Your Love Is Deep {Your Love is Wide}

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Life has been particularly busier than normal these past months and I do not do busy very well.

Busy makes me feel like I am treading water and just keeping my head above water.

Each morning I try to focus on what really needs my attention whether it be home, business, children, friends, marriage or myself.

These days lately it just feels like everything is needing my attention.  Hence the treading water.

We will figure it out especially with all of the school changes this year but it is taking longer than we expected. Maybe we just don’t handle change well. Who knows.

We have been in such a need for a huge exhale and opportunity to disconnect that we were so excited about the chance to escape to the mountains for five days.

My mom spoiled the whole family with a beautiful getaway to the mountains and it was just what we were needing.

She rented a huge house that held all of us and we had days of hiking, slow mornings, sleeping in, good food, games, art, hot tub and fires.

Today as I was dropping one off to school, taking another to a doctor appointment and then heading back home to record videos this song just connected so deeply with me.

There are busy times in life.

Whether I was a new mommy or chasing after toddlers.

Whether I am homeschooling my children or dropping them all off to different schools.

Whether the business is growing or we are on a new path…I need to rest in the Lord.

I am tired. So tired some days and so many times the rest I need is so much more than physical.

So, if you need rest too I hope you will take a moment, close your eyes and pray for rest…

“Tonight”
(feat. All Sons & Daughters)

Jesus Christ
Will You guide me through this life
Wake me with each morning’s light
And restore my soul’Cause through Your strength
All my fears will fade away
As you lead me in Your ways
I will trust in You

Your love is deep
Your love is wide
And I will rest in Your arms tonight
Your love is deep
Your love is wide
I will rest, I will rest
Tonight

All I see
Is Your beauty chasing me
And the love that sets me free
Oh, I’m found in You

Your love is deep
Your love is wide
And I will rest in Your arms tonight
Your love is deep
Your love is wide
I will rest, I will rest

Your love is deep
Your love is wide
And I will rest in Your arms tonight
Your love is deep
Your love is wide
I will rest, I will rest
Tonight, tonight
Lay Your peace
Like a blanket over me
And as I lay down to sleep
I will rest in You

When Life Wakes You Up {uncovering spontaneity}

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Last September while walking around Arlington National Cemetery with my family I received a message from my doctor that some recent tests had shown some abnormal cells and I needed to come in.

I immediately called the nurse back that had left the message and asked, “Are you saying they are cancer cells?”.

She told me she couldn’t tell me any more and would have the doctor call me back the next day.

The next day?

I slowly sat down on a stone wall as I hung up the phone and my family was around me asking what she had said.

I am not even kidding when I tell you the first thoughts that went through my head.

Before I tell you those first thoughts I would like to say that I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!

I am married to an amazing man, have the children I always dreamed of, I get to use the gifts and the skills the Lord has given me and I get to use them in ways that knocks my socks off.  I have beautiful friendships that are deep, silly, supportive and loyal.  I am surrounded by a family that sees all of me and loves me just the same.  If you would have shown me my future life at 18 years old I would have known that I would be winning the lottery on creative and blessed lives.

I am hoping that it is because of the above and so much more that I first thought this…

“Crap! I am going to die of cancer and I have never dyed my hair red and gotten that nose ring!”

I am not even kidding.

When we got back to Colorado I went in for a second exam and it can back positive that I had cancer cells and I would need to have surgery to remove them.

Last fall I had the surgery and over the past months I have been checked every two months to make sure everything was looking good.

Last month I was told that everything was clear and that the doctor wouldn’t need to see me for a year.

So here it is fall again and for the past five falls I have wanted to dye my hair red.

I can’t watch a movie with Julianne Moore and not instantly dream of red hair!

My hairdresser had always talked me out of it because of all her practical and wise advice like my hair was so blond that the color wouldn’t hold, I’m not good at hair maintenance and red hair is high maintenance and if I wanted to go back to blonde it could take awhile.  Each year I said, “OK, just do a regular highlight.”

This year I didn’t let her talk me out of it.

You get what you want when you say, “I had cancer cells cut out of my cervix and I want the red hair.”

She shut up, smiled and said she would do the red hair.

As long as I have wanted red hair I have wanted to get a nose ring.

I blame it on my dear friend Amanda Purvis and my new friend Danielle Burkleo.

All of my years of wanting a nose ring was pushed over the edge by their awesome hotness.

( I really wanted the hoop but they said I had to wait 8 weeks to put that in)

One of the main reasons I hadn’t gotten my piercing is because my mom hated the idea and parts of me let that hold me back from doing it.

