Three Months From Now…

Just chillin with my free samples.

I am a doer. Plans are great in my head, but sometimes I get stuck on the details (we can’t be good at everything, right?. I was so happy when Basic Invite reached out to me to help organize my brain and get my thinking past next week and into the holidays! I tend to wait a little too long to order my Christmas cards online, and then I feel overwhelmed trying to choose the perfect cards. Never mind the time it takes to print and have them delivered to me. And THEN to address them and mail them out. All before Christmas. In theory.

I had a hard time deciding which card was my favorite since Basic Invite offers so many gorgeous styles. They also offer complete customization and almost unlimited color options too, so I had so much fun playing around! You can customize online and see an instant preview online. They also have 40 different envelope options. I think that is a really nice way to make your card stand out among the others!

The feature I REALLY loved was that they offer FREE custom samples. I am a very visual person, so it really helped to hold my choices in my hand to decide what my favorite option was. They also offer free address capturing services and foil options.

It would be just as helpful to use the free samples for your
holiday party invitations or even happy holiday cards!

Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51

Plan ahead and take advantage of it! You will thank yourself come Thanksgiving…

Please act surprised family and friends when one of these arrives in your mailbox in a few months… I just can’t decide which one! What would you choose?

Check out some of their beautiful options!

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The Darkness is Good for us.

The darkness is good for us.

As I was putting my youngest to bed tonight, she complained about how dark her room was, as she does every night. And every night I tell her how even though she may not like it, the dark environment is good for her. It is beneficial to help her brain relax and have a good night’s sleep. More scientifically, it helps the brain to produce melatonin which assists with the sleep cycle, among many other physical and emotional benefits. Light activates the brain. We are drawn to light naturally, as much as it is natural to pull away from the dark.

Meanwhile I am coaching myself while reassuring my child.

The darkness is good for us. It is good for me.

For a child, dark is just dark. You can’t see the benefit to it because you just don’t like it. You want a nightlight or closet light on to be able to see your surroundings. Because the unknown is scary, right? Fear. Fear of what we can’t see. And it is so easy for our brains, much like our children’s, to fabricate the scariest of visions when we aren’t sure what is around us. What is ahead of us. The present and future aren’t visible, and that in itself is petrifying.

What we envision is happening in the dark is usually far less scary than our reality. And a lot of times, we don’t even have anything to fear. Our imagination is taking flight, and we are allowing it.

If we didn’t have the dark, we wouldn’t appreciate the light. And limiting the dark isn’t really what is best for us. Trying to move away from the dark won’t let us learn or grow through it. We need to be present in the dark, experience the pain and discomfort, and grow from it. Choose to find a purpose in it. Press into it.

We don’t choose the dark, but we can control what happens with it.

The dark has a purpose, even if we don’t like it or want to experience it, the dark exists for a reason. We can resist it, or we can embrace it and appreciate it for what it does for us. Hold on to the dark and look forward to the light.

The dark is good for us.

I Am Not A Victim – Unexpected Progress in Grieving

I am not a victim of my circumstances. Some crazy things have happened this year (a lot of which I haven’t shared). It is not about the circumstances, but how I respond to it. Would I rather have Marcus here? Of course. But I can’t change that. What I CAN control is what do I do from here? I will not sit here and feel sorry for myself. I know what I want for me, and for my kids, and I can make steps to get there. One step forward, one step at a time. Sometime it is barely a limp or shuffle, but it is movement. I can’t be stuck here, sitting in the sadness. Change what you can, and accept what you can’t.

I had a really interesting moment a couple weeks ago. I can talk about Marcus without crying or getting a lump in my throat at this point. I mean, of course I have my moments and bad days, but generally I am doing really well. I was driving on the way to tennis with my family and I thought of Marcus, as I do 3,895 times every day. Except, this thought felt different. I was trying to explain to a friend, without much success, but you might understand if you’ve been there. Even though I can think of Marcus and reflect on memories and be ok, it is usually with a touch of sad. Not overwhelming, just the aura. This time, it was fact. Marcus fact, not Marcus sad.

It was weird.

I know I am in a good place, that I have grieved well, but it was odd to have a different feeling. Like it was more solid, more of a fact than emotion.

I am not a therapist and I have been to counseling (please everybody go to counseling!) but it was good to be in tune to my thoughts and emotions and have another layer of healing. I didn’t realize I needed more, but here I am. I have made it through the fire. Then more fire (and then some more!) was thrown at me. And guess what? I am still standing. And I am stronger. And I miss Marcus, but I am moving forward. With him. For him. And nothing can stop me now.

Caring for the Widow and Saying Thank You // Family Pictures 2019


The Bible tells us to care for the widow. Honestly, widows were not a people I ever really put a lot of thought into. I knew the Bible told us to care for the widow, but since it wasn’t applicable to me I never studied. Widows are old with gray hair and had been married for like 70 years, right?

Well now that I am here, having this as my reality, it means a lot more. Being a widow at 30 is definitely different that being a widow at a much older age, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult. My days are filled to the brim and I have more roles and responsibilities than I can list.

But.

It has been amazing to see the amount of love and support for me and my family. In a time that could be discouraging or disheartening, I am reminded daily of the things I DO have. Small gestures and ones that are more grandiose, all equally as meaningful.

I shared on my Instagram a few months ago about the incredible story of our family pictures from the fall with Nicole at Nicole Baas Photography. She captured us again this summer, this time with our new family dynamic. It was painful and sad, but also healing. To dig in and fully understand and appreciate the season we are in. And having the pictures documented so perfectly and capturing each kid’s personality was so wonderful!

I wanted to say thank you, somehow, to all those people who have been so vital to our success. Finally I settled on printing a postcard with our new family picture on the front and a picture of Marcus on the back. Writing out the names of the hundreds of amazing people who have been there for us gave me even more perspective. A practice in gratitude. This isn’t the life I chose, but it is still good. And we are doing great! And our life doesn’t stop here.

“Father of the fatherless and protector of the widows is God in his holy habitation,” Psalms 68:5

Thank you for being there for us!

* If you didn’t get a postcard and should have, I am so sorry. I did my best to keep track.

Similar Dress // Similar Girls’ Dress // Girls’ Bows // Levi’s Shirt

Photography // Nicole Baas @ Nicole Baas Photography

Makeup // Karen Marquis @ My Fancy Fix

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There is Healing in Telling the Story (Featured on Love What Matters)

I think a common misconception about grief is that the griever doesn’t want to be reminded of the pain, to be reminded of what they lost. Now that I am unexpectedly walking this path, I realize I had the total wrong view! I love talking about Marcus, sharing our stories, sharing the joy through the pain. I still might cry as I share, but memories of him and our life together are just so wonderful. I was asked to share our story on Love What Matters and detail the sudden death of Marcus and how our family was affected. There was no shortage of tears writing down my memories and the moment I found out he had passed, but I am so thankful to have them recorded so I won’t forget. These details are important. It is part of our story. My kids are so young and I will want them to know these stories, those little details and see how God was working, as painful as it may be.

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