Sunday, March 31, 2013

symphony.

we went to the lake this weekend. to getaway and spend some time with my family. our plan was to head back this morning in time for church & eat lunch with j's family. 

but today didn't quite go as expected. 

i woke the littles up for their egg hunt and my lil' miss was bright red. i thought maybe she had gotten sun burned, although we weren't really in the sun, but when i felt her head she was burning up. her pour little body. so we had at least two down for our easter service at church today.

then as we started driving we hit a horrible thunderstorm. 

like, it was totally legit. and scary. 



the only thing that could have made it worse would have been tornadoes. 

we had to pull over three times to catch our breath and wait for a cell to pass because we literally could not see. hail, cloud-to-ground lighting, wind... you name it, this storm had it. 


so there you go. none of us were going to make it back for church. 

bummer. 

i felt like all day my whole spirit has been in kind of a bummer state. but it's easter.... it shouldn't be that way. i should be reflecting on all that He has done for me. instead, i'm tending to my sick baby & fighting a storm, packing my husband for the week, doing laundry, cleaning my house & working. 

ugh.

and then i remembered a sweet moment i had in the car this morning. 

as the lighting was flashing in the sky {before the scary rain happened}, i was listening to this song. symphony. 

"let the earth fear the Lord, and let the people of the world stand in awe...."

all creation was made to point to Him. how amazing is that? it was all created for His glory. to be evidence of a loving God. the lightning, the rain, the hail - it's all under His hand. 

it reminded me that we can find Him anywhere at any time. not just in church on sunday morning in our easter finest {although i totally think you should go to corporate worship!} but when it can't happen..... you can find Him in the car with you. He is amazing. His love for us in all-encompassing and wonderful. His sacrifice for us was the ultimate. and i am eternally grateful. 



Monday, March 25, 2013

top five: project life inspiration!

hello friends!

i hope you checked out my project life update yesterday!! i am so excited to get back into this wonderful project & it has spurred me on in so many ways. 

it didn't take long to get my groove back - and it won't take you long either! so pick it up - now! let's catch up together.

as i was trying to gain motivation to catch up {it seems super daunting at times!} - i looked to other project lifers for inspiration. today i'm going to share with you my five favorite places to get some project life inspiration.

1. becky higgins. the mothership of project life.

her & her creative team share their versions of project life once a month. when i saw this post i was immediately ready to get back together with project life. 


2. ali edwards. this wonderful lady is why i even knew about project life in the first place. is awesome about posting once a week & is GREAT about journaling and keeping snipits from her week. she's all about making it work for you which i love.



3. elise. i've been reading her blog for a long time now and just in the last year she became a part of project life. and now a part of their creative team. she's a big paper crafter & i know you'll be inspired by all of her project. i love her version of project life because she doesn't have littles {yet} and she still documents her & her hubby. i LOVE that. so inspiring. plus: she's adorable too. 




4. kelly purkey from it's me, kp. she's doing a mini-kit. she mixes in non project life stuff {which i actually think everyone does} and i'm SO jealous. i want to do a mini-kit. next time. i think these would be great for vacays. 


5. rebecca cooper from as simple as that. this is a recent find of mine, but she's on the PL creative team as well. look at this darling instagram collage templates she made. yay! this is so cute & i just might have to buy these for myself. i can't wait to stick these into my next week. IG is going to be blowing up with my new pics!


and there you have it! i think i gave you plenty of pretties to look at this morning!

i SO hope that you will all try to catch up along with me. i am trying to gain momentum and stay on top of this inspiration to get all the way caught up. it's so much easier when you're current. 

have a happy monday!!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

project life. 2013 - week 2.


here i go - playing catch up!!

won't you play with me? i'm setting my timer for 30 minutes - just THIRTY minutes every day {namely at NAP time!} to get caught up. i started on thursday & i'm already halfway through february! you can do it too!


so - week 2 was kind of a big week for us. that's why there are loads of pictures & inserts.

 a look at the whole spread.
 
washi tape is new for me this year. i just ordered up a whole bunch from this site. i use it in packaging as well, so it's kind of "multipurpose", right?


