Sunday, December 7, 2014

"While it is wise to learn from experience, it is wiser to learn from the experiences of others." PDL

After my last post about how when fall arrives I go into overdrive trying to accomplish everything I didn't do during the summer months and all in a small window of time each day that I refer to as after hours, aka when my kids are fast asleep, well that's precisely what I did.

But as the days have gotten colder allowing us to slow down and stay cozy inside I have been spending more time writing.  So much so, that I have just recently completed my first draft of my memoir.  I was so pumped I did the unimaginable and printed every last page of the thing! I have been hard at work taking classes and writing during after hours for an entire year. Coming from someone who takes pleasure in the feel of a good book in her hands, I must say as the woman at Office Depot handed me the heaping stack of the pages into my heart, I stood frozen for a solid minute, taking it all in before I could walk away.

Piecing together scene after scene over the last year has been a challenge at times.  Quite honestly trying to remember the past that had been so carefully hidden away, forced me to go back in time and relive those moments if only in my mind.  I inevitably broke down and literally sat in front of the computer sobbing as if it were all happening again. There were the lighter moments too that had me reminiscing times with friends that had me laughing hysterically as I wrote each word.  Through it all what I found to be the most valuable is that I have learned so much about letting go, forgiveness and just how necessary having faith in my life truly is.

I have been given wise advice that once I have completed my first draft, it's important to take a step back, start another project and let time takes it's course.  Which leads me to introduce my next little ditty I have taken a liking to, personalized metal stamping.  I received my first metal stamped jewelry piece from my sister a few years ago.  I wear this darling necklace just about everyday.  

The point of all of this is that I love jewelry that tells a story, jewelry that really means something to me.  Stamp Haven parallels my memoir, 'Gift of Grace' that my hope is in creating meaningful pieces for others to enjoy, when you are asked what your necklace means or stands for, you will have an opportunity to share your story as well.

"Shared stories build a relational bridge that Jesus can walk across from your heart to others." PDL

Visit my shop at:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/StampHaven1

Friday, September 26, 2014

A New Season Of Change...

With the trees in breeze each turning over a new leaf; I too feel the need for transformation…

Fall for many of us, brings new possibility with a new school year, new teachers, new activities and a new schedule to adapt to.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love autumn, if not only for a hot cup of apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes, the smell of a camp fire and not to mention the feeling I get when putting on a cozy hoodie and oversized sweats.
















Unfortunately, it’s in between these little moments of bliss that expectation and pressure creep in and I find myself dizzy trying to hush my inner voice that’s telling me I am not doing enough.

The haunting whispers go something like this:

You will never finish writing your book at this pace.
You should start teaching dance again, don’t give that passion up.
You look tired; maybe some pampering would do you some good. (Now this is my love languageJ).
You still haven’t finished the girl’s year in review books.
You need to connect with family and friends back home more so you don’t lose touch.
You need to do more volunteering for the community.
And for goodness sake you need to start working out again!

This reprimanding from my inner self, then causes me to retaliate:

I sign up for writing class.
I order p90x3. (I am so sore it even hurts to type, really it’s lovely.)
I start volunteering in multiple organizations.
I actually go on an interview for a job I don’t want, because unless I can stay home with Gia I know I won’t take it.
I conclude that instead of working outside of the house, that maybe I will dabble in opening an Etsy site to sell some crafty items.
I book a facial. (Again this one is really a bonus, but whatever I’ll gladly busy myself by getting pampered any day.)
I start looking up flights to go home.
I do some online shopping for new seasonal clothes for me and the girls while indulging in my favorite Ritter Chocolate. (Ok a little off course, but these two things make me some kind of crazy happy.)

Whoa!  Are you still with me?  All of this being said; I am hoping that there is at least one other human being on this planet that feels like I do at least to some degree.  Anyone???

The good news is that we are not alone.  We are never alone.  When this mood strikes, and I feel I just can’t get enough done and somehow simultaneously I'm not doing enough, I go to my nightstand and
pull out my little safe haven, ‘The Purpose Driven Life.’  I hold this book that has helped me exponentially over the years and I begin to pray.  I pray for direction and for guidance for the upcoming changes and decisions I need to make. I then carefully open the book and whatever page I happen to fall on that’s what I read.  It is in these words that I find solitude as He speaks to the challenges I bring to Him, generously helping direct me back on my path.

