Project Give Update

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Her birthday is on Christmas. She'll turn 11 in just a few days. She keeps asking her momma why there aren't any presents under the tree. 

That momma and this family is one of the families we're sponsoring this year for our Give Hope project. That momma came over this Thursday to help wrap gifts for her dear Hope Link friends who would be receiving them. We secretly wrapped her gifts up while she wrapped for others. Then we sent her home with a car full of presents to cover that empty space under the tree. 

She sent me this text the next morning...

Sometimes I think I'm crazy for taking on this challenge every year, and then things like that happen, and I remember why we love doing this. This community of women and families who are all connected by the hardships and blessings of having a child with special needs is unlike anything I've ever seen. It's beautiful and inspiring. 

Tonight, I just wanted to thank you. Everyone who is following our journey and this project and doing what they can to help, thank you for buying, donating, and sharing. It means so very much to these families. 

I wanted to share a few of the amazing things I get to see through Hope Link and the families that are a part of it. 

A few days ago, one of our Hope Link mommas posted an amazing video of her son walking for the 1st time with these words....

On the same day, another Hope Link momma shared these words in the Hope Link group. She said, 
I wanted to share this video of my daughter crawling! She will be 2 in just 2 weeks, and this just started about a month ago, very shortly after our November (Hope Link) meeting! 
We are very private in what we share on Facebook. There was a time, not too long ago, when fear of the future overcame me. You have all given me HOPE for our future, whatever it may look like, and a little but of peace in the journey. For now, though, we are celebrating this amazing feat, and I wanted to share with you all! 

This is the beautiful thing about a community like Hope Link. They truly do give each other hope. I am constantly inspired by the way they love so well and the way they serve and celebrate each other. 

So if you're wondering what in the world it is that would get us to even attempt something like this, it's that. It's all that hope that this community of women bring to me and to each other. 

I have to tell you about all the good stuff because there is also lots of hard stuff that comes with having kiddos with special needs. One of our Hope Link moms tweeted about the horrible shopping experience she had last week. Employees and customers were rude and made inappropriate comments. That's no way to treat a child with special needs or their family. Remember, you never know what someone is walking through or dealing with....ever. That's why we have to love recklessly. We have to love even if it'll hurt. We have to love even when it appears to be an inconvenience. We have to love the way Jesus loved. 

I wish I could help these babes walk or watch them for a night while their parents have a night out for once, but I can't do those things. But there are things that I can do, and Christmas is one of them. So if you've been watching and wondering what in the world we're doing.....the only way I know how to describe it is love. I have fallen in love with these babes and their families. They have captured my heart. They need to be loved well. They need to be given a little hope. Sometimes the hospitals and the bills and the diagnosis's (or lack there of) are too much, so we give hope at Christmas. 

If you haven't had a chance to see our Give Hope video, please take a moment to watch it below. And if you'd still like to help, there are 3 ways you can help in these last few days.

We still need:

1. Donations: To donate, simply comment below with your email address and the amount you'd like to donate. All donations will be used to fulfill the wish lists of our Hope Link families. 

2. Deliveries:  We have families all over the Oklahoma City metro area. From Norman to Yukon to Edmond and everywhere in between. If you'd like to pick up and deliver to a family, we would love for you to be a part of or deliveries. It's the best part of the process!! Comment below if you're interested in delivering. Deliveries will happen Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 

3. Gifts we still need (You've got to be local to the OKC area to be able to help with this one.)
We still have items that we're running around collecting. If you can pick up any of the items listed below, please let me know! It would be a huge help as we finalize all the lists and get everything wrapped up. • little kid Nike shoes for a boy size 3 
• Men's New Balance shoes size 15 (4e) color navy (I can give you details on the style)
• bodyguardz iPad Air 2 screen protector 
• a Jurassic world toy 
• a set of gorilla grilling mats
• b toys Ribbit-tat-tat drum (target) 
• Quadrillion game (target) 
• Usher cologne (kohls usually has it)
• Men's Thunder tee size L 
• Men's Thunder hoodie size L 
• boy outfit size 7/8
• girl outfit size 7/8
• Pie Face game (I know it's a long shot) 
• a toy kitchen 
• kids Converse size 8 toddler Chuck Taylor navy 
• unisex Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High top sneakers white size women's 8 
• Tom's 6.5 grey (women) 

Anything you can give, deliver, or buy is such a huge blessing to these families. 

