real moments, real memories

christmas, finding beauty By November 10, 2015 9 Comments

I looked at the calendar yesterday and saw that we are already well into November and my heart did a flip. Wow, Christmas comes so fast every year! Even with the best intentions, I seem to find myself overwhelmed and rushing in those final days before Christmas. When I saw the date on the calendar, I felt like I was already behind. I was on the path to failure before I’d even begun. But Christmas isn’t about having it all together, is it? This year I want to slow down and go a little easier on myself. I want to focus on real moments, create real memories and love the people around me well.

When I say ‘real moments’ I mean, I want to get away from trying to create the perfect picture to post on instagram. I want to be in the moment. I want to let it be imperfect and honest. When I say ‘real moments’ I’m admitting to myself that there will undoubtably be stress, frustrations and messes. I mean, life simply isn’t perfect–no matter how hard we try {and believe me, I’ve tried!}. But in the stress and mess there are silly moments and laughter. There is forgiveness. There is love. There is togetherness. Together is a beautiful place to be. I believe this is where memories are made.real moments real memories-01-2

Last week, I cleaned went through all our Christmas decorations and gave four large boxes to the thrift store. Now everything we have fits into two bins {except our white tree}. I’m keeping the decor simple this year. Truthfully, I never used it all–it was just clutter. The decorations add to the fun, but it’s really about being together. A few twinkly lights and go a long way.
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I’ve started Christmas shopping but I need to make a list and get organized. It will come together, right?!

real moments real memories-03-2This is our busiest time of year. The shop is crazy busy {so exciting!} and there is so much to do to prepare for our own celebration. This year, I’m making decisions to embrace the imperfect and live in the moment. Stress will happen, but if I’m not aiming for perfect, I’m pretty sure there will be less stress. And the stress will be less stressful. And what is, will be enough.

I want to focus on my family and not worry about the dishes in the sink.
I want to sip cocoa, watch Elf and say all our favorite lines.
I want to take naps and drink lots of vitamin C to fight off the inevitable cold.
I want to let the kids decorate the tree even if all the ornaments end up on one side.
I want to give meaningful gifts and not worry about having it perfectly wrapped.
I want to remember that the bedhead, the pancake breakfasts, the kids laughing and playing, the gift wrap littering the floor, the yummy food, the time together, the love–these are the things that matter. What’s real is what matters.


embracing change, embracing this moment

adventures, finding beauty By September 24, 2015 3 Comments

It has been such a season of change! In some ways, fall feels more like the ‘new year’ than January 1st. The kids started school and have new teachers. It’s a new rhythm. It’s exciting, disorienting and it’s life–life is full of change. Sometimes I wish things didn’t have to change–but looking back I see the blessings of change. I’m glad these moments have been captured on my blog and instagram. I can look through photos and remember little details. I can see that we’re different today than we were then.

When I’m in a season of change, we like to stop and reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re going and where we want to be. I like to reflect and plan. I like making lists and setting goals.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.36.22 AMThe boys have changed so much since I started blogging 10 years ago. {Check out this post–the boys were so little, I stamped jewelry in my garage, we celebrated David taking 6 steps. Crazy!} Heck, BLOGGING has changed so much since I started blogging ten years ago.

My boys are in 6th grade and middle school. They are full of thoughts and opinions. Their needs are so different than they used to be–but no less important. Steve is CEO of our business that started at our kitchen table. When I wanted to quit, he gave me hugs and pep talks. When I needed a break, he would jump in and help. When I didn’t know what to do next, he took brave steps to make the business stable. Steve has not only supported the business but visioned how to grow it and make it thrive. There would be no Lisa Leonard Designs without him.

We are literally moving our workshop as I type. I’m typing among packed boxes and empty tables. We are scheduling utilities to be turned off in our current space and turned on in our new space. We’ll be downtown in San Luis Obispo–more on that soon. It’s exciting. It’s crazy. It’s kind of hard for me to believe it!

We are partnering with artisans in the Dominican Republic to hand-craft our jewelry. It provides life-changing jobs for these people–which means they will have food, housing and education. I never thought the hobby business that started in our kitchen would touch hearts around the world. I haven’t built this business alone. We have a team of amazing people here in California and in the DR that make this business work. They believe in the heart of Lisa Leonard Designs.

And YOU have supported this little business. You’ve loved me and my family. You’ve prayed for us when David had open heart surgery and you’ve cheered for us in the good and bad. You’ve cried with me on hard days and laughed with me on good days. You’ve shared your own journey with us–the beauty and the pain. I am so thankful for this community. I’m thankful for you.

