No One Loves You Like I Do

motherhood By April 23, 2017 6 Comments

I have a vivid memory of driving David to his first day of early intervention preschool. He had just turned three years old and because of his disability, weighed only eleven pounds and was unable sit up without assistance. I was terrified. I wanted to turn the car around and head straight to Mexico where I was sure we could find a tiny villa on the water and live a nice, secluded little life. I was at war inside myself. I knew early intervention preschool was important for David’s development, but would they love him? Would they nurture him and be kind to him? Would they be attentive enough? Would they take the time to understand him?

I parked the car, unstrapped David from his infant car seat {remember he was three years old but tiny} and carried him into his new classroom. I passed him hesitantly to the kind, soft spoken preschool teacher. The staff smiled at me reassuringly. It took everything in me to hold myself together. I explained how to feed him and reminded them David would need assistance sitting up. After a few minutes I kissed David good-bye, got in my car and began sobbing. No one could love David like I did.

For the first few weeks, every time I dropped David off it was torture, but slowly it got easier. After a couple months it was clear the staff adored David. He was adjusting well to the classroom schedule. He was already learning new things. I even began to enjoy a little time to myself. Maybe preschool wasn’t such a bad thing.

I hoped it would be easier when Matthias, our second, started preschool–but nope, it was just as terrifying for me. Plus, Matthias screamed at the top of his lungs for the first two weeks–clinging to my leg and begging me not to leave. His teacher assured me this was normal and would end after a couple weeks. But still, I would climb in my car and cry. No one could love Matthias like his mama.

And babysitters, oh my goodness. I border on paranoid when it comes to leaving our kids with other people–especially when it’s a new sitter. I’ve been known to drop in on a sitter unannounced. Once when the boys were very little, maybe two and three years old, I stopped in unannounced to find the sitter watching a rated R movie while she was talking on the phone and the boys were in another room entertaining themselves. I was not impressed. We didn’t ask her to babysit again. The first time we went away overnight, we tried to Skype with the boys but I burst into tears on the call–I missed them so much. Instead of a quick hello from mom and dad, I was a blubbering mess.

But the good has far outweighed the bad. The sitter we used most when the boys were little is still a dear friend. Matthias never called her his babysitter, he always referred to her as his best friend. She played superheros with the boys, colored with them and made their favorite foods. When she got married and moved away, we cried because we all love her so much.

While it’s true, no one can love my boys like I do, there are many people who have showered our boys with affection and nurturing and made their lives better. These same people freed me up to get work done, take breaks and rest so I could come back and be a better mama. We’ve had amazing teachers who give all they are to work with our boys. We’ve had real life angels {disguised as teachers} who worked with David for years, finally getting him to take his first independent steps. With their encouragement he learned to walk! They tirelessly loved and pushed David. They gave him more than I could give him alone.

Being a mom is beautiful and hard–not only when I am with my kids but also when we are apart. It takes a lot of trust to let someone else care for my boys, but I’ve found there are incredible people who bring new experiences and new perspectives. As David’s gotten older we find ourselves needing more help, not less. I am humbled and grateful for the Lindsey, who gives so much to our boys. She adds vibrancy and joy–not only to our kids’ lives–but mine and Steve’s lives as well. Our family is better because of her.

When I am away from my children I never truly leave them. I carry their hearts inside mine. Even when we are apart we are always connected. I keep them close with their names around my finger or their initials close to my heart. They are my loves, my heart, my world.

They will be loved by many–but truly–no one will ever love them like their mama does.

This is the heartfelt meaning behind my jewelry. We’d love to make something just for you. Click here to find a piece that speaks to your mama heart. 

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Heart Wide Open

motherhood, the meaning behind, worthiness By April 4, 2017 7 Comments

I thought I had to be strong all the time. I thought if I admitted how exhausted I was, I was admitting my failure as a mother.

A couple of years ago, Steve and I traveled to New York for a business meeting. It was a last-minute trip and my twin sister, Chrissie, graciously offered to watch our boys. Matthias was ecstatic—this was basically a mini-vacation for him and time to hang out with his cousins. David, who has special needs, was harder to leave overnight. He needed lots of attention as he was spoon fed and non-verbal. We planned to be away for four nights, so I prepared food David’s favorite foods, made a list of his medications and mapped out his schedule. My sister found a sitter to help her each afternoon. We were all set!

