Good morning, you guys!  Welcome to your brand new week!

 
 

This is a sweet weekly rhythm where we greet a fresh week, open to the possibilities and on the hunt for joy, even in the gritty…because sometimes that’s where it grows best of all.

 
 
 

It’s a big day and week for us and maybe for you too if you have kids going back to school.  Let’s say some hello’s!

 
 

Hello new season

 

manny 1

 
 
 

I’ve been sensing a nice, cool breeze of change on the horizon.  Isaiah starts 2nd grade today {yay!} and our 2nd born, Manny, starts K5 this week.  
 
 
BY THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH.
 
 
 The birth certificate came in, we got his checkup, registered them both AND Manny was put with the teacher we really wanted for him…all within 2 days.  Whew! And thank you, Jesus! {He heard the many nervous prayers that have been whispered by this mama.}

 
 

Manny was so brave and I get all teary thinking about how stinkin proud of that boy I am.  He’s had to do some hard things and I’ve watched him do them with a surprising amount of courage.  And on his way to get his shots, Isaiah called him on the phone because he said he wanted to give him some advice that really helped him when he had to get his shots {“just hold on to Daddy real tight, close your eyes and think about something else…like you’re not even there.”}.

 
 

Y’all.  It was just the sweetest thing.

 
 

So this means that the two boys will be in school and it will just be me and Zoe here at home.  I will still have help with her 2 days a week so I really feel like this will be a new season and I am PUMPED.  I hope that doesn’t sound like I don’t love my kids to pieces but the idea of having defined times for work and defined time with them {instead of trying to navigate working and meeting their needs at the same time} is something I’m so grateful for.

 
 

Bring the fall!

 
 
 

Hello party time

 

birthday cake birthday cake 2

{lots of people aren’t pictured here, but you get the idea}

 
 

Last weekend we got together with both sides of our families and celebrated Josh’s, his mom’s and my birthdays {all fall in the same week}.

 
 

Lots of cousins, the BEST chocolate cake with chocolate frosting {our favorite}, loud chaotic singing, gifts and laughing.
 
 

{My family has a tradition of everyone singing at the top of their lungs, at different times and in all different keys.  this is great until your kid goes to a birthday party for a friend and carries on this tradition by himself while the other mom’s just stare at you.}

 
 

It was great. :)

 
 
 

Hello Ostrich Boy

 

ostrich

 
 

Have you seen these before?

 
 

ostrich 1

ostrich 2

 
 

Josh got one as a joke from my sister.  There was a lot of laughing, but I’m not gonna lie…I totally have plans to use that thing in my cloffice.

 
 
 

Hello suede clips

 

suede clip 2
suede clip

 
 

Per my August goals, I am not launching anything new.  These are not in the shop {yet}, but I can’t not create so I thought it would be fun to show you anyway. :)

 
 

A few other colors will probably get added, but I looove these.  Zoe has been wearing them and gets compliments a lot.  Easy, great for grown and little girls, matches almost everything and the warm suede is perfect for fall.

 
 
 

Hello food allergies

 

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A couple of weeks ago, Josh had a food panel done to see if he has any delayed allergies/sensitivities.

 
 

Hmm.  This is not what we expected.

 
 

We knew dairy was an issue but onions?  Chocolate?  Pork?  COFFEE????

 
 

He has a follow up appointment with his doctor soon to make a plan, but in the mean time, what in the world do we eat?!

 
 

I asked my instagram friends and they were really helpful so I want to ask you too.  Have you had results like this in your family and if so, how did you handle it?  Get a second test?  Take foods out starting with the highest sensitivity?  Eliminate all the “bad” food and the general will to live altogether?

 
 

A meal plan based on haddock, lamb, green beans, potatoes and eggs.  Yum.

 
 
 
 

Welp. I think that’s about all the brain power I have today. :)  What are you saying hello to?

 
 
 

{P.S.  I’m starting a newsletter soon with more Deep Thoughts with Dana :), ideas and encouragements for you plus maybe some inside looks at starting a new business from scratch. Just a couple times a month. If that interests you, sign up in the side bar!}

 
 
 

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Happy Wednesday, friends!  For us, this is the last Wednesday of the summer break.  The kids start school Monday.  Woo hoo!!!  Sooooo sad. {wink}

 

 

5 creative pitfalls

 

 

 

I’ve been wanting to write about this for awhile because I think when people tag a person as “creative,” there’s an underlying assumption that butterflies and rainbows and art just spill out of them automatically.  And then that might lead to another person feeling that they are most definitely not that…so they must not be all that creative.

