Finding beauty from ashes

Friday, February 19, 2016


  Change is inevitable. Really. I know that. But some years bring more change than others. Those years leave you scrambling for your footing and learning just who you are and what you're made of.

    In 2014 we sold our home in beautiful New England to moved across country to the South. Good ole Texas. Where dreams are about as big as the state itself ;-) We left behind a large family and community of friends. The only life my kids can remember being a part of. 

   The year previous our move, my extended family was dealt a heartache that no one should ever have to endure. In the short span of a year, we said goodbye to three of my uncles. The following year, my grandfather. My heart still hurts that I cannot walk up the steps to enjoy that cup of coffee. To enjoy the laughter and love that a large family brings. 
   My uncles were all like my second dad. My grandfather a quiet pillar of strength. Not only to me but my vast number of cousins. My growing up years were filled with long summer nights catching fireflies, exploring 100 year old barns and falling asleep to the sound of my uncle's guitar pickin. A childhood filled with music and love, not only for each other but a love for Jesus. A life I wanted to pass onto my children too. A life that we lived until tragedy struck. In 2013 we buried my three uncles. A short year later, my grandfather. He died partly from a broken heart.
    In the aftermath, nothing stayed the same. Our Saturday nights no longer involved family get togethers that lasted well into the night. Guitar pickin,food and laughter. We tried to pick up the pieces but instead what remained was a huge hole in our hearts.   Time went on and in November of 2014,we sold our house and moved. Another change.
Our NH home
New England Fall in our backyard

Our first home in Texas was this RV park. 

    For three months we camped on the river. First in a loaned motorhome, then just before Christmas we moved into this 400 square foot cabin. The whole while searching for the right home to buy..knowing nothing of the area. We continued to homeschool. Yes living quarters were a little tight with 5 children but we have mostly good memories there. 

   In February we bought a house in this little country neighborhood.

    The school district was very highly sought after so we made the decision to take a break from homeschooling and enroll all four of my big kids into public school. That.Was.Hard. I mourned the quiet life we used to live. 

    About the same time, we found 12 acres and put a chunk of our savings down to purchase our "someday property". Our first step toward our "someday" dream of raising our children on a small farm and carving a life out for us here in TX.

   Shortly after, I made the decision to pursue my lifelong dream of owning my own business. With only my 2 year old at home, I've experienced a freedom I never have since we started this mommy thing 12 years ago. A freedom I'm trying to learn to love.

     Yes change is inevitable. Life never stays the same but...

    I've learned more now than ever to treasure the fact that GOD stays the same. He cannot change and I can rest on the solid rock of a foundation set in HIM. Life's wind does blow. The storms rage high and things seem to not make any sense. I don't know the why of where I am at or what HIS plans are. But I hold onto what I do know. And that is GOD is faithful. He is so good. He only can bring beauty from the ashes of my life. 


Recorded by The Hemphills on Together
Copyright @ 1984 Heartwarming Records

Listen to the Tune
1. My boat of life sails on a troubled sea
Whenever there's a wind in my sail.
But I have a friend who watches over me
When the breeze turns into a gale.CHORUS:
I know the Master of the wind.
I know the Maker of the rain.
He can calm a storm, make the sun shine again.
I know the Master of the wind.
2. Sometimes I soar like an eagle through the sky
Above the peaks my soul can be found.
An unexpected storm may drive me from the heights
Brings me low, but never brings me down.
Tag: He can calm a storm, make the sun shine again
I know the Master of the wind.

Back to Lyrics Index

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

To Everything there is a Season

    To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1


   We are in this sweet season right now in our little family. A time where my biggest is not too big to enjoy sharing everything with mom. I still know best and they think I'm pretty cool. My children are still asking questions and baking cookies with me. I only have one in diapers but yet still get to enjoy the pitter patter of little feet. My heart is full. 
  Tonight I was so blessed by our bedtime prayer time. I always ask if there is anything they want to pray about. Which turns into bits of there day and glimpses into their hearts. I am so thankful some things have stayed the same amidst all our changes.
   I had written previously how I had requested for God to, once again bring order to my chaos. So I figured I'd share a little of what I am doing to achieve that.   
   Every school year I have always started with prayer, then appointed a goal(s) for what I want to instill in my children. I believe in doing things on purpose and parenting is one of them. 
   Our goal last school year were to learn responsibility. What I wanted to teach my children was to see a need and fill it. Especially without my prompting. I made up this list and went over it with the kids. Things are still far from perfect but I do not expect perfection. Just values instilled now that hopefully will become second nature later on. I love looking back and seeing God's faithfulness. 

