Monday, October 9, 2017

Farewell To This Chapter

The moment I became a Mother, the life I once knew immersed with my wants and needs, transformed into midnight feedings and up all night worries, hoping to fulfill all of this precious new life’s needs. As she grew, I did too, more in love with her everyday. I had suddenly found my purpose in life, was this very child, and finally, I gladly closed the last chapter of uncertainty away. God had given me this sweet gift and with that responsibility, I was consumed with a sense of peace. My time was now hers and a few years later there was no longer one child in our family, but two. My life felt complete with these two little angels. God knew my hearts wish and like a dream it had come true. Our days overflowed with cuddles, diaper changes, tea parties, bath and bedtime routines, snacks and feedings, playing dollies and dancing, and although at times by the end of the day I was spent, every morning with a glimpse of their sweet faces, I was ready for more. Undoubtedly, there were days I questioned everything as most Mother’s do. The unequivocal responsibility of doing what is best for our children can be daunting. We consume ourselves with the, should haves, could haves, and would haves throughout the days, weeks, months, and years. Still though, being home with these little people, was what I longed to do. My oldest daughter turned four and it was time to give preschool a whirl, I felt a tug in my heart as just a touch of our time together began to slip away. Mostly though, my days were with my sweet girls and with that, my heart was full. Kindergarten came and went, first and second grade too, with my first born there were a few tears, fears and kissing hand smooches, but we pushed through and looked forward to spending time together on weekends and every afternoon. But there is a shift in season upon us in more ways than one, as we inch closer to fall. We are nearing the end of an era and the onset of another. My youngest child will follow in her big sister’s shoes this fall as she begins Kindergarten. What this means for me, is that for the first time in nine years, I will not have a tiny human home to keep me company. *Cue the waterworks... It has been nine years since I left my career, my home, and my family to embark on this new journey as a stay at home Mom, while proudly serving as co-pilot to my flyboy as he serves in the USAF. Staying home with our children was something we felt would be best with our unique lifestyle. It has been such a blessing to me and something I am proud of knowing that if asked again, I would choose this life every time. That robust word ‘time,’ it’s used so often and yet when we run out of it, somehow it feels like we didn’t know it was coming. This ‘time’ I have had with my children is a compilation of so many of my favorite memories gathered over the years. Which brings me to question, how will I fill my ‘time,’ throughout the day? I am no longer the person I was before they graced this world with their presence, so in a way I am starting new. I am uncertain of what will be written on the pages of my next chapter, but I pray for the unveiling of gifts He has graciously given to me so that I can bring more glory to Him and to others as I learn to reinvent myself. I am hesitant to close this treasured chapter that built me, but I will do so expectantly and confidently knowing full and well that we are in good hands. So as I wipe the tears from my eyes while I type this, I hold close to the beautiful memories made at home with my babies. Farewell to this chapter, you have been my favorite, but it’s time I turn the page. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, January 9, 2017

Do you see what He sees?

“Visualize yourself on stage, go through the whole routine without making a mistake and when it’s time to perform, it will be just as you pictured.” (Advice from my wise Father when I was a child.)

A few months ago...

My pastor’s wife reached out to me and asked if I would be on her Women’s Ministry team as the Prayer Coordinator. Now initially, this had me feeling all kinds of happy, because I have desired to be more involved at our awesome church, but also I just love this amazing woman and to think she wanted me on her team had me over the moon excited!
That was until the mention of a video introduction of myself. Me in front of a camera; there wasn’t anything more terrifying to me! Everything I had looked forward to came to a crashing halt. My mind was spinning and I was reprimanding myself on how terrible it would be if I agreed to this.

Why I am so fearful of public speaking? Let me start by informing you that I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communications. I.e. I stood up for four treacherous years in front of my peers, speaking about everything from abortion to selling a flashlight! Seriously, pure torture for someone like myself.

That advice my Dad had given me as a child vanished in this environment and I only envisioned myself failing when standing at the front of a room. Every single time I spoke, my knees shook, my voice quivered and I never recalled a single word that I had spoken to the classroom of students. Graduation day couldn’t come soon enough!
Today, I am a Mom and up until now, I felt a sweet sigh of relief that I would never have to endure this type of nervousness ever again.

