Oceans

I am a huge music fan. I love all music thanks to my amazing Umpa (my grandpa on my mom’s side). He provided endless musical education by way of exposing me to all forms of music. I remember riding in the car with him as he’d play polka music, then country, then Tex Mex, then Rhythm and blues. He was incredible. At the time I scoffed thinking “this guy is weird” but as I got older my affinity for music became apart of my DNA. I love to sing and have been told that my vocal abilities (especially on the song “At Last” by Etta James) helped win my husbands affection. So it’s no surprise to find me being inspired by music. In my latest canvas project I was inspired by a new favorite worship song by Hillsong called “Oceans”.

The song is deep and seriously moving. I can’t play it enough. So when I saw that this song was affecting other’s as much as it was me I knew I wanted to make it into a canvas. A good friend had written the lyrics a few times on her Facebook so I knew I wanted to make it for her, because I am eternally inspired by giving.

“Oceans” (Where Feet May Fail)

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Oh, Jesus, you’re my God!

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

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I think she liked the canvas. I hope it reminds her that when we ask Jesus to give us His boundless courage He will not fail us. He will take us to what we may think is our absolute limit (in parenting, in friendship, in family and in love) but we find that once we are there, in the thick of it, His grace sustains us.

 

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Thankful Jar

Thankful JarI found these amazing porcelain mason jars at JoAnn’s in the sale section. What a find! I thought it would be cute to use them in some way either  as a vase or a jar for the Holidays. I’ve always wanted to do a “Thankful Jar” where you try and write down little things you are thankful for for a month or so before Thanksgiving and then read back through them at a later date to remind yourself of the blessings you have. I’ve put together a quick little tutorial on how to alter these jars and make it a cute addition to your Holiday decor!

I bought the jars (or you could spray paint your own mason jars with white spray paint), a white pigment ink pad, Martha Stewart kraft labels, and the Heidi Swapp clear stamps with really cute sentiments. (I already had the clear glass block stamp pad). Just follow along with the pictures to see how I did it.

Thankful Jar1Thankful Jar2Thankful Jar3Thankful Jar5Thankful Jar4Thankful Jar6Thankful Jar8Thankful Jar9Thankful Jar7

 

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Fall Front Porch

I just love the crisp air during Fall. It is my favorite time of year! The changing colors and the fact that my birthday is in October helps too! I wanted to include a little bale of hay this year and because our porch is smaller I found the perfect mini size at Wal-Mart. I think it added the perfect touch! I added a few fake pumpkins and a cute “Boo” sign from Home Goods and I was ready to go! Fall Front Porch IMG_2982 IMG_2983 IMG_2984

What is your favorite way to decorate for the Fall Season? BTW, this won’t last long because I literally go from Halloween to Christmas so enjoy the short-term decorations!!

Last years Autumn Front Porch: http://www.inspired-by-giving.com/autumn-porch/

 

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St.Therese of Lisieux

I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy reading much of Saint Therese’s writings.  Her simple and profound love of Jesus is something that I aspire too everyday. Though she has many, many favorable quotes, this one is one of my favorites: “Even when alone, be cheerful, remembering always that you are in the sight of angels.”

So it inspired me. I made this little canvas for a fellow St.Therese lover like me! I hope she likes it!IMG_2953 IMG_2954 IMG_2955

 

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Grow

Big Announcement2

Our family is growing! Proud to announce that we will be expecting a new baby in January of 2015! Stay tuned!

 

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Little Mermaid Party

Oh goodness, it has been awhile! I’m so happy to rejoin the world with this amazing post which details my two lovely daughters and their so-much-fun-I-couldn’t-help-it Little Mermaid party! Since my girls were born two years and 4 days apart they have the exciting privilege of sharing their birthday’s! I really try to make it completely special for both of them so I hope they agree with that as they get older!!