 
 
I grew up believing that I wasn’t creative at all because I can’t draw, for example.
 
 
 But now I’m convinced that just as THE Creator isn’t limited in the least in how He shows His creativity, we, the created, have been hard-wired to be creative in a vast number of ways.  
 
 
It could be painting, embroidery or furniture rehabbing, sure.  But it could also be creative problem solving with numbers, negotiating, leading a small group, counseling, engineering, baking, operating machinery, building, organization and teaching…and so many other ways that might not be sold on Etsy.  YOU, friend, are a work of exquisite art all by yourself.

 
 
 
So don’t assume this might not apply to you, ok?

 
 
 
Ok, so now that we’ve established that, here are 5 major hurdles that I have to overcome on a regular basis to do my best work.  And I’ll throw in a few tips for how I move past them.

 
 
 
1. Distractions
 
 
A great idea hits but by the time I can do anything about it, I’ve lost it.  Or I sit down to do work and let ideas flow and my phone goes off or a kid comes in or a unicorn runs by. {dang unicorns}
 

gold dusted pencils

{gold dusted pencils}

 
 
Tip: write it down.  I now have 3 notebooks around all the time at home and one in my purse.  One notebook for this blog, one for the shop and one for another creative project I’m working on.  I know everyone tells you to do this and I don’t like being bossed so I didn’t for so long, but y’all.  This has saved many, many ideas from being lost forever in the black hole called my memory.
 
 
I also have several private boards on pinterest that I pin to regularly so I won’t forget an idea spark.  I just make sure that I write a detailed description so I can remember what I was thinking.
 
 
As for the kids and phones {and unicorns}, it’s a little trickier which makes the notebooks even more important…so you can go back to the ideas.  I’m learning what creative work requires me to think uninterrupted {writing here, designing new pieces, writing descriptions for products} and what work doesn’t require so much brain power {filling orders, editing pictures, packaging/shipping, painting, working on something for our house}.
 
 
Identifying what those are means that I wait to do high-level thinking stuff until someone else can watch my kids or while they are sleeping {early mornings work best for me}.  I try to make sure that I turn my phone on vibrate or leave it in another room.  I also took a lot of notifications off my phone {facebook, twitter, email, etc} and that has helped immensely.
 
 
{If it’s a unicorn, you stop what you’re doing immediately and go see what she’s there to talk to you about.  Duh.}
 
 
 

2. Too many options
 
 
I’m in the middle of this right now {and pretty much all the time}.  If I’m designing new pieces, there’s a color wheel of options, a gazillion sizes and shapes of beads, lengths of chain, style and textures.  I twitch just thinking about it.  What will people like?  What will they buy? Fall or Summer colors?  Dressy or casual?  Classic or statement?
 
 

layered necklaces 2

{layered necklaces}

 
 
Tip: limit your options. It might seem counter-intuitive when you want to be creative, but if you’re prone to get overwhelmed and lose direction or focus, this little trick is your friend.  For me, it might mean deciding to only pull from the materials I have on hand and not order new materials.  Or deciding on a specific color palette of 3 colors that compliment each other.  Naming the collection or picking a category/theme can also serve as a reminder to stay within those limits.  You can see that I did that with my Leather + Suede Collection, All the Happy Colors Collection and Lovely Whimsy Collection.  Each one had a focus or theme.  Remember, because you’re writing down all your ideas when they strike, you can always go back and develop them later.  You’re a freaking genius.

 
 
 
3. Trying to be TOO orginal/Perfection
 
 
This one is huge for me.  I want to be the most unique, original thing the handmade world has ever seen.  For this reason, a fantastic idea won’t be good enough for me because that’s what everyone is doing right now, or that’s so over done or I don’t just want to be trendy or I don’t want it to look like I’m copying.  It goes on and on and on in my brain.
 