So I did what I always do when I want to run away, I call my Mom and convince her that I can just say no to this possible public humiliation because it’s not something I HAVE to do! She is always on my side and agreed that if I was too uncomfortable not to put myself through the stress. Ahhh... there’s that sweet sigh of relief again.
But when I hung up the phone, I heard a whisper, that small inner voice speaking to me. At first I tried desperately to busy myself and hush the voice within, but eventually I heard loud and clear, ‘you have do this.”

I surrendered and agreed to shoot the video. I prayed vigorously leading up to that day. I knew that if I saw myself the way I had in the past, I would crawl further into my safe haven where I would never have to do anything out of my comfort zone again.
On the day of this simple filming endeavor, I had both of my children with me, which made me slightly more nervous than I already had been! What would they think of me after seeing me like this?

The three-minute interview came and went. Tami hugged me in the parking lot knowing how worried I was about all of this. She reassured me that I did well and that I was the only person who recorded this all on the first take. It felt good hearing her sweet words, but it didn’t stop the doubt and worry I had over what had just been recorded. I was sure I looked incredibly uncomfortable and I dreaded seeing myself on the big screen the following week.
The night it would be shown to the women at our church had arrived. Part of me wanted to play hooky and just stay home, never having to witness myself on the screen. I knew that wouldn’t be right so of course I went.

I sat in the parking lot before walking into the church and simply asked God, “Please Lord, let me see myself through your eyes, Amen.”

I took a seat in the back of the apex, near a couple of women I had never met. I looked up at the large projector screen and started to feel my nerves creep in. When the video began, I watched the other beautiful team member’s introductions and anxiously waited for mine to begin. I started questioning what everyone in the room would think of me? I was sure they would all see my insecurities displayed on the screen.

There I was, slouched down in my chair hoping that no one would recognize me when my 3 minutes began. As my interview started though, I sat up a little straighter. I even had tears in my eyes, but I didn’t care. The person I was watching I hardly recognized. I hadn’t stuttered like I thought I had and I was a little nervous sounding, but surprisingly, confident. This small account of bravery allowed me to let go of some of the past hate I had put upon myself realizing in that moment that THIS is how God sees me!

Friends what if this year, we make 2017 the year we see ourselves through God’s eyes? Can you imagine the sweet possibilities? It is how we see ourselves that will either encourage us to reach our full potential or deter us to the point that we throw in the towel on the passion that drives us.

Lets dismiss our past embarrassments, missteps or otherwise, and focus on the present time in our lives. We were made for so very much in this life. His plan is a perfect one, so we don’t have to be.

“Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5

Have a beautiful day!


Friday, October 7, 2016

To those who have been's not your fault.

I walked swiftly down the familiar narrow blue hallway of my high school and clutched my college algebra book as if it were a long lost teddy bear from my childhood. Making eye contact with anyone sent a shiver down my spine, terrified it would be one of them again, I fixed my eyes on the floor...

Thankfully, I knew my way around the school by now. I was a Senior filled with the excitement of prom just around the corner.  Despite my soft spoken nature, I loved performing with some of my best friends on the dance team, at the high school football and basketball home games.

This year I was thrilled to be going to prom with a guy I had, had a crush on for awhile. Lets call him Brad. To be honest Brad was a popular football player and he did not go unnoticed with the ladies. That being said, it was much to my surprise when he called and asked me to go to prom him! Discloser: There was a time when a phone call was considered a proper invite to the prom, sorry to disappoint, there were no extravagant promposals during this era, It didn't matter to me how he asked, I was just ecstatic to be his date.

The day before after class let out, I strolled down the same blue hallway, only it was different then. I felt safe, comfortable, content in this place that I had truly embraced over the last few years.  I smiled and said hello to friends as we passed by each other on our way to our next classes. My joy vanished abruptly when, Jen and Sara, stood a few feet down the hall with their eyes glaring at me. Their body language expressed to me that this was not a friendly greeting. They stood planted waiting for me to reach them, a snarky look danced across both of their faces.  I knew who they were, but we weren't friends. I wasn't sure what this confrontation was about, I had always gotten along with everyone.

I continued moving toward them, until I stood just a couple feet away. Then it happened, "Hi whore! I bet you think you are cool or something.  Going to prom with Joe? Well you aren't.  You are nothing but a slut. Haha, Slut!" One of them pushed my shoulder, my books hit the floor and my legs gave way as I fell hard into the locker. Humiliated, defeated, and alone, I slowly looked up from cold floor of the blue hallway to watch them walk away.  The sound of them cackling at the spectacular that had just taken place, haunted my thoughts for weeks.