So friends as this new season begins, let’s encourage one another and lift each others spirits rather than compare and judge our peers for their efforts, as most of us are doing the best that we can.  And if you ever feel your life, like mine, finds you in a whirlwind of chaos, it is most definitely time to ask for direction from He who created you.  He is the only one who knows exactly where we are going.

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
So breath easy, we are all in good hands and for the love of fall, enjoy all things pumpkin. J



Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday's Favorite Quotes

"We derail our life journey again and again, backing up to try doors we neglected on the first time around desperate to get it right this time." Elizabeth Gilbert

"I'd finally come to understand what it had been:  a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way in." Cheryl Strayed, Wild

"I didn't feel happy or sad.  I didn't feel proud or ashamed.  I only felt that in spite of all the things I'd done wrong, in getting myself here, I'd done right."  Cheryl Strayed, Wild

"We are a product of our past, but we don't have to be a prisoner of it."  Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Life

"The warmth from the sun shown bright making it’s existence known where I sat with my hands clasped in my lap, my shoulders shrugged.  Although, it was distant, I felt a spark of light within me, dim, yet I was aware of its presence.  The flame inside of me had not yet been extinguished, still dancing within, proving I still existed." 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

"While we try to teach our children about life, our children teach us what life is all about."

As we shopped for Sophie's back to school items today, I started to feel the sadness creep up as I thought of how in just a few days summer will end and for the first time(besides the few hours a week she went to preschool), I won't have her home with me everyday. She is turning six tomorrow and I know it is time, but as the first day of Kindergarten approaches, I find myself pulling her in more than usual for one extra hug.

I have decided that instead of wallowing in my tears, covered from head to toe in used Kleenex, hesitant about my baby leaving the nest, I will try to think more positively about this next stage in her life. I know that Sophie will give others at school, a piece of the joy she has always given to me and the rest of our family and that has immense worth.


For other families going through this same transitional period, I'm sure you know that your child has unique qualities to share with their classmates as well. Just think of the possibilities of their future and what a better world this could be if we continue to teach them the importance of being truly gracious to one another.


Last year, a student at Sophie's preschool was crying because they weren't there on the day they had made a special craft for Halloween. The reason I know this is because when she came home she said, "Mama I need to make the spider craft we did at school the other day. When I asked her why she said, "I need to make it for a friend who wasn't there when we made them and he was really sad today when we all got ours to take home, so I want to bring one for him to 

make him happy." She said it with the biggest smile, because as we all know doing good things for others makes us happy simultaneously. It's a beautiful thing. The compassion for others that she has at five both humbles and inspires me.

If our children are so loving, shouldn't we as adults, responsible for teaching them mirror their gentleness? Isn't that a large part of our humanity in this world?


To all the children taking their first step onto a big yellow bus, or those being dropped off at school and waving those sweet little hands goodbye to Mom or Dad, spread the love sweet angels and I pray that we as adults can learn to do the same.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Easy Peasy Home Organizing...

As the warmth of summer hangs on by a thread, I find myself thinking of ways to organize my life before the school year begins.  I have been searching for something for a chalkboard/shelf combo for the wall near the garage door to write reminders on. I actually was impressed with all of the beautiful options on Etsy. I contemplated ordering one, but most of the pieces I liked cost upwards of $70 so before caving to online shopping,  I decided to try and be crafty attempting to make my own.  The chalkboard paint I bought was $3.99 at Hobby Lobby and the frame is an old one that the glass broke out of years ago and I almost tossed too many times to count, but I'm so glad I didn't.  I also found at Hobby Lobby a two tiered wooden shelf with rod iron details for sunglasses, wallets, keys, etc.  Pictures to come of it all hung up!  Ahhh...now for a glass of wine outside before the heat of the summer melts away and brings on the cool breeze of fall.





Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday's Cucumber Salad

We decided to attempt our first garden this year. Day after day, we tend to the duties needed to facilitate a healthy garden, it has been quit fun actually. Unfortunately though, we haven't had single vegetable sprout despite our efforts. That is until this weekend. The girls ran out to help me water the other night and I caught a glimpse of a cucumber hidden beneath the prickly leaves and yellow flowers.  I pointed it out to the them and I don't know who was more excited them or me! They carefully lifted the foliage and found not one, but three perfectly green, ripe beauties!

