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Monday, March 31, 2014

the scissors broke the dam...

I'm home!  I have so much to tell you, but I'm going to need a few days to process and chew on this past weekend at Hope Spoken.  I will tell you that I was blessed to my tippy toes and that God's hands were all over that place.  It was right where I was supposed to be and that gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

On the drive back to the airport Tamara and I had a look that we shared in the car.  It was the cocky...Oh yeah, we did it!!  We rocked being independent women. We rented a car.  We navigated Dallas.  We found our way without a hiccup.  We thrifted in the unfamiliar. WE are savvy business women;) HA!  There was a high five thrown in and a "woot woot" I think and then we made our way inside to turn over the car, check in and get through security.

So we are standing on the other side of the carry on scanning machine and I see the TSA lady pull my bag off and my heart sinks.  All of a sudden it dawns on me that I accidentally packed my leather cutting scissors:/ For most that probably wouldn't be a big deal.  They do allow some scissors, but these bad boy's are 12" long and look pretty scary. No letting them go through:(

I had to make a decision to either turn them over or go back through security and check them on the other side.  I wasn't parting with them.  They were my deceased father in law's.  They were special.  They are an important part of my business.  Apparently these scissors meant more than I ever knew.  So I was escorted to another check in point, they hunted for a box and the agent tells me it's going to cost $150 to check it. My heart immediately sunk, and as I'm telling him my husband wouldn't go for that I start sobbing.  I'm not talking a little tear streaming down my face.  We are talking full on ugly cry.  The kind where you can't catch your breath.  I was making sounds!  It's official, I've done lost my mind.

The four male agents are standing there looking at me with disbelief and compassion and I'm trying not to make eye contact because I can't believe I'm in a grieving stage over a PAIR OF flipping SCISSORS! One of them makes his way over to another woman agent...he gestures.  I look at my feet in complete embarrassment.  She takes one look at the mess I am and okays whatever.  He comes over tapes up my box.  Gives me a pen to write my address and tells me it's all taken care of.  Sweetness.  Compassion. Kindness.  I'm moved again.  The sobbing continues.  I thank them, apologize over and over and I walk away completely overwhelmed by God's grace.

The tears didn't stop.  A dam was opened.  It wasn't just the pair of scissors that had me in a puddle. It's not just an emotion filled month or a beautiful weekend with sister like friends.  It's a life time of mercy. It's a love that goes so deep and grabs me in such an unexpected bear hug embrace.  He loves us so much friends.  He cares about the little things...the intimate details of our hearts.  He has a plan and sometimes it involves a detour for us to realize how important certain things are.  Sometimes it takes takes a period of panic, to fully appreciate the blessing.  But it's in place. The ball is rolling. It's happening right this second and the revelation of HIS hug is going to be worth it all!

Be a blessing.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

surprising myself...

I've developed a bad habit over the years.  I've unintentionally put myself in a box. I can hear my voice in my head saying, "I hate to cook.  I'm not good at tablescapes.  Entertaining isn't my thing.  I'm just not good at planning.  I am NOT a detail girl".  I think sometimes we label ourselves as a scapegoat, so we don't have to do the things we're uncomfortable with.  But guess what? During Tamara's festival week I did ALL those things and I did them pretty well thank you very much lol:)!!

I'm not talking down to myself anymore. I CAN cook.  I CAN decorate a pretty table.  I'm AN AMAZING hostess!  I can ROCK all the millions of details!!!  I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.  I can and I will be who He's called me to be according to His purpose.  It may not be easy. It may make me break out into a sweat, but I can do hard things!

I can't even begin to tell you what a joy it was serving during T's surprise week.  To have our house full of people.  It felt alive.  It felt right and good.  It wasn't the norm and that was a very good thing for us.  We get comfortable. We do things just the four of us 95% of the time.  But we need people.  We need to be available to share His love...His grace in and through us.  Honey and I have since then shared over and over again what a blessing it was FOR US!  How much we loved having a house full of "family".  That's what it felt like.  Makes me teary just reliving it.