As I boarded the plane for our trip, I exhaled deeply. The plane ride was five hours—I could watch movies or read or sleep or heck, just sit and do nothing at all! I needed a break and even though this was a ‘work trip’ it felt like a vacation. We landed in New York, had a few great meetings, ate delicious food and slept in a hotel bed. As we packed up to come home I could feel a heaviness in my heart. Jumping back into the routine of feeding and caring for David felt overwhelming. I felt tired just thinking about it. But I couldn’t wait to see my sweet boys.

The plane landed, we collected our luggage and drove to my sister’s home. It was wonderful to see the boys. We brought them each a souvenir and listened to Matthias describe their adventures; including lots of ice cream and a bowling alley dance party. Memories were made! The kids ran outside to get a few more minutes of play time while the adults sat around the table to chat. After a quiet moment, Chrissie put her hand on my arm and looked into my eyes.

“Lisa, caring for David was so hard. Wow, it was so hard. He needed help from the moment he got up in the morning to the moment I put him to bed. And even after bedtime I had to check on him a few times and put him back into bed. When the sitter arrived each afternoon, I could take a couple hours to get other things done, but even with her help it seemed like we were both moving nonstop.  How do you manage to meet all of David’s needs and still find time for Matthias? How in the world do you do this every single day?”

My eyes began to fill with tears as I tried to swallow the lump in my throat. Over the years I was determined to keep a positive attitude. I loved caring for David and spending time with him. When I felt exhausted or frustrated I reminded myself how precious David is to me. I refused to let myself fall into sadness—there was no time for that, I had told myself. David was wonderful and it was my honor to care for him.

But as we sat there at her kitchen table, my sister’s words made their way deep into my heart. She had walked in my shoes for the last five days. She had seen my life through my eyes. She was speaking honest words right to my heart. I couldn’t hold back my tears.

“I don’t know how I do it. I’m so very tired.” I said with a shaky voice.

I was terrified to admit how exhausted I was, believing if I admitted it I would be a failure. I worried that because David needed so much help, Matthias was only getting leftovers. I thought I needed to keep a positive attitude be a ‘good mom’. I thought I could push the difficult feelings away by being strong. But it wasn’t working. I was exhausted. I was discouraged. I couldn’t hold myself together. I didn’t know it in that moment, but my breakdown was actually a break through.

My heart needed to grieve. Caring for two boys with such different needs was really, hard—and that was okay. I didn’t have to pretend it wasn’t hard. I could be honest. I could say it was hard. I could ask for help. I could take breaks. None of these things affected my love for David or Matthias. None of these made me a ‘bad mom’ or a failure. They simply made me human.

I tried to keep the door of my heart shut tightly so I wouldn’t feel the pain, but the pain seeped in anyway. It came through the tiniest cracks and crevices. No matter how hard I tried to keep it out, it found its way inside. With trembling hands and tears running down my cheeks, I loosened the deadbolt and cracked the door open just the tiniest bit. I admitted being a mom to two boys, one with special needs, was hard. I admitted I was exhausted.

To my surprise, a warm, soothing light flooded inside. I felt lighter. The light gave me strength to open the door a bit more.  Hope streamed inside like a breath of fresh air. I didn’t have to suffer through this alone. No one was judging me except myself. As difficult as it was to admit I was exhausted, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as trying to keep the door to my heart shut tightly. I felt like I could finally breathe. I felt seen and loved. I felt like I was allowed to be me, I didn’t have to pretend to be someone else.

Now when I am tired, I take breaks. Sometimes I even take breaks before I am tired! We have a sitter that helps us with David’s care. Matthias and I spend some together each week, just the two of us. We have lunch at Olive Garden and it’s our special time.  Steve and I have a regular date night where we can talk, hold hands and have fun without distractions.