We are all in this together–and I’m so grateful.


update on jazmine

dominican republic, finding beauty By July 21, 2015 3 Comments

My heart is so happy today! I have an update for you about Jazmine, the precious little girl I fell in love with in the Dominican Republic last February. While doing a home visit one day we ended up meeting Jazmine, her brothers and her grandmother. It was a life-changing experience and honestly, I can hardly talk about it without crying. If you haven’t read my post about Jazmine, you can start here.

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Jazmine stole my heart. I think her often. When I tuck my boys in for bed at night, I pray that Jazmine knows she is loved and precious. This little girl, with a severe disability, lives tucked away on a mountainside in the Dominican Republic. She matters. She matters to God, she matters to me, and she matters to Compassion.

After we left Jazmine’s home, I wondered if I’d ever hear from the family again. Well, good news! Compassion has been keeping me updated on Jazmine’s care and her family’s needs.

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Compassion International has helped Jazmine’s grandmother get a wheelchair that will enable them to get around easier. When Compassion brought the wheelchair to Jazmine, her grandmother said,

“ I am very happy, we have been waiting for a long time to have a wheelchair, others has promised it but never keep it “
“I feel like a child with a new toy!”
“Now, I can visit church, it is more easy to transport Jazmine”

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Isn’t that exciting?! I hear Jazmine loves her wheelchair. I’m told she smiles when her grandmother straps her into her chair. I mean, she’s got wheels now. She will live more life, see more things and be able to move!
And there’s more! Our Lisa Leonard community was able to purchase a bunk bed and new bedding for Jazmine and her brother. So instead of the whole family sleeping in one bed, they’ll be able to have their own space. We should be getting photos of that soon and I’ll share them with you. This community is making a difference. YOU are making a difference!
If you’re not sponsoring a child, today is a good day to change a child’s life.
Click here to sponsor a precious kiddo from the Dominican Republic. It’s beautiful, amazing thing!

new for summer! {and what it means to me}

finding beauty, jewelry By June 26, 2015 6 Comments

Our new summer collection is here! You guys, I have been so excited to share this with you and now I can! Each piece is full of meaning and heart.

Summer is such a special season, don’t you think? The kids are out of school and the regular routine is out the window.

Summer is for sandy toes and splashing in the waves.
Summer is fresh strawberries, sunscreen and staying up past bedtime.
Summer is for taking silly selfies that in ten years will be priceless mementos of memories made.
Summer means the sun on our shoulders and our hearts full of love.

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Some of my favorites include the swept away necklace, the anchored necklace and swing free earrings.
You can see the whole collection here. 

It’s summer! Warm sun, warm hearts! Let’s make memories!

Which piece is your favorite?


giving love to the least of these

thoughts By June 25, 2015 1 Comment

showing love lisa leonard2-01Last week I saw a homeless woman with two kids standing on the corner with a sign asking for help.

The younger son had a blanket tied around his neck like a cape. As he jumped around, pretending to be a superhero, I thought back to the days when my own son, Matthias insisted on wearing a cape everywhere. The older daughter was drawing on a sketch pad. My kids do the same things. I wondered what it would be like to keep my boys occupied while standing on a street corner for hours. It seemed exhausting.

I kept driving because I’m busy and she’s probably not really homeless — she’s just trying to get a handout. At least those were my first thoughts. I just wanted it to go away.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about her. On Sunday, our pastor encouraged us to pay attention to that tug on our hearts and stop to listen to God’s prompting. Ugh! I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t want to pray. But I felt that tug on my heart, so I pulled over the car and sat for a moment.

I’m blogging over at {in}courage today. Hop over to read the rest…


finding balance

thoughts By May 19, 2015 1 Comment

I often get asked how I ‘find balance’. If balance means the house is clean, the kids are attended to, I’m caught up on emails and I’m wearing a cute outfit with lipstick—then I have never found balance. My house is a mess, my kids are loved, my email list is long and I wear the same jeans almost every day.

Balance is illusive. What does ‘balance’ look like? How can we as busy moms find it? I have a slightly different perspective that’s helped me.

I’m blogging over at {in}courage today. Hop over to read the rest!


meeting joely {our sponsored daughter}

dominican republic, finding love By February 24, 2015 10 Comments

On Friday, last week, we met Joely, our sponsored daughter through Compassion. I was nervous to meet her–would she be shy? Would she like us? I guess I didn’t need to worry. You guys, she completely stole our hearts.

I say sponsored ‘daughter’ because seeing firsthand how families view sponsorship is amazing. The consider you family and are so grateful for the sponsor. If you have considered adoption, but aren’t able to take that leap, sponsorship is an amazing alternative.

