Monday, December 19, 2011

PLEASE READ!

I can't tell you the love I have for this little boy. Please watch his beautiful face and help us find a cure for him. My friends started teamASHER and every year they put on probably the best auction I've seen, to raise money for the CF foundation! PLEASE PLEASE if you'd be willing to donate items or services to this auction, we'd be so grateful! E-mail me for forms and contact info - leah{at}myabrucedesigns.com.
& please watch this powerful video made by Asher's dad
teamASHER 2011 Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Video from teamAsher on Vimeo.

This is for Asher, and in honor of his baby brother, and for everyone else out there fighting. We will fight with you!!!

{I will forward you the official donation form and letter from about the auction. They will be promoting the business through facebook and twitter as well. This couldn't be a more amazing family to be fighting with. Thank you so  much for your consideration!}

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

reminder during this holiday season - Remember Ashley

Just a reminder this holiday season - while you're out at your holiday parties, or fumbling through family dinners with that crazy uncle, or bombed off Grandma's spiked lemonade, or meeting the co-workers for a last hurrah.... if you read none of my other blog posts - READ THIS ONE!!!! http://myabrucedesigns.blogspot.com/2011/09/honoring-ashley.html
and think of Ashley's precious daughter.

Back in the shop! Prayer pendant necklaces - insert your message of hope

I have more prayer pendant necklaces in stock - but they go QUICK!




 and cute little birdcages too!
http://www.etsy.com/listing/85638808/prayer-box-pendant-necklace-with-hope-or

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

currently...

ok you, Casey leigh ... I'm in! :)


stole from http://www.thewiegands.com/
I have seen this on a few people's blog and thought it might be fun!


Obsessing over: Christmas decor, Christmas music, sweets, bundled up babies, hats, love wearing layers, never matching them of course, fun boots when possible, cooler weather *hopefully, trying to nail down my Christmas card...ack!


Working on: not so  much on, as much as BURIED with necklace orders :)  It is all I can do to keep up with what's coming in, and I can't even take time to update the blog, or show you new styles, or put up new listings.  
or do anything else.




Thinking about: Where we are supposed to be this coming year. In all areas. Wondering what is best for us, praying for clear doors and windows and full on flashing signs :) Hoping for some needed changes.  
thinking how my boy will be TWO in a couple weeks. That is so crazy. Thinking how my girl is such a big kid now, she baffles me.


Anticipating: a busy month! lots of birthdays, lots of different family parts for various holiday get togethers, need to get crackin on lots of TO DO lists... December is always stressful for me. I used to save all my vacation days so I could have a few weeks off to enjoy it as much as possible, and here I am now officially *off* and it's even busier I think.  I go up and down on whether to just close the shop for the month and enjoy it :)


Listening to: Christmas channel on TV - ALL DAY. The hubs turns it on first thing in the morning, as well as the Christmas tree and various decorations, so that when I get up, it's already cheery :) awwww....


Drinking: I wish it was something chocolate, frothy, hot and scrumptious, but it's water right now :) Coffee in the AM, and diet coke at lunch!


Wishing: all that is mentioned in 'thinking about'. Wishing for change, guidance, more involvement with our local and global community, to serve others more, to gain more of a solid ground in grace and giving, and thankfulness for my kidlets. A sharper focus on how much to pursue what I'm doing. 
Always more balance, better priorities, more fun time, less stress time.
To really show up for people. To walk life with others.  To dig deep, get involved and find our core.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekend memories

meltable
thoughtful
 
curious
crazy
 
sensitive
 beauty
joyful
 chillin
 kisses
 thinking
 plotting
 door greeter 

*moments*


{I used to be able to take just as many obsessive photos of my daughter when she was younger, but now that she's wised up to me, and gets tired of it, she rarely cooperates. And thus, I always have way more to share of the boy. doesn't mean I don't try!}

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day


Today we honor and salute all of our men & women and their families that have served our country. We know when one person serves, their whole family serves as well. What an amazing gift to the world. I cannot fathom their bravery, their sacrifice, or their dedication.
Love to you and yours

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hope.... in a box

We all have someone in our life that needs - - a prayer, or hope, or a wish, or a change, or a healing, or some grace, or some heavy amounts of love, or maybe it's forgiveness, or strength. Or maybe it's us. Maybe we need that. 