We decided to do something tasty with the cucumbers to celebrate this large victory in the Campione's garden and made my father in laws cucumber salad. We broke out our mandolin and sliced our prize worthy cucumbers and an onion, mixed in the dressing, threw it in the fridge to chill and voila, it was time to dig in.

Now I know we are a bit partial to our very own first time home grown veggies, but those cucumbers were the best we have ever had!

Here is the recipe for a this delicious light salad, perfect for a hot, humid summer day! Enjoy!

1 cucumber(we tripled this not wanting to leave any of our cucs out:)
1 onion
5 TBS sugar (we used half the amt)
1/3 cup vinegar
2 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dill weed
1 TBS oil
2 all spice balls(we didn't have these so we used about a 1/2 tsp ground allspice)




Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gift of Grace...my memoir is on hold temporary, but it remains in my heart.

My beautiful white, blusher veil, fell delicately over my dolled up face. I was twenty six and marrying Ryan, the man I loved, but as I stood on the cement church steps, my body started to shake. Not knowing if it was the common “Cold Feet,” so many others have referred to experiencing before saying, I Do, or was I doubting, the decision I had agreed to over a year ago when he slipped the marquise diamond engagement ring on my finger? I began to feel claustrophobic, wiping my tears, I continued down the aisle to my groom, becoming a wife.   

Only seven months into our marriage, I felt stranger to myself.  Feeling like I had lost all significance in my life after giving up my passion, changing my name and moving in with my husband.  I took a leap back in time when I visited my Alma Mater, Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, my past feelings for my first love, turned NFL quarterback, surfaced and finding out if it wasn’t too late to have him back, encompassed my every thought.

Lost in life and unable to trust my gut, I turned to God.  I prayed, begged and pleaded for God to take over in my life. It wasn’t until then that I realized the significance in my life that was irretrievable had been forfeited for a reason.  Losing it all was the only way for me to become self-less and become open to receiving the most beautiful gift of grace.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wednesday Wonderful...

 “Your life is not a result of random chance, fate, or luck.  There is a master plan.  History is His story.  God is pulling the strings.  We make mistakes, but God never does.”  Purpose Driven Life

The other night on my run, I caught a glimpse of this wooden cross out of the corner of my eye.  I slowed down, my eyes still fixated, and then turned around to go back to get a closer look.  I mean look how beautiful.  It was on a lot in the neighborhood that has some major construction going on.  This simple, yet powerful sight gave me the greatest feeling of hope, love and appreciation.  There are signs everywhere that God is with us and this one in particular was simply divine. :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mmm...Monday




Stop what you are doing and just look at the delectable little treat above.  This simple, yet amazing side dish is paired perfectly with your meat of choice hot off the grill.  We had these the other night(I used nitrate free turkey bacon) and Jake confirmed that this was his absolute favorite way that I have ever made asparagus, which is huge seeing that asparagus has become a weekly tradition in this house. Yep, this baby just got added to the rotation.  I can't wait for the aroma of bacon with a little bit of sweetness to fill the house when I make these again next week.  

Try this asap friends!





Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Inspiration on this lovely Wednesday...

I have been a student to the insightful author, Gloria Kempton, my writing coach, for over six months now. She both inspires me and challenges me daily and for this I am grateful.  Currently, I am studying her book, The Outlaw's Journey, which explains in detail the well known writer, Joseph Campbell's, The Hero's Journey. I made a pledge to myself last year that I would complete this memoir.  I am mindful that this writing endeavor will require a whole lot of patience, persistence and of course all the chocolate I can handle to get me through to the final pages, but nothing good comes easy, right?

Go after your dreams friends and never, ever, stop.

A quote by Joseph Campbell that speaks to my soul:

"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday's Father's Day shout out to our real life hero!



The girls amazed me at their willingness to make the letters PAPA using only themselves as props.  I carefully balanced on a chair trying to capture the moment as quickly as possible before one of them giggled and squirmed out of position.  All in all I think it turned out great. The added bonus is that it can double as a display for both Father's Day and 4th of July!

We had a belated celebration with Jake after our return from our awesome vaca in Jamaica.  We had an eventful day having breakfast together, going to church and making a splash at the community pool.

I think he was pretty pleased about the surprise from his girlies.  What do you think?