 

dont let perfect

{print}

 
 
Tip: shut up.  Listen, you.  YOU are original.  There is not one other being on this planet of billions of people that’s like you.  There is also nothing new under the sun.  Everything has been done before, that’s true.  But it has not been done by YOU.  {<— things I have to also tell myself}
 
 
So let’s get over ourselves, shall we?  Let’s walk in the freedom of knowing that we don’t have to start all the new ideas or make all the new things.  We get to take someone else’s idea and then make it uniquely ours.  {Would it have been cool to have been the person who invented the earring?  Yes.  Do I want the experience that probably came with becoming the first pierced person?  Sure don’t.}
 
 
And let’s not forget that perfection is not even really a thing here.  There’s not a perfect human being on the planet so chasing after that is a waste of time.  And boring.
 
 
Let’s chase after making the highest quality we can, knowing that there might be flaws and that’s ok.  Let’s chase after authenticity and creating things that we genuinely love and enjoy.  Let’s chase after using our gifts and efforts to bless and bring beauty.  Let’s chase after the process of creating.  The experience.  We get to grow and improve and change.  That right there is what makes what you do original.  No one else is going through your exact process.  You’re the only one who can create out of that unique experience.

 
 
 

4.  The blah factor
 
 
Blank stare.  No idea. Blink.  Nothing.  It just happens, friends.  Creativity comes in waves and seasons.  I hear a lot of writers talk about the slump after they release a book.  When something hard is being demanded or pulled out of you {enjoyable or not}, I think there’s a recovery period.  I’m learning to be ok with that just being part of this deal.  Sometimes life is intense and all your energy is poured into keeping your head above water.  It can feel almost impossible for me to be creative in those seasons.
 
 

blah

{party banner}


 
 
Tip: ask some important questions then renew: does being creative feel pressure-y to me?  Why?  What makes me feel renewed?  What restores me?  What is feeling super hard/hurtful/demotivating to me right now?
 
 
And then maybe take a walk.
 
 

agatha christie


 
 
Although I create for business, nothing kills my creative buzz more than thinking about expectations, finances and paying bills.  I need to find a way to separate myself from that.  Making a piece of jewelry just for myself that I don’t ever plan to sell or doing something different like stitching or painting or arranging flowers for our home really helps pull me out of that funky place.
 
 
Identifying what restores me is a great way to get back to a place where I’m inspired.
 
 
Sometimes the well just runs dry and it needs a drenching rain.  What does that look like for you?  Maybe it’s a leisurely walk at a park, stopping to notice the details of a flower or breathing in the fresh air and soaking up the breeze.  Maybe it’s leaving your surroundings and letting your eyes take in new scenery.  Maybe it’s getting lost in a book.  Maybe it’s binging on Netflix and then taking a nap. Maybe it’s baking {a personal fav}.  I wrote about 5 ways I feel re-created recently to give you some more ideas.
 
 

The point is that you realize that you’re not a machine.  These seasons are just part of the big picture so go take care of you.

 
 
 
5.  Delay {fear}
 
 
So this is a big one, yes?  I don’t think I’m really good at this.  No one is going to like it.  What if this crashes and burns?  What if I’ve invested all this and it sucks?  What if I love it and no one else does?  What if I’m misunderstood?
 
 
I ask these questions all the time.  It’s a hard place to be.  Ask me why I don’t have bracelets in my shop yet or why I’m scared to talk about this big secret project I’m working on.  Ask me why I’m terrified to admit my dreams when it pertains to writing?  {Actually, just kidding.  I don’t want to talk about any of that.}  :)  We have things we want to try.  Steps we want to take.  Skills we want to hone.  But instead, we do nothing more than dream about it.
 
 
Getting to the root of our fears is something I care deeply about, but would require a totally different kind of post.  This post is geared toward getting you back to that creative place where you aren’t handicapped with fear so that’s what I’m going to address.
 
 

not afraid

{temporary tattoo}

 
 
Tip: start with an MVP {minimum viable product}.  Key word = start.  I get it, you’re nervous.  Start anyway.
 
 
The idea of a minimum viable product is used a lot when companies are trying to get off the ground with some idea.  Instead of waiting until they have the perfect, fully developed product they’re dreaming about, they release a starter model.  Something that resembles where they want to end up and could be bought and sold as-is, but isn’t the end product.  It’s a start that they will continue to tweak and improve on as they go.   I love that Groupon started as a wordpress blog about group buying and the first iphone initially had no “find” feature or cut and paste functions.  You just start with something and get it out in the world.  You can tweak it later.
 