 
 
i love the baseball card inserts. i did this for my sister's wedding & for valentine's day cards. it's awesome if you have just a ton of pics to get into one week. i got mine at target. they're in a weird section up front, but they're there!


first & last time. front page of the dmn. pretty cool to keep for my littles when they get older. i'm so grateful to that photographer. so grateful.



first thing's first. if you have no idea what project life is, WHO ARE YOU? i'm just kidding. if you seriously don't... it is a product created by becky higgins to make documenting your life EASY. and i mean EASY.... and creative and fun! i promise. she and her brilliant design team are already getting ready for next year - and i believe that her products will be posted sometime this fall {hooray!} and highly recommend her kits! they're going to be sold in stores SOON - also on HSN. they have digital versions and all sorts of crazy good stuff. so what's stopping you! get some pics developed and let's catch up together!!!!

have fun!









Saturday, March 23, 2013

almost amish. {a book review}.

happy saturday, friends.

it's raining here. it's one of those days that i want to stay inside & lay around all day long. 

but i need to work. and i'm trying to get motivated. so.... my "sort of" working is this. sharing a little book that i'm reading. 

one woman's quest for a slower, simpler, more sustainable life
by nancy sleeth



why i picked up this book:

i think i saw this book on pinterest a few weeks ago and was imediately drawn to the cover. isn't it pretty??? and, of course, the title.

in the recent months {maybe year?} i've longed in my heart for a simpler & slower life. maybe it's only because our life seemed to turn from slow & comfortable to fast & furious overnight and i'm still getting used to it. maybe it's because i long to sit and spend time with my littles more. and sit down to eat instead of standing at the kitchen counter scarfing down my food. maybe it's just because i feel like no one is ever present anymore. we're attached to our phones and computers all day. {myself included.}

in fact, last night, we went out to a family dinner - to chili's. yummmmm. and as we were leaving we saw 6 teenage {or maybe preteen?} girls waiting for a table. they were huddled onto the small bench that was the waiting area - and every one of them was looking at their phone. every. single. one. 

i was annoyed. and don't get me wrong, i love me some instagram. i love what facebook has done to build my business. i love being able to communicate with my hubby when we're living apart. technology is SO good. 

but not when we can't be present in the very moment we're living in. you are out to dinner with five friends and you're {presumably} talking to your other friends. or finding out what other people are doing via facebook. most likely it gives you more chance to gossip {did you see that maggie was on a date with luke tonight?}    

wow.

being present is half my own battle every day. i want to teach my kids to be present. with me & my hubby. with our family. in the moment. i want to slow down & read books more. and bake & eat better. i want to enjoy life. and live radically for Him. so, i bought this book.

sidenote: i really wanted to buy jen hatmaker's 7, but i've been avoiding it like the plague for the last year. i know myself & i know that i will not be able to read something like that without wanting to change something & i just didn't want to be ready for that. 

so i ended up here. maybe a softer version? i don't know. you decide. 


chapter 1
HOMES
amish principle: homes are simple, uncluttered & clean; the outside reflects the inside

okay, first of all, can i just say if my house was clean, maybe we'd be having a different conversation?

 with two littles & a dog.... and a husband that leaves a trail, unbeknownst to him, wherever he goes... it's hard to keep my house even remotely clean. or picked up, for that matter. add to that the fact that i'm not naturally picked up & organized and we've got ourselves a natural disaster in my house 95% of the time.

i have gotten a lot better at having the kids pick up after themselves before they move on to another toy. that helps tremendously. and we almost never leave the house until the toys are picked up. it's hard - and sometimes this doesn't happen - but i try. this helps manage the cleanliness a lot. 

she talks about the uncluttered homes of the amish. and how more things bring more distractions. while i totally agree with this concept, it also makes me kind of sad to think of a vanilla house with no decoration.  i hope that doesn't offend anyone, because if you can do it, more power to you. i just like to be surrounded by things that i find pretty. wow. i guess that might be her point.

surrounded by things. hmmm....

nonetheless, the things i'm surrounded by are mostly homemade craft projects. or have sentimental value. pictures of my family. vintage items we've collected. 

and as of right now they're staying. but who knows, that can change. 