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Jamaica Mon...l


Hold the phone peeps...Jake and I are headed to a little slice of Caribbean heaven in 2 days, Jamaica here we come!  It's been way too long! We haven't taken a vacation, just the two of us since we conceived Gia. TMI?  And no, this time I assure you we are not making a baby.:)  

I am so looking forward to dating my husband for a whole 6 days!  I will be missing my two little beauties something fierce, thanks to technology we plan on a face time chat somewhere in between, kayaking and pina coladas!:)

This picture was taken in Jamaica the last time we visited on our wedding day. And here is our best replica attempt at the lift, can somebody say Dirty Dancing obsession? 

Have a beautiful week friends!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Mindful Friday...

Last night I sat down, while simultaneously sighing with exhaustion. I began reflecting on how I got to this point of utter fatigue.

I let my mind wander to our daily break down for this particular day. I remembered the shaving cream and food coloring experiment, the giggles, hugs and kisses, the plethora of books we read and re-read again, the unfortunate time-outs, coloring, our picnic on top of sleeping bags on the kitchen floor, a short lived cat nap, exploring outside, jumping in puddles, took a walk, to which we quickly turned around when Gia said she needed a tissue, but really she had bloody nose, we rested stopping the nose bleed while we watched Sophia The First and decided when Jake got home that because grocery day is tomorrow and simply I didn't feel like cooking, that we would venture out for dinner, and after dinner we ran a bath for the girls, time for pjs, made ice cream sundaes, we read more books, brushed teeth, sang songs, said prayers, xoxo and they were tucked in tight. Phew!

This is the precise time when sitting for me finally commenced.

But what I realized from all of this exhaustion is that right now at this point in our children's lives, they need us. Honestly, they need us for just about everything and although I have days like this where I am completely spent, I find myself, when the day slows down a bit, thinking about how it won't be like this forever. That's when Mom guilt sets in and I feel awful for complaining about my worn out self, when what I need to be doing is soaking up these precious moments while they last.

I mean, does it get any cuter than this?



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thursday's Peek Into My Memoir...

In the hustle and bustle of LAX airport, I found a little hideaway in a corner next to the window near my gate.  I placed my green tea and snack neatly next to me along with my carry on, hoping to find my appetite before boarding. 
Enclosed in my suitcase was the beloved white dress that at one time made me feel hopeful.  Concluding the weekend the dress was crumpled into a ball, which resembled me as I looked over to the window and saw my reflection, sitting on the dirty floor curled up in the fetal position with my head resting on my knees.  I observed myself further as I looked frail from having lost nearly five pounds over the course of this whirlwind of a weekend.  I wished that with the pounds that disappeared from my body that also the disappointment, worry and sadness would have dissipated just as easily, but that was not the case.  In fact, they were the very cause for my new slightly more slender stature.  
While I sat feeling cold, alone and helpless, I chose to remain there on the floor in isolation, until the dreadful moment when I had to board the plane, leaving the past behind me, in order to salvage my life in the present.


“Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be your darkest days.”  Rick Warren – Purpose Driven Life

Writing on my closet floor, but not without an essential piece sure to further inspire me...chocolate! 



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tasty Tuesday...

Well, I don't know about you, but there is nothing better than a creamy, cheesy, dinner filled with flavorful layers of texture and a hypnotic aroma that encircles your home. This cheesy tortellini soup is amazing! My hubby said to put this one in the rotation and he is not normally a soup guy. Make this ASAP, you won't be disappointed friends!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday Salad




A Memorial Day Weekend must, this bitter sweet, satisfying healthy side dish has it all. Trust me friends you won't be disappointed!

http://www.ziplist.com/recipes/503218-Cucumber_Tomato_Feta_Salad_Recipe_for_4th_of_July_4th_of_Juy_Pasta_Salad




Friday, May 23, 2014

Nostalgic Friday...

After today Sophie will be considered a Kindergartener. Excuse me while I wipe my drippy, tear filled eyes.  Don't get me wrong, I know she is capable and ready, but let's be candid here, I just don't want to let her go.

So what am I afraid of? Well I'll tell you. The morals, beliefs and actions impressed upon children at this age usually stick good or bad.  This is a huge developing moment for them, body, mind and soul.  I take comfort knowing that although we have sheltered her in some aspects, she has innocence and a pure heart. What will she see, hear and bring her to learn about this crazy world we live in? How will she adapt after discovering these unknown things? I pray that she holds strong to the person that she has developed into, even if she is only 5. She has taught so much already and I hope she will lead others and not follow.

I'm so proud of this little human life that was given to me and I couldn't be more honored to call her my daughter.

