A Little Perspective Improves the View

Perspective can keep you moving in the right direction.  It’s kind of like a compass and if you aren’t worried about getting lost, it’s much easier to enjoy the view.

Abraham Lincoln said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

Roses and thorns word art watermark

Ouch!  That one pricks a little.  Actually it pricks alot…right to the heart of the matter.

If you have kids & you care anything about being a good parent, you know what a huge chunk of time parenting takes.  Feeding, washing faces and hands, changing diapers, teaching to share, teaching not to hit, teaching to trust God…and themselves, it’s all just a little overwhelming.  Add to that the desire to be a good wife and a good teacher, a successful business owner, a good friend, a faithful servant…you get the idea.  We all probably have a million things pulling us in a million different directions and it can get the best of you, you know?

I was at my breaking point a couple of weeks ago.  I work at home and homeschool my 4 kiddos, so they are always with me.  ALWAYS.  As of 10 days ago, I had not been away from my children for more than an hour or two in almost two years!  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my little ones and we have so much fun together!  But no matter how well you raise them, kids are just inherently selfish and demanding…especially toddlers, which I have two of.

So, when my Sweet Hubby told me that we were going away for a long weekend last weekend to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, I was more than a little excited!  And, if I’m honest, just a little scared!  What if the grandparents didn’t watch the kids well enough and they got hurt; what if Hubby and I didn’t have anything to talk about…you get the idea.  But I made up my mind to go and relax and enjoy some much needed time away.  And that’s what we did!

Cabin WM15th Anniversary Pic B&W WM

And the kids were fine and Hubby and I realized that we do still like each other!  🙂  It was so good to remember what peace and quiet sounded like.  We sat on the porch swing of our little cabin and had morning coffee and listened to the birds sing.

Cups Swing

We walked the adorably quaint streets of Blowing Rock, visited a craft fair, and just enjoyed spending time with each other.  I came home feeling refreshed and with a new fire in my belly to be creative and really focus on making my little business all it could be.

Barn Climbing Us

And then we picked up the kids…and honestly, the noise that met us at the door was a little too much to handle!  I didn’t realize the chaos that is daily life until I was away from it for a few days and then coming back to it wasn’t easy.  It took me two full days to get used to the constant chatter of 4 children again.  Perspective.  Were they the roses on my thorn bushes or the thorns on my rose bushes?

I hate to admit it, but there are some days when I don’t get as much done as I had planned and it is just really hard to keep serving them with a joyful heart.  Again, they are my heart and I love each of them with all that I am, but I am human and I get tired.  I know you understand me here, don’t you mom?

Your frustration may come from never-ending laundry, or not enough time with friends, or constant crumbs and toys on the carpet, but mine comes from not enough time to work.  You see, it’s not work for me, it’s my passion.  I have BIG dreams for each of my businesses, but there are never enough hours in the day.  So I do what I can and make plans for a time when the kids are older and I am not so needed.  I feel guilty even as I type that.  Aren’t our kids supposed to be our whole world…the very reason we get out of bed in the morning when we would rather pull the covers up and block out the world?  I used to think so.  But I have realized that they will grow up and have their own lives all too soon, and remembering who I am as a person is good for everybody.  I am more than their mother.  But in the same breath they will grow up and move on all too soon, so I should cherish them while they are little.  It’s a two edged sword.  Are they your roses or your thorns? Some days, both.

Bottom line…it’s all in where you place your focus.  When I see my job as a wife, mother, and homeschool teacher in its true light as a high and worthy calling, I can feel fulfilled and know that I am making a difference in our world by raising the next generation.  When I place my focus on the other boutique owners and compare my business, products, followers, fans, sales, etc. to theirs, it is easy for the green eyed monster to rear its ugly head and to become jealous of their success.  It is frustrating to feel like I could be so much more “successful & productive” if only I had more time.  I don’t like saying that, but I think most of us struggle with wanting something that someone else has, whether it be their handbag or their house, or even their children.  I really have to remind myself often that most other people running a business from home do not have four kiddos underfoot and if they do, most are not homeschooling them, so they are able to work while they go off to school.  When I remember this, I am able to be a little easier on myself and enjoy life more.

My reality?  In the last 10 days we have celebrated our anniversary, our daughter’s 9th birthday, traveled to Blowing Rock & Greenville, NC, and Williamsburg, VA, dealt with 2 bloody noses in the car in the pouring rain, babysat for 2 kids not my own, taken my 2-year-old for an emergency hair cut after she cut her own hair with my scissors, completed 9 graphic design jobs, shipped 16 supply orders, researched homeschool curriculum for this school year, and my 8-year-old van finally died and left us stranded beside the road!

Bella 1st Haircut Grey Bday

And I beat myself up because the new style of boutique bow I started on almost 2 weeks ago isn’t finished and ready for listing in the shop yet.  Seriously?  In the grand scheme of things, how important is that bow laying on my worktable waiting for the finishing touches and perfect photo?