I've always been intimidated by entertaining.  The inner fussy "Martha" came out a bit.  It's so much work. You have to meal plan, grocery shop, prepare, time it all out, clean it all up etc...  Excuses excuses...valid excuses, but lazy excuses nonetheless.  Then I read an amazing book and it kind of made me understand myself a bit more. I see God in nature.  I see Him in the sea, in the trees, in the birds flying through the air etc...  I never really understood those that found Him around the table...until now:)

What's becoming clearer and clearer to me is that the most sacred moment, the ones in which I feel God's presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table.  

The particular alchemy of celebration and food, of connecting people and serving what I've made with my own hands, comes together as more than the sum of their parts.  I love the sounds and smells and textures of life at the table, hands passing bowls and forks clinking against plates and bread being torn and the rhythm and energy of feeding and being fed.  Page 13 of  Bread & Wine

I had a couple of "Bread & Wine" moments that week.  If you haven't read that book you really should.  It's beautifully written about how gathering around the table can bring us together.  Shauna Niequist weaves stories of her life, shares yummy recipes and writes in such a relatable way that I want her to live next door. How cool would that be!  Anyway looking at these sweet people gathered around our table...celebrating another.  It truly was beautiful.

This makes me watch this video Big Chick here.

Our only focus was to love.  To lift up and embrace one another.  That's what gathering together should be about.  That's what WE should be about.  Full circle indeed!

**Tamara and I are leaving today for HOPE SPOKEN in Dallas, TX...and guess who the keynote speaker is going to be?  Author of Bread & Wine herself...Shauna Niequist.  So very excited to hear her speak and to hug so many of you:)  It's going to be goooood!  Follow along on IG if you want to see the whole thing unfold...@farmgirlpaints.

**Oh and on my last post I told you about John and Sherry Petersik crashing our house??  Well it's up already!!!  Read about it here.  They are lightning fast:))

Be a blessing. 

Back row...Susan, Debbie, Sherry, Mary
Middle row...Christy, Tamara, Kelly C, Kelly P and me;)

big beautiful smiles
one last house painting...
gifts being shared...mary's gorgeous chalkart.

mutual cuff love;)
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Young House OUR house!!!

Do you ever want to just plop yourself in a sunspot cause life is swirling around you so full speed?! The sun warming your skin is just the ticket to calming your inner "noise":)  Yeah me too.  I told you March was going to be crazy.  It has been.  Let me elaborate a little more.

A few weeks back I got an email from a local friend Maureen.  She was commenting on a blog post I wrote.  I think the one with the studio reveal.  She casually asked me if I knew Young House Love.  Uh yeah you can't live in Richmond, or blog really without knowing this sweet little DIY duo. They live here too. They have a BIG blog.  Really BIG! They just wrote a best selling home improvement book.  They have a new line out at Target.  My Tamara girl moved here because of them. (That's a whole other post.)  Yep I know them:)

She wanted to know if I cared if she wrote them and told them about my house.  Apparently they do a "House Crashing" series.  I said sure, not thinking anything would ever come from it.  Maybe ten minutes later I got an email from Sherry saying that they loved our house and would love to pop over and take some pics!!  Cue major heart racing and a little eeeeeeeeek shriek...and the ball was sent rolling.

So Friday was the day.  And as much as I wanted to be all cool and nonchalant about the whole thing, I wasn't.  The nerves came.  Full on!  Stinking body:/  Don't you hate how it just takes over!  I was NERVOUS nervous.  Like heart racing.  Ohmyword!  Nervous.

Our house is cute.  I know that.  But it's not the normal stuff you see on their blog.  It's wonky.  It's a little on the colorful, childish side.  I'm not a serious decorator.  I have a cow nightlight.  YES I do...thank you Joannie;)  And he was in the pics.  I didn't change a thing for them.  It's just our "live with what you love" style.  And they seemed to really like it.  Yay!!

