To Read on the Journey

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Very Crafty Slumber Party

To celebrate she wanted to combine two of her favorite things~ crafting and friends.

Years ago I had a mama friend who allowed her kids to plan and execute their own birthday parties.  I was a major control freak, who thought she was nuts!  

These days I'm just a minor control freak, and now I think that mama was a genius. Party planning is exhausting Y'all. If the kids want to do it, let'em! 

Everything~ the decorations, crafts, food and games for this crafty slumber party was Josie's doing... well, everything, but the balloons. I wanted them, she didn't. I told her parties neeeeed balloons. I'm old school like that. 

Aren't her custom-made, crafty, decorations darling!?! 

These turquoise fringed streamers were cut from plastic tablecloths.  

I think it's clever  how she paired them with book page bunting, then accented using these sweet book page roses (She and Em worked together to make the bunting and flowers)   
I was most impressed by how Josie thoughtfully planned every craft, and gave a lot of consideration to what would be enjoyable, easy, and economical.  

These strips of whimsical fabric and elastic were transformed into braided headbands. 

White Dollar Store mugs and Sharpie pens became personalized hot beverage cups.   

$1 Composition books became tailor-made journals by simply decoupaging them with clippings from magazines and a Dollar Store dictionary and bible. 

For the last project, Josie found pillow cases in packs of 2 for $5, which were remade using 80's Glam Sharpies and puffy-paint into a sweet spot for her pals to lay their pretty heads.
 Who knew three strips of fabric and a bit of elastic (which I stitched on over the course of the party) could look so darling.

These mugs are easy-peasy to make.
Simply draw your design on the mug, then bake the mug in an oven set at 325 for 20 minutes (hand wash only). 

Oh my goodness, aren't these girls clever!?!
All their mugs are so charming...I wonder if they'd notice if they went missing??

Since the girls were on a crafting roll, for dinner we kept their crafting juices flowing and had them construct their own nachos. 

Chloe, you need more olives.

After dinner the girls decoupaged their journals.

When Emilie was very little she referred to my journal as a "journey." *love*  
She is going to gather her favorite words and quotes to fill up the "journey" she created. 

"Journey" crafting was followed up by more food crafting- dessert! 

Ice Cream Sundays in chocolate bowls.

 In the history of teenage girls these are the BEST EVER! 

In my day (seriously, just dated myself by saying that) teen slumber parties consisted of comparing trendy clothes, gossiping, boy talk, watching hours and hours of Night Tracks (music videos before there was MTV), and freezing the training bra of the unlucky girl that dozed off first. We all wanted to be perceived as much older and cooler than we were.  Thankfully, these sweet girls don't care one iota about any of that!   They craft, giggle, play Mafia, giggle, sing karaoke and choreograph dances to accompany their songs on the spot, giggle some more, then play more mafia. They're not in a hurry to grow up. They simply enjoying being thirteen, together.  They make me wish I'd been born 30 years later so I could've been friends with them. I love them. I want the world to be filled with more teenage girls like them. 

I have long prayed for my children and for the friends that would enter their lives. I've hoped their friendships would be a blessing to them, and that they would likewise be a blessing to their friends. 

When I think of their friends
 the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson's words come to mind~
  "I didn't find my friends, the good God gave them to me."

I'm so grateful that our good God picked these lovely young ladies out for my sweet Josefine.   

After a bit of slumbering the girls kick started the day with some waffle crafting
(by the way, that's homemade caramel sauce~ made by the coolest daddy ever).

Which was followed by the last craft of the party, pillowcase embellishing. Did you notice that the case on the bottom left says "Hello Beauty-Full?" I love it, I love it, I love it!

After they completed their own cases they graffitied each others with encouraging words.

 Told you, they're "the best teenage girls EVER!"
Two things you should know before I wrap this up~
That mama who let her kids plan their own parties, well her daughter grew up and planned and executed every detail of her own backyard wedding. It was beauty full! 
I'm expecting the same from Josie 10+ years from now. :)  

Finally, you should also know that Josie's Very Crafty Slumber Party was a week ago and the decorations are still up... 
serving as a bit of proof that these days I'm only a minor control freak. ;)

 Live in Peace,

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Josefiney Tortellini

You're thirteen today.  Thirteen.  I'm officially the mother of three teenagers!  Want to know something?  I like having teenagers. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I like the whole growing up and potentially leaving me forever thing!  I don't like that one bit.  But teenagers- teenagers I like.