 Thank you for helping us give hope this Christmas.

The thrill of hope....for EK

Friday, November 27, 2015

I've spent the day going up and down the stairs in our home taking the Fall decor up to the attic and bringing the Christmas decor down. And every step, every trip was full of prayer. 

As Thanksgiving comes to a close and you start making your list for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday shopping, I'm hoping you'll add at least one more item to your list. 

You see, I've been praying over 10 families....some of them I know and love. Some of them I call my dear friends. Some of them I don't know yet, but I will. 

Five years ago, I met a little girl who changed my life and my love for Christ and every Christmas after that. Ellie Kate was a joy. I don't even know how to describe her other than joy. She was anointed. A child of God whose smile could light up any room. Ellie was born with a rare, genetic disorder called NKH. I fell in love with her, got really mad at God, and then discovered a God who loves us unconditionally. 

Ellie's mom, Ryan, is the co-founder of a non-profit organization called Hope Link. It exists to provide support to families with children who have rare, serious, and often undiagnosed conditions. There is even a Hope Link Graduates group now for families who have lost children. We say it's not a group you ever want to be a part of, but it's a huge blessing to these mommas. 

Hope Link is a thriving and growing community. They reach out to other families in the area by delivering care baskets to local hospitals to be delivered to other families with kiddos who have rare conditions and long hospital stays. 

It is community in it's most raw and beautiful form. 

Several years ago, we felt a pull on our hearts to attempt to provide Christmas for several of our Hope Link families. We used our Scentsy team as a launching point to spread the word and pray for gifts. And that year, our dining room was filled with gifts. Donations of love for several of our Hope Link families. Every year since, we have prayed hard and dreamed of great provision for some of these amazing families. 

All our Hope Link families have to battle insurance issues and medicare and in-home nursing and long hospital stays. Unfortunately some of our families even end up at the hospital over Christmas. 

So Christmas is something we do to try to ease the stress of the holidays. It's one way we can bless some truly incredibly families. But it's honestly a little scary. 

We adopted 10 of our Hope Link families this year. We asked each of them to provide us with a simple wish list of 3 items they would like to have. Some of them have a hard time doing it. They fight me on it. They ask if there is another family who could be blessed by it instead of them. 

And I press them. They deserve to be loved like this. They deserve for their stories to be told. 

So this year, we are sponsoring 10 families, 47 people, and over 145 items on our final master wish list. And I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn't nervous. I am. It's a big task. 

But I'm also so crazy excited. I can't do this on my own. There's no doubt about that. And when we decide to do big and scary things, we give God the opportunity to show off in big ways. 

So I'm expectant. I'm asking the Lord to bless these families with more than just things this year. I'm trusting that He'll move in some of your hearts. That their stories will grab you and change you. 

So I'm asking this year for a simple task....150 people committed to buying a single gift for a Hope Link family. They're more than just gifts. They truly are pieces of hope delivered to these families at one of the hardest times of the year. Many of these families are facing another Christmas without one of their babies.  

My sweet friends the McLaughlins are one of those families. Ellie Kate went to be with Jesus on December 23rd of 2012. During a time when many of us can look past our own struggles and issues and focus on Christmas and family and Christ, it's hard for them to function without Ellie here. 

So I'm asking for big love this year. I'm asking for more. Give a gift and then ask what else you can do. Volunteer to deliver theses gifts to one of our OKC families. Volunteer to bring them a meal or coffee or just ask how you can help. There is so much more that we can do as the body of Christ to love well those around us who are hurting. In honor of Ellie, we are giving hope this Christmas. 

So how do you help? 

Help us give hope this year. Because there is no better gift than the thrill of hope. 