Some of the ways I found responsibility more evident in our home over this last year were:
 My oldest, Trae has the chore of mowing the yard. Instead of having to nag him to get it done he now sees that it needs to be done and does it. He also started his own summer lawn mowing business, complete with a homemade sign in our yard. Tevan, my little chef, has surprised me more than once with lunch made for the whole family.(His chicken lettuce wraps are amazing) Kyran is my Mr. Fix it. Things run smoothly when he is around. He changes batteries in toys (without my prompting) and unplugs the vacuum. Bria, simple things, like vacuuming her room and organizing the bookshelves. Emari..well lets just say at the wonderful age of 2, she tests her siblings patience.  

 Now that we have found a new rhythm, I finally feel kinda, sorta sane. It's now that I can step back and see some good in all of this change and come up with a game plan for the year. I may not be doing lesson plans anymore but I sure can still implement some of the same homeschool strategy. 

    Our goals for this school year are simple. I want my kids to:    

    1. Learn to clean up after themselves.  I am pretty sure I might be dreaming here ;-) I realized with all their daily/weekly chore charts I have been pretty consistent about teaching them how but I've slacked with just normal "pick up after yourself". I find myself in a constant, "Hey pick that up!" "What happen to this bathroom?!" Instead of actually taking the time and effort to teach them how. So here we go. 
    2. Start every morning with prayer and devotions in His Word.   I want to instill in my kids the importance of being fed daily by God's Word. Also how important it is to be in constant prayer. My hope and prayer is that what starts as a routine "chore" will turn into a treasured start and end to their day.                                             

    So how do I go about making this a reality?
     We have two rules in our home. No complaining. If you complain about your chore.etc. you earn an extra one. And if you have nothing good to say don't say it at all. If they break that rule then they have to say five things they love about that sibling to their face. Talk about humbling. It works pretty well. 

    What I have started for number 1 is just being more consistent with reminding them to pick up their things before. Like before we walk into the house I remind them to put away their coats, shoes, and backpack. I try to refrain from telling them again. Once is enough. If they forget then they earn another chore (we are in endless supply of those)added to just picking up the shoes. I've learned from previously teaching them how to do chores that if I am consistent, then it will become second nature to them..eventually.

    Number 2 we have already started since my kids were able to walk. We've consistently had prayer time before bed and I love speaking the Word into every part of our day. That way we can be rooted and grounded in the truth. Years ago when Trae was in first grade, I asked my boys what they thought would be a good New Years my surprise they said to read the Bible every night. So I started to. It was a chore at times because bedtime is so chaotic anyway but we achieved our goal of one year. From then on I just made it part of our homeschooling. Now we have our morning devotions and daily memory verse. I am simply going to try to remain consistent with this. Also I feel like with sending my kids to school I have a lot of teachable moments with real life stuff. We've been praying for a couple of Trae's friends that are now rivals to become best friends. I know God can work miracles. Trae has seen it also. Our prayer has been for him to be a "peacemaker". Hey you never know. Our God is big. 

    Monday, November 9, 2015


        Wimberley Market Days is the oldest outdoor market in Texas and also the second largest in the state. When we first moved to Texas, this was one of my first stops for a mommy's day out. It is seriously a lot of fun. They have almost 500 vendors, live local music and the famous Texas BBQ. For this reason, when I was looking for a market to feature Amara EB I was pretty excited to rent a booth. 

       Since I do not own a booth (yet)) I decided to do the day rental. The way they work is kind of like a lottery. You register online the Thursday before and receive a number. Then show up at 7:00 am to get in line for first dibs on the available booths. I got lucky that it was the first time in two years it was cold and number 26 turned into 6. 

    I seriously have to laugh at life's timing because the week of the market landed me with sick kids (again). It was like a blur of late nights working on smalls and just as my head hit the pillow..another kiddo was up with a fever. Thank God for advil. To throw more chaos into the mix I had planned on getting my hair done and having friends over for lunch. Which of course I couldn't cancel ;-) 
    By Friday my littles were well and my big boys were not. Saturday morning came early at 5 am and we were out of the house by 6:15. Breakfast wraps made and lunch/snacks packed, furniture stacked in my hubby's truck. My car filled with smalls and kiddos. Boy were we a site!