Little Mermaid Party

I wanted to create a themed party but not over the top with details. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who notices those little things and alas it’s a kid’s party! So I cut myself some slack, decided to have fun and not fuss over the little things (even the Little Mermaid things!)
IMG_2299 IMG_2300 IMG_2303 IMG_2305 IMG_2309 IMG_2311 IMG_2312 IMG_2313 IMG_2315 IMG_2316 IMG_2317 IMG_2323 IMG_2324 IMG_2325 IMG_2326 IMG_2335 IMG_2338 IMG_2342 IMG_2345 IMG_2347 IMG_2350 IMG_2354 IMG_2357 IMG_2360 IMG_2368 IMG_2370 IMG_2372 IMG_2379The giant Little Mermaid poster we bought on Amazon was really worth it and tied everything together! I had the wonderful cake made at our local bakery here in Milan and it was perfect! Of course I had to do the Little Mermaid tattoos (which doubled as take home gifts for the guests) and I bought little foam crowns for the birthday girls and added an Ariel sticker to the top! I bought chocolate gold coins from Amazon as treasure and displayed it in an old cool wooden box my father-in-law gave us. Then to make the food festive I broke out about 2 bags of brown sugar to make sand castles and lay my crazy crab snacks! They were gummy orange slices with toothpicks! The favorite of the party were my clam cookies! I bought Pepperidge Farm lemon cookies and Pink Lemonade frosting then added a pearl sixlets (which I found at Wal-Mart). They were the hit of the party!

The girls enjoyed tons of fun with the bean bag toss and taking pictures with Ariel! I have to say we had a blast and I know the girls will be talking about this one for a long time!

 

 

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Valentine’s Day Decor

Valentine's Day DecorValentine's Day Decor 7Valentine's Day Decor 1Valentine's Day Decor 6 Valentine's day decor 5Valentine's Day Decor 3 Valentine's Day Decor 2Valentine's Day Decor 8I adore Valentine’s Day. For obvious reasons, but my most favorite reason is all the pink! Pink candies, pink roses, pink hearts. It’s heaven. And you have to know by now that I love pink! I kept my decor simple this year by using a lot of my lovely Silhouette Cameo’s designs to give my decor a little paper punch! First with the framed “Adored” phrase and with the cursive “love” phrases as well. I can’t tell you enough about how much I love my Silhouette. I didn’t want my decor to be overly pink or red. I wanted it to blend naturally and effortlessly.  I used scrap fabric to wrap my heart wreath that I picked up at a rummage sale. Then I pinned some paper flowers to it with the love phrase. Overall it’s a simple touch of Valentine’s Day Decor that I can live with.

This Valentine’s Day we are writing love notes to each other & hand delivering them to our very own personal mailboxes. Love is such an essential part of our family life that it’s nice to have a special day dedicated purely to love. I think it’s in little actions too, not just words. Don’t get me wrong…I love notes and poems, they are essential. But I’m learning through my beautiful marriage and parenthood that love is a verb. I have to do something. I have to act in love, with love and for love.

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NASB

What special way are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year??

 

 

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Getting Organized for Today

Now that I’m officially a proud stay at home mom I am in need of a system. I need organization not just for my home but for my schedule (and sanity). I found these adorable mini-planners at Target and fell in love. I had been keeping everything on my Google Calendar but I like pretty things. And a girl can’t walk by this planner in the isle and pass it up. So one of my goals this month is to get my schedule laid out. The vacation is over. It’s time for serious time management! This will help me face each day with a goal in mind. That way I won’t feel like at the end of the day I’m asking myself “what did I accomplish?”

Getting Organized // Inspired By GivingThomas Edison wrote “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” I want to set up a game plan for the girls and for myself so that my days are navigated better. The purpose is to keep ourselves in motion. I want to include lessons each week that revolve around a theme like Virtues and Kindergarden prep. This will also give me some room to work in my office. If I dedicate time to the girls, I can schedule a set time for “Mommy to work.” I think they will understand instead of me trying to work here and there for 15 minutes at a time. I used my trusty label maker to add my phrase for the year on the inside of my planner so I can be reminded that grace not perfection is my goal. I used standard tabs but added a last one called “Grace”. Here is where I will write down those grace filled moments. The one’s where God covers my failure with His awesome, abundant & merciful love. I have to go back there and remind myself everyday of His grace. IMG_2206Getting Organized // Inspired By GivingOf course I have to include my favorite pencils from Amanda Catherine Designs. Check out her shop here. What are your organizational goals for this year?