It changes you

Monday, November 23, 2015

It changes you. 

You don't go into it expecting it to change you, but if you do it right, and you don't quit and you keep going day after day, it changes you. 

I joined this little direct sales company called Scentsy 8 years ago this month. And while I'm completely realistic about the fact that I would have changed in 8 years with or without Scentsy, I don't think I would have changed like this. 

Direct sales changes people. 

That is the most beautiful thing about it. When you do it right, and you're not that annoying "direct sales lady" don't want to be her, let's be change. And you become better and stronger and more of who you're supposed to be. 

And it's beautiful and messy and perfectly imperfect. 

Honestly, there are days when I don't want to do it anymore because it's hard to be your own boss. It's hard to work for yourself. It's hard to do the same thing over and over again for years sometimes. And I've gone through periods when I was really down....where I just wanted to be a mom and nothing else. 

Really, those are selfish and half crazy periods of time. Now, 8 years later, I still want to do this, and I not only want to do it, but I want to do it well. We have been so incredibly blessed. This "business" has been both the high and low point of our marriage and our story. 

I thought that money would make us happy. That's the American dream right? Make the the the life....and all your dreams will come true. 


But that's not how it goes. It's really quite the opposite. 

We made the money. Paid off our debt. Found and bought the dream house....and lost each other. I remember sitting on the back porch of the house that I thought we would live in forever surrounded by everything I thought we could ever want....a boat, private school for our kids, great clothes, fancy trips, and so on....I remember sitting on that back porch thinking that I wasn't happy. Not in our marriage, not with our life, not with anything. I wasn't "happy." 

All the stuff wasn't doing it for me. 

I think that was the bottom. It wasn't our debt or the postpartum anxiety I went was the money. And it wasn't the lack of it. It was the abundance of it, that put me at the bottom. 

And I don't write all this to talk about how much money we made. Blah. We made good money. But it was the money that would bring us to our knees. 

I used to think that money would fix it all. 8 years later, I learned that only people can fix it all. 

And not a single person. We're all sinners who fail to our flesh far too many times a day. Not a person. But people. Its people who fix people. 

We moved out of that "dream home" just 3 years ago into a home that I never would have dreamed of. It's not perfect by any means. We don't have granite countertops and all our fixtures are brass, but it's a home with room for people. 

And when I want to be my introvert self, I have to remind myself that the walls of a house are only walls. Wood and plaster that will one day crumble. But if I fill the walls. If I fill my home with people, that will never crumble. Because people change people. 

Direct sales has a bad reputation sometimes I think. People don't understand it or think that other direct sales people are just too pushy. But the reason it works is because it's about people. 

This business has changed my marriage and my family and my friends, and it's changed me. Forever. 

Direct sales changes people because it's about people. 

You can't do this well without loving other people. You can't do this well without serving other people. You can't do this well without surrounding yourself with other people. 

As we approach Thanksgiving in the United States, I am so incredibly grateful for the people that Scentsy has brought into my life. And even as I look forward to this week full of food and family and love, it is and will always be different because of Scentsy. 

My family is close. We are the best of friends. I'm exited about them being here this week. I'm overjoyed at the thought of them napping on the couch as we watch football and watch kids chasing chickens in the backyard. But I don't know if it would have felt like this without this thing called Scentsy that we get to do together. And tonight I'm grateful. Incredibly grateful for the people in this "little" direct sales company called Scentsy who have changed me. 

Being strong

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I've decided that at this stage of living the newborn life, 3 simple daily goals are all I need. 

1. Get dressed (at some point in the day). Anytime is fine. Showers are worth extra points because let's be real, they're not happening everyday.

2. Do a load or 2 of laundry. That's all. I'm not even attempting to put the clothes away. Our laundry room is turning into the family closet for the time being, and I'm perfectly okay with that. 

3. Do the dishes. Simple enough. That involves emptying and loading the dishwasher every day and making sure it runs overnight. 

If I try to add anything else to this list, I just get frustrated and overwhelmed. Miss Lucy likes to eat a lot. I don't remember if my other babies ate this much and I just forgot, or if Lucy is trying to win the fattest Dalke baby prize.

