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Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I stumbled upon some ugly words about myself last week.  It was one of those snarky mean girl sites and someone had taken the time to pretty much judge every move I make.  Including that I'm a bad writer.  I try not to focus on stuff like that because no one but my close peeps really know me, but for some reason the bad writer thing stuck (oh I hate that) and has been on replay in my mind occasionally this last week.  It's kinda weird that it was that statement that bothered me, because I know I'm not a technically good writer.  I write just exactly how I would talk. Run on sentences.  Incomplete thoughts.  Lack of focus;)

Blah, blah, blah...  The thing is hurting people lash out and hurt people.  It's easy to throw stones.  It's easy to pick on and put down others, especially in this day and age...all hidden behind our screens.  We've all seen the horrible things that others say on IG to complete strangers.  It blows my mind how people can be so hateful and mean...but then I'm reminded we live in a fallen world.  Not everyone believes the things I do.  Extend grace...ugh!

I started this blog six years ago!  Six!!!  I was cold and dark...literally;)  It was cold up there in Minnesota and I was in a dark place struggling with depression.  And blogging was wonderful.  It helped me focus my time and energy on searching for good.  Looking at my little world and embracing and noticing everything around me.  What a gift:)  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  And the friends I've met!  And the places I've been!!!  I don't think any of it would have been possible without this space...this platform.

And now there's Instagram. Amazing how you think things will stay the same and then all of a sudden it's different.   Somehow I have 20,000 "followers" on IG!  Say WHAT!!  I don't say that to brag.  Honestly I can't believe people would want to tag along and see what little snippets I have to share.  Really it's humbling and weird and if you don't keep the whole thing in perspective it's a mind game.

 I read a quote recently that said: 

"Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide". -- DW Winnicott 

YES!  This is how I feel exactly.  There is a constant push and pull feeling in me to share everything and then share nothing...  Because heaven forbid you share something special...something close to your heart and it gets misunderstood or you get judged.  Who has time for that!  Who wants to put their heart out there to get stomped on!  And when you add an element of creativity...well that just ups the anty.  

But despite those feelings I have the strongest conviction that I think life is meant to be shared.  We learn from each other.  We can inspire one another and we can give that little bit of encouragement along the way.  We are not the only ones that feel vulnerable and tired and out of sorts occasionally.  This life thing is no joke.  It's hard at times and to walk with others is a gift...even if it is virtually.  

SO all that to say... SHINE girls!  Don't let the thoughts of anyone deter you from your purpose.  There is only one you!  The world needs to see your gifts and talents.  God has specifically given them to you to SHARE:)  Don't worry about being will be.  Put on your blinders.  Focus on what's in front of you and live out your calling...whatever that may be:)

Be a blessing.

 relearn something...
 these girls! i prayed for them and now they are here:)  fgp christmas party!!
 making more room for the shop...eeek!
redder hair:0
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I'm about ten steps behind as of late.  Oh the joys of the holidays:)  About two hours after I mailed out the last of the Etsy palooza orders my parents arrived.  Whew!  What would have been perfect...if perfect was ever possible...would have been about a week or two of gathering my wits.  Maybe a day to sleep in, a hot bath, a much overdue workout or two...a salad!  But it didn't go down like that.  Timing is everything.  It really is a true statement.  But despite me we had fun.  We tromped through every antique store in a 30 mile radius.  We decorated the house and made a Thanksgiving feast.  Honey and I did Black Thursday, and Mom and I hit Black Friday.  She even helped me wrap each and every gift.  Feeling blessed to be pretty caught up.

Speaking of Black Friday and Thanksgiving I was feeling a little blue this year.  Tradition is a funny thing.  For the last three years we've spent Thanksgiving with some dear friends.  They moved back up North recently ending our little "turkey run":/  Even though this year was wonderful the memories of previous years made a little pit form in my stomach.  I love change, crave it actually, but lately I find myself mourning loss.

So back to tradition.  These pics are a few weeks old.  The girls had a day off from school recently, and it's our thing to go to this one trail and take pretty pics.  We've done it the past three years in a row. Honey is always working, so it's just me and my girlies.  Pictures are always better outside.  Why don't I ever go outside!??  I miss my big girl camera.  I hardly ever pick it up anymore.

On our walk I found this prickly thing on the ground and couldn't help but feel a connection with it.  I kinda feel prickly lately.  I think burnout is to blame.  The lack of time for basic self care.  You've heard the saying all work and no play...  I have this burning desire to find time for FUN!  So I'm cultivating a plan for play.  I'm getting out a pen and paper and scheduling it in.  Yes pen and paper.  A list has to be made you know.  It's not going to just happen on it's own;)

1. Learn something new (this is coming)
2. Relearn something old (I signed up for The Beautiful Mess online camera course)
3. Take care of yourself (I joined our Hot House Yoga studio)
4. Read a book...any suggestions??

