Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 365

Keeping it simple this month.  It's all about the photos.. and not much commentary because it's been a busy one! 

Heading home from vacation.  Saying good bye to our favorite horse.
Little hoodlums working on their lemonade stand signs.  They worked so hard!!
Catching the neighbor's fireworks. 
Carrying on the celebration an extra day for the fun of it.  Ha!
Little gift from my girl. 
Nothing to photograph... LOL
One pendant light up... one to go.
Sunset, after church... that feeling when you don't want to go home, you just want to crank up the tunes and drive....
Laundry on the line... my favorite summer scent.
My son found this old wooden oar at the Re-Store for $3.00.  Score!  chippy blue paint wasn't quite enough for me... so I added some weathered racing stripes and a number just like the old ones had!  Perfection.
My son's favorite fruit.
I have now joined the masses with the internet in my pocket.  But my man keeps stealing it. Also... I'm completely hooked and addicted to Instagram.  (You can find and follow me at Lemonademakinmama.)
Hiking... heading to the trailhead with such gorgeous glacier-fed waters of the greenest color.  Lovely.
A day of bittersweet reflection.

Bills.  Ugh.

Construction begins!
Taking a break from the dust and chaos to whip up a cake for my hoodlums.  (Therapy in baking.)
Free lensing.  So fun! I feel artsy.  LOL
Last day of camp... POURING rain... bring on the mud. 
Gorgeous eyes....
Looking at him at breakfast, laughing at his daddy... I had to snap this.  SO cute.
 Finally back into the swing of swim lessons. 
 Faces got wet.  Victory!!
 Dinner.  Yum!
 My garden is overflowing. I suppose there are worse problems to have.
Ah sweet dried lavender... making sachets for our drawers.
 Dinner.  My all time fave sandwich- a veggie sandwich.  So yummy.  Laughing cow cheese wedge on toasted GF bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados, lettuce, red onion and salt and pepper.
My hero.  The boy who goes into my hydrangea bushes and kills the spiders as he cuts them for me.
 Bringing in the harvest...
And that's it for July!  Looking forward to August.  And now you're next sweet friends... I'd love to have you link up if you want, with one (or many) July photos! No rules, just join up for fun!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blogging and branding and sponsors, OH MY!

You may have noticed some cute changes around here all of a sudden.  I assure you, you're in the right place! I don't often talk about the "business" of blogging but today it's happening. Yep.  It is.  Well, sorta. 
 Now that our den/spare room project is complete, I've been getting my little corner studio space just how I like it.  (Which is really important since it's in our bedroom.) Somehow that propelled me into some business/blog house-cleaning so to speak.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My buddy Carissa was talking about branding the other day and it gave me the nudge I'd been needing to make a move on my own branding process and making a streamlined, consistent look.  It was something I'd been thinking about for ages and then alternately NOT thinking about because it seemed like I couldn't ever settle on something I liked well enough to commit to.  (I like lots of things and to commit to only one seemed impossible.)
 I'd been using the same old image for a long time, and though it was cute and kind of "me"... it wasn't really "me."  You know? 

Enter the "love bus" as we call it around here.  I painted it last year for myself... and I loved it so much I decided to get it scanned and sell it as prints.  I'm thrilled that so many of you loved it as much as I did.  It's my favorite print. 
 And suddenly, as I was shopping for some Fall Etsy items like oil cloth (wait for it!) and paper bag envelopes and velcro and stripey bakers twine and fabric, and beat up old frames and such... it came to me.  I decided to use my own image!  I know, right?  Crazy thought.
 (By the way, for those of you who have been emailing about the Christmas garlands the past couple of weeks... first, I love you because you're like me and already looking forward to Christmas.  Second, I'm hoping to list them in late September or October, so stay tuned!)

As soon as I began messing with my bus as my new image, I fell madly in love and that was that.  It just worked and it was totally me in every way.  As a thank you gift for purchases in my shop, I have recently begun tucking one of my little postcard sized love bus prints into each package with a little note of thanks scrawled across the back, so I wanted that to be a part of my new streamlined process.  I found some brown envelopes for all the bits and pieces that often go with my orders like chalk and hangers, etc, and a little label to adhere to the back with all my information.  I even found some soft aqua and white twine to tie them with.  Totally me.  Loved it.
 Don't you love getting something in the mail with sweet packaging?  Oh, me too!  So with the exception of my prints that ship in tubes, (Which I roll in brown wrap, and seal with one of my cute new labels and a pretty twine tie) these little cards are going into each package. 

