Here's to 30 Years!

Dear 20 year old me,

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It's me, your 30 year old self. Well, let me start by saying, you will make it past 21, even though you thought you wouldn't. I would like to warn you, Things are about to get tough. Car accident, brain damage, depression, divorce, struggles that your average 20 something shouldn't have to go through, but you will. Just trust your gut and don't let the people around you tell you what to do. God has given you a great ability to discern His voice in guiding you, and even though in the beginning you will ignore His voice and do what is easier, trust Him, He won't steer you wrong.

You are going to have some dark days, days where you feel incredibly alone, abandoned and forgotten. But God sees you, He is with you & is working big things for your life! I know right now you think things are good, but that little voice you hear, telling you that there are better things ahead is right. But you're not going to listen, you're going to go against your gut and you will fall flat on your face. Divorce is really hard, disappointing your family is really hard, but you will get through this.

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God has created a man specifically for you. He will love you, support you in your wild dreams, raise children with you, mourn with you, and encourage you all along the way. He will love you unconditionally and do everything he can to make you happy. Just be patient.

Also, don't sweat the small things. Don't obsess about the opinions or approval of outsiders. They don't matter. Their opinion means nothing, trust your gut and seek the approval of the Lord. The things of this world are trivial and fleeting, but the Kingdom of God is forever! 

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Also, don't stress about having kids. I know later on, you will cry at night thinking that you will never have children after months of trying to conceive, but I promise you, babies will come. And they will take your breath away with how beautiful and perfect they are. Motherhood is even better than you will ever imagine. It's hard as heck, but you will figure it all out. God will definitely step in and help you navigate the rough seas, you'll second guess yourself, cry and be convinced that you are failing miserably, but I promise, you'll be amazing! Don't give up. 

 

Most importantly, relax. Don't take yourself too seriously. Laundry will get folded, plans will fall through or change, you will be disappointed, you will struggle, but you will also experience so much joy. Your faith will increase ten fold, and God will slowly reveal His plans for your life day by day and all will be good. You will experience a new level of trust and faith that you never knew was imaginable! God is so Good and will bring so many wonderful people into your life, and just as easily, He will fade out people that are no longer necessary for your journey. Don't be fearful of change, embrace it with open arms. It's scary and frustrating but oh so necessary!

Now, Just put down the phone, go out and LIVE! 

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Posted on August 3, 2017 .

An Answered Prayer

My last blog post was my plea with the Lord, asking Him to MOVE. Having Him help me to understand His timing, and to be patient in the journey. After what feels like a lifetime of trying, but really only 19 months, we have received an answer to our prayers. For the past month, we've known about this little miracle growing and taking shape, and we've been BURSTING at the seams with joy and excitement to let the world know!!

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As I type this, I am currently 9.5 weeks, with baby due in July 2017. We've had our first ultrasound and heard our sweet little ones heart beating. I know we are not technically in the "safe zone" and others may find it odd that we are sharing so soon, but after much thought and prayer, we've decided that we will honor this little life early on. We know that many of you have followed our story and our struggle and have been praying for us through this difficult time, so we would just ask that you continue to pray for us and this precious babey. Pray that the Lord is knitting him or her together perfectly in His image and that through our story, others will be able to see the goodness of our Savior and how He provides for us in His time. 

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As Catholic's we believe that life starts at conception, and even if the Lord decides He needs to take this child from us too early, we still want to recognize his or her existence, and Give God the Glory! He is a Lord of Rescue and Redemption, He makes all things NEW in His Time. 

We want to sincerely thank all of you who have sent emails or messages of love and encouragement, words of advice, or prayers. Your love and support has meant so much to us and we are so excited about this next chapter! Thank you!  

Posted on December 6, 2016 .

Be Strong & Courageous

It's been a full year since I wrote THIS post about our struggle with losing our sweet little baby last year, and how I felt for some reason that October 14th was meant to be the day that he was supposed to be born. I'm good at making myself busy and pretending that the hurt isn't there, but the Lord has ways of getting you to remember. I don't think He means for it to be a bad memory, but just a memory nonetheless. A memory of His grace & goodness, a memory that even in the darkest of shadows, He will be there. It's a point to look back on and see His fingerprints on the plans, His loving hands carrying us through. 

