Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday Favorites: Five Fun Small-Business Finds


Happy Friday, y'all! Today, I'm so excited to share five of my favorite things I've discovered in the last few weeks. Each of these items are made by small businesses and many of them benefit a greater good...bonus! Here we go!

ONE

I read about this amazing company - The Thx Co - on another Noonday Ambassador's Instagram feed, and I really thought it was too good to be true. $10 perfume that actually smelled good, contributed to a global health initiative, AND would last me a few months? No way. But, I figured if it was terrible, I'd only be out $10 and it was a donation to a good cause. You guys, this stuff smells AMAZING. This company also sells men's cologne, fair-trade coffee, and other goodies. Check them out HERE

TWO

Ok, so a few of my friends have been raving about LuLaRoe clothing for a little while now, and I recently got my first couple of pieces. 

There are a few styles that I absolutely LOVE, it is seriously the SOFTEST clothing you've ever felt, and it's all made by hand. WIN! 
I am so excited to be partnering with two of my favorite LuLaRoe consultants for Noonday/LuLaRoe Mother's Day events in a few weeks! Stay tuned for details or email me to be added to the invite list!

THREE

I know...shameless self-promotion here...but you guys, THIS BAG. Give me ALL THE HEART EYES. It is big enough to tote my stuff, my kids' stuff, a planner, a bottle of water, and more while still looking amazing and put together. I'm head over heels. And OH how I wish you could smell the leathery goodness. It's made of goat's leather ethically-harvested in India, vegetable-dyed, and will both soften and darken in time, so it basically ages like a fine wine. It's an investment piece, but SO worth it. I've actually had two ladies book shows just to get this one at half-price...it's that good. (And would made an AMAZING Mother's Day gift!) See the full details HERE. (And the fun necklace seen on the tray can be found HERE.)

FOUR

Awkward selfie time...but worth it to show off my amazing "Known by Heart" fundraiser shirt from Ni Hao Yall! Click HERE to read more. I love that the shirt I'm wearing is bringing home a daughter to a forever family from China and the earrings I'm wearing are preserving families in Haiti. That, my friends, is using your purchasing power for good!

FIVE

Okay, so this one is just plain fun. So many compliments on my "Stressed, Blessed, and Coffee Obsessed" shirt that I wore on Tuesday that I had to post it. No idea if this one does any good in the world, but it's just too true not to share. This one is from Be Still Clothing Company, and you can find there website HERE. Oh, and PSSSST, they are releasing their new spring line TODAY at 11am central...use code SPRING10 to get 10% off your order!
(And if anyone has tips on how to take a shirt selfie without the awkward shoulder, please leave me a comment. It took about 25 tries to get the whole shirt showing...I'm so awkward, y'all.)

Here's to a happy weekend celebrating our risen King! 
Monday, March 21, 2016

On Vulnerability...


Five days ago, I did something I thought was impossible when originally asked. Last week, I stood on a stage in front of 160 women and shared my testimony of how Jesus brought me through a life-threatening eating disorder in my teen years. 

And you know the weirdest part?

I wasn't even nervous.

Rewind two months to the moment I got the phone call asking me to share this? I was a blubbering hot mess who didn't sleep for two weeks as I came up with a litany of reasons I shouldn't share it. 

What if they look at me differently?

What if they think I'm crazy?

What if they judge me?  

What if our friendship changes because of this?

What if I cry and look stupid?

All of these things, at the time, seemed like totally valid reasons to say no. I resolved to stay strong and say no when asked to accept or decline their offer to speak. I decided I would just keep my scary past in the past, tuck it away, and stay safe. No one needed to hear my story. It couldn't change anyone. It couldn't inspire anyone. And it DEFINITELY couldn't give anyone hope.

No, I thought...it's not worth sharing. Not out loud at least. If they really want to know my story, they can read it as I hide with my tail between my legs behind my computer screen. Yeah. There. I typed it once, so there. I'll just tell them to read it. 

And then I got the text I'd been dreading, "So, would you like to do it?"

I initially typed this response, "Thanks so much for asking. I really do appreciate it. But, I'm just really busy right now with teaching and adoption tasks that I just don't think I can take on one more thing. My apologies."

But something in me just couldn't hit send. I started at that response for a solid five minutes...and I kept feeling a lingering sense of uncertainty. My mind was running about a mile a minute when it dawned on me...there's an alternative answer to my excuses above.

What if they DON'T?

Here's the thing - vulnerability is scary. Weakness is not something we celebrate 'round here. Struggles and challenges are not something we shout from the rooftops as if they were accomplishments. There is risk involved, and risk is no fun for anyone. Risk implies the opportunity to fail. And with that, comes really two possible results - reward or regret.

I figured I had two options - I could say yes, take the risk, and potentially make an absolute mess of myself on stage. OR, I could sit safely in my seat, never put myself out there, and never know whether or not my speech would've made a difference. As scared as I was, I knew I couldn't live with that regret.

Two extra cups of coffee confidence later, I finally got the courage to respond: "Sure! Thanks for asking!" 