So here I am now, printing fun new labels, business cards, and shipping tags... and restructuring my blog so everything is streamlined with new image, including my store, Pinterest, and facebook page.  I couldn't be more thrilled with it!  Don't you love it when that happens?  It's such a relief when you finally find what was inside your head but you couldn't seem to wrap your brain around for ages. 
 My bloggy buddy LeAnna has taken terrific care of me over the years, helping with some of the technical side of making the LMM blog cute and she helped me adjust my sidebar wallpaper to the sweet gray and white stripes you now see. (Thank you so MUCH girl!!)

Lastly, I've got to give a shout out to my many sweet sponsors over on my right and apologize for not doing it sooner.  Their support has meant so much to me this year and I'd encourage you to click around and see the fantastic talent going on over there. There are a few little shops with absolutely darling things you won't want to miss, some causes that are dear to my heart, along with some very talented bloggers that I'm sure you'd enjoy reading.  Tell them I sent you!
I suppose it was a very productive weekend.  And on top of that I made up with my man after we fought all the way to church last night over our son not eating his noodles of all things.  It's almost funny when you look back at it!  Okay it IS funny.  Darn noodles.

How has your weekend been? 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Always enough.

 Adrain and I have ventured into a new area of ministry and love it... but it takes a while to get your bearings, establish boundaries for time, emotional output, and brain power whenever you begin a new undertaking.  I tend to throw myself into these things and say yes to everything and regret it later... I'm working to ease into it slowly and see where God takes me personally,  and Adrain is an awesome partner because he keeps me totally in check.  It's much more pleasant that way I must say. 

A couple months ago, Adrain and I were sitting at a marriage retreat when we both realized out of the blue, that one of our passions were for young married couples.  Walking alongside them, and encouraging them to get their heads in the game and keep their feet firmly planted on the path God wants them to walk.  It's been thrilling to see the various sweet couples He has been placing into our lives since then.

What blows my mind is this. God always gives enough for the moment.  Always.  I've been getting to know Him all over again this month after going through and coming out the other side of a long and difficult personal journey.  A couple of years ago, we wanted to do "something" for God and we jumped in with both feet, thinking He was leading us one way.  Over and over again, we experienced Him roadblocking us, causing us to doubt we'd ever heard His leading in the first place.. or wondering how we'd gotten it so wrong and if we'd been hearing our OWN voices rather than His.  Over time that discouragement felt like a personal rejection and both Adrain and I have been on a faith journey like we'd never experienced.  Last month my prayers went a little like this, "God.  I don't like you very much.  I don't like what You've done and I don't like what You're doing.  This sucks.  The End."  Then of course I'd feel uber guilty and I'd realize that my attitude was spoiled and toddlerish so I'd take a deep breath and (often through tears of frustration) apologize for telling the God of the universe that I didn't like Him or His sucky plan, and I began asking Him to change my heart.  More to the point... I asked Him to change my feelings... and soften me again.  My heart had gone very cold toward Him.  (You know... because of His sucky plan and all.)

One day, I realized that I was miserable.  (It was way more than circumstantial misery- it was self-inflicted.) It often happens like that doesn't it?  You're going along, life is smacking you down a path you never chose and you start getting a little resentful toward the One who controls that life smacking, you begin fighting back with arrows of anger, frustration, bitterness and exasperation toward anyone in the way... and you suddenly realize that those feelings are just making you miserable.

I broke down in the semi-recent past and not only did I pray the sorry-for-saying-you-basically-suck-God prayer, I also prayed (more like begged and pleaded) the prodigal prayer.  "I want to come back.  Please take me back.  I can't stand this anymore and I can't stand this coldness I feel and I have to come back.  I'll do anything."

And with tears of regret over every feeling, choice, word, thought and fear I'd been letting take over my life, I felt His spirit nudge my heart with, "That's all it takes... just ask.  One step.  Open arms.  Come close."

And that was that.  My heart's been different ever since, and now we're doing a new thing.  Right here, in our old new house... the one that never sold.... the one we love.  Who knew.  (My man's job is still a point of contention but I do believe something delightful will eventually turn up where he's closer to us, or we're closer to him and there's a whole lot more to it than that but I'll keep it simple for now.) So the Adventure Chronicles continue and every day He has given us enough.  Whether it be enough work for me to make ends meet, enough encouragement to continue into a new ministry, enough forgiveness for myself and my naughty ways, or enough kindness and compassion that causes me to repent, it's always enough. I say all of that to encourage you in case you're where I was and struggling against feeling lost or cold or angry.  There is hope. 
"So he got up and went to his father.  But while he was still along way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."  
Luke 15:20