David’s room refresh!

david, decorating By September 13, 2018 3 Comments

Hello friends! Thank you for your encouragement about David’s room refresh. I love taking a space and making it feel fresh and new. In my world things tend to go from clean to messy and then back again. It’s a cycle I have a hard time breaking. But refreshing a space tends to motivate me to keep it tidier for a while. 

Below is David’s room before it was David’s room–it was our spare room and the boys shared. Wasn’t it bright and cheery? All of this bedding was from Target–down to the ottomans at the end of the bed I found on clearance for $15 each! But when the boys got old enough to need more space and privacy we were happy to give it up and create a new space. 

And below is his room before the refresh–not too different. I changed the bedding and rearranged the room a bit. I took this pic on a morning where before I came in to get him, he had thrown toys and bedding all over the place. Such a rascal!

That adorable globe is from the Magnolia collection at Target. It spins and David has fun with it. I love how bright his room is–lots of windows. 
One of the hardest parts about decorating David’s room is making it feel like a teenager’s room {he’s 16 years old!} but also filling it with toys he loves. He would happily play with a pink elephant keyboard but that’s not really age appropriate–so I try to find keyboards that are more age appropriate.

The teepee is a cozy spot for reading books or a nap. Truthfully, he doesn’t it use it much but every once in a while I’ll find him crashed out in there. 

This red piano is one of his favorite things. I found it on Amazon. And he loves to pluck the ukulele as well. 

David is such a happy kiddo–so he really doesn’t need a reminder to not complain. This reminder is really for us–this is David’s happy place–so if you come into his room you better have a good attitude. 

I mixed and matched a bunch of bedding from the kids department at Target. I wish I had gotten a queen comforter instead of a twin. I still might go back. That way his comforter would go all the way to the carpet instead of just over the sides of the bed. 

The teepee is from Etsy and it’s quite big. I bought a papasan cushion from World Market that fit perfectly inside. Then I covered the fusion with a quiet and soft rug. Those white plush rugs are from Target and they’re washable–which is perfect!
Looking into the mirror gives you an overall perspective of the room. It’s happy place filled with things David loves!That blue truck was Steve’s when he was a little boy and he called it ‘Wonderfox’ which is awesome.

Bedding–Here’s the exact comforter but I like this one.
Jersey X Sham
Rugs
Teepee
Papasan Cusion
Globe
Red Piano
London Bus

What’s your favorite space in your house?

Share:

Tea at Bettys in York, England

adventures, family, Leonards take England By July 20, 2018 5 Comments

I did a lot of ‘research’ on Pinterest before our trip to York, England. One thing that kept coming up again and again was tea and scones at Betty’s in the center of the city. There is often a line that goes outside the door and wraps around the building. To avoid the line, I made a reservation for an afternoon tea. The kids weren’t super into it but I had so much fun! I think it’s great for them to experience all kinds of things–not just kid stuff.  David was very mellow and cuddly which worked out fine. The staff was so kind and really tried to find some things he could eat. In the end they brought him some soft cakes and apple juice. So fun! Champagne for the adults. ❤

Matthias brought his drawing supplies and stayed busy during the tea. He tried many of the sandwiches and cakes. I think he would have preferred a burger or chicken nuggets but hopefully someday he’ll thank us for the experience.

Have I told you how much I LOVE scones with clotted cream and jam?!

Lindsey is with us to help out with David and it’s been wonderful having her along.

Very serious faces for a very serious afternoon tea.

More Earl Gray please! With a little milk and one sugar. Have you ever done a proper tea? {To clarify, the tea was proper but we definitely didn’t have all our etiquette down. Oh well, we had fun!}

Share:

Hello New Wheels!

celebrate the every day, david, hello monday By July 1, 2018 6 Comments

Hello friends! Big news–David got new wheels–his first wheelchair. We’ve been using a BOB stroller for the last couple years and it’s been great, but David has grown a lot and he needed something bigger.

How about some hellos for a new week?

Hello feeling grateful for David’s new wheelchair. It’s going to be wonderful for traveling. We’re going to England in a few weeks and it will be helpful with the airport and bigger excursions.

Hello feeling frustrated. I wish David could walk more {or maybe I should say cooperate more?} It’s a pain to have to lug the wheelchair around. Also we’re still fighting with insurance to get them to help us pay for it.