Looking back on that time in my life, I think what hurt the most was the name calling.  I was a virgin and prided myself that although I dated in high school, I hadn't given that part of me away. So when they called me those disgusting names, it bruised my heart. I say bruised, because the hurt healed in time. And although it wasn't the last time I was confronted by the two of them, it was ok because I became stronger in spite of it.

I am writing about this today in honor of Bully Prevention Month.  If anyone out there reading this has been bullied or their children or loved ones are encountering this experience I want to say I am sorry for what you are going through.  It is painful and it is ok to admit that.  This bruise will heal and when it does, know that you are stronger than the person hurting you. The person who is bullying you is bringing you down in hopes that it will lift them up, even if we know that it doesn't work that way.

Surround yourself with a great support system, don't keep bullying to yourself.  Talk with loved ones about the pain that you feel.  There is strength that comes from overcoming this type of grief.  I am grateful that I had love surrounding me in the home that I grew up in. Because of my support system I knew that although what they said hurt, there was no truth behind it. It is our job as parents to teach our kids, that not everyone in this world will be kind to you, but don't let their untruths define you and most importantly, it is NOT your fault.

My daughter Sophie, is in second grade and I wanted to hear her thoughts on bullying.  This is what she had to say:

1. What is bullying? When someone is not being very nice to you.
2. Why do you think they aren't being nice? Because something is probably not right in their life.
3. Have you ever been bullied? Yes
4. How did it make you feel? Sad, it made me feel like I was doing something wrong. But that is not true, right Mama?
5. How do you think we can help them? Still be kind to them and ask them why would they do that. If you work with them and be kind to them that's how they will stop.
6. What does a bully need the most? Someone to play with.

Isn't it incredible what we can learn from our children?  No matter your age, race, sex, etc., we were all created by the same hands of our Heavenly Father.  Love one another, show grace and kindness to each other, and always know that you have purpose and worth in this world.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The days are long, but the years are short...

I know how tough it is to put all of your blood, sweat and tears into raising this tiny human and you don't get much in return.  The stockpiles of laundry you try to keep up with, the sleepless nights, multitude of feedings, the plethora of diaper changes, not to mention bath time, wellness visits and you can't leave out the nights spent worrying about this sweet child and praying you are doing the best you can for your precious angel.  You think to yourself if only I could get a full nights sleep, if only I could take a hot shower uninterrupted and you long for your brain cells to return so that you can finally complete one thought before you are on to the next feeding...

There is a rainbow at the end of all of this.  Your efforts and extra snuggles are being stored away in their tiny hearts like a treasure chest, so that one day when they are old enough to recognize all that you have done for them, you will see they did appreciate all that you gave to them.  They truly felt it all along and the weight on your shoulders will ever so gently begin to lift and not feel so unbearable anymore. Their independence will begin to blossom right before your very eyes.  

My proof to you...

It was 1:00 in the afternoon, just before nap time when I was in my room grabbing my book to head down for my ritual of hot green tea and quiet time while the girls rested. When I turned around at my nightstand Sophie stood there hands behind her back grinning from ear to ear. At first I sighed impatient, because well the day had felt like a week and I just needed a little time for myself.

"Mama, pick a hand!"

"Hmm...your left hand." I said with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. 

There was shuffling behind her back, as she cleverly switched her surprise to the right hand, showing me her empty left hand.

"Nope, pick again!" She said, her eyes so bright and filled with joy.

Me: "Ok, ok right hand." 

It was this.  This moment that time stood still for just a second as she proudly handed over to me a first place award made of construction paper that read: She takes care of me.

My heart, oh my heart and tears were overflowing. Validation, sweet validation that our children, they do notice, that yes of course we take care of you. We always have and always will.

Sweet Mama, keep going.  Keep doing all that you are doing, because one day you will see that all of the time spent devoted to Motherhood, were not lost on them.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A tribute to Mom's here there and everywhere...

To the stay at home Mom's and the Mom's that go to work, to those who choose organic and those  who couldn't care less, to those who send their kiddos to public schools and other's who home school, to those who are pro-vaccinations and to those who are anti-vaccinations, to Mother's who choose to nurse and to those who bottle feed, let me just say...You are beautiful.  You are enough. You are strong. You are at times under appreciated, yet you never quit.  You are your child's hero and their warm embrace.  You are tired, oh so tired, but you keep moving.