I especially like YOU!

I like how thoughtful you are. You consider others before yourself and are always jumping at the chance to serve and care for others, especially your family!

You have the gift of hospitality.  I watch you engage in conversation with people of all ages, and delight in how intentional you are to create an environment that causes others to feel included.

I admire how you don't over think things and are okay to just go with the flow; you don't sweat the small or big stuff.   When life throws you a bit of a curve ball you respond, "It's okay. I'm not dead. I'm still alive. And even if I were dead I know where I'm going." You don't know it, but I'm learning from you how healthy it is to respond to things that life throws at me that way too.
You're purposeful with your time. You're always crafting, baking, learning, organizing, reading, playing- you're always finding something enjoyable to do and enjoying everything you find.

I love that you're not too old or too cool to play with your American Girl dolls. It has made this mama grin from ear to ear seeing your room be transformed into an AG winter formal, clothing store, prom, Christmas party, and most recently a birthday bash.  I can already see that you are going to throw the best parties when you're older. Consider this an RSVP of YES that I'll be at every one of them!

Your friendship with Emilie is my most favorite relationship in the history of forever. I've never seen two sisters who cherish each other the way you two do.  You bless each other with your thoughts, words, and actions toward each other. You have no idea what a gift this is to me!

On the other hand, your relationship with Noah is the strangest in the history of forever. ;) Your love-language with each other is to be playfully affectionate and all-out goofy (wrestling and roughhousing). What did Emilie say last week? Oh yeah, "It was nice of God to give Noah a little brother in Josie."  It really was. 

"Josie's so nice."  I've lost count of how many times one of us has said that? You say nice things. You do nice things. You think nice things. You ARE nice. Especially to me. Thinking about how incredibly kind you are makes me remember that time a few months ago when I was getting ready to go somewhere and it was one of those days when I just felt eh!  You came in to where I was, and in a serious tone said, "You're insecure. Don't know what for. You're turning heads when you walk through the door. You don't need make-up to cover up, being the way that you are is enough. Everyone else in the room can see it. Everyone else but you." It took me a minute to figure out you were quoting One Direction. It took me less than a minute to know you meant every word and wanted me to see myself the way you see me too.

Jo, You are fuunnnny without even trying! The One Direction thing is proof.

I like when you sing. Your voice is beauty. You open your mouth and let the LORD out. You let Him out and He fills this house- He fills me. You cause me to remember how much I love to sing and worship too.

You're beauty inside and out is striking! You are extraordinarily BEAUTY-FULL in every way, Josie. I'm especially taken by how you look so much like Jesus. You inspire me to want to look like all I see of Him in you. 

I can't even tell you how much I like, no.. love, no... SUPER LOVE, how you study and treasure God's word.  It TICKLES MY SOUL when you start looking up the meaning of words or names or different versions to understand the text better.  God referred to David as "a man after His own heart," and you, Josefine are a girl after His own heart! And I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT, I LOOOOOVE IT!

Thank you for messaging each of us bible verses everyday (and not just us, but a handful of your friends too). My deepest desire for you, Noah and Em is that you love the word AND live the word. And Josefiney Tortellini, that this is important to you too, and that you're intentional to give us a bit of God's word to tuck in our hearts~ and I can't afford it, but it's mine!

I like that you are a foodie and enjoy cooking and baking. We'd all starve if you didn't feed us (when your dad, Noah and Emilie read this, they'll for sure shake their heads in agreement). Also, please make more of those egg-roll wrappers with apple-pie filling! They were delicious! 

Finally, I like that you promise profusely that you will never ever ever ever leave me, and that you reassure me numerous times throughout each day with hugs, kisses, and vows of "I'll always stay with you, Mommy."  You're dad and I are 100% on-board with letting you and your future family have the house, and think your idea of us converting the family room into our in-law suite is brilliant (your dad is already sketching up the plans).

Jos, this is your thirteenth birthday blessing, but I, I AM THE ONE WHO IS SO BLESSED- Blessed that God thought you up and generously added you to my life.  I adore every single thing about you! I even adore that you're a teenager.