Either way, I feel like I spend a lot of time nursing, so I can't seem to do anything more than the above listed items, and I'm okay with it. 

I know this season is so incredibly short in the big picture even if it seems to be long right now. 

I'm learning a lot from this little babe. She's reminding me that I'm ultimately not in charge (which I need to be reminded of often), and she's a snuggly reminder that this is the last time we get to do this baby thing. Because of that, I'm living in it. 

I'm okay with my spot on the couch and the lack of sleep and the complete lack of routine. I'm okay with all of it. 

And I'm grateful. Amazingly grateful for my husband who so selflessly takes care of everything else that needs taking care of in our house. He's been doing the morning school routine with all the kiddos...making lunches, packing backpacks, signing homework, he's doing all of it. He's cooking dinner (which he usually does anyways) and doing baths and homework and the bedtime routine. And I'm on the couch. Feeding a baby. (Except in the picture below where daddy got to give Lucy her 1st bottle.) 

I'm also grateful to all our amazing friends and family who have stopped by and brought gifts for Lucy and delicious food for the rest of us. Really, you all are amazing. 

I'll be honest, there are moments in every day when I just want to cry. It's mostly from exhaustion but also it's from moments of feeling overwhelmed. It's from trying to do too much and be too much. 

Sometimes our culture tells us we have to do it all and be it all. But right now, I know that my most important job is feeding a tiny baby. It may seem like not a lot or not enough, but right now, it's all I need to do. 

Sometimes we try too hard to do things we aren't supposed to be doing. So I'm not apologizing for my messy house or my delayed text message responses, and I'm resting in doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing in this season. 

Being strong doesn't mean doing it all. Being strong sometimes means being present and doing what you're called to do in each season. 

We're in the middle of the newborn life and I'm living it and loving it. 

Open Doors before Clean Floors

Monday, September 7, 2015

Life with a newborn is lots of things....snuggly, sleepy, cozy, and sweet. But it's also not lots of things like clean, organized, routine, or expected. 

My house has been cluttered since Miss Lucy moved in. The floors have collected dust and dog hair and who knows what else. Our dining room table is full of art projects and estate sale finds and car seats and diaper bags. And the coffee table is overflowing with baby blankets and coffee cups and Scentsy catalogs and crayons. 

We spent yesterday with my family celebrating my aunt's 60th birthday. It was a blast. We took our annual cousins picture, and I adore it. I'll be writing more later this week about family and the blessing it is to want to be with your family. 

So today my amazing hubby let me sleep until almost noon with Miss Lucy. I was up around 9:00 and could barely keep my eyes open. I guess the past couple weeks just finally caught up with me. 

When I woke up, I was keenly aware of the state of our less than clean house. But right now, there's not a ton I can do about it. I'm keeping up with the laundry the best that I can, and I do the dishes and tidy the kitchen every night, but that's about as far as I get when it comes to house keeping. 

I knew we were having friends over for dinner and swimming this afternoon. And as much as I wanted to care about the state of my floors, I have a 13 day old little miss who needs to be fed 1st. Instead of canceling and making up an excuse about why we couldn't have them over, I decided that open doors in our home were far more important than dirty floors. 

And I was right. We had an amazing afternoon. The big kids and dads went to the neighbors' to swim while my sweet friend Cheryl and I sat on the couch. She showed me some tricks to photo editing while she played with the gorgeous pictures she took of Lucy on Saturday. And I, of course, fed that sweet baby. 

Later we cut veggies and grilled meat while the kids played and colored and explored outside. And while they were here, I never once considered the mess on my dining room table or the dirt on my floors. And honestly, I don't think they did either. 

There are silly things that keep us from community. Dirty floors and excuses about the way our homes look is usually at the top of the list for most of us. We think people will judge us or think we're not good enough, so we don't invite them in. 

I'm learning, especially in this season of newborn life, that the greatest blessings often come when we forget about the imperfections of our homes and open our doors to love and connect with others.

