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Lisa Leonard

Meeting hate with love

be brave, the meaning behind the jewelry By October 1, 2019 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Recently there was a comment on my social media post that stopped me in my tracks. The specifics aren’t important. The specifics are hateful and cringeworthy. The specifics make me feel like I might dry heave. You can probably imagine the type of comment I’m talking about. We all get them, right? They’re usually off topic. They’re meant to hurt. Their intention is cause pain. They sting, hitting a soft spot right in the center of my heart. It’s like a punch to the gut—because it taps into an insecurity or something vulnerable. 

Why? Why would someone say something like that? I don’t know what is going on for the person who typed those ugly, hateful words. I don’t know what their hurts are or why they want to cause pain. Here’s what I do know. I know that comment has absolutely nothing to do with me. This person doesn’t know me. They don’t get to speak into my life. They don’t get to talk about my son who has a disability or the kind of mother I am or my weight or my marriage. I won’t give their ugly, hateful comments power. I won’t engage with them or defend myself or my family. When I read those comments I take a moment to catch my breath. I delete the comment then I say a little prayer, “God, I don’t know hurts or trauma that led them to a place where they wanted to inflict pain, but I pray you comfort them in their darkness. Protect my heart from this ugliness. Amen.”Then I move on. When I started this business I was grieving because our first son was born with a disability. Things felt dark and I wanted to bring light into the world. Things felt hard so I wanted to bring beauty into the world. Things felt painful so I wanted to being joy into the world. This is how we fight the darkness. We shine our light. We meet hate with love and boundaries—then we love forward. There is pain in this world.

There are cruel people in the world but there are many, many more people with beautiful, kind hearts who consistently show love and grace. I believe there is more good than bad in the world. SO MUCH GOOD. That is where I want to put my energy. That is where I want to spend my time. I want to focus on what is good and right and beautiful. Philippians 4:8 whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.This is the heart behind every piece of jewelry I design. My sincere hope is they bring light, beauty and joy into your life. I don’t know exactly what’s brought you here, but I suspect you’re a lot like me. You’re life is imperfect—sometimes dark and painful—but you’re fighting back with light and love. 

The Cross of Faith necklace is a reminder to focus on what is good and right and beautiful.

This necklace is a reminder to me to meet hate with love and light. Find it in my shop. It’s the perfect gift for yourself or a dear friend.

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Lotusland, Santa Barbara

adventures, inspiration By August 18, 2019 1 Comment

I’ve been wanting to visit Lotusland in Santa Barbara since I read about it in a magazine a year ago. I met up with my some of my sisters for a birthday weekend and decided this would be the perfect excuse to splurge {$50/ticket!} and walk the gardens. You guys, it was amazing! Worth every penny. I can’t wait to go back.

Main house at Lotusland. We didn’t get to go inside but some day I would love to!

The lotus flowers were six feet tall and there were hundreds of them.

There were palms and monstera leaves bigger than me!

Oh how I love these girls!

The tour was supposed to be three hours but we were so entranced our docent wandered and shared history with us for three hours. We soaked it all in. The woman behind this masterpiece garden is named Galla Walksa. She was quirky, insightful and brilliant. I am so inspired!

The cactus garden was my favorite. These pictures don’t do it justice! It was insanely amazing.

Hundreds of cactus so much bigger than us. I felt like I was transported to another world.

The grounds are over thirty acres. There is a Japanese garden, cactus garden, succulent garden, blue garden, aloe garden, shade palm garden and more.

Can you believe how BIG these cacti are??! We look like miniature people.

This trellis with lemons felt like we were in France. I feel like we visited at least five different countries walking through the various gardens.

The main house has spanish tile and dripping cactus.

If you visit and you think you’ll want to go more than one time, I recommend purchasing a membership. It would have been about the same as four tickets. The ticket price is a little steep but it was an incredible experience and I absolutely loved it! Find out more about Lotusland and Ganna Walksa here.

And friends, we’re having a big sale in the shop to celebrate my birthday. All birthstone jewelry is 20% off. These are a couple of my favorites. Click here to see more.

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Visiting the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

adventures, be brave, david By August 12, 2019 11 Comments
Hammer Museum, Westwood, Los Angeles, California.