        I found my booth and we unloaded everything in the rain. Stacked the kids in a snuggly pile of blankets and got things set up. This.Is.My.Favorite.Part. ;-) Seriously I love the challenge of making a space homey. When all was said and done, Bria decided that she wished that our booth was our house. HAHA!! I remember thinking like that when I was a little girl. Probably felt like an overgrown playhouse. 

          I have to give a little shout out to my hubby. He is the best. Not only did he help haul all my stuff and corral our kiddos but Saturday was opening day for rifle hunting. You know your man loves you when he is willing to give up opening day! At least this man. 

      Was Wimberley a success? I have to say Yes! No I didn't get a crazy amount of sales but I am not backwards either. I got a lot of great feedback on my stuff. Learned a little. I was encouraged by other vendors to come back next month and I will plan on it. Also a woman stopped by and took down my information. She has a shop in town and is possibly interested in my stuff. We will see where this takes me. 

    Tuesday, October 20, 2015

    All you need is a little inspiraton

            OK so I have a confession to make, I have been spending way too much time watching Fixer Upper these days. Clothes to fold? Fixer Upper makes them almost fold themselves. Hubby hunting again, have a Fixer Upper marathon with the kids. Bedtime? What bedtime? 

       My big kids had a long weekend a couple weeks ago which we kicked off with a bang. Not a good "bang" mind you, more like the hit your head into a brick wall kind. It started with the latest episode of "run for the bucket" & washing a lot of sheets...walls, doorknobs. We officially kicked off flu season. I will not take sole responsibility for what happened next. I blame lack of sleep and those stinkin Fixer Upper re-runs. Well that and and overload of Pumpkin Spice coffee. 

        I have been wanting to do a pallet wall in my boys room forever. I'm not sure what the previous owners were smoking when they painted just the bottom of the walls, put up a chair rail and left the top just primed?? OK then. If that wasn't bad enough, the trim has been spackled to high haven and then painted over top. The DIY-er in me cried every time I walked into their room.

       Things have been a little tight lately so I pulled out my super frugal "I can do it" cape. The wheels in my head had been turning for a while and soon I was convinced I could be the "Little Mommy that Could". After all if Chip and Joanna can do it, why not me? *I should insert here that this is where all sanity left* 
    boy wish i had those muscles

            When we purchased this house, the previous owners had a fenced area outside the laundry door. We had no use for it so my hubby tore it down. The fence boards have sat rather neglected since. 

             I got to work sanding the boards down with my handy dandy sander.

            I am such a sucker for salvaged wood. Actually I'm a sucker for a lot of things old. But really the processed timber has nothing on these guys. Look at all that character. I would incorporate it into my whole house if I could..hmmmm. I just might.


        Unbeknownst to me, my son took this picture of me while I used my skil saw for the first time. Can you tell my 8 year old has so much faith in mom. A picture is worth a thousand words! Really do not try this at home folks. A much safer alternative would be maybe a saw horse. But I wasn't about to let that stop me. 


        Since these were previously fencing, the boards have this cool "arrow" like shape to them. Instead of cutting off the ends to make them straight I incorporated the detail into a pattern. I painted the wall behind the end of each board the same color as the rest of the walls. My super cool neighbor friend lent me her nail gun and compressor so I got right to it.

         I was pretty proud that I actually figured out how to do cuts around my outlets. I can conquer the world!

       It was then that my bubble popped and I realized that I am a mother to children, five in fact. Actually they were right there along side me the whole while. Kyran, Tevan and Trae alternated between sanding boards, hauling them to the crazed lady in the bedroom, and keeping a careful eye on their little sisters. See homeschooling does teach a lot, if at least how to work great together. 

            These great kids even brought out some berry infused water for me. Compliments of my lil chef in the making, Tevan. Really he bakes & cooks just as well as his mom.(sometimes better) I probably looked like I needed more than a few berries added.


          I ended up going to town and pulling off the baseboards and trim too. I replaced them with the salvaged wood and I love it! I still need to trim out the doorway and build a closet door. Thats for another day.

