Showing posts with label // INSPIRE //. Show all posts
Showing posts with label // INSPIRE //. Show all posts

02 September 2013

Goodbye Summer


We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

-Abraham Lincoln

26 August 2013

The Beauty of Forgiveness

Tracie Stier-Johnson's book 31 Days of Forgiveness has been a game changer in my life. The  statement above by Tracie is one of many in her book that helped me realize extending forgiveness does not mean you're allowing someone to hurt you. Instead, forgiveness gives you the power to take your life back in not allowing the hurt to be the beginning of a nasty cycle of ill will toward that person. Guarding our hearts gives us the freedom to let God work in our lives the way He intends. When we don't protect our hearts, it's like we're suffocating in the gunk & blind to experience the beauty around us.  How are we any different than those who have hurt us if we fire back with mean attacks? It certainly doesn't even the score. And trust me, I've been guilty of this  & still have to work hard to keep my mouth & heart in check in extending grace to those that have hurt me and I fail. A lot. I have noticed that the more grace I extend, the more I'm able to forgive. It's a cycle. Extending forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. 

A snapshot of my time with 31 Days of Forgiveness
I've passed this book onto friends, my (step) mom and sister. They've all had similar reactions. Some of those I've talked to realized they were holding onto anger toward people in their lives and they hadn't realized it until they read this book. I too had this feeling when I was done reading the book. In fact, I wrote letters to those that I had forgiven and it was a liberating feeling to be done with it, to truly let it go. 

I've had the privilege to get to know Tracie (find her site here) & she walks the walk. She's the real deal. Her book really has changed my life. Perhaps it was the timing of it and that I was in a place to listen but I think if you have a desire to read this book, you're already halfway there. Making the decision to want to forgive is at least half of the battle. Tracie will give you the tools to make it happen.  
xo, aedriel

10 August 2013

The Fear of Living With Less

The hubs has been dropping the name "Dave Ramsey" more and more lately. In case you haven't heard of this fellow, you can find him here. Every time I hear "Dave Ramsey" I panic a little. My heart races (not in a good way), my palms get sweaty and I feel like I better buy what I want now.   Dave Ramsey is latin for 'your life will no longer be fun'.  My fear is obviously based on ignorance and my own issues with change.  When my husband says "I think our goal should be to pay our house off as soon as possible" I hear "you will never be able to shop again and you can kiss any future vacations goodbye".  But then I came across a post on one of my favorite blogs, Domestic Imperfection. The post is titled "How We Paid Off Our House in 3.5 Years". WAIT ONE HOT MINUTE!! Paid OFF their house in under four years? I thought to myself "this Ashley gal has the most adorable home....surely someone 'helped' them with this." Nope! Read the post here. They did it entirely on their own. I was so enamored with her attitude and approach I had to quote her and print it out as a reminder of what is SO very true. 

Can I get an amen? 
Just look at some photos of their paid-off home. If this is what decorating on a budget looks like then sign me up!

It's like the cozy spot you dream about when you feel like getting away from it all, isn't it? 

No words for this sunny spot.  

So thanks to Ashley, Dave Ramsey is going to be my new BFF. I know the hubs and I are already off to a great start in being content with what we have- more so than we've ever been before. We've lived in our house 6.5 years which is longer than either one of us have lived in the same house in our adult life. Before we found each other we were both stuck in the 'if I move, my life will be better', 'if I buy a newer/bigger/better house, my life will be better' mindset. As Ashley says, "if you can't be content with a little, then you will never be content with a lot". Truth. 

08 July 2013

How To Get More Done

I am a walking contradiction. I like things super clean and organized yet there are areas in our home that are embarrassingly ridiculous. I have a 'grab the bull by the horns' mindset on learning new things, yet with some things it's more like 'I'll do that another day'.  "I'll do that tomorrow" is a nicer way of saying "never". It took me a long time to figure out why I am this way, but at some point I realized why I don't tackle a task, be it organizing the entry closet or growing my business. I put things off because I think I won't do a good enough job or because it won't be....wait for it.....perfect. When a task feels HUGE and I'm not sure how to chip away at it, the temptation creeps in to do nothing with it. The entry closet is not going anywhere. My children are instructed not to open the door. You must be thinking "oh, she hides Christmas or Birthday presents there". Uh, nope! It's a scary place and it's best if we don't look at it or talk about it. 

