hello backyard living

celebrate the every day, hello monday By April 10, 2017 3 Comments

We’ve been wanting to make our backyard more livable and more comfortable. For some reason, in past summers we don’t spend a lot of time out there–but it’s a beautiful space and we’re determined to change that! I’ve been looking at our backyard as an extension of our home and trying to add furniture we’ll be drawn to. I want to make it a place where we naturally spend time.

It’s coming together and I’m ready for warmer weather. We’ve had so many chilly and rainy days–but soon I hope we’ll be heading outside to sip coffee in the sunshine and eating dinner outside as the sun sets.

It’s a brand new week, how about some hellos?

Hello finding a sturdy and beautiful table within our budget {I waited until it went on sale.} I searched high and low and really feel in love with this one! {I’m linking sources if you’d like to know where I found various pieces.}

Hello adding softer touches like a faux fur throw and mixing in some patterns with pillows.

Hello baskets and succulents.

Hello pups who are happy to sit still for a photo.

Hello comfortable outdoor sofa. We’re hoping to find a fire pit to add to this space.

Hello making music and relaxing outdoors.

Hello plants who seem happy to be getting lots of rain.

Hello chairs that are so comfortable I never want to get up.

Hello hanging plants and macrame.

Hello white string lights that add ambiance in the evenings. I put them on a timer so they come on and turn off automatically.

Hello loving the longer days and light that stretches late in the evening.

Hello keeping the couch covered in rainy weather and trying to make sure all the dog poop is picked up!

Hello sitting outside and sketching and designing and feeling like my head might explode from too many ideas.

Hello feeling grateful for time to sit outside and read with Matthias on homeschool days.

Hello feeling a pull to slow down, breathe more deeply and soak up the moment.

Hello finding beauty in the here and now. There hard stuff but there is also so much good.
Best of all there is grace for this moment.

Hello to you. It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. Join me? What are you saying hello to this week?

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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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hello family time

family, hello monday By April 3, 2017 2 Comments

We had a great weekend together, enjoying some quiet in the midst of a crazy season. There’s so much going on but none of it is more important than family time.

Since we have to say goodbye to the weekend, we may as well greet the new week with open arms and an open heart. How about some hellos for new week.

Hello hiking a new trail along the creek. So beautiful!

Hello bonding.
These two have been cuddling a lot lately.

Hello new designs. I’m so excited about them. These are charms from the North Star initial necklace above.
See all the new designs here.

Hello smiles between tummy troubles. David had kind of rough weekend–more tummy pain and tears than normal. We’re not sure why?

Hello look-alikes. There two don’t just look alike they are so much alike. Love them.

Hello Louis healing nicely post surgery. Hooray!

Hello guests from out of town. So fun.

Hello Beauty and The Beast. We loved it! And we also watched the cartoon version this weekend.

Hello sitting in the sun in the backyard with coffee. I can’t wait for summer.

Hello reading more with David. He loves it so much.

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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My Spark, My North Star

david, hope, the meaning behind By March 29, 2017 5 Comments

Can I tell you something? I have worried about David his entire life. And the guilt, so much guilt. At times it has been completely overwhelming. I’ve worried about his physical health–making sure he has nutritious foods, the right medicines in the correct doses, and doctors who take time to understand his unique needs, but I’ve also worried about his mental and emotional well-being. What is it like to be trapped inside a body that does not cooperate? David cannot speak with words. He cannot dress himself or prepare his own food. He depends on me for survival. I worried if I did not give David every single thing he needed, he would not be okay. It all depended on me—or so I believed.

This simply is not true.

David is not only okay, he is incredible. He is powerful. He is learning to communicate his needs and wants. He entertains himself and soothes himself when he is upset. He connects deeply with other people. He is genuinely happy and it’s not because of me. Yes, David needs extra help and attention. There are things he cannot do for himself. But his disability does not mean he is powerless. He does not need my pity.

{Can you see that spark?!}

Inside David’s heart there is a spark all his own. It shines brightly. It is what makes David, David. It is why other people connect so easily with him. It is how he connects to the God of the Universe. I am able to meet some of David’s needs, but I am not required to meet all of them. I am just one person. When situations arise where I am unable to meet David’s needs, God will provide a way. Either David will meet his own need or someone else will be there to help. David will be okay, I truly believe this.

It wasn’t just David I worried about. For so long I believed I was responsible for everyone else around me. It was my job to manage their thoughts and feelings. I believed somehow I could control the world around me. It all rested on my shoulders. It was my job, and mine alone, to create a beautiful home, raise kids who thrive and to nurture a marriage with deep connection.

