the most important thing

david, finding love, the meaning behind the jewelry By March 8, 2016 52 Comments

the most important thing lisa leonard-01

We were nervous, but felt mostly ready to have our first baby. Toward the end of my pregnancy, we had tiny clothes, washed, folded and tucked into drawers. We had a crib with cozy, blue plaid bedding. We had a stroller and carseat ready to go. At my 38 week prenatal appointment, everything in our world was about to be turned upside down. We were most definitely not ready for what was about to happen.

Our routine visit began with an ultrasound. I could see the puzzled look on our doctor’s face. There were long pauses, note taking, comparing notes, checking and double checking, and then the question, “Are you sure we have the due date right? The baby’s measuring small. “

I was absolutely certain we had the due date correct. His words rung in my ears. I’d been careful to plan out the details as we prepared for our baby’s birth, but somehow I hadn’t worried about the right thing. Not that worrying would have changed one single thing. Something was wrong with our baby.

The next days were filled with a visit to the specialist, being admitted to the hospital, tears, worry and waiting. On July 4, 2002 our David was born. He was 4lbs, 2oz, had a full head of hair, a button nose, only two fingers on his left hand and a massive heart defect.

All of a sudden we had a lot of questions.

Will David survive?

Did I do something that caused this syndrome?

Will our friends and family accept our new baby?

Will we ever experience joy again?

We felt out of control. We were out of control.

On July 11, when David was seven days old, we sat down with a geneticist to discuss his diagnosis. We were new parents with broken hearts. We were at the beginning of one of the hardest parts of our journey. The geneticist could have shared meaningful statistics or current research to answer our questions. Instead he gave us deep wisdom into how to parent our new baby.

What did we do wrong?

What will David’s life look like?

How severely is our son affected by this syndrome?

Will David be okay? Are we going to be okay? What do we do next?

He calmly met our eyes. He spoke tender words with profound truth. “You’ll just have to get to know David to find out who he is.” He told us it was impossible to say how David’s life look. If we had a typical child, he couldn’t tell us how intelligent, creative, determined or successful he would be. His advice was to love our son, just the way he was, right at that moment.

Of all the questions, it really came down to one, foundational question.

“Will you love him as he is?”

We weren’t in control of the events leading up to David’s birth. We had no idea what the future held. But we were given the best, most important advice any parent can receive.

The most important advice any person can receive.

Love.

Love him just the way he is.

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In the midst of all the questions and worry, we had the one thing we needed most. Love. And amazingly, this tiny baby was about to teach us how to love more deeply and more purely than we ever imagined.

Sitting in a hospital waiting room, talking to a geneticist, we learned one of life’s most important lessons. And although we’ve grown a lot, it’s a lesson we’re still learning.

The most important thing is love.

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hello happy wire basket

hello monday By March 7, 2016 2 Comments

I was strolling through Home Goods last week and found this rose gold wire basket in the clearance section. I hung it on the wall next to my thrifted baskets and it’s making me so happy!

Sometimes it’s the little things, right?

It’s Monday–how about some hellos?

hello wire basket lisa leonard Hello hungry. David’s had a BIG appetite lately. Maybe he’s headed for a growth spurt? He can’t seem to get enough food.

Hello rain. Hooray! We’re getting lots of rain this week and we are so grateful.

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Hello to do list that seems to get longer instead of shorter. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

Hello watching the Divergent and Insurgent movies with Matthias. We can’t wait for the new one to come out.

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Hello sweet pups that have been snuggling with Matthias in bed. I go in to check on him and they’re all so cozy and crashed out. It’s a very sweet thing.

Hello feeling addicted to plants. They add beauty and life to our home and I love it.

Hello trying new recipes through Blue Apron. It’s been fun and we’ve loved almost all the meals.

Hello working on a few projects around the house this week. I’m hoping to spruce up our front porch.

Hello carving out some alone time for me this week. My soul needs it.

Hello caught up on laundry. Tomorrow I’ll be behind a day–but today let’s celebrate.

Hello Monday. It’s a new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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what a pity

david, the meaning behind the jewelry By March 3, 2016 81 Comments
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Last week at the grocery store I made eye contact with the woman behind me. She glanced at David with sad eyes, then looked back at me and shook her head. She saw his small hand with only two fingers. She heard him vocalizing sounds that didn’t form words. She could tell he had a disability.

Pity. That’s what she felt for David. Her face spoke a thousand words. I fought back the stinging tears and tried to swallow the lump in my throat. I turned around, pulled my shoulders back and stood up straighter. I looked at David and focused on the mischievous twinkle in his eye and the sweet smile on his lips. I took a moment and soaked him in.

If worth is measured by academic achievement and college degrees, we have a very sad situation.
If value is determined by dollars in your bank account or the car you drive, we have reason to worry.
If quality of life is based on athletic ability or the physical beauty, David is excluded.
But, if worth is determined by a loving God who knows you by name, then we have hope.
So much hope.
If value is measured belly laughs that begin in your toes, and pure joy that radiates from your soul, then we are rich.
If quality of life is based hugs and kisses and cuddles, then we certainly don’t need pity. We have everything we need.

Yes, David’s body is broken–he has a disability. There are many things in life he will never accomplish. But those things don’t determine his worth or value.
His heart is whole. His soul is strong and powerful. He freely gives and receives love. When I look at him, I feel no pity. When I look at him, I’m overcome with admiration. Then I take him in my arms and squeeze him as tightly as I can.
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the making of a family

family, the meaning behind the jewelry By March 1, 2016 6 Comments
Family doesn’t flourish or break in one moment.
It’s not defined by a perfect, smiling picture.
It isn’t shaken by a stressful morning of rushing and yelling.

Family is nurtured over months and years. It’s the process of growing together.
Family doesn’t require perfection, but depends on forgiveness.