DSC_281 wm

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE what I do and when I am making a new accessory, I am so excited to be doing what I love.  But, with a little perspective, it’s easy to see that the precious ones I have been entrusted with are to be one of my primary responsibilities, second only to serving God and being a helpmate for my Sweet Hubby.

Great Wolf

For me, perspective is the difference between joy and frustration.  Contentment and jealousy.  Thanksgiving and rebellion.  Oh, I’ll keep making bows, shopping for craft supplies for BuddyBelle, and helping fellow business owners with their graphic design because I LOVE doing those things and I am driven to be creative like a moth to a flame.  It’s who I am.  But I think I’m learning to go a little easier on myself when life gets a little crazy.  And thanks to some perspective, I am choosing to see my precious ones as really beautiful roses among the thorns.  They are a blessing directly from the Lord, and I am so blessed to be entrusted with them even if it feels like I am not as “productive” as I could be.  And productivity…well, that depends on what you are measuring it by.  My sweet ones are happy, healthy, and being raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so maybe I’m pretty productive after all!  😉

What about you?  What challenges do you tend to focus on as obstacles when, with a little change in perspective, they just might become huge blessings?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Now, here’s your Freebie!  Print your own copy of the Abe Lincoln word art above as a sweet reminder to keep everything in perspective!  🙂  Roses and thorns word art

One Glorious Day and a Free Easter Printable

Oh Glorious Day in FrameThis week is Passion week…the week before Easter.  It seems like everyone is on Pinterest finding the prettiest way to dye eggs or the best way to decorate the dining table for Sunday dinner…myself included.  I just discovered this weekend that you can dye eggs with silk neck ties and make beautiful intricate designs that food coloring would never get you!  And I love a fuzzy bunny and a yellow baby chick as well as the next person.  But this week is so~much~more than that.

We really should pause every day of the year to consider the true meaning of Easter.  Rather than focusing on how to make a pretty tablescape, we should be focused on what Jesus did on the cross for everyone who chooses to accept Him.  But if I am honest sometimes days, okay weeks, go by when I love Him and try my best to follow Him, but it is just easier not to dwell on his pain and suffering for us.

I think if we truly knew the extent of His sacrifice, it would be hard to do anything but worship Him.  And one day worshiping Him is all we will do!  One day we will understand with glorified eyes what He did in dying on the cross.  In taking all of our sins on His holy self and conquering the grave.  Because God came to earth as a man in Jesus Christ, lived a sinless life, gave His ALL  and took the punishment for our sins when He died for us, we can have eternal life!  The Bible says that one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.  But the difference in where we spend eternity will be determined by whether we bow to Him before or after we see Him with our own eyes.

But for now, we are bound by this place and time, where moths and rust destroy.  Where keeping our hearts clean can be as hard as keeping a house clean with little ones underfoot.

It’s not easy to see the pain and hurt, the ugliness and the evil, that plague our world today and understand that God is still in control.  Our finite minds want to ask why.  Why do innocent children get abused or terminally sick?  What makes someone think they have the right to take another person’s life?  Why do the rich get richer while the poor die of hunger?  Honestly, there are a lot of things I just don’t understand.  And it would be easy to decide there must not be a God if He allows such bad things to happen.

That’s where faith comes in.  We don’t have to understand.  We don’t have to have all the answers.  We just have to trust that God is good…all the time.  When we can’t see His hand, we have to trust His heart.  We just have to trust that His ways are higher than ours and He has reasons that won’t make sense until we see Him face to face.  We have to understand that bad things are the result of sin in our world and that by God giving us freedom to choose whether to worship Him or not, we also have freedom to choose whether to do right or wrong.  Sadly, not everyone chooses to do right.  But that freedom also gives us the chance to have faith that He really did die on that cross for us and He really did come back to life three days later!

God saved you by his grace through faith. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  ~Ephesians 2:8

Salvation is a free gift from God.  There is no way for me to be good enough.  If I could, I would be able to get to heaven on my own, without Him.  And that would mean that the death of Christ was useless.  Now why would God send His only son to die for no reason?  The truth is, He wouldn’t.  The fact that Jesus died in your place so that you might live,  is Truth.

Which means Easter is so~much~more than  bunnies & egg hunts.  I have nothing against egg hunts.  I am sure my four littles will make sure we have a few.  And they will get an Easter basket of goodies too.  But…we are also spending the week focused on the cross, the death of Christ, hanging our homemade Easter Story ornaments on twine garland, and remembering that He is the reason for celebration, not the Easter bunny.DSC_0439corrected

Will you please pause this week to reflect on Jesus?  To really focus on Him and how much He loves you?  If you know Him as your Lord & Savior (& He knows you), take a minute to say thank you.  Maybe even spend more time with Him than you do on Pinterest, Facebook, or Etsy.  (~~~Insert stepping on my own toes here.~~~)

If you don’t know Him as your Savior, why not ask Him to show you the Truth?  What could it hurt to be open to Truth?  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

One of my very favorite songs is “Oh, Glorious Day” performed by Casting Crowns.  Somehow, they are able to sum up the Easter story in fewer words than I would ever be able to.  No matter how far my wayward heart has wandered, this song always brings me right back to the reason for my hope.  So, in honor if Him this week, I made this printable for you.  Feel free to print it and hang it where you can see it this week, and in the weeks to come, as a gentle reminder of what He has done for you, and that He is coming again, one glorious day!

