitting that a fortune cookie I got a few weeks ago would remind me to do just that. Oh wise fortune cookie, how I needed to hear those words!
The so-called "getting on with life" is hard and yet I know it's what he would want for us. It doesn't mean that it's not completely overwhelming at the same time. You see, so much change has taken place since this terrible ordeal happened - I've lost more than one family member, moved into a new home and had major job change/promotion in just the past 7 months. To say we've been living out of boxes for months now is NOT an understatement, it's the gosh darn truth. And I know it's time to start living again - settle into our house and actually make it a home, start seeing friends again on weekends, etc - but it's hard to kick start all of that when you feel like you've been blown over by a tornado! To pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get on with it isn't that easy, but my desire to is growing with each day. Healing is a slow process and admitting that life will go on even if there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him numerous times is just the start.
Yes, dad, I'm taking your advice and doing my best to keep my chin up each and every day because I know it's what you would want for me and what you expect of me.
September 8, 2014
We headed down to the coast for a few days of rest and relaxation, seeking out the healing sands and soothing ocean to cleanse our hearts, souls and minds. Watching Tuck discover new things at every turn (birds! sand! seaweed!) filled my heart with joy and calmed my frenzied mind.
It was his second trip to the beach, but he was only a month old for that first trip. He ran and ran and ran. He loved it so much he couldn't believe his eyes, that a sandbox this big existed just for him!
My dad loved the beach. I remember so many trips we took to the beach in North Carolina growing up - it was our go-to vacation as a family. Dad losing his ray bans in the ocean...jumping waves holding hands with him...building sand castles together...walking on the beach laughing at him wearing jams! Making memories with my son at the beach was cathartic to say the least.
One morning before the rain came in, we went down to the beach to take a walk. Tuck was scared, the wind was blowing and the skies were ominous, until he zeroed in on a pink volleyball that had rolled into the dunes. With a ball in hand, his fear dissipated and he just played. I got some of my favorite photos from the trip capturing his morning with a pink ball on a deserted beach.
The only souvenirs we brought home were a few shells, lots of good memories and renewed hearts.
August 19, 2014
August 14, 2014
“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.” - Haruki Murakami
My lovely friend Erin shared these words on her facebook page this week and they resonated with me in a big way. You see, my family and I have been going through one helluva storm these past 6 months. I won't go into detail of the hardships and losses we've faced in just a few short months (because like the quote says, I don't even know that the storm is over yet), but I can say that I am forever changed. We are all forever changed.
In the eye of this storm is the greatest man I have ever known, my father. His passing has been heart wrenching, gut wrenching and the most difficult thing I've ever had to face. These are the words I shared with our family and friends in memory of him, The Rock.
If there is one word that best describes my father, it’s ROCK. The word “rock” has several entries and over 15 definitions in the dictionary – most all of them relate to dad in some way.
Rock, verb: To move back and forth in or as if in a cradle - - I don’t particularly remember dad rocking me to sleep as a baby, but I’m sure he did. He was my go to guy when it was time for bed, helping me brush my teeth and get into my pajamas, picking out a stuffed animal for me to sleep with in our game of dolly surprise and inevitably tucking me in, turning out the lights and saying goodnight. On those nights when I had a bad dream or had a particularly hard time getting to sleep, dad would gently rock his hand back and forth on my back until I felt safe again and drifted off to sleep.
Rock, verb: To move forward at a steady pace - - I don’t believe I know of a single time in my father’s life when he wasn’t moving forward at a steady pace – the two key words here being “forward” and “steady”. He was always a man of purpose and strong intent. His decisions were calculated and controlled – after all, he was an engineer and let’s be honest, it takes a certain kind of person to be an engineer. Dad was a master at self-discipline in all aspects of his life and it served him well, allowing him to work his way through college and graduate school, eventually moving forward at that steady pace to receive his PhD. And he continued moving forward, steadily rising in his career as an executive in the semi-conductor sector, taking us to New Jersey, North Carolina and eventually, back to Texas. Even in retirement, he didn’t give up moving forward at that continual steady pace, focusing his self -discipline on the game of golf and serving his community on the Property Owners Association.