My mom doesn’t really care but just knowing she didn’t like the idea was enough to talk me out of it.

As I had red dye slathered all over my head I called the local tattoo and piercing shop and scheduled my piercing for the next day.

My heart was pounding and I didn’t feel like I fit into the tattoo scene that day:-) but I stayed, sat down and let Ryan poke a hole in my face.

Sure, Maddy almost threw up but I did it!  Kelly thought I looked super hot right away and Ben kept on playing his video game.

I texted a photo to Jack at high school and he thought it was awesome.

It didn’t hurt. At all!

Maybe it hadn’t been my mom but the pain that had kept me from getting it done.

Maybe it was going into a place where I felt out of my element and like I didn’t belong.

I don’t know but I did it.

I am good and I don’t have cancer.

I have a beautiful life in all of the big ways but I don’t want to stop doing those little, fun, silly, brave, crazy things that make life…life!

I don’t want to NOT do things that I really want to do because someone else talks me out of it or because it may not be practical.

I don’t want to not do things because of the opinion of others and what they think is acceptable or lovely.

My heart is in the right place so obviously the things I would want to do wouldn’t be hurtful to others of myself.

I feel like that call that day in the middle of Arlington National Cemetery woke me up to being more me, more spontaneous and more silly.

What have you been really wanting to do and something is holding you back?

If it won’t hurt you, won’t hurt others and is not against your faith…what is holding you back?

Living Room {Before and After}

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The next two weeks most of my posts will be about our recent remodel projects.

I love these kinds of posts and I hope you enjoy them too.

Today I wanted to share our living room before and after.

We extended our cherry floors from our kitchen into our living room and it made an amazing difference in the appearance of space and the ease of visual flow.

I love the color and minimal grain that you see in cherry floors but the softness of the wood is a huge drawback.

We already had cherry throughout the entry and large kitchen and it was cost prohibitive to start over with another wood.

Over time the cherry darkens and I believe gives the home a wonderful warmth.

We have a lot more dust bunnies and the kids don’t love all of the sweeping we now do (obviously they aren’t pros in the sweeping or we wouldn’t have the dust bunnies).

I am loving the updated space!

{BEFORE}

{DURING}

{AFTER}

For Such a Time As This {You are included in the adventure}

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This morning I went on an early morning jog real quick before I needed to make breakfast for Jack and Maddy.

Jack started high school last week (he has homeschooled up until now) and Maddy is starting a new two day a week school program for homeschoolers (that is 30 minutes away).

I will still be homeschooling Benjamin this year and he will continue to go to his one day a week enrichment school.

I love early morning runs or walks because I am quiet, the world is quiet, the air feels different and I am more likely to HEAR…really hear the Lord.

Today I was just asking for guidance with the children, school, the “to do” lists and the busyness that the past two weeks has brought.

I love lists and getting things accomplished but I don’t want MY plans and MY goals to get in the way of HIS plans.

I don’t like busy.  I actually get pretty mean and grumpy with busy and lots of driving around.

The older I get the more I have realized that we are given gifts and skills for our own joy, to bless others and to ultimately honor the Lord.

I talk about this deep belief in some of my online courses and when I teach in person.

I also know that he won’t beg you to use your gifts and skills.

The hard truth is that he doesn’t need us to do anything.

He can do anything he wants and needs without us but here is the best part…he WANTS to include us!

We are asked again and again to be a part of his adventures.

Are we too busy to notice or do our own plans get in the way?

Do amazing adventures pass us by and another person with an open heart and mind join him instead?

I love the story of Esther and this verse especially has made a lasting impact on me.

There are two aspects about this verse that bring me back again and again.

1) If you are not able to do this it is OK…but I will find another that will

2) Have you ever thought that maybe this is why you are here in the first place?

For such a time as this!

What are you being asked to do with your gifts and skills?

Who around you needs encouragement or support?

Do your children need extra time?

Does your husband need to be reminded that he is loved and appreciated and that you don’t want to live this crazy life with anyone but him?

Do you need to stand up for a wrong?

Do you need to forgive or be forgiven?

Are you not using your gifts and skills and keeping yourself busy with things that don’t really matter?

Are you afraid to step out boldly with your gifts?

Are you afraid you will fail?

I am adventurer at heart!

I love to travel and learn and to meet new people.

I love the Lord and want a heart for the things of him.

I get bored easily and want to jump in my car and just drive.

In fact, my kids laugh whenever I fill up the Jeep with gas because I get all giddy because I feel like I could just take off and head out on an adventure.

I want my children to see the world, meet people different from them, love people that they didn’t know they could love and taste life in a different way.

