Whoa! BIG announcement!

adventures, news to share By May 5, 2017 4 Comments

Friends!! I’ve been sitting on a secret project and I FINALLY get to tell you about it! Today is a GOOD day!

For years Steve and I have been cooking up a plan to move beyond jewelry and offer new, beautiful products that are full of meaning.

Today we are THRILLED to announce our new shop, Leonard Lane. It’s a brand new space and it’s fully stocked with leather bags. I’ve designed these purses and wallets with beauty and function in mind. They are made with gorgeous leather and attention to detail. Inside the bags you’ll find a lining with handwritten messages of love and beauty. This project has been a labor of love—and it’s finally here and ready to share with the world {and most importantly, YOU!}.

These are the bags we toss over our shoulders to keep our hands free. Our hands have more important things to do—like hold our little ones and keep them close.

These are the bags where we tuck away important things, like a driver’s license and lip gloss, but also snacks and sippy cups to keep our little ones entertained.

These bags are all kinds of amazing. From the cross body to the leather fringe, I am kind of in love with all of them!

We have big ideas for Leonard Lane. Good things are ahead.

Welcome to Leonard Lane. A place where we can come together. A place with high quality goods and lots of heart.

With love,
Steve and Lisa, and the Leonard Lane team

 

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An Important Update

behind the scenes By April 30, 2017 9 Comments

There is a lot going on behind the scenes and we want you to know about it!

You probably know my husband, Steve, and I work together on Lisa Leonard Designs.

My passion is designing jewelry that’s full of deep meaning. My inspiration is my family and the mundane and magical stuff that fills our days. These thoughts, feelings and ideas swirl in my head and I bring them into the world through the jewelry. Even better? It’s how you and I connect. This community is amazing!

Steve has a passion for big ideas and business. He is a visionary—able to see what the future holds for us—and able to see the path that will take us there. He’s smart and creative and honestly, a little crazy. It’s awesome. Our strengths are well matched and we are a great team.

And speaking of teams—we have an incredible group of people around us. You see my picture and pictures of our family, but there are other people behind the scenes making things happen. We couldn’t run our business without them. From the customer service team to the graphic designer to the shipping team to the artisans who make each piece of jewelry, our team is full of people we sincerely enjoy spending time with. People who care about what they do and best of all, they care about you.

Today we are partnering with artisans in California and Israel to create beautiful, personalized jewelry just for you. Each piece is made to order and forged with care. It’s humbling to partner with people who are so GOOD at what they do. They take my designs and Steve’s vision and they bring them into the real world. Because of YOU we are creating not only jewelry, but jobs in the USA and abroad.

Thank you from our family and the entire Lisa Leonard Designs team. You are a blessing.

With love, Lisa and Steve Leonard

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hello no time for downtime

hello monday By April 24, 2017 9 Comments

Lately it has been crazy around here–the kind of crazy where I the to-do list is long and I’m still leaving things undone–or forgetting them all together! When I feel overwhelmed I remind myself lots of things ARE getting done. It doesn’t have to be perfect. So many GOOD things are happening.

In the midst of the crazy we are finding little moments for making pancakes, taking a walk or time to read books with David. There’s no time for downtime but these things–the ones that seem unimportant–are really the most important, don’t you think?

How about some hellos for a new week?

Hello sunshine! Oh my gosh we’ve had some gorgeous weather lately. I love it!

Hello rushing from one thing to next and trying to slow down, breathe and be in the moment.

Hello books and more books. David is constantly bringing me his favorite books so I’ll read to him. It’s adorable. And I’m trying to say YES as much as possible.

Hello stopping in a beautiful moment and trying to take it all in. I am so thankful for our little family. Life is good.

Hello BIG SALE in the shop. YAY! Mother’s Day is coming–find the perfect keepsake here.

Hello reading this book. It’s definitely edgy with a lot of language–so be warned. I am an autobiography JUNKIE. I love to hear people’s stories.

Hello falling behind on texts and emails. Yikes!

Hello letting it be imperfect. And sometimes letting it be downright hard. It’s real and it’s okay.

Hello writing and dreaming and planning and designing and falling into bed tired at night.

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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No One Loves You Like I Do

motherhood By April 23, 2017 9 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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a magical moment

david, matthias, the meaning behind the jewelry By April 19, 2017 10 Comments

Last night Matthias sat down beside me on the couch and told me, “Something amazing just happened.”

I set aside what I was doing so I could give him my full attention.

“Tell me.” I said.

“David was relaxing on the gray couch so I went over and sat down. I said ‘Hi David.’ and he looked at me, I mean really looked into my eyes. We sat there for a moment just looking at each other. I saw him in a new way and I felt something deep inside.”

“That sounds like a soul connection.” I told Matthias.

“Yeah” he said with tears in his eyes, “A strange feeling came over me. I felt an overwhelming love for David.”

I felt goosebumps on my arms. Matthias and David shared a moment beyond the physical, beyond the ordinary. Despite David’s disability and his inability to communicate with words, their souls met, their souls connected.

“Yes,” I replied, “I’ve had those experiences with David, too. Every once in a while, we have a moment where our souls connect in a deep and meaningful way. There are no words spoken, we’re just caught in a quiet moment and souls see each other. It’s a beautiful and miraculous thing.”

Matthias’ experience reminded me how important it is to slow down, be quiet and listen. He reminded me when I take time to simply be present, with an open heart, amazing things happen. We are drawn to each other with a kind of magnetic power. We walk together on this beautiful winding road, and sometimes we have a magical moment where our souls connect in a way that’s impossible to explain. Love is powerful force that draws us near. This is the meaning behind the Draw Near necklace.

Have you experienced a deep soul connection with your child, spouse or friend? Tell me about it!

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hello basket wall

hello monday By April 17, 2017 6 Comments

Steve and I worked last weekend on hanging his guitars on our living room wall. They look so great! But that meant I had to find a new spot for my baskets. I decided to try hanging them around this arched mirror in our entryway and I LOVE the way it came together. So much light and texture.

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

Hello big impact. I love how the basket wall anchors the entryway. It makes this space a lot more fun.

Hello celebrating Easter. It was a good day.

Hello watching this movie with Matthias. It is so fun! {Warning, there is some crude humor.} I haven’t seen the second one. Is it any good?

Hello so much to do. It’s a little crazy around here.

Hello spring break! Yay! We’re working hard but making time for fun.

Hello later bedtime because there’s no school in the morning.

Hello making chocolate chip cookies and cuddling on the couch.

Hello reading books and more books to David. He can’t get enough and it’s so fun {and a little tiring!}

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 backyard living

celebrate the every day, hello monday By April 10, 2017 4 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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