Rock, noun: something like a rock in firmness; foundation, support - - My father was the rock of our family. He was steady and unwavering in the face of uncertainty. He was strong and dependable when times got tough. He was understanding and supportive when life took unexpected turns. Above all, Dad was always there for you when you needed him. He was a provider and an advisor. He was a man who never expected more from others than he expected of himself. He was a man of high standards who believed in doing the right thing. I think Dad knew God put him on this earth to take care of the people he loved and to make sure we were all well looked after. Our rock may not physically be with us anymore, but the foundation he built for us while he was here will carry us through till we see him again in heaven and until then I know he’s looking down on us, watching over us and loving us.
Rock, noun: slang for gem, diamond - - one definition of the word “gem”: a highly prized or well beloved person. Dad was and is our family gem. Quiet and reserved on the outside, he had a heart of gold on the inside that steadfastly and intently loved his family and friends. Like a diamond, he formed and performed under great pressure throughout his life. He was known to many and precious to us few. He was one-of-a-kind. He was a son, a brother, a husband, a father and a grandfather. He was my dad and I couldn’t be more proud to be his daughter.
June 18, 2014
I can't tell you how amazing this first year has been. You've rocked my world in the best way possible! You've made me more patient and more loving than I ever knew I could be. You've tested me...but your tests have made me grow. I'm so proud of the little boy you are becoming.
You were such a good baby, strong from the get go. You held your head up on your own just hours after you were born and you were always trying to stand up on your own two legs. You loved to lie on your changing pad in front of the window in your nursery staring up at your mobile and kicking your legs. It's amazing how much you've grown in 12 months!
You've always been a talker, just like you're daddy. You started babbling before 3 months and never stopped. Some of your favorite words are dada, ada, and the occasional mmmama.
Although you slept on me for almost the first 6 months of your life, now you're on your own sleeping through the night like a champ. I love checking your monitor to see what position you're sleeping in - you're all over that crib! The older you've gotten the more independent you've gotten. That's how it should be and I hope it means I'm doing something right, but I miss my boy needing me. So those moments when you're upset or just over wrought with sleepiness, I relish you putting your head down on my shoulder and just being.
I say to your dad all the time how strong you are for being as young as you are. You've been through two more surgeries than he and I ever have! And you're an example to me every day with that strength - to keep a smile on and keep on going. You weren't even 5 months old when you had spinal surgery to release your tethered cord - you bounced back amazingly! I can't tell you how scared I was going into the children's hospital that morning, but when I saw you in recovery chugging pedialyte with everything you had, I knew you would be okay. And the tubes in your ears at 10 months...piece of cake! You were over that just a few hours after. I know this is an indication of the man you will be one day - - strong, never willing to give up or give in and keeping a smile on your face through the worst of times.
Have I mentioned how happy of a baby you are? You've got a heck of smile and its infectious, I tell you! You smile at everyone and you draw everyone in with just a look in your eye. When you were first born, you had the most beautiful color hair I've ever seen - - the most unique golden color - - you were known as the baby "with the pretty hair". We weren't sure if it would be red, like mine, or blond, like your father's, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be a color that's all your own. And lucky for you, you have my cowlick and your father's so it swirls up front and in the back, which makes it stick straight up right now! It definitely grabs everyone's attention.
PS - you're so lucky to share your birthday with your Great Aunt DeeDee!
June 6, 2014
My necklaces were featured on the fantastic lifestyle blog You Have Your Blog We Have Aars this week! I've been a reader of Allison's blog for some time now and I'm so honored to have my necklaces on her Wish List. Thanks, Allison! And if you're not a follower of Allison, do head over and check out her corner of the internet!
June 3, 2014
May 24, 2014
I'm opening up the shop for a limited time summer sale! I have a few necklaces and bracelets that I'd love to give a good home. My hope is to start making jewelry again in my spare time. I've missed the creative process of creating things and would love to be able to carve some time out to do that again and in turn share my new pieces with all of you! First things, first, clear out some of my older pieces to make room for newer ones. So, for those of you that have been asking me if I'll ever open my shop up again, well, here it is, for a limited time! Please use the coupon code SUMMER to get 15% off your purchase.
April 29, 2014
Life is full of twists and turns, as we all know. Lately, it feels like my life has turned a corner - the ante has been upped and I've really got to kick some butt. It's been a long time since I've felt like this. I mean, when I had T, my whole world changed and I had to step into a brand new role, that of being a mother. Well, ten and half months in, I've realized how all consuming being a mother is. I wouldn't change it for the world - I'm so blessed to have the sweetest boy in the whole world as my son - but somewhere along the way, taking care of myself became a lost priority. I mean, when you feel like you have no time for yourself, it's damn hard to make it a priority.