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Family is bed head and a good cup of coffee
Family is a sink of dirty dishes after a pancake breakfast.
Family is silly texts and handwritten love notes.
Family is a hurt feelings followed by bear hugs.
Family is a cozy blanket, a cuddle on the couch and a good movie after a long day.
Family is an inside joke that lasts for years.
Family is staying by your side when you’re sick.

Family is sharing your toys and sharing your heart.
Family is an umbrella on a rainy day.

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Family is shaped by laughter and tears,
adventure and routine,
the magical and the mundane.
Family is the vulnerability of being known and the relief of being loved just the same.

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Hello leap year day!

hello monday By February 29, 2016 1 Comment

It’s February 29–a day that only comes around every four years. Each day is a gift, and today we get an extra day–which is pretty amazing, right? I feel like we should do something special or crazy.

Around here we’ve been cleaning {especially never ending pet hair}, enjoying the sunshine and listening to lots of music–including some live guitar from my men. I love to hear them play.

How about some hellos for a Monday?

hello leap year day1Hello sunlight flooding into the front room. This room gets so much light and I love it! I just added couple plants and somehow it makes the room seem even brighter. I love the sunlight through the leaves.

hello leap year day-03 Hello Louis and Beasley {or Lou and Beez}. These are two of the sweetest dogs E V E R and I can’t believe they’re part of our family. They are such snuggle bug cuties. Every day we brush them and put aquaphor on their noses. They love to go for walks almost as much as they love to get super snuggly. Such good boys.

hello leap year day2Hello music. Steve has been showing Matthias some chords. He’s just beginning but he’s doing great! And he’s playing Steve’s old guitar which holds so much meaning. And he looks so grown up with that guitar!

Hello forging ahead necklace. How many stones do you need?

Hello looking at paint colors to repaint our kitchen cabinet. I love this color.

Hello coffee with friends.

Hello hoping for rain. We’re supposed to get some later this week!

Hello leap year day! Do you have anything special planned?

Hello March {tomorrow}. How is that possible?

Hello to you! It’s a brand new day with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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you are enough

finding beauty, the meaning behind the jewelry By February 25, 2016 15 Comments
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Guilt says do more, be more

Grace says be still and rest

Guilt condemns

Grace forgives

Guilt screams and yells

Grace whispers kind words

Guilt gives up

Grace moves forward

Guilt scratches and claws

Grace soothes and comforts

Guilt piles on

Grace lightens the load

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Guilt brings despair
Grace is a ray hope

Guilt points the finger

Grace is a hand to hold

Guilt rolls it’s eyes

Grace smiles with warmth

Guilt is a liar

Grace is a truth teller

Guilt says you’ll never be enough
Grace says you are enough, just as you are
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denim and lace

what I'm wearing By February 24, 2016 4 Comments

I found this kimono last summer at Plenty Boutique {one of my favorite shops!} but I never wore it. I think the lilac color threw me off–it’s not a color I usually wore. But it was too pretty to give away. We’re in the middle of a heat wave, so I decided to pair it my favorite jeans and boots and go for it. Sometimes it’s better not to overthink it, right?

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Outfit details: Kimono, Plenty Boutique. Tank, Target. High rise jeans, Target. Booties, Frye. Leather bag, thrifted. Cuff and bangle, my shop.

Today I’m in meetings and trying to check a few things off my to do list. I’m running on not enough sleep {I couldn’t turn off my brain!}. I’ve got an extra cup of coffee to get me through the morning. Ready, set, go!

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this little hand

david, finding love By February 23, 2016 22 Comments

This little hand was the first tangible sign that things were not as we expected.

This little hand, with only two little fingers, made my heart hurt and worry about the days ahead.

This little hand represented a syndrome and questions and the end of dreams I’d been dreaming for my tiny baby.

This little hand softly touches mine and reminds me true beauty comes from within.

This little hand is teaching me perfection isn’t the goal, love is the goal.

This little hand is connected to this little body. A body that runs and explores and cuddles close to mine.

This little body that has fought hard to overcome illness and disorder.

This little body holds the heart of my child. A heart that loves deeply. A heart that laughs with joy. A heart that doesn’t worry about tomorrow but finds beauty in this moment. A heart so big and powerful that it has helped heal my own. A heart that has taught me how to love better and more purely.

I wouldn’t change this little hand because it’s part of the story that has brought us to today.

And today holds amazing, wonderful things.

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hello color, texture and light

hello monday, inspiration By February 22, 2016 3 Comments

Three things that whisper beauty to my soul are color, texture and light. And when they’re combined just right, it can be magical. Some things are just so lovely it makes my heart skip a beat. Does that happen to you? And it can be the most simple of things.

It’s Monday, how about some hellos?

hello sunlight-01 Hello heartshake studios. You inspire me.

Hello cleaning and simplifying and then cleaning some more. The cleaning is never ever done.

Hello sunlight pouring in the windows. It’s good for my heart.

Hello sipping coffee and craving more.

hello sunlight-02 Hello thrifted baskets. I love the thrill of finding an unexpected treasure.

Hello trying Blue Apron. We just received our first two meals and I think I like it. It was a little stressful trying a new recipe {David was hanging on me while I cooked} but the directions were super simple and easy to follow. And the meals have been delicious!

Hello going to bed early. I have been so tired at night lately!

hello sunlight-01-2Hello pretty pots and rugs. Love the color and texture.

Hello keeping in touch with friends by text. I have friends I text throughout the day with random bits of information and silly photos. It’s such a great way to stay connected.

Hello snoring dogs. They wake up, go potty, eat breakfast and within 5 minutes, they are snoring again. It’s awesome.

Hello haircuts, meetings and finding time for quiet.

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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