Doing something good, or even okay, is better than not doing it at all. Fear of not doing it perfect is a lousy waste of what could be. If I were to add up all the times I think about doing  something, or talk about doing something, I could have actually done it a hundred times! Yet,  many times when I face something head on, I realize it's not as bad as I thought it was.  With many of my fears, once I learned more about what it was that scared me, I realized I had all the wrong information. I used to dread stepping foot in a church because I thought it was going to be people screaming at me that I was a sinner or people out to make me feel bad about myself. Wrong, wrong, wrong!  I once thought firing earthenware in a kiln, rather than dropping it off at a studio for someone else to mess with, was so scary. Now, I'm a kiln-loading fool! I could talk your ear off about cone 06 versus cone 6. Exciting stuff, eh?

My challenge to you is to take one thing you've left undone and do something with it. It might be as simple as making a phone call or making a list. Don't let fear be so paralyzing that you nothing.  Start small and relish in that feeling. It's just like changing your lifestyle. Deciding to take a quick walk around the block turns into making better choices at dinner. The snowball effect starts with a single snowflake.  Imperfection is progress. Doing it okay is better than not doing it all, right? 

What will you take on this week? Will you be okay with mediocre? It's better than nothing, right? Besides, you might surprise yourself. You might find one little step was all you needed to soar. 

08 June 2013

'It's Not About' Series Part One

Quiet confidence. What is it? It's a confidence that doesn't try too hard and isn't arrogant. Confidence is the most beautiful quality a woman can possess. Beauty isn't about the perfect nose, the latest lipstick shade or a number on the scale- it's that fire we get when we truly know what we're capable of. Choose to take the world on with that fire. The gusto that screams confidence without saying a word is absolutely breathtaking. When you realize what you're capable of, you will have a sparkle that glows!


You are altogether beautiful, my darling: there is not flaw in you." Song of Solomon 4:7

08 May 2013

Be Brave.

Bravery is choosing to do the right thing, even when it's not popular. 

Bravery is putting other people's feelings ahead of your own, but also knowing when to stand up for yourself. 

Bravery is choosing your passion as a career, even if it doesn't pay as much. 

These are the lessons I pray I am instilling in my kids by the choices they see me making. 

I am admittedly a work in progress though. 

06 May 2013

To Get More, Do More

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Do you ever have grumpy moments because of expectations you put on the people in your life? This is one of my biggest faults. For instance, there are times when I expect my husband to notice something and though I know it's silly to get disappointed, I do. Yet, I've noticed though how much more I get out of our relationship when I give him more. If I want him to compliment me, I find something positive to say to him. If I want to feel taken care of, I do my best to make him feel taken care of. This might be as mind-numbing as making sure the laundry is done over the weekend so he has plenty of clothes for his work week, but I know he appreciates it. This concept is relevant with our kids as well. Now, with kids I'm not referring to doing more of the mundane everyday stuff like laundry (though it's a necessary evil, isn't it?...ha!) but rather having more of a loving and gracious heart toward them. I've noticed the more patient and loving I am toward my children, the more patient and loving they are with me. Kids are like sponges and they seem to absorb whatever energy is swirling around the home. When there's tension and stress, even if they don't understand what it is, they seem to feel it even more than adults do and react to it. It's like a snowball effect and their grumpiness heightens our stress and we pass that back onto them. We so easily feed off of each other's moods. 

As women I believe we have the power to set the tone in our home. Part of setting that tone is understanding what helps us feel more positive. For me,  when I feel like our house is a mess I get grumpy.  I need time in the morning before the kids get up to get a handle on my day. This doesn't  always happen, but I'm aware that I function better when it does. When I carve out 'me' time to exercise and read my devotion, I feel like I'm able to give more to my family because I've had my time.  

It really comes down to priorities. Admittedly, there are relationships in my life that I have not put effort into and because of that, the relationship has suffered.  Not putting effort into relationships often has to do with my fear of rejection or not knowing where to even start. When I feel like I don't measure up to someone, I suppose I move on to someone that I feel values me as a person. This goes back to putting expectations on people though, doesn't it?

You only get out what you put in. This can be considered karma, what goes around comes around, you reap what you sow...and so on.  Isn't it all the same thing though? Next time you're wanting more out of a situation, try giving more and see what happens. Check back with me and let me know your thoughts.  I'd love to hear from you! 

"Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity." Luke 6:38 MSG

01 May 2013

See the Best In People

Have you ever felt judged? I always stop and think about what someone's experiences have been when they get super fired up over something specific. A sure-fire way to tell if something is deeply personal for someone is to see their reaction to a situation or how they choose to deal with it. People tend to dislike qualities in other people that they detest in themselves. I've been judged by people that have done the same thing I've done, I'm sure you have too. Perhaps it wasn't the same exact sin but I am a believer in 'a sin is a sin' and no one is perfect. My knee jerk reaction is to think "Well who the heck do you think you are? You're no different from me."  Wouldn't it be easier if we lived by the mantra pictured above which is basically the long version of "love God, love your neighbor"? This is the only way to stop the cycle of judgment. We never truly know what someone's story is and whether they've asked God for forgiveness of their sins (the only way to make a wrong right) so what business is it of ours to question other people's hearts? 

Boy oh boy, have I have made mistakes in my life!! I'd follow that with "who hasn't?" but somehow uttering those words when admitting my sins  seems like an excuse for the behavior.  I've also been 'that' person to get fired up over qualities in other people that remind me of myself, even with my kids. I do try to remember that   there's always way more to the story in most situations when people make mistakes.  There's two sides to every story and the truth is somewhere in the middle. If I haven't walked around in your shoes, I certainly don't know your heart. The simple truth is,  we are all just trying to get by and we all want to be accepted and loved. 

"Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn't so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you've done." (Romans 2:1, 2 MSG)

26 April 2013

Let Your Light Shine

True happiness dwells in your heart when you're able to be exactly who you were meant to be, don't you think? This print from Sugar Paper is such a fantastic reminder of giving yourself permission to let your light shine! 

23 April 2013

Kindness Is Oh So Classy

I spent the morning with people from all walks of life. As we all looked at each other, likely making assumptions about what our stories were, I realized that kindness knows no color and doesn't care what your story is. A warm smile from a stranger tells me "it doesn't matter what my story is, or yours, we're all in this together", and isn't that what we all want to feel? Don't we all just want love and acceptance no matter what our story is? The lady I got the privilege to stand next to chatted with me and we joked about how when security was digging through our purses, we didn't much appreciate having all our stuff splayed out for all to see. Her eyes sparkled as she gave me a toothless grin when I joked that even my kids aren't allowed in my purse! True kindness doesn't care about your story or whether the purse the security guard rummaged through is a name brand or something else. I'll be the first to admit that in this bunch, I'm the one that felt like I stood out with my outfit meticulously planned. Yet, I want to cry out to them all "you think I'm judging you? I worry you're making judgements about me!".  

I believe God puts people  in our lives, even strangers, at just the right time. Adorn yourself in kindness for you never know what someone else's story is. 

12 April 2013

What Is Success?

Sometimes the chase is more exciting than the reality, don't you think? Perhaps we're wired to think a certain level of success is key to happiness. Trying to find balance between working toward  success, while finding real meaningful purpose within that success is difficult. What is success? It's different for every person. As I get older, success is spending meaningful time with my family and not feeling guilty about  thinking I should be working instead. Success is a trip out to eat with kids without any meltdowns or bickering. As my kids get older, I realize how quickly this is all flying by. In just six short years, my oldest will be an adult.  Knowing this time is fleeting has made the desire for traditional success less important. Success is supporting my husband with his growing business and creating a cozy retreat for him to come home to at the end of a long day. Success is putting God first and spending time in His word. Our society may not lift these things up as worthy, but it's what is important to me and my family. Of course I'd be lying to say any public recognition my business has received hasn't felt good or felt like success, but I wonder where that will be on my list of high points when I'm taking my last breath.

I posted this gem from Waiting On Martha on Instagram  and I think it's in keeping with this same 'go go go' mentality. Is our to-do list calling the shots? Don't get me wrong. I have a serious love affair with to-do lists. I make lists for my lists. I think it's a control issue. I feel very on top of my life when I have lots of pretty lists to reference. Too often our to-do list becomes a vehicle where we're racing to the finish as fast as we can.   I'm sure you've already figured this one out, but there's no prize when you check everything off. There's no party at the end, and it's the same thing with achieving personal goals and success. If we want a party when we reach our goal, we better add that to our list!