The past few months have been difficult, to say the least, on a very personal level. In talking with friends about the hardships we've been going through, I've been so thankful for the support and love from so many. But one piece of advice that one person continually tells me each time she checks in with me is "take care of yourself". The first time she told me, I blew it off "yeah, yeah, yeah, I know". The second time she told me, I stopped in my tracks and asked myself "am I really taking care of myself?". The third time she told me, I decided she was right, I need to take more time for myself. Yes, especially when life is throwing some heavy stuff at you, but also every day no matter what is going on. It's important to make time for yourself.
It may seem like a small realization, but for me it was huge! Like all of a sudden, the kick butt action girl was kind of back. Like, I've been empowered to be the hero and not the sidekick to all of life's ups and downs. Like, this red-headed lady does have a say and will make the best go of things, not only for the sake of her family, but for the sake (and sanity) of herself.
image via The House That Lars Built
March 31, 2014
I've been bogged down with so much recently that Spring's arrival almost crept by me without my taking notice. My mind has been preoccupied with worry and my heart has been reeling for days on end trying to make sense of the world. I feel as though I've been walking around with blinders for months and this weekend, the beauty of Spring miraculously crept into my view, if only for a few hours.
When the bluebonnets come out in Texas, it's hard not to stop and revel in their beauty. They go on for miles and miles and blanket the ground in a wondrous bluish purple color. I couldn't resist taking a break from things to do as any good Texas mother would and take pictures of my boy in a field full of them. After all, it's tradition.
Tuck was a good sport. He looks happy in these pictures, but he's had a rough go of it, battling ear infections since January. And unbeknownst to me at the time of taking these pictures, he had wicked double ear infections AGAIN. I feel like a sorry excuse for a mother since I didn't know, but you guys, this kid is just so happy all the time, it's hard to tell when something really is bothering him. Woe is me, right?!
He's one tough kid, I tell you. And it's his toughness that inspires me everyday to keep on doing what I've got to do, face what must be met and above all know that life is full of hope even in its darkest days. I love this kid!
March 26, 2014
We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.
With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.
You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.
Wise words from the wise lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.
photo by me
March 13, 2014
Now that I have a child of my own, I’ve had the chance to revisit many of my favorite childhood books in anticipation of sharing them with Tuck one day soon. At his current age, he’s more interested in throwing books and laughing about it, putting them in his mouth, or crawling right over them to get to the next best place. But I eagerly await the day when we can read a bedtime story together, enjoying our favorite characters and sharing a good laugh during the funny parts. In revisiting some of my favorite stories, I realized how the simple, yet meaningful words that were written for a child’s ear are just the words that we, as adults, NEED to hear. Let’s be real, life as an adult can be complicated – it’s hard, unfair, stressful and cumbersome at times. Sometimes I think we’re guilty of making our lives more complicated than they really need to be, but sometimes things really are that difficult, with circumstances beyond your control. It’s during those times that I find so much solace in Tuck – in seeing the world through his 9 month old eyes, where happiness lurks at every corner and life’s simplicity radiates in his smile. Lately, I’ve needed that reminder. I’ve needed to hear the words that I’m going to read to him again and again in his life: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
image by E.H. Shephard via here
March 11, 2014
Our little guy came into the world last June, bringing with him a renewed breath of life to both N and me. Life, it seems, got that much sweeter and our hearts so full of love, we thought they just might burst. Almost 9 months later, I still find it unfathomable how my heart can continue to grow and make even more room for the love I have for this little boy. He's amazing and he's challenged me in ways I never thought possible. And if you don't believe me, you should see my instagram feed - it's documentation of how proud I am to be Tucker's mother!
As all mothers know, caring for a child is hard work - it's the hardest work I've ever known. I love every minute of it, but I've also found myself needing an outlet. BT (before Tucker), making jewelry was my outlet, photography was my outlet, this little blog was my outlet. AT (after Tucker), a lot of those things were shoved aside and now that I'm almost a year into motherhood, working mom motherhood, I've found myself needing this little space more and more. To release, to share, to cheer on...whatever it may be, I need a little corner of the world that's all mine.