Hello content. David seems to love his new wheelchair {which is also an adapted stroller}

Hello new ice cream shop On Higuera in San Luis Obispo. I highly recommend the Peanut Butter Nutella. YUM!

Hello to this sweet guy. I love him. ❤

Hello pineapple for David and Matthias. They both loved it.

Hello monster behind David who keeps sneaking up on him. David loved it.

Hello reading this book. I just started it and I’m hoping it’s not too sad.

Hello watching this show. I live with boys {and I love it}.

Hello announcement. Did you hear?

Hello brand new week with beauty to be found. I’m on the lookout! Join me? What are you saying hello to this week?

Share:

for my sweetheart on Father’s Day

family, father's day, steve By June 4, 2018 3 Comments

Father’s Day is right around the corner and I’ve been thinking about what an amazing father Steve is to our boys. I think about it a lot, actually. It’s not perfection that makes him amazing, he’s not perfect and he would quickly admit that. What makes him amazing is his desire to stretch and grow and become who he is made to be. He models for our boys every day what it looks like to bravely step into the things that scare you, instead of running away or living in denial.

To bravely step into what scares him means he has to acknowledge hard things. He looks at a problem from all angles and considers different solutions. He values honesty. He is honest with himself even when it hurts. He’s honest with me even when he’s nervous to tell me something I don’t want to hear. He’s honest with our boys about life, faith, money, friendship and so much more.

I see David’s face light up when Steve comes into the room and throw his arms around his dad for a big hug. Watching Matthias grow into a teenager {practically a man!} I watch Steve engage in deep, honest conversations and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. Steve loves our boys in a way I cannot. David and Matthias are loved by their dad and it’s a gift they most likely can’t comprehend.

I know few people who crave learning like Steve does. He took up guitar a few years ago and he’s really good! I love hearing him play and sing. While our boys were little he earned a doctoral degree. When our business started to grow he jumped in as CEO and hungrily read every business book he could get his hands on. He asks others for advice and insights and listens to what they say. He wants to grow, it’s who he is.

He makes me stronger. Being married to someone who is constantly learning and growing means I am constantly learning and growing. Steve pushes me to try new things, loosen up, be brave and live life to the fullest. I am willing to take risks because I know he’ll be by my side no matter what. He loves to travel, try new foods, meet new people and gather new information.

He reads to David, has nerf wars with Matthias, whips up high protein pancakes for our family each morning and snuggles on the couch to watch a movie in the evenings. He’s intense and sensitive, a visionary and a do-er. He’s high energy but loves to snuggle. He works hard for our family and drops everything the moment one of us needs him. He doesn’t think he’s got life figured out and he apologizes when he makes a mistake. And he’s got the cutest smile, too.

It has been fun to stand beside him as he launches his own brand Stephen David Leonard. Every design reflects who he is and what is important to him. His shop is full of products he uses every day. If you haven’t seen his new line, you can check it out here.

Men's Jewelry, Accessories & Leather Goods by Stephen David Leonard
Our life together is beautiful, messy, loud, adventurous and far from perfect but we are better together, bound by laughter and tears, I-love-yous and forgiveness. Steve shows us how to live bravely, being willing to make mistakes, take responsibility and move forward.
Happy Father’s Day, sweetheart. We are better because of you.

Share:

Love Given Is Love Gained

be brave, david, the meaning behind the jewelry By March 14, 2018 21 Comments


A few months ago, as we traveled down to Southern California to see family for Christmas, we stopped at El Pollo Loco for lunch. Steve placed our order while I got David settled in the booth and pulled out his pre-prepared foods and a spoon. Because of his disability, David eats a special diet and all his meals are blended to a smooth texture. As I began spoon feeding him a woman come over to us. She looked at David’s small hand with only two fingers and compassion filled her eyes. I could feel her love towards him.

As she approached us I wondered what she would say. Would she ask for a hug from him? Every thing about her seemed like she wanted to wrap her arms around him and snuggle him.

“Hello,” she said with a tremble in her voice. “He is so precious. Can I give him a gift?” She pulled out a crisp $100 dollar bill and handed it to me.

“Thank you, you are so kind, but that is not necessary.” I said with a smile.

“Please,” she said, her eyes pleading with me to take the money.

“He is fine, don’t worry. Someone else must need this money more than he does.” I tried to explain.