This piece is close to my heart.

I love the prayer pendant box.   "All faiths use prayer boxes to focus the mind on one’s prayerful thoughts or secret wishes."

This tiny little box in it's beauty holds something close. Inside you can keep your most intimate prayer. Your most secretive thought. Your wish for someone else maybe. Maybe it's your children's names, keeping them locked up and safe next to your heart. Maybe it's someone you want to remember, to keep close to you. Maybe it's a lock of hair from when your child was younger and you just want a piece of the baby that is now grown and flourishing to remind you of all the grace you saw along the way.
Maybe you or someone you know needs a healing, needs a cure, needs some massive help... Needs a full blown rescue
Maybe someone you know needs to know you are thinking of them, praying for them, wishing the same change for them that you know they are desperately grasping for.
Maybe it's merely a mustard seed you need to keep inside, to remind you to keep the faith.

I love the vast possibilities of what this can be for people. The comfort it could bring. I love that it offers me the ability to make myself write it out - that which my heart longs for, and then roll it up and keep it close.
I think there is a lot of power in just making ourselves write out or speak out those things that we keep hidden in our souls. Those quiet whispers of dreams that we don't speak out of fear. The silent breaking inside that just needs to be spoken to release its grasp on our heart.

Whether it's here, or in a prayer pendant, or on a sticky note on your mirror - i encourage you to write it. Keep it at the front of your focus. Whether you need to be armed in the morning by looking up and seeing in your own words:
- Be strong
- Courage
- Love more
- Strength words
- Heal Tom
- Hope
- Pray for Marie
- I am enough
- Job change
- relationships

Whatever it is - whether for you, or for someone else. I think there is strength in speaking it into existence. When we get it out, it's not just ours to bear, we don't have to hold it in anymore. We don't have to grasp it so tightly, we gain some freedom there.

So here is a piece that I love because of the strength, the encouragement, the hope that it speaks to.
I tucked the prayer word inside the box, and I put hope next to it. Because I have great hope for what's inside it. I also put a tag on the clasp with an initial of who the prayer is for.
If you want to customize this configuration or do one of the alternate configurations seen below, feel free to send me an etsy convo.
I'm also happy to change the pearl/crystal colors on it. I thought black & white went well with the dramatic black features on the pendant.

Here are some other configurations.



Friday, November 4, 2011

You can change the world too

Loved hearing this today: thoughts on something Steve Jobs said "you can change it {life}, you can influence it.  You can build your own THINGS that other people can use.  Once you learn that, you will never be the same again."

Well, you can change and influence the world too!
By building cool PEOPLE. Raise them up.


How vitally important to remember. We influence the world by the people we are raising to live in it, and what they will do with this life, with this knowledge, how they will treat others, what butterfly affects they will start, what kind of people will they be? What foot print will they leave?

We start that process.
We as a community, not even just parents. I know some very important non parents in my children's lives that I know will have major impacts on them. So all of us adults influence these generations.

I remember reading something once (wish I could find it) about how when I speak negative words to my children, I speak them to THEIR children, and their children's children. Because how i raise mine, will teach them how to raise theirs. If I speak positive, loving, strength words to my children, I am speaking them also to  their children, and their children's children....
What we do now affects generation after generation.
And I'm sure in those moments where we lose our temper - we can't imagine doing that to our one day grand-baby. But in essence, we are.
It's a nice perspective to remember.

"No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."



I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
This excerpt from Nicole Johnson's novel The Invisible Woman 

New items added to the shop and some thoughts on letting your life speak

Here are a few samples I've added to the shop this week. I don't always share these updates on the blog, but always on facebook - so I hope you're a fan! :)




 

I was thinking about this one.....