Last week David and I were down in Los Angeles to see his cardiologist and for a small procedure at UCLA. We were down for two and a half days–just the two of us–and we did some exploring around UCLA to fill the time when we weren’t seeing doctors or in the hospital. I’ve been wanting to visit the Hammer Museum.
I feel a little silly admitting this, but I get nervous taking David new places alone. Especially when I don’t know if there will be easy access to elevators. Also museums can be intimidating because it’s generally quiet and I don’t know how he’ll behave. But I pushed through those feelings of nervousness, reminding myself, David has a right to be in any space–even if he is loud or has a meltdown. Also, I’m allowed to be an imperfect mom who doesn’t have everything figured out. Thankfully, we both did well.
Admission is free and I wanted to see the incredible staircase pictured below. We ventured out and had so much fun! The staff was amazing and even though they are still building a ramp for handicapped accessibility, the staff helped us with his wheelchair and made everything easy.

The lobby staircase was painted by artist Yunhee Min in abstract, kind of surreal patterns.
I thought it looked so cool, I really wanted to see it in person! Isn’t is cool?

There was a super cool coffee bar and restaurant. Maybe we’ll eat there next time we visit!

I think David felt disoriented by the patterns and shapes on the staircase. In general he struggles with depth perception and is cautious when walking across changing flooring or uneven ground. it makes sense the stairs would feel a little overwhelming for him. I loved it though!

I asked one of the docents to snap a pic of us. David wasn’t really in the mood for a picture so I tried to comfort him and she snapped the pic. I love what she captured.

The Armand Hammer personal collection was incredible! There are so many incredible artists represented–Cezanne, Degas, Manet, Monet and Pisarro. I felt a little starstruck.

I’d like to know more about the art I’m viewing but without much time to read about the pieces {since I was chasing David around} I just tried to take it in and enjoy each piece. Also, the space itself was so lovely!

We visit museums when we travel, but we don’t often visit museums at home. I want to do more exploring wherever we are! Have you visited a museum lately? What was your favorite part?

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Twelve Tips for Traveling with a special needs kiddo

adventures, david By August 5, 2019 9 Comments

Many of you have reached out with questions about how we travel with our son, David, who has profound special needs. David is 17 years old now {although he’s tiny for his age} and we’ve been to France, Germany, Scotland and England {many times!} We love adventures and every summer we take a big trip–usually to the UK to visit family and along the way we’ve picked up some good strategies for making it work. If you have your own tips or any questions, leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts! I’ve used some affiliate links in this post and if you click through I may get a small commission. Thank you!

1. Bring all medications. I know this sounds obvious but I consider myself a pretty good mom and we ended up in a emergency room in Cambridge, England because I didn’t bring David’s inhalers on our trip. He hadn’t needed them for months and I figured he would be fine. Even if I had brought them we most likely would have ended up in the emergency room BUT STILL we needed them and didn’t have them. Make sure to pack MORE meds than you think you’ll need–your plane might get delayed by a day and you’ll need that extra dose. Don’t forget over the counter medications as well. We always pack hydrocortisone cream, antibiotic ointment, miralax, and various things that can be difficult to find in another country.

This is the pill organizer we use to organize David’s daily medication for the entire trip. If we are going to be gone for three weeks, I bring three pill organizers filled and ready to go. It makes things much easier!

2. Bring plug adapters. A quick online search will tell you what kind of adapter you’ll need for outlets in the country where you’re traveling. Most are available through amazon at target. Here’s the plug adapter we use for England and Scotland.

*Important* Appliances with motors may not work in other countries because voltage varies from the US. I brought David’s nebulizer to England and even though I plugged it in WITH A VOLTAGE ADAPTER and the motor burned out within ten seconds. The same thing happened with a blender. David only eats blended foods and I brought a small blender with us a few years ago. The voltage difference caused the blender to burn out and we ended up buying one locally. It was hard to spend the money but it was a necessity. If you rely on motorized equipment for your special needs child, arrange to have equipment native to the country to so you won’t have any issues.

3. Consider Airbnb instead of a hotel. We love Airbnb. David is up a lot at night and when we’ve stayed in a hotel I’ve found myself in a bathroom with him at 3am trying to keep him quiet so the rest of the family can sleep. I worry about the people in rooms around us and under us in hotels, too. It’s stressful and then I’m exhausted the next day! We’ve found if we get a house through Airbnb then David can be up at night and the rest of us can still get sleep. Other things that are awesome about airbnb are the ability to do laundry {pack lighter!} and cook {save money!}. I’ll try to do a whole post on Airbnb but my quick tips are–find an entire place to yourself, make sure you have enough bedrooms {not just beds} and read reviews closely.