As soon as I met them they put my nerves to rest.  John came in all smiles...he quickly set up his tripod, and Honey was his sidekick the rest of the day.  Their little girl Clara was there.  Sherry and I chatted in the playroom, talking blogging and pregnancy stories.  I picked her brain about New York City etc...  Then Tamara came and chatted for a bit.  It was sweet and easy, and I'm so glad I didn't get all crazy nervous or anything.  Cause that would have been just silly;)

It's not lost on me that things have been popping lately.  I'm acutely aware of God's favor in our lives and how blessed we are.  This was a really big honor.  Meeting them in person AT OUR HOUSE was major. Thank you Lord for this sweet gift from you!

They are expecting a little one soon, so I'm not sure when the pics will be published, but you know I'll keep you in the know.  Thanks John and Sherry for hanging with us and making us feel like one of the cool kids. And thank you Maureen for taking the time to write them.  What a sweet friend you are!!!  My "counting my joy" list just got a little bit longer:)

Be a blessing.

new friends
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

loving hard...the Festival of Tamara

Hi friends...I didn't mean to disappear, but I've had a few things up my sleeve;)  If you've been following along on IG you know all about this past week.  A few months ago I dreamed up a plan.  A BIG monster plan to surprise my friend Tamara for her 40th birthday.

The first day Tamara and I met I casually mentioned I was horrible with details.  I flat out told her I would struggle with remembering her name, birthday etc...  It was the truth.  She needed to know right upfront.  You know manage expectations from the very beginning;)  I really am quite embarrassed at times by my inability to remember simple things.  I've had friends for years that I wouldn't know their kids names if my life depended on it.  It just won't sink in.  But every now and then I'm surprised by the things that stick.

I remember thinking to myself this one...this GIRL is going to be important to me.  I could feel my brain kicking in trying to make an association I could remember.  I remember stating her birthday over and over in my mind.  I'm weird I know, but I just knew.  God knew.  She did become important.  She became my person here.  The one that knows me.  The one that I could ask for help and she'd do anything.  She became my right hand helper with my business and like a second mom to my girls.  Her and Bill became our stand in family and in the process filled a huge hole and made this place feel like home.  So needless to say I needed to shock her good and what better way then to become Miss Details;)

Emails were sent, with shaky, "what in the world am I doing hands":)  Texts were sent flying and an up in the air itinerary was formed.  For months she would tell me about these IG friends that held her heart.  She'd tell me about their text messages and emails and I knew without a doubt who should come.  Fortunately for me I knew and loved them too.  Win win!!

I'll spare you all the finite details...because there are a LOT.  I won't go on and on about all the times I almost spilled the beans or how she was in my biz all the time and it was virtually impossible to make this happen.  But I will tell you the surprise happened in stages.  And it was beautiful.  Seeing this girl in tears, completely overwhelmed and in awe was by far the best gift in the world to ME!

We kept the magic/embarrassment going by publicly singing loud and proud on at least three different occasions.  Everyone needed to know it was Tamara's "festival" week.  BTW my Big Chick did her portrait:)  Isn't she beautiful?!?

Mary Krause in MY studio...STAMPING!  Seriously surreal moment for me.  If you don't know her you should.  She's a beautiful, talented soul.  Check out her Etsy shop here.

We picked up like long lost IN REAL LIFE friends and found ourselves at Target...Instagramming in the aisles:) We thrifted the Fan, ate at Kuba Kuba, and Kelly P. and I experienced the most amazing cup of coffee EVER!  We hit the cemetery and the Capitol...oh and the Jefferson Hotel.  

And then phase two of the "Festival of Tamara" kicked in.  We had one more surprise up our sleeves.  Kelly Cach flew in the night before, and while the girls casually had breakfast at my kitchen island, she popped out of the pantry and surprised Tamara's socks off:)  It was perfect!  Oh my heart.  Not sure if it could take anymore.

If you're still reading along this is the part that you need to perk up for.  These girls became family to us over the week.  The seedling little love that we felt for them exploded into real true hardcore feelings.  I honestly feel like I've known them all my life.