"{the amish} do not call attention to themselves with falshy technology, decorating, or clothes.}

hmmmm. she might be onto something here. i do not want my home to "call attention" to myself. i do, however, want it to be comfortable & cozy for my family.  i want my kids to long to be home when they're away - even at grandparent's houses. i want the hubbs to think about home & think of a restful and cozy place. where it always smells good & he finds a lot of peace. 

what is the balance? 

i have yet to figure that out. have you?

she talks about hospitality. and how the kitchen should be the heart of your home. and oh, how i agree with this. the stumbling block for me is time. again with the slower pace. 

"no one knows whether the fish that fed five thousand were broiled, baked, or ffired; what we do know is that the spirit of generosityand the miracle of faith ensured that there was plenty for all".

in other words, you don't have to be the best cook in town to offer hospitality to others. it's the heart that is the issue. 

sidenote: if you're looking for a good read on hospitality, check out edie's ebook. it's awesome.    

she talks about fashion and shopping in this chapter too, although nothing truthfully stood out to me on this subject. the basic concept is the same as in the homes. drawing attention to yourself is undesirable & filling up your clothes with stuff you don't wear is wasteful. 

and yes i believe both of these things to be true. and with a daughter to raise in this crazy world, i have often contemplated what this medium is. i want to teach my daughter to be modest, yes. but i also don't want her to to wear old raggedy clothes in the efforts to not draw attention to herself. i don't know. i just think there is a really hard line here. it all goes back to the heart, in my opinion. all of it. 

on being somewhat of a hoarder: "if someone else can use it now, why should we store it for someday?"   

i think this really spoke to me. 

as we prepare to move sometime in the future, i think about packing up our house and all of the unnecessary and unused stuff lying around. i don't need more than one set of dishes. i really don't. i could pretend that i do - and that i'll have different dinner parties that require different dishes - but, if i'm being real, i only need one. so.... since i've started collecting fiestaware in the last two years, maybe i could donate the red plates i got when we first got married? what about those old towels that are just cluttering our linen closet that never ever get used - unless we're cleaning up a mess? should i keep them all or should i just keep two or so? you know - for the messes?

what about all of those beauty products that i don't use? i want to use them, but i just don't. i want to keep it simple, so why don't i donate/throw away/give away/sell what we don't use?

it's really got me thinking. again - with the stuff. i've heard the rules of keeping stuff in your house - you should only keep it if it's functional, you find it beautiful, or it has sentimental value. if i evaluated stuff by those rules, i'd be getting rid of a lot of stuff in my house. would you?

so far, i'm not hooked, but i'll definitely keep reading. i like the concept - but i was maybe hoping for more scripture infused in there. i'll keep you all up to date!

join me in reading, will you? maybe we can find the happy medium together?    
 

 

Friday, March 22, 2013

instafriday.

hey hey! 

it's friday. woot!

this week has been busy. you all have been so kind to me this week. i cannot tell you how blessed i was with emails, texts and comments regarding my trip to africa. it's been a hard thing for me to deal with - only because i know it will change me. i know i will see the world in a different way - i will see the Lord in a different way. and as much as i can't wait and am expecting awesome things, i'm also terrified at the same time. it's hard to explain, right? 


last weekend, in honor of spring break, we got away. much needed. 

to the lake - my favorite of favorite places right now. 

the country. where it is quiet beyond anything you've never heard before. seriously. 