4. Bring a friend or sitter along.
Phew! I know this is a big one and it might seem unrealistic, but for us, this makes all the difference. It’s the difference between being busy, exhausted and stressed for most of the trip to actually having downtime and GASP! getting a few dates in here and there. It requires an extra plane ticket and an extra room in the Airbnb but for us, it’s definitely worth the extra cost. We’ve also asked our Airbnb hosts to help us find a sitter who can care for David with his special needs and we’ve had some incredible women help us in other countries. We’ve asked this person to come in from 9am-noon to help feed David breakfast, give him a bath and do some light cleaning. We still keep in touch with many of these incredible women!

5. Pack light.
The lighter you pack the easier it is to move around airports, trains and taxis not to mention lugging stuff up four flights of stairs. I mentioned one of the perks of an Airbnb is the ability to do laundry {make sure your Airbnb has a washer and dryer}. We try to pack as light as possible when we travel. We bring medium sized suitcases with around 5 outfits, lots of underwear and socks, and then do a load of laundry pretty much every day. As far as souvenirs–shopping in another country seems sooo fun until it’s time to pack up and come home. When we were in France I went crazy at a flea market with French shopping baskets, vintage pottery, a painting and linen clothing. It was so stressful trying to fit everything in our bags. Now I remind myself I can always find the same things online. I try to find souvenirs like a print of the area from a local artist, an ornament for our Christmas tree, a vintage creamer and sugar set or a fun dress. Buy smaller items to bring home and save yourself the headache.

11. Plan ahead for the plane ride.
A ten hour plane ride is going to be rough. There are no easy answers but we try to pack some fun toys {iPad with Dr. Seuss read along stories and a keyboard app, lots of snacks and food {for both David and us} and a vibrating toy like a buzzy bee or a vibrating toothbrush to help calm David when he gets agitated. Keep reminding yourself that once the plane ride is over you get to be in a new, fun place. Also, don’t underestimate the power of peanut MnM’s to lift your spirits in a crisis.

6. Order diapers or other bulky items and have them shipped directly to your Airbnb. We bring enough diapers for the first week of our trip and have more delivered to the house where we are staying. These are the diapers I order for David since he no longer fits in baby sizes. I check in with the host before I order any deliveries to make sure it’s okay with them and confirm the address. You can order on amazon.co.uk from the US. It’s awesome!

7. Use Uber
Renting a car in another country is pricey and driving in another country can be stressful. We use Uber a ton and it’s worked great. We haven’t had trouble finding vans that can accommodate our luggage and David’s wheelchair.

8. Plan to have food delivered/check out local restaurants
One of the most stressful parts of travel is when we are jet lagged and hungry. We have found that food delivery the first night we’re in a new country can make things much easier than walking all over town to try to find a pub or restaurant that is serving food and willing to serve children. We’ve use Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

Many restaurants in the UK only serve food until around 7pm and won’t serve children. If we find a pub or restaurant that looks fun, one of us will run inside and check to see if they are serving food and if they allow children. Also, if you have a wheelchair you might mention you’ll need spot to tuck it away while you eat. Also, ask your Airbnb host for recommendations for local pubs and restaurants that are kid friendly. Trip adviser is great for checking out reviews of pubs and restaurants.

9. Plan one adventure a day.
This is a big one for us. When we’re in a new place it’s tempting to want to do allll the things and see everything. But we’re learning we can only do so much before we end up exhausted and burnout. We try to have slow mornings to sip coffee, read a book and relax. We plan one big adventure a day and we try to plan which restaurant we’ll eat at before we go out. Then we pack a bag with all of David’s food, medications, diapers, wipes. We load him into his wheelchair and off we go for 6-8 hours. We might leave around noon and get home at 8pm. We watch a movie and relax on the sofa. For us, this rhythm seems to work well.

10. Manage expectations.
Travel is still real life. Looking at pictures on instagram, it’s tempting to think somehow we can plan everything, including darling outfits and take perfect pictures on a perfect day with perfect children when everyone is in a good mood. On our trip to Scotland this summer we had amazing moments–David on the top of Calton Hill while the sun is setting and the wildflowers are blooming. Magical!! We also had really hard moments like the meltdown he had in a pub where he screamed for twenty minutes while trying to knock everything off the table. A few years ago I dropped a box of sweet potatoes on the plane. The container burst open and sweet potatoes flew everywhere–including all over the woman’s face across the aisle from us. She freaked out screaming, “WHAT WAS THAT?!” I felt awful! My face turned bright red. It sucked. But you know what, we got through it. She eventually calmed down. Life moved on. It’s real life even on vacation. Keep your expectations in check and you won’t be surprised when things go awry. It’s worth it for those magical moments!