 
The vast majority of the world’s most meaningful art was wrought and chiseled and crafted over time…not in one strike of creative genius.  Give yourself the privilege and gift of that process.  Not getting it right the first time is almost expected and more than ok. I can’t think of one time I’ve regretted creating before I felt like I was ready. The release of finally getting something out there and having a starting point FAR outweighs all the fretting I did over it. Don’t let your idea of the future be what robs you of seeing your idea grow and fly.

 
 
 

Now get out there, Tiger!  Go do what matters to you!
 
 
 
 
{I’m starting an newsletter soon with more Deep Thoughts with Dana :), ideas and encouragements for you plus maybe some inside looks at starting a new business from scratch. Just a couple times a month. If that interests you, sign up in the side bar!}
 
 
 
Linking up with We are THAT Family.

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We’re back and I’m so happy to be greeting the week with you!

 
 

This is a sweet weekly rhythm where we greet a fresh week, open to the possibilities and on the hunt for joy, even in the gritty…because sometimes that’s where it grows best of all.

 
 

Let’s say some hello’s!

 
 
 
 

Hello progress + healing for Abby

 

2014-08-05_1407282929

 
 

First of all, thank you so much for praying for Abby.  She had surgery on August 5th, was finally cleared to go home on the 11th and has been recovering.  This has been and probably will be a long road for them with plenty of complications, but at the end of the day…she will be ok.  And that’s HUGE.  Most kids with brain tumors don’t get that report and her family doesn’t take it for granted.  If you think about it, I know they would love you to keep praying.  There are lots of hurdles to get over when you’re dealing with the brain.  Hard hurdles for a 5 year old.  Thanks for being that kind of  community. :)

 
 
 

Hello renewed

 

anniv trip 12

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anniv trip 23

 
 

If you noticed the blog was quiet last week, it was because Josh and I took a mini-vacay together to Charleston and then North Myrtle.  It was restful and delicious and inspiring and fun.  I can’t wait to tell you more about it!

 
 

We both needed that time and I’m so thankful for it.

 
 
 

Hello 35 & 10

 

anniv trip 42

 
 

We both turned 35 last week (he’s 3 days older though!) and celebrated 10 years married to each other last November.  That feels like a big milestone to me but I’m sure it will seem so small should the Lord grant us 50+ more years together.  There’s not another person I would rather live this life with.

 
 
 

Hello proper documentation

 

2014-07-17_1405614005

 
 

But now that we’re home, the crap has kind of hit the fan with the realization that I don’t have a birth certificate for this kid!  He’s supposed to start kindergarten in a week {!!!}.  I’m having it expedited with fingers tightly crossed that it will get here in time.

 
 

Y’all, remember how I said that August would be crazy?   Yeah.  I’m dropping balls everywhere.  I’m a creative.  Logistics and scheduling and documents are just plain hard for me sometimes.  I use calendars and multiple note pads and lists and work REALLY hard at this area…but it will just never be my strength.  Sigh.

 
 

How about you?  Do have a good system that’s working for your life?  I want to hear about it.

 
 
 

Hello dr and dentist appts {aaaah!}

 

anniv trip 11

{I just need this calm, pretty picture right now, ok?}

 
 

Speaking of weaknesses, this right here is a major trigger for my anxiety.  I wish I understood why but there is something deep psychologically that makes my kid’s doctor and dentist appointments feel almost impossible.  It’s hard to even write that because it’s a source of just so much guilt.  I delay these appointments way past what I should because even talking about them makes me feel panic-y sometimes.  {Do I need a Dentalvention? I don’t think so… no.  NO.}

 
 

And this is The Week of The Appointments.  Dentist for both boys and a check up {involving shots} for one of the boys.  Truthfully, I can’t wait for it to be over.

 
 

Josh is helping me {and by “helping” I mean, taking them for me} and I feel like that’s my saving grace right now.  I thank God for that man who deals with my quirks.

 
 

Do you have any irrational fears you want to share with me to make me feel better?  Please?

 
 
 

And ps, what are you saying hello to?  

 
 
 
 

{pps, this post spiraled out of control.  welcome to my brain.}

 
 
 
 

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IMG_20140814_091542

 
 
Happy day! (Bet you can’t guess which discount is my actual age…. eye roll.) Codes expire at midnight est tomorrow night so you have 2 days to use them. Take advantage!

 

 
Enjoy!!!
 
