Sunday, February 1, 2015

calming the storm...


I found this on my desk...an ocean made of paper...crashing waves and a rocky boat. 

If you look closely you can see Jesus with his arms out ready to calm the storm.

Although this scene comes right out of the bible and brought to 3-D by my little Prince (isn't he the best? making all those crashing waves?!), today it reminds me of my current blog/writing life. 

The crashing waves represent all of the topics I could be writing about. All of the ideas swirling around in my head and all of the activities, aha's, and inspiration happening around me on a daily basis yet I fail to write about.

It's not fear or lack of things to write about...it's just there are so many...where do I jump back in?  Jesus calm the storm!


When my Jelly-in-the-middle was about 3 years old, she was wrapped up in a towel and sitting on my lap after having run through the sprinklers. I remember her looking up at me with that wet curly hair of hers and those sparkly blue eyes as she said, "Momma, in your arms is my favorite place to be."  (Melt a mommy's heart!!)

Well, that's how I felt this morning at church as I prayed, "Jesus, in your arms is my favorite place to be!"  Like there is nothing better to me than singing praises through worship music, along with my fellow sojourners, hearing stories of God's faithfulness, how He works through people and circumstances here on earth.  

God put a desire to write within me. It's how I'm wired...to have a pen in my hand and a compulsion to write things down.  I can trust that as I tune out the storm and tune into His voice...He will lead and prompt me. 

I have a place in the midst of all of this activity...an eye in the storm if you will....

In His arms is my favorite place to be. 

I'm looking forward to sharing from that place more often in 2015!




Monday, January 5, 2015

you need a little Botox betch


All 4 kids are back in all 4 schools today
(elementary, middle school, high school, and college)

Most of the Christmas decorations are put away
All is calm

Having Blondie home after her first term of college was heart warming and at times heart breaking. The season of life that she is in seemingly is "setting herself apart from her family as much as possible" as she spreads her wings. Oh, yes, I was used to her physical distance - that started in her Junior year of high school when she started driving and didn't join our family at the dinner table as often. 

This year we face-timed during our annual family tree hunt...and her attitude came through loud and clear. All my sensitive heart heard was "What-ever Major Loser Get The Picture Duh"....of course I know she loves me and I know she is a beautiful, talented, hard working, goal-oriented, fun and funny daughter with an amazing future ahead of her!!   


But this winter break, after only one term of college, it was the emotional distance I wasn't prepared for....like almost everything that our home and our family represented was not good enough, including our faith.  Now granted most of her new friends jetted home to sunny California while Blondie endured winter break under a heavy cloud layer and had all 4 of her wisdom teeth pulled so there's that...

I love my "wholesome" life here in the Pacific Northwest where designer labels are not important. Where we still pray at the dinner table. Where we actually sit down at the dinner table. Together. Where I tuck my littlest in at night and read him bedtime stories. Where we don't need plastic surgery or Botox because we have a protective cloud layer that does a good job at preventing wrinkles. At least I thought I didn't need Botox until Blondie suggested otherwise....

This is me without Botox (yes, I'm almost 50 and this was taken in soft lighting, but still, I'm not too concerned about my face.)

  
I'm grateful for my smile, my eyesight, my healthy teeth....
I'm grateful for my hearing, my voice, my semi-clear skin...

I'm over wanting to look like a super model (not gonna happen in this lifetime)

I think this is what I would look like if I did have some work done (like a bit of Botox, some cheek chiseling, and a lip plump): 


No thanks. I'll stick with the natural look (and soft lighting).

Soooo I forge ahead in parenting the 3 that are still in our nest: 


and trust that the past 18 years I have invested in Blondie's upbringing was not in vain. That although she might have preferred I spent less time homemaking and more time accumulating wealth and achieving a 1% lifestyle (top 1% of US wealth that is), someday she may see that our family was richer than 99% of the world. That even the poor in America are richer than 68% of the world. And Americans are some of the most ungrateful, unhappy people on the planet!!

Please, Lord, may the weeds not choke out the seeds my Hero and I have planted in the hearts of our children.