There were days I would walk around in a fog. Other people’s thoughts and emotions crowded in around me to the point where I could barely breathe. It was a fog so thick, I could not see through it. I could not think straight. It was too messy. I could not make sense of it all. The fog was suffocating.

I tried to be needless and wantless and put myself last. I tried to be everything I thought I should be. I tried to say everything I thought I should say. I tried to prove I was lovable, I was enough, but I couldn’t do it. No matter how hard I tried, it never seemed to be enough.

I am learning I have nothing to prove. I am growing and beginning to believe I am lovable just as I am. In this process I found out something AMAZING.

When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible. ~ Brené Brown

Inside my heart there is a spark. It’s the center of who I am. It is my truest, most beautiful self. This spark is my North Star and it is there to guide me. My North Star shines so bright it burns away the fog around me. My North Star is how I connect with the God of the Universe.

I hold this spark inside my heart.
My spark is what makes me, me.

My spark makes me beautiful.
My spark lights me up from the inside.
My spark has facets like a diamond.
My spark makes me curious, angry, sad and silly.
My spark makes me wonder and explore and ask questions.
My spark makes my feet stomp and my voice loud.
My spark makes me cry while heavy tears fall.
My spark makes my eyes twinkle and my mouth smile.

My spark is all mine.
And David’s spark is all his. It shines bright!
And your spark is all yours. You shine so very bright.

God has given each of us our own spark, our own North Star. I cannot tell you how to follow your North Star, just as you cannot tell me how to follow mine.
I cannot make my husband okay.
I cannot make my kids okay.
I cannot make my friends okay.

I can love them. I can listen to them. I can walk alongside them. But each of them must look to their own North Star to find their way.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure everything out on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do,
everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track.
Proverbs 3:5-6

I can feel my feelings, you can feel your feelings.
I can think my thoughts, you can think your thoughts.
I can say what I want and need, you can say what you want and need.
Each of us can be completely ourselves.
Each of us can look to our own North Star.

This where we find love and hope. This is where we find peace.

When I follow my North Star I will always be where I’m meant to be.
When you follow your North Star you will always be where you’re meant to be.

This is the meaning behind the *new* North Star necklace. Each handcrafted charm has an initial on one side and a Braille constellation on the reverse side. Your personalized initial is a sweet, gentle reminder to follow your North Star.
Create your own North Star Necklace here.

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hello olympic level cuddling

hello monday By March 27, 2017 2 Comments

You know that cozy couch spot that everyone seems to gravitate towards? David took my hand and led me there yesterday morning, then climbed up on my lap and cuddled in. My sister snapped the pic below. A little bit later Matthias was cuddled up in the same spot with the pugs.

I often joke that if cuddling were a sport, all of my boys {David, Matthias and Steve} would be olympic level. I am surrounded by cuddle bugs. I didn’t used to be so cuddly but they have reformed me.

It’s a brand new week with beauty {and cuddling!} to be found. How about some hellos?

Hello making time to cuddle. With David, it’s a way for our hearts to connect. He has no words and this time together is so important.

Hello pugs who are always happy to jump in on a cuddle session!

Hello getting into cuddling mode and never wanting to leave the house. Can’t we stay in pajamas all day?

Hello feeling kind of sad lately. There’s no reason why, really. I’m just trying to feel it and be gentle with myself.

Hello wishing I could wake up to fresh coffee, bacon, eggs and cinnamon rolls every morning, Sounds so lovely, Oh, and add sunshine to that list too!

Hello hanging string lights in the backyard and longing for warmer weather. It’s coming!

Hello lots and lots going on this week–haircuts, meetings, deadlines, decisions, and a little surgery for Louis the pug.

Hello new jewelry to share this week. I CANNOT wait to show you the new designs.

Hello to you! It’s a new beginning and a fresh start! What are you saying hello to this week?

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hello then, hello now

hello monday By March 20, 2017 4 Comments

I took this pic of the boys together at one of our favorite coffee shops, and then remembered a similar pic from a couple years ago. Wow! They have grown and changed so much in the last couple years. It’s crazy! But some things don’t change–they are just as sweet and fun and unique as they were then.
It’s a brand new week, how about some hellos?
Hello then and now. left 2015, right 2017

Hello Nana! We had some sweet time with her over the weekend.