12. There are a few products that have made travel easier for us. We love the buzzy bee and we bring it everywhere. Also bring extra batteries. We use this door stopper to keep David in his room at night. This little gadget has been a life changer for us! We don’t want him roaming around the Airbnb. It helps me sleep easier! We use these pajamas to keep him cozy and warm and they are a lifesaver if we have a diaper failure {everything stays inside instead of getting everywhere.} We brought this poncho with us to Scotland so we could cover up David in his wheelchair if we were out and about in the rain. This is the best $15 I’ve spent in a long time. He was the driest of all of us.

Are you ready to book a trip? Plan your next adventure? I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, comments. Have you traveled with a special needs kiddo? What works for you?

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Our new backyard {progress!}

decorating, found here & there, inspiration By June 17, 2019 6 Comments

We have been working on getting out backyard up to speed so we can enjoy it with friends this summer. For those of you catching up on Leonard news, we moved into a new home about three months ago. It has been a crazy season for us! We launched my new book, Brave Love, moved into a new house, Matthias got really sick and missed three weeks of school and then David caught the same bug and ended up being airlifted to UCLA where we spent a week getting him stable. I feel like I’m still trying to get back into my rhythm! It’s been hard with lots of sweet moments and I’m ready for things to mellow out a bit.

So anyway, we have been working on our backyard–and it’s starting to come together. I wanted to show you progress pics. It’s not perfect {is anything perfect?!}, it’s not finished, but it’s ready to be enjoyed. Below are some BEFORE pics of the backyard when we bought the house.

BEFORE

These pics above are from the listing. This is how it looked when we bought the house. There was a huge BBQ, a built in heater that didn’t work, a hot tub that didn’t work and a lot of tile. It’s kind of a strange backyard. There is one small area where we put two couches and a fire pit. There’s a raised area where there’s a hot tub and seating and there’s a long walkway in between the two spots. It’s a small backyard and we wanted to maximize the space.

Louis would like you to know he approves of the new seating near the hot tub. He’s so funny. These black chairs are from Target and they’re super comfortable. Find them here. The black and white pillows are from Target, too. Find them here.

It’s starting to look cozy!

My philosophy for outdoor living is to make it as comfortable as possible–that way we’ll actually use it! I like to decorate just as I would indoors with seating, side tables, plants, baskets, even art or decor hung to make it feel home-y. The problem is everything gets more wear outside. For furniture I either buy pieces made specifically for outdoor or I thrift wood and wicker so I’m not devastated when they fall apart after a year or two. I also try to keep the furniture wiped down so it’s ready when we are. If we decide to eat dinner outdoors it’s easy! Everything is clean and ready to go.

I found this weathered bench a local thrift/vintage shop and fell in love with the texture. I like to mix clean and rustic, wood and white. That wicker egg-shaped chair in the background was a $15 thrifted store find. I had it David’s bedroom but he never used it so I put it outside.

These teak candlesticks were $6 each at a local thrift store. I freaked out when I found them. They are super cool. Now I just need candles to go on top! 😂

Okay, we are super excited about this 14 foot outdoor bar our friends from Emily Ryan Homes built for us. Guess what? They found old planks from the Pismo Beach pier {the pier needed some TLC and these planks were replaced} and cleaned them up to create the rustic bar. The black barstools are from Target. Find them here. I loooove the way the whole thing came together. It’s a perfect spot for teenagers {and adults!} to hang out. Also it puts the strange walkway to work. Instead of feeling awkward it feels purposeful!

I can’t wait to have pizza parties and BBQs in this space!

These teak couches are low and super comfortable. I found them at Joss and Main. Find them here. The fire pit is from Amazon and not hooked up yet. We still need to get a propane tank. We’ve already BBQd at least 20 times in our new backyard. I love it! Now it’s time for s’mores–don’t you think?

Do you use your backyard in the summertime? What are your favorite things to do out there? I need your help! I want to make this space as amazing as possible. What are we missing in our backyard?

PS friends, there’s a big summer sale happening in my shop right now. Don’t miss it! Click here to shop.