I hit send, and then I immediately panicked. Well, I thought, you've done it now, girl!

A few weeks later, I was listening to the online stream of the IF: Gathering in Austin, and I heard the incredible Angie Smith give a brief talk. She was visibly nervous, and she explained that her nerves were based on a lie that she had been wrestling with for years...a lie that told her she didn't matter. A lie that told her she was unworthy to teach. A lie that told her she wasn't good enough to inspire others.

It was during this speech that the cause of my fear was realized...I believed those lies, too. And, I wonder, if maybe you might believe those, too. So, I started dreaming...

What if we shook off the lies that tell us we aren't enough?

What if we shook off the lies that tell us we are too much?

What if we shook off the lies that tell us we don't have a story?

What if we shook off the lies that tell us our lives don't matter?

WHAT IF?

It is such a common fear in all of us, I think, this fear that our lives are completely futile and without meaning. But, I'll tell you what if...we would stop living our lives in our little safety boxes. God doesn't call us to merely stay quiet and be safe. God calls us to GO. And DO. And RISK.

I began to see this opportunity completely differently. Not only did I have an opportunity to share my story of hope with these women, I had the opportunity to encourage THEM to share their stories with others, too. Mission accepted.

Two months later, the week of my testimony came up, and I was strangely calm. I had been working through the lies I was believing over the last few weeks as I prepared my talk, and the few days leading up to my speech, the texts and messages of support began rolling in.

I had friends and family praying for me all over the place, and things went tremendously well. I dealt with a little bit of cotton mouth, and I vowed to never go up on stage without a bottle of water again, but I lived to tell about it, I didn't vomit or faint, and I have received over 25 emails/texts/messages of support since I took the risk and shared my story.

There was no judgment. No labels. No looking silly. No changed friendships. Okay, there WAS some crying, but that would've happened anyway! ;)

Vulnerability is scary, but, friends, it is SO worth the risk! Where is God calling YOU to be vulnerable?



Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekend Wrap-Up: We-Survived-Spring-Break Edition

Ahhh, the end of spring break. I'm over here rejoicing that there is a sense of normalcy and routine returning to our home, but I'm pretty sure all the teachers feel like this...
WORD.

So, we wrapped up our long and rainy spring break this weekend. After four days of basically being cooped up in our house and friends' houses, we had to bust outta here and go have some fun. Friday morning, we braved a fun little play area near us called The Coop.




We had lots of fun, but I got SO claustrophobic due to the sheer number of kids there. This face is an accurate representation of how I felt...

OUCH.

Friday afternoon, we met up with my teaching partner and her kiddos to go meet "Pig" from the book If You Give a Pig a Pancake. The kids had a blast, but, I mean, how creepy and HUGE is that pig?!! Kate wanted in the picture but needed a pretty safe distance...;) 

Saturday was pretty low-key because we intentionally made no plans this day. We read, played outside with our cousins, Blake took the world's most pathetic-looking nap, and (gasp!) the sun actually came out! A miracle!






We had fun Sunday afternoon at a birthday party for a sweet school friend, and I learned that my littlest truly has NO FEAR. She kept up with the five year-olds like a pro. 





video

Aaaaaand, Kate needed to leave you a selfie as a parting gift. ;) This kid... 

Make it a great week, friends! 

Friday, March 11, 2016

10 on the 10th...Except it's the 11th ;)


Okay, my faithful ten readers....I'm determined to get back into the blogging game. I've been, well, a big fat failure the last month or so, and my dad is disappointed that he's no longer getting his daily email updates, so Dad, this one's for you. ;) Here are ten things for the 10th that have been going on in our little world lately. (Aaaaand, of course it's a day late...couldn't get my act together yesterday because spring break is HARD.)

ONE

We've been continuing our annual goal for more intentional time (we call them dates) with our kids. It appears we may also need to work on manners during dates...


TWO 

This girl got a cute little haircut! She has decided that ponytails, clips, and bows are her mortal enemies all of a sudden and was just looking messy all the time...so, enter the bob. I kinda love it!

THREE 

Are my kids the only ones who literally watch their loveys dry?!! They sat here for a FULL 25 minutes while their two beloved blankets dried. They watched them "go for a ride." It was kinda cute, kinda sad, and obviously quite entertaining.

FOUR 

I loved Kate's little bob so much that I decided I needed one of my own! Bye bye three inches! (And forgive the photog skills here...Carter took this one. Ha!)

FIVE 

This girl has been alllllllll about my jewelry lately. She pretty much wears a piece around the house 24/7 if I let her. She has also become a pretty big fan of the "selfie" - which makes a part of me die a little inside.

SIX

It's been raining ALL. WEEK. LONG. We are O-V-E-R it. A rainy spring break with very few plans...it's been, well, interesting. And long. Bring back the sun! 

SEVEN 

How cute are my boys?!! Carter fell in love with this shirt at Target and insisted on twinning with his Daddy in his work shirt. They looked so cute we had to take them out to dinner to show it off!