While my folks were here we got the call that my dad's brother David passed away.  He had a massive heart attack and died while tending to his herd of buffalo down in Tennessee.  So sudden.  So unexpected.  This of course riled up all kinds of emotion.  What do I want to be doing if I died right this second?  OR if I had time how would I like to spend my last days on Earth??

Life is so short.  We don't know the plan.  Thank heavens for that.  Seriously if I had a visible expiration date I'd probably go sit in a corner frozen with the pressure to make every last second matter.  But what does matter?  I definitely wouldn't go buy anything.  I'd give away everything I owned to all the people I love.  I'd scoop them up and go to every place I've ever dreamed of.  I'd make a million and one memories.  I'd write out how I feel...what I believe.  I'd have those heart to hearts.  It would be intense.  It would be deep.  It would be pretty exhausting.  Maybe just maybe instead of going full throttle I could try living this way a little bit at a time, every day...just because it's obviously the right thing to do;)

Be a blessing.

 taking mom and dad to the cinebistro...  love their enthusiasm for the littlest of things;)
 tobymac concert with our besties
 sweat city! yoga in a very hot room is hard y'all
done and beautiful:)
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

double for your trouble

I shouldn't be sitting here.  I should be working:)  There are nearly 1,000 orders surrounding me...1,000 in ten days!  How is that even possible!!!!!  How could I even begin to start working without first giving praise!  It feels like we just ran a ten day marathon.  The amount of convoes is astounding.  The number of things to keep straight...seriously unbelievable.  The ability to do this job with every single item being's a miracle.  Like literal miracle!!  We can feel His hands helping us.   

I'm always hesitant to talk about the success of my little business.  I never want to make anyone else struggling feel bad or competitive.  Because I know that yearning to start something.  I know that frustrating feeling of being a needle in a huge creative Etsy haystack.   I've been there...wanting so desperately to have my gifts shine.  To be using my talents.  To be selling my work.  I've felt that struggle...for years.  So when I talk about the business I pray you don't see it as bragging or pride.  There's none of that.  This little niche He's given is just that...ALL HIS!  I'm fully aware that FAVOR is given and for some reason it's been given to me and my little FGP family. I'm humbled, wondering why...feel so undeserving.  

Just thank you Lord for showing up every single time!  Thank you for exceeding my little goals.  For showing me time again what YOU are capable of.

From the bottom of our hearts...thank you friends for supporting us AND our giving vision!!!  Thank you for the sweet words of encouragement that come in with your orders.  Thank you for sharing your hearts...your stories.  I feel your love.  I wish I could write back to each and every one of you.  Just know you are a tremendous blessing! It's an honor to serve you.

Now I have some orders to fill...   


more than double the sales from last year!
friends that go above and beyond
spreading His love and light as a J.O.B.
feeling a giant bear hug from my heavenly Daddy
my momma who cries when I tell her 
for all her prayer warriors that lift us up
my precious family who cheerleads and gives up my attention for a few weeks...
for my little team of helpers...could NOT do it without you

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our LAST open of 2014!!!!

**I'm going to share our November newsletter with you.  If you haven't signed up yet go to the "sign up" section at the top of the blog.  If you've read it THANK YOU!  

Hi Friends!!!!  It's our last opening of 2014. :)) We are officially open NOW until Fri., November 14th.  Thank you SO much for making this such a successful year.  We have been blessed to our toes creating meaningful jewelry for you.  I just know you are going to LOVE our holiday inventory.  

Please note we will NOT be opening again until early February.  If you have any special occasions between now and then...birthdays, anniversaries, etc...WORDS OF THE YEAR.  Maybe act now:)

We are going to be working around the clock to get these orders filled and hopefully ALL mailed out by THANKSGIVING to assure Christmas delivery:) If you want to speed up the process or if you're international and concerned about delivery times, a good idea would be to purchase the RUSH listing.  This pulls your order and puts it at the top of the pile.  

We are SO very excited to announce these special new additions to the shop:)  I've always wanted to do ornaments.  This year it finally happened!!!   We are offering the cross, heart and star...made from rusty tin metal and handstamped to say whatever your heart desires. 

What an easy gift idea for your:
  • Pastor
  • Sunday school teacher
  • Teacher
  • Babysitter
  • Mailman
  • Best friend
  • Bus driver
  • New baby
  • Newlyweds
  • Co-workers
  • Family scripture...creed
  • Gift topper
  • Secret Santa...ornament exchange
  • Teammates...Coach

Our last opening was our very first giving vision and we were TOTALLY BLESSED to be a blessing.  It's so much fun to give isn't it!!  This month because of the holidays coming up I really felt led to give to an Angel Tree organization benefiting children with a parent in prison. I have chosen to do this through Prison Fellowship.  A portion of EACH sale will go directly to buying Christmas gifts for those in need.  We are very excited to have a part in this.  Imagine Christmas morning in their homes!! Thank you in advance for partnering with us as we reach out.  If you want to donate directly click here.

Please watch the will leave you wanting to do more! 