I am so blessed to have my business and I will continue to nurture it and grow it. It's like one of my babies. Well, not quite, but I do have a special relationship with it. We've been through so much together. We've spent countless late nights powering through orders when we started with nothing. I think we were designed to use our God-given gifts to help others. I can't use these gifts if I'm feeling defeated, wiped out and lacking purpose. Having true purpose fires me up!  I sometimes wonder if  hard work and determination causes some sort of euphoria and when we lose that drive, because we're exhausted, is that the reason for feeling "is this it?".

Calvin Klein said "I don't dwell on success. Maybe that's one reason I'm successful." Hmm.... something to think about. How about these words of wisdom by John Lennon. This really puts things in perspective, don't you think? 

So if you too have had this "is this all there is?" feeling, Marie Forleo has some insight for you. And she'll make you laugh.

Using our God-given gifts to help others is so important and feeling validated and empowered by this can be life changing. But in the end, true success is what we make of it.

05 April 2013

Instagram and Perfection

Have you read the thought provoking article called "Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life"? Here's a clip of what Shauna Niequist has to say in Relevant Magazine- 

"My life looks better on the Internet than it does in real life. Everyone’s life looks better on the internet than it does in real life. The Internet is partial truths—we get to decide what people see and what they don’t. That’s why it’s safer short term. And that’s why it’s much, much more dangerous long term.
Because community—the rich kind, the transforming kind, the valuable and difficult kind—doesn’t happen in partial truths and well-edited photo collections on Instagram. Community happens when we hear each other’s actual voices, when we enter one another’s actual homes, with actual messes, around actual tables telling stories that ramble on beyond 140 pithy characters.
But seeing the best possible, often-unrealistic, half-truth version of other peoples’ lives isn’t the only danger of the Internet. Our envy buttons also get pushed because we rarely check Facebook when we’re having our own peak experiences. We check it when we’re bored and when we’re lonely, and it intensifies that boredom and loneliness."


I think we all assume we're not seeing the big picture when we look at people's photos. It's not my place to know all your business. I assume as you're taking a picture of your kids, they're bickering. Why? Because that's my life. If we judge someone's photos in any way, good or bad, it's on us, not them. I'm kind of a neat freak, though I do have my scary places (do NOT open our entry closet, for one!), so that's my real life. My real life is I make the bed every day. I could care less if you don't. I think we over share. I'm pretty private about my kids. I don't think everyone needs to know my kids' business or see tons of photos of our home. I have a private account for that. That's the choice I've made. It doesn't mean because I DON'T share it, it's perfect though. It also doesn't mean if YOU share your kids photos, I judge you for that. 

I think social media has turned into a form of idolatry. I suppose I don't put a ton of thought into how I feel when I look at someone's photos. It's exhausting to care so much what other people think or to care so much about other people's lives. It's not that I don't care about your heart, but I don't really care if your kitchen is messy or neat. I know there's so much more to you than sticky fingerprints on your fridge. Why? Because I want you to know there's so much more to me than my sticky fridge. If we're fixated and idolizing other people and in turn feeling less-than about our own lives, it's our problem, not there's.  

 My closet is full skeletons..and a bunch of other crap.  I think we should be lifting each other up, and leave judgement up to the perfect judge.  I don't think we need to change social media, I think we need to change our hearts. 

18 March 2013

Mixed Bag

I absolutely love this quote as it is a fab reminder that moderation is key to really savor each moment. We had quite a 'discussion' about this the other day after I posted it on Instagram. Check out my feed here to see how some of my awesome Insta-friends weighed in on this topic.  Good stuff, friends!

The little guy had a birthday party (his first official!) and so naturally he brought a plate! I love how the colors turned out. I'm clearly in a melon/strawberry lemonade/lemon kick right now. 

And here's proof of that! I adore these tea cups and saucers. Now why haven't I made one for myself yet? The yellow one says "hello happy day" on it. Start your day with some sunshine, right?

A certain magazine that I will disclose at a later date (fun!) requested photos of me, my studio space and favorite pieces. So naturally I didn't wash my hair the day I had my photographer friend tackle this project with me. What was I thinking? Clearly I was not. 

31 December 2012

What's Your Word for 2013?

