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?

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hello selfies

hello monday, what I'm wearing By March 5, 2018 3 Comments

Lately I’ve been taking selfies in the mirror. I started doing it to document the outfit or maybe share it Instagram, but something unexpected began to happen. I noticed I was getting a different perspective of myself. I want to embrace who I am–inside and out. These selfie pics were a way to see myself and speak kindly to myself. Selfies get a bad rap sometimes–maybe they’re used as a way to be better than others or get attention. But sometimes selfies are just a way to document a moment, have fun, and see yourself. Seeing myself and embracing myself is a good thing. It’s imperfect–up and down but I’m getting better at letting myself be me–no more, no less, just me.

How about some hellos for a brand new week?

Jeans, Pilco by Althropologie {similar}
T-shirt, Target
Leather Jacket, Madewell
Gray Felt Hat, Target {similar}
Booties, Jeffrey Campbell


Hello being kind to myself. 

Hello fighting an awful cold. The family has it and it seems to hang on, go away and then come back.

Hello using my new air fryer and loving it! I made these chicken tenders and they turned our perfectly. A couple quick notes: I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil and panko crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs. I served them with a chipotle ranch dressing.

Hello watching this series from BBC and cracking up. Who doesn’t love Matt LeBlanc?

Hello pups who needs baths.

Hello short week at school. David has Monday off and Matthias has Wed/Thurs/Friday off.

Hello thinking Easter was next weekend and realizing I still have another month. For once I am ahead of the calendar!

Hello craving cold cereal. I love it and lately I’ve been giving in. It’s my comfort food.

Hello haircut this week for ME! Yay!

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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DIY sleeping tents

DIY By February 28, 2018 1 Comment

When our British family came for Christmas, we put all three girls in the loft upstairs {an open area between all the bedroom}. I wanted each of them to have their own little space–so we created these A-frame tents, placed a mattress inside, made up each bed with cozy sheets and blankets and finally strung lights across all three. It took a bit of planning and elbow grease but the results were adorable and the girls {especially the younger two, ages 5 and 10} loved them.

More details below…

I found A-frame tents in this adorable shop on Etsy, but right when I was about to place the order, she took a break from her shop. I ended up ordering these tents on Amazon. I prefer to shop small, but in this case I was running out of time.


I measured the space for the three tents, and it was going to be tight. Once the tents arrived and I went to set them up, I didn’t have enough room. I overlapped the poles a bit so I could fit all three tents in the space. But then I had a problem.


The tents I bought off Amazon had a stabilizing bar on the bottom. I couldn’t put the bar on the tents when I overlapped them, which meant I couldn’t use the cream canvas covers that came with each tent. Soooo…I ended up using these Turkish towels I had in the cupboard. I used my staple gun to attach each towel to the sides of the tent. It kind of ruined the towels in the long run, but they sure looked cute! And I was under a time crunch.
These are the mattresses we used in each tent. They are super comfortable. An adult could definitely sleep well on one of these.


We already had that giant chalkboard in the loft, so I drew kind of a forest scene, and of course the little white lights were the perfect final touch. We used flannel sheets, white cozy blankets and topped each bed with a vintage quilt and fuzzy throw.

Wouldn’t this be adorable for a summer party? I kinda of want a tent for myself.

Here are all the supplies–

Tent Etsy or Amazon
Mattress
Turkish Towel
Washable Fuzzy Throw

Even better, here’s a tutorial for making your own A-frame tent!

Can you think think of someone who would love their own A-frame tent?

 

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hello handmade macrame

hello monday By February 26, 2018 3 Comments

This weekend I hung this HUGE macrame piece above our staircase. I love love love it times ten zillion. It’s full of texture and beauty, but understated because of it’s neutral colors. It was designed and created by Lindsey of Tied and True Goods. {Get it? TIED and true. Love it!} She is so talented. She also helps us a ton with the boys and her heart is even more beautiful than her handmade creations!

How about some hellos for a brand new week?

Hello huge handmade art. I love handmade and I love art.

Hello view from upstairs looking down.

Hello huge driftwood anchoring the piece.

Hello baskets and plants adding warmth and nature.

Hello debating if I should take down our number 4’s?  I want to keep it simple visually.

Hello tummy ache. David has had a rough few days. Poor guy.

Hello needing a couple slow mornings to regroup after a few busy weeks. Slow mornings are my favorite. Almost as good as a slow day or a slow weekend.

Hello new air fryer I want to try out this week! Have you tried air frying? I’ll let you know how it goes.