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who has a tendency to want to close the doors both on my heart and my home because it's messy in there. Our culture has become accustomed to over sharing the good and closing the doors on the messy and imperfect. 

The irony of that is that it's our messes and imperfections both in our hearts and on our floors that make us relatable to other people. When we fail to share the messy, we miss out on the blessing of true community. Because let's be real, no one wants to be friends with someone whose floors are never messy and whose heart never hurts. 

So the question becomes, who can you open your doors to? And why haven't you already? Whoever it is, I'm betting that they won't care about the state of your floors or the tidyness of your home. At the end of the day, we all need community, but we'll never get it if we're waiting for the perfect day or a clean house. 

The Newborn Life

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Brian took the bigs to aunt Jacquelyn's house to watch the OU game tonight, so miss Lucy and I are sitting in our cozy spot on the couch watching Tangled on TV and eating leftovers for dinner. 

It's amazing how quickly I've forgotten what life with a newborn is like. You would think that after 3 babes, I would remember this season of constant nursing and little sleep and no routine what so ever. But I definitely forgot. 
Knowing that Lucy is our last babe, I'm loving this season. I'm not normally one to like the lack of routine or the unexpected, but I'm pretty consumed with all the snuggling. Brian even said that I should probably find a new spot on the couch so there's not a dent. (He was joking of course.) But we really are spending lots of time there. Here's our little corner of the couch. 

Miss Lucy often wants to nurse every 2 hours throughout the day, so of course we do! And being that she's still not even 2 weeks old yet, we are on no kind of schedule yet. Whenever she wants to eat, we eat. Over the next couple of weeks, I know things will start to become more routine. And when that happens, I'll gladly embrace the routine. 

But until then, we'll be here. Snuggling, loving, working, nursing, napping, reading and giving lots and lots of baby kisses. The newborn life is not too bad. We're soaking it up and loving every minute. I know it's fleeting, so we're taking advantage of it while it's here. 

Hello September....

Thursday, September 3, 2015

I love September, but I think it's weird how September never really feels like I think it should. 

I feel like September 1st should usher in cool, crisp mornings and the need to wear a light sweater and make pumpkin muffins. But it never quite works like that in Oklahoma. It's still mega hot and the flies are invading my kitchen like it's still the middle of Summer. 

But nevertheless, I still love September. It means a new catalog and new Fall scents in the Scentsy world. The kiddos go back to school. We fall back into a routine, and football season starts. I'm not huge football watcher necessarily, but I grew up in a house where we hosted football watch parties every weekend. I've come to find the sound of a football game playing on the TV to be oddly comforting. 

As each new month opens, I like to sit down and set some goals for myself for that month, both for my business and for my personal life. 

This month, I'm keeping things pretty simple. A long time ago, I started a planning method I call the Sunday 7. It's a simple way to look at the most important areas in your life and set goals for those areas accordingly. 

You can read more about the Sunday 7 here.  Also you can find lots of posts about the Sunday 7 on the right hand side of the blog under Categories. 

I'm using my Sunday 7 planning method to help me set some goals for September. 

The Sunday 7

  1. Faith: in the Bible everyday, intentional prayer time/journaling
  2. Family: spend one-on-one time with each kiddo everyday this month...even if it's just for 5 minutes
  3. Friends/Relationships: Lunch with a friend this month and in-house coffee dates with my Scentsy team. 
  4. Work: Sell at least $2,000 of Scentsy and Velata this month AND help 2 new people start their own businesses this month. 
  5. Health and Fitness: Walk 3 times a week and start a light weight workout 
  6. Money Management: schedule our monthly budget meeting, stay on top of both business and personal accounts, and live on our budget. 
  7. Downtime: Read. Listen. And find space for rest. Don't overdo it. Snuggle that baby A LOT and enjoy the newborn's only a season....soak it up. 

What about you? What are your goals for this month? And how do you go about setting and keeping goals? I love learning about how other people stay motivated and focused. Please share! 

Powered by Blogger · Designed by Pish and Posh Designs