 
 

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{because sometimes the not doing is just as important as the doing.}

 
 
 

1.  Took a break in June
 

IMG_20140618_071448

 
 
And by break, I don’t just mean I went on our family vacation {there were 9 kids there, after all}.  By break, I mean that I let myself off the hook…with myself.  I told myself it was ok to not check in on social media {I am still seen and loved} all the time, it was ok not to blog {you wouldn’t mind}, to do nothing but read books every time I got a chance {sometimes laziness really is ok}, to stay on the beach longer than was wise to keep a proper schedule with kids {who cares!}.
 
 
I rested and detached myself from online work….and it was so nice.

 
 
 
2. Read easy books
 

me and josh 5

 

So, here’s the grand tally of what I read {can you tell how happy I am about this?}:
 
 

guernsey
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
 
 
harry potter

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
 
 
the fault in our stars

The Fault in Our Stars
 
 
the nesting place

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful
 
 
attachments

Attachments: A Novel
 – the Kindle version is just $1.99 right now!

 
 

I won’t go into much detail about them here, but I liked them all for different reasons.  If I had to pick an absolute favorite beach read?  Probably The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  The story sucked me in and actually taught me a lot about a time in history I don’t know that much about.
 
 
 

3. Planted my garden
 

garden

 
 
I go out and inspect it several times a day {I call it “walking the grounds”, which is laughable if you saw “the grounds”}.  I planted it in July so it’s really just now beginning to do anything {lots of basil, cucumbers and baby roma’s!} and any sliver of a fruit is a mini-celebration.  If affirmations were all it needed, this little thing could feed the neighborhood.
 
 
Grow, baby tomatoes!  You go, eggplant!  Don’t let that powdery mildew get you down, zucc’s!  You can do it!  {And don’t you worry about mommy.  She just a teensy bit neurotic…it’s fine.}

 
 
 
4. Got away
 

me and josh 3

 
 
Twice if you count our trip next week!  Once was a weekend trip gifted to us by my parents {thank you, mom and dad!} and this coming week is our intentional effort to celebrate being married for 10 years {and a half.  it was last November and we went to a movie.}.  Josh’s parents have a beach place so it’s economical and our sweet family is taking our kids for us.  {Thank you, family!}
 
 
I love my kids so you’ll forgive me when I say that the last month or so has felt like being pecked to death by chickens.  Mama’s of little ones home for the summer, I raise my glass to you.  This is not for the faint of heart.

 
 
 
5.  The Abide journal
 

abide

 
 
My favorite mornings have been when I’ve woken up before my kids, made my coffee and slipped quietly into my cloffice to journal, pray and be with Jesus.  It is just a refreshing time and I’ve loved this little field guide Jess created.  The videos have been the cherry on top.  I highly recommend it!

 
 
 
 
What were your summer favorites?

 
 
 


 
 
 
*affiliate links used

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Hey, friends.  I just wanted to pop on here real quick and ask if you would please say a prayer for sweet Abby?
 
 
She’s the 5 year old spunky, hilarious, tender-hearted daughter {and my honorary niece} of a dear, dear friend.  As I type she is being prepped for surgery to remove a benign brain tumor on her pituitary gland.
 
 
I’m headed to be with them and knew that if I asked, you guys would be praying with us for peace, no complications, wisdom for the staff and a recovery with minimal lasting effects.
 
 
 

Thank you so, so much.
 
 
 

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Happy Monday, you guys!  I’m happy you’re here. ;)

 
 

This is a sweet weekly rhythm where we greet a fresh week, open to the possibilities and on the hunt for joy, even in the gritty…because sometimes that’s where it grows best of all.

 
 
 

Ready to say some hello’s?

 
 

Hello birthday boy!

 

2014-02-19_1392821862Isaiah lost tooth

 
 

Like, just the other day I made my debut as a mom and now this sweet boy is sprinting right on up to his 8th birthday this week.  Whaaa?

 
 

Sigh.

 
 

I’m so proud of this kid.  Without even being all that biased {which of course, I totally am}, I can honestly say that not only do I love him gobs and gobs but I have really come to admire him.  Just as a person.

 
 

He is genuine, compassionate and has the most tender heart.  Watching him be a big brother to Zoe absolutely blows me away.  {Listening to him fight with Manny makes me want to strangle them both but we’ll save that for another time.  And they are each other’s constant companion.}. :)

 
 

He finds ways to encourage me and totally senses when I need it.  And he’s so affectionate with me.  I was afraid I would have lost that with him by now but I haven’t and I’m so grateful.