EIGHT 

Dear Whole Foods, You are amazing! Where have these carts been all my life?!! This was by far the best grocery trip ever. No tears, no roaming, no begging for unnecessary toys...they just drove their little car the whole time. It's the little things, people...

NINE

I've gotten several texts similar to this one this week as my friends and family who shopped my Noonday Collection spring launch are getting their goodies in! This makes me SO HAPPY! Especially because most of my shoppers were brand new to this amazing organization and all the good it's doing in the world! If you ordered from me, I'd love to see you in your pretty pieces! And if you're interested in learning more or shopping the new spring line, click HERE. (And psssst - lots of new items just went on sale, including two of my favorites - the Azul scarf and Sharma earrings! Steals!)

TEN

I listened in last night on a conference call with our agency regarding families who are currently DTC and waiting on their matches. They went over kids they had matched in the last month, what types of special needs they are seeing in the files they are receiving, and basic time frames for families depending on gender/age requested. It still sounds like we should be matched in the next month or two, but only God knows the real timing, and there are so many variables involved. We just continue to wait and trust and hope...we know our son is out there and that God has an incredible story planned for our family. No other real updates there.

Okay, I'm off to enjoy a relaxing little Friday with my kiddos! Have a great weekend!


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Adoption Talk Link-Up: Oh, HEY, March!

What in the ACTUAL world...how it is already March?!? And March 3rd at that?!!


Today, I'm joining up with the Adoption Talk Link-Up, and the prompt simply says "Anything Goes," so that's pretty fitting for this post because the things I wanted to share with you today are somewhat adoption-related, but there's no real Earth-shattering news yet. (Oh, I wish there was!) We are just waiting...it's just part of all of this...but I'm choosing to share today about some fun little ways God has reminded me He's still there when there is so little action. 

First off, let's revisit our timeline since it's been a while since I participated in a link-up!

We began our adoption process on August 10, 2015.
We got our home study approval on November 17, 2015.
We received our I800A approval on January 8, 2016.

And the latest additions to that timeline...

Our agency sent our completed dossier to China on February 12, 2016.
The CCCWA logged us into their system on February 19, 2016.

So, we've been eligible to be matched for roughly three weeks now. Since we are electing to only look at baby boy files, our agency thinks we will be matched within the next three months. (That's basically lightning speed in the adoption world for those of you who are unfamiliar...) We could get "the call" tomorrow, it could be another 8-9 weeks...we truly don't know. So, we'll just keep on doing the next right thing...



When I was about 15, I picked up a little book in the book store called "God Winks." (Or something like that...) I remember the premise was basically stories of how people felt gentle reminders and confirmations that God was truly looking out for them. Basically, they were stories of coincidences that were no coincidence at all. Over the last few weeks, I've experienced SEVERAL "God winks" that I thought would be a fun share today. 


About two weeks ago, I got a random Facebook message from a girl that I didn't know at all. I would normally decline a message like that, but we had several mutual friends, so I figured she wasn't a creeper. (Her picture was also very promising.) I opened it up to find a message from a girl who wanted to see if we had any interest in meeting because she and her husband were also in the process of adopting from China and she lived in our neighborhood. (Um, YES!) Well, come to find out, they also have two biological children who are both within a few months in age of my kids, we are the exact same age, we have mutual friends from MANY stages of life, and are both at the EXACT same point in the process...waiting on a referral. And to top it all off, our oldest boys got along GREAT! 

If that's not a "God wink," then I don't know what is!

What a gift it will be for ALL of our children to grow up close to a family with whom they can identify. One of my (many) things I've been researching as of late is how to navigate the transition to a trans-racial family. The stares, the comments, the questions...I just don't really know how we are going to handle all of that. And when Carter or Kate's friends want to tell them that their brother isn't their "real" brother or ask why he doesn't look like us, how am I going to respond? I know God will equip me with the right words when that time comes, but it is a genuine concern of mine. I'm not really concerned for me and my husband...we've got pretty thick skin. I'm more concerned for Carter and Kate's hearts, especially as they move into elementary school where kids can be just downright mean at times. (If you've got any wisdom here, share it, please!) What a gift it will be to grow up with a family that looks like ours just down the street! 


A few days later, I nervously launched my Noonday Collection business with a full house of people and placed more than 20 orders in 24 hours. I was basically on my knees the hour before the party started because I was so afraid that no one would show up and I would fail. But, WOW. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected a turn out like that. Sales is not even CLOSE to my comfort zone, and this whole business venture has been in God's hands since I said yes. Man, did He wink at that. ;) What a huge blessing that day was for me, our adoption expenses, AND the artisan businesses who make everything. Such a win-win all around. I am so excited for the future with this organization!

OH! One last thing! One of my FAVORITE things about becoming a Noonday Ambassador is that I get to pay it forward and help OTHER adopting families raise funds, too! I would LOVE to bless another adopting family by hosting a trunk show in their honor. They will receive 10% of the sales total to use for their adoption. If you know anyone who is in the adoption process and looking for fundraising ideas, send 'em my way! 

Wishing you all a very happy Friday Eve! XO!

  
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