 

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Begin Again: 2014

St.Teresa of AvilaGet the free printable here.

As I begin to clear my mind and heart for the New Year I’ve decided to commit to a personal phrase this year. One that will remind me that yes, sometimes defeat will come. But in spite of that I can start over. Each day is the chance for a fresh start. Each day is a mini-New Years. I love the story of Saint Teresa of Avila and her using this phrase to encourage fellow sisters in her convent after their confession. She would wait for them each individually and as they approached she would touch their shoulders and look into their eyes and say “Begin again! Begin again!”.

The Catholic faith teaches us that we are constantly converting to Jesus. Let our hearts experience many conversions back to Our Lord this year. Let us be reminded that with Him we can begin again.

What is your 2014 phrase? 

 

 

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Self-Donative Discipline

Happy New Year! I hope this Christmas and New Year have been as blessed for you as they have been for me! I’m posting today on a great newfound hobby of mine: discipline! Now that my lifetime prayer has been answered that I get to stay home with my two daughter’s I’ve quickly learned that I needed to take the reins on their discipline….and fast! I’ve been reading an amazing book called “Parenting with Grace.” It is incredible. I cannot tell you what a mind opening concept this approach to discipline has been for not just me but my husband as well.

Some of the key concepts really center around a Catholic parenting style called “Self-donative discipline”. The idea is that as Catholic’s we are called to serve our families like it’s our ministry field. Just as Christ served us we are called to serve our families with joy and humility even when we don’t feel like it. God gave us hands and feet and we are called to use our bodies to glorify Him. When I get up off the couch to grab my husband a glass of water or run upstairs to get my daughter’s blankie I’m serving them but the key is for my heart to be joyful about those acts of service not inconvenienced or annoyed. This is no easy task, but the self donative discipline say’s that by serving each other in love and modeling this type of behavior to our children we will model the behavior we expect of them in return. There are many incredible techniques and tips that this book offers and I encourage you to look more into Dr.Greg Popcak’s book to find out more.

I’ve also come up with a behavior chart and reward system that I can use on a daily basis with the girl’s and so far it’s really helped in  significant ways. Now in no way am I saying I’m an expert in this! Far from it. But I’m a learning mother who’s so in love with my children and husband so much that I want the very best environment for them. Constant growth in this area for me as a parent is crucial. Behavior Chart01

First I searched Pinterest for some quick ideas and came across many great ideas. But I needed something that I knew my girl’s would buy into. The Behavior Chart below was a perfect solution. Each morning both girl’s start out on the Excellent category. If a serious bad behavior happens I simply walk to the chart and move the child’s name to the next lowest category. I’m simply giving a warning that if we continue down this road the privilege will be lost. Enter the privilege tickets! I’ve heard of people rewarding with toys or candy (I believe I heard myself doing this) but I felt like that was a cheap reward. I wanted to girl’s to learn that a true reward is time with family not a sticker or chocolate. So on my ticket’s I hand wrote family activities like “Tickle time with daddy” or “read a book with just mommy” to create an opportunity for the girl’s to have one on one time with us but also look forward to being with us at the end of the day. Each day they get to pick one ticket from the jar and that is their privilege. (Just a side note: A trip to Chuck E. Cheese and an Ice cream ticket does exist in the jar as well!)

So far my oldest has really taken to the concept. My almost 2 year old still doesn’t completely  understand but that’s okay. She’s watching everything big sister does and that is a huge opportunity in in of itself. So like I said, I’m no expert but with prayer, humility, some tears and many victories I’m learning how to grow these beauties into loving, self-donative Christ followers who will model their faith as they grow.

No small task ;).Behavior Chart1Behavior Chart2What discipline techniques are working for you? Share below in the comments!

 

 

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