Maybe love doesn’t last

finding love By February 2, 2016 59 Comments

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When Steve and I got married almost 17 years ago, I had love figured out. Or at least, I thought I did. We vowed to love each other ‘for better or for worse’. I had the ‘better’ part all planned out. We would work hard, save our money, buy a cute little house, have a couple kids and keep on loving each other and having fun—just like we did while we were dating and engaged. I was confident we could avoid the ‘worse’ part. I mean, nobody loved each other like we did! We were going to beat the odds. Sure, we’d have the occasional argument—but that’s normal. We knew how to communicate and listen to each other. We had found true love and we were going to make it last.

Then life, in all it’s crazy, imperfectness began to get real.  Sometimes it was big stuff—like having a baby with a disability or getting fired from a job. Sometimes it was just the normal, every day stuff—the stress of grocery shopping on a tight budget or car trouble. I began to have hours, days, sometimes weeks were I didn’t feel that love I felt when we got married. But then we would reconnect. The love was still there {what a relief!}. Although it looked different. It didn’t feel new and shiny. It felt normal and comfortable. Love grows, love changes, that’s what love does, I told myself.

Then ten years into our marriage we started to see marriages around us crumble.  Close friends separated. A couple that mentored us split up. Sometimes it was an affair, sometimes it was just unhappiness. We couldn’t believe it. These were the people who showed us what made love last–and their love wasn’t lasting. It was unsettling and scary. In my own heart, I began to feel discontent.  A scary little thought crept in—maybe love doesn’t last.

We have walked through our own hard times–fighting, feeling disconnected, not understanding each other. There have been times where the anger and hurt feels much stronger than the love. I’ve wondered if our love was ever true. Maybe we weren’t well matched. Maybe we made a mistake. I suspect every marriage goes through these dark times. I think it’s the rule, not the exception.

It seems true love gives all it has, breaks down, then reconnects to heal. A new love begins where the old love left off. Perhaps love is a journey of holding on to each other, even when you want to let go? True love is more about forgiveness than feelings. It’s more about giving than getting. It finds it’s hope in humility. Love begins, it breaks down, it begins again. Where love began is not where it will end. We will be broken and changed and hopefully over the years, with a lot of grace, we will find ourselves in a marriage that has lasted, defined by a love that has been renewed again and again.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast.

It is not proud.

It does not dishonor others.

It is not self-seeking.

It is not easily angered.

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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what forty knows…

finding beauty, thoughts By January 27, 2016 18 Comments

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I’ve heard people say they feel more beautiful 40 years old than they did at 20 years old.
And I agree.
But I wonder why?
Objectively, I’m not more beautiful at 40 than I was at 20.
Maybe 40 is more willing to wear bright red lipstick and high heels without worrying what someone else thinks.
Maybe 40 has seen that physical beauty won’t bring the happiness she once thought it would.
Maybe 40 has a friend who’s not a traditional beauty, but whose captivating smile radiates warmth and kindness.
Maybe 40 knows that each of us wants to be loved as we are.
Maybe 40 has discovered a new kind of beauty.
Maybe 40 can sigh at the wrinkles but admit they reflect years of working toward wholeness.
Maybe 40 has seen the sunlight through the window as she sips a cup of coffee, or felt her child’s tiny hand in hers as they walk along–and she craves those things more than a flat tummy or long legs.
Maybe 40 is more able to look at outside herself and love others deeply.
Maybe 40 is beginning to understand life will bring unavoidable pain but also undeniable hope.
And with it hope brings the truest, deepest beauty to be found.
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Risky, Messy Love

family, finding love, Louis and Beasley, matthias By January 19, 2016 10 Comments

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The other day, as I was driving the boys to school, Matthias told me he loves our new pugs so much it makes him sad.

I asked him what he meant, and he explained, “I feel so much love for them—but what if they get hurt or sick or worse, die? I would be so sad. Just the thought of it makes my heart heavy.”

I sighed and nodded. I knew exactly what he meant. I feel those same feelings and worry every day. Not just for our dogs {I mean, I love those doggies!} but even more so having children, committing to a husband, sharing life with sisters who are dear to my heart, it’s amazing and it’s terrifying.

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Love is vulnerable.

Love is a risk.

Love is messy. Always.

Love isn’t safe.

If we love deeply and honestly, we’ll most likely get hurt.

But if we protect our hearts and keep them safe, we miss out on, well, the best of what life brings.

Because love is imperfect, we’re imperfect—flawed in all of our good intentions, living in bodies that will eventually fail us.

It’s heart-breaking.

But it’s also breath-taking.

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Love makes the journey not only bearable, but beautiful.

Love may break our hearts but it also heals them.

Love eases our pain and comforts our souls in a way that’s impossible to understand.

To be loved is everything.

And so, these two sweet dogs have walked into our lives, made them sweeter and unexpectedly, they’re teaching us about love and life. And that is no small thing.

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keeping everyone happy

christmas, finding beauty By December 2, 2015 10 Comments

The Christmas tree is up and December is officially here. So we should be feeling happy and joyful, right? Magic is in the air! So how come I feel overwhelmed? I love the twinkling lights, the cinnamon candle I’m burning smells good and there is a chill in the air. It’s a festive time of year–but that doesn’t mean I have to feel festive–at least not all the time. It’s still real life, right? Mornings are rushed, dinner time comes too quickly and by 8pm I’m ready for bed. As a mom, I feel responsible to make everything run smoothly, to keep everyone is happy and to somehow make every moment magical. It’s an impossible task I put on myself. It’s too much pressure. And bottom line–it doesn’t work.

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Today I’m reminding myself–every moment doesn’t have to magical. I’d rather have moments that are real. Real is good. Real is honest and true.

Today I’m reminding myself–It’s okay to not feel happy. It’s okay if I don’t’ feel happy or the kids aren’t happy. The pressure to be happy doesn’t make anyone happier. It’s okay to feel tired or sad or even angry. It’s okay to not be okay. And strangely, things are more okay when I let them be what they truly are.

Today I’m reminding myself that grace is real. I have a family that showers me with grace. I have friends that don’t expect me to be perfect and actually embrace me in my brokenness.  This community is real. In the craziness of life, we share our stories–the beauty and the mess. I love that.

Instead of keeping everyone happy, I want to keep things real. To let this journey be what it is–beautiful and crazy and messy.

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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.

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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.

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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!
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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!
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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?

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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…

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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!

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