One my favorite things we offer is a sentimental cuff option.  You mail us that special person's belt (or just a belt that you love) and we will make it something that you and your loved one's will cherish.  

These can be mailed in to the shop AT ANY TIME...even if the shop is closed:)  The cuffs are $40 and buckle keychains are $25.  Depending on the size of the belt we can usually get 3-4 cuffs.  **If this is needed by a certain date we will do our best.  For holiday delivery we would need your belt in our hands no later than NOVEMBER 19th!!  If you have additional questions please convo us through Etsy.

If interested mail to:
Becky Strahle
7305 Hancock Village Dr.
Chesterfield, VA 23832

Please include a detailed note with email address, mailing address, blank selection, word choice and any special sizing requests.  A TIGHT wrist measurement will be necessary if you need a size other than our standard. 

Becky loves the brown with denim ribbon because it's a perfect casual cuff for any special person in your life.  It would go with everything!  

The white one she already has.  It's her VERY favorite!!!

Tamara loves the turquoise for herself because she's a turquoise GIRL!  And the acorns SCREAM fall! 

The other one is sooo pretty and colorful and great for that creative spirit in your life:)

Adele is loving the brown because it has the pretty delicate little pops of color.  It's a safe bet anyone would love this cuff.  

She's been wanting a white cuff.  The little cutouts remind her of lace:)

Deanna like narrow cuffs.  She's loving the olive green color.

The brown cuff with string flowers would be so sweet for a cherished friend.

Be a blessing.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

our new GATHERING place...the tweaked kitchen

Good morning girlies.  I finally took some pics of our updated kitchen for you.  Let me just tell you this process has been a decision in the works for the last three plus years.  Do we paint the cabinets?  Do we put in a farmhouse sink?  Do we change the countertops etc??

I loved our big space.  The kitchen before was beautiful it just wasn't me.  It was a spec house and it didn't look anything like my dream kitchen.  So I've spent countless hours pinning every white, gray, yellow, turquoise kitchen in America and every tutorial on how to paint kitchen cabinets.  Seriously!  It was intense and torturous.  That's a big decision.  Once it's done, it's done and for someday resale it needed to look good.  Also I had this nagging worry about white cabinets.  Would they get dirty easy?  Would they chip?  Would I regret it?  Nevermind the month of Sundays it would take me to paint them ALL.  It's a BIG kitchen!  So this is what we ended up doing and I couldn't be more pleased.

 (clock from HomeGoods)

I told myself we would change a few things and if it looked good we'd just keep the cabinets.  They weren't me, but they we really pretty and maybe just maybe we wouldn't need to paint them.  Fingers crossed!!!!

So we started with four tweaks...the backsplash, undercounter lighting, new hardware and a stainless steel vented hood. I've ALWAYS loved white subway tile and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that's what I wanted. But would it look good with the granite??  The counters were too nice and totally unnecessary to change out, so we held our breath and made the leap to go for it.  I wanted the slightly larger tile because I wanted to go ALL the way to the ceiling and the standard size might look busy.  We went with a standard gray grout to tie in to the granite.  The number one goal was to brighten the space!  Mission accomplished!!

(from Lowe's)
 We changed out the hardware from a black knob to a stainless steel to tie in with the other finishes.  Voila a little sparkle and shine:)

We took out our cabinet over the stove and added a vented stainless steel hood, which made a little tear pop out when I saw it for the first time.  Instant modern update!  I couldn't be happier with that one improvement.  And guess what?  It actually is vented to the outside.  Our other vent just recirculated the same air.  I was shocked!  Anyway now we have a heavy duty fan that pulls air out:))

Speaking of a little tear popping out.  We added undercounter lighting.  By "we" I mean we HIRED someone to add it:)  God bless Patrick...our handy dandy electrician!  He is one of our favorite people here.  We've hired him for so many random jobs around the house I feel like he's family.  Anyhoo when I first came in and saw the lighting I was horrified and actually had a teeny tiny hissy fit! You could see the lights from under the cabinets:o  I had no idea there was a trim piece called a "light rail" that needed to be added.  We finally just got that final piece done this week.  That's why these pics have been so slow.  It made a DRASTIC change in the space.  Our once dark and dreary kitchen is now light, bright and sparkly!!!

I did a little chalkboard magic to make the white tile pop and voila!!!  I ADORE our new space.  And the cabinets, instead of bugging me they look warm and cozy.  They also look different than all the pins I found.  And I like being different.  The kitchen is unique to our little family.  It's a space where we can gather.  Where we can meet up first thing and last thing of each day.  It's where we can hopefully reach out and bring others in.  Where we can spread His light and love.  It's not about impressing anyone.  It's not about having everything perfect.  It's about being available, brave and friendly.  Pray with me we can make that leap into being the home that GATHERS!  I want that community here.  It's totally out of my comfort zone, but I know it's what God wants for our family.  Time to be obedient:)

Be a blessing.

sunny days
little friends over for dinner
squash lasagna
breaking in the patio, friends, smores and twinkly post to come
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