Hello realizing we officially have teenagers. Matthias saw a movie downtown while we went to dinner. He’s growing up!

Hello sprucing up the backyard for summer and simultaneously preparing for a bunch of rain next week!

Hello learning how to macrame. More on that soon!

Hello photoshoot and new products coming soon. I CAN’T WAIT TO SHARE!

Hello Mother’s Day right around the corner!

Hello love love loving this movie. Have you seen it?

Hello reading this book with Matthias. It’s a children’s book about the civil war. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

Hello looking at these boots. Aren’t they cute? They look comfortable too.

Hello making time for quiet, for me, for space to think. My soul needs it.

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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a slow day in Morro bay

san luis obispo By March 15, 2017 1 Comment

Saturday we went on an adventure to Morro Bay. We had Mexican food for lunch {we love this place}, walked the path around Morro Rock and got Thrifty’s ice cream on our way home. It was super hot in San Luis Obispo {around 85*} and sooo chilly in Morro Bay. I always forget the weather difference. Brrr! We didn’t stay long because it was windy and cold. But it was so fun to get out together. We used to do this more when the boys were smaller. Somehow it seems harder to have slow Saturdays now.
I’m finding the more time I make for downtime the more I crave it. And somehow everything still gets done–I’m just much less stressed and rushed. After all, this is the most important stuff, right? Just being together and maybe a little ice cream.

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hello rainbow of colors

hello monday By March 13, 2017 1 Comment

We have been experiencing a heat wave–around 80* and I love it! I am outside taking walks everyday. It feels good. Things are beginning to bloom–it makes my heart happy.

How about some hellos for a new week?

Hello colorful plants popping up everywhere!

Hello daylight savings. I love longer days and evening light.

Hello Nutella. Oh my goodness-I brought a jar home last week and it’s been dangerous. We made chocolate cookies and then I put Nutella and bananas between two; like a sandwich. It was amazing!!

Hello homeschool. This is a whole new world for us and definitely a slower pace.

Hello St. Patrick’s Day {on Friday}. Do you celebrate St. Patty’s Day?

Hello trying to figure out a way to move out some bigger trash–like an old mattress in our garage.

Hello watching some newer Bollywood films. This one was really good.

Hello reading this book with Matthias. IT IS SO GOOD! And it makes me cry.

Hello sketching and doodling and dreaming up new ideas.

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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Hello sunshine and rain

hello monday By March 6, 2017 2 Comments

We need both–sunshine and rain, to see things flower and bloom. I believe it is the same with our hearts. We’ve had a ton of rain this winter and things are beginning to flower and bloom. I feel this happening in my heart as well. The pain makes the joy so much sweeter. The difficult things nurture a grateful heart.

It’s a brand new week, how about some hellos?

Hello bright yellow sunflower bursting out of the ground. I found you on my walk yesterday and you are truly lovely.

Hello looking back and seeing how the rain brings beauty.

Hello opening myself to not having all the answers. To letting things be imperfect. To letting things be what they are.

Hello happy David. He seems to be thriving on a dairy free diet. He has been so energetic and silly!

Hello loving the sunshine and getting out for more walks lately. It’s so good for my soul.

Hello pups who keep peeing in the house. Advice please?! How do I get them to stop?

Hello making time to rest and think and nap a bit.

Hello new painting that is brightening our living room!

Hello awesome new children’s book. Poetic and profound!

Hello coffee and laundry and email and to-do lists.

It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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Hello this, hello that

hello monday By February 27, 2017 3 Comments

Hello friends! We had a restful weekend–we spent most of it at home. The downtime and slowing to relax was much needed. It’s Monday, how about some hellos for a new week?

Hello cute David with his knit beanie. Our friend, Tammy found this for him and it’s been a favorite–especially with so many chilly mornings.

Hello cracking up because Matthias looks so much like the main character from A Series Of Unfortunate Events. We are loving the new Netflix version.

Hello working on sprucing the boys bedrooms and the loft area upstairs. I’m trying to make it a space for teenagers instead of little kids.

Hello fighting sniffles. We are taking airborne and trying to stay well.

Hello projects. It’s good to stretch and dream and create. It’s also tiring!

Hello new school for Matthias. We are trying out a hybrid model–a classical school with homeschool three days a week. It’s a massive change but we are excited.

Hello disbelief that March is only a day away!

Hello starting to read this book. I read it in college and loved it. Have you read it?

Hello loving this blog lately. So good

Hello pizza and the Academy Awards. Did your favorite movies win?

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

 

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