I have begun to open my heart in other ways as well. I am learning to say what I want and need inside my marriage. For so long I thought I had to be needless and wantless. I thought it was my job to take care of everyone else and ask for nothing in return. I found it simply did not work. I am a whole person with my own needs and wants–and that is a beautiful thing! I have also begun asking for help inside our business. We have an amazing team of people who help with everything from web design to marketing to customer service. I am thankful I do not have to carry this load alone.



As I open my heart more and more I find bravery and love abound. Keeping the door to my heart closed didn’t keep me safe, it kept me isolated. To live fully and be completely me is to open the door to my heart and allow the beauty and pain inside. With an open heart I am able to love myself and others more deeply. I want to live every moment of this amazing, imperfect journey with a heart wide open.

This is the meaning behind the Heart Wide Open Necklace. Click here for more details.

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finding hope in the heartbreak

inspiration, motherhood, stories from our community, the meaning behind By April 21, 2016 4 Comments

When you share your stories with my on Facebook or Instagram, it often stops me right where I am. It’s humbling to create jewelry that holds deep meaning–and when these handmade pieces become part of your story, it fills me. Jen’s story of heartache and hope resonated deeply with me–and you! When she shared on Facebook, many of you responded to her comment and encouraged her. This community is a beautiful place where people can be honest and feel loved. I’m grateful. I reached out to Jen to share more of her story with us. Here’s Jen’s comment from Facebook…

‘2014 was supposed to be a joyous year. In the spring, we thought my mom’s cancer was on the up and up, and my husband and I finally became pregnant. We told my mom early, thinking it would give her final push to really kick cancer’s butt. It turned out that it had a stronger hold on her than anyone knew, and the hospital stays started. We find out at our 3 month ultrasound that the baby has an irreversible birth defect. Everyone fought and prayed for the best. However, angels were made that summer; my mom passed in July, and we lost the baby two weeks later. I didn’t know what to do, that fog was so think. My family and I stuck together and through them and friends, I pulled myself out. There are now sunny days again–we have a beautiful little girl, named after my mom. Her room’s theme is You Are My Sunshine. ‘

It warmed my heart to see the ways you and others in our community responded, encouraged, and shared in the joy and pain. We asked Jen to share a bit more about her journey, and where she finds hope. Read for more…

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How do you experience hope each day?

I experience hope every time I look at my daughter. Rosabella fills me with hope every day — hope for a bright future for her, hope for the best for our family, and the knowing that everything is okay. My mom believed in hope, had given me a bracelet with that word on it.  We always hope for the best outcome possible. Sometimes the best outcome isn’t want we want, but what is best for the person going through the tough time.

When in this journey did you experience a glimmer of hope?

I first experienced a glimmer of hope when we found out we were pregnant. It was right around Mother’s Day 2014. I had wanted to give my mom a grandchild so badly, especially knowing she was sick. We told my mom early, at about 8-9 weeks. I thought that maybe this was the bump she needed to finally get her body back to where she wanted it.  We gave her a bracelet that said Grandma on it.  At first, she thought it was from our cat!  Then she thought about it, and I hadn’t seen her so excited in a long time!

What are some of the ways you feel supported by friends and family?

My husband was my rock during that tough summer. He was there at every doctor’s appointment, and had no problem with me staying for days at a time with my mom when she was home.  He encouraged me to do silly things to keep my mind off of things while my mom slept. Once my mom went into hospice, he came every night with me to see her.  My dad has always been an amazing person, but blew me away during those years.  They were divorced but became her main care taker.  He took her to every appointment, every treatment, and spent nights at her house as well.  He told me everything that happened at those appointments, and we all talked a lot as a family.  I see my father at least once a week now (he does some baby-sitting now and again too), and we do lots of talking and reminiscing.  I have a close group of girlfriends; like all friends we get involved in life and don’t always see each other.  During that time, they were the first to come to my mom’s house and brought food for my dad, my brother, and me.  They were always checking in. I don’t know what I would have done without them. Now we all have kids (well, one has a nephew she adores), and we try to get together at least once a month.

Mom cape

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How would you encourage someone going through the process of grieving the loss of a loved one?