Joely needs a couple surgeries–cleft palate repair and cornea replacement {for her left eye}. We will be talking with Compassion further to see how we can help with the surgeries. We chose Joely because children with special needs are so close to our hearts. You guys, she is FULL of spunk and personality. Getting to hold her, getting to play with her made my heart explode with gratefulness. Sponsoring a child through Compassion is life-changing for them. And for us, too.

We brought her a few small gifts–this stuffed fox she named Didi, stickers, paper and crayons. It really broke the ice to have a couple gifts and to have some activities to do together.

She was a little shy at first but warmed up quickly. And once she was warmed up, she was silly and bossy. She had us laughing so hard.

Didi got lots of stickers put all over her.

Joely lives with her mother, grandmother and grandfather. She really latched on to Steve and wanted lots of piggyback rides and cuddles.

We also brought Joely a necklace so she would remember the she is ‘so very loved’. Seeing that necklace around her neck was heart-melting. This is the same necklace that Compassion is sending as a gift to anyone who sponsors a child. Precious.

I love her. Can you tell?

Above, Steve and Joely give Didi, the stuffed fox, kisses.

Before our trip, I knew child sponsorship was important, but I had no idea how life-changing it is. A sponsored child will escape poverty. The will have amazing opportunities because someone is willing to spare a few dollars a month.

Steve and I are trying to figure out how many more kiddos we can sponsor. Each of these children is absolutely precious. When a child finds out she has been sponored, the family rejoices–it’s HUGE. It’s life-changing. And the letters sent from sponors are treasures. The kids read them over and over and cling to the words of someone miles away who loves them. It’s truly humbling how so little can do so much in someone’s life.

This week we are donating 10% of all sales to Compassion International’s unsponsored children’s fund. This fund helps care for kids who have been accepted into the program but are not yet sponsored by an individual. Click here to shop.

And will you please sponsor a child or two? It’s a beautiful thing.


investing in love

david, finding love By January 31, 2015 No Comments

The fall mornings are always chilly even though after a couple hours the sun comes out to warm everything. Before we leave the house, I pull a warm vest around David and strap him snuggly into his car seat. As we arrive at school, I slide open the van door, give him a kiss on the cheek and lift him from the car.

David has special needs. He was born with a rare genetic disorder called Cornelia de Lange. Because of his syndrome, he doesn’t use words to communicate, he has only two fingers on his left hand and he depends on us to feed and diaper him. David is very relational and loves to cuddle and hug—but he is cautious with new people. At times he voids eye contact and prefers to play alone.

At the beginning of the school year, he took hesitant steps toward the classroom, pulling on my hand and trying to slow my pace. It was a new school with new faces to get to know. Every morning, his teacher would bend down and with a big smile on her face, and welcome David to school. For weeks it went like this, hesitant steps culminating in a warm welcome and a fairly disinterested David.

But she persisted. She showed love and kindness to David. She invested in him…

I’m sharing at {in}courage today. Hop over to read the rest of the post. 


surprised by love

finding beauty By January 27, 2015 5 Comments

As I live, I learn there is so much more to love than I used to think. It’s deeper, wider, stronger and more beautiful than I used to believe.  Here are some things I’m learning about love…

1. Love grows in rocky soil. With a little sunlight and water, love can grow even in difficult circumstances.  It doesn’t require ideal conditions to thrive.

2. Love is resilient. It gets nicked and scraped, but if those bumps and bruises are tended to, it will heal to become even stronger.

3. Love is a renewable resource. Sometimes I feel used up and empty. But with a little rest and room to breathe, I am refreshed and ready to love again.

4. Love is brave. A heart that knows it is loved is willing to risk and be vulnerable.

5. Love expands. There is no limit to love. As we’ve made new friends and watched our family get bigger, I’ve seen my heart stretch and grow.

How has love surprised you?


beauty in brokenness {free printable!}

blog friends, finding beauty By January 23, 2015 3 Comments

It’s Friday friends! Whose ready for the weekend?

Today I am featured over at Barn Owl Primitives’ blog. Such an honor! I adore Kristi–and although we’ve never met in person, we regularly connect online, through texts and with phone calls. I can tell you she is a woman with heart who has built a thriving business that creates beautiful things. She and her husband work together {like Steve and I} so we have a lot in common.

If you’ve been hanging around here much, you’ve probably heard me talk about finding beauty in brokenness. I used to think I could create a perfect life, now I realized there is no perfect. But there is still so much beauty! In the crazy, everyday mess, I see bits of beauty and love–and it fills my heart!

Barn Owl Primitives created this gorgeous sign for me and guess what, today they are making it available as a FREE printable just for you! How amazing is that?! Click here to find it on the Barn Owl Blog. 

Happy Friday Friends!