Let’s Do This…Together!

Our family’s hearts have been slightly captivated by Swaziland in southern Africa.  Specifically our carepoint, Ngungwane.  We help sponsor three siblings there and I had the chance to meet two of them and visit with their family at their house last November.  And God willing Josh and I will be going again with a team this year too.

While I was there I so enjoyed meeting and hanging out with all the staff, but Amy and Steve…the staff who work directly with Ngungwane…we’re especially helpful and you could see their great love for all the people and kiddos who work and come to the carepoint each day.  It was a privilege to meet them.  We had the opportunity to discuss big and small goals for Ngungwane too.  One of the smaller goals was to purchase tables and chairs for the building on site.  Ngungwane now has a preschool teacher who comes regularly to the carepoint to teach the smaller kids, but they have no tables or chairs.

I recently contacted Children’s HopeChest and asked for more details on how we could help make this happen.  They got me the additional details we needed.  Good metal tables are going to cost $50 each.  And each sturdy metal based chair is going to cost $12 each.  The wish list Ngungwane requested was 5 tables and 30 chairs.  When you do the math that’s a total of $610.

Our first step towards the tables and chairs was a big Noonday Collection show.  Friends and family and a lot of you guys made purchases and we ended up getting a ton of free stuff.  A ton.  $704 is kind of awesome.  Can you imagine how much fun I had picking out all the items.  It was crazy fun.

So here’s the deal.  I have the biggest Noonday Collection thank you gift giveaway just for you guys.  For every $10 you donate towards the tables & chairs, I’ll add your name to this “Thank you for donating” giveaway.  Every dollar…every single donation made…will go directly to Ngungwane to help purchase the tables and chairs.  If we raise more than needed, well then, hot dog and Ngungwane will just get extra money for additional items they need at the carepoint right now.  Seriously.  We can totally do this.  Think about what $10 can do.  A lot.

We’re going to collect donations for 2 weeks and then one lucky person will be drawn on Thursday, May 8th to receive the best “thanks for donating” package ever which includes all of the following items:

Get ready…cause this is really, really good.

Clementines Laptop Case $42

Lines and Stripes Catch All $142

Patchwork Clutch $38 (in purple)

Beachcomber Scarf $56

Nahuala Rectangle Trays (Set of 3) $36

Blushed Necklace $42

Del Mar Necklace $78

Honeycomb Necklace $38

Golden Trio Necklace (no longer available for purchase)

Annie’s Feathered Earrings $32

Bone Carved Leaf Earrings $30

Modern Angles Earrings $46

Athena Cuff $34

Bloomed Trio Bracelet $28

Galaxy Wrap Bracelet $48

Safari Stack Bracelet, Salmon $14

Are you swooning like I am?  For reals.  I am completely giddy about the fact that we’re going to mail all these items to one person to say “Thanks for being generous.  Thanks for donating.  Thanks for being totally rockin’ cool.”  This is going to bless someone’s socks right off.

It’s a win/win.  The craziest, most fun fundraising giveaway…all to help supply 5 tables and 30 chairs to some sweet kiddos in Swaziland, Africa.  No longer sitting on the floor to do their work, but hanging out and learning in their own little chair at their own table.  It’s just a good good thing.

Here’s how to donate:

1)  To donate through Paypal or credit/bank card CLICK HERE or use the snazzy little DONATE button in the right side bar all the way at the top

OR

2)  To donate by check GO HERE and let me know how much you would like to donate and I will send you the additional information you need.

Remember, for every $10 you donate, we’ll put your name in this Thank You gift giveaway that many times.  So $10 = 1 Your Name  $20 = 2 Your Name.  And so on and so on.  I kind of think you should just go straight for the $100 donation for your name 10 times :)  Come on, you know you want to.  #peerpressure

Maybe you can’t swing $10 right now…no worries.  You know what you can do…Share.  Share this post on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram and email it to all your stylish friends and family.  The more we share, the more people see how crazy cool this giveaway is and hopefully that means the more donations we will receive.

There you have it.  The world’s most awesome “Thanks for donating” giveaway ever known to man.  These are sure to be the sweetest tables and chairs ever purchased.

Thank you for reading.  Thank you for donating.  Thank you for sharing.  I cannot wait to see what God has in store.

Happy Friday!

Busy Stained Hands: Full Heart

Josh Kelley and all the wee Kelleys really do fill my heart right up.  To the max.  Spilling over.  And when I create, it comes close to doing the same thing.  I feel at ease.  Like I’m right where I’m suppose to be.  My hands covered in ink and stain.  Our kitchen table covered up in supplies and canvases.  When I am immersed in my process, eyes focussed in and my hands are busy means my heart is full.  When I am cutting and piecing together fabric, putting together color combinations and trying to think & sketch ideas.  In those moments I feel God speaking and moving.  I feel like I’m using the gifts He’s given me and it brings me such great joy.

Life has been crazy lately, as always, and spare time has been hard to find.  When I don’t create I feel my heart stress…I don’t feel like myself.  I know that probably sounds completely strange to some of you, but I know God has wired me in a certain way which soars and is elated when my creativity in brewing.  It’s just how He made me.  And I’m so very glad He did.

This week has been so good for my heart.  We’ve had a rough year in a lot of areas, some of which I choose not to discuss and honestly, this week has renewed a sense of hope for me.  Even though a lot of things are still completely up in the air, there is hope in a God who loves us like crazy and is absolutely relentless with His love.  I’ve been trying to draw in near to Him…focus on Him…make the time He deserves…and I am digging the closeness and watching Him work.

My creativity I know is from God…He created us all so differently and anointed each of us with great gifts…and I want to use mine.  I want to use mine and use mine and use mine.  Lately I’ve had the time…carved out the time…to make sure I create…and instantly, the world is a better place.  The sun shines brighter and my head is clearer and my attitude is more in check and everything just jives a little better.  Today I am so thankful I have to privilege to do what I love to do.  I do not take it for granted, nor do I want it to go to waste.  May I always focus in on my Maker…and thank Him for the gifts He has given me and use them for His glory.

The sun is out, the day is bright and God is so very very good.

Happy Wednesday.

Refresh Beauty Advertising Debut

I love/hate Facebook.  When I get on Facebook I typically do my PPA gig…check on comments, messages, try to respond to questions, post the link to that days blog, etc, etc, etc…and then I get off.  Friday night I had a message from a reader who had come across one of those ads that are ” suggested posts” and a company was using a picture from off here of me holding up one of our cardboard  ”waiting for you” signs except they had photoshopped the sign.  She actually sent me a screen shot and I died laughing.  Like lost it.  I quickly got on our computer, found the page, got to scrolling and there I was…a full on screen shot was in order…I mean this is prime blog post material people.

I feel so famous.  Oh Refresh Beauty.  You photo swipers.  Of all our photos to swipe…seriously?!?!?  And the best part…the kicker…the text which goes along with my lovely picture…”I’m a 53 year old mom who used this simple trick to erase 10 years off my face.  If it worked for me, it will work for you!”

I’m intrigued with what exactly worked for me.  And hot dog, 154 likes and 87 shares.  Word up.  I was a little disappointed in the lack of comments though.

Let the laughter ensue.  I could not stop.  Big time cracking up.  Big tears.  I showed Josh Kelley.  He simply said, “So Refresh Beauty thinks you look 43 years old?!?!”  The laughter continued.

Thank you Andrea for taking the screen shot and sending me the message.  Today’s post is dedicated to you.  #shoutout #refreshbeautypleaseremovemyphoto

Happy Tuesday.

Easter

Before I forget, I received all the Noonday items which we will be giving away in order to help raise the funds for purchasing 5 tables and 30 chairs for our carepoint Ngungwane in Swaziland, Africa.  You guys, this giveaway is going to be huge.  Like gigantic.  Like $704 worth of awesome.  I would love to get the giveaway fundraiser posted this week, but I’m still looking for a good way to accept donations…a safe, secure site that is tax deductible would be crazy good.  If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear about them.

On to Easter.  This year may have been one of my most favorite Easters.  I don’t know if it was just how relaxed it was…easy going…not crammed to the brim or maybe it’s this place of waiting God has our hearts or maybe it was how much fun Amon was this year or maybe it was going to our night service vs. a morning service or maybe it was singing In Christ Alone in which I always burst into tears or maybe it was a combination of it all.  Yes.  Most definitely a combination of them all.

Hunting eggs and eating candy far too early in the morning thanks to Nina & Baba.

(I might have been doing some yellow spray painting)

I didn’t even take very many pictures.  Was a little bummed about my lack of photo documenting, but sometimes you’re just having a bit too much fun.  You may remember how I am about our kids clothes…you may die, but Easter is the same.  We wore our regular clothes…we even got fancy and the kids had donut holes and yogurt for Easter dinner.

And seriously…our church had a dude taking everyone’s pictures.  I love this picture…not because I think we look all hot and fancy and cute, but because this is just us.  Every Sunday.  Susan goes to church with us and we’re a big bunch of yahoos marching in there each week, so I loved documenting our little group on such a special occasion.

So how was your Easter?  I hope it was great.  And now we’re ready to take on another week.  I have a feeling it’s going to be a really good one.

Happy Monday.

Good Friday

On Monday morning as Harper was putting her shoes on by the back door, she was looking over her classroom calendar for the week.  She noticed that Friday was Good Friday and they were out of school.  My kids know the resurrection story and well.  Hudson has always been very much interested in every last detail of it.  We read about it and they have videos about it too.  Harper sat there a moment and then asked, “Why is it called Good Friday?  I don’t understand why it is good at all.”  I looked at the sincerity on her face and as I spoke I got all weepy.  I explained to her that even though Jesus died an unimaginable death which is so sad and not good, it is Good Friday because He took on the sin of the world…mine & hers included…so we can be free in Christ and that is actually very, very good.

She said, “So it’s okay to be sad that He still died, but it’s good news for us.”  Yes.  A gift undeserved.

And what good news it is.  Today I’m thinking about the greatest gift ever given to me, you and the entire world.  He took on the sin of the world…He took on death…and won.  Love wins.  Always.  How humbling and amazing and incredible and I just will never grasp the magnitude of His love for me and you.  We don’t deserve it.  We’re ugly sinners and yet in Christ, we are new creations.  We are beautiful.  Loved.  Cherished.  Valued.  Redeemed.  Renewed.  Restored.  It absolutely floors me and I am beyond grateful.

Matthew 27:50-51 “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.  At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

And with the most amazing sacrifice the world will ever see, we were all made righteous and all were welcomed to His table.  Nothing stood between us and the Lord of Lords…the King of the World…our Father…anymore.

Good Friday indeed.

The Friar Tuck, St. Jude & Other Ramblings

Let’s kick this off with some bath time hilarity.  So honesty time…still working on the whole “bathing our kids” thing.  It’s a process.  4 kids is a lot…well, at least it’s a lot to us.  That’s a lot of bathing.  So we’re still working on our routine…our 2-A-Weeks…baby steps folks, baby steps.  The kids help out by reminding us…a lot…especially Harper..God love her.

Solomon is typically our quiet child to outsiders looking in, but he’s really the ham of the bunch.  Always.  The faces.  The potty jokes.  He’s sure to be class clown of his graduating class.  And ohmygah…Hudson’s hand on his hip and arm muscle…I die.  They are ridiculously hilarious.

We call this one “The Friar Tuck”.

I am a big fan of a the mohawk on Solomon.  Every time I take him to the barber I request one.  He just looks so dang cute with it.  #mohawkloveforever

We’re becoming quite the running partners.  She makes our days so much brighter.

Speaking of running…my cousins Emily, Charlie and Chad are running the 1/2 marathon in just a few days and helping raise funds for St. Jude while they’re at it.  It is so fun to set goals and then reach them and currently they’re just $260 shy of their goal.  Did you know patients and families pay for NOTHING when they are at St. Jude?  Nothing.  Not one thing.  Our cousin Hannah had cancer when she was little…she’s 18 now and even still when she goes back for check ups, they pay nothing…not even for lunch while on campus.  The care St. Jude provides is unmatched and unheard of.  Let’s help them hit their goal…it’s a most worthy cause.  CLICK HERE to donate…all the money goes directly the patients and families at St. Jude.

And lastly Amon has become a complete nut over baseball.  He’s infatuated…in love…slightly obsessed.  We throw ball all day long.  He wears an old school baseball helmet like 72.6% of the day.  Why cover up that amazing hair?!?!?!  Always with the helmet.  Which has started to cause some safety concerns.  What all little boy he is.

Now I’m off to put hardware on 102 key fobs.  Should be a good day.

Happy Thursday.

Tradition

About 2 1/2 years ago one of my oldest friends Alissa’s daughter was turning 1.  The first birthday is a special one and a little hard to buy for because, yeah, they’re a baby…and 1…and they still don’t do a whole ton or have too many interests.  I love to give gifts and I like thoughtful gifts and even though Scarlett was only turning 1 and could care less about the gifts she received, I wanted her to have a gift which she just might keep for a life time.  I realize this is a tad on the crazy side.  I own the craziness.  So I made her a name pillow.  Several of our other friends were at the party and I specifically remember Ashley, Alissa’s sister saying, “When my kid turns 1 I want one of these.”  And so, just like that, a tradition was born.  I still laugh because Ashley had zero children at the time…now she has two.  How time flies.

Over the past 2ish years there have been many a name pillows.  As new babies are born and hit the milestone age of 1, their 1st birthday gift is a no brainer for me anymore all because of Ashley’s simple request.

This week I knocked out three 1st birthday pillows.  Each one is unique and different and a lot of joy to make.  The Abram pillow is actually for Ashley’s little boy.  Ashley also teaches English so I went with a dictionary print backing.  The little details you can add are endless which makes me love them even more.

I know Ashley had no idea when she requested a pillow for her future child that she would begin a tradition, but I’m so very glad she did.

Happy Wednesday!

Simple Easter Treats

I’m on a big “Let’s simplify our entire lives!” kick and it’s kind of taking over my brain.  Less, less and less.  When I was thinking about what I wanted to get the kids for Easter I knew I wanted it to be easy and simple.  They don’t need a whole bunch of new stuff and they really like just the whole fun surprise part of waking up to a little treat.

We go through eggs like nobody’s business, so I set aside 4 of our leftover egg cartons and then used some paint I had on hand to paint the tops of each carton.

This paint dries super fast so it was very easy to cover the tops in no time at all with just a few coats of paint.

Every year I keep a small box of empty plastic eggs because every Easter we have to send in stuffed eggs for school.  I always keep the really obscure eggs too the kids get from their Easter egg hunts…animal shaped, sports themed, girly ones and this year the camouflage ones I kept from last year are beyond perfect for the boys.  So I already had some extra random plastic eggs leftover to use.  I also already had some Easter grass.  I’m really weird about certain things, but the Easter after Mom died one of her friends gave the kids all these amazing Easter baskets with the prettiest paper grass and since then, I have reused the grass and plan to continue to do so.  So yes, I’ll toss Amon’s crib which all 4 of our kids slept in without even thinking, but I plan to keep and reuse a small bag of paper Easter grass for years to come.

I went to Target and picked up a few items to fill their cartons with:  one bag of pretzel M&Ms, 1 bag of sour patch kids, a small transformer trinket & a $1 bin measuring tape for Hudson & Solomon, a lip gloss & earrings for Harper, one $1 bag of carrot chocolates and a fun chocolate egg for each of them.  I put some of the M&Ms, Sour Patch Kids and chocolate carrots in the leftover plastic eggs for each kiddo and filled their cartons with their treats.

And just like that, I’m ready for Easter.  Easy, simple and fun.  And they are going to totally love these!

Happy Tuesday!