 
 

So we’re going to party this week!  Wednesday is his actual birthday and Saturday is his minecraft party with our big family.  He’s going to looooove it.

 
 

Hello Christmas presents

 

target toy clearance

 
 

Did y’all know that at the end of  July every year, Target has a massive toy clearance to make room for the new stuff they’ll sell at Christmas?  That means some toys are marked down 70% and even 90%.  They don’t make a big deal about it so it was quiet last Friday morning as I racked up!  I think I spent just over $100 for these 3 huge bags {the angle of the picture is deceiving…they are the biggest bags they have} and I don’t think there was anything that was less that $14.99 originally.  We’re talking Lalaloopsy, legos, beyblades, remote control cars, etc.

 
 

Just a head’s up…you should go check out what your Target might have!

 
 

Hello pruning

 

coffee desk

 
 

I know you’ll be shocked to read this…I feel like I write about it an annoying amount…but I have reached a new level in unattainable expectations.  It’s not so much that I don’t know I’m doing it.  I know in that exact moment most of the time.  It’s that I don’t have a solution for how to get all the things done….so I just push, push, push.  Does life ever feel like that to you?

 
 

Well, I’m kinda over the pushing myself to the limits.  It’s not healthy.  {Again, I’m embarrassed just typing that because it feels sooo familiar.} My people suffer.  Overwhelmed is my constant descriptive.  The most annoying thing?  I’m overwhelmed with things I have chosen.

 
 

So here’s where I enlist your help, sweet reader.  I’ve been thinking a lot about pruning.  How the Lord prunes us, how we do it in our own actual gardens…and how sometimes we have to prune in our own lives. Even the good stuff needs to pruned sometimes so all the energy and nutrients can be funneled into the fruit.

 
 

I guess my struggle and question for you is how do you know what to prune?  What do you consider essential and what is optional?  What’s the first to go so you can focus on the work you need to do?

 
 

Hello nature candy

 

nails and cherry

 

I look forward to cherry season every year.  They are absolutely delicious and I pop them like candy, but they are also so darn pretty!  It’s like I’m forced to take a bunch of pictures of them and give them a slot in a blog post.  Just for being pretty.

 
 

How about you?  Do you like them?

 
 

Hello color drowning

 

paint wheel

 
 

Sound dramatic?  It is.

 
 

And I’m going to let a cat’s ear out the bag here with much nail biting.

 
 

This color wheel and some of the overwhelm is because of my Big Business Project.  The blog and Happy Little Lovelies will still be here…but there’s something new coming as well.  And it’s not so much mine and it is ours.

 
 

It’s kind of ridiculous that talking about it makes me so nervous.  But there you have it.  A new business venture that involves more than just me and also color.  Yep.

 
 

Maybe I’ll just let new details slip out each week instead of the scary BIG LAUNCH.  I like this much better.  Quiet.  No hoopla.

 
 

I’m a mess. Can we talk about you?

 
 
 
 

So!  What are YOU saying hello to?

 
 
 
 

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monthly goals update graphic

 

 

Holy crap!  It’s already time?!

 
 
July was full and lovely and hard.  We’ve had a lot of summer fun around here.  I’m more grateful for this eased pace in our family schedule than I’ve ever been.  And though there was so much to marvel at, there was a hefty portion of challenges too.   Such is life, I guess….but looking back at the gifts is something I don’t do often enough.  When I do them, it’s healing.  I’m going to try to work on that a bit.
 
 

So goal-wise {there were a lot of them last month!}, here’s how it went:
 

july-goals updated

 
 
 
So 5 1/2 out of 10 if you want to look at it that way.  I piled my expectations up too high for July, I think.  This whole learning how to set goals thing has a steep learning curve.  If perfection is the goal, there’s a lot of frustration.
 
 

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–find new recipes/put meal plan on auto-pilot:  I did it just a couple days ago and it still needs work, but I’m using Plan to Eat and so far, I’m enjoying it a lot.  It takes so much of tedious leg-work out of assembling recipes, grocery lists and calendars by doing all that for you.  This will really come in handy once the school year starts.
 
–read The Treasure Principle: read it on the way to the beach…great little book.  Convicting and I needed that.
 