Ok enough with the seriousness now! When I asked her what she was most looking forward to on her last day she said, "Wearing my new dress!" That's my girl!






Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thankful Thursday...

Today, I am giving a holler to my awesome hubby for the coffee he had brewed, hot and ready for me, not just today, but EVERY morning.  Yes, I know I am a bit spoiled, but don't tell him:)  At about 7am, I slowly made my way down to the kitchen, Jake had already left for work, Gia snug like a puzzle piece onto my hip and Sophie holding my hand.  I head to the cabinet and choose the largest coffee cup I could get my hands on, a Sisters mug Bre got me, perfect. I set Gia down and let go of Sophs hand to pour a delicious cup of Joe, but not before pouring a couple tablespoons of my delicious Bliss, Vanilla Creamer, because seriously, what is coffee without a little added sweetness?:)  I'm consistently working on focusing on the little things in life that matter.  Life is rapid, hectic and chaotic at times, why not stop to embrace what's good in it, if only for a moment.

So tell me, what are you thankful for this lovely Thursday?

Cheers!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hump Day's Hot Topic: The Squeeze on Lemons...

Have you ever been to a restaurant and the server asks, "Would you like lemon in your water?" To which you respond politely, "No thanks."  Well, think again peeps, before tossing that perfectly sliced, juicy lemon aside. Thanks to my awesome sister and our conversation about these lovely little nuggets, I will never underestimate these beauties again. I've listed a few of the health benefits that will have you ordering a double shot of sour for your otherwise tasteless water.  

1. Lemons with an abundance of vitamin C, help to boost your immune system.

2. Aids in digestion...I'll save you the gory details:)

3. Flawless skin is something we all aspire, am I right? Lemon water helps to release toxins from our blood which helps clear skin. Also, with all that vitamin C packed in a squeeze, will help reduce wrinkles and blemishes.

4. Lemon water is a natural diuretic which helps to flush out nasty toxins from the body.

*Dr. OZ suggests making a chemical peel with 1 cup of water, 2tsp of lemon and 1TBS of Brandy applied directly to the face for exfoliation. I can't wait to try this. Let me know what you think!

5. Everyone knows that water hydrates our bodies, but adding lemon can help to boost your energy too. Bonus! I can feel it pumpin already!

6. There is a little thing called Pectin Fiber, yeah I've never heard of it either, but this lovely addition in this delectable fruit, helps to ward off hunger. I'll give that a double squeeze!

Recently, since jumping on the sour water band wagon, I juice half of a lemon in an 8oz glass of water to kick start my morning in a healthy way.

Who is with me??  Pucker up friends and get to squeezin!




Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tasty Tuesdays: Oh Deliciousness...

      
       Oh the happiness that comes along with the breeze blowing, robins singing and the sun shining. Bring on the tan lines baby!  Isn't it funny that with the change in weather comes a beloved shift in mood? I noticed a few weeks ago while at the Old Drum Day Festival in downtown Warrensburg, that not only my mood had lightened with the fresh air, but it also lifted from those around me. Everyone seemed to carry a grin on their face, while taking a leisure stroll through the historical area. It was refreshing. Which leads me to talk about an amazing, out of this world, most decadent with flavor, one of my favorite colorful salads ever! It's perfect this time of year and all through summer months. Get ready for your taste buds to be submerged with tantalizing flavor. 

Recipe




Don't keep it a secret, do tell...what's your favorite salad?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fancy seeing you here!

This blog began shortly after I had Sophie five whole years ago! I looked forward to sharing parenting ideas and journaling about our daily experiences. While Jake was deployed in the past, I would soul search doing what I have always loved, which is reading and you guessed it, writing. I have journaled from the time I began to write sentences on my own, which I believe was roughly the cultivated age of seven. I have a compilation of journals from many eras of my life, some are easier to turn the pages of than others, but over the years I have learned to embrace them, because after all they are a vivid reflection of who I am.

This brings me to my point, I have decided to start blogging again. I am excited to share recipes, motivation, hot topics, etc.! I am also delighted to announce that I am embarking on a new endeavor. It commenced in the fall when I enrolled in a Memoir 101 class and I have continued taking classes steadily ever since.  I have decided to write my memoir, more specifically details of my whirlwind decade of my 20's. I've decided finishing this memoir is a non-negotiable and I believe making writing a more frequent routine will be the best recipe for completion.

Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to hearing your feedback and learning more about you too!


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