Whenever I travel I look up real estate in that area and wonder if I could live there.

I have always thought I had a bit of gypsy in me:-)

The truth is I have the Lord in me and he hopes I want to join in on his adventures!

I do. I do.

Here is a little inspiration for you:-)

Catching the California Light {our recent trip to the sand and waves}

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We just returned from two weeks in southern California and we are still adjusting to missing our friends and the ocean.

Our trip was magical in so many ways and the friends we stayed with lavished us with open arms, good food, laughter and incredible adventures.

After our time with friends we stayed a few days with Kelly’s family and then made our way to Santa Ana and Studio Cresendoh.

I had two of the best days ever teaching and creating with the students at this sold out class all about papers and portraits (I am really excited to tell you that I will be back next year).

Here is just a glimpse into our time away…

Our trip began with an incredible Mexican feast, a swimming pool with a diving board :-), music in the park with dinner and s’mores on the beach.

Not too shabby!

Our next day with friends began with a beautiful breakfast and cars loaded up for the beach!

This day was packed full of surf lessons, kayaking in the ocean and paddle boarding in the lagoon.

We felt very loved this day:-)

{Benjamin getting some surfing lessons}

Our night ended with what my friend does best…loving on you with good food and conversation.

Maddy even helped with the California rolls:-)

Our third day started with the coolest breakfast at Claire’s On Cedros and gluten free pancakes.

I had loved my hike at Torrey Pines on my last visit and they were kind enough to take us again.

This view would never get old!

After three days with friends we packed up and headed towards San Clemente to see my husband’s brother and family.

On the way we were told by friend Lissa to do whatever is necessary to eat at The Ramos House Cafe in San Juan Capistrano.

We are soooo glad we obeyed:-)

THE best meal! So good!  Get their gluten free hush puppies if you go.  We are still talking about them!

The next two nights were spent with Kelly’s family enjoying their pool and the beach.

After a few days with family we were off to Disneyland!  We took Jack and Maddy to Disneyworld when they were little and decided we needed to blow the cash on Ben too.

We stayed almost until close (to get our money’s worth of course) and pretty much fell into bed exhausted.

The next morning we made our way to Coronado Island and enjoyed San Diego over the next four days.

The first day we just rested in the hotel and enjoyed the downtime. We had been running for days and really needed the break.

The next day we took the train to meet my friend Alexis and her boys again to play at Legoland.

Ben was in heaven and loved every minute.

I think this day we spent about five hours at the pool. I made art and the kids swam.

{photo by Jenny Doh}

{photo by Jenny Doh}

{photo by Jenny Doh}

It was then time to make our way to Santa Ana and set up for my two day workshop at the Cresendoh Studio with Jenny Doh.

After we set up we were able to meet some of my aunts, uncles and cousins for dinner and I think we closed the place down.

The next two days I was surrounded by beautiful women that truly showed up with their art.

It is always the biggest joy to see women take techniques and make a piece their own.

{photo by Jenny Doh}

{photo by Jenny Doh}

{photo by Jenny Doh}

California was good to us.

Acts of Service Advent Tree

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Good morning!

I have been getting a lot of questions and emails about our acts of service Advent tree that was seen in the housewalk.

I had intended to write this yesterday but you know how that goes.

Even though it is December 11 (how did that happen) you still have time to do some of the acts that I will share.

Obviously, you can create your own that work with your family too.

This idea originally came to me while I was watching Anne Marie’s Twig Tree video in Home for the Holidays.

She was creating a small twig tree to hang on the wall and I knew right away that I wanted to make it big and hang acts of service off of it.

I sat down with my mom and we started brainstorming things we could do as a family.

We even asked the children to help with a few ideas.

I typed all of the acts up in Word and printed them out.

We cut the acts of service into strips and folded them over to get them ready to stuff into the stars.

Our stars are made from craft paper using a star template I found online.

We (my mom) started to sew them all shut with the acts of service inside but my machine was driving her NUTS so I told her we could go with Plan B.

Always have a Plan B.

For half of the star we glued them shut with a glue stick (only getting glue around the edges to keep the glue off the acts of service) and we used a white gel pen to make thread marks on the outside.

It worked for me and possibly saved my mom’s sanity.

If you are going to hang the stars as shown …make sure that whether you sew or glue them shut that you include the end of the string in the star before you close it.

I then just randomly hung the stars on the twig tree.

Here are our acts of service for this year.

*******************************************************

I hope to do this each year as a family because

1) who needs more candy each day through December

2) who doesn’t need more times in their lives to think of others more than their selves

As much as I love, love, love the month of December if you are not careful it can turn into just shopping, eating too much and sugar comas.