Hello typing one-handed while I cuddle David. Multi-tasking!

Hello wishing my entire house was clean but being thankful for all the living we do inside these walls.

Hello trying to finish this book. It’s so good and so long!

Hello watching this show {I can’t say the name outloud!} It’s so funny!

Hello cold weather and rain in our forecast. We need the rain so badly but I have to admit I’m craving sunshine.

Hello another sweet piece from Tied and True Goods. Hop over and check out Lindsey’s shop.

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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Hello David’s New Favorite Book!

hello monday, hope By February 19, 2018 2 Comments

Hello friends! Have you seen Matthew Paul Turner’s new book? It’s so good! David loves it–check out the pics below and see his happy face. When God Made Light is a beautiful children’s book filled with hope and inspiration. I picked up multiple copies to save for baby showers and kids parties.

It’s Monday, how about some hellos?

Hello words that move my heart. I want to fill David’s days with truth and hope. This beautiful book accomplishes that goal!

Hello books, books and more books. I hardly have time to read my own books because David wants to be read to so much. He’ll pick up a book and bring it to me with a big smile on his face. How can I say no?!

Hello quality time. When I read to David, we snuggle, our hearts are close together. It’s easy to get busy and feel rushed–but these moments, where we slow down and sit together, are the sweetest.

Hello traveling for a couple days this week. Steve and I have meetings out of town.

Hello baby showers and birthday gatherings. The last week has been full of friends and celebrations.

Hello singing! Matthias has a performance this week and we are so excited.

Hello trying a new hair product and loving it. That hardly ever happens to me! My curls are hard to control–they have a mind of their own.

Hello having good intentions to make dinner but then ordering pizza at the last minute. Sometimes by 5pm I’m wiped out.

Hello getting all my clothes put away. Woohoo! everything is currently hung in my closet or folded in a drawer. This a rare occurrence.

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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Chase The Shadows

hope, the meaning behind By February 18, 2018 11 Comments

God is good,

God is love,

I learned these truths when I was little.

 

His light surrounds me,

He watches over me,

I felt His presence from a young age.

 

I wanted to be good.

I wanted to please the God of the Universe.

I wanted to deserve His love.

 

 

So, I worked hard,

And tried to be good.

I felt his light behind me, like sun on my shoulders.

But shadows stretched out before me,

dark shadows as far as I could see.

 

So, I worked harder,

I tried to be better.

His light was always behind me,

His presence was always with me,

But the shadows were always before me,

dark shadows as far as I could see.

 

I worked even harder,

I tried to be better, perfect even.

Day by day the weight on my shoulders grew heavier,

My back and legs grew tired,

My heart was weary and sad.

No matter what I did, it was never enough.

I could never overcome the shadows,

dark shadows as far as I could see.

 

In desperation, I dropped to my knees,

buried my face in my hands and wept.

As tears rolled down my face I felt the warmth of God’s light behind me.

I cried with desperation,

“I’m sorry God.

I tried so hard.

I wanted to be good.

I wanted to deserve your love.

But I could never overcome the shadows.”

 

I felt Him gently touch my shoulder.

With empty hands and a broken heart,

I turned around,

I turned toward God.

His warm light overwhelmed me.

The glow of His goodness filled me with peace.

His love consumed me.

 

As I turned toward God there were no shadows, only light.

 

He whispered to me,

“You don’t have to work harder.

You don’t have to be good enough.

You don’t have to do it on your own.

I love you.

I have always loved you.

I am enough for you.

I have always been enough for you.

Turn toward me with empty hands and a broken heart.

You will find what you need right here.

I will surround you with my goodness and protection.

I will fill you with my love.

I will shine my light and chase the shadows away.

 

There will be no more shadows, only light as far as you can see.”


I’ve been thinking about Light and Grace these days. The Sunburst Diamond Ring captures light and hope with its handcrafted design.

Click here to see details. 

 

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hello thrifted baskets

hello monday, thrifting By February 12, 2018 3 Comments

Last week I hit the basket jackpot at our local Goodwill. So fun! I’m planning to put a bunch of flatter ones together in a wall collage at our office. Thrift stores are so addictive–I never know what I’m going to find.

How about some hellos for a brand new week?

Hello treasure trove of woven baskets in all shapes and sizes.

Hello mouse in our house. We did not invite him in and now he won’t leave.

Hello Valentine’s Day! We are going on a date night 2/15, that way we won’t have to fight the crowds. Do you have plans?