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sometimes love is letting go

motherhood By June 13, 2019 9 Comments

I see a strange thing happening lately. My boys are growing by leaps and bounds and I’m trying to figure out my role in it. Motherhood isn’t straightforward. I don’t have it figured out–and since my boys are 15 and 16 years old I guess I’ll never figure it out! I really hope I’m not the only mom who feels this way!

My role is changing. I need to free them up, let them go a bit, let them fail, let them experience independence. I know this in my head but my heart says something different. My heart wants to keep them little, keep them by my side, keep them physically close to me. But they are growing up. They need me but it looks different than it did a few years ago.

For David this looks like letting him play upstairs while I make dinner. It’s reminding myself he is able to come down the stairs and get me if he needs me. He makes his needs known. I need to let him grow up, be more independent and express his needs. He is sixteen, almost seventeen years old. He needs me but in a different way. He needs me to believe he is capable. He needs me to give him space–to be sure not to smother him. It’s challenging and honestly counter-intuitive for me. Since he was born I have seen love as meeting his needs and being by his side. He’s not so little anymore. Love looks like letting go a little bit.

This cuff is the perfect reminder to let love grow and change.

For Matthias this means giving him support without prompts and reminders. Last week he told me he needed to wake up at 5am to finish up some school work. I wanted to set my alarm and wake up at the same time so I could check on him–make sure he didn’t oversleep or turn off his alarm in a morning fog. I didn’t set my alarm but ended up waking up at 5am anyway. I started down the hallway to check on him and make sure was up and had to stop myself, remind myself–he is capable, he can do this. It’s okay if he fails. he can learn from this. He’s got this. He doesn’t need my help so much as he needs my support. And you know what? He did! He woke up early and got all his work done without any reminders from me. Love looks like letting go a little bit. 

This is new ground. It’s strange and disorienting–but also exciting and I’m enjoying a little more ‘me’ time. Do any of you feel this way? Are you trying to let go a little bit? Watching our babies grow up is hard and beautiful!

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DIY portrait makeover

decorating, DIY By April 29, 2019 3 Comments

I am loving the trend of hanging vintage painted portraits in your home. I think it adds warmth and personality. And I love to make up a bag story for the person captured–who were they? What were they passionate about? 

I stopped by a local thrift store the other day and found this watercolor portrait of a sailor. I liked the painting–it caught my eye, but the frame looked modern and didn’t match our decor. The painting was only $15 so I decided it was worth trying to do a DIY project and switch out the frame. 

He looks kind and wise, don’t you think? Like he’s lived a good life and has stories to tell. 

At the same thrift store I found this framed floral art {above} for $5. It’s not my style but I like the frame. Perhaps this could be a new home for our watercolor sailor?

I pulled dismantled the frame and took off the mat {the painting was taped to the mat} and I loved the painting even more once it was outside the frame with rough edges. 

I took the floral art out of the gold frame and laid it over the sailor. Yep, it would fit just fine.

I laid the glass from the gold frame over the sailor and drew around the perimeter with a pencil. Then cut the painting to size. I cleaned the glass well and reassembled the watercolor sailor in his new gold frame. 

He’s hanging out in our guest room with a plant, some books, a basket and thrifted vase. I love the way this project turned out. It would be so fun to hang more portraits on this wall. I’ll have to keep a look out as I browse thrift stores!

Thrifting and decorating friends, what are you on the hunt for these days? Would you hang a vintage portrait in your home?

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Hi friends! I have a big favor to ask…

be brave, brave love book By December 19, 2018 6 Comments

Do you ever feel like a failure?

Do you feel like you try and try and it’s never enough?

Do you feel like everyone needs all your energy and there’s nothing left for yourself?

Do you wonder why you’re so unhappy even though you’re doing all the right things?

Me too!! And I wrote a book about it. I want YOU to read it and I need YOUR HELP getting the word out.

Will you join my launch team?

I need like-minded friends to read an advanced copy of the book and talk about it on social media. I need you to share it with your friends. I need your help getting the word out!

Interested? I hope so!!

The book releases January 29, 2019 let’s start spreading the word.

Want to know more?

My ideal launch team members…

…love to read.

…enjoy using Facebook.

…like to tell others about the books they are reading.

…are willing to share about new books on social media.

…are willing to write a review of the book.

If this sounds like you, I would love to have you on the team! There will be a limited number of physical Advance Reader Copies available and all launch team members will have access to digital PDF copy of the book in the official Brave Love Launch Team Facebook group.

Fill out this questionnaire and you’ll become part of our private Facebook group. We can hang out, encourage each other and get the word out about Brave Love.