Happy birthday!
I love you a "scubajuauian elephants,"

Monday, February 2, 2015

Groundhog Day, 2015

A few years ago I decided to wave the white flag on sending out Christmas letters and started sending out Groundhog Day letters instead

Speaking of Groundhog Day, word on the Punxsutawney Phil street is that we're going to be experiencing 6 more weeks of winter!  I know those of you back east aren't the least bit thrilled about Ol' Phil's shadow forecast, but to those of us here in Cali that's good news. ;) 
 Groundhog Day, 2015~ 
(photo & letter) 

Over the last year the phrase “and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine” has become a sort of anthem for me.  Like many I can become so consumed with “Keeping up with the Joneses” (yep, even the Joneses do it) that I lose sight of ALL I do have.  The words “and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine” have caused me to pause and delight in what IS MINE that I can’t afford. And let me tell you there's A LOT!  

Every morning Michael kisses me, tells me again, “I’m so glad that you’re my wife.” ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine.

Listening to Noah play his guitar. ~and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine. 

The way Emilie and Josie play, create, and enjoy each other. They're the sweetest sisters ever. ~and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine. 

It seems like my high schoolers are ALWAYS doing school work. I miss them. So one day Josie and I showed up at school and kidnapped them!  We stole them away from their responsibilities and took a snow day (besides snow is rare thing nowadays with this CA drought). Having them all to ourselves, to sled, make snowmen, snow angels, laugh, and just be. ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine.    

I was invited by someone I didn’t know to be the speaker at a women’s retreat. Before I accepted the gig I flat-out told God, “I can’t do this. But You can.”  Over the course of a few months God helped me prepare four messages for the weekend long event. And then HE SPOKE. THROUGH ME. what it means to be anchored in Christ. ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine.

Emilie, who is my biggest cheerleader, joined me at that retreat.  At one point I put her on the spot and asked her to share who Jesus is to her. Listening to Emilie TELL about her Savior, and how He loves her wider and longer and higher and deeper than she can grasp or imagine. ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine.

Waking up to discover Michael and Noah sitting beside each other on the couch, reading their bibles. ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine.

A couple weeks after the kids return from camp at YSSC we receive letters from their counselors, which give us a peak into the camp experience, while also expressing each counselors wholehearted delight in each of our children. Their words BLESS my kids (and me). ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine.

While camping at Sunset Beach Noah asked me to trek up a small hill to an overlook to view the sun setting over the ocean. He and I had been butting heads for a while, and he’d promised me a good hug if I went. I needed it. I also love how he towers over me when he holds me in his strong arms. ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine.

Emilie. This girl gives 110% to everything she does: school, friendship, God, creativity, and especially grace. She always views things through grace lenses. Particularly me. ~and I can't afford it, but it's mine.

When Josie prays. This girl speaks so intentionally to God. She also enjoys studying the bible, and regularly texts bible verses to each of us. She gently points us to the truth she treasures. ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine.

The five of us kayaking alongside seals, otters, and jellyfish (after our timid Josie stopped screaming). They were so incredibly close! ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine.    

Listening to Michael, Noah, and Emilie share about their backpacking adventure. Hearing about the vastness of beauty they experienced in creation AND in each other. ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine.

Our house full of teens for Friday Friend Nights: playing games, eating tons of food, watching a movie projected on an old white sheet. I love that my kids want their friends here. AND THEIR FRIENDS- these kids make me (almost) wish I could go back to high school just to hang out with them! ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine.

Michael had the thrilling opportunity to photograph a 24 hour, Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls experience in the Gila National Forest, NM. My guy works hard, does so much for our family. I'm grateful my good man had this “wild” adventure. ~ and I can’t afford it, but ti’s mine.  

Josie singing a solo to Pharrell Williams' song “Happy” alongside 200 plus choir members. Watching her exude confidence, while listening to her beauty-full voice fill a room. ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine.

Laundry, talking, dishes, laughing, taxiing, working, singing, praying, cooking, planting, schooling, playing, cleaning, crying, writing, reading, disagreeing, cuddling, dreaming, forgiving, running, creating, growing… just everyday together. ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine. 

Finally getting it through my thick skull what the good things of God are! I thought God’s good things were riches and honor and health.  But they’re not.  His good things are peace and joy and His presence in our lives and the promise we’ll be with Him one day. And recognizing that I HAVE ALL of God’s good things. ~ and I can’t afford it, but it’s mine!

Praying for you to know and live in ALL of God’s good things,