        I can't wait to get the duvets I've been eyeing and some accent pillows. Now I'm really tempted to paint the boys beds a charcoal color. What do you think?

    Thursday, October 15, 2015

    A market we will go..Or not.

        Market Days came and went this month. Amara Eternally Beautiful was not present as a vendor. Unfortunately I didn't receive my Sales & Tax permit in time. So instead I visited the flea market as a guest scavenging for any tips I could scrounge up. What was supposed to be my first sale weekend turned into a much more relaxing Saturday with my girls and a couple friends. I had my pumpkin chai latte so I was in my happy place.

         I'll leave ya'll with a few items from my stash so far.

    I have always had a weakness for tarnished silver. So really I am in love with this turine. Its funny how you start picturing how cute things would look in your own home after they're priced and ready to go. Especially with the holidays coming up. 

    Monday, October 12, 2015

    Crazy Lady with a dolly & Mary Anne again

        Craziness abounds in my household these days. I chuckle because I may have officially convinced my neigbors of my insanity. Oh the joys of living in a little neighborhood! I have been trying to spruce up my photography skills a little and in doing so may or may not have lost my mind. 
       We have this sweet retired couple that live on the lake across from our home. The older gentleman likes to ride around the neighborhood on his golf cart. He hauls his garbage, gives (who I assume are)his grands rides, and spends his afternoons fishing. My kids have dubbed him "The man in the golf cart". Creative, huh. He also probably witnesses the most bizarre happenings going on at his new to the neighborhood, crazy family of seven. (We get LOTS of comments on the 7 part)
        In my futile attempts to photograph *ahem* MaryAnne, I happen to deliver some morning entertainment in the form of crazy lady with a dolly. With our recent (as in 8 months) move to this area my husband purchased a moving dolly. So when racking my brain for ideas on how to photograph this sweet lady *meaning Mary Anne of course* I thought, Aha! I'll haul her outside on my moving dolly!
        Getting her off my front porch was an interesting feat. Did I mention that their is a rather large drop off the step into the about a foot. If you can imagine a crazy lady with bed head followed by my princess of the bunny slippers, running helter skelter around the yard carting a dresser. Yeah the "man in the golf cart" slowed down quite a bit when he saw me "staging" my dresser by an oak tree, then wheeling her through the ditch to rest in the only spot that worked. It just so happened to be in the middle of the road.

        When I finally got her settled just right, I harriedly snapped a few million pictures in high hopes.  I guess great photography isn't based on high hopes. 

    So without further ado, I present MaryAnne; a sweet blend of lightly distressed creamy white, rustic wood and beautiful hand painted knobs. 

        Reminds me of sweet summer and wildflowers. Maybe an afternoon picnic complete with a soft blanket, tart lemonade and childhood laughter. mmmmm...Life is good.

    Saturday, September 26, 2015

    Mary Anne and tidbits

       Meet Mary Anne. A beauty in training.

     I am trying to apply finishing touches today. I say trying because...
         I have a Princess party to attend with my girls this afternoon. We are to wear "princess" attire. I get to play dress up. 
     My husband and I are hosting our church Bible study this evening, so snacks need to be prepared, house cleaned.
     A shower is in order and some strong coffee on the menu. 

     Life is full. Overflowing. The Twenty-Third Psalm keeps running through my head.

    The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.
    He leadeth me beside the still waters.
    He restoreth my soul. 
    He leads me in the paths of the righteousness 
    for His name sake,
    Yea tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. 
    I will fear no evil,
    For You are with me;
    Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.
    You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies
    You anoint my head with oil.
     My cup runneth over.

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    All the days of my life,
    And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever!

    Last night I was reading in Isaiah. He talks about the coming of Christ and the picture of how HE loves us is so precious. 

    For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; 
    You shall weep no more.
    He will be very gracious unto you at the sound of your hearts cry;
    When He hears it, He will answer you.
    And tho the Lord gives you the bread of adversity
    and the water of affliction...
    Your ear shall hear a word behind you, saying, 
    "This is My way, Walk in it."
    Whenever you turn to the right hand 
    Or whenever you turn to the left.

         This is that still small voice that is so very precious to me. The voice of the good shepherd. So Happy Saturday! Rest in Him for His yoke is easy and His burden light.