Boy, what a year it's been! Quite honestly, it's been a struggle just to keep from getting squashed by the standout events of the year. The tragedy of heart-breaking violence, the economy, the Fiscal Cliff (who even thought of that term anyway?)and our own personal loss we've experienced as a family. 

There's been a buzz on social media platforms about choosing a word that will mean something for you in 2013. I think it's an awesome concept, and it got me thinking. What will my word be for 2013? Prioritize.  Simple yet powerful. I refuse to let another year slip by where I try to be everything to everybody. The framework for my plan is like a prioritized checklist. 

#1. Faith
Women tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to say their family is their first priority.  Yet when women put their faith first, their roles as wives, moms, friends etc. are so much richer because they can enjoy the relationship without the expectation of having that person define them. That burden is lifted and they can give that expectation to God with confidence that He will never fail them. I admit, I still struggle with this notion. Like all of us I've been wronged people so thinking I can control it from happening again, I don't always give 100% of it to God. I know whole-heartedly that He won't wrong me but trust is a slippery slope and it's easy to treat our relationship with Him, in the same way we relate to the people in our lives. Just like everyone else, I'm a work in progress. Sometimes I'm more than a work in progress. Sometimes I'm a total wreck. A nightmare. A disaster. A basketcase (is that one word?). get the idea. 
But I know I can ask for His help in this. He knows it's on my list. :) I'm going to constantly remind myself to put Him first. 

#2. Family
My very close friends (you know who you are!) are like family to me so they're included in this list. My family (my husband and kids) need more of me than what I've been giving them. Too often it's the squeaky wheels in our lives that get the attention first. My squeaky wheels tend to be emails that I feel I have to respond to right away, beloved iPhone (yea, I said it!) which includes responding to alerts, Instagram, and so on.   My solution? I'm going to envision the whole fam as big squeaky wheels and reduce the "give me a few minutes" response I give them as much as possible. You know it's bad when the three year old is always saying "three more minutes Mommy" or when the older ones say "you've said three more minutes five times now" and I can see them doing the math in their head.  
I'm blessed to have an amazing husband that has truly been transformed. He was a fantastic man when I met him but who he is  now? It's been such a blessing. Refer to #1 on this one. :)He deserves more of me too. 

#3. Work
Work a priority? Really? Well, I love what I do and often work doesn't feel like work at all. Also, I want to use 2013 to really examine what I want for my business and what direction I want to go. I've been so blessed with success and I don't want throw that all out, but I also am ready to go about things differently. I've been so overwhelmed with business that I haven't taken time to really examine what direction I want to go. I joke that I'm waiting for that phone call that will launch AO into new places but perhaps I need to pick up the phone instead of waiting for someone else to do it. 
I'm excited to crack open my Day Designer (I'm sure you'll be hearing more about that badboy in the coming months ...mine should be here any day! They are GOR.geous!) and use it to really narrow my focus with what my business goals are for 2013. If you're a creative entrepreneur, the Day Designer by Whitney English was made for you!
Work also includes the hard work we all have to put into keeping up with a home and the demands of kiddos, both emotionally and physically. Young kids are physically tiring. As kids get older, it's emotionally exhausting. I know I'm not the first mom that has literally lost sleep worrying over their child. This is where my #1 is going to come in handy.

#4. Play
Of course we need to play in life! My 'play' for 2013 includes spending more time doing things I enjoy. I'm going to dust off the watercolor paints and finish the BFF's huge planned painting in her bedroom. These are things that are so gratifying to me.  I want to bake more and spend more time with Ree Drummond (not for real folks) in the kitchen. There's a handful of recipes over at Farm Fresh Love I need to add to the list too.
I LOVE...I mean LOVE playing with my kids. I want to dork out more with them and just play. Their poor memories are going to be filled with their mom singing them ridiculously made up songs complete with accompanying dances. It builds character, right?
Why is 'play' last you ask? I have a hard time relaxing until my work is done. :)

So there you have it, folks! I'm not calling this a Resolution but more of a sketch with hopes it will turn into a vibrant and colorful painting by year's end. I'm sure my goals are lofty and I'm certain there will be times I put my #2 before my #1 or my #3 before my #2, but it's a start, right? 

So now that I've been asked five times if it's time to start making the cake pops, I'm going to close this too long post out with this...
 What's your word for 2013?