Trading one Madonna for another.

As I was scrolling through Instagram the other day I went to the popular posts page and discovered a recent popular hashtag. It was #Madonna. It reminded me that I too used to love Madonna. And it got me thinking about young women in our culture and brought back some old memories.

I used to be a party-girl. My weekly goal was to look my best for the weekend party scene. I’d work to buy clothes and to afford going out Friday and Saturday night with my friends. I was looking and searching for validation. I wanted to be pretty and I wanted to be seen and appreciated.

But my desire was skewed. I wanted all this from a guy. And I was consuming a lie each time I consumed a drink. Somehow I lost the promise I’d made to God in my earlier years. I lost my way from following His will. I started walking a path that led me to a dead end of regret, pain, sadness and loneliness.

In those early days of rebellion I would model myself after “strong” women. I wanted to be one of them. I thought in order to be strong, I had to not care. I had to take charge! And no one would stop me from getting what I wanted! Because OF COURSE I didn’t want a “real” relationship and OF COURSE I wanted to be objectified!


I was in the school for Madonna-wanna-be’s. She had it all. Looks, brains, power, control, success, money, love….wait? Did she have love? I don’t know. Maybe. But to me she had everything I thought I needed in order to be happy. She was doing things her way. Ain’t nobody was going to stop her. I didn’t want to be stopped either as I spiraled into disaster one bad choice after another.

Yet somehow, I wasn’t happy. All the partying wasn’t lifting me up to great heights of satisfaction. The next day after party nights I felt weak, sick and full of regret. But there I’d go every week back to that same place again…waiting for the weekend so I could let the blurry lines of alcohol cast my judgement aside and be numb to reality.

It didn’t work. I was faithless. I was broken. I was crying out in the dark after the failed relationships wouldn’t last. I was far from God. I knew Him but I ignored Him. Madonna didn’t point me to the life I’d wanted. So, I traded her for another one.

The Blessed Virgin Mary.


Fast forward to the present day. My life has turned around. There are many, many twists and turns to the story of my life so far, and I won’t share it all here today. But the point is I traded my life of Rebellion for a life of Orthodoxy. I traded my secular view that God was trying to keep me from happiness for a spiritual view that enlightened my soul. And in recent years, I’ve come to know Our Blessed Lady in a new and profound way. She has taught me that laying down my life for God is all that truly matters.

Her life wasn’t in the tabloids. She wasn’t absorbed with self-image or reinvention. She was a handmaid. A servant. She certainly faced her share of controversy I imagine. But for what? For more money? For approval of Man? Nope. She bore judgmental looks and whispers for a greater purpose than any of us could imagine. And she wanted nothing in return. Just to do the Lord’s will.



Now even as the pop-artist Madonna moves into older age with kids of her own, she still can’t model for me what I’m searching for in this life. She can’t win my heart by her political nonconformity. Her actions that yell and promise “freedom” amongst sexual casualty, her constant objectification of womanhood can’t speak as loudly to me as does Mary’s quiet obedience.

Mary speaks through her actions. Her suffering. Her prayerfulness. These are what get my attention these days. This idea is absurd to me. Not the shockingly graphic sexuality of our day, we’ve seen it all. But rather, the opposite which is strangely unfamiliar in our culture. Peter Kreeft said “In an age that has thrown off all tradition, the only rebellion possible is orthodoxy.”


My point is that today young women are searching as they have been for centuries for a role model. They are searching to be led by another who without a doubt can promise them fulfillment, happiness, acceptance, and love. And young women are sinking deeper and deeper into the lie that this world has it all for them. Our culture promises that we need to let ourselves do whatever we feel like in the name of happiness. But as a former party-girl I’m here to tell you: I’ve been where you are. I tried the party scene. I tried the casual relationships. It’s unfulfilling. Pope Saint John Paul II said “The more the world deprives young people of what is true, good, and beautiful, the more earnestly will they yearn for it. The vacuum of modern secularism is actually a fragrant invitation for young people to rediscover the sacred.” We have a lasting role model that points us to true happiness.

The Madonna, the Blessed Virgin Mary, always points us to Jesus. And He is the way, the truth and the life. His ways are the most fulfilling and satisfying you’ll ever know. The past will be forgiven and washed clean. A new person will emerge from within you. And one day you’ll begin praying for your daughters generation to make the trade too.



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May: The Month of Motherhood

Yes, May is almost over I guess. But It doesn’t change the fact that May is the month of Momma! Not only is it Mother’s Day but I also get to celebrate my mom because it’s also her birthday month. I’m so in love with celebrating this time of year because the winter’s cold has finally melted away and the new season of Spring blossoms all around us. (I won’t deny that getting some extra special attention and love from my cutie pies isn’t so bad either!) But lately I’ve been struggling. I suppose by lately I mean the last five years. My struggle is an up and down fluctuation. My struggle is motherhood.

Motherhood brings out the worst and the best parts of me. But it’s the worst sides that I reflect on the most after a long, arduous day of yelling, tempers lost, and impatient huffs. It’s the ugly side of me I hate to admit to. But I find that it is necessary to share my burdens in hopes that I may find others who share the same struggle. In fact, I know I’m not alone because I’ve read several amazing posts lately on this topic and have found so much solace in their words.

Especially this one:

And this one:

Also, this one:

I’ve made some progress in admitting that I struggle and have prayed everyday for more grace. Only God can work through my tired hands and my selfish grumblings. I say all this assuming you know that my three beautiful children are everything to me. I wouldn’t change my vocation to family life, even if I could. They are my joy, my beauty and my dreams. I would do anything to make them happy. So, please understand my human struggle in no way denies these blessings God has given me. I just want to be better for them. I want to teach them joy and genuine happiness. I want them to see Christ’s light shining within me. Most days, they get the frazzled, less patient version of me.

