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! :)

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?


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 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...


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!

Candy Corn martini?!?!?

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

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.

Monday, October 17, 2011


...And trying to find my way back to how to function in real life.
And trying to hold on to all the moments,
and not slip back in to the mundane,
but to remember the gratefulness.
the joy.
the way the air moved.
the weightlessness of it all.
To keep it stored in my center,
and to keep it's balance.

this... is my happy place. And I find and leave - bits of my soul there...

Oh, and P.S. the shop is back open! WOO!!! :)

and I think Aunt B liked her necklace :)
afterall - What Would Aunt Beth Do?!?!?!? That's what I always say!

Happy fall everyone!!! :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

So here's the problem with me and baking....

{Let me just apologize up front for any potential risk of being inappropriate .... :) um - I'm at least good for a laugh here and there and I'm willing to put myself out there for mockery}

I'm not someone that presents herself in boxes of perfectionism. I just don't care :)
I will show up with my mismatched outfit, my toes not perfectly painted - in flip flops, no lipstick, and my poor excuse for a cooked item. BUT I'll show up with love (and with a fabulous necklace on)
So I'm happy to show you one of my many imperfections....
This is what it looks like when I bake....

a boob. It looks like a boob! (is it just me? It really looks like that right?!)

I really didn't intend for that... but here's what I've got....

See, I'm a foodie at heart. {AT HEART!}... I'm not however a full on foodie that's actually good on the baking/cooking side. I'm a food admirer. I can spend all day gawking at foodgawker, finding, saving and printing recipes.... and then handing them to my husband :) {YAY!}
I love to find good food, I love to eat good food, I'm pretty picky about what actually makes it into my top favorites, and I'm always the one to find and coordinate holiday recipes for meals. Which is odd... but in my family I'm known as the taster. The seasoner. The person that checks to make sure it doesn't need anything else, or the person that says - "add pancetta"! (and you should always add pancetta. Even to pancake batter. yes) I'm just not the person that actually makes it. I know. I am kind of a fraud. But I rarely muster up the will to want to go through the actual process myself. The 15 ingredients, the too many steps, the MESS, and then not being amazed at the end... so I usually don't bother unless of course it's a "NO-BAKE"! LOVE THOSE!
So shamefully... the extent of my baking is often from a bag. Yes, I said it. I'm over it too.
So long story not so short.... I had these 2 things to work with!

So I happily mixed my 4 ingredient cookies, and then added in chocolate chips - because you should ALWAYS do that... and then formed my imperfect blobs... and then (forgot to wait until the end and) stuck on the pumpkin spice hersheys kisses! (which by the way tastes like pumpkin PIE nuggets!) & then I put them in the oven.

and then my six year old daughter - yes my SIX year old said: "Aren't we supposed to put them on after we bake them?" and I went.... "ohhhh yeeaaaahhhhhhh", as I turned on the oven light to see these hysterical looking BOOB cookies!
Of course I snapped a picture of that and texted it to many, and one friend reminded me that it was all OK because after all - IT'S BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!
Awesome factoid to make my boob cookies magnificently OK, and not as creepy.

(And P.S. when I get back up & running mid October I'll be doing a special with my "Courage" necklace to honor all the amazing warrior gals fighting this month... and every month)

So Even though they should probably look like this: {which... achem.... still looks like a boob}

And not so much this

The bottom line is - THEY TASTE GOOD! And they're easy! And that's all I care about! And you should try them!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Etsy shop closed for a couple weeks!

Hey Folks! Sorry I'll need to close the etsy shop for the first couple weeks of October.
But you can see many many samples of my work on the facebook page, jewelry album:
Don't miss out! I'm involved in a couple AWESOME giveaways during that time. "my happiest place on earth"

Oh Fiddlesticks Giveaway!

Happy to be participating in a super cool giveaway going on over HERE at Oh Fiddlesticks!

Lots of cool vendors!

Embrace the Mountain...

I am always amazed by how brilliantly my husband can put things into perspective... re-focus the goal, anticipate the landing, and center me right back to where I ought to be. He is gifted in analogies :)
And when I'm falling - he is able to present words like a perfectly packaged gift that pick me right back up.

When I made the decision to walk away from my 10 year career gig in May, I was truly in the middle of a postal melt down.... There was mere scraps of me as leftover morsels to give my children. I had nothing left of me to give.
And then he gave me this....
And we have repeatedly seen examples of "pulling up the empties". And after we realize that's what it is - we smile and say "OOooh! This is one of those", and then we can trust and move forward.

And then who knew there would be a part THREE to Busting out 1 & 2!?!?!
not me!
I was feeling stuck, and in fear, and not sure how to move - whether east or west - it was paralyzing.
Aren't we always in a pattern of forward movement, just bustling through to the next thing? There is always something we are moving towards... milestones...goals...adventures...seasons. My tough moments are when the forward movement feels suddenly halted, and I don't know where I'm going.
And then he told me to ...
We were on a path of embracing the mountain. The excitement of it, the challenges of it, and the forward movement up. There was noticeable change afoot...
But then - there was this "funk" - it was this trapped feeling, stunted momentum - and not knowing how to keep moving forward. So aggravating and potentially disheartening.
But we had forgotten something. A key element....
a very common part of the climb: base camp.
Often times during the climb you can make upwards progress but then get stuck at base camp because the climate/weather isn't right yet or right for the next leg of the journey. So the climb is still happening, progress still happening, but we've got to wait for the climate to be right for the next leg. In a way it's a blessing to be held here, because only God knows when the climate is just right for us to continue the climb.
{Looking over the Austrian Alps. Most beautiful scenery on earth.}

I loved that. And it is what I needed.
Then I was talking to my sister today about Seasons.
We live our life in a series of seasons. And even though we might long for the next season, we are learning from the current one - what we want, what we need, where we'd like to be...
and the growth from this season will prune us and make us ready for what's next.

So... I guess it's partially an on-going saga of patience - at base camp. And a time to be pruned.
But to be ready! Because here comes life.