You are the maker behind the most delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You are their comfort when their feelings are hurt. You are their goodnight kisses at the end of each day. You are their hand holder as you teach them to look both ways. You are the provider of one more drink of water, one more book and one more hug good night. You have purpose.  You were chosen specifically for your child. You fit your child's needs in a way that only you can.  Your arms are your child's safe haven. You, yes you, are all of these things!

Motherhood is complicated and we make up a very diverse group of amazing women.  We come from different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, etc.  What's truly remarkable to me, is that although we may not always agree on our parenting styles, decipline methods, values or otherwise, the above statements are universal.  Even though our personal choices may vary in opposite ends of the spectrum, we are all doing what we believe to be the very best for our children. Our children we have loved, since the moment we heard the rhythmic sound of their sweet heartbeating.

On our worst days, when our patience runs low and our energy is on empty, lets remember God put us in this wonderful position for a reason.  We have a fascinating and at times daunting responsibility of shaping these beautiful, tiny humans. But you know what gives me comfort, we are in this together. Encourage one another, lend a hand when we see one of our fellow Mama's struggling, because we have all been there and we are sure to be there again.

No matter our differences, this weekend, on Mother's Day, we are all celebrated. On Sunday morning I will think of you and your sweet littles, as I also soak in the sweet moments with my precious angels who gave us the most important title we will ever have.

I would also like to acknowledge women who have not yet experienced Motherhood and are desperate to have a baby, I'm praying for you and truly believe God's timing is perfect, which gives me great hope for you and your family.

Sweetest blessings and Happy Mother's Day!


Friday, April 15, 2016

Stamp Haven

My name is Tiffany and I am a Mama of two sweet little girls and a pilots wife, living a life full of surprise. I choose sweet over savory in life and in the kitchen and I believe in using our God given talents to help others.

My mission for has always been about inspiring others to be kind, be brave and have courage.

I have been working on building this business for a year now and although it's a small part of my everyday life, I truly take heart in making jewelry and gifts that matter.

Thank you stopping by and I look forward to creating you a piece that you will treasure for years to come.

Tiffany Campione
Visit me on Instagram @stamphaven1

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Our Family Recipe...

You guys, my hubby is home! In honor of having our little tribe back together, I thought Our Family Recipe, would be a great way to express how fulfilled our hearts are now that we have our big strong man back.

Our family recipe...

Flour - This ingredient is not the most exciting ingredient alone, it's lacking in flavor and color, and it is responsible for the largest portion of the family recipe.  It's our daily lives, a sometimes mundane, but essential part of this recipe.  As you grow up you begin to discover life can not be stimulating at all times. And when a piece of the family is missing, we yearn so badly for the days of repetition and predictability in our lives.

Salt - Thankfully, this recipe only calls for a pinch of this ingredient, but let's face it, life has it's salty moments.  Everyone argues from time to time and you know what, it's ok. I don't know about you, but life would be a snooze fest without freedom to have our opinion and passion about certain topics, even if they are different than our family members.  We find strength and courage when we are challenged and I believe this is how we develop into the best version of ourselves. That said, there are also the less complicated, yet salty exchanges...babe can you please keep your socks OFF the floor? MmmK moving on...

Eggs - This ingredient is the glue and what holds us all together.  Our values make up this ingredient, the teachable moments that we learn from our children and that they are learning from us.  Character building is at the center of this key ingredient. Here are a few we believe to be important: God is first, family is second, our manners do matter, choose kindness always, we've been given so much, be grateful and give back, you are never alone, and make time for prayers everyday.

Butter - This ingredient holds our most tender feelings.  It's our tears and fears, our inner vulnerable selves, that we trust only one other with. It's deep and rich and so very much needed.

Baking Soda/Powder - When life fall flat this ingredient is essential to lift each other up, assuring that we rise above our circumstances and never give up. Tomorrow is a blank canvas, create something beautiful, but only after coffee.:)

Sugar - Right here is the sweetness in life and the tastiest of all of the components. The sugar in our family recipe is the comfort, the sound of laughter, beautiful smiling faces, it's all the firsts, the tight hugs around our neck, it's waking up together on Christmas morning, spending weekends making memories, it's date nights for me and the Mr. and its the validation for us, that even on the toughest days, there will always be a moment of sweetness, so embrace it.

There you have it.  It's really very simple.  Individually, the ingredients wouldn't be much to indulge in, but when mixed all together, it truly is delicious.