The tears came over and over again because what we experienced was a complete gift from Him.  These friendships were meant to be.  This week would never have happened if I hadn't just decided to GO BIG and go for it.  If they would have said hmmmmm I don't know...I only know them online. I'm scared to fly.  That's a long way.  What if they are weird? What if I feel left out?  What if I leave disappointed? What if ________ etc...  This amazing blessing would never have happened.  If you feel lead to do something, meet someone, go somewhere, bless someone, try something new etc......DO IT!  Don't sit on it.  Don't let fear stand in your way.  Those promptings are the Holy Spirit.  That little nudge in your heart needs listened to.  You won't be sorry:)

*More pics to come...the Festival of Tamara continues.

Be a blessing.

forever bonds
loving hard 
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Monday, March 3, 2014

art studio tour and the MARCH opening

Good morning friends.  It's a balmy 65 degrees outside right now.  I'm writing this on Sunday afternoon.  Tomorrow morning when I post this we are supposed to be having snow and ice!  What's that about?!?  And uh doesn't the weather KNOW that the shop is open this week and I NEED my helpers!!!  Eeeeek.  Feeling a little panicky.  See what the Virginians have done to me?:)  Deep and out...

I thought you might like to see the rest of the basement remodel.  This used to be a nothing, unfinished space.  Now it's my happy place:)  I could live in this room.  The goal, aside from keeping my work a little isolated from the rest of the house, was to have an art room.  A "just for me" room.  Here it is!

I got the futon at Ikea.  The other day I actually pulled it out, read some and then took a nap!  Spoiled rotten!!!  I know.  That side table is an old cart with a tray on top.  I use the bottom to store my cozy blankets and pillows:)

The garden gate is a perfect way to display IG pics.  I need to get some more printed.  These are OLD!  I spray painted an old metal cabinet and easy instant display for all my goodies:)

This desk is my favorite thing because I had an idea...and it ACTUALLY happened!!!  Best feeling ever:)

I had a vision for a "floating" desk.  I wanted to be able to move my chair around without worrying about bumping into any legs.  It needed to be long and sectioned off for a work/computer space and an art area.

First we went to Lowe's and wasted a bunch of money on wood...which ended up being warped and unusable.  Then the idea came to me to use old doors.  EEEEEEK!  I've always wanted to incorporate them in the house somewhere.  Perfect opportunity.  So off we went stomping around an old muddy salvage yard and voila...just exactly what I envisioned.  Honey painstakingly figured out how to do it and now seriously I'm in love.  Not only with my door desk, but with this sweetie pie man my God gave me:))  Love how he helps me get from point A to point B with my hair brain ideas.

Found these awesome paint holders antiquing.  I feel so fancy:)

The screen door is another great way to display pics.  I actually have two of them.  I'll put the other up one of these days.  Add two magnets and you've got an easy peasy way to display art.

The wall is chalkboard paint.  I used white and colored chalk for everything except the "quiet" and "word"...I wanted them to pop a little more, so I filled them in with acrylic paint.  Campers, barns and windmills make me a little giddy...was meant to be in my happy space;)

OH and that barn light I got in Charlottesville at an antique store.  It was hanging over the checkout counter and I HAD to have it.  It is the perfect addition to the room.  It's on a dimmer so I can have mood lighting as well:)

I love this space.  It's truly a gift to have it and one I don't take for granted.  I'm hoping to have time to create with paint again.  I miss it so much.  I think Hawaii this summer will inspire me.  Don't you?;)  

Speaking of art I finally got cards and prints listed in the Etsy store as well as the Big Cartel shop.  The owl, barn and yellow house cards are all 5X7 and perfect for framing as well as gift giving.  The backs are blank for your own sweet little message.

Okay friends here are the March Promoters.  Check them out for your coupon codes!  Thank you so much ladies for helping me spread the word:)

And thank YOU for turning this hobby into my dream job.  Love you girls.

**The shop is open from 9:00 am Eastern time today until Friday at 5 pm Eastern time.  We will reopen again Mid-May:)

Crystal at Little Bit Funky
Jeanne at Jeanne Oliver
Sarah at Blonde Mama Love

Be a blessing.

 flowers on my windowsill
a beautiful space to create...with friends
MARCH and all it's madness to come;)
new friends...blind dates
hot yoga
 little chick being brave and doing hard things
big chick setting a goal and making the track team:)
this one beautiful life i've been given!
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