I would say take life one hour at a time.  When you’re ready, take life one day at a time.  There is no amount of time that can totally take that hurt of losing a loved one away, but slowly the hurt does lessen.  No one can tell you that enough time has passed and you should be “over it”.  Only the person grieving knows when they are able to put one foot in front of the other.  What I also found helped was joining a support group.  Members of this group had all experienced a loss, and although not all losses were the same, we all knew that deep feeling of despair and grief.  It started as more of a therapeutic gathering, but now I attend because these people have become my friends. 

What have you learned about yourself this year?

Since Bella was born, I have learned that I am stronger than I thought in many respects.  The late nights, working on my Master’s program, working full time… I do have my moments where I think I cannot do it and I break down. In the end, though, it gets done.  I just think of my mom, and how hard she fought against her illness.  I am nowhere near the hardships she had to endure, and I know she would not want me giving up or breaking down.

Are there any other details or thoughts you would like to share with the community?

I know we’ve all heard this, but do not take anything for granted.  Life is short; a loved one is there one minute, and could be gone the next.  This is something that I keep in mind everyday.  Yes, I am busy and there are things that have to get done (work, classwork).  However, the laundry can wait.  Dinner can be later.  What matters most is my family–making sure I play with Bella as soon as we come home, chasing Chewie around the house for playtime, sitting down and spending time with Jason.  Take time to be with the ones you love.  But also remember to love yourself, too–for you are no good to anyone if you yourself are unhappy.

Bella and Chewie

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 This is so beautiful, Jen. Thank you Jen for sharing your heart! I am so glad the sunburst ring holds deep meaning for you. You are strong and brave. xx

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Moments of motherhood

family, motherhood By April 15, 2016 2 Comments

Will you walk down memory lane with me? Looking back through these old photos has my heart melted into a puddle. Have you ever snapped a pic in what seems like a totally normal, mundane moment and then years later look back and think ‘OH MY GOSH I’m so glad I captured that!’ It’s the everyday, mundane moments that make life truly beautiful.

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Matthias loved dressing up as a toddler and preschooler. Every day he wore elaborate costumes and pretended to be a superhero or fireman. I loved watching him express himself then and love looking back and seeing how his passion for creativity and expression is still so much the same!

And David {above middle} learned to feed himself spoonfuls of yogurt and we CELEBRATED! Such a big accomplishment. And those sweet baby cheeks melt me.

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I’m somehow with two of the cuddliest kids in the world. They love to hold hands and snuggle up on the couch. They would happily snuggle up in our bed every night if we let them. I believe one can never have too many cuddles.

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Looking back on these pics I can see how much David has changed. He’s filled out–he’s not so skinny any more. He’s much sturdier health wise {thank you Lord!} and has a lot more opinions than he used to have. But oh my goodness, that little sparkle in his eye and his love of life hasn’t changed one bit. I love it!

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Owning our own business has been good and bad–but mostly good. There are nights Steve and I both have to work late, but we also have the ability to take time off when we need or want to. We’ve taken two weeks off to travel to England. When David had heart surgery when he was seven years old, we took a lot of time off to take care of him. We were able to from his hospital room or make calls after he fell asleep. I am thankful so thankful for that flexibility. I don’t take it for granted.

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Oh my gosh those frog rain boots were Matthias’ favorite for a couple years. We went through a few pairs! What is it about kids and boots–there is nothing cuter. Nothing.

Being a family isn’t made up of one huge success or one massive failure. Family is formed over days, months and years. It’s the day in, day out mundane stuff of life that creates a safe place to truly be yourself–and know that you’re loved no matter what. Every kiss, cuddle, tear wiped, lunch packed, homework packet signed and bedtime prayer bonds our hearts together. Being a mom is life giving and heart breaking. It’s so incredibly hard and so amazingly beautiful. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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being shaped and formed and molded

jewelry, motherhood, the meaning behind By April 12, 2016 4 Comments

I don’t know how to make jewelry–or at least there are times I want to give up because it’s hard! Over the years, I’ve learned how to use my tools, but sometimes they still won’t cooperate. When I set out to create a new design, I dream, sketch, metal work, file, hammer, polish—and I can tell you, nine times out of ten, the end result is different that what I imagined when inspiration first came to me.

