12.29.2011

O Holy Night

Thank you for embracing the less glossy, more imperfect side of Christmas with me. Glitter and merriment are more appealing on the surface for sure, but I'm convinced there are rich treasures to be unearthed on the imperfect side of the Christmas story.

As I was processing a few of the thoughtful but "concerned" responses to my last post, something hit me: imperfect doesn't equal unhappy. I'm okay, sweet friends. In fact, I'm beginning to sense that embracing imperfection is essential for embracing true joy and freedom!

But the journey on this side of Heaven does have it's rough patches.

Remember what I said about living in the tension between Jesus' first and second coming? It means living in the tension between the perfect and the imperfect. I felt that tension in a tangible way this Christmas.

On Christmas Eve morning, we felt the absence of a family tradition. Instead of spending the morning with my husband's family, we spent it quietly at home...just the four of us. An unexpected round two of Leukemia dashed our normal routine. IMPERFECT on so many levels. {Praying healing prayers over John, my husband's father.}

Yet on Christmas Eve evening, our songbird had the opportunity to use her musical gifts at church. O Holy Night is a challenging song {unless you're Celine Dion!}, but Hallie was beautiful, pure and PERFECT.

{An at-home practice with Daddy playing in the background.}

{The congregation was invited to join in, but this little angel
left everyone in silent awe...followed by loud and joyful clapping.}

And then there was the perfection of our sparkle and shine daughter who got all dressed up to match her new doll. Our Laura Finley adds life and glory to every occasion!

{We love your sparkle, sweet girl!}

But then just before midnight, another reminder of the IMPERFECT. After a long battle with dementia and 93 years of living, my grandmother passed away. And while it felt merciful on so many levels, death is a harsh contrast to the birth we celebrate on Christmas Day.

While you might be tempted to think that our Christmas was more gloomy than glorious, I really feel that there was something sacred and holy about every part of it...even the imperfect parts. Because imperfection has the potential to awaken a hope-filled longing for something more. 

"And now to the God who is able to do
immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine...."
Ephesians 3:20

Wishing you more than you can ask or imagine in 2012!

12.23.2011

The Imperfection of Christmas

Hello friends! I've missed you over the last three months! The blog break was just what I needed...in ways that only God could've known. {It's a good thing I didn't know what was coming down the pike or I might have crawled under a rock!}

The card season was one of my best yet in terms of design inspiration, finding balance and living in the present, but my personal life took some unexpected turns. A faith journey is like that.

I'm not sure if I'm ready to jump back in to blogging just yet, but as I ponder what is real about Christmas, I have some thoughts I wanted to share. The imperfection of Christmas just keeps burning a hole in my heart.

I LOVE CHRISTMAS. It's why I spend three months of the year designing Christmas cards. When I'm in my studio, my heart is at peace. Instead of hustling and bustling around town, I get to be still and let the joy and truth of the season flow into every design. It still astounds me that people pay me to do this!

But then I come up for air in mid-December and feel bombarded by what the world says Christmas is all about: the perfect gift, the perfect packaging, the perfect crafting, baking and decorating. Perfectionism abounds.

I can play that game {and have for years}, but this year, circumstances won't allow it. {Weighty things beyond my control.} And while I feel a bit disoriented by all the imperfection, I'm thankful for the opportunity to embrace it.

Because here's the deal: Christmas isn't about perfection. In fact, the first Christmas was motivated by imperfection.

He who was perfect left His seat of glory to rescue an imperfect people. He who was perfect took on the imperfect form of human flesh...a baby no less. He who was perfect set aside all the splendors of heaven for a most imperfect arrival. The King of Kings was born in a dirty, poopy manger! {Have you slept in a stable lately?} Nothing perfect about it.

And yet everything about His coming is perfect. We live in the tension of the first and second coming of Jesus, and it isn't always easy. But everything is exactly as it's supposed to be...for now.

On that note, I'd love to show you what lies beneath our Christmas tree...


Not the presents {we're giving more to those in need
than to each other this year}, but the tree skirt...


A daily reminder for me to embrace imperfection...even my own. Without my imperfection, and without the imperfection of this world, we wouldn't need Christmas. We wouldn't need God with us.

I'll never know how my custom order of Joyeux Noël became Joyeux No 1 {American monogram machines don't speak French?}, but I'm keeping it!

Wishing you deep joy this Christmas,

12.08.2011

Open House Time!




{same place as always}

Hope to see you if you're a Houston friend!

xo,

11.28.2011

Christmas Open House

For my Houston friends...


Note cards, gift tags, stickers, memo pads...

{Same place as always. Wink!}

If you don't already know where to go,
send me a friendly email and I'll share the address.

Hope to see you on the 9th!

11.23.2011

Happy Thanksgiving To You!




I took a little break from cards today to photograph my family...
and hopped in at the last minute. There's something about
seeing life through a camera's lens that helps me 
give thanks and rejoice all the more.


IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
XO,

P.S.
The Thanksgiving Tree
is going strong in its second year...
thanks to girls who remembered our newest tradition!


9.12.2011

A Time For Everything {A Blog Break}


Are you ready for a long post?

It's my last for a few months,
so I'm going all out with the photos and links...
enough to keep you busy while I'm away!

First, a little wisdom.


In the last year of living again,
there really has been a time for everything.