Print your Glorious Day printable here:  Oh Glorious Day

Scattered, Some New Things and a Sale!

Spinning-PlatesSo, I’ve been a little scattered lately between filling orders for two Etsy shops, teaching homeschool, wrangling toddlers, making sure Hubby gets plenty of quality time, and just life in general.  You know, I get tired just thinking about everything I have to do some days.

~Coffee is my friend.~

But you know what else?  I love every minute of it!  I am so blessed to be a work-at-home Mom!  It’s the best of both worlds…present with my children, and still able to interact with adults and have a creative outlet.  It is a balance, yes, but it gives me time to be “me” on days when it seems like I am here solely to wipe noses and feed tummies.  Caring for littles can be exhausting.  But rather than the business adding more work, it actually energizes me and ignites my passion, so I am a better mother and happier nose-wiper.  Outlets are good, you know, for providing energy!  😉   And being creative is an outlet that certainly provides energy for this Momma!

So, here are some things I have made lately and added to the Sweetbeanz shop.  If you see something you like, you can save 20% off your total purchase this weekend with coupon code LUCKY20 in honor of St Patrick!  Have a look around and let me know which is your favorite in the comments below!DSC_0091DSC_0091b Greyson Collage with Red Headband & Necklace auto correctedDSC_0123b 0128 auto corrected

These make great Easter basket fillers!DSC_124 145 collageDSC_0200DSC_0207DSC_0214DSC_0016DSC_0045DSC_0090DSC_0099DSC_0115DSC_0123DSC_0134

Feel free to stop by the shop and use coupon code LUCKY20 to save a little on your purchase.  I would love to make something special just for you or a sweet one in your life!St Patrick's Day Sale

 

 

DIY Pennant Banner Template for Your Next Party!

DSC_0237I spent the afternoon making this Spiderman pennant banner for my little guy’s 4th birthday party this weekend.  It was super easy and so much fun.  So…I thought I would share the template I made with you, along with a few easy instructions so you could whip one up for that next party you’re hosting.  And the best part is, it is completely customizable.  Choose your own scrapbook papers and have it say anything you like!  🙂

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your choice of scrapbook paper, one sheet for every two pennants in your banner
  • White cardstock or printer paper
  • Baker’s twine
  • Glue Stick
  • Scotch Tape
  • Templates shown below

Start by printing this triangle template: Banner Triangle Template

Cut out two sides of the triangle, leaving the white space at the bottom of the triangle attached.  (This will give you a border that you can fold over the twine and “hang” each pennant for stability.)  Decide how many pennants you need to spell your desired word(s).  Then simply arrange the triangle on your patterned scrapbook paper so you can get two triangles from each sheet and cut them out.   (Hint:  when you make your 2nd cut, turn the triangle upside down.)   Once your triangles are cut out, go ahead and fold each one back on the straight side about 1/2″ from the edge, like this:DSC_0235You will then need to cut the little overhang off of each top corner so that your folded over piece is even with the front of the triangle.  Now, set the triangles aside.

Now to print your letters!  I have spelled out Happy Birthday for you and also included the entire alphabet so you can spell out a name if desired, or spell out a different word such as “Congratulations,” “Welcome Baby,” or “Be Thankful.”  Why not make one with your sweet kid’s name for their room too!  This is such a cute and inexpensive way to add a little whimsy to any space!

You can select and print your desired letters/numbers here:

Once all of your desired letters/numbers are printed, cut them out in circles.  Cut just inside the printed circles to avoid getting the circle border on your banner.DSC_0238When all of your letters are cut out, just use a glue stick to glue them to the pennant triangles you cut earlier.  Make sure to glue them right side up with the straight folded edge of the triangle at the top.

Now all that’s left is to secure the pennants to your twine!  Leave 10-12 inches of twine at the beginning and end of each word for hanging.  “Hang” the folded edge of each triangle over your twine and tape the folded edge to the back of the triangle to secure it on the twine.  I prefer using the folded edge method to hang the pennants on the twine rather than just taping the twine directly to the back of the triangles for two reasons.  First, it provides more durability and ensures that your pennants stay right where you put them and don’t fall off in the middle of your party if your tape fails.  Second, taping the pennant to itself allows you to slide and space the letters as you secure them to the twine.  Because they aren’t taped directly to the twine, they can move freely, which provides more maneuverability and allows a natural drape if you choose to hang your banner with some slack in the twine.  It may seem like more trouble to do it this way, but it’s worth it!  🙂

Once you have all of your letters secured on the twine, you’re done!  Just hang your banner and get ready to party!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think!  If you use my template to make a banner of your very own, leave me a link…I’d love to see!DSC_0236