I want to begin to let go of all that I’m hoping to accomplish (whether that be in a day, or in motherhood altogether) and let Christ guide me. I want Him to be my sole source of strength when I’m tired. I want Him to be the patient tone in my voice and the calm reaction in my gut. I want Him to be the joy and the light within me.

So how do I make this happen? I don’t. He does and He will. With my willing heart He will supply all that grace. Grace with a capitol G! So I’ve decided to pray first and foremost for this vocation of mine to be firmly planted in His goodness and secondly I’ve hung up reminders all around the house to refocus my thinking if I’m having a bad day.

I made this canvas for an amazing family as a Mother’s day gift and I hope each time she looks at it she knows that what the verse says is true. That her family adores her even if she feels less than that day or even if she’s tired….


My reminders say “Be the mom you want them to remember” and “Successful mothers are not the ones that have never struggled. They are the ones that never give up despite the struggles.” You can print these reminders too. Check out Simple As That’s blog here.


My home office cork board is a pretty reminder when I’m struggling with motherhood. Here, I can see the beauty and the blessings. The forgiveness and second chances to “Begin Again” as Saint Teresa of Avila would say.

IMG_3922Motherhood is by far the most amazing gift I have ever been given. I don’t want to mess it up. So I must dive deeper into my relationship with Christ as to be the mother He created me to be.



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Confirmation Gift


There is this family that I know from church and meeting them was providential to say the least. A big family with 12 kids in total and the mom and dad are true Saints on earth. Not because they have 12 kids but because whether they had 1 or 8 or 12 they exude joy. They are always happy. And when I say always I mean ALWAYS. I think they’ve tapped into something it takes years for us regular people to figure out: Jesus is and should be our only purpose for living and do everything in response to what He’s done for us.

I had the privilege of hanging out with this family a few times and felt honored when one of the daughter’s asked me to be her Confirmation Sponsor. Me? Me, the girl who deals with impatience, and who can’t stick to a regular prayer routine? Me, the girl with major imperfections and work to be done? Me, the girl who’s still trying to figure out how to be a better wife and mother? ???

It only spoke of this family’s love and generosity to ask little old me to sponsor their daughter. I discovered that my most important task in being a Confirmation sponsor was to pray for my candidate. So I prayed. I prayed and prayed for her. And then I came across a quote from my favorite Saint, St.Therese of Liseuex.  She talked about when we pray for others we have less time to worry about ourselves. I found that to be true. I realized that I can lift her up in prayer the days leading up to her Confirmation and everyday after that. That somehow, whether she knows or not, I’ll be praying unceasingly for her and she will be affected by those prayers through Christ. Someone did that for me. I’m sure of that.

So, in essence I put together this really cutely wrapped package with hints of St.Therese, the Little Flower (her Confirmation Saint and mine!) but the real Confirmation gift was given to me instead:

The privilege of standing beside her in support and prayer. The honor of being linked eternally with this family, The blessing of being reminded that as hard as someone prayed for me, I needed to do that for someone else out of gratitude. My lesson was that I could’ve pretended like I had some deep spiritual wisdom to share with her or I could’ve let God show us both His glory through His Holy Spirit and through her and her family’s joy, generosity and love.


The real-life-Saint-always-happy-mother holding my baby Gray. I love how Our Lady is in the background with arms wide open. A Mother’s love. IMG_38101



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Gray’s Nursery

Well, seeing as I am almost ready to deliver this baby, I thought it would be fun to share some of the pictures of the nursery. It’s not totally done yet, but it’s in perfect condition for welcoming our little guy home! I really wanted to create a soothing room that was enjoyable for me to be in as well as Gray.

We decided on a wall color of “Revere Pewter” by Benjamin Moore. And I LOVE it! In fact, we are considering painting other rooms using this color. My hubs did an amazing job of working hard completing the room to make it look fabulous for me…I mean for Gray!

IMG_33261IMG_33256Matt went to Michigan State University so I really wanted to include an MSU theme but not over the top. I still have some pictures I want to hang up but I think the way it looks now is so cute for a little boy’s room! The cool vintage-looking MSU sign was one I bought for Matt a few Christmases ago from a craft show. I intend to buy another piece by the same artist who has a really cool Rose Bowl MSU sign! Can’t wait!IMG_33232IMG_33223IMG_33274IMG_33405Another awesome addition to the room is this street sign above the closet doors. This sign is the actual sign from the street that Matt grew up on. In Adrian, the city he’s from, they are currently changing all the street signs and were selling the originals to anyone who wanted them. Matt’s mom made sure to scoop them up and now we have a little piece of history right in the room! Plus, I can’t get over the street name! Loveland? Come on! IMG_33248IMG_33310IMG_33287I’ve been blessed to receive many gorgeous gifts for Baby Gray. Probably the most adorable clothes I’ve ever seen. So, thank you to all you lovely ladies who passed on some cute boy gear to me! I know he will be a complete stud. (Just like Daddy).IMG_33299IMG_33321IMG_33383As we near the due date of January 23rd my heart aches with excitement and fear about the coming adventure. I can’t believe it’s already here yet it feels like I’ve been waiting a long time! I can only take a step back and thank God for every blessing He’s given me. These are days filled with miracles and I can’t wait to see what else He has in store for us!IMG_33332



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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

IMG_3222 IMG_3223 IMG_3227

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:



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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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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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