A time to take a break . . . 

. . . and a time to make some decisions.

A time to dance in the kitchen . . . 

. . . and a time to just be.


A time to celebrate . . .

. . . and a time to give thanks.

A time to be broken . . .

. . . and a time to sing.


A time to be silly . . .

. . . and a time to face my fear.

A time to talk about the way we eat . . . 

. . . and a time to plant a garden.

A time to hit the road . . . 

. . . and a time to come home.

A time to visit Maine . . . 

. . . and a time to read good books.

 
A time to switch things around . . . 

. . . and a time to style my shelves.

A time to admire my girls . . . 

. . . and a time to let them go.

A time to be a homemama . . .

. . . and a time to work with all my heart!

Now is the time to design custom Christmas cards for the most amazing clients. I absolutely love what I do! I get to put my love of words, paper, fonts, photography and beauty to work in a meaningful and personal way that blesses others! What a privilege!

 
My 8th season designing custom cards.
Can you believe I get to do this?
I love it!

As I shift into my busy season, I've wondered how to be both busy and balanced. The Lord keeps whispering a gentle refrain: "Trust me with your time." {Psalm 31:15} It sounds so simple...until it requires something sacrificial. Really, Lord? You want me to let go of THAT?



It's time to take a break from the blog.

I love this little blog space. I love the friends I've made {I enjoyed breakfast with one of them today!}, I love the writing, I love the photography and I'm crazy about sharing beauty and inspiration...but it's time to lay it down so that I can pour my creative energy into cards. {Speaking of laying things down, I love this song!}




Deep breath.
Lord...I trust You with my time.

Christmas cards are my passion, but the season is intense. There will be afternoons when my girls have to fend for themselves, nights when my husband has to go to bed without me by his side and moments when I need all hands on deck to help me in my studio.


My sweet family enters this season with a willingness to give me up...because they love seeing the God-given passion and creativity flow through me. I am so blessed to have their full support!


{I love you, sweet family!}

At the end of the day, I want my family to know that I've used my time well...that I've been honest and intentional with my computer time. And on the nights when I have to return to my studio after dinner, I want them to know I'm doing the work God has given, not bouncing around in blogland. Looks like no more late-night blogging in the bathroom for awhile! Tee! Hee!


I'm no super woman, but maybe
giving up my blog will give me a little extra time
to keep up with the little things...like the advent calendar!


When I told my girls I was giving up the blog, they said, "Oh, Mama! I hope not forever!" Sweet girls, they are my biggest fans. I love that my family knows the real me, yet they still love to find out more about me through my writing and photography here on the blog.

If the family blesses and the Lord inspires, I'll be back to blogging after Christmas. In the mean time, I will miss you, sweet blog friends!!! Thank you for making me feel so blessed and loved here in this little place.

 

The blog world is filled with so many amazing, inspiring, sincere women! {I hope some of them will leave comments below so that you can know who they are and go visit them!} Many of you have reached out and become true friends...a most unexpected gift in this online world!

I wish you all a fabulous fall and hope we'll stay in touch. If you miss me too much while I'm gone {wink!}, you can always send me an email! I'd love to hear from you! Remember: people are ALWAYS worth my time!

Here's to a new season!

Hugs and love,

P.S. If you depend on my blog for card announcements or Open House updates, you won't find that here this season. Please send me an email and I'll add you to my email list.

P.P.S. If you're wondering how to know when I'm back to blogging, you can always subscribe via email at the top right side of my blog {then unsubscribe in the future if you'd like}.

P.P.P.S. I've already thought of a dozen inspirations I wish I had shared before making this decision. It's so hard not to want to share! Do you think I can do this??? Lord, I trust you with my time. Now just help me have some Pinterest discipline, too!

P.P.P.P.S. How's that for the longest post ever?!?! Au revoir, mes amis!




9.11.2011

Remembering...


{source unknown}

Ten years later, I'm remembering 9/11 in light of a promise: what man intended for evil, God will use for good {Genesis 50:20}.

Trusting in His goodness,

P.S. For those who are still suffering or struggling to see any good, you are on my heart today. May the Lord bless you and keep you, make his face to shine upon you...and give you peace. {Numbers 6:24-26}

9.08.2011

My Little Garden Featured on Pinterest


Just popping in to say...
look what the Pinterest team featured on the their blog today:

{Image via the Pinterest blog.}

That's my little wine box garden in the number two spot! I had no idea! Good thing I have friends who keep me in the loop! My friend Jenny says I'm famous now! Ha! Ha! I'm not looking for fame, but it sure makes me happy when people feel inspired.

Speaking of famous, Allison Parker is for real famous! Her photograph of our family landed on the front cover of a national magazine!

{You can see more of the photo shoot here.}

I loved this photo so much that I used it for our Christmas card, but a magazine cover? Wow! Congratulations, Allison! Anyone creative and crazy enough to haul an Anthrolologie sofa out to the country for some wildflower shots deserves some serious recognition!

Wishing you lots of inspiration today, sweet friends!
xo,

P.S. If the Pinterest Team could see my garden now! Nada. The Texas drought and heat has taken its toll. Speaking of the drought, I'm praying for the people in the path of all these wildfires. We can see and smell the smoke here in Houston, but I can't imagine being in the fire's path. Lord, please, please send some rain.
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