–switch insurance:  we had another ER trip this past month and some expensive blood work for another family member.  This has caused us to reevaluate whether the provider we wanted to move to would really benefit us so we intentionally didn’t do this one.  We’re going to shop around instead.
 
–go over budget with Josh:  nope.  probably the thing I most regret not getting to.
 
–collaborate with others through  blogging/IG:  I didn’t email a list of people, but I did connect with the leader of my mastermind group and started a fun, new partnership with another friend of mine that will serve this purpose really well.
 
–launch new stuff: Yes!  The Leather + Suede Collection came out this month and it was so much fun!
 
–look into selling at other markets:  just didn’t really have the brain space for this.  A local girl did reach out to me and she’s starting a group of Charlotte-area makers that will do markets together so basically, she’s doing some of the leg work for us. :)
 
–plan play dates and a girl’s night: highlights of the month!  we met at friend’s houses, pools, Monkey Joe’s and a splash pad.  There were also 2 different girl’s nights…both over Mexican food and good conversation.  Win.
 
–invite another family over: fail.  didn’t do this.
 
 

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august goals

 
 
Can I just list what I think about August?
 
 
–My honorary niece has surgery to remove a brain tumor {please pray for Abby}

–Josh, Isaiah and myself have birthdays within 8 days of each other

– 4 other family birthdays

– A trip out of town

– My sister and niece move from 15 mins away to out of the country {tears}

– Dr and dentist appts for kids {big stressor for me}

–Manny gets registered for Kindergarten

– Both boys start school

– Big work project continues

 
 
 
I want to take to my bed.  Just typing it out makes me feel all jittery.  Aside from Christmas, August is the craziest month of the year for us so I needed the goals to be light and free from the usual pressure I assign to them.  I felt I needed a few goals that will serve us well but I also needed to make a goal of NOT doing some things.
 
 

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What I hope to do…
 
 
Try yoga. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and physical relaxing sounds so good to me.
 
10 week plan.  Soon I’ll be able to tell you all about this.  Right now, it’s a lot of work.
 
10th anniversary trip. I realize we just got back from a fun weekend away, so please don’t hate me.  I feel extra spoiled by that.  Our 10th anniversary was last November and we never really did anything, but we promised that we would get away at some point.  The week of our birthdays sounded like a good time so we’re heading to the coast again.  I’m looking forward to this so much.
 
Freshen our living room walls:  I’ve been wanting to change things up in there by rearranging and adding some new art.  Those kinds of projects make things feel all new and fun.
 
Wake up at 6am: Technically, this has been a goal for over a month now and I’m sucking at it.  With early school mornings looming ever before me, I have new motivation.  Well, that and the peace of a quiet house. :)
 
Be ok with what you’re able to do:  Easier typed than done, but acknowledging that I’m not a superior being with the ability to time travel is crucial for me to not fall into the trap of performance shame.
 
 

single bloom necklaces

 
 

What I’m trying NOT to do:
 
 
Add new responsibilities: I need a season of not adding anything.  Even if I want to.  The big picture view I have right now needs to inform the idealistic, impulsive agree-er I can be in the moment.  This is just not the month to add unless Jesus says so.
 
Launch new stuff: I love it and it’s fun, but I’m giving myself permission to not produce in this way right now.  I may need to engage with my shop a little more lightly.  Not checking in multiple times everyday and thinking up new designs when I’m not checking.  The shop is just going to be.
 
Shame talk myself about what’s undone:  No one reading this struggles with this one, right? ;)
 
 
 
So that’s it for the month! How was your July, friend? Anything in particular you’re looking forward to in August? You’ve been such a good “listener” and I want to be that for you so feel free to sound off!
 
 
 
 
Linking up with We Are THAT Family and The Tiny Twig.

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Good morning to you!

 
 

This is a sweet weekly rhythm where we greet a fresh week, open to the possibilities and on the hunt for joy, even in the gritty…because sometimes that’s where it grows best of all.

 
 

Whew!  I’m tired.  In a good way, I think.  But also in  a “who the heck taught me that summer is restful” way. :)

 
 
 

Hello little getaway

 

me and josh me and josh 4 me and josh 3 me and josh 2 2014-07-21_1405948446
{he’s so dreamy}

 
 

For our birthdays {both of us next month}, my parents kept our kids and sent us off to the beach for two nights by ourselves.  It was lovely.