This morning a dear friend of mine felt called to read a passage in our group chat from the book of Joshua about being Strong and Courageous. And then I heard it.

“Have I not commanded you? Be Strong & Courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
— Joshua 1:9

 "Have I NOT COMMANDED YOU?" Oh Lord. I hear you. Yes, you have commanded me, you have made promises, you're instructing me to REST, be Still, and to trust in your Name. I hear you. But as we hit the 19th month mark of trying for more children, and I start to question the promises. Oh Lord, you feel silent to me, and I need to feel you moving, because Lord, I am moving. I am going to all the doctors and trying to figure this out on my own and I'm starting to feel stupid. I'm questioning your goodness, I'm asking where you are, and I'm getting angry that I CAN'T FIX THIS on my own. I feel like You've forgotten these promises, and I get frustrated that you are giving the thing my heart desires to what feels like every one else. You're giving this blessing to people who don't even realize how much of a gift it is, and would rather dispose of your Gift. Lord, I would cherish that child as long as I have breath in my lungs, and they throw it away like yesterday's trash. Please, help me to understand your ways, because I just really need Your grace. 

And then, you show up. On a day, when I NEEDED you to show up, you SHOW UP. On a day, where last year I wrote about how my heart will never be whole again, and You tell me to be Strong and Courageous. You ask me to keep going, be BRAVE, be STRONG, NEVER LOSE HOPE. 

You open my eyes to behold the beautiful little boy you have already given me. You've instructed me to slow down, to rest, you've helped me to see that on days that I'm taking walks to the park, picking out colored leaves, listening to good music and singing in the car with this beautiful miniature blessing, that THOSE DAYS, they fill me up way more than any project I could be working on, or any wedding I could photograph. While I'm over here glorifying this notion of busy and successful, you're changing my heart for something bigger. Because being a mama, is all about strength and courage, and waiting on future babies, man, that is ALL ABOUT STRENGTH & COURAGE. 

So Lord, I hear you. And I'm sorry for doubting you.

My beautiful friend didn't even know or understand the gravity of those words she spoke to us this morning. She simply knew we needed to hear them and that was enough. Which is so beautiful to me, because the Lord speaks through people ALL. THE. TIME! But sometimes we are just not in the right state of mind to receive His words.

When I played that message this morning, I was hurrying to get ready, and I thought, yes, I need to be Strong and Courageous. Thank you, what a great message to head into this work day. And then hours later, as I laid down next to my little boy in hopes of getting him to fall asleep for his nap, I heard those words again. Jonathan slowly drifted off to sleep, as hot tears streamed down my cheeks. I realized those words meant something entirely different to me today, because I actually feel weak & broken. I feel sad and defeated. With each passing month, I feel this crushing blow to my heart, because last year when I wrote that post, I thought, God is going to redeem Himself. He is going to show up so big, and hopefully next year, I can talk about how we have another baby, and see, Look at How Good and Big and GLORIOUS our God is. And just yesterday, I sat there wondered Where IS GOD? Where is this child He promised us? 12 whole months and we are not any closer to expanding our family. As I read post after post of all these other people talking about baby #2 for their family, and I'm still here with nothing to show for it. 

But friends, I'm here to tell you, HE IS HERE. In all this mess, HE IS HERE. Just be STRONG & Courageous, keep pushing through and slowly His plans will be revealed. Day by Day, his plans will become clearer, and If NOT, HE IS STILL GOOD. Because ultimately, He knows better of the needs of our hearts, better THAN WE DO! Just listen to His Voice and hear His Commands! And Please know that if you need prayers, do not be afraid to ask for them!

Posted on October 14, 2016 and filed under Personal.

Time Flies- JORD Wood Watches

Before I was married, I used to be all about the accessories. Hats, necklaces, crazy colored earrings. Each outfit I owned had perfectly coordinated jewelry to go with it. Then when I became self-employed and started working from home, the effort that I used to put into my wardrobe seemed to slip away, and ease and comfort were high on my list of clothing priorities. 

Effortlessly simple was my newly married style.

Now, as a mom, effortless and mindless seem to rule my world. Long dangling necklaces and earrings became a thing of the past, and have been replaced with bracelets I wear everyday and this amazing watch from JORD Wood Watches, so I can somehow manage to stay on task & be on time. 