I feel like each time we so something like this we take a huge exhale, slow down and focus.

I am thinking we will keep it up year around and have weekly acts of service.

I will let you know.

Thank you for asking about this and thank you Anne Marie for inspiring this project.

Home for the Holidays is still open for registration.

This course is full of projects videos for gift ideas, decor and recipes.

Come back on Friday to find out more about my brand new e-course Studying Under The Masters {becoming an apprentice} and I will also announce the winner of the $300 Dick Blick gift card.

Vintage Christmas Tree With Balsam Hill

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If you have had a chance to see our home dressed up for Christmas you will see over and over that I love vintage.

I love beautiful things that tell a story.

No matter where we travel I am always drawn to the art and the history of the culture.

If I have the choice to buy something new or go searching for something that may be a bit tarnished…I usually choose the tarnished.

Even when decorating I search for ways to incorporate my love of vintage, art, textures and layers.

I think that sometimes the holidays can feel overwhelming if you think your home, your tree or your gifts need to look like others.

We all have a style and have beautiful things that we surround ourselves with.

You don’t need to look far to find the inspiration you need for your whole home this holiday.

This year when I was offered the opportunity to try a Balsam Hill tree I jumped at the chance.

I decided to put the tree in my art studio and to make the theme of the tree the vintage items that I have around my studio.

My son and I were dumping out vintage hardware, crystals and vintage treasures from my trips in Europe, Mexico and even local flea markets.

Before long I had vintage French pocket watches, French laundry labels, French convent chore name sticks and vintage buttons ready to decorate the tree.

I found some of my favorite ornaments, some red ticking ribbon, star garland and starting playing with the tree.

It seemed perfect to make the final touch to the tree some pine cones I had collected in our neighborhood, simple cream candles, “chalkboard” ornaments created from Pickmonkey and of course the star made of twigs.

Under the tree was my beautiful vintage grain sack tree skirt and packages wrapped with our hand stamped wrapping paper.

I want to fill our home with beautiful items that we can use.

Look around your home.

What are you drawn to and what do you collect?

Have you ever thought to decorate with your vintage china, your grandma’s lace or your favorite art supplies?

Did you notice that I snuck three vintage paintbrushes in my tree?

It is in my art studio…why not!

Do you crochet or knit? Your tree would look stunning with crocheted garland and ornaments.

Your tree would look amazing with white lights, berries and a pine cone garland.

How about decorating your tree with white lights and black and white photos of your family tree?

Your decor should reflect you, your passions and your family.

**********

When I was asked to go to the main page of Balsam Hill and pick out a tree I felt completely spoiled.

I sat with my children looking at all of the trees and to be honest…it was hard to choose.

We finally decided on the Nantucket Blue Spruce Christmas Tree because of the color, how real the branches looked and it was a smaller tree.

We chose the 6 1/2 foot and prelit with white lights.

I thought it looked beautiful in the photo without one ornament.

I am a live tree girl so I didn’t know what to expect.

When the box arrived I asked Kelly to open the box and help me put it together because…

1) I don’t like to read directions

2) I don’t like to read directions

Kelly called me to the garage 5 minutes later.

He started to laugh and told me to look at the tree.

I was worried.

Then I saw what he was talking about.

It was perfectly put together in minutes.

I think it took him longer to open the box than put the tree together.

He told me I could have done it without reading directions:-)

The tree was gorgeous. Serious!  So pretty and came in three sections that snap into each other and it is all prelit.

When we put it into my studio to decorate it my son touched it and still asked if it was real.

I think THAT is impressive.

I think we should also go back to the fact that you won’t have to read any instructions:-)

Thank you Balsam Hill for the beautiful tree!

Here is a sneak peek at the gorgeous (and I mean gorgeous) tree of Courtney of French Country Cottage.

I am honored to be sharing my Vintage Christmas Tree as part of

Balsam Hill’s 12 Bloggers of Christmas Series!

Here are the links to all of the Christmas tree posts.

Monday December 2nd:

Vanessa (At The Picket Fence)

Ashley (Cherished Bliss)

Tuesday December 3rd:

Beth (Unskinny Boppy)

Candace (Vintage News Junkie)

Wednesday December 4th:

KariAnne (Thistlewood Farms)

Kristin (My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia)

Thursday December 5th:

Kim (Sand and Sisal)

Laura (Finding Home)

Friday December 6th:

Courtney (French Country Cottage)

Jeanne (Jeanne Oliver)

Saturday December 7th:

Jen (Jen Rizzo)

Heather (At The Picket Fence)

You will love all of the inspiration!