How I spent so much of my life being quiet, fearful, and hid in a tightly wound box of structure.
Unwilling to bust outside of that box. It was a safe zone. I didn't have to question anything, because it was all very black and white. 
I didn't need people in my life because that was too much work. It was potential for drama. I have no tolerance for games in relationships, so it was easier to just avoid them. 
I followed.
I didn't really know where my voice was because I had nothing to say. 
Then a slow progression happened - of me unraveling from the box. 
From the shell of what was normal for me. I began to listen.
I began to learn about the world. What was happening in it. That's where I found my voice - most likely through rage. After all, how can you stay quiet when you want to scream about something.
So realizing that I had ideas about issues, that there was life outside the box, that I was allowed to question anything and everything.... it was freeing. Then all my other little bricks that were built up around me, slowly began to decay in all other areas. Once I felt comfortable with who I was, I was comfortable to discover others, and wanted to know who THEY were. I found friends that I realized were fun, and exciting, encouraging, accepting, and they brought me no drama, no games, and they were accepting of me for whoever I was. 
This was brilliant and enlightening. That opened up other boxes, now that I realized people in my life may not be a difficult thing, but rather an exciting thing! 
And I decided it was Ok to be whatever I want. Say what I wanted. Have opposing thoughts on what I wanted... I was at a place where I could let my life speak. Finally. And I've never looked back.
I found my new self, new boxes to bust, and I felt more free. I happily live outside the box now.
The un-fun Leah era is night and day different from the era I've enjoyed over the last few years. The experiences I have now, the people I am constantly meeting, the LIVING that's happening here, the grey areas that i now embrace....
There's no reason to stay on the side lines, or to remain quiet, or safe inside structured boxes... 

LET YOUR LIFE SPEAK

What good does it do if at the end, no one knows what your life had to say...

"I want to leave a legacy... How will they remember me."



(click on photo for bigger view)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Let your life speak



Just added to the shop! I like how the 3 little crystal drops make a nice decorative addition to the pendant, but I also think it would be great symbolism for a mama of 3 :)

http://www.etsy.com/listing/85202940/bohemian-styled-mixed-metal-let-your

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What's on sale this week!

I think I'll pick a random design on certain weeks to put on sale.
I'm currently listing 2 of these on sale this week.
You can change pearl or crystal drop colors as well.


http://www.etsy.com/listing/78227420/personalized-hammered-bronze-necklace

Monday, October 31, 2011

Coupon code for the shop!

OK I'm trying this out! I'm offering a coupon code for a while today in the etsy shop! (non-custom requests)
Use TREAT10 at check out.
Happy Halloween folks! :)
http://www.etsy.com/shop/MyaBruceDesigns

And just a recommendation - I'd start your Christmas orders now - because once I get slammed in December I start cutting off orders for Christmas.
:)

Friday, October 28, 2011

One of my new necklace designs for fall




New in the shop for fall is this fun, long, bohemian and vintage inspired necklace... I'm loving it.


26mm antiqued gold colored birdcage with tiny brown jewel drop hanging from bottom of it. brass oval says loved (if you want a different one, please specify in check out notes - up to 5 letters. Can also fit "i am loved") small copper leaf antique aqua/on brass drop on 28" antiqued gold colored link chain.

Fall....Respite for my soul

What is Fall to me?


reprieve.

I'm sure many of you east coasters feel the same way after winter... but summer here is HOT! 120 degrees hot. I try not to complain about that, as I can always imagine our soldiers in an even worse heat with even more layers of clothing and too many pounds they have to carry on top of that.

But nonetheless.... it's hot.

We spend a season of shelter & hiding out & living long days hot & tired and stuck inside. When you walk outside it feels like someone has left the oven open. It's a blast of heat. So everyone.everywhere.is cranky.

Then comes Fall. My favorite. :)

Fall is for recouping ... rejuvenating... Feeding my soul & my innards, Refocusing to family time, Getting back outside & getting air & breath back into life, Finding new graces to forgive all my harbored negativity that grows & roots during summer hibernation, Reconnecting with people, with nature, with being active...

It comes with nostalgic smells of pumpkin & cinnamon, and promises of good food, and warm fall drinks that just make me happy.

It offers more community, more fun, more connectedness, more functions, more opportunities to meet the neighbors, to let the kids play outside and hear laughter...
it's calming. centering. it's like a warm bath after a good cry. :)
And here are some of my favorite fall things...

pumpkins!

decorating like the Griswolds. Go cheesy or go home.
Getting outside again
Visiting my Happy place

Dressing up!
{This was my prego Juno year in 09}

Cousins on Thanksgiving

Lots of good food... and especially Uncle D's annual monster-cheese ball


The way the trees change to greet me

Trying to take the annual family photo and laugh at how no one cooperates


"Wherever you are, be all there." ~Jim Elliot
Notice all the bits of joy around you. Soak them up. Let them work that healing process into your bones, the recouping from one season to a new one. Track all the grace in the moments... those ones you take your mental snapshots of and pray that you'll remember forever.
Live BIG. and OPEN for journey. You get but one.