I've been drooling over these watches for quite some time now, and knew it would be a perfect addition to my daily arm party! I'm obsessed with the Cora Series! When I saw the mixture of Turquoise and Zebrawood, I knew this was going to go perfectly with my style, and it makes me love it even more that the brand is called JORD!! If you've never gone to their site to look at all their gorgeous time pieces, you NEED to!! If I could, I would buy every single style, for me and for Ryan!! 

Collaboration with Amy Tangerine + Pro World

I had the absolute HONOR of getting asked by Amy Tangerine to work on a fun little project with her and Pro World. I have been a follower of Amy Tangerine's work for quite a while, and I'm pretty sure she was one of the first artists I started following on Instagram back in 2011. Her bright colors and beautiful photos immediately sucked me in, and she inspired me daily! 

When Amy contacted me out of the blue, to work on a project with her, I'm not going to lie, I completely geeked out and had a fan-girl moment! She asked if I would submit a design to be printed on tee-shirts in order to promote the launch of Pro World's new custom website! They've made it incredibly easy to upload your own custom designs!! She asked for something, fun and inspirational, and so I began searching for words of encouragement! 

I had this quote penciled at the top of a page in my sketch book to work on later, and when I came across it I knew it was exactly what I should do. "Every Artist was once an Amateur" This speaks to me so much because I'm one of those people who hates not being good at something right off the bat, and when it takes work and practice, I'm usually the one to throw in the towel and give up. But for some reason, handlettering was not something I was quick to give up on.

It started out, like many of my endeavors do, as a hobby, I had it on my bucket list to get better handwriting and it seemed like a good enough time as any to start! It's now become my form of meditation, as I take a quote from idea, to sketch, to ink and then finally as I photograph the final image, it feels like a rhythmic melody I get to play every day. Most of my work lives only on Instagram, meant to encourage others on the daily and be a source of inspiration, but every now and then I get a wonderful opportunity to share my art with the world. I'm so grateful to Amy & Pro World, for giving me this opportunity to see my designs on something other than paper! Getting the chance to actually wear your designs is a pretty incredible feeling, made even more incredible when people actually recognize your style as your own!

All my designs usually start out as a pencil drawing, and I sketch out a few different ideas before I pick the final to ink. I just use cheap lined notebooks from TJ Maxx or Marshalls to keep my spacing. Then when I'm ready to finalize, I use a slightly translucent layout paper and finalize the design using my favorite TomBow Fudenosuke brush pens! Not all my designs are done this way, sometimes I simply freehand with the markers, but when I know I want something to be perfect I start with pencil. 

Thank you again Amy Tangerine + Pro World, for having me be a part of this amazing launch!! If you haven't checked out Amy Tangerine, or Pro World, YOU DEFINITELY SHOULD! They're amazing and Amy is such a sweetheart!! Here are some fun photos of Jonathan & his friends Travis + Theo and their mama, Autumn, wearing the shirts! <3 

Less Hustle, More Grace

Do you ever just get a quote or saying stuck in your head and wonder, why is this repeated to me over and over? My belief is that is God's way of trying to get you to hear His voice. The word "grace" has been one that has been on replay in mind the last few months, whether I'm giving myself grace, or giving others grace, it's been a constant theme. To be completely honest, it was never really a word that I thought much of, and also always said I would never consider it for a child's name. (Just another time where God tells me to stop saying "never" because now I really love it and what it has come to mean to me this past year)

So when I felt this pull to design a small set of tumblers for my shop, I knew I wanted it to say something that was a personal message to myself every day. Because I've come to realize that if it's something I need to hear, it's something I know other people are needing to hear as well. So then "less hustle, more grace" was born. I know I didn't come up with it, but I've been seeing it as a constant theme around the interwebs, and thought it was perfect!

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It's so easy for me to compare my bad days to that of other's highlight reels on Instagram, but yet I still do it. I think, man, if I could only hustle as hard as that person, or have as much time to work on stuff as another person. I compare my workdays to that of single girls or newly married ladies without children, people who have daily struggles all their own. But my struggles of taking care of a two year old and a house and husband, might not actually be their struggle, so it's really like comparing apples to oranges. //DOES NOT COMPUTE// And someone, somewhere might be wishing they had my struggles! (And even calling them struggles, bothers me, because struggling to find time to work, isn't really a struggle. It's basically finding time to do something that is merely a distraction from my most important work as a wife and mother) But you get where I'm going with this right? 

Let me be clear, hustling is not a bad thing. You need to hustle. But we all need a little more grace in our lives, because without it we are nothing.  

Posted on April 14, 2016 .

What I Really Need

Oh, you know what I really need? Warmth. Sunlight. Family time. Possibly even a strong tequila-beverage. I just feel so beat down. This winter seemed so long and harsh even though it was actually a very mild winter here in Michigan. 

I need flowers. I need house projects. I need walks outside with my son. And mostly I just need grace. I make myself feel like I need to be everything to everyone. I have to be at my best all the time. I need to Be healthy and active with adorable clothes and a perfect life with all the answers. But when I'm 100% honest, I'd tell you I'm drowning. 

My day is primarily comprised of motherhood, with days of cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry and meal planning thrown in for good measure. A few sprinkles of husband time & Add in a few dashes of emails, handlettering, miscellaneous projects and social media, and you have my life. There is not time for extras. No social gatherings. No book club. Not many friends outside of my immediate family members. I may SEEM social, but I promise you, I'm not. 

I don't say this to seek sympathy or get an invite to your next party, I say this so that maybe others who are feeling the same way don't feel lonely. I work so hard to simply stay afloat on the daily. Today as I texted my husband who is off to work, "I really miss you" tears streamed down my face because I really really do miss him. And I see him daily. He's not off in the military or on a work trip. He's here. With me. Everyday. But I miss him so much that it hurts. We're busy. And I HATE THAT WORD. Busy. I cringe every time I read it in peoples messages to me, because I sometimes I wish I wasn't. 

A few years ago I listened to an online webinar about being present & choosing what matters. It was about taking 5-10 minutes out of your day to simply lay in the grass, or go and share an ice cream cone with your child. At the time I didn't have kids, I was living in an apartment a few hours away from family and spent a lot of my days alone working like crazy from my home office. I felt overwhelmed. You know what is sad? I never corrected anything. I didn't set any new habits in place to be better, to be more intentional with my time, or to make time for what is truly important and what matters.

Soon after that webinar, we decided to move back home, live with my in-laws while we looked for a home to buy. Life became infinitely harder. A few months later we moved into our new house, and were thrust head first into a busy wedding season, followed by a few home projects, followed by finding out I was pregnant, prepping for a child, followed by having a baby, Ryan going back to school for his Masters, then life as new parents, etc. Ups and downs all along the way, but to say I've stopped to lay in the grass, I can honestly say that has only happened once since then. The only reason I know that is because I actually have a photo to prove it. 

Look at how little Jonathan was! It makes me so sad to think that there are never moment of silence for me. Never time for me to be still, to shut out the outside world, to shut out the thoughts in my head about wanting and needing to capture the moment, to answer that e-mail or to be social on social media. There is no off switch. And I'm tired. I'm so angry with myself for having it take me this long to realize that something has to change. 

I'm hoping that by admitting this to the public, that maybe I can be held accountable. When was the last time that you laid in the grass or took time away from the demands of social media and the demands of your job to just BE. I need to do this more, and if I do, I'm sure there are others. 

Posted on March 17, 2016 .

Hey Mama- Keep Going!

Ever have those days where nothing seems to go right? A day where you type out a whole blog post, press post and then realize it's ALL.GONE. Lost forever. Or those days during motherhood where you feel like you are just not winning at anything? Then a few days later you have an amazing day, and you think back and wish you could tell your self that it's alright and you're doing a great job. Even as I write this, my son is physically attempting to break out of his crib in order to avoid his daily nap. 

I've been seeing this question a lot lately on social media, "If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?" I think, wow, I have SO MUCH to tell you younger Jordanne. First and foremost, continue to be you, High school popularity means nothing, read your bible more,  or don't marry the first guy to show the slightest interest in you, marry the one who loves you so deeply that he is willing to wait and fight for you. I could seriously go on for pages on all that I could tell you.

But what if you could fast forward five short years, see all the ways that God has provided for you, see all the things you've enjoyed and all that you've missed, and then go back and tell your current self what matters most. (without disclosing details of the future of course). Would you tell yourself to hustle harder? Avoid family time so you can get that promotion? Be bigger? Work Harder? 

I know what it would be for me: Slow down. Enjoy the quiet moments. Date your husband. Kiss & snuggle that little boy for an extra five minutes each day, because he won't always be this little. Work less. Say no. Take the back roads. Worry less about the big plan. Read your bible more. Accept your husbands negatives just as much as you accept his positives. Take walks. Sit in silence more often. Social media really doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of life. Bake more. Love on others. Take better care of yourself, not because you hate the way you look, but because your family loves you and needs you around for a long time. And finally, remember that God's plan is ALWAYS greater. 

That last one is so very hard for me. With my mouth and my brain, I can repeat this to myself daily, but my heart doesn't always accept its honest truth. Some days I believe this. God's plan is better than mine. Then other days, days that are consumed with dark moments. Hard, unbearable moments, where your face is tear stained and everything you hoped, prayed and dreamed and planned for crumbles right before your eyes. You feel lost, forgotten, unloved. You throw up your hands in surrender because you just can't see the light, while surrounded by so much darkness. You wonder, Where are you God? Why is this happening to me? How could this plan be what you want for me?

This time last year, my husband and I were SO excited about our upcoming doctors appointment. We were going to get to see the newest member of our family on an ultrasound. We were already planning out room arrangements, names, dreaming about the future as a family of 4. It felt like all was right with the world. Then boom. Its gone. It's Physically removed from you. Completely stolen from your heart and your plan for Christmas morning is gone. You are rocked right to your core and you don't know how to pick up those pieces. 

It is in these moments, for some reason, when I hear God's voice. He calls to me in the lyrics of a song, or a phone call from a friend. He jumps off the page at me as I search for answers, understanding, some type of explanation as to why. I know my heart will never be fixed, there is not bandaid big enough to fix the hurt you will forever carry from this loss, but I know that God's plan is good. God's plan is BIGGER than me. So we carry on. 

It's now been almost a full year of trying for another baby. We've talked to doctors, done tests, and as of right now, all we keep hearing is "wait". "Wait a few more months of trying" For a girl that had a plan set in place to be DONE having kids by the time I'm 30, those words just don't seem right. But here I am, waiting. The patiently part I'm still working on, but I think God gives you certain graces in this "in between times". Remember that your story isn't a Story of struggle, its God's story of rescue. -Rebekah Lyons.

What is it that you're waiting for? In what ways is God blessing your life RIGHT NOW as you wait? Leave them in the comments below so I can pray for you in this time of rest and waiting. 

Posted on March 8, 2016 .

The Baby Shower | Welcoming Baby V-Dubs

Can you believe that we are already approaching one year of having the cutest little boy I ever did see in our lives? How did that happen? So to celebrate this awesome week, I want to get some blog posts up that are all about this sweet baby boy and how we prepared for his arrival. 

When we found out that we were having a little boy, it SERIOUSLY took some getting used to. Convinced I was going to have a little girl and create a room of Pink and Gold accents, as soon as I opened my eyes to see blue confetti falling from the sky, I knew that this little dude growing inside of me was going to have some pretty sweet shoes to fill. I went out the next day and bought a hat and some adorable boat shoes to make it seem more real. 

So, when it came time to start planning the shower, light baby blue and pastels were NOT an option. He was my little Man right off the bat, and there was no doubt in my mind that we had to have a Shower to reflect that. My go-to colors of choice are Turquoise/Teal & Green. Starting there I created some fun invites to get people excited about this fun fête! 

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The centerpieces were created by my talented friend, Rachel of Urban Flowers. And the soaps were made by my fabulous sister-in-law Sarah with the packaging created by me of course! :) 

My mom is seriously a master when it comes to fun details for showers and weddings and she made all these adorable bow-ties, table runners, and all the bunting you see hanging. I swear that woman needs to open her own online shop to sell all this awesomeness! 

All the food was created with LOVE by my fairy godmother, Diane. This woman is also a creative wonder & a master of many things! 

What a fabulous way to celebrate our baby boy, back when he was just Baby VDubs to us! :) 

Posted on July 21, 2015 and filed under Personal, Design.