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I see symbolism here with motherhood. I dreamed about being a mom since I was a little girl. I wrapped my baby doll in a blanket and carried her around the house. I changed pretend diapers and hoped some day I would have my own, very real baby. When I held David in my arms for the first time, everything I imagined fell away. With a disability, he wasn’t what I expected, but he was adorable and precious. He was part of me and also uniquely himself. With Matthias’ birth I was similarly unprepared and facing the unexpected. When each of my boys was placed in my arms we met for the first time. That first day we began the adventure getting to know each other.

With every cuddle, kiss, tear wiped and hand held we are molding our children. With every comforting word and piece of advice shared, we are guiding and training our children. Each child brings his own personality, spunk and curiosity to life. Like metalworking and jewelry design, it’s an imperfect process. The artist and the metal work together. The parent and the child are each growing, changing and being shaped into something lovely.

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There is a beauty to a handmade piece that is forged from metal and shaped into something meaningful. When our pieces are made, sometimes the metal works in our favor, and sometimes it works against us. The process involves fire to soften and shape the metal, but it also requires cool water baths and the gentle brushes to buff and shine. There is push and pull—two forces at work. What results is better because of the struggle. The finished design is a combination of what I bring to the workbench and what the raw materials allow.  Motherhood, like jewelry making, is two forces working together. It’s a process of being shaped and formed and molded—not just the child, but the mother as well.

Each handmade piece of jewelry represents my mother’s heart. It’s the deep significance of a journey walked together. Through highs and lows each of us is changed and deep bonds are formed. This is where love flourishes. This is the meaning behind each piece of jewelry I create.

Stack on a few delicate birthstone rings or wear a handcrafted necklace close to your heart with the knowledge that being a mother is magnificent work—not because mother or child is perfect, but because together we are growing, becoming stronger and more whole.  Together we are better.

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Mother’s Day is just a few short weeks away. There is a perfect gift waiting to be created, just for you or a dear one in your life. Don’t wait—click here to see the pieces I’ve created for you.

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the beauty of emptiness

motherhood, the meaning behind the jewelry By March 10, 2016 14 Comments

One day last week, David’s tummy was hurting on and off for hours. GI pain is a common with his syndrome and he struggles with it daily. I worked through our list of remedies to soothe his pain and comfort his soul. I gave him Advil, held him, rubbed and patted his back and had him soak in a warm bath. Nothing worked, he continued to arch and scream. What began with confidence ended with discouragement. We reached the end of the list and the end of my energy, and I began to pray harder, “Lord help him, Lord help me.”  There seemed to be no answers, no solution and we were both exhausted. We laid down together and cried. Finally, he drifted off to sleep and I got up and made myself a cup of coffee. As a mother, I’d been there before—the excruciating place of feeling helpless. In that moment I couldn’t feel it, but as we walk this journey together, the outpouring of love, pain of emptiness and beauty of grace have come together to form a deep bond between us. Somehow, the struggle strengthens the bond. Our souls are connected.

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I’ve experienced this with both of my boys. Each one has their own needs and their own way of communicating. Each one, in some inexplainable way, has my whole heart. When I became a mother, my heart opened itself in a new way. The depth of love I felt for this new, tiny person, entrusted to my care was overwhelming and amazing and terrifying. The caring, listening, nurturing, feeding, worrying, comforting and constant guesswork of loving my child was and continues to be the most humbling and important work I do. Where I’ve found myself empty, I’ve also experienced the miracle of being renewed and beginning again. To my relief, there are new mercies every morning.

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Motherhood has no clear boundaries or end, it flows into every part of my life. My heart is always with my children, even when we are physically apart. I can’t help it, I want to give them my time, compassion and love. A whole heart, devoted to another is a beautiful, imperfect thing. The sacred sacrifice of motherhood is a high and humble calling. Pouring myself out means sometimes I will be empty, but in that place deep bonds are formed. It’s much more difficult and much more beautiful than I expected. I am so much better for it.

Have you experienced the beauty of emptiness as a mother or caregiver?

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