Join my launch team! Click here.

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one open heart

choose joy, finding love By November 29, 2018 107 Comments

I am learning one open heart can change the world.

On a sunny Sunday morning last year, we arrived at church a few minutes early. David slowly climbed the steps, one at a time, while holding my hand. Once inside he pulled away from me, wanting to explore the sanctuary before the service began. I set down my bag and followed closely behind him. I had no idea what was about to happen.

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David lives life inside a body that doesn’t cooperate. Because of his disability, he is very small, has only two fingers on his left hand and is non-verbal. David can’t speak with words but he has much to say. He communicates through gestures, physical touch and heart connection. As he moved around the room he ran his hand over the smooth wood of the church pew, weaving in and out of the narrow space. Then he crossed the aisle and made his way over to a woman sitting by herself. She was in her late thirties, had a kind face and a gentle presence.

We’d never met but that didn’t stop David from approaching her. As he got closer, the woman looked up and smiled at him. Once beside her, David turned around and backed up to her—it’s his way of asking to be held.

“He wants to sit on your lap.” I explained. “He can sit next to you if you prefer.”

“No,” she said, “I’d love to hold him.” She carefully lifted him onto her lap.

He tenderly wrapped his arms around her neck and laid his head against her shoulder.

“Is this okay?” I asked, anxious to be considerate of her space “Would you like me to move him?”

She looked up at me with tears in her eyes.

“My mom was diagnosed with cancer a couple days ago.” she said in a quiet voice. “I just needed a hug so badly. He knew exactly what I needed.”

I bent down beside them and touched her knee softly as she and David embraced. It was a holy moment of connection that soothed a hurting heart.

In that moment he gave her love, changing her world.

So often I rush around, trying to take care of people, trying to serve, trying to be good enough, trying to prove myself.

David doesn’t worry about these things. He is present in the moment. He is fully himself, unconcerned with what others think.

David’s simple act of love brought hope and beauty to this woman’s day.

He saw her and without pause met her exactly where she was.

It wasn’t accidental.

It wasn’t complicated.

It was David’s open heart that created a beautiful connection.

Maybe it’s not only grand, heroic actions that change the world.

Maybe it’s the quiet moments, when, in humility and brokenness we meet each other right where we are.

We offer hope and love.

We are present to witness another person’s pain and offer soothing grace.

When we stop rushing, stop trying, stop proving, we can be fully present in the moment.

We can be fully ourselves and open our hearts to each other.

David is showing me one open heart can change the world.

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finding magic in the mess

be brave, christmas By November 16, 2018 43 Comments

photo by Heather Gray

Earlier this week, a friend asked me, “What’s the most magical thing that’s happened to you this week?”

I immediately thought of a moment the morning before. I was buckling David into the car and I was caught up in a moment of worry. The left side of his face was swollen and while the doctor was hoping it’s a sinus infection that could be easily treated with anitbiotics, he was concerned it may be something more serious like an abscess. So there I was, buckling David in the car, staring at the swollen side of his face and lost in thought—when our eyes met. David has a disability he doesn’t often make eye contact, but in that small moment, our eyes met—and it was magical. I got a little peek into his soul. I got to really see him. My heart swelled with love and I got a lump in my throat. Dang, I love that kid so much.

The twinkle lights are beautiful, the wrapped gifts bring wonder, the smell of cinnamon feels like home—and yet none of these matter as much as the love we share. We walk side by side on this journey—with ups and downs, joy and grace. There it is—beauty, even on a regular Thursday morning, even in the midst of worrying about a swollen face.

Sometimes the most magical moments are unplanned—when we’re all relaxing, there are no expectations, no stress. Sometimes magic happens when we let each other feel whatever we feel—when we’re willing to laugh together or cry together or just sit side by side on the couch and watch a movie.

Brave Love is me being fully me and you being fully you. We don’t have to prove we’re good enough. We don’t have to pretend to be happy. We can let things me magical or let them be messy. We can let them be whatever they are—knowing we are loved.

I’m giving myself permission to let go of perfect this Christmas–and if you want it, I’m giving you permission too. Although really, just give yourself permission because you have the power to do this! You are amazing. You are imperfect. You are loved.

Let’s just let this season be whatever it is–and find magic in simple, unexpected places.

PS We’re still watching the swelling in David’s face to see if it will respond to antibiotics. I’ll keep you updated!

I love this brave love ring from my shop.

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