Hello busy busy David with unending energy and silliness. It’s been so fun and also exhausting! By 7:30 I’m ready to put him to bed.

Hello using my Instant pot more. A good friend shared this recipe with me and it’s delicious! *Note* I didn’t marinate the chicken overnight and I used boneless thighs instead of whole chickens. I set the instant pot timer for 6 minutes. It was tender and flavorful!

Hello taking Matthias to practice for the musical he’s in. He’s loving it. So fun.

Hello reading this memoir. It’s beautifully written and a fascinating story.

Hello Monday off school {for David}. We’ll take it slow today.

Hello finishing a big project and exhaling. I can’t wait to share more with you!

Hello to you! What are you saying hello to this week?

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hello helping

hello monday By February 5, 2018 3 Comments

Our English cousins visited over Christmas. It was such a wonderful time of being together; exploring and relaxing. The kids all get along pretty darn well. Pictured below is Phoebe who really, really wanted to help take care of David. One morning she wanted to feed him breakfast, so I got the food ready, gave her a quick lesson and she went for it.

Phoebe was very careful and attentive and David was very patient. Food got everywhere, it was messy, but also, such a sweet, tender moment. Phoebe is five years old and David is fifteen. Even with the large age gap, she can do what he can’t–and it’s heartbreakingly beautiful. I felt a mix of joy and sadness watching them together. But mostly I felt love–Phoebe’s love and acceptance toward David. She looks past his disability and loves him just as he is.

It made me wonder how many times I don’t accept help, even when I need it. Helping someone else and accepting help means we meet each other in our brokenness. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?

How about some hellos for a brand new week?

Hello taking time to notice other’s needs. In my busyness it’s so easy to rush through my day.

Hello accepting help from others. It’s easier for me to offer help than accept it. Deep down I think accepting help feels like weakness–which is so untrue. We need each other.

Hello reading this book. So good–and she was 17 when she wrote it!

Hello Christmas planning already! There is fun stuff ahead.

Hello Mom 2.0. Are you going? I’ll be there.

Hello overalls. Aren’t these cute?

Hello watching this series on Netflix. It’s kinda creepy but so good. If you liked Stranger Things, you’ll like this.

Hello fighting a migraine the last few days. So yuck. Thankfully it’s low level.

Hello meetings and email and projects this week.

Hello blogging. It’s been a few weeks. Feels good to get back into a rhythm.

Hello to you! What are you saying hello to this week?

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hello happy birthday

hello monday By January 15, 2018 6 Comments

Today Matthias is saying ‘hello’ to fourteen! I can’t believe my baby is fourteen–feels like a lot of years and a short amount of time. I’ve heard a rumor next year he’ll turn fifteen. Next year is high school! So exciting and crazy and to be honest, my mama heart gets pulled between missing my babies and delighting in watching my boys grow. Life is a funny, beautiful thing. How about some hellos?

Hello feeling victorious because we finally got our Christmas tree down. It’s not even February yet!

Hello father and son who are so much alike–passionate, creative, hard-working, deep feelers.

Hello three guys who fill up my heart.

Hello new year full of big things ahead.

Hello Matthias, happy birthday!!!

Hello celebrating with dinner and a movie with friends, a few gifts and cupcakes.

Hello to you! What are you saying hello to this week?

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hello counting down!

hello monday By December 12, 2017 13 Comments

I cannot believe it’s mid-December. The days are flying by and Christmas is right around the corner! We are busy busy around here and I find myself feeling a bit panicky at moments. But it will all come together. I know for sure getting stressed never helps. It always makes it worse! deep breath, it’s all good.

How about some hellos for a new week?

Hello taking pics with this incredible photographer {and friend!}. Heather you are so talented.

Hello fires in Los Angeles and Ventura. We are a couple hours north of the fires–out of harms way but close enough to experience the smoke and know our neighbors are in crisis. Lots of thoughts and prayers for California.

Hello cleaning out drawers and closets.

Hello watching less TV and spending more time reading.

Hello Christmas tree with twinkly lights but no ornaments {yet!}.

Hello last minute Christmas gifts. These handmade items ship FAST.

Hello feeling like a homebody lately–I never want to leave the house.

Hello celebrating David who has been healthy for 8 weeks straight!!

Hello planning Matthias’ birthday which always seems to get lost in the Christmas shuffle.

Hello making lists and rushing–then feeling exhausted.

Hello walking and writing and thinking and nurturing my soul.

Hello napping and resting and being instead of doing.

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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