“I want to give it to him. Please, please take it.” She pleaded.

“Okay. Thank you. Wow. God Bless you.” I stumbled over my words as I stood up and hugged her. We embraced and as we said goodbye she wiped a tear from her eye.

This isn’t the first time someone has given David a generous gift. I’m unsure what to do in these situations–we don’t really need the money–David has everything he needs and more. But, how can we reject a gift given with so much love? So much bravery?

We finished our food, gathered our things and headed back to the car. As we continued our journey Steve and I talked about what we should do with the money. Let’s keep our eyes open for the right person. We’ll find someone who needs this $100 and pass it on to them.

God please bless her, I prayed as we drove. I pray her gift comes back to her tenfold. 

Later that day we picked up our family from the airport. We shared the crazy story with them and talked about the kindness of strangers. We also talked about David’s beautiful heart and how he draws people to him. It’s something I can’t explain but I’ve seen it happen again and again.

A couple days later we woke up in a hotel room, threw on sweats and headed down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. We had been exploring Los Angeles with our extended family as we were all wiped out. It was Christmas Eve and the hotel was mostly quiet.  We were seated at a big table and our server came over quickly to fill our mugs with hot coffee. He smiled at the kids and made small talk–asking us what had brought us to town on Christmas Eve. We went around the table and each of us placed our order for an omelet or waffles. When he got to David I told the server David was fine–I had brought special food for him. Our server smiled at David and then headed to the computer to put our breakfast order in.

This server was extra attentive with a kind smile and a gentle heart. He kept checking on us, but specifically asking after David, making sure he had everything he needed. When I finished feeding David his pre-prepared blended food, the server asked if he could take the containers to the kitchen and wash them for us. We have never had a server ask to do that! It was so thoughtful. Steve and I were both touched by his kindness. We looked at each other and smiled. This was the person who needed the $100. This gentle soul, who noticed David and went out of his way to show kindness, should be the one who received this generous gift. When the bill arrived, Steve paid with a credit card and left the crisp $100 bill as a tip.

As we got ready to leave, the server made his way to Steve.

“I think you made a mistake.” He said, showing Steve the credit card receipt next to the crisp bill.

“No, no mistake. That is a gift for you.” Steve replied.

The look on the server’s face was a mix of genuine surprise, sheer joy and overwhelming gratitude. When I saw his face I thought I might burst into tears right then and there. I’m tearing up right now thinking about it. I am confident, this was the person who needed the $100 bill. I have no doubt God put this person in our path.

I wish we’d had time to tell the server the whole backstory–that it really wasn’t a gift from us, but a gift from a stranger we had met a few days earlier. I wished we could have found a way to explain that David, our son who only has two fingers on his left hand, our kiddo who is non-verbal, has a spark that brings out kindness in people. This kindness, this love, is bigger than David–big enough to connect strangers in different cities. Every good deed comes back bigger and better. Love stretches and grows and binds us together.

Love Given is Love Gained

Generosity brings freedom
Bravery makes us stronger
Smiles are contagious
Kindness rubs off on others
Gentleness calms the soul
Creativity inspires creativity
Laughter is infectious
Honesty breaks down walls
Forgiveness fortifies the heart
Love given is love gained
Good never goes to waste

It comes back bigger and better
Love grows and stretches and
binds us together 


This is the meaning behind the Let Love Grow Cuff.

Have you experienced the kindness of a stranger?

Share:

Wisdom From David

david, hope, inspiration By June 30, 2017 68 Comments

David, fifteen years ago we held you in our arms and cried. You weren’t what we expected and we were grieving. I didn’t expect to have a baby with a syndrome, heart defect and only two fingers on his left hand.

I cried tears for me, what would my life look like now that I had a child with special needs?
I cried tears for you. What would your life look like as you navigate living with special needs?
From the moment I saw your sweet face I loved you. I was your mama and I would do whatever I could to protect and nurture you. But I worried about how other people would treat you. I wished you could run and play and be silly like other children.
I feel silly saying this now, but I wished I could change you.
I felt pity for you, I felt pity for me.
I didn’t know it then, but sweet David, you were born to do big things.
You are a world changer!
My pity has turned to pride.

My worries have subsided as I see you soak up life and give love to those around you.