"Boxes and packages. Life comes like that. Boxes of time... we eagerly rip open to discover a season of delight: weddings and babies and new houses to become homes. Another box arrives and inside we find a time of hard goings: too many voices, too many dishes, too many curriculum choices, too many mismatched socks, not enough me. But that box is a GIFT.

All time is that. Whether I see it that way or not.

Each package of days are days that come but once.
This is the package of life, of noise, of laughter. Oh, to tissue-unwrap each day with glee. To be captivated in each moment, holding it high, in wonderment.

Accepting that to everything there is a season. That all times are boxed packages of grace...

So we treasure what every package, what every day, holds......"
~Ann Voskamp

Some fun fall recipes!
DSC_2814


Candy Corn martini?!?!? http://theslowroasteditalian.blogspot.com/2011/10/candy-corn-martini.html



I'm teaming up today with great bloggers! Check out the party going on over here!!!!
Photobucket

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My guilt, mom-hood, rushing through life and some of my biggest regrets... these are the dark holes in my soul.




I had a an old friend comment today on a photo I posted of me and my daughter -
she said - "i bet you're an amazing mom."

So this started the conversation....

me: you're too kind! the funny thing about mom-hood is that trying to be amazing is really hard, and at the end of most days I feel like I've failed it.

her: Leah that's blasphemy. You love your kids more than anything and the entire facebookiverse knows it!

me: yes - love is the easy part! :) The hard part is not letting the busy, the clutter, the stupid, the mundane of life get in the way from missing all the moments, or being fully present.

I felt like this conversation compounded an onslaught of things lately that have been poking me to address this topic.

This is an on-going struggle for me. The constant guilt I can't ever seem to shake. The overwhelming regret I have for how un-present I have been for my family. At the end of every day I realize the clutter takes over and I missed the moments. My bustling through it got me nowhere important. I spent 6 years working really long days while trying to also watch my kids at the same time, and by the end of my 10 year career gig when i was a complete wreck from trying to do both, I finally walked away -
& all i had to show - .... was the 6 years I lost with my kids.



I'll never get over that. And i have nothing but greatness to speak of for the company I worked for. They were so good to me. I loved the people. the job was completely stressful - yes, but they became a sort of family. it is what it is - and i needed to work and they were truly my best option, but trying to do that from home while my kids could still see me, but not have my attention - was a new heart break every day.

It broke me bit by bit and over time the guilt, the burn out, the stress - it corroded my spirit, and although it was a slow and steady downward spiral for me, I pretty much just lost it over night. i finally hit the wall where I couldn't do all things and something had to give, and I just wasn't willing to let it be my kids any more. i walked. without a net. i didn't know how or if it would work (still don't), but i couldn't do anything else.

this is not an argument for working moms vs. stay at home moms, because I have the utmost respect for both - and I've done both. This is about my OWN inner battle, trying to do both at the same time, and how it utterly did NOT work for ME.

On the busiest of work days, I would start working at 6am. that would give me a couple hours before the kids got up. Then me or my husband would take my daughter to school, and I would spend the day rotating the baby from bouncer to swing, to play yard (which was tightly stuffed in to my home office), to walker, then crib, then repeat. I had one of those boppy bottle holders so he could have his milk because i couldn't take enough time to stop to even do that.
I'd work crazily all day across 2 computers, take conference calls and try to squeeze them in during nap times, and on the really wretched days, I would be stuck on a long conference call (on mute of course) and i would hear the baby wake up and start crying, and I didn't feel like I could say to the client - "I'm sorry I have to go get the baby up", so I would sit in a torturous anxiety filled state where I grew literally hot & panicked and would get more agitated by the second, feeling horrible that I wasn't running to get him. And then i realized - work was coming first. I should have hung up the phone. I should have gone to him. I should have taken more time to hold him and give him his bottle.

I'd skip lunch, keep working, then I would rush out to pick my daughter up from school, and I'd be a stressed out mess during every moment that I was gone, because I'd be getting calls and emails the whole time I was gone. I'd rush her home and be short about her taking too long to get her things, and then I'd run inside, set her up with a snack, try to get the baby to nap again, and then back to work. Then she would come beg for us to go play outside for a while, and I'd be too busy and stressed, and then she'd get upset. And then I'd decay even more. By the time my husband would get home around 6:30, I was still working, and I was such an angry mess by that point that I was done talking for the day. We would rush to try to figure out dinner, get the kids bathed and in bed, and then I'd check emails again, often I'd still be working until 10pm and then rush to shower and get in bed so I could get up early and do it all again. By the peak of my busy season I had lost half my hair from stress, got shingles from stress, I was sick, i got the worst 2 week ear infection of my life, lived on advil and coffee and had started having what I can only assume are panic attacks.
It was merely a life of survival. And I rushed all day every day. I missed all their moments, the conversations, the snuggles, the play time, the bonding time. And I knew it would eventually break me from trying to do both or ruin us all.
I think it would have been easier had they been somewhere else all day while I worked, or had I worked outside of the house. At least they would not see me in front of them but be frustrated that they couldn't have my attention. But I couldn't release my control or my desire to want to be with them, even though I couldn't be present. I didn't necessarily have the option to not work at the time (merely due to budget), but it doesn't make me regret it less. I will always wish i could have done it better, handled it better, not failed at it somehow. Not have noticed the resentment in my 5/6 year old....


There was nothing left of me to give. anyone.


So the only offering of me was the one that couldn't see friends, do playdates, play ball, have time for my husband, or family, sign my daughter up for soccer, do housework, or function - outside of being a working mom.
I was burned out by November... but i staggered on fumes until March/April when I realized i was unsalvageable. That's when i started attempting to document my journey in gifts - inspired by Ann Voskamps' 1,000 Gifts. I wanted to force myself to see the moments I was constantly missing. And i remember the first one that got me. I was taking a quick lunch break to run to the store for milk for the baby, and he was sitting in the front of the cart and we walked out of the cold store and into the sun and he shivered and then smiled and looked up, smiling - like 'what just did that'. And i caught the moment like a picture which i still see in my mind. because it made me smile, which I realized I hadn't done in a while, and it made me really fully aware of a small moment that i was truly thankful for. And it felt like a gift.
#22. sun on neck after shivers.


I started over in May, and embarked on what felt to me like being a first time mom. sad to think of that when I have a 6 year old and a 17 month old at the time. But it felt that way.
This is not an -oh-poor-me story. Because trust me, I am embarrassed by how I handled it, regretful, and still often find lots of anger at myself, and it's hard for me to even share it. These are the darker chambers in the depths of my heart. I somewhat don't even know why I'm bothering to share it either. i wish I was one of those rock-star moms that seems to be so laid back and just takes everything in stride and can handle all of life's stress. Graceful at it somehow. I'm not that.
I am not at all thrilled that this is part of my story. That this is how the beginning stages of our relationships formed. I loathe that. I was given life. and i wasted.

"here dies another day.
During which i have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me:
and with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?"

If i could have just been more thankful for my life. More present. more aware.
I was given tomorrow. & tomorrow. & tomorrow....
maybe I would have done it better. I don't know. I'm still trying to figure it out.

let me make clear that I am not trying to convince anyone to quit their job. My regret is totally in how I handled it. I could not have changed the fact that I had to work, and may need to again. It is what it is. I just wish i could have been better for my family at the same time. My encouragement is to do the best with what you have to do. Otherwise, you end up with a lot of anger like I did. And the angrier i got, the more I shut down.

I am still attempting to grow out my mullet :) and ironically, it is still a battle to keep myself fully focused on the moments, to not let myself get busy or overwhelmed, but to see and find and experience joys with my kidlets. They are easy to love, but life is easy to miss, and trying to balance things for the first time, like staying on top of the house, laundry, new business, family time, school, friend time, appointments, etc... It's an ongoing battle to prioritize. I am trying more every day to find my comfortable center. to be the mom I always wanted to be. i wake up thankful every day now, and i try to keep that at the front of my brain. Some days that is easier than others. Lots of days I still feel like I am blowing it. But every day is new. And tomorrow i will wake up, armed for another day, and hope/pray that I live it well.