even the car ride, with two littles & a dog in two, was peaceful. they pretty much entertained themselves & i had time to ponder. 

why is it that the Lord's voice seems so much louder when you're away from the "city"?


somewhere in east texas there's this exotic animal farm. they have camels and lamas and zebras and peacocks.... and on and on. saturday we took lil' miss to feed the camels. they're adorable. and so was the sweet baby llama we saw. i need to find a picture of her! she was so cute.


tuesday i had an extra special friend with me while my littles were at school. i love her. she had an ear infection & wasn't able to go to school with her momma, but she hung out with me for just a bit. she's funny. we had a great time dancing to taylor swift in the car. {jules - she knows the words!!}


we celebrated my momma's birthday at hopdoddy this week. it lived up to all the hype for sure. 

five out of the nine of us had on toms. including my brother and lil' miss. we love our toms.


monday i had my first ever parent/teacher conference. it was really just an assessment that they do in pre-k to decide if they're ready for kindergarten. although i knew that b. was ready i was still nervous as to what ms. marcy would tell me. i literally had to hold my tears back during the conference. i have such a smart & tenderhearted little boy. it overwhelms me when i think of how j & i are responsible for cultivating his strengths for His glory. i don't want to stifle him but i always think being a stricter parent pays off. always.





thank you, from the deepest part of me, for your sweet response. i was incredibly blessed.


wednesday i caught c. pouring over my old project life albums. it pierced my heart that she doesn't have any from recent years - with pictures that she remembers - to look at. so, i wrangled up all of my stuff and set my timer for 30 minutes. i got two weeks done. in THAT time. it didn't take long to get my groove back. i'll be sharing soon.


and i'll end the post with this sweetness. i could just eat her up. 

have a happy weekend.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

& so i'm going to africa.

happy wednesday, precious friends.

i so appreciated all of the encouragement i got on yesterday's post about my little business. y'all really know how to make a girl feel the love. and i needed a little hug yesterday and i feel like i got it from you. thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

and now for my little announcement:


a few weeks ago, i took a dear friend out to dinner after her daughter got married. this woman holds a very special place in my heart, as does her family. i respect her & admire her in oh so many ways. 

i was sharing with her all that was going on in our lives, as she held my littlest while they colored together. and i asked her about this mission trip she & her hubby had mentioned they were going on this summer.

as she began to talk, my heart started to swell. she casually said, "becky, you should really go." my heart went pitter pat. "ummm... maybe. i'll have to talk to j. about it, but he probably won't be able to go after session is over and everything. maybe next year. but send me the information anyway." pitter pat. pitter pat. 

we continued to talk about life and what the Lord had been teaching her & her family. i so admire her heart & could literally sit at her feet all day and soak in all that she says. y'all, this woman oozes the love of jesus. 

eventually we hugged and she hollered at me "i'll send you an email" as she walked away. pitter pat. another flutter.

and i took my kids to barnes & noble for an extra special treat on the way home. i vividly remember walking around aimlessly as thoughts of africa began to swirl around in my head. 

"Lord, is it time?? of course, that's what you must be telling me, right?" those precious little orphans that have long since won my heart over in all shapes, colors & sizes - is that what He was telling me? 

as the night wore on and i climbed into bed i prayed out loud, "if You want me to go - make it clear to me." and wouldn't you know it? He did. 

the next morning after my alarm went off, i sleepily looked at my instagram. the very first image was a screenshot of this verse: 

"defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." psalm 82: 3, 4


okay.....

throughout the day, i felt this "holy echo" in my life. i saw this verse repeated three times in various places. three. 

the hubbs and i discussed this at length & he agreed with me that i needed to go. the only thing is that he's not. 

i'm going to travel across the world without him. whaaat? 

and as we began to pray about it, we didn't know how much it was going to be but we knew that it was going to be a lot and that we didn't have the kind of money. so i prayed. 

my conversation with the Lord over the next few days sorta went like this:

me: "Lord, i'll raise that money. if You want me to go on that mission trip, that money will come in."

God: "remember that little business that I gave you? what was the purpose again??"

me: "blessing others. being myself. how does that have anything to do with this? ohhhhh..... ok. i can part with some of that money. whatever i don't raise, i'll use my little branches money for."

God: "think again."

a day passes.

me: "okay, Lord. i think you're telling me that you want me to put up half the money with the little branches money. i am okay with that. thanks."

another day passes. and i go to the informational meeting. we find out exactly how much it's going to be. wowza. 

we also see videos and pictures.

and all sorts of emotions begin to well up in my heart. remember, i think i'm going for the orphans. i already have the scenario played out in my mind. but the Lord says no. He pulls me a different direction. towards the women's clinic that this precious man, emma {who is younger than i am!} has started. my heart goes out to these women. the ones who are pregnant and feel like that have no hope. the ones that are sick & cannot provide for the children they already have, let alone the one that they're carrying. i'm literally sitting in this informational meeting asking all sorts of horrible questions about what abortion is like in uganda. is it safe? what choices do they have? what are the hospitals like? my eyes have tears in them and i feel like a boulder is sitting on my chest. 

there is no doubt in my mind that i'm going. 

and by this time, there was no doubt about how i was going to get there.

i got in my car and i said out loud, "You want it all, don't You?"

immediately i felt a peace. immediately i remembered that it wasn't even mine to begin with. it's His. He gave it to me. He can take it from me - whether i participate willingly or not. and why is it that He plants desires in our hearts but then asks us to surrender those same desires that HE gives us to Him? and why is it so hard to do that? 

i don't think that i am going to uganda to meet my future child. i don't think that, but again, He has done greater things. i do think the Lord is teaching me about sacrifice and control. about surrendering everything to Him - not once - but over and over and over again. about material things being - well - things. and if He wants to take me to africa to teach me that i don't need to put my "hopes and dreams" in a washer and dryer {although i still want one!} then, i'm going to let Him. 

and so, my friends, little branches is going international. sort of. 

100% of the money little branches makes at the trunk show in april is going toward this trip. i have no idea what i will do if i do not make all of that money. but i'm not called to worry about that right now. i'm trying to focus on one thing at a time. i have no idea if i will even sell one item there. i've never done this before. but, i do know He's asked for it all and i will give it all. {after a bit of kicking and screaming, i must admit.} 

***if you want more information on the mission trip to kampala, uganda - email me at becky{at}shoplittlebranches{dot}com. i'd love to fill you in! we will be traveling with engage hope we will be serving at many places, including african hearts**







Tuesday, March 19, 2013

how little branches was born.

i've struggled for quite some time with being who i think i'm "supposed" to be. please tell me i'm not the only one.

before i had the littles, i was a designer at a large architecture firm in downtown dallas. i loved my job. loved the work, loved the people i worked with & loved all of the beauty that i was exposed to while working there. with that said, i struggled with what the design of my home was "supposed" to be since - you know - i was a "designer". shouldn't it be modern, classic & clean? i was exposed to ALL different designs at work. the latest & the greatest was always sitting on my desk in some shape or form. but this all made for a confused design esthetic at my home. i was trying to be something that i wasn't. i'm not talking about being a designer, i'm talking about having a hard time appreciating everything but being comfortable with my choices for myself.


when i quit my job & stayed at home i had a picture all lined out for myself of what a "stay at home" mom looked like. involved, organized, good at time management, my home would always smell good. the toys would be neatly lined up in matching baskets with tags. i'd always wear makeup & have something yummy on my stove when the hubbs got home for dinner. 

can you say it with me? "how's that working out for ya?"

y'all. i'm flawed. in a big way. i'm messy. scattered. disorganized. i'm actually a pretty decent cook, but i'm a piler & i don't ever put away laundry. like, ever.

and i could get totally stuck on this. some days i do. for years, i did. 

and when the hubbs ran for office & i decided i needed to fit into this "politician's wife" mold, i felt like i was banging my head against a wall when i just didn't. i was so discouraged because i felt like i kept falling short of what i thought the Lord wanted me to be.

but the Lord gently reminded me that He made me in His own image. He reminded me that He blessed me with these strengths & allowed my weaknesses because His power is made perfect through them.

He didn't want me to be anything but what He created me to be. messy and disorganized? maybe. but maybe i should start looking at myself from His perspective. 

i will never be politically minded like my husband. i just won't. there are things that are dear to me but i won't ever run for office. i do not wear suits. {i wore ripped up jeans & my zooey deschanel look alike glasses out to dinner with some of our constituents}. i love the people i have met but i will never know all the issues. and i do not need to in order to support the husband that the Lord blessed me with.  that is the key here. 

i am a creative. whatever that means to you, it means a lot of different things to me. but recently it went from meaning "i am a hot mess" to "i am a child of God who is blessed with creativity". what a revelation!


and thus, little branches was born. out of an earnest desire to be who the Lord created me. to use the talents & gifts He had bestowed on me to reach out & bless someone else with the work from my hands. what i have for so long thought of as a hinderance or an undesirable quality has now become something i am incredibly proud of.

i can also, in turn, bless my family with my earnings. it's such a blessing to contribute a little extra to the financial load! if you wonder if it's 'godly' to be a business woman, just read proverbs 31. she's a role model for the modern day business woman!

more recently, as we gear up to move, i've had my hopes set on a new mattress. {ours is over 15 years old!} and maybe a new washer and dryer. you know, those pretty shiny ones. maybe a red one? ahhh... a gal could dream. and yes, the hubbs & i could talk about it and save up, but what a blessing that would be if little branches could provide this so it doesn't dip into our already planned savings and yearly budget?

but the Lord has other plans for the fruits of little branches... and i cannot wait to share with you all tomorrow!

Monday, March 18, 2013

top five: new to me music. {and a winner!}

***scroll down to see winner of kiwi crate giveaway!!***

today i'm "introducing" you to my new favorite music! i am a huge fan of mumford, john mayer, taylor swift & the civil wars.... so i guess you could say i like a wide range of music. does that make me unsophisticated? hmmm... maybe?

 i love the singer/songwriter stuff {which is why i like taylor swift so much!} and a folksy sound does me in. {have you heard that cute folksy couple on nashville? if you haven't - you should! love them!!}

so i'm always on the hunt for new {to me} music. here's what i've found more recently that sits well with me! i hope you find something new to enjoy too!


 1. the lumineers. i think i was introduced to them last summer by my brother in law. LOVE. i could listen to them all day.


2. jillian edwards. i don't even know how i found this little lady. but her music makes me happy. reminds me of falling in love with my hubby. it makes me want to bop around on a sunny day and daydream all day long. ahhhh.... love. 


3. the head & the heart. i put a notice out on ig a few weeks ago that i was on the hunt for new music & this was one of the suggestions. i have to say that i was put of by the album cover... as in i thought i might have nightmares. BUT, it's GOOOOD. promise. i landed on an older album because their newer stuff sounded a bet more techno-y? i could totally be wrong but that's what it sounded like at first listen & that's not really "my sound".


4. the paper kites. i checked these lovelies out after seeing it posted on beth's ig.  i think we would be friends. i have listened to these short little albums on repeat on my trips to austin. happy music.


5. of monsters & men. i MUST tell you that they're probably gaining in popularity by the day. i had heard a few of their songs before & not even realized it. you need to check them out. really good music. relaxing. good to work to - kind of cathartic, in my opinion!

 

OH. and i have a giveaway to cash in on, huh??? who's the lucky winner??? NUMBER 17.

eeek! stephanie, it's you!!! email me & let me know if you want me to wait and send it on your new adventure! :) hope this brightens your monday!