 
 

It took me a full day to decompress after an exceptionally long week but being lazy, reading by the pool and soaking up warm breezes by the waves was exactly what I needed.   We had good conversations {uninterrupted!} and acted like we were dating.  It was really fun.  After almost 11 years of marriage, I still just want to hang out with him like we always have since we were 18.

 
 

And we took a lot of ridiculous selfies {usies?} because that’s what all the cool kids are doing these days. ;)

 
 
 

Hello rough parenting moments

 
 

I put this on instagram the other day:

 

“…I’m learning that I have about 6 weeks in me of enjoying this slow summer season and being with my kids all the time. And then it’s over. I feel guilty wishing it away and already wanting school to start but y’all? I’m TIRED. Working at home with their constant needs, conflicts and desires is wearing on me. Maybe I’ve put too much pressure on myself to get things done but this undefined middle place is really starting to catch up with me… and my attitude shows it. How are you doing it?”

 
 

I am FEELING it.  And if I’m honest?  I probably have pushed past what I know is reasonable to expect of myself and them.  I continue to try to cram everything that needs to get done {or feels like it should get done…there’s a difference}  into one little day and it results in all of us being frustrated.  And to be honest, I’m not really sure how to fix it.   I’m a work at home mom and this is part of it…the gritty and messy.  I’m sure you have seasons like that too.

 
 

If you’re working from home or just trying to get things accomplished with kids underfoot, how do YOU do it?  I could find a million blog posts about this, but I like hearing from y’all best. :)

 
 
 

Hello little art project

 

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Despite the hard parenting moments, there have been really fun ones too.  The other day we pulled out small canvases, paint and brushes and had ourselves a ball.  I limited our color palette a bit but other than that, each kid was free to create whatever their heart desired and I did the same.

 
 

I get why people paint to relax.  It was sooo nice to just do one thing and concentrate on the hues and the small movements of brushing color across the white canvas.

 
 

We all got really into it and soon they will hang in the living room.  Can’t wait to show you that!

 
 
 

Hello fall mood board

 

Follow Dana’s board fall mood board 2014 on Pinterest.


 
 

And while we’re on the subject of art, I’m doing something new this year in planning my fall pieces and that is by creating a mood board.  It is so fun, you guys!  I don’t have any rules.  The things that inspire don’t have to go well together or make sense or clearly translate into accessories.  The only rule is that I’m inspired by them so that makes the whole process really natural and non-pressury.

 
 

I’m having the best time.  Later, I’ll go back through and see what the common elements are that are catching my eye, and that’s where the design process will really start to take shape.

 
 

I highly suggest it!  Even if, for no other reason, you do it because it’s a lot of fun and it shows you what you’re naturally drawn to.

 
 
 

Hello simple meal plans 

 

meal planning

{source}

 
 

Here we are in the last week of July so I’m scrambling to get some of my goals for the month scratched off.  One of the more crucial goals was to develop a meal plan that I don’t have to think about.

 

I love the idea of dedicating different nights to a certain cuisine {whether or not you stick with it} as a way to simplify the meals you keep in rotation.  I have about 5 categories we regularly eat from so I made a list of meals, hunted pinterest for more recipes and then hopped over to Plan to Eat for a free 30 day trial.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about them and so far I’ve really liked how easy it is to upload recipes and then drag and drop them into a calendar.  I’ll let you know how I do after a month!

 
 

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat
{this is a referral link but my opinion is completely honest based on my experience}

 
 
 

What are you saying hello to this week?
 
 
 

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Happy Friday, everyone!

 
 
It’s the last day of our birthday week and I’ve saved one of my favorite deals for last:

 

friday deal

 
 
 

Every order placed today, no matter the amount, will be sent out with a little surprise from the shop tucked in with it.  It could be a necklace, a pair of earrings, a badge reel…who knows!   It’s basically a two-fer {or better!} so head over to the shop and pick something out.  I can’t wait to surprise you!

 
 
 
Today is also the last day of the giveaway…it all ends at 11:59 est tonight!  Just a few minutes of your time and you could win 4 of your favorites!

 

favorite four giveaway

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 
 

Thank you so, so much for celebrating with us!  I’m so honored that you would come back over and over to be part of this little shop and blog the Lord has been kind to entrust to me.  Y’all are precious people. :)
 
 
 

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