Beauty and riches are gifts. 

Beauty and riches are in the eye of the beholder.

Labels do not define your worth.

It is more joyful to give than to receive.

Reality T.V. is not Reality!

"Don't let anyone look down upon you because you are young,
but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."
1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

Parenting is important but ultimately they are their own people.
With their own hearts, desires, decisions, moods and chemistry.

So as much as I want them to learn the easy way (by just listening to me),
it is in their destiny and journey to learn some life lessons the hard way.

So whatever.
I'm just a major loser get the picture duh!
Same as I thought my mother was when I was 18.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Choosing my 2015 Planner!




One of my favorite holidays is coming up....time for a Happy New Year, a Fresh Start, and best of all - time for a new Planner or two or three....

In 2015 I will be using:

Life and Business Planner by iBloom - for my Top 5 Projects and main calendar

Daily Page Notepad by Thyme is Honey - new this year to me!

Monthly Planner by sugar paper (Target) - for my Praying in Color Journal

Planner Notes by sugar paper (Target) - for my Business activity, Marketing and Follow-up

You can see all my Planner Obsessions on my Pinterest board.




I especially like the iBloom Planner because it came with a virtual weekend retreat! I picked a weekend in November and went through Kelly Thorne Gore's training on how to come up with your Vision word, how to determine your priorities and focus, and planning your Top 3-5 projects for the year -- all with a Christ-centered focus.

2014 was a year of big changes personally and professionally. I don't know about you, but I am looking forward to 2015!  If you haven't yet, take some time in the next day or two to reflect back on 2014 and set some intentions for 2015.  I find that when I write things down I am more intentional and focused and a lot more productive with my time.

"The heart of man plans his way,
but the LORD establishes his steps."
Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)


Friday, December 5, 2014

gifts for yourself this Christmas?

http://theartofsimple.net/holiday-gifts-to-give-yourself/

Ohmygoodness, I was soo blessed this morning reading the most recent blog post over at The Art of Simple. They were suggesting giving gifts to yourself this Christmas and at first I rolled my eyes thinking this was more of the "Me" generation but upon further reading, I was encouraged by their 9 suggestions and in fact was already giving some of them to myself this year!  

I finally ordered our Christmas cards but since they are going to take about a week until they are ready, I decided to go ahead and address some sheets of labels (by hand) so that I can just stick the labels on the envelopes when they arrive. This way I can get a few batches done at a time and not be overwhelmed. 

A suggestion from The Art of Simple was to wrap gifts as you purchase them - this is a very good suggestion as I have had many Christmas Eve's frantically wrapping piles of presents when I would have much rather wrapped throughout the month.  

Part of slowing down is enjoying a daily tea break. The Art of Simple suggests a "daily timeout" and linked to a photo of Celestial Seasonings Peppermint Tea. My favorite tea this season is similar - it's Candy Cane Lane - a decaf peppermint green tea - yum! 


One big stress reliever for myself is doing most of my shopping online. I've never enjoyed shopping at malls or stores. It's just not my thing. My little guy is having a choir concert at the mall and his older 3 sisters did the same when they were in 4th and 5th grade. So as much as I try to avoid the malls, me and my parking angel will be taking a trip over there (bah humbug). 

I hope you will take a trip over to the Art of Simple (hopefully I have linked them enough on this post that they won't mind I shared their photo). They have a link to many other great articles and also a link for some free gift tags.

I want to bless you with some free gift tags too! The ones I'm sharing are from Thirty-One and they will be a darling addition to any gift you are giving this season.  I hope you enjoy them and thank you for dashing along this journey with me!

Gift Tag Printables:   http://assets.thirtyonegifts.com.s3.amazonaws.com/2014/fall/pdf/gift-tags.pdf













Monday, November 24, 2014

31 days until Christmas


Last night I got out my trusty Holiday Planning Binder...


opened it up to the very first page....the Ultimate Holiday Checklist from Southern Living


whereupon I read...."Step 1 Mid-to Late October:"

That's not really the encouragement I was looking for.

Do you use a Holiday Planner?  If so what are your favorite ones and when do you get started?