Everyday you teach us how to live with well.
You have helped us stretch and grow our hearts to make room for more joy.
You have shown us what it looks like to love with your whole heart.
Now my wish is for you to be YOU.
You are one of a kind.
You are a light.
You inspire me.
Today, for your fifteenth birthday, I wrote down bits of wisdom you have taught me.
What follows is how you live, how you love.

Happy birthday, my love! I’m so incredibly thankful you’re my son.

***

Wisdom From David

Come over
Settle in
Sit down

Snuggle up

Let yourself relax
Let yourself enjoy
Let yourself let go

Let yourself be loved

Make friends
Make music
Make messes

Make memories

With open hearts
With honesty
With happiness

With your hand in mine

Let’s dream
Let’s explore
Let’s learn

Let’s be brave

Today holds newness
Today holds adventure
Today holds beauty

Today hold hope

We are us
We are you and me
We are each other

We are family

Slow down
Breathe deeply
Be quiet

Let your heart speak

Listen closely
Feel your feelings
Think outside the box

See with new eyes

Forgive
Forget
Let your heart

Be free

All is right
All is known
All is safe

All is well

No shame
No fear
No hiding

No worry

You are precious
You are seen
You are loved
Be grateful
Be curious
Be gentle

Be you

One of a kind
Three words (I love you)

Forever, for always

Share:

You’re The One

father's day, steve By June 13, 2017 31 Comments

A few nights ago, I had a very dark dream. I dreamed there were a group of middle school boys picking on a young boy. They were carrying him by the arms and legs. As we drove by them, one of boys started putting a plastic bag over the head of the young boy. Steve pulled over the car as quickly as he could and ran toward the crowd of boys. I woke up shaking and couldn’t fall back asleep.  I had so many thoughts running through my head–but the most important was this–if we were ever in a situation like the one in my dream, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, Steve would jump in to help the young boy.

It was the middle of the night and I was wide awake, so I wrote down these words…

***

When you asked me out on our first date, I wasn’t sure. But soon I had no doubt; you are the one.
You are the one I want by my side, for my whole life.

When I wanted to start a little jewelry business, you are the one who said, ‘Yes! Go for it. You can do it.’  You are the one who saw the vision of what it could be. You are the one who spends countless hours dreaming, working, inventing, reimagining and building our business.

When our boys were little, you are the one who could cuddle them for hours on end. You are the one who would take an afternoon nap with them on your chest. You are the one who was first to comfort a scrapped knee or bruised elbow.

When we disagreed with David’s surgeon, you are the one who said, “We’ll get a second opinion. We’ll fight for what is best for David.” You are the one who will go to any length to protect our boys.

When we saw one of our vendors mistreating an employee, you are the one who stepped in. You were the one who said ‘No, I won’t stand for this.’ and ended the relationship.

When we were on vacation and saw a man mercilessly beating up another man, you are the one who immediately intervened. You are the one who began yelling and running to break it up. While everyone else stood around watching, you are the one who didn’t hesitate to fight for the one in need.

When Matthias has thoughts, hurts, dreams, ideas, you are the one who listens and affirms and encourages and builds him up. You are the one he looks to for support and boundaries. You are the one who has helped shape him into a confident thirteen year old ready to take on the world.

You are the one who took up cycling again after twenty years and excelled. You are the one who joined Gymnazo and soon became one of the strongest and fastest. You are the one who took up guitar lessons and acting lessons. You are the one who bravely steps into new things.

You are the one who pursued a doctorate–connecting deeply with your professors and cohort in a way that changed not only your own faith, but helped mold mine as well.

You are the one who went to Onsite and counseling, then The Meadows to heal your hurts and love yourself. You are the one who bravely engages to live fully and love with your whole heart.

You are the one who speaks honestly.
You are the one who tries new things.
You are the one who loves deeply.
You are the one who believes in big dreams.

You are the one who’s showing our boys what it looks like to be, not only a good man, but the best of men.

You are the one who will do whatever you want to do.
You are the one I want by my side forever and for always.
You are the one for me.

Happy Father’s Day, sweetheart. I am so glad you’re my partner in parenting, in business, in creativity, in dreaming big, in LIFE! I love you!!


Share:

a magical moment

david, matthias, the meaning behind the jewelry By April 19, 2017 15 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!

Share:

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?

Share:

My Spark, My North Star

david, hope, the meaning behind By March 29, 2017 8 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.

Share: