4 Years {How I Celebrated Her}

Last Friday was my Mom’s 4 year death anniversary.  You guys, I am totally that creepy person about death now.  I like talking about death, I celebrate it, make strange death jokes and do weird things to remember her and then tell people about it, so imagine sticking me in my first show with hundreds of strangers.  Oh my.  I brought my weird, awkward persona hard.  We also took our little one home for good that night so honestly that was the big emotion of the day.

I think a lot of people still tread lightly around these kinds of days.  I think others know how far just a text or card goes.  My friend Courtney showed up at the market and simply said “I thought you could use a hug.”  She stayed the rest of the night with me and even walked me out when the market closed.  She knew what our family was about to do and she just wanted to hang close because that is her heart and I totally love it!!!

Mom’s death doesn’t rouse up tears much anymore.  I was talking recently with a friend who just got to the one year mark of her dad’s death.  We talked about the difference in 1 year and 4…so drastically different points between us.  I still remember driving to Florida in the middle of the night on the 1 year of Mom passing and thinking “Shouldn’t I be father along than I am in this?”  The grief was still crazy fresh and hard and still suffocating at times.  And then time continued to pass.  I got to a point eventually when I had this moment with God and myself.

Basically, I could continue to grip my sadness and grief tight in my fists…I could continue to hold on for dear life…I could continue to tell myself it wasn’t fair and the world now owed me something for my pain…I could continue to be pretty miserable or I could start to open my hands…I could start to accept death as just a part of life and that no one was out to get me…I could start to release the loss and sadness and grief to Jesus…I could start choosing joy over misery…I could start to let Him really heal me.  And so my grip became less and less of a choke hold and more of hands wide open and palms up.  It’s different now.  I still miss my mom and the sadness sometimes sneaks back in different forms…it’s all so different now, but I know God has done a great healing in my heart.  I know He’s shown me grace and mercy and redemption.

Each year I like to do something to celebrate Mom.  Sometimes it’s baked goods or letter writing or giving out flowers, but this year I was going to be at the Made South Market so I needed a different avenue.  I was pretty late to the prep game because our week had been crazy town and I spent all Thursday washing our littlest clothes, gathering all her belongs from the past 10 months and getting her packed to go.  But finally I sat down late in the night with 9 small canvases…I could have sworn there were 10, but alas…I made a list of the really great things which remind me of Mom and I set to work painting and hand lettering.

Over the course of Friday & Saturday I surprised random people at the market with these canvases and offered my creepy, death celebrating self up by telling them a piece of my story.  The only thing I asked in return was for a picture.  Can I just say I love how each person held their canvas so differently?!?!?


I saved one last canvas for the Timbali Party coming up December 3 to giveaway to one of our sweet guests.  I just had to because everything about Timbali party’s are dang fun.

So that is how I celebrated not only the crazy goodness which was my Mom, but also the crazy goodness of God’s love and healing in my life.  I want her memory to live on of course…I want people to remember her, but more than anything I want to share God’s love and the immeasurable power He has in our lives with others.

Happy Tuesday!

On Friday…

I have been dying to sit down and type out so many thoughts from last Friday and over the weekend.  So many many thoughts and probably far too many for one post.  Friday and Saturday was the Made South Holiday Market.  This was technically my first show other than this tiny booth I had some 7ish years ago at a church where I knew hardly anyone and sold not one thing…it was just as sad and lonely as it sounds :)  So Friday was a big day in so many ways, but one was my first show and I have to say it was crazy fun.  It was so good and so fun and I smiled and laughed and gave out hugs like candy.  It was really really great.  So great it made me want to do more shows, but I am in full on recovery mode first because a 2-day show wore me out…like for realz.  And it probably had something to do with pouring myself out for the entire month prior to the show and a lot of big emotions so everything caught up to me Saturday night.

Josh Kelley was the amazing mastermind behind my setup.  He did all the background work and I just made away…makers gonna make, am I right?!?!?  When I stepped back to look at the final set up it made me just want to cry because it was everything I dreamed up in my head.  It was so pretty and white and colorful and dreamy to me…just what I was going for.  When people would ask about the set up I loved it because I got to brag on ole’ Josh Kelley.  Dude is quiet and humble and doesn’t get the props he deserves for much so I loved bragging on him….and especially when he was there and people raved about him to his face.  Made me beam.

I sold lots of things, but definitely over made.  I’m having a big sale this week of all my leftovers, but after I posted on Instagram some pictures, things have been being snatched up which I totally love.  Keep your eyes peeled this week for goodies just in time for Christmas…buntings, word towels, burp cloths, some prints, canvases and key fobs.  If you just cannot wait for the sale shoot me an email.

I definitely learned a thing or two.  1)  278 key fobs is waaaaaaaayyyy to many key fobs.  Hahahahaha.  Thankful for all you crazy good customers who have been buying them up.  And 2)  Burp cloths are not show material.  I think I sold three.  Three lonely little burp cloths out of like 100.  Okay, not 100, but 21. Surprise…I’m having a burp cloth sale!!!!!!!!!!!  Please buy burp cloths or

Dear All My Friends,

Birth or adopt more babies and I will gift you with personalized burp cloths forever and ever amen.

Love, Laura

My favorite part of the show hands down were the people.  I was sandwiched between Prohibition Popcorn and Salemtown Board Company and we had the best time.  Crazy good people who are kind and funny and making amazing products which knock your flippin’ socks off.  I told my brother I was ticked he put me next to the Prohibition Popcorn people because I have a major love affair with popcorn.  I am shocked I only bought two bags…one of which I did not share at all and ate in its entirety while having a 15 minute conversation.  Do not get between me and my popcorn.  This stuff is insanely delicious.

The Salemtown Board guys were too fun and kind.  We laughed so hard and just had a great time together.  They hand make all their skateboards which…who does that?!?!?!  And they are ridiculously beautiful boards.  Within an hour of setup on the first day I had already purchased a shirt from them for my nephew Coop who skateboards.  They also higher at risk youth and help provide jobs in the community.  Well, yeah, I’m all in!

I met so many new people and blog readers and also saw lots of sweet people I already know and love.  It was so fun laughing and chatting with new people I just met.  I of course provided plenty of awkward moments and told embarrassing things about myself…it’s just what I do…a gift really.  I told anyone who would listen all about Ngungwane and even invited several complete strangers to come with us…including one lady’s sister who wasn’t even present.  Again, it’s a gift you guys..don’t ask how I do it :)

My brother and SIL, Chris and Kim, did a killer job on executing this thing.  I mean #attentiontodetail  It was the big and small things, but what I really loved were the small things like providing lunch for all the vendors and sending my niece McKinley around with a wagon full of free snacks for the vendors.  It was all so well done and put together and everyone knew it and voiced it and rightly so!

I also stepped up my profesh level by using a square reader for the first time ever.  Oh man.  That was a tad nerve wreaking and it didn’t help to fully voice my nerves and joke about my “professionalism” while trying to take people’s money via credit/bank card payment.  I didn’t exactly give off a “you should feel completely comfortable while I swipe this card which takes money directly out of your bank account and puts into mine” vibe.  But alas, I didn’t botch anything up too bad.

The most popular item in my booth I thought were the tea towels.  I had fabric printed with some of my Maw-maw and Mom’s recipes and some with my Bible journaling pages then turned them into tea towels.  I was pretty smitten with how they turned out and I think people dig a backstory about things…and I’m not one to pass up telling someone why they were so special to me.  Maybe the love behind them convinced people to purchase because I have zero left.  Right on!

And Friday was 4 years since we lost Mom and that night after I got home from the show we all loaded up in the car together…all 7 of us…and took our littlest home for good.  We drove away just the 6 of us.  Lots of thought processing still going on with that, but what completely struck me was God’s goodness and mercy and redemption in my life on so many levels and in so many ways I never even dreamed.  That’s what He does right…the unimaginable…the things we never even dared to dream about.  Geez.  Makes me all joyful weepy just typing it out.

So in conclusion…it was a big, emotional and crazy good weekend.  Thanksgiving is coming and we sure do have a lot to be thankful for.

Happy Monday!

He Upholds

The world is so heavy right now.  So much heartache and hatred and conditions for other human beings I could never imagine living in with our family.  There is death and fear.  The world feels far too heavy right now.  Like far too much to fathom or even think about.

I read two articles about syrian refugees this week…HERE and HERE.  I found myself absolutely bawling.  I mean, can you even imagine…my mind can’t physically even go to these places and situations and the actual things these people and children are enduring.

Our week has felt heavy with all that is going on in our world and news reports.  My sweet Uncle Harold passed after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.  We also found out yesterday our littlest will be going home very soon.  On one hand we are so thrilled for her and her parents and on the other hand she has been with us for 314 days and we are all so very sad to see her go.  Harper immediately broke down into tears when I told her…we shared a good cry together in the Walgreens drive-thru pharmacy line.  Later last night, after Harper went to bed, I discovered her crying her little eyes out again.  I sat with her for quite some time talking about why our family does what it does and how we’re all so happy and sad at the same time.  We talked about all the reasons we chose to be a foster family.  We talked about how Jesus says so clearly in scripture we are to first love Him and second love others.  We talked about how much we love our littlest and her parents and how if we reversed the rolls, how desperately our family would want to be reunited as well.  She gets it and I love that she gets it, but the sadness is still real and part of the reality.

One of the greatest things God has ever urged me to do is to read His word.  Bible journaling…the actual act of studying what God says in scripture has been a game changer.  If you want to know how Jesus would handle a situation all you need is scripture.  The more we know Christ, the more we learn how to imitate Him in our own everyday lives.  When I feel so unsure of all which is going on around us and in our world, God Himself is consistent and faithful…His word stands firm and is a guiding light to how we as believers are to act and love in His name.

I sat down last night to Bible journal after my talk with Harper.  I’ve been dreading Hebrews a bit, but after I actually made it through all of chapter one I was a sobbing mess by the end of it.  In the mess of the world…in the sadness and heartbreak…in the uncertainty and fear…God’s word stands true.

Hebrews 1:3 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

Hebrews 1:8-12  “You’re God, and on the throne for good; your rule makes everything right.  You love it when things are right; you hate it when things are wrong…You, Master, started it all, laid earth’s foundations, then crafted the stars in the sky.  Earth and sky will wear out, but not you; they become threadbare like an old coat; you’ll fold them up like a worn-out cloak, and lay them away on the shelf, but you’ll stay the same year after year; you’ll never fade, you’ll never wear out.”

God is absolutely still in control.  He is still on His thrown, He reigns supreme and none of the things taking place in our world surprise Him.  I think all that is going on absolutely breaks His heart and He commands us to love and to love in a manner which brings His name glory and points us all back to Him.  What my heart hopes in is Him, in His coming again and the fact that He remains the same year after year…He will not ever fade away.  So in the darkness, the chaos, the heartache, the fear, the sadness, the injustice, in the uncertainty, in the mess He is still God and He upholds it all.


Yeah, so I’m already thinking about the weekend.  Ha.  This past weekend was kind of swoony minus a sick kid.  I worked like crazy.  The Made South Holiday Market is this Friday and Saturday so I know this weekend will be a tad chaotic.  I’m a bit on the nervous/excited/I might throw up side.  #normal

Anyways, on Friday Amon fell asleep randomly on the floor and like my friend Jen pointed out…random sleeping is a direct sign a sick kid is brewing.  Ugh!!!


Amon spent most of the weekend posted up on the couch.

Josh Kelley is a Christmas crazy person.  He started talking about putting our Christmas tree up before Halloween.  Gah!  He’s had this on his calendar for weeks.  It’s what he does and I just watch him do his thing.  His motto is “It’s not Thanksgiving without the Christmas tree.”  And he always pulls out his coon skin cap from his childhood.  All the nostalgia people.

Amon is pretty much adorable all day, erry day.  Even sick.

We watched Elf, listened to Elvis’ Christmas music, made snickerdoodles and decked the halls.  We are one stocking holder short this year, but who cares.  I’ve had our current littlest a stocking purchased since we became certified foster parents last October.  I wanted to be prepared if a little one came during Christmas time.

There were also donuts because duh, it was the weekend.

Each week when Saturday and Sunday rolls around this is what our fridge looks like.

Ummm, empty.  So grocery shopping and food prep for the week always on the weekend.  And it’s kind of that time of year again when I wear my house shoes out in public.  Like grocery shopping.  I mean, who doesn’t want toasty warm feet while Krogering?!?!

And yes, I am wearing capri sweat pants in November.  #yourewelcome

 It’s only Tuesday, but bring on another weekend!!

Timbali Crafts Party

I wanted to remind everyone about the Timbali Crafts party Im hosting coming up Thursday, December 3rd 5:30-8:30.  Today I got a dirty look from the UPS dude hauling all this to our front porch in the rain.  For the record I did say thank you.

You guys, I have soooooo much Timbali it’s flippin’ amazing.  I immediately started opening each box and snapping pictures and staring at all the bags very longingly like.  I’m kind of a Timbali super fan #99…name that movie?!?!?  Anyways, I made my FB event today and wanted to remind you about the party again because…ummmm, 4 giant moving boxes full of goodness and Christmas is in 6 weeks.  This is the perfect chance to purchase with a purpose.  These beautiful, amazing Swazi women have poured their talent and pride into each item and this is an awesome way to support our friends across oceans.  All the money goes directly back to the women…this is their dignity and the way they support their families and we get to play a small role.

There will be no ordering at this party, so you come and shop and take home all your items that night.  This also means first come, first serve and when an item is gone, it’s gone.  I have sling bags, doll dresses, market bags, drawstring backpacks, wristlets, shoulder bags, mega totes, aprons, zipper pouches and cosmetic bags.  The cosmetic bag is what I use to hold my Bible journaling supplies.

As always, I promise crazy good food and drinks, laughter and fun and I’ll bring an awkward moment or two because that’s just what I do.  What a great ladies night, so feel free to share with your friends and family and bring your peeps with you.  The more the merrier always.

And don’t forget, we’re planning another trip to Swaziland, Africa to visit the Ngungwane carepoint.  May 29th-June 8th 2016.  We are trying to assemble another team and maybe you are one of them.  All are welcome.

You can email me or send me a message HERE for more details on the party or trip.  So excited about both.

Happy Monday!


Our friend Nick over at Sasquatch Design Society entered one of his most awesome designs in the Design The Good contest.  Here’s the down low…Nick uploaded his design and now we vote.  The most votes wins and the winner gets to choose what charity/organization receives the moola…and Nick chose Ngugnwane.  Simple enough and to the point.  Design with the most votes wins and we really really really want Nick to win.  And come on, his design is crazy good.

 All you need to do is:


2)  The entry screen asks for your full name and email address…enter those and then click the bright pink VOTE button.

3)  Right afterwards Nick’s design should appear with his name in the top left hand corner.  You hit the little heart at the bottom of his design by the number of votes he already has and the number will increase by one because of your vote.  The End!

So simple.  So easy.  And whoa now, watch out Ngungwane if he wins…we’re coming for you either way.

Please take a slice of your time to go vote and share with your friends and family and co-workers and anyone who will lend you their ear.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU in advance for voting.  We soooooo appreciate it and you!!!

Here’s to a great weekend and a Happy Friday!

3 Exciting Things

So much is going on right now and I wanted to share 3 exciting things with you.

1.  Camp Create.  You guys, I don’t even know how I got in this lineup, but boy am I excited and grateful and exited and nervous!!!!

I was able to attend Whatever Craft Weekend way back in 2012 just days before being matched with Amon.  It was such a fun weekend, but also super emotional for me with us still waiting on Amon and Mom having died just 6 months prior.  I was still crying every single night, so I bounced between excitement and fun and grief the whole weekend.  My favorite thing hands down were the women (and Kimberlee’s cooking)…my cousin Rebecca, Meg & Kimberlee and all the new friends we made.  So in 2014 when I was invited to teach and help it was a no brainer.  Awesomeness…again, but even better because I was a different person and God had been healing me in so many ways.  I might have cried when I got big hugs and oh my, all the women were outstanding…again!!!!

I’m clearly on an every 2 years schedule with the Craft House and this time it’s for Camp Create.  I just don’t even know how to express my excitement.  It all goes down April 6-10th!!  Let’s just start with the real kicker…Kimberlee will be feeding you the whole time and holy moly you guys, everything she cooks is incredible.  Like crazy incredible.

Laura Kelley Fun Fact #65:  Sometimes I moan when I eat.  Now if this doesn’t tell you something about how much I love and enjoy food I just don’t know what would.  The very first dinner I ever ate at Josh Kelley’s house I got called out for my moaning which I didn’t even realize I was doing.  With all that said the moan factor is high with Kimberlee’s food.

   Amber Haines is our speaker.  She spoke at QWomen so I had my friend Jessica introduce me.  She was crazy nice.  I cannot wait to hear what God gives her to share with us.  Meg, Jeanne Oliver and myself will be teaching different skills and techniques.  Pretty pumped I get to spend this time with such amazing women.

The truth:  Today when Meg posted about Camp Create I immediately felt the doubt pour in big time.  Satan does this to me a lot and I know it.  I took a moment and then did my Bible journaling.  I started Philemon and only got through 7 verses…He met me right where I was.

4:7  “…I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other believers. And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it. Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers.”

Won’t you consider joining us for Camp Create?!?!  It’s going to be outstanding and not because of us, but because of Jesus.  Tickets go on sale this Monday, November 16th at noon CST.  Read about all the details HERE.

2.  The Made South Holiday Market is right around the corner…as in next Friday and Saturday, November 20-21.  Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!

As I type I am watching our current youngest cry and cover her ears from Josh Kelley using all the power tools working on my booth jazz.  It’s crazy up in here.  Anyways, I’ve got a fun promo code just for your guys.  GO HERE to purchase your ticket ahead of time and use the code pitterpatter and get 10% off.  Whoop whoop.

If nobody buys my stuff I am fully prepared to create yet another collage wall in our house :)

3.  So you all apparently went crazy on my Noonday party.  Let me just say…women are amazing and strong and courageous.  Geez!!!  I am so excited because of you and your desire to help create a flourishing world for other women across the world I will be giving away over $500 in Noonday goodness!!!!  This is insane and crazy, crazy fun.  I already had a list of things I wanted to pick out, but now I have to add to it even more.  So keep your eyes peeled.  One little sneak peak…

yes indeed!  This beautiful lady tote will show up on one of your doorsteps.  Be still my bag loven heart.

That’s it for today.  3 exciting things.  Feel free to share away!!

Happy Wednesday!

Crafternoon: House Pillow

Back in August my niece Meiya celebrated her birthday.  She’s one of several crafty nieces I have, but Meiya loves to sew.  I love to give good gifts and while on the hunt for just the right birthday present I found this Crafternoon House Pillow kit at Joanns by Amanda Rydell.

I knew immediately it was perfect!!!  Harper was with me while shopping and thought it was the greatest thing ever so I secretly snuck an extra in my buggy.  They were not on sale at the time so I cashed in on two Joanns coupons to make this an even sweeter gift.  Meiya loved hers and later I surprised Harper with her kit too.  We spent just a few hours one afternoon getting the pillow almost complete, but then had some where to be so we had to leave it as is.

Harper’s favorite part was hand sewing the button door knob.  Now I feel like I should get her hooked on cross stitching or something :)

This weekend we came back to the craft and Harper finished it up.  This is totally a craft a kiddo can do on their own with just a little bit of assistance.  Harper did all the sewing, cutting, gluing and stuffing.  She read through all the directions.  I helped with pinning and that was about it.

What I love about this craft is if we hadn’t had somewhere to be Harper could have totally finished it up in an afternoon…holding true to the name Crafternoon.  The directions were clear and not complicated. The lines were all simple for young sewers.  And the end result was freakin’ adorable.

She was crazy proud of her finished house pillow.  This project is tons of fun for those little sewers in your life.  I highly recommend this craft, so grab one and gift away. Those kiddos will be crazy excited.

Happy Tuesday!