Some of my favorites have been:

Christmas Countdown: http://christmas.organizedhome.com/christmas-countdown
It's free and this is their 17th year on the web.  They started their countdown on Oct 26.

Holiday Planning Workbook 2014 by Living Well Spending Less:   http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2014/11/01/holiday-planner-2014/
I have some old checklists of theirs from 2013 but I just hopped on their site and found they will send a Holiday Planner for free directly to our email inbox and it includes their "12 Days to a Stress Free Holiday Challenge" via email beginning November 15. 

Fly Lady's Cruising Through the Holidays - http://www.flylady.net/d/cruising-through-the-holidays/    FlyLady is very detailed and sends emails not just daily but often throughout the day with reminders as simple as "put on your shoes" so it can get overwhelming if you don't adjust your notification settings. 

I'm going to go with the Holiday Planning Workbook by Living Well Spending Less. Maybe the challenge will work for me since I would be only 8 days behind instead of 2 months like the others. 

Now...first, Thanksgiving!





Thursday, November 6, 2014

Creative Memories Open!

http://www.creativememories.com/user/donnalyn

Creative Memories is back!!!  

Hooray and Yippee!!

A NEW Owner, Caleb Hayhoe, has purchased the patents, the equipment and the CM name. He has brought back the traditional bookcloth coversets, photo-safe pages, and page protectors that I love! Also, assorted paper packs! Oh, joy!

I've seriously had a 20-year love affair with my Creative Memories albums and supplies. Unfortunately some mismanagement of the company stuff caused the joy to be sucked right out of it. For the first time in years (besides the brief launch of Ahni & Zoe) I feel hopeful again.

This verse kept coming to me the past week or two so I looked it up on Pinterest and found someone had put it to photo (I think photo credit goes to Darrell Creswell):


I mean all I ever wanted was to get my bookcloth albums, pages, and tape runner you know?  Everything else is frosting.  And I do love frosting!

Want to check it out?  You can visit my website link here:  http://www.creativememories.com/user/donnalyn

The wait is over!

Happy Scrapping Days are Here Again!

I'm so excited! Are you?
What do you think of the website? 
I love how interactive it is.  You can flip through the designed page refills.

xoxoxo




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ways you can GIVE this Christmas


I goggled "organizing for Christmas" .....31 million results popped up in .41 seconds!

So...I'm not alone.

Last year I made a promise to get started on Christmas much earlier this year.
I'm proud that I remembered that...today...on November 5th.




Our church is encouraging us to participate in an Advent Conspiracy:

Worship Fully

Spend Less

Give More

Love All





I'm reconciling this with promoting my Thirty-One Gifts business. Every time you shop with with a home-based business you can be sure that home is being blessed by your business. Plus Shopping is fun! Shopping helps our economy! We have cute stuff that actually helps you get organized and look cute doing it!

Yet, we can taper it down a LOT and we can end the relentless pushing of sales all season long.  Christmas is about so much more.

Many direct sales companies have programs in place that support local and national charities and organizations through the sales of their products. Not to mention the very family that has the home business. When families are strong, communities are strong. 

Here are just a few ways Thirty-One gives back:


.31 cents donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities with every purchase of a Cinch Sac in Red Wave


.31 cents donated to a non-profit organization dedicated to empower girls and women including their mission partner, GirlTalk

.31 cents donated to a non-profit each time someone adds a Gives Care Ribbon to one of their bags.

These are just a few examples. There are many, many more. So when you are shopping this holiday season not only spend less but look for products that give back. .31 cents may not seem like very much but Thirty-One has been able to give millions of dollars back. Millions! In fact, since 2012 Thirty-One has donated over $36 million in products and cash to non-profit organizations committed to women, girls and families through their Thirty-One Gives mission (Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Today Show Toy Drive, Girl Scouts USA, American Heart Association and more)!

I've got my Christmas Organization Binder dusted off and ready to use this season.


But this year I will be sure to add:  

Worship Fully

Spend Less

Give More

Love All

Have you heard of the Advent Conspiracy?  What are your thoughts?